Just Roll With It: a Just Us novel


Copyright © 2016 by Niki Hager

All rights reserved.

Cover Designer:

Editor and Interior Designer: Wendi Temporado,
Ready, Set, Edit
, [email protected]

This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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For My Bug.

Do not open until your eighteenth birthday.

Do not assume Mommy and Daddy did all of the crazy stuff you read in here.

Do not do any of the crazy stuff you read in here.

Okay, maybe do a little bit of it.

Just roll with it.

I love you. 


Burn- Alkaline Trio

Longview- Green Day

Hello Fascination- Breathe Carolina

Strange Love- Halsey

No- Meghan Trainor

The Days Of The Phoenix- AFI

Mercy Me- Alkaline Trio

I Don't Wanna Know- New Found Glory

Velvet- Breathe Carolina

Round Here- Counting Crows

Middle Of Nowhere- Hot Hot Hot Heat

100 Resolutions- The Lawrence Arms

Together We'll Ring In The New Year- Motion City Soundtrack

Don't Lose Touch- Against Me!

My House- Flo Rida

Somewhere Only We Know- Keane

The Future Freaks Me Out- Motion City Soundtrack

Last Night- Breathe Carolina

Blue In The Face- Alkaline Trio

Close- Nick Jonas, Tove Lo

Miami- Against Me!

All Downhill From Here- New Found Glory

Stay Away- Roony

Dead On Arrival- Fall Out Boy

Attractive Today- Motion City Soundtrack

Millennia- Crown The Empire

Habits- Tove Lo

Make Out Kids- Motion City Soundtrack

Roman Holiday- Halsey

Dareh Meyod- O.A.R

Gone So Long- Breathe Carolina

The Best Of Me- The Starting Line

We Can Never Break Up- Alkaline Trio

Enjoy the full Just Roll With It playlist on Spotify 

Boy With The Brown Backpack
Burn- Alkaline Trio

My lips are so chapped; the top layer just flakes off now. Gusts of wind pierce each crack, and the sting of it sparks the memory of my most recent distraction. It burns so bad, I can't
reach up and touch them.

I'm anxious, incredibly high-strung, and a notorious prude who cringes at the touch of a man. Anyhow, Monday mornings you can find me in the rusty red Corsica parked behind the Fine Arts building, violently making out with Nate Riley.

Sitting on the concrete is never comfortable, but something about being outside freshens my mind. I glance up to look at Nate. He lights his second cigarette. His tall figure relaxes against the pillar, like he's melting into it, when he inhales that first hit. I don't smoke, but I can't shake the slight pinch of jealousy I feel while watching. It's like he's taking his first breath of fresh air after being long deprived. The look of perfect relief.

I like Nate enough. He's sort of slovenly, a ragged, modern-day hippie, but he pulls off the long, sandy-brown hair and two-day-old scruff. Those lips of his don't hurt, either. I can still feel them on mine. Skilled softness to counter my own rawness. A parody much too emblematic of my life.

To anybody else, he would appear to be my type. We sort of match, with our artsy hipster who hated high school but art school is my niche kind of thing. I'm sufficient enough to capture his fancy for now. The height difference was staggering at first. Being significantly shorter at five foot two, I often wonder how the sex would work. I should Google that.

An impromptu breeze passes us by, blowing smoke from Nate's cigarette right in my face. My skin stales, and my pores open to the asphyxiation. I was pale enough already, the last thing I need is to turn grey.

September is always a rough month for me. I lift up my face to try and soak in some of the sunshine poking through the clouds. I'm always told I have a pretty face, but clearly, it has nothing to do with my complexion. High cheek bones are my saving grace. I get them from my Grandpa Joe's Cherokee Indian roots.

"Wanna go to the Ren fest with me Saturday?" Nate looks down at me and smiles.

"Sure." I shrug and turn, squinting my eyes away from the sun to him. "Why not?" Sounds fun enough, and I enjoy his company.

His grin turns bigger, and he continues his focus back to the cigarette and whatever else he's been looking at in the distance toward the parking lot.

Nate really is easy to be with. We can use each other for what we need, without the hassle of feelings and awkwardness. We went to high school together, so he already knows enough about me to not ask questions. He was a year ahead of me, and I only knew him from an off-campus art class we were both in. When we realized we both were taking the art program here, we reconnected right away.

The pressuring weight of presumption doesn't suffocate me when I'm around him, which makes the usually insufferable situation bearable. He'd just gone through a big break up with the supposed "love of his life". You could say I had a
sort of
break up too, but I never really cared for the guy. I had no intention of having sex with him. No surprise there when he wasn't thrilled when I didn't put out. No wonder he dumped me.

At least with Nate, the mutual interest of using each other to pass the time is there. Until his girl comes back, anyway, or until I actually find someone worth putting out for. Not likely. I can imagine the freak out that'll be wielded on the poor guy who tries to be my first.

I'm about to get up off the hard concrete and go inside for my next class—because, let's be real, sitting on this step is really killing my ass bone—when I see him.

The way he walks is what catches my eye first. The stride is so contradicting. He moves with this dramatic confidence, yet something about his face seems unsure. My effort to move is now trivial with my whole body suddenly desperate to stay still. A burning heat floods my stomach, and I lose whatever control I thought I had of myself. I'm pretty much stuck, frozen and staring, with my mouth hanging open.

It's not only that the most attractive guy I have ever laid eyes on is walking across the lot—well, that might have something to do with it—but there's more. I'm being drawn to him by something momentous. It's celestial and alluring. It is now crucial to my well-being to know him.

When he lifts his head from his phone, I see his striking black hair. Carelessly disheveled, in a sexy way, and swept to the one side. I can tell the gorgeous locks are thick, but he's hiding underneath of what I always call a "Fall Out Boy" hat.

Wearing mostly black and sporting skinny jeans, he practically oozes trouble. I usually make fun of those kind of pants, but on him they're not too skinny—they fit him just right.

With both shoulders, he sports a brown backpack full of buttons and patches. I can't see them clearly; I likely wouldn't know what they mean anyway.

I strain to look away, but can't. I'm too mesmerized, though I can't pinpoint why. He is obviously gorgeous. No, gorgeous isn't even strong enough for him. He emanates the dark and ominous thing every girl finds so appealing but won't admit. Still, no guy has ever done this to me before. I don't know what's going on. I do, however, know that I cannot, even forcibly, peel myself away.

I notice the vast amounts of ink sticking out under the sleeves of his t-shirt. The dangerous look comes effortlessly, yet he's not stock bad boy. I get more of a concealed and inner turmoil vibe. He's captivating, and it's consuming me.

"Shit, he's walking this way." I only realize I've talked out loud when Nate responds.

"What, hun? Did you say something?"

I hate when he calls me hun. To me, the term sounds demeaning instead of endearing. I don't care enough to correct him.

"Uh, yeah. Do you see that guy over there?" I point to where brown backpack guy is walking.

"Yeah, sure. What about him?" he asks.

"I'm going to marry him someday."
What. The. Fuck.

The words just slipped out. I swear, I don't know why. Was I really thinking that? No, I wasn't thinking. I have a bad habit of not thinking before I speak. I must have been making one of my jokes, the kind that come out with no filter. I've always had a dry sense of humor nobody seems to get. Combine that with my severe social impairments, and voila, you have the awkwardness that is me.

I try not to look over at Nate, but I do and see he's laughing at me. He amuses the hell out of himself, unable to refrain from pointing out the "red as a ruby" color of my face.

I play it off like I had meant to talk out loud so bluntly. I'm good at pretending to play it cool. I muster up the fuck-it attitude I seem to have more of lately, then I straighten my posture and lift my chin enough to show him I don't care. He can laugh at me all he wants. Face saved.

Looking back at my mystery man, I see he is about to walk completely past us. That won't do. I know where he's going; I have classes in the same building starting tomorrow. I feel scared and stupid, but I have a feeling in my gut. The kind I just can't ignore. I'm supposed to know him; I feel it in my bones. I'm going for it.

"Nate, be right back. Don't wait for me, save me a seat," I haphazardly yell back as I start to make my way toward the sidewalk.

"K, sweets. See ya in there," his voice says faintly behind me.
Sweets, I don't like that one, either.

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