“Your voice is a little like co**ine. You could bottle that stuff up and sell it. You would make a killing, especially with the sorority bimbos. Can I pay you just to talk to me all day?” I said with a giggle, so he wouldn’t think I was serious. Although, I’m pretty sure I was.

He threw his head back in abandon and let out a deep, unrestrained laugh. Thankfully, this place was so packed with talking students we didn’t call too many people to our attention, just a few confused side-glances here and there. From this angle, I admired his smile. His teeth were really white and mostly straight except for one of his front teeth turned in just a bit to mess up the smooth flow across their surface. I loved that imperfection; it meant this beautiful man wasn’t unattainable. I’m almost positive three nights with Jaxon would be incredible.

“Well, the going rate is about twenty bucks an hour,” he said interrupting my thoughts of running my tongue across his teeth and lips, which left me a little bothered.

“Huh?” I blinked at him. Wow, Emerson, great response and way to keep up the dialogue.

He chuckled a bit. “I just got a job at the local radio station as a DJ in the evenings, a couple nights a week. Well, it’s actually a paid internship, so I’ll mostly be running errands for the lead DJ. I guess I will be paid money to talk, even if they rarely have me on-air.”

“That’s probably one of the coolest jobs I’ve heard of a college student having. It certainly comes second to Macy Foster’s job of Hot Air Balloon Operator last year,” I replied.

“No shit, Hot Air Balloon Operator? They trust a college student to operate those things? That would be a blast,” he said, laughing.

“Well, I think they learned their lesson hiring her. I heard they found out she was taking her boyfriend up for a little mile high club initiation, if you know what I mean,” I said winking at him.

“Oh, I think I can guess what you mean.” He sent an equally sexy wink right back at me that would basically melt the panties off any living, breathing female. Damn, the sexual tension was thick between us. Three times with Jaxon Riley would be phenomenal. Or should I say, will be phenomenal, because at this point, I’m positive it will happen. How can I live right next to this gorgeous person and not have a little fun in the meantime?

“Do you ever watch Cole’s games?” He seemed to like to interrupt my dirty thoughts about him, and enjoyed catching me off guard.

“Of course, Quinn and I have never missed one, even away games. So far, we’ve always been able to get off work or away from school. My boss doesn’t like me too much during the season because I ask off all the time, but I make it up to him later,” I answered.

He gave me a confused look. Then I realized my answer sounded sexual and in this instance, it absolutely wasn’t. I was never going to go there with Ed. He was a great boss, with an exception to the shirt he required me to wear which bordered on sexual harassment. I made good tips though and he allowed me to keep them all and take time off when I wanted. But nothing would ever happen between us, it gives me the chills even thinking about it.

“Nice, so I already have my own cheerleaders. Not that it would be hard to gain some after they see me play,” he replied cheekily, rubbing his hands together.

“Wow, let me guess, you’re a wide receiver, because only those guys are as cocky as you are. By the way, we don’t just cheer for anyone, you’ll have to earn it,” I said, rolling my eyes at him.

“Holy shit, a girl that knows football!” he said giving me a full watt smile. “Yes, ma’am, I was Texas’ best wide receiver my junior and senior year. I’ll earn it all right. I bet you I’ll score at least one touchdown at our first game in a couple of weeks.”

“That’s a bet I’m willing to take; your ego is out of control. Besides, Dalton Fisher, the quarterback, is a snob. He probably won’t even pass to you for at least the first three games.”

“Don’t you worry about Fisher, I’ll get it done. Although, it is going to be tough playing without my brother, Jace, being the quarterback,” he said this a little disheartened.

“I thought you said Coach Chase wanted all three of you?” I asked him, wanting desperately to cheer him up and get that crooked smile back on his face.

“He did. Jace was never going to take it though. He doesn’t want to play anymore. He’s crazy-ass brilliant and in pre-med here. If there’s ever going to be a cure for cancer, Jace will find it. That guy is amazing,” he said in almost an awed tone. I loved seeing his adoration for his brother.

“It’s awesome that you guys are going to college at the same time. I love that Quinn and I get to do everything together.”

“Yeah, we’re really close in age,” he laughed a little bit under his breath, and I felt like I was missing out on an inside joke. I wonder if Jaxon is the older brother or the younger brother. He really seems to look up to him like a younger brother, and yet he sounds proud of him like an older brother would.

We were interrupted by the sounds of everyone getting up and packing their bags. I guess the class was over; an hour and a half went by fast, talking to Jaxon. “I don’t know if Professor Patterson would approve of our dialogue of co**ine-like voices, sex in hot air balloons, and my awesome knowledge of football,” I said while laughing.

He laughed with me while picking up my bag off the floor and handing it to me. “Yeah, maybe we should go ask him if that’s what he had in mind. Oh, hey, since we’re neighbors and all, probably study partners as well, you should have my number.” He grabbed my hand in his and wrote his number into my palm slowly with black ink. Knowing it was going to be short-lived, I enjoyed the feel of my hand in his. The metal tip of the ink pen tickled as it etched across my skin. I watched each stroke he made. It was only a series of numbers, but I could tell he had nice handwriting. “Don’t wash your hand until you save it.” He tapped the tip against my palm a couple of times when he was done.

“Thanks, I’ll text you later with my number,” I spoke while smiling at him.

He stood up to let me follow him out to the aisle so we could leave the classroom, and I realized for the first time how tall he actually was. My eyes followed up his long legs, to his iron-flat stomach and then his broad chest to see he was a couple inches over six feet at least. He was probably an inch taller than Cole, who had always made me feel petite next to him since I barely made it up to his chest. Being five foot five, I thought I was pretty average, but standing next to him, I felt miniature. He definitely had an athletic body with a playground of muscle right underneath those clothes. I realized he was standing there facing me, when he needed to turn around and walk out first. It seemed like he was taking me in as well with his sexy mouth curling up at the corner.

I straightened my back and pushed out my br**sts just a tad and his eyes widened at the full sight of me. I silently thanked Quinn for cutting up my favorite t-shirts. I reached up to put my hand on his chest and just rubbed it up an inch, while watching him inhale. Then I raised my hand and patted two short pats on his chest. “Alright, let’s move it along, Motorcycle Boy, exits this way,” I said, gesturing toward the door.

He snapped back to earth at that and quirked up an eyebrow, while starting to walk backward slowly. “Motorcycle Boy?”

“I didn’t know who you were outside the Frat house, so that’s what I called you.”

“Hmm, I think I’m going to need a new nickname from you. ‘Boy’ doesn’t work for me,” he said while tapping his long fingers on his chin, deep in thought. I can picture him trying to think of what he would like for me to call him.

As we were walking out of the classroom into the warm California weather, I was about to tell him ‘boy’ certainly did not work for him and what would. But, Tatum, Sophia, and Ashley, all Alpha Beta girls, assaulted us. By us, I mean Jaxon, because they scooped in front of me to start laying it on thick to him. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you!” I called out to Jaxon as I started walking away from them. He was laughing and didn’t seem to mind the attention. I really didn’t want to hear what they had to tell him. I could only guess it was something along the lines of ‘stay away from the school slut.’

I turned the corner to walk off to Environmental Biology, my last class of the day. An arm came around my shoulders and I caught a whiff of Tom Ford cologne. Micah. I glanced up to confirm my observation.

“You smell nice, Micah. Are you wearing clean clothes?” I kidded him.

“Aw, come on, Emmy, I’m not that bad. Besides, I hear we have Biology together. Come, sit by me, please?” he begged, while gazing down at me with his sweet puppy-dog face.

We continued across the quad to the science building and he kept his arm around my shoulder. I heard someone calling out my name from behind, so I turned around to see who it was. Jaxon was jogging up to us and Micah instinctively squeezed me in tighter. Jaxon stopped in front of me, but had his eyes on Micah. I’ve always liked Micah’s height, but seeing Jaxon stand next to him was impressive; he was at least two inches taller than Micah. I usually don’t mind getting touchy feely with a guy in public, that’s why Micah wouldn’t know, but I was starting to feel uncomfortable with his arm around me possessively, under Jaxon’s scrutiny.

Jaxon pulled his eyes away from Micah toward me, although it seemed to take some effort on his part. He’s probably wondering if we’re an item. The assumption would be so outrageous that I didn’t even bother clearing it up for him. He’ll soon learn about me from someone on this campus I’m sure. At some point, after we walked out of class, he had put on a black, worn, and dirty ball cap. Before he spoke, he spun it around backward and I was thankful because I could now see his gorgeous blues.

“Sorry, Emerson, that was rude of me. I didn’t mean to just cut you off. I wasn’t expecting that outside the classroom,” he said, pointing his thumb behind him. He had his backpack slung over one shoulder and his leather jacket was hanging through the strap down by his hip.

“It’s really no--” I started to say.

“Emerson? Is that what Em is short for? How the hell did I not know this?” Micah interrupted harshly, looking pissed that this new guy could know more than he did. I shrugged out of his hold so I could face both of them at the same time.

“Guys, it’s Em, call me Em. I haven’t been Emerson in a long time,” I stressed, looking back and forth between them. “By the way, Jaxon, Micah. Micah, Jaxon. He and his brother are moving into the apartment with Cole.” They both did the guy nod at each other. Micah seemed to be sizing Jaxon up. Looks like girls weren’t the only bizarre ones around here; guys are such cavemen sometimes.

I started walking to my class instead of continuing the awkward staring. As expected, both of them followed along. I turned and continued walking the last couple of steps backward. “We don’t have another class together do we, Jax?” That was the first time I’d called him Jax and he smirked at his nickname. I wondered if Micah would be uncomfortable if I just grabbed Jaxon right now and sucked his lush bottom lip into my mouth.

I stopped walking outside of the biology lab. Jaxon stepped up in front of me and replied, “No, I already took environmental, I’m down the hall in physics. But I wish we did.”

“Alright, well I’ll see you around at home then. Thanks for the ‘dialogue’ today in class,” I said, while making air quotes, which I earned a smile for.

He started walking past me but stopped and bent his head down to mine. He whispered in my ear as he walked by, “Later, Emerson.” As he walked away, I saw him slide his cap back to the front. I turned to walk into class and Jaxon shouted back, “Oh, hey, don’t forget we need to finish talking about our bet. I already know what I’m going to get when I win!”

“A f**king Hot Air Balloon Ride!” he hollered before stepping into his classroom, not waiting for my reaction. I stood there with my mouth wide open. This guy was ballsy and he was way too much like me. I needed to think of a wager to leave him speechless as well.

By lunchtime, just thinking about a hot air balloon ride with Jaxon had me feeling anxious and playful at the same time. Cole had caught up to me right outside of the cafeteria, so we went through the serving line together. Like a gentleman, he carried my tray for me toward our table. Since Cole is in a frat and plays on the football team, he has a wide variety of friends that usually come join our long table and benches.

When we approached the table, Mason and Garrett simultaneously patted the seats next to them for me to come sit. I liked to indulge them, but I usually always sat next to Quinn and Cole. As I was walking past the guys already seated, I tapped them on the head while singing, “Duck… Duck… Duck…” A few of them started chuckling. Abruptly, I was grabbed by the h*ps and slung onto Micah’s lap. He placed me so I was sitting on him facing forward toward the table.

“Goose,” he whispered in my ear from behind. “I liked you in my bed this morning,” he said, as he put his hands around my waist just underneath my t-shirt.

“Micah...” I warned him. Cole walked past us snickering and he sat my tray in front of me. “Thanks, Coley, you’re always such a gentleman, unlike some people I know,” I said, prodding my elbow into Micah’s ribs.

He placed his tray next to Quinn who was laughing at Micah’s barbarian tactics. “Oh God, Em please stop calling me that,” Cole groaned, with a wince.