The Lying Hours Page 2

“Right, well.” I toss my pencil on the desk, swiveling around until I’m presenting him with my broad back and shrug. “I thought you wanted a girlfriend, not an easy lay.”

“I want both.”

“Then stop trying to screw every warm body you take on a date.” I still won’t look at him.

“They’re not dates. We meet for drinks.”

“That’s what you’re calling it? Meeting for drinks?” What a crock of shit. “Semantics.”

“What’s the big deal?” I hear him shuffle his feet as I pop open my laptop, powering it up. “If I have to abort the mission, I don’t want the commitment of having to eat an entire meal for another half an hour, especially if the chick is a stage five clinger—fuck that would be painful.”

I’ll give him this one—that actually makes sense. But still.

“I get that, but you should still be the one talking to these girls, not me. It’s fucked up on so many levels.”

“You’re better at English than I am, dude. Plus, you’re better with girls.”

“How the hell am I better with girls?” I haven’t been on a date in over a year, which means I haven’t had sex in over a year, which means I haven’t seen an actual pair of tits in a year.

My dating life is fucking pathetic.

“Dude, I read what you said to that Tiffany chick—it was brilliant. That shit about everything happening for a reason and beauty being on the inside? Genius.”

“Yes. I’m a genius all right.” I mean, I kind of am. I’ve been on the dean’s list for the past three years. My current grade point average is three point nine. Not too bad for someone who barely has time to wipe his own ass, let alone study. “So when are you going on your date with Shelby?”

JB rubs the spot behind his neck that’s always cramping, working out the knot while he considers my question. “I don’t know. She’s been pretty annoying.”

Yeah, she has been.

“She told me she wasn’t looking for a pen pal, whatever the fuck that means.”

I saw that but haven’t replied to it yet. “It means she doesn’t want to keep talking. She wants to actually meet you so she can figure out if she’s wasting her time or not.”

“I don’t know, man. Do I really want to sit through a date with someone who uses the words um and haha eight thousand fucking times in one day?”


“That’s up to you, man.”

I wouldn’t date her, but I’m not JB, and it’s not my LoveU account. I might be the puppet master pulling the strings, but he’s the one dancing up on stage.

Jesus, I’m crap when it comes to analogies.

As if he can hear my thoughts straying, my roommate lets a long, loud sigh drag from his giant body. “Cut her loose, would ya? Let’s start looking for quality, not quantity.”

Well this is certainly a new development. JB getting serious about dating someone? Color me surprised. “Any special requirements?”

He gives it some thought. Inhales and stands up straight. “Probably a girl I could take home to my mom if I wanted to, but who also wants to fuck a lot.”

Right. Cannot forget that.

“She’s out there waiting for you, champ.” I laugh, shooting him a look over my shoulder. “Somewhere on this campus is some buttoned-up cutie just waiting to be boned by the great Jack Bartlett.”

“Goddamn I hope so.”

Poor kid can’t even tell when someone is being sarcastic anymore. Clearly his brain has been addled from the strain of his face being pressed against the wrestling mat one too many times.

JB is a decent wrestler. Good, but not great.

He used to be until Tasha broke up with him; since then, his pins have taken a nosedive and he’s shit about practicing.

His grades have definitely gone downhill. One could even say they suck. Long story short: Jack should be less focused on finding a replacemend for Tasha, and more focused on wrestling and school. At the rate he’s going, it’s going to take him another year to meet the university’s requirements to graduate with a degree.

If he wants to climb up my ass and beg for favors, he should be begging me to tutor him, not find him a girlfriend.


It’s not my place to judge, and I’ll do whatever it takes to get him back on track. Back to winning, back to a better GPA, back to being involved. If that means sitting on a dating app and pretending to be him a few hours a week, so be it. I want my friends to be the best they can possibly freaking be.

What he does in his free time is none of my damn business, as long as he pays his share of the rent on time and stays out of my shit—but I can’t help feeling somewhat responsible for him since he’s my roommate and teammate. That’s just the kind of guy I am.

His parents give him a hard time for all the fucking around he’s been doing lately—and they don’t know the half of what their son’s been up to.

I don’t mind having the bastard around, so I’m willing to help keep it that way.

“I think you should go in for a concussion test on Monday,” I joke.

“Nah. I just had one a few months ago.” He picks lint off his hoodie and flicks it onto my carpet. “I should be good.”

Dang. See what I mean? The kid cannot tell when someone is being sarcastic.

I clear my throat and end the conversation. “All right, if that’s all you needed…” My sentence trails off when I hold up the textbook that’s been lying open on my desk next to my laptop. The spread on my desk makes it look like I’m about to do some serious cramming, but the truth is, school comes pretty naturally. I’ll only be at it for an hour to review some notes, tops. “To summarize: quality girl, not quantity. Down to fuck.” My brows go up. “I don’t think I’m missing anything.”

“Nope, that’s perfect. I’ll log in later and swipe on whoever.”


And there’s the problem.

“Yeah, thanks for the extra hand.”

He shoots me a pair of finger guns, pushing off from the doorjamb. “No problem.”

Then he’s gone, pulling my door closed behind him, the steps of his big feet echoing down the hall.

I stare out my window, out into the dark, at the house next door, every window in the two-story glowing. The bathroom sits directly across from mine, its interior obscured by two billowing white drapes hanging there. They’re sheer, just opaque enough that I’m unable to see through them—not that I’ve tried.

It’s a houseful of girls, none of whom I’ve ever spoken to.

The few times I’ve stepped outside at the same time as them (they always seem to travel in clumps), I’ve immediately put my feet to the pavement, head down to avoid them and dodge direct eye contact.

Pretty. Outgoing, most of them. Friendly, if their waves and polite greetings are enough to go by. Tons of makeup and loud laughing. Their place always has the music blasting, and I’m almost positive one or two of them are football cheerleaders. One is a dancer. Another few are in a sorority.

Why do I avoid them? They’re not my type; they’re Jack’s—not that I discriminate based on extracurricular activities. That would make me an asshole, and I’m not one of those, either.

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