Authors: Stacey Mosteller
All Rights Reserved
No portion of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying or recording, or by any storage and retrieval system without permission in writing.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and situations are the product of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, event or location is coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 Stacey Mosteller
Cover design by Ashley Baumann of Ashbee Designs
Copyright © Prochkailo
College sucks and math is the devil. My major is Commercial Music, not math, and there's a reason for that. Math is
my best subject, but what class do they put me in? College Algebra. I barely passed High School Algebra; I'll never make it in this class. I'll have to find a tutor, there's no other option.
On top of my math problems, I've got a new roommate. I don't know what the hell happened; I had my dorm room to myself for the entire first semester. I got a notification yesterday from the housing department saying that as of today, I will have to share. Freshman year is just getting better and better.
Now I'm hurrying back to the dorms so that I can meet this new mystery roommate. The more I think about it, the more pissed off I get. I like having my own space, like being able to spread myself out. It doesn't help that I'm not a people person. In fact, I pretty much try to avoid people whenever possible. That's probably why I want to throw a tantrum when I reach my floor because there's a slender, dark-haired girl cussing my door. This must be her. She's about my height, at least I think she is, it's hard to tell because she's weighed down by at least three duffel bags. She has one hanging from each shoulder, and then one draped across her body. Lovely. On top of having a new roommate, I have a new clothes-hound for a roommate. The dorms don't have enough closet space for this.
Rolling my eyes heavenward, I walk over to introduce myself but when I reach her I chicken out..
Her back stiffens when she hears the snotty tone in my voice before she mumbles something I can't understand.
Then, she snaps, "No, no problems at all. Just trying to get into my new room. Do you mind?"
Great. She has just as much attitude as I do. This is going to be one hell of a semester.
"I was going to offer to help considering that's my room you're trying to get into, but by all means, continue to curse at the door. I'm sure that will make it better." I snark; leaning against the wall and crossing my arms over my chest.
The girl, whose name was on the letter from housing that I didn't pay attention to, blows out an aggravated breath before turning to glare at me. It's a good thing I have a thick skin or I'd be backing up.
After the death glare, she closes her eyes before muttering,"Wonderful. Way to make a first impression there Kat."
I can't help the smirk, if it wasn't for the fact that I hate her for interrupting my nice, solitary dorm, I might actually like this girl. Unfortunately, before I can make any smart-ass comments about her talking to herself, a herd of what sounds like elephants stomp up the stairs to join us. Now, in edition to my bitchy roommate, there are four guys standing with us. All four are taller than my 5'8" and two of them are obviously related. The guys and my new roommate Kat all have dark hair, and I'm just waiting for the dumb blonde jokes to begin. One of the must-be-related guys puts his arm around Kat's shoulders and pulls her in for a hug.
"Who's this?" he asks her, looking over at me.
She sighs, "Apparently, my new not-so-friendly roommate. Max, this is..." trailing off when she realizes I haven't told her my name.
Without moving forward or extending a hand, I speak up, "Peyton, her roommate Peyton."
"Well, hey Peyton. I'm Maxwell, but you can call me Max." Pointing at each guy in turn, he introduces the rest, "That's my brother Clay and his roommates Emmett and Wyatt."
So, I was right. Clay and Max are both tall with brown hair and eyes, although Clay is much more rugged-looking than his brother. Max is a little too fresh-faced for me. Based on the blush Kat's had since he put his arm around her, he's definitely her type. Interesting. The other two guys, Emmett and Wyatt are also tall, dark and handsome. Emmett has a much wilder look to him. His chestnut hair is messy, and he's got more than a five-o'clock shadow going on. When I look at Wyatt though, I feel an immediate jolt. Where Emmett and Clay are rougher around the edges, Wyatt is polished sophistication. He's got light bluish-green eyes and just enough scruff to be sexy instead of sloppy. He's actually
attractive, and with everything else going on, I can't afford to be attracted to someone. I need to focus on getting my degree before my parents decide to stop paying for school.
Trying to bring everyone back to the problem at hand, I turn back to Kat. "Are you ready to let me open the door, or are we just going to stand out here staring at each other for the rest of the afternoon?"
Kat opens her mouth to say something, but Max cuts her off when he steps in front of her like he thinks she needs protection from me. "Hey! What's your problem?"
Stepping away from the wall, I stalk over to stand in front of him. Jeez. He's tall and I have to tip my head back to look at him before saying, "The only
I have is that I'd rather be in my room than standing out here with the five of you. Is that okay with you? I mean, it has been MY room since last semester."
When I stop to take a breath, an arm comes between us, pushing Max back. Wyatt steps forward and puts a hand on each of our shoulders before turning his turquoise gaze on me.
"Calm down Cujo. Max is just a little protective." He grins at me, showing off the dimple in his cheek, but the fact that it makes him even hotter is lost on me at the moment.
My mouth drops open as I stare up at him in disbelief. Cujo?!? Did he just freaking call me
? What. The. Fuck. Reaching up, I slap his hand away from my shoulder.
"You don't get to touch me," I snarl at him. He backs up, eyes wide with his palms up in front of him like he's afraid I'm going to come after him. He's probably not far off. I'd love nothing more than to junk punch him for daring to call me that, no matter how attractive he is.
Looking around him to Max I raise an eyebrow, "Now, can I
go into my room? Y'all can fight this out amongst yourselves, but I'd like to be comfortable if I'm going to have to deal with all of you." I know I'm coming off as a serious bitch, but he and Wyatt are both pushing every button I have.
Max looks like he's going to lay into me again until Kat places a hand on his arm. When he turns to look down at her, she murmurs, "Just let it go Max, she's my roommate. I'd rather not have her hate me."
Too late for that sweetheart, I hated you as soon as I got that notice yesterday. I know it isn't
her fault, but I'm just not in a very giving mood right now.
Giving me a warning glance Max shrugs, "Whatever you say Kat."
Once they both move away from the door, I rush forward to put my key in. I want nothing more than to put my stuff down and get the hell away from the entire group. All five of them, my new roommate and her entourage, especially Max and Wyatt, can kiss my ass. I don't need this; I still have to figure out what I'm going to do about getting a tutor so I don't fail Algebra.
Kat follows me into the room, the guys behind her. Ignoring her friends, I gesture towards the unmade bed, "That side is yours. Make sure you keep your stuff on your side of the room."
She nods, pulling one of her duffel bags off her shoulder and dropping it onto the bed with a sigh of relief. The girl looks resigned, which isn't what I was expecting. I'm not sure why, but she looks about as thrilled to be here as I am to have her. I'm not going to ask her what her deal is though. Making friends isn't why I'm here. In fact, if I had my way, I'd be at a bigger college, farther away from my controlling parents.
Catching the look on her face, Max doesn't hesitate to pull her into a hug. "It'll be okay doll face," he whispers into her hair, obviously unaware that I'm close enough to hear what they're saying. "Living in the dorms will be good for you. New experiences and all that shit."
With a small laugh, Kat shakes her head, "That's exactly what Anna said. Right down to 'all that shit'." When she tips her head back to look at him, he smiles down at her.
"I do like your sister. You should listen to her more often." Max winks and Kat looks away biting her lip.
Ugh. This little love fest is more than I can handle. "I hope this isn't going to become a habit. Considering the fact that I actually
spending time in my room, I don't want to have to share it with some face-sucking lovebirds." Jesus, it's like I can't control the things coming out of my mouth. I'm usually short with people, but I'm really not this much of a bitch.
Before I can apologize, Kat spins around, a blush staining up her cheeks as she says, "We're just friends. You don't have to worry about any face-sucking, but he is usually around."
"I wasn't trying to imply that I give a shit. Just stating a fact. I like to hang out in my room, and I don't want to have to stock up on disinfectant and headphones in order to do so."
Max is immediately in my face. "Are you always this big of a bitch? Or is this all for us?"
For someone who's "just a friend", he's awfully protective of Kat. I'm tired of this conversation. I already had a fight with my mom this morning about Bradford Anderson, the guy she's been trying to foist on me ever since I broke up with him in high school, which is probably why I'm being more of an asshole than I normally am. So, another possible confrontation is the last thing I want to deal with.
"You know what? I'm outta here. I'll be back later, once all your friends are gone." Pushing past Max and walking to the door, I wait for the other three to move out of my way so I can get out of here. Wyatt opens his mouth to say something, but I put my head down and skirt past him quickly, trying to pretend I'm not at all interested in whatever it is he wants to say. I don't even attempt the elevator, heading straight for the stairs. The sooner I get to Scarlett's room, the better.
My best friend's room is on the first floor, and running full speed down two flights of stairs not long after running up the same earlier has me convinced that I need to start working out. By the time I make it to her floor, I'm panting and sweaty. Gross. Coming to a stop in front of her room, I bend over, putting my hands on my knees in an attempt to calm my breath and racing heart. Before I even get a chance to knock, Scarlett's door opens and her roommate Annabelle stops short when she sees me.
"Are you okay?" She's obviously surprised to see me looking so haggard. I'm usually much more put together, but with the way today has gone, I'm close to unraveling.
"I'm fine," I wheeze, "Is Scarlett here?" She's pretty much the only person I talk to and if she isn't here, I don't know where I'll go.
Annabelle's still looking at me like she's worried I'm going to pass out any second so I try harder to control my breathing. At first, she doesn't answer me but when I finally straighten up, she nods. "Yeah, she's inside. I was just going to work, so go on in."
Thank God. I won't have to deal with Annabelle on top of everything from upstairs. She moves out of the doorway so I can walk past her into their dorm room, and Scarlett's sitting on her bed Indian style with her headphones in listening to music. Books are spread out all around her and she's not paying a bit of attention to our conversation going on at the door.
"The girl has her music so loud, I don't think she'd notice the room falling down around her," Annabelle says rolling her eyes.
Smirking, I reply, "She is a music major, I guess that's to be expected."
I actually met Scarlett last semester in a Music Theory class where we were forced to partner up. I don't get along well with many people, but we both have the same sarcastic sense of humor, and she wouldn't let me not be friends with her. In fact, I'm pretty sure she would have resorted to stalking to get me to hang out with her.