Filthy English (English #2)(11)


by Ilsa Madden-Mills

I shifted around on my seat.

“Why did you kiss me the second time after you knew it was me?” She doodled on the table with her index finger. Her head came up when I didn’t answer right away, her eyes meeting mine. “Dax?”

I shrugged. “Because I still remember that weekend we were together . . . because—dammit—I don’t know, okay?” I stood back up, crossing my arms. “The ice is taking too long. I’m going to see where she went—”

“Dax. Wait.”

I turned back around, my eyes skating over her.

She took a deep breath, confusion on her face. “Look, I came here tonight looking for my rebound guy. I wanted to hurt Hartford by sexing it up with a hot British dude. That’s why I kissed you.”

“I’m not judging you, Remi.”

“Then this bartender kinda hit on me, but I got T. rex arms and fell and you caught me, and I thought fate had put us together, and then that kiss . . .” She stopped and squinted. “Am I making sense? I totally am, right?”

Not even close, but I nodded.

She sighed. “Anyway, what I’m getting at is I shouldn’t have slapped you. It’s not like me and was a knee-jerk reaction. I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry for being an egotistical waste of oxygen.” I sent her a wry grin.

Her hands twisted the bracelet on her wrist, eyes downcast. “Tell me something. You mentioned something earlier about me storming out that day . . . if I hadn’t walked out on you, would we have been a real thing?”

I opened my mouth, and for half a second I didn’t know what I was going to say. My eyes met hers. “Three weeks is my longest with any girl. You were amazing, Remi—but it’s doubtful we would have lasted much beyond that. We were so hot for each other, I never got around to clarifying—”

She held her hand up. “Stop explaining. I figured it out pretty quick when you never called or texted—and when I saw you the next week with another girl.”

The waitress showed up with water, a Ziploc bag of ice, and a towel, stopping any further discussion about the topic. After she left, I sat back down in the chair and put the towel under the ice and then on her ankle. “Sorry, this is probably going to be cold,” I said gently.

“I can deal. I always do,” she murmured, eyes on her foot as she took a sip of water.

“Remi?”

She looked up at me. “Yeah?”

I exhaled. “Listen. I want to make it up to you. For being an arsehole back then—and tonight.”

“An ass would have left me down there fumbling around like a drunk, one-legged pirate. You didn’t.”

My lips kicked up. “Funny.”

Her fingers plucked at the hem of her dress. “What’s funny is I can’t recall what I had for dinner last night, but I remember every single detail of that weekend with you. How the window was open and the wind blew the curtains. I let you . . .”

“Better watch what you say. You’re not yourself,” I said softly.

She laughed, the first genuine one I’d heard. “You’re right. I sound like a sappy girl with a crush on the school bad boy—oh, wait, that did happen.”

“Shall we call a truce then? Start over as friends?”

“Friends?” Her dark brows drew in.

“Yeah. You know, hang in the quad, meet at the library, go to Panera.”

“Panera? Together? Like eat at the same table?”

I grinned. “Yeah. Or we can sit on opposite sides of the restaurant and yell back and forth.”

A giggle erupted from her and soon turned into a full-blown belly laugh.

“What’s so hilarious?” I asked, unable to keep the defensiveness out of my tone.

She gathered herself, wiping her eyes. “Oh, Dax Blay, you’re a real comedian. I cried over you for an entire semester, I ate enough cookie dough that the cashier at the grocery store would have it waiting for me. I watched an entire season of Orange is the New Black in one day just to get you out of my head. I daydreamed you’d come to my door and beg me to take you back. Instead, I watched girls panting over you like hyenas on campus while you reveled in the attention. So, no, absolutely never, ever can we be friends. I don’t want to be in the same room with you. No offense.” She smiled wryly and with her index finger pointed to herself and then me. “This here—you being nice and helping me and me being drunk and chatting like we’re comrades—it’s a one-time thing.”

Confusion set in.

She’d been depressed because of me? She’d cried an entire semester?

What. The. Hell.

Something wasn’t adding up.

I’d just assumed her coolness toward me was because of Eva-Maria and she had genuinely written me off as a complete jerk. Then tonight I’d learned of Eva-Maria’s bullying. But this?

My hands clenched. “Are you saying you were in love with me?”

She froze, her eyes evading mine. Seconds ticked by.

A weird panic hit and I held my breath.

Had she loved me?

No girl had ever said so.

Fuck. I hadn’t wanted them to.

“Remi? Help a guy out. I can’t read your mind.”

She raised hesitant eyes to meet mine, a sad expression flitting across her face. “No. I don’t believe in love at first sight, or falling in love in seventy-two hours—whatever. Do you?”

“No.” I lifted my hands. “But I don’t understand why you were so upset . . .”

Lulu marched up to the table, wearing a black skirt-thing and a shirt with rips everywhere, predictably dressed like a stylish homeless person. She set her martini glass on the table, whipped her mask off, and took in Remi’s ankle, her eyes widening as she got a gander at me. A long whistle came from her mouth. “Shoot, Remi, you sure know how to party. I leave you alone for a minute and you drag up Dax Blay and company. Is this an alternate universe? Are the Omegas hanging out with the Taus?”

Spider followed behind her, his voice amused. “Found your friend twerking on the dance floor with a bunch of guys. Nice girl.”

I stood up to give Lulu my seat. “Hiya, Lulu. Having fun?” My words were clipped. Pissed off.

She smirked and spoke in her usual slow Southern drawl. “Why, hello, playa, and yeah I was, until this blue-haired dude showed up and yanked me off the floor. He said Remi was hurt.”