Home > Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)(39)

Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)(39)
Author: Tammara Webber

I lay back with my hands covering my face. “Ughhhh!”

“By the way—speaking of booty calls, what’s this I hear about you and Buck? He’s definitely bad boy material,” Maggie mused. “Did you add him to the OBBP stable without telling us?”

I gave Erin a pleading look between my fingers.

“Buck’s full of shit. You know that, Maggie,” she scoffed.

Maggie nodded. “True… Plus, I messed around with him freshman year. He wasn’t very good, from what I recall. Too slobbery.” She shuddered. “What is it with slobbery kissers? Are they trying to drown us in spit? I mean, Jesus, swallow every now and then.”

Her hand squeezing my shoulder, Erin laughed, and while I could hear the contrived ring to it, Maggie didn’t. I knew where Erin’s mind was going. I hadn’t given her many details, and she’d not asked for any. It was difficult enough to speak about that night in generalities. The point was what had happened, and what had almost happened, not the particulars of it.

“So you aren’t hooking up with him?” Maggie pressed. She was only curious, but it rankled to have my name joined with Buck’s in any way.

“Like Erin said—he’s full of shit.” I was curious myself. Morbidly so, perhaps. “Why? Is he saying something about me?”

She shrugged. “Trisha said her little sister’s boyfriend said Buck was hassling Kennedy about it. Those two are like those big goats that butt heads over the girl goats. I think Buck’s still pissed that he was legacy and Kennedy still beat him out for pledge class president.”

That was the complication I couldn’t remember before—the all-important initial conflict between them. The start of their weird brotherly rivalry. I frowned. “But Kennedy was legacy, too.”

Maggie licked Oreo crumbs from her fingers. “Yeah, but Buck was legacy and his daddy was pledge class prez. He thought he had it wrapped up.”

I sat up, becoming furious as Buck’s motivations became clearer. His reasons for hurting me were nothing more than goading my ex. “And that translates into the need for Buck to spread lies that I’m screwing him?” Not to mention the fact that he’d actually assaulted me.

“I didn’t say it made any sense.”

Erin pulled her notes onto her lap. “Okay ladies, which constellations do we think we’ll have to plot on the star chart portion of this test?”

Giving my best friend a grateful look for the change of subject, I shoved thoughts of Buck as far away from my consciousness as I could manage to do.

Chapter 14

After three months away, the house smelled funny. Like dog… combined with the Chanel cologne Mom always wore, plus some other undefinable scent that my mind classified as home. Even still, it was foreign. I didn’t quite belong here anymore, and my body knew it.

I lugged my bass inside, still nestled safely within its wheeled traveling case. With no parents and no Coco, there was little reason to move it any further than the living room. I parked it against the wall, where it stood like another piece of furniture. The lights in the house were timer-set, since Mom and Dad were gone. I decided to let them go on and off at will, with the exception of the kitchen lighting and the lamps in my bedroom, which probably wouldn’t come on at all otherwise.

There was food in the pantry and freezer, but barely anything in the fridge. My parents had cleared out all of the perishable stuff before their trip, not knowing I was coming home tonight, since I never told them. Mom texted me earlier that they were boarding their plane, adding: Have fun with Erin. We’ll see you next month. Having never double-checked my plans, she’d somehow come to the conclusion that I was going home with my roommate.

I heated a box of organic vegetarian lasagna for dinner, and transferred a ground turkey patty from the freezer to the fridge for my Thanksgiving lunch. There was half a package of tater tots in the freezer, too, and I found an unopened bottle of cranberry cocktail in the pantry. I moved it to the fridge. Tah-dah! Thanksgiving for one.

After watching a couple of sitcom reruns, I switched the television off, scooted the walnut coffee table from its perfectly-centered spot on the hand-knotted Tibetan rug, and unpacked my bass. Improvising with a plant stand when I couldn’t find my music stand, I ran through the beginnings of a prélude piece I’d begun composing for my year-end solo.

The last thing I expected to hear while scribbling notes onto staff paper was the doorbell. I’d never been afraid to be at home alone, but then I’d never been so completely alone here before. I debated pretending no one was home, but of course whoever was there had heard me playing, and heard me quit. I lay the bass on its side and crept to the solid door, standing on my toes to look through the peephole. Kennedy stood, smiling straight at me, illuminated by the glow of the dual lights of the veranda. He couldn’t see me, of course, but he’d answered this door many times and knew the view from the inside almost as well as I did.

I unlocked and opened the door, but didn’t move from the doorway. “Kennedy? What are you doing here?”

He glanced behind me and heard the utter quiet of the house. “Are your parents out?”

I sighed. “They aren’t here.”

He frowned. “Aren’t here tonight, or aren’t here over break?”

I’d forgotten how readily Kennedy could zero in on what wasn’t said. That characteristic probably accounted for most of his debate wins. “They aren’t here at all—but why are you here?”

He leaned a shoulder into the door frame. “I texted first but you didn’t answer.” I probably hadn’t heard the text alert. Little could be heard over the sound of my bass, once I began playing. “During dinner, Mom reminded me to make sure I had you over by 1:00 tomorrow—and yes, that means I never told them we broke up. I started to tonight, and then I thought this might be a welcome escape from Evelyn and Trent. Where are they, anyway?”

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