Whoever said that only boys were visual creatures wasn’t looking in the right place, because there was all kinds of eye candy going on in front of us.
Brock was the one closest to the grill, wearing black swimming trunks. His close-cropped dark hair gave him away, as did the way he tipped his head back and let out a loud laugh. He was always friendly and fun to be around . . . when he wanted to be.
During my freshman year I might have harbored a split-second crush on him, but he’d been dating Monica Graham—one of the high-heeled and now wet girls by the pool—on and off. He’d never been available to really hardcore crush on, but according to his Facebook relationship status updated two weeks ago, he was now single. And when Brock was single, he liked to play. Everyone at school knew that.
Beside him was Mason Broome—a soccer player slash stoner. His blond hair was loose and reached his shoulders. Currently, he was thrusting his hips . . . at the air. Interesting. Linds had hooked up with Mason over the summer. It didn’t go anywhere, but I think she still had the hots for him based on the way she was eyeing that hip motion.
Across from them, staring into the pool like he wanted to be anywhere than where he was at that moment, was the one and only Jensen Carver.
I was totally woman enough to admit that he was at a level of hotness that was code panty-dropping. Bad attitude and our past history together aside, he was the best-looking guy I’d ever seen in real life.
Jensen had light brown hair that would almost look dirty blond if he was out in the sun. It was wavy and had a habit of falling onto his forehead. When he was younger, it had been long enough to constantly be in his eyes. He had broad, high cheekbones, and a strong, cut jaw, and lips that were . . . well, the kind of full lips on a guy that sort of made the knees weak when the idea of kissing him popped into your head. The slight hook in his nose, an injury from a football game years before, when he had played in a different state, somehow added to his looks. His eyes were a light blue, sometimes gray. Not that I paid that much attention to his eyes. And his body?
Boy worked out. Hard, too.
Out of all the guys standing there, he was probably the leanest and the tallest. While Brock and the rest were broad with linebacker shoulders, he was a good foot taller than the rest of them and had the kind of abs I wanted to poke to see if they were real.
“I wonder if that chick knows I can see her pink bra through her shirt?” Linds said. “Nice.”
I had no idea who she was talking about, but I was grateful for the distraction. I didn’t need to be staring at Jensen. Linds shouted something and the boys turned. One of them raised a cellphone.
“Hey!” I lifted the bottles and popped out my hip, cheesing it up for the camera right along with Linds. The flash went off like a mini sun explosion. “How stupid did I look?”
Brock cocked his head to the side, assessing me. That look . . . well, the center of my cheeks heated. “You look hot. As always.”
So was not expecting that response.
My cheeks continued to burn as I lowered the bottles so I wasn’t standing there like a drunk Muppet Baby. I glanced at Linds, and her eyes were darting back and forth between Brock and me. “Um, thanks,” I said.
He grinned. “No problem. You drinking for two tonight?”
Instead of saying no and explaining that I wasn’t quite sure how I ended up holding two beers, I shrugged. “Sure. Why not?
“Cool.” Brock glanced over his shoulder at something Charlie Lopez said. Charlie was a big guy with a big smile. I had no idea what he’d just said, but Brock nodded.
“You girls having fun?” Mason asked, returning Linds’ earlier look, except he made it seem like she wasn’t wearing any clothes.
She nodded. “Yeah, we’re ready for this party to get interesting.”
I gave her a look that said we are? But the boys opened up into a half circle, and somehow I managed to get rid of the warm beer bottle and had enough sense to pass on the Jello shooters. I was a lightweight, and since I’d driven myself to the party, I didn’t want to end up being some tragic statistic they constantly talked about in health class. The conversation flowed back and forth, with the exception of Jensen. He was now staring into the field I’d just come from, his angular jaw tense.
“You’re not going to WVU, are you?” Brock asked, angling his large body toward mine, surprising me. How in the world had he known? He grinned, and I realized I’d asked the question out loud. Niiice. “Linds must’ve told Mason. He was telling me a few weeks back.”
Made sense, I guessed. “Yeah, I want to get out of the state and see some different faces, you know?”
“True. I get that. If it wasn’t for football, I’d be doing the same thing.” He flashed a smile which was full of perfect white teeth. He moved closer, his arm brushing mine every time he raised the bottle to his lips. “We’re going to miss you. I know I will.”
My lips curved up at the corners at the unexpected statement, though I doubted the sincerity behind it. “Thanks.” I frowned, wondering what the hell I was thanking him for. His smile spread. “I mean, I’m going to miss everyone—you, too—when school ends.”
“But we have this whole year ahead of us. We’ve got to make it memorable.” He caught a strand of my black hair and tucked it behind my ear, and I swore the conversation around us grinded to a halt for a moment or two. “Right?”
I found myself nodding as my gaze slid away from Brock’s and collided with Jensen’s. He was staring at me. It was too dark for me to pick out his current eye color, and now I was staring at him. For the life of me, I couldn’t look away. A muscle thrummed steadily along his jaw as he raised a bottle to his lips, eyeing me over the rim as he took a drink.
And yep, I was still staring at him.
I looked away quickly, blinking rapidly. Monica was now standing at the fringe of our little group. She was gorgeous, just like Shawna and Wendy, her closest friends since the days of the sandbox.
Jensen and Wendy had dated for a whole two weeks last year, after he moved back to town. The perky, tiny blonde had been all over him during that short period of time, turning the cafeteria and hallways into a soft porn film set. And now she was beside him, leaning in so close that her boobs were practically mating with his chest.
It was a lovely chest to mate with.
Monica smiled at me as she tossed her super-shiny mane of black hair over her shoulder, and I wiggled my fingers around the bottle in return, thinking she should be in a Pantene commercial.
Linds’ sudden wild giggle whipped my head around. Mason’s face was buried in her neck, and he was either whispering something or licking her. Everyone was breaking off into couples, and somehow I was standing with Brock.
What in the world was happening here?
He drifted closer, his shoulder pressing into mine. “You wanna talk for a few? Someplace away from these idiots?”
My mouth felt dry. Momma didn’t raise no fool. Talk was code for anything other than talking. As handsome as I found Brock, I was so not going to turn into his friend with benefits until he decided he could no longer live without Monica and got back together with her, turning me into public enemy number one.
I started to step away just as Jensen turned, tossing his bottle into a nearby trashcan. My gaze tripped across his face and my heart skipped a beat. His complexion looked darker, as if he’d been blushing, and his lips were tightened into a thin line.
“I’m out,” he announced, digging a set of keys out of the pocket of his swim trunks.
“What?” shouted Charlie, moving to follow Jensen, dragging Shawna behind him. “You are so not out!”
Jensen kept walking.
“Leave him be!” yelled Brock as he snaked an arm around my waist. “Something’s done crawled up his ass. Let him go spend some alone time with it.”
As Jensen strode down the side of the pool, he tossed his arm up, flipping us off. Brock threw his head back, letting out a loud laugh. With Charlie chasing after Jensen and Linds one step closer to making babies with Mason, I was left alone with Brock.
Whose hand had slipped down the curve of my back and then lower. He squeezed, and I squeaked.