“My only ‘type’ has been Kennedy for the past three years! Who knows what my type is?”
“Don’t get huffy. You know what I mean—you don’t even crush on dumb guys.”
“Well, who does?” I rebelled against the idea that Lucas was dumb. Maybe he was unmotivated in economics, but nothing about him seemed unintelligent.
“Hello!?” Maggie called. “Do you even know Will?” We all dissolved into fits of giggles. Maggie’s boyfriend was a sweet guy, and he could probably bench press a small Honda, but he wouldn’t be winning any acclaim for his GPA.
“Chaz is brainier than me—but that’s not saying much,” Erin said.
I’ve tried repeatedly to get her to quit knocking her B-average intellect, but at some point in her life, she became convinced that she’s not smart. I poked her in the arm, as I have every time she’s spouted that self-deprecating nonsense.
“Ow! I’m just being honest!”
“No, you’re not.”
“Anyway,” Erin continued, “I’ve been known to slum it and shop in the gag-him-and-bag-him aisles, believe it or not.” Maggie hooted a laugh behind us as Erin continued. “Have y’all seen the guy who took me to senior prom?” We’d all seen her photos of that guy—the Adonis in a tux, his arm around her silk-clad waist. “What a body—holy cow, I just wanted to lick his abs. He was in remedial classes, but let me tell you, he was gifted and talented at plenty of non-academic occupations.”
I was pretty sure my face was on fire—as it was whenever my roommate elaborated so explicitly, and Maggie was laughing so hard she was having trouble breathing. They’d both come to college single and sexually experienced. Kennedy and I had been sleeping together since winter break of senior year, but I’d never been with anyone else. I’d had no complaints about our sex life, though the occasional magazine article or something Erin said made me wonder if there was more to it than I knew.
“And all of this proves—?”
Erin grinned at me. “It proves you’re ready for a long-overdue Bad Boy Phase.”
“Ooohhh,” Maggie sighed.
“Um. I don’t think—”
“Exactly. Don’t think. You’re gonna seduce this Lucas guy and rebound the hell out of him. That’s the thing about bad boys—they don’t have any qualms about being the rebound guy because they don’t hang around for long anyway. He probably lives for being the rebound guy—especially in a situation like this, where he’ll get to teach you all sorts of naughty stuff.”
Maggie endorsed Erin’s crazy idea with one heavily sighed word. “Lucky.”
I thought of Lucas’s hands at my waist, his mouth grazing my ear, and I shivered. I recalled his penetrating gaze Wednesday during class, and the breath in my lungs went shallow. Maybe I was experiencing alcohol perspective, and everything would look different tomorrow—but at the moment, Erin’s crazy idea was starting to sound almost not crazy.
I was a ball of nerves as I approached the classroom Monday morning, unsure if I should initiate the man-snaring strategy I’d agreed to test on my unsuspecting classmate, or abandon it fully while I still could. He walked into the room ahead of me, and I watched his eyes flick over my recently assigned seat, and the vacant one next to Kennedy, who was already seated, thank God. I had about thirty seconds to reconsider the whole thing.
Erin and Maggie hadn’t let up on the thankfully short drive back to the dorm, feeding each other’s enthusiasm and swearing envy over what I was about to do. Or who I was about to do. Since Erin had nothing to drink on Saturday but Diet Dr. Pepper, she’d sprung out of bed Sunday morning unhungover and chock-full of plans for Operation Bad Boy Phase.
I pretended more of a hangover than I had, just to put her off, but Erin with an idea was not readily put off. Determined to impart her how-to-seduce-a-guy knowledge whether I wanted it or not, she’d shoved a bottle of orange juice into my hands as I grumbled and pulled myself to a sitting position. I wanted to tug the covers over my head and plug my ears, but it was far too late for that.
She plopped next to me. “First, you have to approach this with no fear. Seriously, they can smell fear. It totally puts them off the scent.”
I frowned. “Off the scent? That’s so…” I tried to think of a more suitable word than aaauugh, but my brain hadn’t booted up yet.
“That’s so true, you mean? Look—guys are dogs. Women have known this since the beginning of time. Guys don’t want to be chased; they chase. So if you’re going to catch one, you have to know how to make him chase you.”
I squinted at her. Archaic, sexist, demeaning my brain declared, filling in for aaauugh, too late. This viewpoint shouldn’t have surprised me—I’d heard her say these sorts of things before. I just never considered those off-the-cuff remarks to be part of a creed.
I chugged half of the OJ before commenting. “You’re serious about this.”
She cocked an eyebrow. “This is where I don’t say ‘as a heart attack,’ right?”
I took a deep breath. I had three minutes until class started. Erin said I needed one minute, no more than two. “But two is pushing it,” she insisted, “because then you look too interested. One is better.”
I slid into the seat next to him, but perched on the edge, making it obvious that I had no intention of remaining. His eyes snapped to mine immediately, dark brows disappearing into that messy hair falling over his forehead. His eyes were almost colorless. I’d never seen anyone with eyes so light.