Never Never: Part Three
Page 25

 Colleen Hoover

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“Charlie, you were a good sport today,” Silas says, tossing me a t-shirt. I’m sitting cross-legged on his floor. I catch it and shake it out to see what’s on the front. It’s a camp t-shirt. He doesn’t offer pants.
“Is that your way of flirting with me?” I ask. “Bringing sport into your compliments?”
Silas makes a face. “Look around this room. Do you see anything sports related?”
It’s true. He seems to be more into photography than anything else. “’You’re on the football team,” I say.
“Yeah, well, I don’t want to be.”
“Charlie says quit the football team,” I tell him.
“Maybe I will,” he says. With that, he swings open his bedroom door. I can hear him rushing down the stairs two at a time. I wait a moment to see what he’s up to, and then shortly thereafter, he’s running back up the stairs. His door swings back open and he smiles. “I just told my father I quit the football team,” he says proudly.
“What did he say?”
He shrugs. “I don’t know. I must be scared of him, because I ran back upstairs as soon as I told him.” He winks at me. “And what are you quitting, Charlize?”
“My dad.” My answer comes easy. “Charlie needs to walk away from things that stunt her emotional growth.”
Silas stops what he’s doing to look at me. It’s a weird look. One I’m not familiar with.
“What?” I suddenly feel defensive.
He shakes his head. “Nothing. It was a good thought, that’s all.”
I hug my knees and stare at the carpet. Why was it that when he complimented me my entire body went into overdrive? Surely his opinions couldn’t matter that much to Charlie. To me. Surely I would remember if they did. Whose opinions were really supposed to matter in life, anyway? Your parents? Mine were screwed up. Your boyfriend’s? If you weren’t dating a saint like Silas Nash, that could go very wrong. I think about what I would tell Janette if she were asking this question.
“Trust your gut,” I say out loud.
“What are you talking about?” Silas asks. He’s digging around in a box he found in his closet, but he leans back on his haunches to look at me.
“Trust your gut. Not your heart, because it’s a people pleaser, and not your brain, because it relies too heavily on logic.”
He nods slowly, never taking his eyes off of me. “Charlize, it’s really sexy when you get deep and say stuff like that. So unless you want to play another round of Silas Says, you might want to lay off the deep thinking.”
I put down the t-shirt and stare at him. I think about today. I think about our kiss and how I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t hoping he would kiss me like that again tonight. This time in private, without a dozen eyes on us. I reach down and tug at a piece of the carpet. I can feel my face grow warm.
“What if I do want to play another round of Silas says?” I ask.
“Charlie…” he starts, almost as if my name is a warning.
“What would Silas say?”
He stands up and so do I. I watch him run a hand across the back of his neck, my heart pounding like it’s trying to break free and run out of the room before Silas can get to it.
“Are you sure you want to play?” he asks, raking over me with his eyes.
I nod. Because why not? According to our letters, it won’t be the first time we’ve done this. And chances are, we probably won’t even remember it tomorrow. “I’m positive,” I say, attempting to come off way more confident than I feel right now. “It’s my favorite thing to do.”
He suddenly looks firm, more planted in his own skin. It’s thrilling to watch.
“Silas says…take off your shirt.”
I raise my eyebrows, but do as I’m told, lifting the hem of my shirt over my head. I hear his intake of breath, but I can’t seem to meet his eyes. The strap of my bra slips down my shoulder.
“Silas says…lower the other bra strap.”
My hand shakes a little as I do. He takes a slow step toward me, staring down to where my arm is still crossed over my chest. His eyes flicker up to mine. His mouth turns up at the corner. He thinks I’m about to quit playing this game. I can tell.
“Silas says…open the clasp.”
It’s a front clasp. I keep my eyes locked with his as I unlatch it. His Adam’s apple bobs as I shrug off my bra and hold it on the tip of my finger. The cold air and his eyes make me want to turn away. His gaze follows my bra as it falls to the floor. When he makes eye contact with me again, he’s smiling. But he’s not. I don’t know he does that—looks so happy and so serious at the same time.