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Chapter 21

Chapter 21

"What's wrong with him now?" I ask Bell with a sigh, my head still pounding after that party last night. Unsurprisingly, I'm hung-over. Still, it's too early in the day to deal with Troy and his disgusting 'Troyness'.

"Take a look for yourself," Bell opens the door to her brother's room. "Something about an emergency. He's been complaining non-stop."

"Is that you, death?" His treacherous voice carries it's way over to me the second I step in. "Has your painful sting come to take me away? I cannot bear this any longer. I want to live!"

"How I wish it was death," I answer in a mumble, still in the process of waking up.

"Oh, it's just you," he remarks in disappointment before adding a cough for effect. He has Ramos waiting on his every demand. "I want my momma."

"Fear no more, I are here." Ramos places a fluffy pillow behind his head before taking his temperature. "Zies not looking zo good for you," he tells his master, his voice filled with anxiety. "Zoo might die."

Troy's temperature is spot on...

"Why me? Just pull the life support," Troy groans in despair.

"For the hundredth time, you're not on life support," Bell clarifies, rubbing her forehead in aggravation. "If you were, I would have pulled it long ago."

 Troy ignores her and continues on rattling away. "Massage my feet, Ramos. I would do it myself," no, he wouldn't, "but I'm terribly ill."  

It doesn't surprise me when Ramos does exactly what he says without so much as an argument.

"What's wrong with you this time?" I question, really not all that interested.

"He's got the man-flu," Max says, stepping beside me. "It's deadly. We're playing games with his life if we don't call an ambulance."

Bell rolls her eyes. "Not this again." 

Again, I'm not surprised that this has happened before.

"The sickness can take the women and children, but my dammit, leave the men, at least the good-looking ones like me!" Troy shouts as if in agony. "You, Benley and Max, would never survive."

If I didn't know him any better, I'd think that he's really in pain. Unfortunately for me, I do know him better. It sucks really.

Exhausted and drained, I yawn, deciding to pay him no attention.

"You getting it too?" Max asks me with a grin. "Didn't realize that it's contagious."

I scowl at him, not finding his joke funny.

"He's not at risk of developing the fatal manflu. It's called manflu for a reason. It's not sissyflu!" Troy speaks up once again, justifying his 'illness'. "BroBoyBand won't get it because he's not a man."

Irritated, I follow Bell out of the room without responding -- I currently don't have the energy for any of this. "Hey," I pipe up from behind the tall brunette, "where's AJ?" I ask, touching the side of my head and wincing. "I don't remember anything after the dance with her."

"After you kissed her," she reminds me, "you publicly humiliated yourself, once again, by singing to her with the help of Max and Troy."

I slap my forehead in disbelief. "How does that keep happening?" I have no recollection after the kiss.

Bell laughs. "Beats me but it sure is amusing. AJ thought so too."

"She did?" I ask, uncertain.

Bell smiles and pats my back. "Breathe. That she did." She laughs again and shakes her head at me. "Apparently, she enjoys being serenaded to in public by a drunks who can barely stand."

I cringe. "Is that why she left?"

"She left when you passed out," she answers, seemingly enjoying my discomfort. "I've never seen you so off your game before. You're not so smooth when in the presence of AJ Hamilton. I wonder why that is?" She taunts me.

I don't know why that is. I just know that it is.


"Well, isn't this a surprise?" AJ asks me, tucking a dark strand of hair behind her ear. "First your tender singing and now flowers."

"If you're trying to embarrass me further, it's working," I reply and hand her the bouquet of daisies. I raise a confused eyebrow at her when she doesn't take the flowers from me. I sigh in realization. "Allergic, right?"

She sends me a sheepish smile and nods. "Don't feel bad," she quickly says when she sees my face.

I toss the pink flowers into her outside trash can. "Guess I won't be needing those anymore." My moves keep backfiring with this girl, fail after fail.

"What's the occasion anyway?" She asks me, gesturing over to the flowers.

"That date I keep going on and on about," I quote her, humoring her -- it's the least I can do.

An excited smile touches her lips. She claps her hands before yanking me into her hotel room. "I can't go out like this," she explains.

"I'm failing to see the problem here," I tell her, approving of her current outfit -- jean shorts and a plain black v-neck. 

She basically shoves me down onto a chair before shaking her head at me, a look of pity in her eyes. "Men are so stupid. This outfit is not date material."

I brush her comment aside. "Whatever."

"How'd you know that I'm staying here anyway?" She asks me, the thought only occurring to her now.

"Bell," I reply in ease. The girl always knows everything.

She nods before heading to her room to change. "I promise that I'll be quick. Like five minutes."

I sigh. "Awesome. So like 5 hours then?" I mumble under my breath, slightly frustrated. It's only when I take in the small hotel room that I realize why I'm suddenly feeling so frustrated -- AJ's stay here is not permanent. Her home is in New York.

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