Home > Four Years Later (One Week Girlfriend #4)(13)

Four Years Later (One Week Girlfriend #4)(13)
Author: Monica Murphy

“Why?”

I lean back. “What?”

“Why do you need to get back on the team?”

Because I want to get in my sister’s good graces again. I don’t want Fable mad at me anymore. And maybe if I’m too busy, Mom will eventually give up and stop hassling me. That last one is pure bullshit. In my dreams Mom will stop coming by and begging for money. “They need me.”

She studies me closely and I’m tempted to look away, but I hold my ground. I have the distinct feeling she doesn’t believe me, but what do I care? “Then write about that.”

“What?” I ask again like I’m stuck on repeat.

“Write about how much your team needs you. There’s your first piece for your portfolio.” Chelsea smiles, looking awfully pleased with herself. “And you’re welcome.”

Chelsea

He is waaay too good-looking. Sitting this close, asking me super-uncomfortable questions like whether I have a boyfriend. I mean, talk about awkward. Why does he care? And because he asked, I had to ask back, under the pretense that I want to know how busy he is.

Please. I’m dying of curiosity to know if he has a steady girl, because he’s definitely good-looking enough to have one. He’s a total catch, though maybe not so much on the intelligence part.

Well. That’s a lie. I’ve looked at his academic file. I probably know it by heart. He’s smart; he’s just not applying himself. Something’s distracting him and I don’t know if it’s football or whatever, but he’s barely bothering going to class.

Right now, he’s tapping away at the keyboard of the laptop he pulled out of his backpack a few minutes ago. That was sort of fun, suggesting the story idea. Here he was, trying to wheel and deal with me, convince me to meet with him more often, when really the guy just needed to focus and actually work.

“You should go to class, too, you know,” I suggest out of the blue, causing him to peer at me from above his laptop. “That all counts toward your grade. The more absences you have, the worse your grade becomes.”

“It’s gonna take more than me showing up in class to improve my grades enough to get back on the team quick, and you know it,” he says, annoyance tingeing his voice. “I’ll consider your advice, though.”

“Good.” I nod, feeling stupid. And I never feel stupid with anyone. I’m the smart one. I’ve been told more often than not that I’m the one that makes others feel dumb. Uncomfortable. Or they flat-out don’t like me, think I’m some sort of freak of nature with the too-big brain and the thieving father.

Blowing out a harsh breath, I push all thoughts of my dad from my head and slap Owen’s file shut, grabbing a textbook out of my backpack and setting it on the table with a loud thump.

Owen doesn’t even glance up from his laptop screen, his fingers tapping rhythmically on the keyboard, and I’m glad to see him getting into it. This is what he needed. A push, the realization that hey, he’d better get to work before he fails and ruins everything.

He can handle it, though. I know he can.

I flip open the textbook and start reading, feeling bad that I’m giving him no real direction, but what else am I supposed to do? He’s the one who needs to do the work. There’s nothing else I can do but wait him out while he writes. So I may as well work on my own assignments to pass the time.

It’s either that or stare at him unabashedly while he works.

Stealing a glance at him, I drink him in, my breath stalling in my throat at the sight before me. His brows are furrowed in concentration, his mouth scrunched, those pretty green eyes narrowed as he stares at his laptop screen. His fingers keep up an impressive pace and he looks up, catches me staring at him.

His fingers pause and I hurriedly look down, staring unseeingly at the words in front of me while deep inside, my heart is racing a bazillion miles a minute.

He doesn’t resume typing for a while and I slowly start to realize it’s because he’s still staring at me. I can feel the weight of his gaze pressing on me, burning my skin, making me want to squirm in my chair. I refuse to look back up, resting my elbow on the table so I can prop my cheek on my fist, hiding my face from his eyes.

“Must be real interesting,” he drawls. “What you’re reading.”

There’s no hiding for me. He can see right through my act.

“Fascinating,” I murmur, not even sure what the heck I’m reading, since the words are all blurry thanks to my gone-hazy vision. All I can think about is him. Owen. Watching me and teasing me, the scent of his cologne and soap and shampoo and whatever else he uses tickling my senses. That spicy, autumnal scent that’s driving me crazier the deeper I breathe him in.

“What’s it about?”

I still refuse to look at him. “Shouldn’t you worry about your own work?”

“Sorry.” Now he sounds irritated. Great. “Just trying to make conversation.”

“Don’t you want to get a move on this stuff so you can get back to playing for your team?” I finally drop my hand and look at him. Really look at him, and I can tell my words affect him.

He doesn’t need to antagonize me when he should be using his time much more wisely.

“You’re right.” Heaving a big sigh, he starts typing again, his fingers going clackety-clack upon the keys. “Keep me on track, Chelsea. I think I’m going to need it for the next few weeks, months, whatever. Need you.”

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