Unbroken virgin and bad.., p.3

Unbroken: Virgin and Bad Boy Second Chance Romance, page 3

 

Unbroken: Virgin and Bad Boy Second Chance Romance
 


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  It’s almost enough to make me wish I’d gone straight back to fucking Pittsburgh.

  Geni

  Up until sixth grade, I had no interest whatsoever in boys. Abby used to be the one chasing after them, trying to steal kisses from them on the playground, but I was too focused on actual playing. Well, not actually playing. More like winning. Didn’t matter what it was—dodgeball, foursquare, freeze tag—if I was playing it, I wanted to crush the opponent. And I usually did. I ran faster, threw harder, and moved with more grace than everyone in our class.

  Then, my first day of sixth grade, Silas St. Clair showed up.

  He was a year older, in seventh grade. But like me, he was focused totally on the game. The first day, he threw a ball so hard at my nose during dodgeball that he broke it. He said “sorry,” but not in a way that made me think he really meant it, because two seconds later, the game went on, without me. As blood gushed out of my nose and Abby led me to the nurse’s office, all she could do was talk about how hot he was.

  I’d wanted to smack her. Hot? The guy who’d destroyed my nose? I only wanted him to eat ball. My interest in boys had suddenly been ignited, but it wasn’t the romantic kind of interest. It was hard, and vengeful, and focused on one boy, and one boy only. I would make Silas St. Clair pay.

  Abby did everything possible to get him to notice her, fluffing her hair, throwing him doe eyes. Didn’t work. Turned out, he was just as focused on about every other game as he was on dodgeball. He had moves on the playground that made pro athletes jealous . . . and whenever he won, he’d flip and handspring around in his joy, making me want to trip him. No matter what I tried to do to get my revenge, it wasn’t enough.

  It was infuriating. So I decided to focus my talents on winning in other ways: namely, in academics.

  But no matter how many Science Bowls I won, in the back of my mind, I still hated him.

  It wasn’t until my sophomore year in high school where all that changed. But that time in between, where I loved him? Where I really, really thought we would be together forever? Seems like a blip. A massive mistake.

  “I hate him,” I murmur to the opening of my beer bottle as Abby sits next to me, in the lap of Daniel, her boyfriend-of-the-week. Daniel, who just moved to town from Ohio, is probably the best man she’s had in a long time. He’s kind of cute in an unkempt, just-woke-up kind of way, his t-shirt actually covers his burgeoning beer belly, and he doesn’t smell. He’s a plumber, yet I can’t discern a plumber’s crack anywhere, so he’s practically high society around here.

  “Oh, please. You don’t hate Silas,” Abby sing-songs.

  “No, I do,” I insist, slumping over the bar. “Hate may be a strong word, but it fits in this instance. Trust me.”

  “Maybe you think you do,” she muses, feeding Daniel a nacho. “And maybe he is an egotistical asshole now. But he sure is a tasty morsel. The time away from this place has been good for him. He’s only gotten hotter.”

  I scowl. Daniel doesn’t even seem fazed by Abby’s clear willingness to shag my ex-boyfriend. I elbow him. “Don’t you care that your girlfriend wants to do the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers?”

  He shrugs and takes a swig of his beer. “Hell no. If Silas St. Clair ever gave her the time of day, I’d give her a free pass. Hell, I’d probably do him, too.”

  I cringe. Has Silas, the skinny little goofball with the bad haircut, whose ears who stuck out like Dumbo, who used to bee-line for me during our recess games of freeze tag and couldn’t solve for X to save his life, really become such an unattainable god?

  “Come on,” I mutter, spinning on my stool. “He’s not all that.”

  “Tell that to the Victoria’s Secret model he’s been dating.”

  I raise an eyebrow. “Who?”

  “Ella Vanderville,” she says.

  My jaw drops. Ella Vanderville has been on every fashion magazine cover known to woman. She has long, sun-kissed blonde hair, green eyes, and an impossibly skinny waist with massive boobs. She’s every man’s fantasy. She’d even made me question my sexuality.

  And I didn’t think it was possible to feel any worse than I already did. “He’s dating her?” I ask, trying to keep my voice casual. After all, I heard the thing about the three porn stars he’s escorted to the porn awards last year. I’d just chosen to block it from my mind.

  She nods. “Where’ve you been? It’s all over the tabloids.”

  I don’t know where I’ve been, but right now I know where I want to go: straight to the nearest toilet to flush my head down it.

  I roll my skates on the footrest and watch as DJ Smoky puts on a slow song. “Crazy for You” by Madonna. Every Friday night since I was a tween, the Roll-a-Rama has been doing Skate parties with DJ Smoky and the exact same recycled eighties soundtrack. After this, it’ll be “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard. Right now, the lights are low and the strobe is twirling slowly as couples skate hand in hand.

  Nauseating.

  “You wanna skate?” Daniel asks, nipping on her earlobe. They’ve been hanging all over each other like a cheap wardrobe since I got here an hour ago, and it’s getting old.

  She giggles. “Okay!” she says like an enamored twelve-year-old, jumping off the stool and into his arms. Since he’s not from around here, I’m sure he means actual skating, but Abby is unfazed. Though she can skate circles around most people, I’m sure she will pretend like she can’t skate in order to give him the opportunity to feel her up.

  And as usual, I will sit here and drink too much. Just a regular fine Friday night in Bradys Bend.

  I’d done pretty well, forcing thoughts of Silas out of my head for the past four years, assuming that that chapter of my life was closed, and would never open again. This time, though, I find myself dwelling on our meeting this afternoon. He’s changed, and yes, Abby is right, he’s hotter. But once upon a time, he had had Dumbo ears. I hadn’t minded them, though, and they’d all but disappeared under his thick mop of dark hair by the time Union’s varsity football coach hired me to be his Algebra tutor at twenty bucks an hour, sophomore year in high school. He’d been my first kiss, and I his, the end of my sophomore year of high school, right in his kitchen after school, between Oreos. Silas had once been awkward around girls, around me. He’d fumbled with my bra clasp in such an adorably sweet way that I had to take pity on him and help him along. He hadn’t always been “so precise as to be almost inhuman.”

  He’d been something better. He’d been my Silas.

  And this Silas is so very different, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic, a little lost.

  Why did he come back here, when he has so much out there? As much as I’ve tried to ignore the news of this new Silas, the Silas St. Clair that the media loves, I haven’t done a very good job of it, since the TV at work is constantly tuned to news of his success. He has a house in Key West, a chalet with primo views in the mountains of Colorado, and his own yacht that’s probably bigger than this entire town. Of all the places he could’ve escaped to . . . he came back here? Is he fucking insane?

  I watch Abby loop around a curve with Daniel. They’re both grinning foolishly, and no surprise, his hand is cupping her tit through her too-tight sweater. I force a smile and wave at them.

  Then I reach over and pick up a nacho, filled with meat and cheese. I shove it into my mouth, and as the oil starts to drip down my chin, I look over and see Chuckie striding toward me, ahead of a small crowd of people.

  I’ve never known Chuckie, who is now a gas station attendant at the local Sheetz, to have an entourage, so I do a double-take.

  When the first strains of the Def Leppard song shatter the air, I realize the admirers don’t belong to Chuckie. They’re Silas’s; Chuckie is just at the head of the throng, serving as defensive tackle. And the crowd? Mostly women. Scantily-clad, hair piled high on their heads, faces made-up so heavily it’s a mystery what’s underneath. My best friend is an ex-cheerleader, so I know football groupies when I see
them.

  A sharp piece of nacho gets caught in my throat, scraping its way down my esophagus as I watch the horde come closer. I wipe at my mouth with the back of my hand as Chuckie, wearing an open flannel shirt with a thermal one under it, stops in front of me.

  “Hey, gorgeous,” he says to me, grinning in a way he must think is charming but actually makes him look like a used car salesman. “Wanna skate?”

  I scan him from head to toe. He isn’t wearing skates, but that’s the big joke from our high school years. It was code word for going out to the parking lot to hook up, something I think Silas invented, and since Silas was the King of our graduating class, it caught on like wildfire.

  I could reply with my standard, “Dream on,” but when I see Silas standing not two feet away, with two platinum blondes bookending him, I stop myself. His eyes are, unnervingly, fastened right on me. And god, with his hair all mussed and that strong jaw with the dark stubble, he makes that simple gray sweatshirt and jeans look magazine-cover-worthy.

  Stifling the gag in my throat, I smile and say, “If you play your cards right.”

  What I really mean, of course, is Dream on, but I’m sure as hell not going to let Silas know that. Silas whispers something to one of the girls, unaffected by my play, which only makes me hate him more. Then he says to the other, loudly and obnoxiously, “Was at Philly with the orthopedic surgeon, but thought I’d stop in here for a few days on the way back. They think I’ll be back on the field mid-November.”

  I suck in a breath. Idiot. Bradys Bend is not, and never has been, on the way to Philly. It’s not on the way to anywhere, except maybe Hell.

  Chuckie comes up close to my stool and starts to put a protective arm around me, but not wanting him to get too close, I hop off the stool so fast that my feet nearly roll out from under me. Instead, I go flying forward, my wheels spinning under me, and guess who rushes forward to stop me before I fall flat on my face?

  Yep. He breaks free of his groupies and grabs my arm, steadying me, saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa” as I try to straighten and back up. When I do, he’s grinning at me. “If you wanted my hands on you, all you had to do was ask, baby.”

  I scowl at him. Abby was right; I don’t hate him. I abhor him, with double exclamation points.

  He probably wouldn’t even know what that word means.

  He reaches out, wipes the first digit of his finger in an upward motion on my chin, then brings it to his mouth and licks it. “I see you are still a fan of Roll-a-Rama’s shitty nachos.”

  Wiping my mouth, I turn to Chuckie, raising my chin and hoping it’s not still covered in day-glo orange cheese. Though he’s let himself go, Chuckie isn’t ghastly by any stretch of the imagination, and even though he pales in comparison to Silas, he’s all I have right now. I grab his hand. “Let’s skate.”

  Chuckie’s ears perk up and he follows me. I give Silas a defiant look, hoping he’s watching, but he’s so involved with feeding Blonde Bimbo #2 one of my discarded nachos that he isn’t even facing my direction when I reach the lockers and start pulling off my skates. I can’t help wondering if he’ll fuck her in the parking lot later on, or maybe the Bradys Bend brand of excitement is not exciting enough for him anymore. I mean, why do one girl when you can do three porn stars at once?

  Chuckie bends next to me, helping me to return the rented skates and find my boots, obviously hungry for love. Meanwhile, the pit in my stomach grows even more bottomless.

  By the time I finish lacing up my military boots, I feel more miserable than ever.

  When we step out into the chilly autumn air, Chuckie starts to point the way to his truck. “Look,” I say to him. “I can’t.”

  He stops. “I know.”

  “You . . . what?”

  “You’re Silas’s girl,” he says, digging his hands into the pockets of his jeans. So he had remembered. “Using me to make him jealous. Got it.”

  I gulp, feeling like a jerk. “I’m sorry. How did you . . .”

  “Girl, I’m not dumb. You were practically drooling over him.”

  I wince.

  “As is every woman who comes within a twenty-foot radius of him.” He looks up at the full moon overhead. “It can’t be easy. But Geni, look what he has. He’s moved on.”

  I knew that. I’ve known that every time I watched him on television, driving the ball down the field. When he left town, every time I would see him, I’d wonder what part of his mind was still occupied with thoughts of me. Each day that passed, I imagined that part of his brain growing smaller and smaller, as he had so many new and exciting experiences to crowd me out. When I saw him this afternoon, for the first time in ages, it was like we were virtual strangers. Like the Geni-occupied part of his mind had long-since disappeared.

  It’s chillier now, and a thick, damp fog is settling around me, making me shiver. I dig my hands deeper into the pockets of my jacket and sigh. The problem is, I haven’t moved on. I’ve tried. But it doesn’t matter how much of an asshole he is, how many porn stars he does, or how much he insults me. I know I will love him until the day I die.

  “Though I could drive you home, at least,” Chuckie says.

  I smile and point at my Bug. “Thanks. I’m good though.”

  He comes up close to me and squints, sniffing for alcohol on my breath. “You okay to be driving?”

  I nod, though my head is swimming. Probably not. I’ve had four beers. But I can’t stay here and pine for Silas. I did a bad job of it when he was a hundred miles away, and I sure as hell can’t do it now.

  “All right, Wilson,” he says to me, giving me a brotherly punch on the shoulder. “See you around.”

  He pulls open the door to the Roll-A-Rama and disappears inside, leaving me alone in the parking lot. I wander toward the side of the building, not really wanting to go home. Not really wanting to stay here, either. I’d always felt like this town was too small, and now I feel it more than ever. I suck in air, feeling like I’m suffocating.

  “Genevieve?” a voice says behind me.

  Silas. I know his voice, saying my name, like I know my own heartbeat.

  I whirl around to him, and he’s standing at the edge of the parking lot, underneath the spotlight, hands in his jean pockets.

  He limps up to me, and I can’t help feeling like the old Silas has left the building. Because the old Silas was a force. He used to do backflips and round-offs all over the field, right along with the cheerleaders. Better than the cheerleaders. Me? I couldn’t even manage a cartwheel. When he gets close to me, he holds out his hand. “Give ‘em.”

  I scowl at him. “What?”

  “The keys. You ain’t driving, drunk girl.”

  If I didn’t know Silas as well as I do, I’d think he cared about me, but really, he’s just hyper-sensitive to drunkenness, since his mother died in a drunk-driving accident across town the year before we got together. I cross my arms. “If you want my keys, you’re going to have to pry them out of my jeans pocket when I’m cold and dead.”

  I know Silas loves the challenge, because I see the gleam in his eye a second before he lunges for me. I whirl around to run but he gets me in a bear hug. I can feel the muscles of his pectorals and arms working, rising in all the right places, even under the fabric of his thick sweatshirt. Yes, he’d always had a rather drool-worthy physique, but holy hell, when did he turn into such a wall of muscle?

  Doubling over, I try to pull away and shriek in a combination of ticklish laughter and anger as his warm hands skirt over the exposed skin over my ribs. I feel his fingers trying to squeeze into the tight pocket of my jeans, right over my hip bone, then rear up, kicking him with the heel of my boot, in the shin of his good leg.

  “Fuck!” he growls, letting go.

  I spin in time to see him fall to his knees, and at the same time, I remember that he has a bad ankle, and I’ve just left him without a leg to stand on. I cover my mouth with my hand, but not before a gasp escapes.

  “Oh, my god, I’m sorry,
I say, bending close to him. “Silas, I’m sorry.”

  “Still like to fight, huh, girl?” I loop an arm under his warm sweatshirt, and damned if he doesn’t smell just like I remember, a uniquely Silas aroma that is everything good about my teen years—sweat, soap, and a woodsy aftershave. Getting a hold of him, I try to help him to his feet.

  Just then, I feel something being pulled from the front pocket of my jeans. With the relative ease with which he does everything, he lifts the keys in front of me and grins. “Still gullible, too, I see.”

  My jaw drops. Scowling deeper, I lunge for them, but even with a bum leg, he’s too quick. He easily pulls them away, then holds them in the air. Since he has a good eight inches on me, it’s well out of arm’s reach.

  “I’m driving you,” he says to me, walking toward my Bug. It isn’t a question, and Silas doesn’t change his mind. If I want the keys back, I’ll have to do what he says.

  I follow after him, feeling like a recalcitrant child. He opens the passenger side door, letting me in.

  Of course, memories flood into my head. Silas and me, making out, in this very car, in this very parking lot. Skating.

  When he slides into the driver’s seat, he grins at me. “Bring back memories?”

  I cross my arms over my chest, hoping my mind isn’t that much like an open book. “No clue what you’re talking about.”

  Starting the VW, he inspects my closed-off posture and nods. “That’s familiar.”

  “What is that supposed to mean?”

  He starts to pull out of the lot. “It means that you were not the most . . .” he pauses, searching for the correct word. “Physical of girls. That changed?”

  Now, I’m practically fuming. So the only thing that he remembers about me was that I wanted to wait to have sex. Truth be told, we were very physical, or at least, as physical as I wanted to get at seventeen years old. We’d rounded at least two of the bases together, but I’m sure with all the porn star experience he’s had to cloud his memory, it must all be a big blur. “Not with you. Just drive.”

 
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