Home > Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)(32)

Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)(32)
Author: Tammara Webber

I shrugged.

We practiced defensive stances and simple hand strikes, and though I felt silly at first, Erin and I were soon yelling, “NO!” along with our classmates, and shoving the heels of our hands into each other’s chins or hammering a fist (very slowly) down onto each other’s noses.

“The last thing today will be ground defense. We’ll watch Don and Lucas illustrate the first position and defense, and then each pair come grab a mat and we’ll circulate while you practice.”

Lucas lay face down on the mat and Don knelt over him, holding him down with his weight. My heart rate spiked and my breaths came irregularly, just watching. I didn’t want to be in that position again. I couldn’t do it in front of a classroom of people. I couldn’t do it in front of Lucas.

Erin uncurled my fist with her fingers and took my hand. “J, you’ve gotta do this one. You be the attacker first. It’ll be okay.”

I shook my head. “I don’t want to. It’s too much like—” I swallowed.

“Which is exactly why you’ve got to do it.” Before I said anything else, she squeezed my hand. “Hey, help me do it, okay? And then we’ll see how you feel.”

I nodded. “Okay.”

I helped Erin, but I could only stand to play the victim once. I did the moves—and dislodged her fairly easily. As an ex-cheerleader, Erin was strong, but she was no Buck. I had no faith that this move would dislodge someone of his size and strength.

I couldn’t look at Lucas—not during this final exercise, and not as we filed out the door.


“You sure you don’t wanna go? I could use you to keep me from testing those moves we learned this morning on Chaz, if he has the balls to show up at this party.”

I looked up from the novel I was reading, because Landon still hadn’t sent my econ project back (funny how I continued to think of him in terms of Lucas and Landon), and I was weirdly caught up on homework. My roommate had never understood my compulsion to read when I had free time, especially if there were campus social events to attend. “No, Erin, I really don’t want to go to a sorority thing, believe it or not. Not to mention the fact that no one would be thrilled to see me there.”

Hands on hips, she frowned down at me. “You’re probably right. But you’re coming with me to the Brotherhood Bash in a couple of weeks, right? Bitches got nothing to say about me bringing you then—frat rules apply—additional booze and broads welcome.”

“Aww, what a sweet and not at all demeaning sentiment.”

She laughed while she pulled on platform heels. “I know, right? What a bunch of pricks.” Her smile fell. “Seriously, though, I could use a buffer between me and Chaz that night. Not that he’ll, you know, bother me. But I know some girls who’ve just been waiting for me to be out of the way. They’ll be on him like ticks on a country dog, and I really don’t wanna see it.”

I nodded. “I understand—and eww on that visual... though it’s revoltingly appropriate. Can’t you just skip the brotherhood thing? You could have the Asian Flu. Or Malaria. I’ll vouch.”

Tossing her hair over her shoulder, she grabbed her purse and walked to the door like a runway model—not the slightest wobble. “Nope. It’s a huge deal. Besides, I’ve gotta face it sometime. Plus, I already RSVP’d for us both. And I have a couple of weeks to mentally prepare for it.” She yanked the door open. “We’re going power shopping after break, though. I’m gonna make that ass**le gnaw his own hand off that night, dammit.”

As the door shut behind her, my phone trilled a text alert.

Lucas: Do you still want to see the charcoal?

Me: Yes

Lucas: Tonight?

Me: Ok

Lucas: I’ll be outside your place in 10? Pull your hair back and wear something warm.

Me: You aren’t bringing it over?

Lucas: I was bringing you to it. Unless you don’t want to.

Me: I’ll come down, but I need 15 minutes.

Lucas: I’ll wait. No rush.

I tore around the room like an insane person, stripping off my flannel PJs and snatching a clean bra and panties from the clean-but-not-put-away laundry pile. Warm clothes… Sweats? No. Jeans. Black UGGs. The soft sapphire sweater that made Erin say, “That makes your eyes pop.” After brushing my teeth, I brushed my hair and secured it at the nape—though I wasn’t sure why.

Grabbing my black wool peacoat on the way out the door, I left the building by the main exit. I hadn’t been in the stairwell since Buck caught me there, even when it meant extra steps.

Lucas was at the curb, leaning against a motorcycle, arms crossed over his chest. Along with his now-familiar boots and jeans, he wore a dark brown leather jacket that made his hair look black. Watching me with those light eyes, his gaze didn’t waver from me, no matter the distracting Saturday night noises of residents coming and going. He didn’t hide the unhurried top-to-bottom scan that left parts of me molten and longing for him to touch me like he had in my room.

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I reminded myself of his deception in a failing attempt to douse the desire spreading through me like lava—slow-moving, heavy and hot. My trepidation about his motorcycle helped cool it to some degree. I’d never been on one before, and couldn’t say I’d ever intended to change that fact. When I walked up to him, he held out an extra helmet.

“I guess this is the reason for the hair guidelines,” I said, taking the helmet and examining it hesitantly.

“You can take it back down when we get to my place, if you want. I didn’t figure you’d want to stuff it under the helmet… or leave it loose and let it get all tangled on the ride.”

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