Unbroken: Virgin and Bad Boy Second Chance Romance, page 2
I can tell by the double-take and the shit-eating grin the guy gives me that even though I’ve never seen him before, he knows me.
He elbows his girl and whispers something to her, and her eyes widen.
Now, they’re both staring at me. She mouths something like Are you sure that’s him? He nods, so thrilled with his find that now he’s scanning the rest of the lot for other people to tell.
Shit. Just what I need, a welcoming committee.
I look around. The lot is otherwise empty so there’s no crowd to pull. Ok, no big deal.
I’ve had this happen enough that it doesn’t faze me. I once did an entire phone interview on Sports Radio while fucking a cheerleader in the bed of my truck. It’s all a matter of shifting and channeling the right amount of concentration to each task, something I have been known to kick ass at. They don’t call me the Ice Man for nothing, the kid who stays cool under pressure.
When I come, I keep my face rigid, natural. I thread my hand through her fried brass-colored hair to make sure she stays there to finish the job. But I don’t need to. Ashley or Alicia, or whoever, wraps her lips around my dick, sucking up every last drop.
And . . . The couple continues to stare at me admiringly through the windshield.
I give them a smile and a salute, which I realize is a mistake the second I do it, because the ring is visible now. They start walking toward the open driver’s side window of my truck, the woman digging in her purse for something. Probably a piece of paper and pen for an autograph.
Shit, shit, shit.
I shift in the seat, throwing my jacket closed over A’s crazy, frizzed-out hair as they come closer. I hook my arm out the open window nonchalantly and lean forward, trying to signal for A to move away. Maybe she can just look like she’s searching for a contact lens on the floor or something. She doesn’t get the hint, because she stays there, on my lap, like she wants to build a summer home there.
“How’re you doing?” I say.
The man is speechless, something that odd enough, happens to men all the time around me. The woman opens her mouth to fill in the blanks. I know what she’ll say. “My husband loves you.” “You’re amazing.” Some bullshit like that. I will nod humbly, fork over the autographs, pose for selfies, and all will be right with the world.
But that’s when A lifts her head off of my lap, startling the woman so much that she jumps back against the rusty Pontiac Firebird I’ve parked next to.
I can probably explain this away. I’ve been told I got do-no-wrong dimples. All I need to do is flash them.
“Mmmm,” my passenger says, licking her lips as she lifts her head. “I love the taste of cum.”
All right. Probably not now. A has a dreamy look in her eyes as they settle on the woman, who’s now as flustered and speechless as her man. They both stare at me like mutes.
The only one who has no problem speaking is A. She says, “Oh, hi,” and smiles, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Way to be subtle.
The woman’s surprise melts into a frown of disgust. Grabbing her guy’s arm, she yanks him toward the front of Billy’s.
As they leave, I fasten my ball cap down over my ears and look at the girl I’d picked up. “Wow. Great timing, girl.”
She gives me a confused look, then looks out the window at the neon Billy’s Barbecue sign, complete with a smiling fat pig, wearing a checkered napkin bib. “We stopping for lunch?”
I shake my head. “End of the line for me. You can find a trucker to take you further down the road here, though.”
She wrinkles her nose, looking pissed, but I can’t say I give a shit. Truth is, I’ve been craving Billy’s burgers ever since I’d made the decision to come back home. Billy’s famous burgers, the one and only thing I was looking forward to returning to in this town. And the sooner I drop this girl, the sooner I can haul my ass inside and blow my strict athlete’s diet with a Rolling Rock and a double with a giant stack of onion rings.
“You’re not even going to buy me lunch?” she asks.
I reach into my wallet and pull out two twenties, which I toss into her lap. “Buy your own lunch.”
Her jaw drops. “I’m not a prostitute.”
I shrug. “Fine. Then consider it charity. I don’t give a shit.” Just get out of my truck.
I’m grateful when she reads my mind, grabs her jacket and bag and pushes open the passenger side door in a huff. “You’re a real asshole, Silas St. Clair,” she says, slamming the door as if it’ll hurt me.
A real asshole. I’ve heard that one before. Now, I take it as a compliment.
I zip up my jeans and push open the door to my truck, letting in the bracing Allegheny mountain air. The temperature here, an hour north of the city, is always ten degrees cooler than in Pittsburgh, and most of the leaves have already fallen and are kicking up in the stiff wind. I take a deep breath, remembering how the guys and I would sit in the back of our pick-up trucks in this lot, drinking Rolling Rock. Back then, I ruled this town, and it was only a matter of time before I took on the whole damn country.
Just another few weeks, and I’ll be back there.
Willing myself to stop thinking that, I do my best to hop out of the truck on my good leg, but the massive boot on my left leg catches on the frame of the truck and I have to grab the door to steady myself.
I limp toward the door and pull it open. It’s not a game day, so it’s pretty dead. But other than that, it’s the same old shit. Round tables with red checkered plastic tablecloths. Peanut shells all over the floor. Fried food grease thick in the air, like a curtain. Billy planted on his stool behind the bar, doing a find-a-word, because the lunch rush is over. Nothing in this town ever changes.
Billy looks up at me and grins. “Well, if it isn’t the Golden Boy.”
Billy doesn’t move much, so I must be important, because he lifts the hinged section of the bar, steps out from it, and envelops me in one of his big-ass hugs. He grins at me, then looks down at my boot. My fucking boot.
“Fuck,” he says, regarding it with disgust.
My thoughts exactly.
“The last game was brutal without you. You out for the whole season?” he asks me.
“Hell no,” I tell him, as he returns behind the bar and I navigate to a stool. I think about what the doctors told me and shove it away. “Hell. No. Not if I can help it.”
“Good man,” he says, and maybe I’m mistaken but is there doubt in his voice? He points at my hand. “Let me see that thing.”
I’m used to taking it off to show around. I slip off the ring and hand it to him.
“Wow. Fucking. Wow,” is all he can say. He inspects the intricate carving, the World Championship symbols, the jewels encrusted on it. “Heavy.”
He hands it back to me, and I slip it on again. I never was a jewelry person, but I don’t go anywhere without my Super Bowl ring anymore. He pushes a menu over to me but there’s no need.
“Just a double. Onion rings. And a Rolling Rock.”
Billy grins, clearly impressed. But it ain’t rocket science. Not a weekend went by that the team didn’t hang at Billy’s, back when we were kids. His was the only bar in Bradys Bend that didn’t card.
“I’ve been craving this shit since I left,” I explain, looking up at the giant television. It’s tuned to ESPN but they’re talking ice hockey, not football. Thank fucking god. I don’t think I could take another “expert” discussing my shit situation. “So what’s new?”
Billy smirks. “Since you left? Not much. We got a new dishwasher.”
I grin. Same old, same old. The dishwasher is big news here, something that was probably a full-page feature in the Brady Times, the local rag newspaper. I reach over and grab a handful of peanuts, crack them open, throw the shells on the floor. They’re stale, just as I remember, and exactly the way I like them. “Awesome.”
“Holy shit,” a breathless voice says behind me.
I spin around on
“Hey,” I say to her, as my eyes instinctively trail the way they always used to . . . behind her, to her shadow, her best friend.
Except she doesn’t have one now.
I didn’t expect Genevieve to stay in this town. But I still feel shitty about her not being here. And I can’t say I hadn’t, somewhere in the back of my mind, hoped . . .
But that’s how this town is. Here, Abby was always the headliner, and her best friend used to hide behind a pile of books. Of course, I always knew Genevieve Wilson would get out eventually, and get her due.
Abby sidles up to me with that sexy sway of her hips, placing her tray on the bar. “Have a nice welcome home party out there?”
I raise an eyebrow at her.
She motions to the couple in a booth at the side of the bar. They’d been looking at me, but when I raise my eyes to them they pretend to be really interested in their menus. “Those folks told us all about how Silas St. Clair was in the parking lot, being . . .” she leans in and winks. “serviced.”
I grin at her. Abby Lovejoy was well known in our high school for servicing half the football team. “Just availing myself of the local hospitality, baby,” I say to her, grabbing the green can of beer that Billy places in front of me and downing half of it in one gulp. “You work here, now?”
She shakes her head. “No, I just parade around here in an apron hoping to pick up lost Steelers.” She leans in and whispers, “You gotta be lost, darlin’. I never thought I’d see your ass back here.”
I shrug and point at the boot. “Just back until I can get this fucking thing off.”
“Great. And you came in here for . . .”
She sounds like she’s fishing for something. I don’t get it. I can’t stop in at my old home on the way back to Pittsburgh? And she has no reason to be pissed off at me. Maybe her best friend and I didn’t end on the best of terms, but it’s all water far under the bridge, now. I’ve moved on to bigger and better, and Genevieve did, too. I’ve no doubt that she’s probably successful, wherever she is. We’re both too headstrong to dwell in shit like a bad high school relationship, which is why the second we said goodbye—No, fuck that, we screamed it and threw stuff in each other’s faces—we never tried to get in touch again.
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean? I came here for a burger,” I answer, as Billy pushes the plate across to me. “Is that against the law?”
“Yes,” she says. She looks over her shoulder, toward the door to the kitchen, and when she looks at me, her lip is curled in a snarl. What is up her ass? “Can you finish that and get the hell out in the next five minutes?”
I stare at her. Okay. Now I really have to ask. “Why?”
She rolls her eyes like it’s obvious. “You were always so thick, St. Clair,” she mumbles. Then she leans forward. “She will be back in five minutes. She just went to the bank for Billy.”
I stare at her. I’ve known a hell of a lot of she’s in my life, but right now, she can’t be talking about . . . it’s impossible that she means Genevieve. “What? Who?”
Her eyes narrow to slivers. “You forgot? You’re disgusting,” she spits out, disbelieving. She shakes her head at me. “Genevieve Wilson, only the girl you were practically engaged to, before you became a big deal. And she works here, too.”
She’s got to be wrong. She’s got to mean some other Genevieve Wilson. Because the Genevieve I knew had so much going for her, wanted to be accepted to the Ivy League, dreamed of studying journalism. She had potential. She wouldn’t still live here. Work in a place like Billy’s. There’s no possible way.
I must be staring at her, mouth open, because Abby nudges me. “EAT,” she commands, pushing the plate toward me.
It’s then that it sinks in.
Genevieve’s still here.
My pulse speeds up. I’ve got to see her. Maybe she saw my Super Bowl win. Maybe she’s seen me on television. I’ve got to . . .
I stop, look around me. But not now. Not when . . .
My eyes trail over to the couple sitting in the booth. They’re still sneaking looks at me. All Genevieve needs to do is find out about that, and then . . .
Then I look down at my sorry-ass boot.
Yeah, definitely not now.
I shove a giant onion ring, whole, into my mouth, then start feeding myself with both hands, hardly tasting my first Billy’s Burger in four years. Because yeah, I’ve got to go. “Nice talking to you,” I mumble, mouth full, at Abby, who turns on her heel and leaves without saying goodbye.
Genevieve is still in fucking Bradys Bend.
I clean the plate, finish the beer, and am just dropping a twenty on the bar when the door opens and I feel someone stop behind me.
I turn to her. Genevieve.
She’s different now—much different. She’d been just shy of eighteen the last time I saw her, all lines and angles. Now, she’s filled out, and in a good way. Her bronze hair is longer, now, falling down over her shoulders. She still can’t dress worth a damn—she’s wearing jeans and a ripped, ratty sweatshirt that only shows off those excellent curves because it’s the same one she used to wear when she was in high school. It doesn’t matter—she’s still sexy in that sweet, girl-next-door way. In a way she made me want her from the very first second I saw her on the quad, my first day of seventh grade.
“Yeah, baby,” I say, slipping off the stool and pocketing my wallet. I start to come up close to her, looking for a hug. “It’s me.”
She steps back. Her eyes drift down my body, stopping at the giant ring on my knuckle. Instead of looking impressed, she lets out a disgusted snort and rolls her eyes. “What are you doing here?” she snarls.
Now, that Genevieve is very familiar. I stop. I frown at her. “Nice greeting. I live here.”
“You used to live here,” she corrects, letting out a huff of air. “Do you even remember who I am?”
“What?” It’s just like her. She used to have this long-running insult with me, about being hit in the head too much on the field and losing all my brain matter because of it. Genevieve, on the other hand, was straight A’s, National Honor Society, Valedictorian and all that shit. “What are you doing here, Genevieve?”
She sucks her lips in. “I work here,” she says, walking around me and throwing a bank bag on the bar.
“Here’s the change you wanted, Billy,” she says to him, then turns to me, her eyes burning fire. “And don’t call me Genevieve. No one calls me that. It’s Geni.”
No one had called her that, except me. A thousand years ago, she used to let me, and she’d loved it. She’d told me that. But I guess some things in this shit town have changed, after all.
Billy takes off his apron and heads to the other side of the bar, making himself scarce. “Don’t break anything, okay, guys?” he mumbles under his breath, a warning look in his eye. He’s seen enough of our relationship to know when the winds are blowing toward an all-out storm. Cutlery, beer bottles, dishes—it’s all fair game if it’s near her. No one, I mean no one, fights like this girl in front of me. She’s just as deadly with words as with her fists. My jaw aches in memory of the last right hook she threw at me.
“I thought you were . . .” I start, not sure what I thought. I just never pegged her to stay here. She hated Bradys Bend, couldn’t wait to get out. And she had the acceptance letters to do it. “I didn’t think you’d be here, is all.”
“Well, I’m here,” she snarls at me. “And that means you shouldn’t be.”
“Does it?” I ask dumbly. It sure as hell sounds like she hates me. And sure, we fou
She puts her hands on her hips and stomps her foot, glaring at me like a bull fixing to charge. “Exactly. Go away, Silas.”
I hold up my hands. “All right. I was just leaving,” I say, then grin at her, because I suddenly remember how to get her goat. She’d always hated it when she was trying to pick a fight, and I played dumb. “So does that mean no sugar?”
I point at the side of my chin, begging for a kiss.
Her eyes narrow. “I heard you got enough sugar in the parking lot,” she says.
Damn, how does news travel so fast? Oh, right. This is Bradys Bend. We might not have the latest technology, but that doesn’t stop news from zooming from one person to another at the speed of light. I look at Genevieve, fucking gorgeous Genevieve, with her wavy cinnamon hair and her big blue eyes. Her normally snow-pale cheeks are red from seething at me. I always thought that if I ever met up with her again, things would go differently. I thought that now that I was a kind of big thing in the world of sports, she’d smile at me, at the very least.
This was not what I planned. But then again, nothing with Genevieve ever went to plan. She could drive me batshit, using all of those massive ten-cent words, baffling the shit out of me. I’d have no idea what she was saying, but she’d look so sexy doing it. That familiar old feeling starts to bubble up inside me, the one I only used to get around her. Anger . . . and insane desire.
Yeah, I need to go. I know the crazed look in her eyes. Hell hath no fury like Genevieve Wilson.
I pull my hood up over my ears and nod at Billy then limp toward the door. “See you around, Genevieve,” I say, dripping the word slowly from my tongue, like honey. “It’s been a real trip.”
More like a fucking crash and burn. Welcome home, Silas. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass.
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