Home > Anti-Stepbrother(13)

Anti-Stepbrother(13)
Author: Tijan

“I do this when I feel like I’m saying stuff I shouldn’t, and I’m only doing that because I’m nervous.” I blinked a few times at him. “You make me nervous. Though that’s better than being enraged.”

“I enrage you?”

I nodded, then thought about it, and my head bobbed down as my shoulder jerked up. “You did earlier, but I don’t know why. I think it’s just you. I call you Asshole in my head.”

“You what?” We stopped at a stoplight, and he looked fully at me. “I didn’t do anything to you.”

I bristled, remembering the first time we met. I echoed his words from my memory, “‘Something wrong with you?’ That’s not the nicest thing to say to a girl. Especially one that just got her hear—” I clammed up.

Oh dear God. I’d almost spilled the beans to him.

“I mean…” I had nothing to cover that up. It really was the booze speaking. I couldn’t even attempt a redirect, so I just sat in humiliating defeat.

The light turned green, and we started forward again. He threw a sideways glance my way. “You mean that wasn’t a nice thing to say to a girl whose heart was just broken? Did I get that right?”

“No.” Yes. So much yes.

He grunted, taking another turn, and I saw the top of my dorm approaching.

“That’s what I thought,” he said.

He knew I was lying. He knew a whole lot more than what I’d just lied about. And I couldn’t do anything. Panic rose in me as I imagined how upset Kevin would be. I’d covered for him. He was counting on me, and I just blabbed to the guy who seemed to be one of his enemies, or rivals, or something. Or the brother to one of his rivals/enemies/whatever. Kevin always had those.

Although, the guys who’d wanted to pummel my stepbrother in the past were usually boyfriends from other schools. Kevin must’ve had some sense of self-preservation because he’d steered clear of the girls with the big boyfriends at our high school. And now that I was thinking about it, he’d always made sure he had friends bigger than he was. There’d been a few close calls, but once his friends had showed up, the fight suddenly dwindled. The guy had backed down, or Kevin got away.

“Huh.”

“Huh what?” the asshole asked.

“What?” I glanced over and saw that he was watching me again.

Then I saw the rest. We were at my dorm. He’d parked right in front of the main entrance.

“Never mind. Thank you for the ride.” I grabbed for the seatbelt, but he caught my hand, stalling me.

“Wait a minute.”

Good Lord. I gulped. The touch of his hand sent tingles through me. That snake tattoo was right there, so close to me. I pulled away hastily. What was that? But then he was talking, so I tried to focus. All the other sensations and emotions that he’d unleashed should be shoved down. Way down. Way, way down.

“What?” I asked.

He shook his head, exasperation showing across his face. He held his hands up, like he was surrendering, and he leaned back in an exaggerated manner. “I’m not going to hurt you. I just want to talk about your stepbrother.”

I flushed. He’d given me a ride back, and he knew I was lying about Kevin. So hearing him out was the least I could do. I sat back, releasing the door handle. “Okay.”

“Okay?”

I nodded. “Okay.” My eyes cut to the side as I said, “I know you weren’t going to hurt me.”

He waited, studying me. I almost flushed again. I wasn’t looking at him anymore, but I could feel his scrutiny. He was acting like I was a feral animal, just waiting for the right opening to scurry away. I wasn’t. I had some decency, even though I was acting like an idiot. But that was him. He made me act like a nervous, rabid bat. I wasn’t like this with other people. I was normal, sane. Fuck, I was almost boring.

Not with Asshole Caden, who I was starting to think maybe wasn’t that much of an asshole. He wasn’t acting like one anymore, and maybe he hadn’t been when I’d first labeled him as such. I had been acting weird, and he’d really only just asked me if something was wrong.

If a girl asked me that question, I wouldn’t have thought anything of it. But it had been him, and that question coming from a male someone who was obviously strong, muscular, gorgeous, and self-assured—holy shit, Asshole Caden was confident with an extra layer of authority too. It rolled off him in waves, very sexy and alluring waves, and I couldn’t believe I was having these thoughts.

My gaze jerked to his. “What were you going to say?” A traitorous blush warmed its way up my neck. I prayed it didn’t spread over my face.

He gentled his tone. “Why are you covering for your stepbrother?”

“You mean for your fraternity brother?”

He didn’t reply, only clenched his jaw.

“I can’t say anything.” I can’t say what you want me to say. “Call it family loyalty?”

“So you are covering for him?”

I held my breath. “What?”

He leaned forward a tiny bit. “Was he with Maggie?”

He was testing me. He didn’t know for sure. Realizing that, I kept my mouth shut. I would not incriminate myself.

I started to open the door again. “Uh, thanks for the ride. That was nice of you.”

“Wait.”

I opened the door enough to clamber down. I shut it and had to walk around the front to go into my dorm.

   
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