Home > Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)(51)

Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)(51)
Author: Tammara Webber

“Your name is Jay?” Her drawl was very pronounced and her lashes fluttered up and down like a cartoon character, making her seem younger and more vulnerable than eighteen. She was the reverse of Maggie’s sarcastic demeanor and dark pixie looks. “Like a boy’s name, Jay?”

The guys across the table chuckled and Maggie rolled her eyes disgustedly. It was clear why she wanted me to take her partner. “Um, no. J as in Jacqueline.” One of the boys grabbed two folding chairs from against the wall, wedging them on either side of Mindi and Maggie. I took the one next to Mindi and Erin slid into the other.

“Oh.” Mindi frowned and blinked. “So can I just call you Jacqueline?” My name was almost unrecognizable between the accent and the drunken slurring.

Maggie started to mumble under her breath so I said, “Sure, that’s great,” and looked around the table. “So, are we winning?”

The boys on the other side grinned. We definitely weren’t winning.

Chapter 18

By the time our designated driver dropped us back at the dorm, Erin and I had quartered and beer ponged our way to a night of spinning walls at best and toilet-hugging at worst. Neither of us spoke above a whisper until after 3:00 pm Sunday afternoon. There was a scheduled sorority meeting four hours later, and Erin cursed the lineage of whoever put that on the calendar the day after the Brotherhood Bash.

“We won’t get a damned thing decided—and at least half of us will kill the first person to bang that gavel.” We were still conversing at half-volume.

I watched her wind a purple scarf around her neck and pull on matching gloves while waiting for my laptop to boot up. “At least your misery will have company.”

“Yay.” She pulled a purple cap over her wild red hair and shrugged into her coat. “See you in a couple of miserable hours.”

Lucas had already sent Monday’s worksheet. Still no personal note.

I understood why he couldn’t see me, and maybe why whatever we had been doing was over. But I didn’t understand why our emails had to stop, too. I missed them, and wondered what he’d do if I emailed him back. I wanted to tell him about last night and Buck, about saying no and feeling scared to death and tough at the same time.

One week of class remained, followed by a week of finals, and then the semester would be over. I had no idea if it would make any difference to him.

I did the least brain-pounding homework I could do—labeling a constellation chart due tomorrow in astronomy lab—and hung the clean laundry that had been sitting in a basket at the foot of my bed for three days… or four… maybe five. I’d missed my bass practice times all weekend in addition to the ensemble rehearsal, so I would be scrambling to complete additional hours of practice during the week.

By the time Erin returned, I was seriously considering just going to bed and sleeping off the lingering remains of my hangover. Yawning, I turned toward the door, “I was thinking about crashing early—”

Erin wasn’t alone. Under her arm was Mindi, my quarters partner from the previous night. At first, I thought she was just way more hungover than me; then, I noticed Erin’s grim expression, and I took in Mindi’s red-rimmed, bloodshot eyes. She didn’t just feel like shit from too much alcohol. She’d been crying. A lot. I swung my legs off the side of the bed.


“J, we have a problem.” The door shut behind them and Erin tugged Mindi to sit on her bed. “Last night, after you and I left, Mindi danced with Buck.” Mindi flinched and closed her eyes, and tears started streaming down her face.

My heart began to race. I imagined everything Erin could say next, and none of it was good. I hadn’t prayed in a long time, but I found myself begging. Please God let it not have gone further than what happened to me. Please. Please.

“He talked her into going to his room.” At this, Mindi’s hands flew up to cover her face and she crumpled face-first into Erin’s shoulder like a child. “Shh, shh,” Erin crooned, fitting both arms around her. We stared at each other over Mindi’s head, and I knew there’d been no Lucas for her.

“J, we have to tell. We have to tell this time.”

“No one will believe me!” Mindi rasped. She was hoarse, and I imagined her doing what I’d done—begging him to stop. I imagined her crying all night, and half the day, and I was more pissed than I’d ever been, and scared. “I’m not…” Her voice lowered to a whisper. “I wasn’t a virgin.”

“That doesn’t matter,” Erin said firmly.

I gulped at the knot in my throat and it slid down, but not without a fight. “They’ll believe you. He tried to—he tried with me, a month ago.”

Mindi gasped, her blotchy face and wide eyes turning to me. “He raped you, too?”

I shook my head as chills spiked up in a wave from my neck to my ankles. “Someone stopped him. I got lucky.” I had no idea how lucky until this moment. I thought I knew, but I didn’t.

“Oh.” Her voice warbled softly, and she hadn’t quit crying. “Will that count?”

Erin coaxed Mindi to lie down, flapping a blanket over her. “It’ll count.” She sat next to Mindi and held her hand. “Will Lucas corroborate your story, J? I mean, I’m guessing, with what we know about him, that he will.”

Lucas had been irate that I’d not let him call the police that night. It hadn’t occurred to me that by not reporting what had happened, I let Buck think he was untouchable. That he’d do it again. I’d assumed that what Lucas had done to Buck was deterrent enough. Not that it had prevented him from what he did in the stairwell… or his implied threats during the party, right in front of Kennedy.

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