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Authors: Victoria H. Smith

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BOOK: Found by You
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I slid my hand down along the length of her thigh, and she shuddered beneath me, intensifying the grip she had on my shirt.

I braced her leg, her body so supple and sizzling heat beneath my fingers. “I love the way you feel. How soft you are. How perfect.”

I eased her legs open, pushing my hand into her shorts. I wanted to feel more of her, be affected by her more. My thumb brushed her panties, feeling her lips through the material, her wetness. I used two fingers to move her panties away and enter her, but she placed her hands on my chest.

“Griffin.”

My name didn’t sound like it had before. She was no longer calling me to her, but pushing me away.

The same went with her hands. She put force behind them and moved me from her as she sat up. She took a seat beside me on the floor, wrapping her arms around her knees.

Still breathy, I didn’t understand. “What’s wrong? Was I moving too fast?”

She simply looked at me over her knees, her eyes downcast.

I moved toward her. “I’m sorry if I have. We don’t have to do that if you don’t want to.”

She lowered her arms. Sitting up, she no longer looked closed off, opening herself up. Smiling, I drew in even closer, placing my hand on her cheek.

“I’m okay with just kissing you,” I said, seeking her lips again. “I’m okay with that. It’s fine.”

She let me touch her lips only briefly before she denied me again. This time she put her head in her hands when she raised her knees.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. She gazed up at me, biting her lip. “I can’t… I’m so sorry. I’m just not dating right now.”

When she said that, my heart felt hit with something. Shaken and slammed. I didn’t know how to respond to that. I felt like something I wanted, desired, was right there, well within my fingertips, but as soon as I reached for it a barricade went up around it, closing me off from it.

I pushed my hand into my hair. “Okay,” I said, my thoughts spinning and my mind thrown. I dropped my hand. “I can wait. If that’s what you need, I can wait.”

I never,
ever
thought I would say that to a girl, but the words came out without any hesitation, naturally, and I had no desire to take them back.

Her face scrunched up. Like my words were causing her pain, making her cringe.

“I’m also,” she started, looking down and not meeting my eyes. “Pretty sure you have a girlfriend, and I’m not about messing with that.”

Her words caused my eyes to widen. “What makes you think I have a girlfriend?”

She finally made eye contact with me, her eyebrows narrowed in. “Your friend. At the party. He said you were with your girlfriend. That you were with her and… another girl tonight.”

If I could physically do it, I’d be spitting fire right now. Fucking D. That drunk ass motherfucker. He did say something to her. Christ.

I looked at Roxie. “He was mistaken, Roxie. I don’t have a girlfriend.”

“Then why did he think you had?”

“Tanya and I—”

“Tanya?” she asked, staring at me. “That’s her name?”

I nodded. “We’re off and on. He was just confused.”

“You’re off and on. So I take it you’re
off
now?”

“Yes.”

Her eyes flickered away, and she chewed on her lip in silence for a moment. “But you could be on? Again, that is.”

I moved along the carpet until she looked at me, her sweet face so sad. It hurt me so much to see it. Slowly, I placed my hand out to her. Bracing her elbow, I made her shift until she was in my personal space, like I was creating a force field of security around her. That’s what she needed. To feel secure. Safe. “I don’t have a girlfriend and I have no intention of getting back together with my ex.”

“What about that other girl?”

Shit. How did I explain that one? So many skeletons I had in my closest. Had I known they’d one day keep me from someone like her I never would have been stupid enough to allow them to happen. “She’s a girl I had been with before. But like Tanya, I’m not with her now. I wasn’t with either of them tonight. I wasn’t lying when I said I wanted to talk to you. You’re the only one that I wanted to talk to tonight. That wasn’t the reason you left early tonight, was it? Because of them?”

She still wouldn’t look at me, and I strongly felt that it was. I had hurt her because of the bullshit of my past.

Letting out a breath, she made eye contact. My heart spiked a tremor when she pulled her elbow away from my hands, leaving the cocoon I thought was secure.

“I was tired,” she said. Placing her hands on the floor, she stood.

I did the same. I could feel I was losing her. She was shutting me out. I reached out to touch her, but this time she didn’t let me. I dropped my hands. “Roxie, don’t let this be the reason that—”

“It’s not,” she said simply. “There’s also…” She closed her lips, shaking her head. “There’s also what I said earlier. I’m not… I’m really not looking for anything right now. I’m sorry.”

There really was nothing I could say to change her mind about that. If she wasn’t dating… how could I change her mind?

“I think you should go, Griffin,” she whispered.

That was the last thing I wanted to do, but I had a feeling if I pushed her, forced her, she wouldn’t be any closer to wanting to be with me. I’d only push her away.

I went to the door and opened it myself. When I turned, she was still standing in the center of the room. “I’m going to wait. However long you need.”

I could do nothing else but let her think about that and hope she’d eventually make it to me on her own.

Chapter Eight

Roxie

Almost two weeks had gone by since the night Griffin kissed me in my apartment. Almost two weeks since he touched me and made me feel things my mind and heart weren’t prepared for. I was falling for him so hard and so fast. When I didn’t know him, I had loved the idea of him. Now, that was changing. He was something not imagined, but real. I never expected him to be so nice, so kind and thoughtful. He was extremely gentle with me, and I didn’t understand how someone like that could have such heavy baggage. He seemed responsible, mature, and levelheaded. It was just so hard for me to get over the things he’d done before me. The world he was still wrapped up in. Parties, women, and the company he kept, his less than desirable friends.

On top of that, I had my own past and my own things in my life that I feared he wouldn’t understand if he found out. The possibility of his judgment scared the hell out of me. I couldn’t have those blue eyes look at me in any other way than they did now.

It would hurt too much.

In the end, I chose a copout, something he couldn’t argue with. My dating status. Little did he know that would remain true. It would because I found it hard to imagine I’d find someone even remotely close to Griffin. I didn’t even want to try. At least not at this point in my life.

I went about my Tuesday classes, bored and with my thoughts wandering. I was relieved when my break between my first and second half of the day occurred. I always had lunch with Clare on Tuesdays. I needed some socialization, someone to talk to. She met me outside of the Student Union, a large smile on her face. I was glad she was happy. That might help my mood to be the same.

We chose a burger place for lunch. After moving through the line, we took our trays to sit. The girl Clare had been seeing since Griffin’s party, Destiny, spotted us at a table and waved us over. She sat with a couple girls and a few guys, all of whom were extremely tall in length. I assumed they played some type of sport. I could only hope it wasn’t basketball. I didn’t recognize the girls. One was a platinum blonde, really pretty. The other a brunette, also really pretty. Seeing them, I wondered if those were the type of girls Griffin usually dated. Who was I kidding? Of course that was the case. A pretty guy usually ended up with a girl just as pretty.

Neither girl paid any attention to Clare and me when we sat down. That was fine I supposed. I didn’t really pay them any attention either. The guys at least acknowledged us with a nod. One in particular asked me my name. I assumed because I sat directly in front of him, and Clare was busy chatting with Destiny.

“I’m Roxie,” I said, shaking his hand across the table.

He grinned, a dark-skinned guy with dreads and some acne. He was still quite good-looking, but more average than his friends, and his height just as tall as them.

“I’m Ryan,” he returned.

I nodded, picking up my burger. He went back to the conversation with his friends, but since my own friend was talking with the girl she was with, I was pretty alone on this side of the table. I people-watched for a few minutes before I started to tune into the conversation Clare was having with Destiny to the side of me. They were discussing a trip of some kind out of town. Clare said she’d love to go, and Destiny grinned. She kissed Clare’s cheek, glee absolutely emanating off of her, before facing ahead. “We’re all set, Ry,” she said. “So what are we going to do about you?”

I had no idea what was going on, but figured I’d be clued in if I listened.

Ryan threaded his fingers on the table, facing Destiny. “In regards to?”

“The masked dance of course,” she said, tilting her head. “Clare and I worked it out with Chip and Harrison. That means we all have dates, well except for you.”

I looked at Clare to be let into what was going on. She laughed. She crooked her finger for me to come closer to her and then whispered in my ear.

“Ryan, along with Chip and Harrison, are basketball players. There’s Chip and Harrison down there.” She pointed to the two other guys on the other end of the table. “They all need dates for this Valentine’s Day masked event the alumni put on for the basketball team. The thing is, Chip and Harrison are already
romantically involved
if you know what I mean, so they need girlfriends for appearances at the dance. Well, Destiny and I have agreed to go with them without really ‘going with them.’ If you catch my drift.”

I leaned back, nodding. I watched the two guys chatting quietly to themselves in their own little world. It sucked they had to stay closeted. I could imagine if they went professional they would have the same problem.

“What about Griff?”

Ryan said the one word that could send my heart racing. I turned to him. He was chewing on the end of a fry.

“As far as I heard, he wasn’t taking anyone,” he continued.

“Nope. New development,” Destiny said. Looping her arm around Clare’s, she stole one of her fries before popping it into her mouth. “He’s going with Tanya, I guess.”

She pointed to her side, and my sight moved with her. The blonde beside her, the real pretty one, was Griffin’s ex-girlfriend.

Which meant he was seeing her again.

My eyes veered away from her chatting with her friend. I supposed he didn’t wait for me after all. I couldn’t be mad. I could have had him. I could have, but I sent him away.

“How about my girl Roxie?” Clare shook my shoulder. “She’s single.”

My eyes widened that my name was being moved around. I raised my hands. “I’m not really dating right now.”

Clare bumped my shoulder. “Come on. It will be fun. I’ll be there.”

“It’s okay, Roxie,” Ryan said, and I moved my gaze to him. “I just got out of something. I’m not looking for anything either. If you’re game to go, I think it will be fun. Plus, you’ll get lots of free shit. Just sayin’. The alumni love to give out gift baskets.”

I actually ended up chuckling. Something I hadn’t done for a while.

“So what do you say?” he asked, placing his hands on the table.

I didn’t want to, but my focus ended up moving to the girls on the other side of the table. The blonde was giggling, going on about a red dress she was buying for the masquerade dance. I made my decision right then.

I turned to Ryan. “Sure, I’ll go to the masquerade with you. You’re right. It will be fun.”

“Roxie?”

My heart leaped, and I turned at the familiar voice, the one with the lucid drawl that made my whole body weak. Behind me stood the guy who was making me fall so hard, so fast, and the fallen look on his face caused my stomach to turn.

Griffin slid his hands into his faded jean pockets. “Could I talk to you for a moment?”

Griffin

I was so confused why the girl I had been thinking about since the day I kissed her, hell since that day at the laundry room, was sitting at a table only bodies away from my ex and Ursula. I was even more confused by what I heard her confirm with my other roommate, Ryan.

The whole table, well, everyone but Chip and Harrison as they were always joined at the hip, turned my way after my words. I didn’t care that everyone was looking at me. I wanted to talk to Roxie and get to the bottom of what I just heard.

“Roxie?” I prompted.

They all looked at her now. Very slowly, she lifted from the table, moving around her chair to get to me.

Tanya frowned, cocking her head. “Griffin—”

“I’ll be right back.” I didn’t even face her when I spoke to her. I simply motioned forward for Roxie to come with me out of prying eyes, ones I was sure continued to stare a hole into our backs all the way out of the food court of the Student Union.

I opened the door that led to one of the entrances and followed her after she passed me outside. She leaned against the brick wall on the back of her hands, her thick hips in dark jeans. The casual position made her chest stick out; inadvertently accentuating her full breasts through the black top she wore. Seeing her, I wanted to do nothing more than to move upon her, pin her by her hips to the wall and encase her; kiss her. God, if she didn’t tie me up in knots.

I kept a proper distance from her against the same wall, only because I knew that was what she would want.

“You’re going to the dance with Ryan? My roommate?” I came right out with it.

She blinked, her mouth parting. “I didn’t know he was your roommate.”

So if he wasn’t that would have been okay? For her to go out with someone else as long as it wasn’t me? “So does that mean you’re dating now?”

That was her excuse before.

BOOK: Found by You
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ads

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