Home > Don't Let Me Go (Don't Let Me #2)

Don't Let Me Go (Don't Let Me #2)
Author: Kelsie Rae

 

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“Colt’s gonna kill me,” I mutter as I tug at the hem of Mia’s tight black dress. It barely reaches my ass, but she insisted I wear the damn thing before curling my hair and doing my makeup. Pretty sure I’m her own personal Barbie. Not that I’m complaining. Growing up with three older brothers didn’t exactly encourage femininity. I was just…one of the guys.

Until I moved in with my new roommates.

Ashlyn grabs my hand, stalling my fidgeting. “Stop. You look cute.”

Ashlyn’s dating my brother, Colt. She’s also the mastermind behind my new living arrangement. When she offered to let me move in with her, Mia, and Kate after finding out I was transferring to LAU, I felt like I’d won the lottery. She’s also one of the reasons I’m standing in front of this house currently thumping with music. Colt lives here with his best friend, Theo.

Apparently, the girls aren’t only fanning my femininity. They’re also showing me the ropes of college life, including––but not limited to––parties with hot guys.

I smooth out the front of the dark dress again, another wave of indecision pulsing through me. “I look like––”

“A gorgeous girl?” Mia offers.

I puff out my cheeks, and let out a sigh. Maybe I should’ve stayed home with Kate. She’s our third roommate. She’s also the anti-partier of the group. Part of me doesn’t blame her. The other part? I look up at the massive house again. It reminds me of the movie Home Alone, complete with red bricks, rows of windows, and music thumping through the open front door.

Well, I guess I can see the appeal of coming tonight.

“Besides. Colt’s not the one you have to worry about,” Mia adds, stealing my attention from the daunting house in front of me. “Theo’s gonna shit his pants.”

Theo.

Also known as Theodore Taylor.

He might be my brother’s best friend, but he’s also LAU’s hockey captain and my arch-nemesis.

Kind of.

We used to be friends when we were little, but as soon as he saw me wear a dress, it was like a switch flipped, and he’s despised me ever since which, ya know, was great for a fifteen-year-old’s self-esteem.

His name alone causes a lump to lodge in my throat, but I choke it back and paste on a fake smile.

“Greaaaat,” I drag out while eyeing the front of the Taylor House like it’s straight out of a horror movie.

“Seriously. You look awesome,” Ash tells me. “Why are you freaking out?”

“Because this”––I wave my hand at the house literally thumping with rap music––“is not where a girl like me usually hangs out. Especially when looking like this.” I wave my hand around again, this time showcasing the dress that feels like it’s practically painted on me. “Or this.” I pick up a wave of perfectly styled red hair and flick it over my shoulder. “Or this.” I motion to the smokey eye shadow Mia painted on my face before we left our townhouse.

To say I’m a tomboy would be an understatement. But I think it’s par for the course when you’re raised with three older brothers and have a penchant for sports.

“You’re in a new place now,” Mia reminds me. “You get to start over. Be who you want to be. Look how you want to look. Attract who you want to…”––she winks––“attract.”

The girl saw me one time––one. time––with Theo. But apparently, that’s all it took. She’s convinced the guy has a thing for me. It doesn’t matter how much I’ve tried to explain the truth since then. It’s like I’m talking to a wall.

I glare back at her. “I don’t want to attract anyone. I just want to fit in and have fun without being yelled at by a certain––”

“What the hell are you wearing?” Theo barks, rushing toward us on the front lawn from his porch.

Speak of the freaking devil.

He’s practically throttling a bottle of beer in one hand as he grabs my arm with his other. Not roughly but with a possessiveness causing my breath to hitch.

He’s always been this way, though.

Overly protective while detached and bossy at the same time. Like I’m a nuisance. A pariah. Someone he wishes would simply…go away. Yet anytime I try to, he reels me back in.

It’s annoying.

And confusing as hell.

“She’s wearing my dress,” Mia interrupts, yanking me from the opposite side like I’m in some twisted game of tug-of-war, though I appreciate her protectiveness. I’ll take anything to distract me from drowning in my feelings for a guy who will never feel the same.

“Doesn’t she look hot?” she adds, scanning me up and down.

Theo’s nostrils flare, but he lets go, clenching his hand at his side and glaring at me. A weaker girl would crumble under the weight of such a look, but I hold his gaze.

“You really think Colt’s gonna let you inside looking like this?” he demands.

“Pretty sure it’s my decision,” I remind him. “And even if it wasn’t, you would still have no say in the matter. I’m not a little girl you can boss around anymore, Teddy Bear.”

I say the nickname through clenched teeth, well aware of how many buttons I’m pushing right now. But I refuse to back down. Not with anyone, let alone Theodore Taylor, asshole extraordinaire. He made it clear when I first transferred to LAU how much I wasn’t wanted. Thankfully, it isn’t his decision. And I’ve never been afraid of going head-to-head with the bastard.

His jaw ticks as he towers over me, two seconds from having an aneurysm.

Good.

“I thought we discussed you calling me that,” he growls.

With a syrupy sweet smile, I answer, “Must’ve slipped my mind.”

“O. M. G,” a gorgeous brunette interrupts as she stumbles into Theo. I flinch beside him. One of her heels is caught in the grass, and she’s laughing like a hyena, clutching at his bicep like he’s her own personal savior.

My hackles rise, and it takes everything inside of me to keep from sneering at her.

“Oh. Hi, Theo,” she purrs when she recognizes him. “Good to see you again.” Her hand brushes against his exposed forearm, a coy smile curling at the edge of her dark red lips. Clearly, they know each other. And clearly, it isn’t in a we-share-the-same-class kind of way.

My cheeks feel like they’re on fire as I mutter under my breath, “Of course, she knows him.”

Without another word, I march into the Taylor House with my head held high, trying to ignore the frustration boiling in my veins. But I can’t help it. Theodore Taylor seems to have that effect on me.

He always has.

I’m too pissed off to appreciate the energy pulsing through the main floor of the Taylor House as I slip inside and dart straight toward the kitchen where I assume the booze is located.

After all, attending my first college party should have at least a few perks, right? One of which is free alcohol. Since I’m only nineteen and can’t purchase the stuff myself, I plan on taking full advantage. Hell, I’m gonna need it after my little run-in with Theo.

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