Home > Dirty English (English #1)(3)

Dirty English (English #1)(3)
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills

For only being twenty years old, I’d accumulated a lot of stuff.

Most of it consisted of jewelry making supplies and books except for my furnishings, which I’d inherited from Granny Bennett when she’d passed this summer. A beige and green plaid couch, a kitchen table with ducks painted on the top, an old bedroom suite, and a collection of crocheted doilies in various colors was my inheritance from her. Not exactly Ethan Allen, but it had a certain style.

“Your apartment looks like an eighty-year-old cat lady lives here,” Shelley called down to me as she popped her head out of my apartment to peer down over the railing at me. My bestie since prep school, she was a privileged rich girl, a sharp contrast to my own wrong-side-of-the-tracks upbringing, but she’d been there for me through everything. Even Colby. Her red hair had gotten fuzzy in the humidly, but it didn’t detract from her prettiness. She pinched her nose and made a scrunchy face. “And it kinda stinks.”

“Stop your complaining and get your butt down here to help. I’m melting in this heat,” I said.

She snorted and made her way down the metal stairway. “You and your fair skin. If you’d get out of the house now and then, you might get some color. But no … all you do is study and work at the bookstore. You probably have more colors of highlighters than you have dating prospects. Not to mention, you go to the library so much people think you work there.”

I grinned. “I’m not that bad. I see people in class. I even talk to them sometimes.”

She lowered her head at me. “Get real. If it wasn’t for me forcing you to go out with me—like tonight—you’d hole up here and eat ramen noodles for the rest of your college career.”

“Meh, sometimes I eat pizza.”

She sent me a smirk and grabbed one of the boxes at my feet. We waddled back up the staircase and came to a stop at apartment 2B on the second floor. A two-bedroom with a balcony and a bathroom, it felt like a mansion compared to the dorm room I’d lived in all last year. I was on the corner and facing the setting sun, and I only had one neighbor on my left, 2A.

As if on cue, the thump of loud rap music blasted from next door.

I listened. Was that Eminem?

“That’s loud and obnoxious,” Shelley said. “Maybe it won’t be as quiet here as you think.”

I tried to be optimistic. “So? It’s two in the afternoon, not two in the morning.”

“They’re just moving in, too,” she noted, nudging her head at the pile of boxes sitting outside the neighbor’s door, which I noticed was slightly cracked. She indicated the pile of books in one. “Looks like a nerd. Yuck. And here I was hoping you’d win the jackpot with a hot neighbor.”

Making sure the new neighbor was nowhere in sight, I leaned over and hurriedly rifled through some of the titles: The Great Gatsby , Wuthering Heights . “Hmm, someone likes the classics. English major, maybe?”

She rolled her eyes. “Boring. What you need is a sexy neighbor who likes to have great monkey sex.”

I shook my head at her. “See, you say ‘monkey sex’ and all I can think of are hairy animals in bed. Gross.”

She huffed in a teasing kind of way. “Whatever. It’s like every time you see a hot guy, you have FUCK OFF tattooed on your head.”

Colby had been a hot guy and look what that had gotten me.

I shrugged, swallowing down those memories. “So? I don’t want to fall for anyone. Ever. Love hurts. Remember?”

“Yeah.” She nibbled on her lips, a hard look growing on her normally smiling face. She was remembering the hotel and the devastation that had followed. She’d been the one to pick me up that morning and take me home. The kind of girl who fell in love at least once a month, she was under the impression that if I could just meet the right one, then all would be well and I’d have my happily ever after. Crock of shit.

“Don’t worry about me, Shelley. I’m good, okay? I don’t need a guy in my life to make me happy. All I need is you and Blake—and the occasional hookup.” Blake was my other best friend from Oakmont Prep who’d come to Whitman as well.

She smirked. “Your sex rules again?”

I nodded.

Here’s the thing. I’d had sex since Colby. Plenty of times. The events of that night didn’t ruin my sexuality, only my trust in men. So a year after Colby, I halfheartedly propositioned a guy from my science class and asked him to come back to my room. Connor had been his name, and I’d seen him checking me out more than once when we had a lab together. That day, he’d looked at me like I’d suddenly grown two heads—me having a reputation as a bit of a bitch when it came to guys flirting with me—but he’d been eager. We’d walked back to my dorm room, and while the sex had been horrible, a furtive and awkward encounter, it proved that Colby had not won.

He was not the last person to touch me.

My body was my own.

So was my heart, and I planned to keep it that way.

After that, sex got easy—as long as I was in control. Over the past year, I’d made it into a game with strict rules. Pick an average guy who wasn’t popular or rich or too good-looking. Make sure he wasn’t taken. Make sure he didn’t drink or do drugs. Make sure he wasn’t an escapee from the local insane asylum. Have sex. Never speak to him again. End of story.

It was about control. My choice. My rules.

I had to initiate the first move, and I had to be on top. Most importantly, I had to be in my own bed and around my own things. Sex with me was tame by most standards, I suppose, based on some of the crazy stories Shelley had told me about her adventures. But I didn’t care. If they wanted me, then they’d follow my lead.

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