Study Scene from Romeo’s POV
Happy New Year’s Eve! Here’s another Romeo POV scene. This is the second half of the study scene in Romeo’s dorm. I have one more short one waiting…that may be the end. Finding these with enough drama and without too many spoilers is getting difficult.
Hope you enjoy!
I come back from the laundry and catch Riley holding one of my pictures from the top desk shelf. She’s staring at it so intently I say, “Thought I ruled the world at age eleven with my first title.”
She jumps but doesn’t set the picture down or turn. “Was the man your coach?”
“And my grandfather,” I say stepping next to her. I catch a whiff of that vanilla and orange mixture. Damn she smells good.
She finally turns but just slightly. Those thick lashes lift. “The musical one?”
“Boxing and music were his life.”
She clears her throat. “Marcus said something about you boxing here at the university before.”
At the thought of Marcus my eyes narrow and my jaw clenches. I don’t want to talk about her asshole boyfriend.
Studying me, she leans a hip against the desk. “It was when you were in the cafeteria with all those boys.”
I let my jealousy simmer low, set the basket on the chair, cross my arms, and lean on the desk. “Any sport at this level is a huge commitment, even out of season. I trained and studied, and that was about it. I missed life. I missed music. I was poorer than shit without a job. I decided to quit and start a band. It just made sense at the time.”
She smiles and my stupid insides warm. “Well, music makes more sense to me than boxing.”
“Me too.” I glance back at the picture and away from her smile. “But it was a hard decision. My grandfather boxed for half his life. He never made it big, but he was good enough to make a living at it. He wanted me to go farther than him, but I just didn’t have the same drive for the sport as he did. But I do have that drive for music.”
Her amber eyes turn huge. “So you want to take the band past college?”
Why does everyone think that? I shake my head. “I’m majoring in music. Minoring in business. I’m thinking of getting a master’s degree in music technology and production next or something in a related field.”
“You want to produce music?”
I shrug. “I’m not sure, but a degree in performance seems useless to me.”
I can’t help a smirk realizing that’s what she’s been considering. “I’m not saying people shouldn’t get them, but I’m getting the experience I want through the band.”
“Managing experience too?”
I nod. Riley’s always too quick.
She blinks. “Um…wow, you have everything perfectly planned out.”
I’m a bit startled by her awe. If anyone has it together, Riley does. “You must have some plans.”
A sad laugh escapes her. “My plan was to get to an out of state college and play the drums. Education was part of the packaged deal.”
Confused, I raise a brow.
“This is going to sound stupid, but back in freshman year of high school they drilled college down our throats. Probably hoping we’d become serious students. Well it worked with me. I became obsessed with the idea of moving away and going to school. My parents had a modest college fund going for me. I was a good, not awesome student. However, I did play the drums awesomely and our school went to several competitions throughout the year.” She shrugs. “I became obsessed with getting a percussion scholarship.”
I recall her watching the band looking small and forlorn at the football game then her friend’s explanation. “You did get one.”
“I did, but things didn’t work out.”
“Your mom?” I say softly while awe for this girl builds.
“And my sister.”
Once again she blows my opinion of her out of the water. At least when it comes to her family. “That’s pretty amazing for you to give up your dream for them.”
“Ah yeah, it doesn’t always feel amazing.” Looking away from me, she sets the picture on the shelf. Her profile is soft and pretty in sadness. She glances back to me. “Between the scholarships and the band, I’m sure your grandfather’s still proud of you even though you don’t box.”
“He would be.”
“Oh…” her eyes round. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t worry. It’s been over five years.” His death still hurts. It will always hurt. It’s a numb pain that I will carry in my chest throughout the rest of my life.
“Well you’re still involved with boxing right? You were pretty impressive keeping that group of boys controlled.”
“I’m shocked,” I say, grinning.
“Why?” she asks slowly.
I lean toward her. “You, drummer extraordinaire, just complimented me.”
She leans too. “Was that a return compliment?”
I can’t help a smile. “I believe it was.”
Her eyes lock on my mouth and my gut clenches. “We should get back to studying.”
“We should,” I say unable to resist tilting in closer and breathing in her scent.
She tilts in the tiniest amount too.
I’m remembering the taste and feel of her while want pounds through my veins. I’m trying to make up my fucking mind to sway toward those lush lips or away when the turn of the doorknob has us jumping apart.
When Justin walks in, I’m in leaning on the desk and Riley’s in the corner.
He looks between us. “What’s going on?”
I flick a finger to our Calculus books lying on the floor. “We’re just taking a break from studying.”
Opening a water, Riley lets out a nervous laugh. “It’s more like tutoring. I’m not doing too hot in the class.”
Justin finally moves to the mess on his dresser. “Well, you came to the right place. Nobody’s as smart as Romeo,” he says mockingly.
I give him a level look.
Riley releases another nervous laugh. “Yeah, I just might pass tomorrow’s test.”
Justin grabs a hat from his dresser before yanking a jacket from the closet. “Sam’s having a poker party at his apartment if you get done early.” He opens the door. “Twenty will get you in.”
“Um…maybe,” Riley says.
Justin nods. “Later losers,” he says, shutting the door.
I stand and run my hands violently through my hair. Unable to look at her, I can’t believe I almost fell for this shit again. This girl is going to make me insane. “Fuck,” I snarl, turn, and punch the wall.
Riley stands in the corner staring at me with huge eyes.
“I told myself this wouldn’t happen,” I snap, holding my throbbing fist and almost enjoying the pain. “Between the band and your boyfriend, I’m acting like a fucking idiot.”
Riley takes a small step out of the corner. “My boyfriend?”
My gaze pins her to the corner. “Goes by the name Marcus.”
Her mouth falls open. “Marcus isn’t my boyfriend.”
I raise a brow. “You broke up?”
She shakes her head “We’ve been friends since second grade. Nothing more.”
I flip out an index finger. “You guys practically cuddled at band tryouts.” I add another finger. “Him getting busy with another girl had you shit crazy.” I add a last finger. “I referred to you as his girlfriend and he never denied it.”
She faces me like a little goddess warrior. “Marcus was never my boyfriend.” Her hands fist at her hips. “You read the first two wrong. The third is a lie by omission. But how can you even spout this crap at me when it’s obvious you’re at least dating April?”
All of the air feels like it left my body at her words, but somehow I slowly say, “I dated April last year, but we’re just good friends now.”
She doesn’t have a boyfriend. Everything in one instant is different. And possible, so fucking wonderfully possible. Until I remember the band. With a sigh, I fold my arms behind my neck. “None of this shit matters because if Sam or Justin ever knew we messed around…”
“I should go.” She marches past me and starts whipping her books in her bag.
Besides the band, I’m recalling how she treated me after spending the night, watching her angrily toss books into her bag. The fact that she didn’t have a boyfriend then makes her behavior worse somehow.
“Let’s just forget about this again.” She slowly stands and lifts her chin. “And other than band practice and Calculus, I think we should stay away from each other.”
She’s off limits and she treats me like shit, but fuck while she stands there drawing in a deep breath that has her chest rising I still want her. My lips thin into a line at my own stupidity. Angry with myself, I can only nod at her demand.
“Thanks for the help,” she says over her shoulder before shutting the door.
I want to punch the wall again. Instead, I swipe up her opened water bottle. When I realizing I’m drinking from where her lips have been, I whip the open water bottle at the closed door.
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