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She skipped around the table. “Done!”
I felt nervous and excited at the same time.
She grabbed her materials up off the flat surface. “Let’s go.”
I patted my hair. “Now?”
“Yes. Inspiration period is about to begin.”
I slanted her a questioning look.
“Hell week,” she mumbled.
“Oh, but I’m not sure I . . .”
She put her hand up and ignored my concerns as she filled her purse with the brochures and swung it over her shoulder. “But first you need to change your outfit. Come with me; you look close to my size.”
She took me to her dorm room, gave me a change of clothes, and we were off. It was dark and streetlights lit our way. The shoes she had me change into weren’t exactly made for walking long distances. I wore heels all the time, but those must have been five or six inches high. My hair blew in my eyes and I pushed it behind my ears. Claire had tried to tame it, but it was still a frizzy mess.
“What am I supposed to do tonight?” I asked, trying to keep up with her pace.
She rolled some lipstick on her lips and smacked them. “Be bitchy and nice, ugly and pretty, stupid and smart, innocent and slutty, blond or brunette.”
I looked at her in confusion.
She laughed. “It’s easy. You just tend to one of the fraternity brothers’ needs.” With a silver tube in one hand she air-quoted the word needs.
I wasn’t quite sure what she meant, but I suddenly felt like a call girl in her short skirt and tight top and I started to think twice about going. My stomach lurched. I wasn’t really a partyer. I’d lived with my aunt in Paris and didn’t often participate in the college extracurricular activities. I always had tons of guys who were friends and I called them boyfriends, but I don’t think I ever had one in the true sense of the meaning. Girlfriends, on the other hand, those were harder to make and I wondered if I was a bit too quirky for most girls’ liking. But since Claire had brought me under her wing, I didn’t want to blow my opportunity.
“Ne . . . needs?” I stuttered.
She peered at herself in a compact mirror. “You be whatever he wants you to be. You know, make sure his cup is full, flirt with him, tell him what he wants to hear. Make yourself his dream girl for the night. But never, ever let him know it’s your job. It should seem natural and real—like you really like him.”
I stumbled on a crack in the sidewalk.
She looked over at me. “You can do that, can’t you?”
“Of course.” I swallowed, thinking maybe my silver tongue had gotten me in over my head this time, but then I thought no, I had read many books where girls molded themselves to be what the guy wanted and ended up liking who she became. With that thought I knew I could be the kind of girl she was talking about—strong and confident in her sexual prowess. I could be just like one of the heroines of my romance novels.
“Great! Just relax. Enjoy the free booze and man candy. I promise it’ll be fun.”
I bit my lip, hoping my brother Xander wouldn’t be there. He’d kill me not only for not telling him where I was going or for what I was wearing, but more so for what I was going to be doing.
She pushed her boobs up. “Oh, and if he wants a blow job, make sure you give him one.”
My eyes widened and my mouth fell open.
“Only kidding. But you should have seen what I had to do!”
“What?” I asked, once again stifling the urge to turn back around.
“I was forced to dance on tables for all the fraternities on campus to absurdly sexual songs.”
Oh God, I thought.
“So, tell me about that brother of yours that’s in the band.”
I couldn’t look at her. I was still trying to process what I had gotten myself into. I finally took a deep breath and said, “His name is River and he’s coming to visit in a few weeks. His band is actually going to play on campus.”
She tossed her hair over her shoulder. “Oh, I love rock stars. You have to introduce me to him.”
“Um . . . sure, I can do that.” But I already knew she wasn’t his type.
“Does he have a girlfriend?”
I laughed. “No, he says he doesn’t do girlfriends.” And I air-quoted my last word as she had earlier.
“He sounds dreamy,” she said.
Again I cursed my silver tongue.
When she opened the door to the frat house, all I could do was stare. People were everywhere. Music played loudly from the speakers in every corner, silver kegs lined one wall, and large plastic bowls overflowed with food on the tables. She led the way and when she stopped abruptly, I ran right into her.
“Sorry,” I hollered over the pulsing music.
She ignored me and moved forward, but I stood glued to the spot I had stopped in. My pulse was racing. My cheeks prickled with heat. There he stood, Ben Covington, just a few feet away—tall, beautiful, messy blond hair, a body that made mine tingle everywhere, and a smile that caused me to melt without even knowing why it formed on his lips.
Claire doubled back. She noticed my stare.
“Can I be assigned to him?” I pointed, my stomach fluttering.
She made a low dismissive noise. Waving her hand, she said, “He has a girlfriend.”
“So you don’t assign guys with girlfriends?” I asked a little too sharply.