10 Years:Time for Love Book 5(6)

By: Bethany Lopez

We walked the short block away to the frat house, and found it already booming with loud music and overflowing with an array of college students, ranging from happily buzzed to already sloppy drunk.

Liam and I grinned at each other, then sauntered in, talking to people as we made our way through the house. There was a keg in one corner, and a large barrel of what I can only assume was jungle juice in another corner, and a few of our brothers were manning both.

“Great game today,” Sean, one of our Sigma Tau brothers said as he handed me a beer.

“Thanks, man, I’m happy we pulled it off,” I responded as I took a pull of my beer and surveyed the bodies bumping and grinding throughout the room. My gaze paused, and the grin left my face when I noticed Aliyah standing by the kitchen, holding a drink and talking heatedly to a girl whose face I couldn’t see.

Aliyah was beautiful, and had been since the day I’d met her in middle school. She and Gwen had been instant friends, which made her my friend too, until the day Gwen stopped talking to me, that is, I’d lost Aliyah’s friendship after our tour of USC as well. Tall, with curly black hair, creamy mocha skin, and a body that just wouldn’t quit, Aliyah was one of the hottest girls on campus, but since she was Gwen’s best friend, I’d never even considered going there. Liam ,on the other hand, had made it his mission to land Aliyah before graduation. So far, he was batting zero.

I looked around the room, knowing for a fact, if Aliyah was here, Gwen was too.

I stopped looking when I saw Gwen’s blonde head moving along to the music as she danced with my Sig Tau brother, Jeb, a cocky bastard who played on the football team. I felt the anger begin to prickle along my skin as I wondered why she always had to do this shit. Why’d she always have to come to parties at my frat house, and hit on my brothers, when she knew I would be there? And every time I tried to talk to her, she’d blow me off, ignore me, or make some smart-ass comment.

I was sick and tired of it. I wanted to be able enjoy the party, find a hot chick to celebrate my win with, and forget the time of my life that Gwen had been the center of…

“That’s it,” I mumbled as I pushed my way through the crown toward my ex-best friend. “I’m putting an end to this shit once and for all.”

Chapter Four ~ Gwen

Present Day (20 years old)

As I swayed my body to the rhythm, I was vaguely aware of the hands at my hips, as the alcohol running through me numbed my limbs deliciously.

I needed this, especially after spending another evening at the ball fields, shooting pictures of the baseball team, and, of course, Craig. Craig with his six feet of gorgeous, toned muscles, eyes the color of the sea after a storm, and the deep-belly laugh that affected me so much I felt it in my bones any time I heard it.

I was torturing myself, and even though I realized it, I was unable to stop doing it.

Aliyah told me I was a glutton for punishment.

“Why don’t we go to one of the one hundred other frat parties going on tonight, Gwen?” she’d asked before we left our apartment, just like she did every time I begged her to go with me to a Sig Tau party. “You know Craig is going to be there. He’ll try to talk to you, you’ll ignore him, yada, yada, yada… Same shit, different day.”

“Oh, c’mon, you know you like seeing him, you don’t have to deny it on my account,” I said, even though I knew it wasn’t fair. Craig and I had met Aliyah when we were twelve, and had been friends all through middle and high school. But, being the loyal friend that she was, when I stopped talking to Craig after our USC tour, she’d stopped talking to him too. And although I knew she probably missed him almost as much as I did, I was grateful that she’d taken my side.

Even if she didn’t fully understand why.

“You’re right,” she said to my statement about Craig. “I do like seeing him. But I’d much rather see him back at Ms. Rose’s with a nice fat slice of her apple pie, or at the very least, be able to catch up with him and see how he’s doing… But since it doesn’t look like that’s ever going to happen, I’d rather not spend the night ignoring him, and watching him watch you with that sad expression on his face. I can’t take it.”

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