King of Campus

By: Jennifer Sucevic

Shaking those thoughts away, I realize I’m still sprawled out on the carpeted floor. I blink my eyes a few times as a handsome face peers down at me before crinkling into a large friendly smile. But I don’t bother hoisting myself up just yet. Instead, I say in my most formal tone, “Mr. Sullivan, I presume.”

His grin intensifies, making him appear even more striking than I’d originally thought. Lexie had, quite naturally, gushed about how gorgeous her new guy was. And it’s not like I didn’t believe her, but… it’s quite obvious she wasn’t exaggerating.

Like at all.

Because Dylan Sullivan is seriously hot.

Golden blond hair, deep brown eyes, sculpted jaw, and athletic body.

And according to Lexie, he treats her like a total princess. Which is exactly how it should be. Lexie deserves someone who appreciates just how smart, loyal, and gorgeous she is. She’s a damn good friend and I’m lucky to have her in my life.

“The one and only,” he beams in response, throwing a flirty little wink in for good measure.

Oh, this guy is totally dangerous all right…

Could they be more perfectly suited to one another?

I absolutely love it.

“Umm, isn’t your father Dylan Sullivan the first?”

He shrugs his big broad shoulders at Lexie’s question. Self admittedly, I’m kind of a shoulder and arm girl myself. And Dylan Sullivan certainly has nicely chiseled ones.

“Shhh, you’re ruining the moment, babe.”

That being said, Dylan offers me a big hand, which I grab hold of, before being immediately hauled off the floor and set back onto my sandaled feet. I dust my backside off before my gaze slides back to Lexie. The unexpected glassy sheen of tears shining in her big brown eyes has my own widening in confusion.

“Lex, why are you-”

I don’t even get a chance to wrap my lips around the last word before she’s once again hurtling herself in my direction. Her arms slip quickly around my body before tugging me close.

“I missed you, Ivy-Girl,” she whispers fiercely against my ear, “so damn much! Fifteen months is a long time to stay away. Don’t ever leave me like that again.”

I’m not normally an emotional person, but her heartfelt words have me suddenly choking up. I squeeze her to me, feeling just as happy to be back here with her as she is to have me.

Pulling back to search my eyes, she quietly admits, “I was afraid you might decide to stay over there.”

That just goes to show you how well Lexie knows me. What I don’t mention is that I tried my damnedest to make that happen. To finish out college, find a permanent place to live, a dance gig, all so I could postpone coming home indefinitely. Because being back here, even though this is a new apartment, still reminds me that my mom is dead and my dad has moved on and I no longer have a home to return to.

Not one that feels like home used to feel.

“I’m just so glad you’re finally home.”

“Me, too,” I whisper as hot licks of emotion prick the back of my eyes. I hug her tightly one last time before finally releasing her.

Lexie and I have been best friends since fourth grade when her family moved in down the block from mine. We made it through middle and high school with our friendship intact and decided to apply at some of the same colleges so we could room together. Luckily Barnett was on both of our short lists. It has a highly regarded fashion design program for Lexie and a kick ass dance program for me.

There’s absolutely no one in this world I can count on like Lexie Abbott. I’m actually a little ashamed of myself for failing to remember that. I guess in trying to escape all the painful memories, I forgot about the good stuff too.

Lexie backs up until she’s standing directly in front of Dylan. As soon as she’s close enough, he wraps those huge arms around her before pulling her flush against the front of his body. Looking ridiculously contented, he settles his chin on top of her head like he’s done it a hundred times before.

Like it’s the most natural thing in the world.

I can’t help but feel thrilled that Lexie has finally found someone who appreciates the amazing woman she’s grown into.

Unwilling to get anymore sappy than I already have, I shake my head. “Do you two come with barf bags? Because I’ve only been here for about ten minutes and you’re already making me sick to my stomach.”

They both flash big white cheesy grins at me. I want to roll my eyes before sticking my finger down my throat like I’m going to puke. “I suppose you’re going to be practically living here with us?” Yep, I can already see how this is going to go. Dylan will be our unofficial apartment mascot.

With big innocent eyes, she says, “Didn’t I mention that Dylan lives in the apartment next to us with two guys from the football team?”

“Nope,” I shake my head, “you definitely did not mention that. I guess that makes things convenient.”

“Totally convenient,” Dylan adds with a sly grin aimed in my direction.

This time I actually do roll my eyes. “So which room is mine?”

In her exuberance, Lexie all but jumps out of Dylan’s arms before leading me down a short hallway. As I trail after her, I’m immediately reminded that she’s only wearing a thong.

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