Home > Model Behavior (Wrecked Roommates, #1)(7)

Model Behavior (Wrecked Roommates, #1)(7)
Author: Kelsie Rae

After a beat of silence, his deep voice breaks the spell he’s cast on me as he explains, “Because Milo has failed to mention you. Ever.”

Ouch.

I cross my arms over my chest, feeling like a knife’s been lodged between my ribs before I whisper to Milo, “You’ve never mentioned me?”

We’re all either of us have. Aren’t we?

“He’s mentioned Reese before,” Jake interjects, his feathers ruffling the longer his roommate’s mouth is open. I can’t blame him. Seems like River needs a muzzle with how easily he flaps his trap.

River’s eyes widen as he registers my name before his boisterous laughter practically shakes the pictures lining the walls.

“You’re Reese?” he asks in disbelief before another round of laughter hits him.

Confused, I turn back to Jake. “Why is that funny?”

“Because I’ve known Milo for what, five years?” River butts in from the top of the stairs. “And I’d always assumed Reese was his little brother. Not sister.” His Adam’s apple bobs up and down as he throws his head back and laughs even harder. “Or maybe I find the situation amusing because not only has he failed to mention you’re a chick, but he’s never brought you around before either.” His hungry eyes scan me up and down. “Yeah. That definitely answers a few questions of mine.”

Milo’s six-foot-two-inch frame cuts River from my view.

“Careful, River,” my brother warns him with a growl. “I heard you have a photoshoot in a few days. Wouldn’t want to show up with a black eye, would you?”

Unable to help myself, I shift my weight from one foot to the other and peek around Milo to find River just as amused as before.

He scratches his strong jaw before scolding, “We’ve talked about this, Milo. No one touches the moneymaker”––he motions to his face––“unless they’re willing to suck my balls. You gonna suck my balls, man?”

“You gonna shut the hell up?” My brother takes another step forward, causing my breath to hitch as memories of all the fights he used to get into in high school flash through my mind. He’s never been one to back down. Never one to cower. Never one to roll over and take someone else’s crap. You’d think his roomie here would know that by now, but apparently, he has a death wish. I reach for Milo’s tattooed arm and tug him back.

“He’s joking, Milo.”

With a wink at my brother, an unflustered River shrugs one of his broad shoulders. “I mean if Milo’s offering…”

Jake laughs before he pats Milo on the shoulder. “Come on, man. We both know River’s full of shit. He’d be the one on his knees if either of you ever swung for that team.”

River joins in, laughing even harder as he points to Jake. “The man’s got a point.” Then he lifts his chin in my direction and adds, “Nice to meet you, Roomie. You’ll have to excuse me. I have no pants on and must follow the new rules set forth by Mr. President over here.”

“River, baby,” a voice practically moans from the second floor.

She’s still here?

My lips pull into a thin white line to hide my distaste.

“Coming, darling,” River returns while holding my gaze. Then he winks. Again. Except this one’s directed at me. And it turns my stomach into a knot.

Jake shoves Milo toward the kitchen before he can retaliate. “Come on, man. It’s late. Let’s show Reese around.”

Forcing my feet to move, I trail behind them while silently begging the knot in my stomach to dissipate. Except it doesn’t. Like a strange sixth sense, I glance over my shoulder. Those same dark green eyes stare back at me with unrestrained curiosity as River rests his hands on the cold metal railing. He doesn’t move a muscle but studies me like a new toy at the toy store. A rush of adrenaline floods my veins while my feet struggle to obey my initial orders of following Milo and Jake to the kitchen. But I can’t help it. It’s like my body’s been injected with liquid magnet and is pulling me toward him. The guy on the second floor whom my brother just specifically ordered me to stay away from.

Because you know, that’s healthy.

“Riverrrrr,” his date whines again. The sound is enough to snap us both out of our dazes. Pushing himself away from the railing, he holds my attention for one more second then disappears from my line of sight.

And I hate that I can’t help but watch him leave.

 

 

4

 

 

Reese

 

 

“Reese, you comin’?” Jake’s voice echoes from down the hall.

Tucking my hair behind my ear, I hurry my footsteps and catch up with them. “Yeah, sorry. I was…just admiring how clean the place is,” I lie, trying to get a hold of myself. “Who woulda thunk, right?”

Jake rolls his eyes. “Don’t sound so surprised.”

“Can you blame me? Four guys under one roof? I mean, what else was I supposed to expect?”

An unamused Milo crosses his arms and leans against the granite island in the center of the kitchen. “Do you know me at all?”

“Good point.” With a smile, I sing, “Once a caregiver, always a caregiver.”

“Damn straight.”

Growing up in a shitty trailer park covered in trash will do things to a person. And for Milo, he quickly learned that he loathes clutter and will do anything to keep his living space in tip-top condition.

“Here’s the kitchen.” Milo motions to the open layout with a lazy wave of his hand. The white granite countertops are free from crumbs and contrast with the dark cabinets beautifully. A few sleek stainless steel appliances are tucked here and there, and overall, the place is immaculate.

Oblivious to my awe, Milo continues, “Instead of everyone getting their own groceries, we just do a monthly pot for food and take turns picking them up. Jake’s our in-house chef unless you’re looking for mac and cheese, then I’m your guy. Don’t bother asking River to cook. He can’t even make a bowl of cereal without forgetting to put the milk away. Although, if you want to piss him off, he keeps his secret stash of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the cupboard. And Sonny only cooks when he’s home at night, which is rare. Any questions so far?”

“Um…how much do I need to put into the pot?”

“Don’t worry about it.” Milo opens the fridge and grabs the metal water bottle I’d given him for Christmas the previous year.

Twisting the cap, he takes a deep pull of it as I argue, “Milo––”

He swallows and wipes the back of his hand against his mouth. “I gotcha covered, Reese.”

A headache threatens to spread from the base of my skull. Whether it’s from the long, eventful day or because I know I’m about to go head-to-head with Milo, I’m not sure. It doesn’t stop it from pulsing as I argue, “You don’t have to take care of me. I can pay for my own food.”

“I’m not complaining––”

“I know, but I’m not a little girl, remember? If things with Ian hadn’t fallen through––”

“Then you wouldn’t have ended up on my doorstep. I get it. Can I tell you how happy I am that you finally left that sonofabitch, though?”

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