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I giggled, using the wall to support myself as I recovered.
“I like your laugh,” he said, his eyes unknowingly or maybe knowingly scanning the length of my body.
I melted on the spot.
He leaned forward to whisper in my ear, “You look a little shaken. Let me get you a drink.”
I was shaken, that was for sure, but not from what had just happened. I snapped out of it and grabbed his arm. “No, let me get you a drink. That’s my job.” I slapped my hand over my mouth. “Shoot, I didn’t mean my job. I didn’t mean it that way.”
He smirked and then winked. “I won’t tell anyone you said the forbidden word. Don’t worry.”
I swallowed deeply and tried to gather myself as I watched him saunter across the room. God, everything about him was so electric.
When he returned with two cups of beer, he clinked his to mine. “To making it through rush—unscathed,” he joked.
His voice was warm, seductive, and I wanted to hear it again. I smiled at him, but before I could say anything else that blank look crossed his face once more. Then just like that, he nodded and turned back around, getting lost in the crowd. I made sure not to lose sight of him again. I refilled his beer whenever it was empty for the rest of the night and he thanked me, but the conversation never went any further. He laughed and carried on with pledges and brothers as I admired him from afar. I couldn’t do any of the things Claire, or Stacy, had encouraged, because he didn’t give me the opportunity.
The night ended before I expected when all of a sudden Ben stood on a chair and announced to the new pledges their task. They were to comb the campus for pink lace panties. If I could have run home and changed my underwear, I would have, even though the thought was so unlike me.
Once everyone took off, the house was practically empty. Claire had disappeared with one of the guys and so had the other girls I had seen earlier at her table. I had only consumed a few beers, but since I really never drank I was feeling a little tipsy and quite bold. I stared across the room at Ben. He looked insanely gorgeous with one foot propped against the paneling, lazily leaning against the wall while talking on his phone. He flipped it shut and slid it in his pocket and then stared into his red Solo cup. It was then that I made my move because I knew it was now or never. My legs were trembling, so I approached him slowly. I stood in front of him and took his cup again. He glanced up and I swear his eyes were bluer than any ocean I’d ever seen.
“I’m good,” he said. His languid eyes stared into the depths of mine.
The trembling made its way up my body and my fingers started shaking. But when I looked up at him and his hand covered mine, I felt it all over again—the electricity that passed between us. I batted my eyelashes even though I felt ridiculous. “Are you sure?”
He chuckled. “Yeah, I’m sure.”
My cheeks flamed because I was pretty sure he was laughing at my attempt to be a dream girl and I decided to drop that act before it even started. He could obviously see through it.
“Did you have fun tonight?”
“What’s not fun about naive college freshmen?” He laughed. “What about you?” he asked, low and slow, with a huskiness to his voice that made my ni**les harden.
“I’ve had more fun,” I answered, reaching inside myself to find a flirtiness that I never knew I had.
He raised an eyebrow. “Oh yeah? Do tell.”
He caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting him to ask me that. I sucked in a breath and reeled for what to say. My eyes darted around the room and landed on a poster on the wall that read LA CÔTE D’AZUR and I made something up quickly about the place that I knew would turn any guy on. Of course, it was something I had never actually done.
I summoned all my courage and said, “I spent my freshman year in France, and the French Riviera had so many nude beaches that were always fun.” I made sure to say it in a sultry seductive tone. And technically what I told him wasn’t a lie. I was sure they were fun.
His eyes may have been unfocused, but he straightened his stance and stared at me.
I moved even closer, trying to remember how to breathe.
His mouth quirked and he asked, “When you went to the beach did you do the American thing and wear your bathing suit?”
Something came over me and I became someone else entirely. I wasn’t someone made up, but rather someone that knew what she wanted, and suddenly any apprehension or nervousness I had slipped away. I leaned in and whispered, “No, I didn’t even bring one to France.” My voice sounded saucy.
His eyes widened and I couldn’t believe what I had just said. But I wanted him. I wanted him as I’d never wanted anyone else before. I felt different with him and I liked who I was. I was pretty sure he liked it too because when I glanced down at his jeans, there was no mistaking he was turned on. Needing to keep his attention, I bit my lip and averted my gaze, trying to summon the confidence to seduce him. I took a deep breath.
“Everyone was completely nude. There were a lot of beady-eyed older men conspicuously peering over the top of their newspaper.”
“And you?” he asked.
“I stripped it all off,” I answered confidently.
He swallowed. “You weren’t alone, I hope.”
Shoot, who was I with? “No. My friend brought me. She was obsessed with staring at naked men.” What?