Filthy English (English #2)(12)


by Ilsa Madden-Mills

“You should have been with Remi,” I told her tightly. “I’m assuming you came with her to keep her company.”

Lulu scrunched her face up, put her hands on her hips, and harrumphed. “This girl? She’s tough as nails. You don’t know half the shit she can handle, and don’t let the klutziness fool you. She survived a squirrel attack on the quad last year and only came out with a tetanus shot,” she said. “And why do you care? Why are you being in charge with Remi? She doesn’t even like you.”

I know.

“Guys, stop,” Remi said as she rose up from the table. She weaved a bit, then steadied as I reached over to help her stand. “I got this.” She held me off as she propped herself against the back of the booth and gingerly tested her ankle. Placing it down on the floor, she took a couple of practice steps. “See, I’m better already. All I needed was the ice pack.”

I exhaled. She did seem okay, her foot firmly on the floor as she walked.

Spider arched his brow and directed his eyes at me. “Seems like our cue to go, don’t you think?”

“Yeah. Scat,” Lulu said, shooing us. “I’ve got two guys I’ve been dancing with on their way up here to meet Remi, and one of them is going to be her date tonight.” She turned to Remi. “Sound good?”

Remi shrugged.

Lulu nodded, practically rubbing her hands together. “They are so sweet, and one of them is in a band and the other goes to uni—isn’t that a cute word? Uni?” She giggled.

Remi flicked her eyes at me and shrugged. “Sure, bring them on. The more the merrier.”

A vein in my temple pulsed. I mean, I could actually feel it. Visions of her drunk and in a bed with a random stranger pissed me off. Didn’t she know that was dangerous and stupid . . . ?

You don’t own her, Dax. She belongs to Hartford—or at least her heart does.

Spider came over to stand next to me, out of earshot of the girls. He grabbed my elbow and pulled me toward the staircase.

“Bye, y’all.” Lulu waved at us, a sarcastic tone in her voice.

Obviously she held a grudge as long as Remi did.

Spider turned to me as I slowed my pace, still looking back at Remi. “Dude, I know you want to stay and do your caveman protector act, but you’ve done all you can here. Your charms aren’t working. She’s a no-go. She bloody hates you,” he said.

“I wasn’t acting. This has nothing to do with the bet.”

He clapped me on the back. “Such an optimist. I like that about you. It gives you a certain, oh, innocence that in the end only adds to your many attributes. I can honestly see why women drop at your feet, but sometimes, cousin, you just have to admit that the game is over and the chick just isn’t that into you. Checkmate. I win.”

“She used to be into me.”

“Till you broke her heart.” He grinned and ruffled my hair. “Bloody hell, it feels great to beat your arse. Let’s do another wager.”

As he nattered on about bets and pounds, I kept my eyes on Remi, watching as she applied red lipstick and ran quick fingers through her disheveled hair.

She’d hadn’t even said goodbye, and she made it clear she didn’t want to be my friend. But as I watched her not watching me, I took in the strained lines around her eyes.

“Oi, are you listening to me?” Spider asked.

“No.”

“Why the bloody hell not? I’m taking sporting bets here, and you’re off in la-la land. You haven’t gotten into my hash have you? Come on, let’s get a drink or hit the kebab place across the street. Loser has to pay though.” He smirked. “That’s you.”

“Yeah,” I murmured, but I was only half listening.

Remi must have felt the weight of my stare because she glanced up and our eyes met and clung to each other. My pulse kicked up, and in that moment I wanted to stay with her.

You can’t.

But . . .

“It’s not over yet,” I muttered under my breath as we walked away.

DAX AND SPIDER walked away and headed toward the stairs. I watched his broad shoulders disappear until he was swallowed by the crowd.

My pounding heart finally relaxed.

God help me.

I’d kissed the boy I’d loved; the boy who’d ripped my heart out and then tossed it away like some forgotten thing. I’d inhaled his intoxicating scent and talked to him face to face. Something I’d sworn I’d never do again.

The fear on his face when he’d asked if I’d been in love with him had reiterated everything I suspected about him. His heart was locked away, enclosed in an impenetrable castle.

I had to protect myself from him.

The thing is, Dax is a temporary guy and I’m a forever girl, and the two didn’t go together. Ever.

I closed my eyes, remembering the dark place he’d put me in three years ago and the secret I’d kept from him.

I opened my eyes to see Lulu watching me, her eyes soft with concern. She sat next to me in the booth and gave my shoulder a squeeze. “You feeling okay?”

I nodded. “Good.”

“Uh-huh. So, question . . . how on earth did you end up with Dax and the blue-haired guy? There’s got to be a good story there.”

“I tripped and fell in his lap. I—I didn’t know who he was.”

“And?” she said.

“One thing led to another . . . we kissed.” I exhaled. “It was amazing—as usual.”

Her green eyes widened. “Shit.”

“Yeah, mega shit,” I mumbled.

“No wonder you’re white as a ghost.”

I nodded, filling her in on the details of him carting me upstairs.

She took a sip of her drink, eyes watchful as they raked over me. “Did I do the right thing by being a bitch and sending him away? ’Cause I gotta tell ya, you looked a bit conflicted for a moment.”

I had?

She snorted. “God, I wish Hartford could have seen him kiss you though. He’d have pissed his pants. Dax Blay, the most popular Tau ever, making out with his ex-fiancée.”

Hartford.

A pang struck, right in the center of my chest. Another failure. I was zero for two when it came to love.

And with that thought in mind, I checked my phone to see if Hartford had called. We hadn’t had any communication since Mario’s.