Rival Page 14

Tate walked up to her, taking her hands and smiling. Leading her over to one of the tables, she looked like she was introducing to her to Jared.

But Jared knew Fallon.

How did Tate?

CHAPTER 6

FALLON

“Now I’m in the twilight zone,” I blurted out when Tate introduced me to her boyfriend. “You’re dating him?” I asked her.

First the girl is friends with my stepbrother, and now she’s sleeping with the other half of the Dipshit Duo.

I mean, I get it. Kind of.

Madoc has a winning personality, and he’s hot. But Jared is just hot. At least Madoc has more going for him. Was she on a mission from God to reform ass**les?

“Well,” Tate snipped as she sat down at the table across from Jared, “she obviously hasn’t slept with you if she’s not a fan. That makes me feel better.”

Jared slouched in the chair looking every bit like he owned the place. Dressed in knee-length black swim shorts, he ran his index finger across his lips as he studied me.

Not bothering to hide my feelings, I crossed my arms over my chest and tried not to snarl. “The last time I saw you two together, you were making her cry,” I pointed out, looking at Jared and waiting.

I heard Tate snort to my right, and Jared’s smile peeked out of his fingers.

“My personality has improved, Fallon. I’m not sure yours has, though. Care to start over?” He held out his hand, and I hesitated long enough to make everyone feel awkward.

But I took it.

What the hell? If the girl was happy—and she looked happy—then it was none of my business.

And they did make a good-looking couple. He still looked the same, only bigger, and she was dressed as cute as hell in red bikini bottoms and a short-sleeved black rash guard.

“Hey, man.” Jared nodded behind me, and I felt pressure hitting my back. Not that someone was touching me.

“Tate,” Madoc said behind me, “how do you know Fallon?”

“We met jogging yesterday. I invited her to the party. Hope you don’t mind.” Tate smiled at me and continued. “She never texted, though, so I didn’t know for sure if she was coming. How do you guys know her? From school?”

“Fallon lives in my house,” Madoc taunted me.

“Our parents are married,” I explained and turned around to face Madoc. “But we’re not close. Never have been.”

Madoc’s eyes narrowed as if he was trying to figure something out.

“I can see your bra, Fallon.” He sighed and looked away, appearing bored.

I knew he could see my bra. I knew everyone could see it. It’s what I wanted. I had no plans to go swimming, so I wore a black bra with elaborate straps stretching from the front of my torso to my back and down over my shoulders from my upper chest. It wasn’t meant to be hidden, so I wore it with a loose, deep V-neck tank top that showed it off. Paired with my black shorts and flip-flops, I only accessorized with my earrings and glasses. I’d already gotten some appreciative looks, and I knew that that would piss off Madoc.

Whether or not he still wanted me, I knew he wouldn’t want anyone else to have me.

“Does it bother you?” My lips twisted in a spiteful smile. “Tate, tell him it looks hot.”

“I’d do her,” she backed me up, and I heard Jared laugh behind me.

Madoc kept his eyes locked on mine in what I knew was a challenge. He wanted to play, but he also didn’t want to admit it.

I leaned in to whisper to him, folding my arms across my chest. “You remember what happened the last time I showed up to one of your parties uninvited? You still think about it, don’t you?”

The slow rise and fall of his chest quickened as he kept his mouth glued shut for once and pierced me with hard eyes.

“Come on, Madoc!” I shifted to my right and walked backward toward the pool. “It’s a party. Don’t be a pooper.”

And I turned around giving him my back, not wanting to admit how much I wanted to see his face right now. With my heart in my throat, I threw my tank top over my head and let my shorts fall to the ground. I took a moment to breathe as the chatter around me ceased and partygoers stopped what they were doing to look at me in my underwear.

I was more covered than some of the other girls here. My bra was definitely made for sexiness, but it covered my br**sts, and my hipster underwear was black lace. Yeah, I was more covered, yet I was the indecent one, because I wore lingerie.

My hands shook. What am I doing?

I didn’t want to make a spectacle of myself. I wore the outfit to get his attention, not everyone else’s. But it was a necessary step if I wanted him to react the same way he did two years ago when I showed up to his party. I wanted him angry and out of his mind. I wanted to trap him.

“Tate.” I looked behind me, avoiding Madoc’s eyes. “Get your ass in the pool. Let’s talk Northwestern.”

Her eyebrows shot up, and then she blinked as if unsure how to respond. “Um, okay.” And she pushed out of her chair, heading for me as I dove in.

Tate and I didn’t really swim. We just caroused and laughed, while once in a while someone would cannonball into the pool or some idiot would let their boyfriend throw them in. I refused to search for Madoc, but I knew he was around. I caught sight of his ridiculously preppy gray-and-black plaid board shorts and immediately averted my eyes.

Okay, so they weren’t that ridiculous. Madoc made things work that others couldn’t. I remembered how much I hated his attire two years ago. Safe. Conformist. From the Gap.

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