“Just hold still!”
I yelled, holding up my phone while Gabe gave me the finger. I grimaced and
dropped the camera away from my face. “Nice, thanks for that.”
“I’m a giver.” He
Saylor, his wife,
smacked him on the arm and rolled her eyes.
I scrunched up my
face when he leaned in and took Saylor’s mouth with his, kissing her senseless
in the local Starbucks like they were doing a romance scene in a movie. I
They didn’t pull
So I took a
I earned another
finger, but Gabe still didn’t dislodge from his wife.
“Whoa!” Wes’s voice
sounded from behind me. “They been at it long?”
“Are all newlyweds
disgusting?” I voiced aloud.
Wes moved around
the table with his wife, Kiersten, and gave me a goofy shrug. I wanted to roll
my eyes, but Wes was too nice and hot. Let’s not forget the hot part. Both he
and Gabe were like walking poster boys for GQ. Both blond, now that Gabe had
decided to dye his hair back to his original color. It was like staring at two
really bright superstars.
Hating them was
like hating the Easter bunny. Try all you want, but you’ll eat every piece of
chocolate in the basket, just you wait.
Kiersten leaned forward. “I heard you got stuck with that hot new psych prof.”
Wes growled low in
“Down boy.” I
braced my hands on the table and laughed. “Besides he’s not that hot.”
“A girl passed
out.” Kiersten’s eyebrows shot up. “Like in class.”
shrugged, taking a sip of coffee.
“Or…” She leaned forward.
“…the rumors are true.”
backed away from Saylor, his lips swollen. “…are always based on truth.”
“So you really did
do a naked dance in your underwear last week after getting drunk downtown at
Pike Place Market?” I tilted my head and waited while Gabe rolled his eyes and
popped his knuckles. “Exactly.”
He opened his
I took a picture.
With a grimace, he
snatched my phone away from me. “Never thought I’d have to tell you to lay off
the pictures, Miss Paparazzi.”
I slumped in my seat.
“It’s for an assignment with that hot professor.”
jabbed her finger at me. “I knew it.”
I pinned her with a
look. “Sarcasm, friend, sarcasm.”
“Boys get girls
pregnant,” Gabe offered, while Wes choked on the coffee he’d just stolen out of
Serves him right!
“Don’t date them.”
“You’re going to be
a great dad.” I smiled sweetly. “What? You’re just going to lock your girls in
their rooms and go—” I mimicked his voice. “—uh, you see boy parts are bad,
they make girls have lots of babies, like rabbits, and you know how rabbits
make dad nervous and—”
eyes narrowed. “And please don’t talk about kids yet…”
quietly next to him then squeezed his arm.
My heart dropped.
A very long time
ago, I’d wanted to be that for Gabe, then Taylor happened and well… I
shuddered, blocking out the painful memories, the things I’d done, the things
he’d done, the things we’d done.
“You okay?” Wes
asked, his voice soft. He was way too perceptive for my taste. If I’d wanted to
share, he’d be the guy I’d talk to, but I was a vault. Sharing meant admitting
my guilt, and admitting meant I’d probably go insane just like he had.
“Yeah…” I straightened
in my seat. “…I just don’t want to fail my class, and I need to write down
nonverbal cues and take at least one picture. And pretty sure I need to ace
this first assignment on account that I was late to my prof’s class, and I got
“He spank you?”
Gabe’s eyes mocked across his coffee.
“Yes, Gabe,” I said
calmly. “Because that’s how they punish bad students here at UW — with a
yardstick and a smile.”
“I wish.” He
whistled. “What I wouldn’t give to have Saylor—”
I plugged my ears.
He threw his head
back and laughed while Saylor turned bright red and put her hand over his mouth
to shush him.
“So…” Wes ignored
Gabe as was his usual and leaned across the table. “…why don’t you take
pictures of people here in the coffee shop? I mean, ask permission, but most
people here are super interesting, right? Studying? Stressed out? Tired?” He
pointed to a guy in the corner. “He looks like he’s running on five cups of
coffee and one hour of sleep. Go ask, take the picture, make some notes,
“You make it sound
so easy,” I grumbled.
He grinned. “I’m
I hung my head
lower and grimaced.
“Phone.” He held
out his hand and stood.
Within minutes, not
only had he snapped two pictures for me but had taken notes on two pre-med
students who had stayed up all night cramming for what they’d assumed would be
a pop quiz, only to find out that they’d been in the wrong class on the wrong
“And that’s why I’m
not pre-med.” Gabe shuddered.
asked. “I thought it was because big words scared you?”
What now?” He nodded. “Keep talking, Kiersten, or keep walking.”
“Spell it.” She
professor…” Gabe changed the subject. “If he tries anything, use the Mace or
the rape whistle.”
“Right.” I nodded.
“I’ll be sure to do that. In class. With a hundred other students. When he
looks at me cross-eyed.”
“Good,” he huffed.
“I was kidding.”
Gabe’s shoulder. “Gotta let the baby birds out of the nest someday, Gabe.”