Home > Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)(16)

Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)(16)
Author: Tammara Webber

He turned then, eyes on the second register as he punched buttons and brought it to life. I wondered if he planned to ignore me as I had him during class. It would serve me right, playing this game. Just as the guy in front of me began his detailed drink order to the girl at the first register, Lucas’s gaze swung up to meet mine. “Next?” The steel gray of his shirt set off the gray in his eyes, the blue disappearing. “Jacqueline.” He greeted me with a smirk, and I worried that he could read my mind, and the devious plans Erin had implanted in it. “Americano today, or something else?”

He remembered my drink order from a week ago.

I nodded, and he flashed a barely-there grin at my bemusement, ringing up the order and printing the cup with a sharpie. Instead of passing it to a coworker, though, he made the drink himself.

He added a protective sleeve and a lid and handed me the cup. I couldn’t read his trace of a smile. “Have a nice day.” Looking over my shoulder, he said, “Next?”

I joined Erin at the pick-up counter, confused and sulking.

“He made the drink for you?” She retrieved her drink and followed me to the condiment counter.

“Yeah.” I removed the lid and added sugar and milk while she shook cinnamon over her latte. “But he just handed it over like I was any other customer and took the next guy’s order.” We watched him interact with customers. He didn’t once glance my way.

“I could have sworn he was so into you he couldn’t see straight,” she mused as we left, rounding a corner to join the mass of people flowing through the student center.

“Hey, baby!” Chaz’s voice pulled both of us from our thoughts. He snatched Erin out of the flow of people and I followed, laughing at her delighted squeal until I noticed the guy standing next to him.

My face went hot, blood pounding in my ears. As our friends kissed hello and began talking about what time they each got off work tonight, Buck stared down at me, his mouth turning up on one side. My breath came in pants and I fought to keep the rising panic and nausea under control. I wanted to turn and run, but I was immobilized.

He couldn’t touch me here. He couldn’t hurt me here.

“Hey, Jackie.” His piercing gaze roamed over me and my skin crawled. “Lookin’ good, as always.” His words gushed flirtation, but all I felt was the threat underneath, intended or not.

The bruises had faded from his face, but weren’t entirely gone. One yellowish streak ringed his left eye, and another brushed along the right side of his nose like a pale smear. Lucas had given him those, and only the three of us knew it. I stared back, mute, the coffee clutched in my hand. I’d once thought this boy handsome and charming—the all-American veneer he wore fooling me as thoroughly as it fooled everyone else.

I raised my chin, ignoring my physical reaction to him, and the fear causing it. “It’s Jacqueline.”

He cocked one eyebrow, confused. “Huh?”

Erin grabbed my elbow. “Come on, hot stuff. Don’t you have art history in like five minutes?”

I stumbled slightly as I turned and followed her, and he issued a soft, taunting laugh as I passed him. “See you around, Jacqueline,” he teased.

My name in his mouth sent a tremor through me, and I trailed behind Erin into the sea of students. Once I could move, I couldn’t get away from him fast enough.

Chapter 6

Erin: Do you still have your coffee cup?

Me: Yes?

Erin: Take the sleeve off


Erin: His phone number?

Me: How did you know???

Erin: I’m Erin. I know all. ;)

Erin: Actually, I just wondered why he wrote on your cup if he was going to make your drink.

If Erin hadn’t texted me during class, that cup, and his number, would have been pitched into the hallway wastebasket.

So… Lucas wasn’t writing an unnecessary drink order onto my cup, he was giving me his phone number. I entered it into my phone, wondering what I was meant to do with it. Call him? Text him?

I thought about what I knew of him: He’d come out of nowhere the night of the party. After putting a stop to the attack, some further protective trait had obliged him to see me safely back to the dorm. He’d somehow known my name that night—my nickname—but I’d never noticed him before.

He sat in the back row in economics, sketching or staring at me instead of paying attention to the lecture. Saturday night, the firm touch of his hands as we danced made my head swim, before he disappeared without explanation. He’d undressed me with his eyes, Erin said, in the middle of Starbucks—where he worked. He was cocky and self-sure. Tattooed and too hot for words. He looked and acted like the Bad Boy Erin and Maggie believed him to be.

And now, his number was programmed into my phone. It was as though he knew all about Operation Bad Boy Phase, and he was as willing and eager to fill that role as my friends believed he’d be.

But I didn’t know him. I didn’t know what he thought of me. If he thought of me. The girl talking to him after class last week wanted him. In the club, girls had openly stared as he passed, some of them turning around in his wake to assess him further. He could have danced with any of them, probably gone home with most of them. Why me?



I’ve attached an outline of my research paper. If you have a chance, could you make sure it’s not too broad, or too focused? I’m not sure how many economies outside the US to include. Also, the J-curve is a little confusing. I get that we can see it after the fact, but isn’t economics based on prediction, like the weather? I mean, who cares if we can only see what happened after the fact - if the weather guy can’t predict what’s going to happen tomorrow, he’s probably going to get fired, right?

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