Embrace: Evolve Series, Book Two(8)

By: S.E. Hall

Redhead, though—check!

Whitley walks into my line of vision and I glace around, trying to seek out the most harmless looking brunette or blonde in the place so I can complete Sawyer’s asinine scheme and get my Laney info.

“You look miserable,” Whitley surmises.

Observant girl. I can’t help my slight smirk. “That obvious, huh?”

“Yeah.” She nods. “Katie not your type?”

Shaking my head, I give her an attempt at a smile. “Not at all. Sawyer’s idea.”

“Come on.” She takes my hand and leads me to her now empty table. “Have a seat.”

I comply immediately. I’d just go home, but I’m kinda in limbo. The new semester hasn’t started yet, so my room here isn’t officially mine for a few more days and I’m in no condition to drive back to my parents’ house. Quite simply, I have absolutely nothing to lose or better to do than sit here and talk to Whitley.

“So, why does a guy who looks like you need Sawyer to find him dance partners? If you wanna call that dancing.” She’s blunt. And right—that wasn’t dancing.

I shrug. “He’s trying to cheer me up; get me to meet girls, I guess.”

She snickers. “I doubt you need help meeting girls either.”

It just popped out; when she realizes she spoke it out loud, her face flushes and her eyes dart down. It’s a pretty look on her, softening her somehow. Whitley’s very attractive; too perfect though. When I look at her, I see money; she’s very much a practiced, methodically-planned, well-put-together girl, who, if I’m not mistaken, wants to be anything but. Her shoulders don’t ever slump, her back is pin straight, her posture nothing short of perfect. Not one shiny, blonde hair dares to fall out of place. But her eyes… Her eyes are a blinding blue and the genuine sadness in them is one of the few things about her that isn’t deliberate.

“Thanks.” I look away, more embarrassed at her compliment than Katie’s dry-humping. “I just don’t know anyone here yet, so he’s actually trying to be a good guy and help me out.”

“Sawyer’s a really good guy. He just doesn’t know it.” Her expression is sincere; she’s not being snarky.

I feel bad for her, complimenting Sawyer when he was just so rude to her and badmouthed her to me. I barely know either of them, though, so maybe there’s more to it.

“But I know enough about Sawyer. Tell me something about you.” She smiles, encouraging me.

“What do you want to know?”

Before she can answer, Sawyer joins us, abruptly pulling up a chair. “Bro, you got two to go. Why are you just sitting here?”

What Whitley must think right now? Certainly I don’t want her to get the impression I number and categorize women on a regular basis—all Sawyer on that one.

“Eh,” I shoot Whitley an apologetic smile, “I wasn’t feeling it. This pretty lady is great company, however.”

She blushes again and it’s even prettier than the last time.

“Fuck,” Sawyer grumbles, turning to Whitley. “Way too sticky, Whit. Walk away. He doesn’t know better, yet, but you…”

Her shoulders tense and her eyes narrow, trying not to mist up. “What are you talking about, Sawyer? We’re just talking, and what is so wrong with me?”

“Shit, Whitley,” he motions to his replacement bartender for drinks, “where do I start?”

Damn. That’s the first really not right thing I’ve seen or heard from him and it doesn’t sit well with me.

“People are always pissed off around you, woman,” he points out. “Things can be going great, and then you show up, boom—it goes to shit.”

“Now back up,” I interject, no longer able to sit idly while he insults a female. Man, how I’d love to set him loose on Kaitlyn, but not Whitley. “What’d she do that’s so wrong?”

Sawyer smirks. “I told ya, your girl hates her fucking guts.”

Whitley eyes me warily. “Who’s your girl?”

“She’s not my girl, and he knows it.” I give Sawyer a pointed glare. Hadn’t he told me straight up that Dane’s his friend and he’s basically running interference for him by hanging with me? He’s more than aware Laney is no longer “my girl,” so why is he antagonizing Whitley? I run a hand down my face, becoming increasingly frustrated and completely opposed to continuing this conversation. I certainly don’t want my own misery broadcast to the bar, so I’m willing to forego my interest in why Laney hates Whitley.

“Who are you talking about?” She tries her luck with Sawyer just as our drinks arrive.

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