Never been nerdy, p.6
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       Never Been Nerdy, p.6
 

           C.M. Kars

  To see Dean doing it, savouring the greatness that is the chocolate flavour, well, it’s kind of hot. And I’m liking him more and more.

  Sera suddenly grabs her purse and starts rummaging through the whole thing, plopping down two, yes two, giant paperbacks on the table, and her wallet to find her phone. At least she doesn’t have it in her pocket, like I do, probably destroying my precious ovaries with whatever kind of radiation is coming out of it.

  “Hello?” she says into the phone and I swear to God, I see how much Hunter has calmed her down, how much he’s made her feel better about herself. In what little time they’ve been together, six months by my count, he’s changed her, and I think it’s for the better. I hope it is. Which is going to make it ten times fucking worse when he tears her heart to shreds, fucking up Matty in the process.

  You’d have to be blind to not see that Matty loves Sera with all of his little four-year-old body. He won’t understand what’s happening when they call it quits.

  “Hey, Hunt. Gimme a sec, ok?” Sera gets up from our table and points to her phone in exaggerated movements, like Dean and I are dumber than a wood post. Sera smiles at us even though just one of my eyebrows shot up, and motions to Matty to follow her. Chicken Little grabs her hand as they wind their way through tables and out into the aisles where all the books and magazines are.

  I turn to look at Dean, who’s been staring after my best friend.

  Shit. Why can’t he look at me like that?

  Ugh. Squishy female hormones. Wanting to make me less lonely. Shut up.

  “So…” he says, shaking his head and coming out of his probably dirty fantasies about my friend’s giant ass. Her words not mine, but no one can deny it’s big. I guess he’s an ass-man, which sucks for me, because there’s no way I can compete with Sera in that department.

  It’s probably the curse’s fault that the one guy I want to have sex with after a seven-month dry spell prefers my best friend to me. What universe am I living in? How come Sera gets all the hotties?

  “So…” I say, in no way wanting to relieve his awkwardness. I find it incredibly cute, and not even a bit annoying. I’m sure if we ever dated, I’d be breaking through walls to try and get away from him from being so annoyed.

  Short term is always better than long-term. Nothing lasts forever.

  “How about you and I go for coffee Friday night?”

  Yes, I just made the most epic of excuses for my mom’s dinner shit with Malcolm. Sayonara shitty night of hell with the ‘step-dad’. Suck it!

  Dean looks like he’s swallowed his tongue and then proceeds to cough into his fist, so much so that I’m wondering if I should be thumping his back to dislodge whatever the hell is stuck in his throat. I think it’s just disbelief, or he tried to swallow and breathe at the same time.

  When he’s okay, he ends up clearing his throat and gives me a serious face. Until it changes into something else entirely.

  His green eyes go dead, flat, ugly. His mouth sets into a firm line, going white around the edges. He blinks at me like I’m an alien he wants to study and examine and figure out what makes me go tic-toc. I swallow hard, and bite my tongue from going ape shit on him.

  Then the bomb drops. “Not in a million fucking years.”

  Chapter 6

  La brutta figura – keep it cool DiNovro. He wants to see you ruffled. Don’t let him win.

  Oh, I’m going to push it alright; something about all this stinks and I intend to find out what it is. Sherlock Holmes has nothing on me. I’ve never been shot down like this. A guy is a guy is a guy. Guys want pussy – unless they’re gay, and no matter what I do, well I don’t have the package they want.

  “Are you gay?” I ask, and not three seconds after the words are out of my mouth that I find out that this shit storm is going to end very badly.

  Dean squints at me, rubs a knuckle along the middle of his forehead, all while his nostrils flare. His muscles get tight underneath his skin, his forearm muscles popping with the veins he’s showing off. His shoulders have hunched in as he crosses his arms over his chest, plants his elbows on the table, and slides his giant hulking mass closer to me.

  Well, shit. Dean’s giving me a look that can kill. Luckily, or not so luckily, I’ve got nine lives. Or so they tell me. What use is having bad luck if I can’t experience it for the rest of forevermore?

  His green eyes belittle me where I sit, like I’m nothing more than a particular speck of dust floating in the wind, nothing to even think about. Something cold crawls around my chest, dragging itself across my heart.

  “What did you just say to me?” His words are low, and oh so dangerous. Flashes of crime scenes in Criminal Minds streak through my head.

  Nothing in my life has prepared me for this. Yeah, I talk the talk. I can crush men with a few words, and a look that clearly says you are a waste of my time. But this? Sitting across from Dean without Sera’s diplomacy is freaking me out, more so than hitting the giant with my car in the first place.

  I have a fleeting thought that I might die here today.

  Also, pretty sure I can’t speak and that I’ve gone and peed myself. In this moment, I’m nothing more than bedazzling on a balloon; pretty on the outside, the kind you keep for a few days for the look of it, but on the inside? On the inside I’m nothing more than stagnant air that was someone’s secondary thought.

  I feel it, I feel what Dean thinks of me. He’s got to think I’m nothing more than a princess that’s always had her bidding done for her without any hesitation. He’d be right. I’ve never felt ashamed of that – until now.

  “You think,” he says, voice low and quiet and so calm I’m shaking, “that because I turned you down, you have the audacity to think it’s because I’m gay?” Quiet, his voice is so quiet, so even. He’s not even breathing hard, or giving off any of those tell-tale signs like yelling his head off that I’ve gone and insulted his sexuality.

  This guy is dangerous when he wants to be; this kind of unpredictability has me swallowing whatever little saliva I have left in my mouth.

  I clear my throat, anger infusing my veins with a deadly pride that could get me killed one day. I’m hoping it’s not today. I tighten my spine and sit up straighter in my chair, giving him the Italian stink eye, hard enough that I’m hoping he gets some serious malocchio from this.

  “Yeah. That’s exactly what I think.”

  Dean’s eyes never leave mine. They’re like green chips of ice that refuse to melt under the sun’s harsh light. They’re frosty and cold, and lack any sort of camaraderie or lust or even respect for me.

  Me and my big mouth. It ruins everything.

  I’m 100% sure some jerk cranked on the A/C, I can practically see my breath – that’s the only reason why my teeth feel like they’re going to start chattering and the temperature has dropped a good ten degrees.

  “You’re an idiot. Just…a complete moron.” Dean seems to bite off what he was going to say next, still glaring at me like his eyes are the knives and I’m the bull’s eye. I feel the pain of that glare on every inch of my skin.

  I’m too shocked to even say anything about his opinion of my intelligence. I’m smart, I know that, and I don’t need validation or constant approval and banners proclaiming it to the world. But there’s something in the way he’s saying it to me, something that’s just there but beyond my reach, like a frequency that’s just out of hearing range.

  I’m missing the point; I can’t see the big picture. I’m a piece of bark on a tree in the middle of a forest without knowing I’m part of something greater. Dean makes me feel like that, like I’m blind and deaf to the world around me.

  And for a second, I start to believe him.

  “Who the hell do you think you are, talking to me like that?” I explode, throwing my arms up in the air, growling at him. “Nobody talks to me like that, Dean, not even my own parents!”

  Dean doesn’t move from his spot and doesn’t look the least bit perturbed at my
outburst. If anything, his lack of reaction makes me think that I’m in the wrong, like I’m just a spoiled little brat of a kid having a tantrum.

  “Maybe they should have. Would’ve taught you some manners and how to treat people.”

  “Dude, if you don’t want to go out with me, there’s a way of saying that without coming off like a total dick. And you have crossed that line.”

  Dean shakes his head, giving me a patronizing look. He can shove that look up his ass.

  “How can you not remember?”

  “What the hell are you talking about?” I ask.

  “Shit, you don’t even know, do you? I thought Sera would say something, even when she promised she wouldn’t.”

  “Know what?!” My blood pressure has skyrocketed, high-fiving the stars.

  “I’ve lived and re-lived all those years of my life, and you, it’s not even a fucking blip on your radar. You know what? I’ve wasted enough time on this. I’m peaching out of here. Tell Sera I’ll call her.”

  Dean gets up, steps away from the table after pushing his chair back in, and doesn’t even look at me as he passes me by. I gape as he goes down the escalator, looking like he’s sprinting down the thing, all while my mouth stays open.

  What the hell just happened?

  “Jesus, K, what did you do?” Sera’s voice floats to me from somewhere in the six o’clock region. I don’t want to look back and see the look on her face; her voice tells me enough. I’ve disappointed her, and disappointing Sera is not in the business of what I do.

  “I don’t want to talk about it. I’m still processing.”

  Sera comes to my side, towing Matty behind her. He looks more than a little crestfallen to find his new giant best friend not sitting at our table anymore. That look on his face is my fault, too.

  “Are you about done? I’d like to get out of here,” I say. I sound like a bitch and I don’t care who knows it. Sera’s wise enough to keep quiet as we go down the escalator and make our way towards the cash. Only then do I realize she’s brought her books, Matty’s, as well as Dean’s that he’d left to the side of our table, discarded with her, intending to pay for them.

  I take the books from her, not analyzing too closely what I’m doing, and the reason I’m doing it. The only person I’ve ever bought a book for is Sera, and doing it for somebody else feels a little wrong, like I know them.

  But a promise is a promise, and I always keep my promises. Even if while paying at the cash, and looking into that snarky sixteen-year-old’s face asking me if I’ve found everything I’m looking for feels like punishment, feels like she knows what happened upstairs and how I didn’t win that argument.

  It feels like admitting defeat, it feels like not getting the last word in. And I absolutely hate that.

  Oh, I’ll get Dean back, that’s for sure. I’m not going to let that kind of behaviour slide.

  Nobody calls me an idiot. Good thing about the whole thing now is, I don’t want to fuck him anymore.

  No, I plan on doing something much, much worse.

  ***

  Sera lets us into her and Hunter’s apartment, and I keep my growl of annoyance to myself. She’s gone and geekified the entire place.

  The posters that used to be on her walls are now plastered on Hunter’s, and her bookcases are crammed in on either side of the TV. Her DVD collection has eaten any of the space left between the bookcase and the actual TV stand, the spines all facing outward and in, after a quick glance, alphabetical order.

  Thank God on the drive back to her place, Sera didn’t say anything, content enough to fiddle with my phone, searching for some nonexistent One Direction.

  I like that a lot about Sera. She always lets me stew in it, and never forces me to speak when I don’t want to. In all the years I’ve known her, she’s never pushed me to talk it out, which is my modus operandi.

  Nah, Delos keeps quiet when she should be screaming at me, should be telling me it’s going to be okay, even if I won’t feel okay for a long time. I’m not even sure what’s going on in my head right now, or why I feel so ashamed. It just doesn’t make sense, and no matter how many times I replay the scene at the bookstore over and over in my head, there’s no hidden cameras to show me all the angles, no little microphones and voice recognition programs to help me figure out what the hell Dean was talking about, or what made him so angry.

  I say flippant shit all the time, doesn’t mean you have to go crazy and sound like burning my house down with me in it is a great option for revenge. Men - I’ll never understand them, and Dean takes the cake.

  Who has ever turned down sex with me?

  Okay, I asked him out for coffee, and didn’t make the arrangement clear, but that’s just not something you do in a place where there are small kids around. Seriously, there’s no nice and polite way of saying: ‘I want to have crazy monkey sex with you, preferably much sooner rather than later. Yes or yes?’

  Maybe I should have gone that way. I don’t think it would have changed his reaction.

  Holy shit, the way his voice got all quiet and serial-killer like? I shiver just thinking about it.

  “Want a drink?” Sera asks, sucking me back into reality as I stare blankly at the walls. There are too many nerd references here for me to understand. Too many.

  “Yeah. Whatever you’re having,” I say, putting my purse down on the floor. I take off my heels, letting my feet get accustomed to the lay of flat land once more. I cry on the inside for the loss of height.

  “Matty, turn on the TV. You said you wanted to watch Captain America, right?”

  “Yes, I did, Sera!” he yells from my feet, trying to undo his laces fast enough, like the movie is going to disappear from the DVR if he takes a second longer.

  I watch Matty run to the far corner of the couch and plop himself down, making the leather pop with the slight weight it now has on it. Sera comes back from the kitchen and hands me a cold beer, condensation forming and ready to make waterfalls along the sides of the bottle.

  Damn, when was the last time I had a Corona? And how many calories will it be if I drink only half?

  “Come and sit, K.” Sera waves towards the couch then freezes as she spots my grounded purse. “Buddy, how many times do I have to tell you not to leave your purse on the floor? It’s bad luck!”

  I roll my eyes, and take a sip of beer. Oh, holy hell, is that good. And it’s probably being converted to fat right this very instant and going to forming a pooch on my lower belly. Fuck it.

  YOLO!

  “I swear, the amount of Greek superstitions makes my brain hurt.” I grab my purse from Sera and set it on the kitchen counter. When I turn back around to move to the couch, I see that Sera’s sitting next to Matty, and the kid has wormed his way into her lap, holding the remote, eyes caught by whatever’s on the screen.

  I sit myself down on the opposite side of the couch, take another swig of beer and studiously ignore my best friend. I’m in for it; the storm is brewing, and it’s going to throw me across the city.

  “Cover your ears, Matty,” she says, and the kid looks up at her, leaning back to get all her face in his vision. He really is cute, even if he’s a handful. “C’mon, I’ll pause the movie for you so you won’t miss anything, I promise.”

  Looking to be satisfied, Matty does as he’s told. Maybe I should’ve used that tone of voice with Dean earlier. ‘We should go for coffee and have some sexcercise later.’ Boom. Results guaranteed.

  “You,” she accuses, index finger in the air like she’s scolding some little kid, “are mean.”

  I practically snort up my beer. “Are you freaking,” I drop my voice down so my ‘bad’ word doesn’t cost me a quarter, “kidding me? How in hell is what happened back there my fault? Explain it to me, Delos, ‘cause I’m not getting it.”

  I’m strangling the neck of my booze, letting the cold and wet hit my inner wrist and slide down my skin under my shirt. I have the evil queen urge to start destroying Sera’s collection
of geeky posters just to see her crumple up and cry.

  My blood’s pounding too hard and too fast in my veins. I grind my teeth together and lock my muscles in place so I don’t end up doing anything stupid.

  “Katie, if you wanna frak Dean, it’s not going to happen. Choose somebody else to do that with. Dean’s the kind of guy that girls get lucky to call their boyfriends.” Again, she uses the emphasis on his name.

  I rear my head back like I’ve been slapped and trying to get away from another hand attack.

  “What? How do you know that? You met the guy yesterday!” I upend my beer bottle and end up getting some in my nose. I rub the liquid away from my mouth and face with the sleeve of my shirt, not even caring at this point that I’m ruining my clothes.

  “What the hell do you know about it, anyway? All guys are good for a round in the sack. All guys,” I emphasize, still wiping at my mouth. I’ve swallowed what remaining liquid there was from my nose. Eeew.

  Sera shakes her head, chews on her lip, looks up to the ceiling like the right jumble of words and the right things to say are written there for her use only.

  “I can’t believe you don’t remember. It’s only been ten years.”

  Ten years?

  “Is this another Supernatural reference? I have the distinct memory of you saying somebody sold their soul and got ten years of their dream life or something to that effect.”

  I get a quick thumbs up for a job well done. Go, me!

  “Nice try, but no.” Matty wiggles in her lap, and I see him split his fingers open, the better to hear us with. Don’t swear, don’t swear. The little guy is gonna vulture whatever change you have left.

  “What, then? What’s this big secret you and Dean have been keeping from me?” One more swig of beer hitting my empty stomach. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, never mind the calories. The empty calories!

 
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