Hi guys. I hope you enjoy my book. If you spot any spelling/grammatical errors, please let me know in the comments section so I can change it.
This is an original story based around a college setting. So yes, there will be drinking games (which I have done a lot of when I was in college), there will be quirky friends, and a lot of twists & turns. Enjoy ❤️
I peer over my restaurant menu and scowl at the boy sitting opposite me. I can’t believe my mom and dad are making me spend the evening sharing a table with him and his parents. If I had it my way, they wouldn’t be here, and it would only be us.
I continue to glare at him like a huntress stalking her prey when his eyes raise to meet mine, catching me off guard. My cheeks redden at being caught, but I refuse to back down and keep my sight firmly on him.
Tanner returns my harsh stare, and we’re locked in a show-down, his blue eyes waging war against my hazel irises. The outside bustle of the restaurant quickly fades into the background, and all I see is him.
I can feel my eyes beginning to burn from the awkward exchange and it seems I’m not the only one struggling as Tanner shuffles uncomfortably in his seat. All too soon, the pain becomes too much, and I have to back down and blink the stinging tears away. Tanner smirks before taking a sip of his water, proud of having won this round.
I wish I could say he was ugly like his personality, but his raven black hair, chiseled jaw, and defined muscles could make any girl look twice. Like usual, he’s wearing a designer suit, probably Giorgio Armani. The blue silk tie wrapped around his neck makes his sky-blue eyes stand out even more, and I hate this. Why does someone so horrible have such beauty?
“Leah, honey, didn’t you hear Mr. Cole?” my mom asks, breaking me from my thoughts.
“Hmm? What did you say, Mr. Cole?” I ask, looking over to my dad’s close friend.
It’s been a while since I last saw him, and in the time apart, he’s grown a decent beard which makes him look far more handsome than before. It’s very obvious he and Tanner are father and son.
“I said, ‘Are you looking forward to going to Berkeley?’ It’s only two weeks away now.”
Am I looking forward to Berkeley? I want to tell Mr. Cole I was looking forward to going, but this was before I found out his son already goes there. “Kind of. I can’t wait to start my classes, but I’m nervous about moving away. I’ve never lived away from DC before, so it will be strange,” I reply, anxiously pulling on the sleeves of my red dress. I’m glad I chose to wear this tonight, as it gives my hands something to play with as well as making my natural red hair pop even more.
“Normal people would enjoy going to college in California, but you have to find a fault with even this part,” Tanner sneers.
I roll my eyes at his statement. We’ve only been sitting here for ten minutes, and he’s already starting to taunt me.
“Keep rolling your eyes. You might eventually find a brain.”
I purse my lips together. “At least I have a brain. I’m amazed you even got into Berkeley, given your track record of getting kicked out of schools.” I can see I’ve hit a nerve as his nostrils flare angrily.
“I bet it kills you to know I’m just as smart as you, doesn’t it? We don’t all have to have our head in a book to be clever, you know,” he snaps back.
“Now, now kids, we haven’t even been served our starters yet,” my dad warns.
And this is why we shouldn’t be in a room together. Even after a year apart, we’re still unable to behave like grown-ups. I tap my fingers on the tablecloth, waiting impatiently for the waiters to bring our food. The sooner they come, the sooner I can leave.
“Do you have to? Man, you’re so irritating.” Tanner huffs.
“I’m just sitting here,” I retort back.
“Enough!” my mom orders, scrunching up her napkin on the table.
I want to shout at him to stop giving me the evil eye across from me, but I bite my tongue and rest my hands in my lap.
Even though I was the one who chose to end my relationship with Shawn at the beginning of summer, it’s times like this I wish I had him by my side. He hates Tanner almost as much as me and I know he would have my back at this dinner.
Mrs. Cole sighs heavily on my left and runs her hands down her face. “I wish you two would get along. Why do you have to argue all the time?”
“She’s right,” my dad quickly responds.
“When you’re both at Berkeley, you can’t behave like this. Tanner, you should be looking out for Leah when she goes to college; she doesn’t know the place like you do.”
“Dad, enough,” I protest. I can take care of myself.
In the corner of my eye, I see Tanner wearing a slight smirk. It seems he’s enjoying my torment. He leans forward, resting his arms on the table.
“Don’t worry, Mr. Preston. I’ll take care of Leah while she’s there, and I’ll make sure she stays away from any parties. The only place she’ll be going late at night is the library.”
I snap. I slam my hands down on the table, causing the silverware to bounce. “There’s no way in hell you’re going to spy on me, Tanner!”
So much for composure.
“Leah, enough! We’re in a public place,” my mom warns me with a stern face before looking around the restaurant to see if anyone has noticed the commotion.
My mom’s warning does not affect Tanner as he continues to goad me with a smirk on his face. “No, Leah, your dad’s right. I am older than you so I should know what’s best for you.”
I begin to rise from my seat, pointing at him aggressively, but my mom grabs me by the skirt of my dress and pulls me back down.
“I think we should end this conversation for now, don’t you?” my mom cautions.
“Absolutely! Especially now food is coming,” Mr. Cole adds, rubbing his hands together.
My mom looks relieved at the distraction of the waiters arriving with our food, but it doesn’t stop me from shooting daggers at Tanner.
“This was excellent,” Mr. Cole proclaims, as he finishes the last forkful of his steak.
I murmur in agreement with the rest of the people at the table, though in reality, I was hardly registering what I was eating.
My mind is busy stewing over my earlier altercation with Tanner, and at this moment, I’d rather be at home in my comfy king-sized bed watching a Netflix documentary than remain in the same room as him.
“Oh, darling. You have mustard in your beard,” Mrs. Cole chuckles to her husband, wiping the remnants of food away adoringly with her napkin.
Aw, how sweet.
“I told you your beard was too thick,” Tanner tells him moodily.
“Ignore him. I think it’s great,” I tell Mr. Cole, patting his suit jacket.
“Thank you, Leah. See, son, other people like it aside from your mother.”
“It’s not that I don’t like it. It’s just too big,” he huffs.
I turn to my dad and laugh to try to distract everyone from the sullen mood that Tanner is emanating. “Maybe you should try growing one, Dad.”
“Sure, I’ll do that right after I grow my hair out into braids,” he jokes back, causing everyone except Tanner to chuckle.
If anyone could suck the life out of a party right now, it’s Tanner. His stone face could bring anyone down. Luckily, I’ve been managing to keep him out of my vision for the bulk of the meal, which is no easy task considering he’s sitting directly opposite me.
It doesn’t take long for the waiter to come over to our table, trying to charm us into looking at the dessert menu. Thankfully, everyone agrees they can’t eat another bite, and the waiter leaves to fetch the bill.
“I’m just going to visit the restroom before we leave,” I whisper to my mom as I rise from my seat.
“Okay, sweetie,” she mumbles before going back to her conversation with Mrs. Cole.
When I push my chair under the table, the chair squeaks in protest as it rubs against the marble floor, unintentionally catching Tanner’s attention. I feel the rage rolling off me like waves. There’s nothing more I want to do than to put him in his place, but instead I ignore his stare, and grab my purse off the floor and continue to head to the restroom.
So what do you think of our two main characters so far? What do you think may happen next?🤔
Thank you for reading! Please vote and comment! I really want to know your thoughts on each chapter to see if there is anything I can improve❤️.