Read Torn Online

Authors: C.J. Fallowfield

Torn (5 page)

“Hey,” both of them replied in
unison, seeming tongue-tied, which was unusual for Billy.

“So, have you transferred high
schools?” I asked, and she burst out laughing. “What?”

“I’ve graduated high school, I’m
starting at NSC in the fall,” she replied.

“No way,” Josh exclaimed, his
eyes lighting up immediately, and I felt an irrational twinge of jealousy surge
through my body at that bit of news. “Me and Billy are, too. What’s your major?”

“Public administration in law
enforcement. You?” she asked, and my heart sank. What were the fucking odds?

“The same,” Josh and Billy said
at the same time, then high-fived each other with stupid grins plastered on
their faces.

“Thank God.” Sky let out a
relieved sigh. “I’ll at least have two faces I know on day one.”

“Why don’t you give us your
number, Sky?” Billy suggested, taking out his phone. “We can arrange to meet up
before college starts, show you around town, introduce you to people.”

“That would be great, thank you
both.” She leaned to one side and stuck her hand in those nearly indecent
little shorts she was wearing. Well, that was a double strike against Nate
Hudson. They’d both managed to get her damn phone number before me.

“Here you go, Nate, enjoy.” Rosie
put my drink and lunch in front of me and I reluctantly removed my arm from
behind Sky to grab my sandwich, I was starving. “Thanks, Rosie, you’re the best.”
She blushed and headed back to the counter as I scarfed down my food, while the
three new amigos exchanged numbers and chatted excitedly about attending
classes together. I was unusually quiet, just eating while I listened to her
sexy lilt and watched her expressions, feeling oddly at peace. It was like
listening to her drowned out all the other thoughts that were usually jumbling
up my brain and made me feel calm. I was just slurping up the last of my shake when
I heard JT yell for me. I groaned and looked at my watch, wondering if I’d run
over time, but I still had five minutes left.

“Hey, kid,” he hollered from the
door. “I need you back. Mr. Smith’s Buick needs a rim leak fixed and I’ve got
my hands full upstairs with the contractors. And why is there a damn bike in
the workshop?”

“Sorry, JT,” I called, looking
over my shoulder. “Just doing someone a favor.”

“Well, next time send them to
Charlie’s Bike Shop. I’ve got enough on my plate with damn cars,” he grumbled,
as he tapped the face of his watch and raised his eyebrows.

“I thought you said that you did
bike repairs?” Sky asked, as I turned back to face them and pulled out my
wallet.

“Not as a general rule, but you
looked too hot to send on your way,” I replied, wondering if she’d read the
real meaning behind that.

“I wouldn’t have let you do it if
I’d known it would get you in trouble. How much do I owe you?”

“Nothing, it’s on me,” I replied.

“Nate!” JT yelled, and I gritted
my teeth. He was doing me a massive favor by being so flexible, so I could
hardly complain and refuse to head back.

“Two minutes, JT,” I yelled back without
looking around. I heard the sound of the bell as he pulled the door shut and
silently cursed that I was going to have to leave. Sky reached out and put her
hand on top of mine as I tried to wrestle some dollars out of my wallet.

“Don’t. If I can’t pay you, at
least let me buy your lunch,” she offered. That was new, the four witches of
Boulder City behind me would never have offered to pay. In fact, no girl I’d
ever taken out had.

“I was going to buy yours.” I
held her gaze, trying to count all the different shades of gold flecks in her
brown eyes, while feeling the blood surging through my body at the feel of her
hand on top of mine, then the loss as she moved it away.

“Not necessary. You’ve saved me
the humiliation of calling my pops to come and fetch me on my first day out on
my own.”

“Ok, it’s on me when we eat out
next time,” I confirmed, standing up quickly and shoving my wallet back in my
jeans. She blinked a few times and opened her mouth, as if she was going to
object.
What the hell was going on here?
No woman had ever turned me
down for a date. Not that I’d exactly asked her out, but surely she could read
between the lines. “Come and get your bike when you’re ready. I punch out at
five today, no game or practice. See you two guys later.” I shot out of the
diner before she had a chance to object, and before JT came back to drag me
out. What were the damn odds of her doing the same course as Josh? And how the
hell had I just walked away without her number, or a firm date to see her
again? That was going to be rectified the minute she walked back in the shop
for her bike. Nate Hudson had a reputation to uphold.

 

Sky

 

“Wow, is that the time?” I
exclaimed, as I picked up my phone to find a message from Mom asking if I was
far from home.

“It’s gone fast, hasn’t it,” Josh
confirmed as he finished his drink. We’d been sitting here chatting, with one
drink after another, most of the afternoon. Conversation with them both had
come so easy, I was really glad I’d met them.

“Sure has,” I agreed, quickly
tapping out a reply to Mom and pocketing my phone. “I’m sorry I’ve got to run, but
we’re going out for a family meal tonight.”

“No problem,” Billy grinned,
quickly standing up at the same time as I did while Josh slid across the
leather seat to join us.

“It was great to meet you both,
thanks so much for agreeing to hang out with me next Saturday to show me around.”

“I was hoping you’d just meet me,
but if you insist on this ugly dude tagging along, so be it,” Billy laughed,
gripping poor Josh in a headlock and ruffling his hair.

“Knock it off, Billy,” Josh muttered,
struggling to get out of his cousin’s hold.

“Pussy,” Billy teased as he let
go of him, and Josh immediately reached up to finger-rake his tousled hair back
into place, shooting me an embarrassed look. I gave him a smile, which made him
blush. He was so adorable.

He was the quiet and slightly
more reserved one of the two cousins, but the way he’d talked about Nate, the
adoration shining from his face, it was obvious he looked up to his big
brother. I wondered if Nate’s personality made Josh keep to the shadows, as if
he felt he couldn’t compete. Nate seemed confident, borderline cocky even, with
an obvious sex appeal that probably enhanced the former two traits, whereas
Josh had his looks, but none of the swagger or confidence, which was crazy. He
seemed so sweet, and I’d been stunned to hear that he was single. Billy was the
total opposite, over-talkative and not afraid to play the fool, like he’d realized
that he had to make up for not having his cousins’ good looks. I wasn’t completely
sold on him yet, it was like he was trying too hard to make everyone like him,
and I found that a little off-putting. I’d rather he just be himself. I found
it hard to trust people who didn’t show their real faces to the world, but it
wasn’t like we weren’t going to have lots of time to get to know each other. We
had the next four years at least, maybe more depending on which police forces
we applied to. The fact that my link with them meant I was likely to see Nate
around too wasn’t lost on me. That definitely fell into the bonus category.

We headed outside, with all three
of us shouting out a “Thanks” to Rosie, and I noticed the four girls were still
sitting in the window, fixated on the shop opposite, even though Nate wasn’t in
sight. He sure had a fan club, a thought that made my heart sink.

“See you next week,” I told the
guys. “I’d better go and get my bike.”

“See you, Sky,” Josh smiled, a
small dimple to match his brother’s coming out.

“Yeah, see you,” Billy nodded.

I smiled at them and headed across
the street, looking back over my shoulder to find they were both watching me. I
gave them a wave goodbye before sticking my head into the repair shop.

“Nate?” I called. I spotted him
with his head under the hood of one of the cars and silently cursed when I saw
he’d changed back into his coveralls, his torso naked again. I’d looked at guys
before and thought they were cute, but I’d never felt heat building inside me
or pain in my nipples from just gazing. He had his earphones in again and I
just enjoyed watching him work, eyeing up the tattoo on his right bicep. It
looked like some kind of badge or logo, maybe of his baseball team. I felt my
breathing coming a little faster at the thought of seeing him in a pair of
tight white pants, his biceps showing in his pitcher’s tee, and of how good
he’d look out on the field. I was going to need a paper bag to breathe into any
second, I was on the verge of hyperventilating.

“Sky?” His voice calling my name
startled me from my thoughts, and made me realize I’d been staring at him. His
eyes were alive with merriment as he strode over. Damn it, I bet he knew exactly
what I was thinking. “Have fun?”

“I did, actually,” I nodded,
hoping my cheeks weren’t as pink as I felt they were right now. “They’re really
nice guys. Thanks for introducing me.”

“So, which one of them hit on you
first? Billy?”

“Actually, neither,” I replied, “but
we have plans to meet up next Saturday so they can give me a tour.”

“Saturday?” He frowned as he
wiped his hands on the rag he pulled from his back pocket, and I forced my eyes
to focus on his face, rather than that nipple bar and his hard abs. “I’ve got
practice.”

“Do I need a chaperone? They both
seem fairly harmless.”

“No,” he laughed. “And yes, they
are, but I was hoping you’d want to come and watch me play before we go and
catch up on that rain check for something to eat.” He cocked his head as he
waited for my response.

“I … I’d really like to, but … I
already said I’d meet them,” I stammered. Was he asking me out, or just being
polite?

“Let me have your number then,
I’ll call you when I’m free and see if we can hook up,” he suggested. He looked
puzzled as I just stared at him, my mouth ajar. Had he just asked for my number
“to hook up?” “Are you seeing someone, is that why you’re not saying anything?”
he prodded, when I wasn’t forthcoming with an answer.

“I’m … no, no, not seeing anyone,
but …” I shook my head. He was two years older than me, had a reputation around
town, and I just knew if I took him home to introduce him to Mom and Pops, they
wouldn’t be impressed. Nate looked like the proverbial bad boy, even if he
wasn’t showing off his tattoos or piercing.
Oh crap
. I felt my eyes
widen as he slowly licked his lower lip while he waited for me to respond. It
was piercings, plural. He didn’t just have a nipple one, he had a ball in the
center of his tongue.
Why would he have one there?
My cheeks flamed when
I realized what it was likely to be used for, and I felt a shiver run down my
spine.

“I’m asking you on a date, Sky,
if I wasn’t obvious enough,” he stated, as he reached up to lightly brush his
fingers down my cheek. My body trembled at the contact and I was finding it really
hard to breathe. “I think you’re beautiful.”

“Nate, I … I’m so flattered, but
I’m not looking to date right now. I’m new in town and I need to find my feet,
settle into college life. It’s an important time for me right now.”
God,
Sky, the hottest man alive is asking you out and you’re saying no?


Someone’s
warned you off me.” His tone was sharp as he immediately pulled his hand away
and his forehead furrowed as he frowned.

“I get the impression that you’re
pretty experienced, and I’m … not. I’m not sure we’re a good fit.”

“You think just because I play
baseball and have women throwing themselves at me, I can’t be respectful or
faithful to a girl?” He sounded genuinely hurt at the insinuation.

“No,” I grimaced, breaking our
gaze and dropping my eyes to his washboard stomach instead, as I silently
cursed myself for upsetting him, as well as getting improper thoughts about
running my tongue along those ridges. “Someone like you scares me. I couldn’t
agree to a date without getting to know you a bit better first.”

“Scares you? I’m just a regular
guy, Sky. Ok, maybe I’ve had a few girls, but I wasn’t looking for anything
serious. And the whole point of a date is so we can get to know each other a
little better.”

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