#Selfie (Hashtag Series Book 4)(3)By: Cambria Hebert
The girls approached and dropped the board in the sand. “That thing weighs about a hundred pounds!” Ivy remarked and grabbed a towel to start toweling off her body.
I couldn’t help but notice the way the water drops glistened on her sun-kissed skin and the way her red bikini hugged all the right curves.
I turned away and started for the house.
I definitely needed another beer.
Spring break at the beach sure beat spending it at home with my brothers, my parents, and the rest of my family who all dropped in constantly and liked to ask a million questions about everything.
I loved my big family, but sometimes it was nice to avoid all the questions.
Especially when I spent half of my sophomore year at Alpha U making choices I wished I hadn’t. The last thing I felt like doing was answering questions I had no intention of answering honestly.
But that didn’t matter.
Those things were over.
My eyes were open, a big part in thanks to Rimmel.
She helped me realize it was okay to be exactly who I was. I didn’t have to try so hard to be the person I thought everyone wanted me to be. She also taught me when the right guy came along, he would like me for me.
And if he didn’t… he wasn’t worth it anyway.
Seemed like this was a lesson I should have learned in high school, not as a sophomore in college, but maybe I was a late bloomer.
Okay, I wasn’t a late bloomer. I just got a taste of freedom since coming to Alpha U, and now that I wasn’t constantly surrounded by family who watched my every move, I had more room to try things out.
And I tried lots of things.
Most of which I regretted.
But no more.
I wasn’t going to be the girl who partied and drank too much. I wasn’t going to sleep with random guys, thinking it might lead me to Mr. Right. And I certainly wasn’t going to get so drunk that some psycho could take advantage of me to hurt people I cared about.
I closed my eyes against the thought.
It made me feel dirty even now, months later.
It seemed it didn’t matter how much I tried to distance myself from it or tried to forget. There was no forgetting I’d slept with Zach.
Actually, I didn’t remember much about the actual sex. I just remembered coming back to my dorm with him, some foreplay, and waking up naked when Rimmel came home the next day.
God, I’d been mortified when I fully woke up and realized what happened. I even tried to tell myself we hadn’t actually slept together, that maybe he left before it got that far. But I couldn’t deny it very long.
I felt the evidence between my legs the second I got up.
I shuddered and tried to cut off my thoughts.
But they were persistent.
I don’t know what was worse: the fact I slept with Zach or the fact we hadn’t used a condom.
Could I respect myself any less?
And then to find out he’d used me to hurt Rimmel, one of my best friends?
There wasn’t enough soap in Wal-Mart to make me feel clean again.
So I vowed to lay off the alcohol. I would still drink—I was still in college after all—but never enough to let myself get to that point again. Never enough to not know what I was doing.
If only I could forget. If only I could wipe away the fact I let him touch me.
The sound of the sliding glass doors behind me broke into my thoughts, and I glanced over my shoulder. My body tensed when I saw who it was, and I rolled my eyes.
“What do you want?”
“Just coming to make sure you aren’t burning my dinner,” Braeden quipped as he came closer.
I was standing in front of the grill, the scent of charcoal and hamburgers filling the breezy air around us.
“I know how to use a grill,” I snapped.
“But you don’t know how I like my meat,” he goaded, stopping just behind me. I felt his breath as he leaned in, right beside my ear. “Pink in the middle.”
My tongue slid over my teeth. “You smell like a brewery.” I spun and shoved him away. “It’s gross.”
He stumbled back a step but didn’t go any further. He wasn’t wearing a shirt. He was all tan muscle and low-riding board shorts.
It was totally annoying.
I turned back to the grill and lifted the lid to check the burgers.
I felt him behind me again, peering over my shoulder. “They look done.”