The second the words fall out of my mouth, I want to snatch them back. We are definitely not a good pair. She’s the worst sort of girl for me and I know it. It’s why I’m bringing her home. So my dad will think I’ve scored a hot little football groupie who gives it up to me whenever I want and Adele will finally leave me alone.
Lauren really is a team groupie. She’s supposedly banged half the guys and girls this season alone, though I don’t know how accurate the rumors are. This is how I first discovered her existence. A bunch of girls from the team were talking about her when we were at La Salle’s one night right after the semester started. After she took our table’s order, they compared notes and bragged how great in bed she is. One of them even pinched her ass when she walked by, earning a dirty look from her that made them all laugh.
Her reputation - and her feisty reaction - was my first clue she might make the perfect fake girlfriend. I don’t fool around with any of those girls who hang around the locker room after practice or after a game. I don’t really fool around with anyone. It’s easier that way. You give girls a little bit of yourself and they always want more, more, more. Things I can’t give them. I shut myself off to make my life bearable. I’m like a damn machine sometimes.
Unfeeling. Uncaring. Emotionless.
My dad worries about me. He even asked if I‘m sure that I‘m lesbian because it definitely doesn‘t look like that.
The question had come out of nowhere and I was so shocked, I started laughing. That pissed him off more, and though I denied the accusation, I know he didn’t really believe me.
Hopefully, showing up with Lauren hanging all over me will end that worry.
Damn. I know I’m horrible for thinking like this. For using Lauren in such a shitty way, but it isn’t the only reason she’s going with me. Not that I can tell her the truth, but if I did? She might understand. She looks like the sort of girl who would get it. Who might’ve gone through some of the same bullshit I have.
What we really need to do is talk about our supposed relationship more. I have to stop being so wrapped up in my worry over going home and ask her more questions. “You only have your little brother then, huh?”
"Yes, just me and Chris. And my mom." Her voice tightens. I figure she doesn’t like her mom very much.
I can relate.
"You don’t get along with your mom?"
"She’s never around to get along with. I’m always working and she’s always screwing around with her latest boyfriend." The bitterness is obvious. No love lost between those two.
"And your dad?"
"I don’t know him. He’s never been a part of my life."
"But if Chris’s only thirteen…" I’m confused.
"Different guy. That one didn’t stick around either." Lauren shakes her head. "My mom knows how to pick them.“
I don’t know what to say. I’m not comfortable with the personal stuff. I have friends, but none of them are really close. The girls I hang out with are from my team and we talk football and sports and that sort of bullshit. Sometimes we talk about guys, though I just sit there and laugh at whatever they say. I never really join in. I don’t have much to add.
Here’s the deal. I could have any girl I want. I know this. Yes, I’m an arrogant ass to think like this, but it’s true. I look all right, I’m smart and I play decent football. The girls want me even more because I don’t pay them any attention.
They all want something. Something I can’t give. At least with Lauren, I was upfront with what I needed from her from the start and I compensated her right away. She won’t want anything else from me.
It’s easier that way. Safer.
"Can I ask you a question?" She knocks me from my thoughts with her sweet voice. She looks all tough, with the heavy eye makeup and the dark clothes. But she has the most lyrical voice I’ve ever heard.
"Sure." I’m opening this discussion up for potential disaster. I can sense it.
"Huh?" I play dumb. I know what she means.
"Why did you choose me to be your pretend girlfriend? I know I’m not the ideal choice. Let’s be real here."
She must be a mind reader. “I knew you wouldn’t give me a lot of trouble.”
"What do you mean?"
I’m going to fuck this up, I can feel it in my bones. “Any other girl wouldn’t want to just pretend to be my girlfriend. She would really want to be in a relationship with me, you know? And I knew you wouldn’t.”
"How? You don’t know me."
"I’ve seen you at La Salle’s." Weak reasoning.
"Big deal. Lots of guys and girls come into La Salle’s. Lots of girls you play football and hang out with go there all the time. I’ve hooked up with a few of them." She crosses her arms in front of her, plumping up her boobs so I catch a glimpse of creamy skin ready to spill out over her low cut top. I don’t usually slobber over girls, but there’s something about this one that makes me want to see her naked. "I’m not going to have sex with you."
She’s being defiant and I kind of like it. What the hell is wrong with me? “I don’t want to have sex with you. That’s not why I hired you.”
"Hired me." She snorts, like she doesn’t care what she sounds or looks like when she does it, and I can’t help but admire that. "You make it sound like a proper job when really I’m your paid girlfriend-slash-whore. Where did you get that sort of money anyway?"
"It’s mine, don’t worry." I have money saved. My dad’s in finance and has made a lot of money throughout his career. He’s generous with it, especially now that I’m his only child. "And don’t call yourself a whore. You’re not." I don’t want her to feel like one. Even though whatever she’s done with other guys and girls might qualify her as a whore, sex is the farthest thing on my mind when it comes to her.
Or at least, it was. Now though…fuck. I don’t know.
She confuses me. What I think, what I feel when she’s around, confuses me. And I don’t even know her. I’m totally getting ahead of myself and I don’t know how to stop it.
"There’s going to be no sex," she says again. Almost like she’s trying to convince herself as well as me.
“I don’t want any of that.” It’s the truth - at least, that’s what I tell myself. She’s hot, there’s no denying it, but sex brings nothing but trouble. I’m not about to fool around with a girl who has an easy reputation and who’s literally at my beck and call for the next week. It’s pointless.
"But we’re going to have to pretend we like each other," I remind her. "That we’re supposed to be…in love." The last word was hard for me to say. I don’t really use it. My dad never tells me he loves me. Adele has. But her love is tainted with shitty conditions and stuff I don’t want to think about.
I fucking can’t think about her, or I’ll explode.
"I can do that," Lauren says easily.
Realization dawns. I’m such an idiot. “I’ll have to hold your hand and put my arm around you. Hug you.” I didn’t consider that.
"No big deal." She shrugs.
"I’ll have to kiss you, too." Yeah, didn’t consider that either.
She blatantly stares at me, her gaze dropping to my mouth. Is she thinking about kissing me? “I don’t think that will be a hardship. Can you handle it?”
"Hell yeah, I can." I sound way more confident than I feel.
"If you say so," she drawls as she settles deeper into her seat.
And damn it, I know she sees right through me. That should freak me out.
It freaks me out more that it doesn’t seem to bother me at all.