Home > Model Behavior (Wrecked Roommates, #1)(5)

Model Behavior (Wrecked Roommates, #1)(5)
Author: Kelsie Rae

I raise my hand and jingle them back and forth. “Right here.”

He snatches them from my grasp before they fly through the air and land in Jake’s palm.

“I rode my bike,” Milo explains, motioning to where I assume he’d parked his motorcycle even though I don’t see the big black beast anywhere. “Jake will drive you home. I’ll meet you there.”

“Seriously, Milo. You don’t have to––”

“Stop arguing,” he orders. Then he jogs around the corner, leaving me alone with his best friend and my pseudo big brother. Smiling shyly, I try to ignore the fact that I just got passed from one guy to another like a bad cold in elementary school.

“I can drive, ya know.”

“You heard the boss’ orders,” Jake quips. “Let’s get you home.”

Rounding the front of my beat-up Honda, he opens the door for me then helps me inside like I’m a fragile little deer.

Or a weak little girl who just had her heart broken and lost everything.

My annoyance spikes as I collapse into the passenger seat and cross my arms. “You don’t have to open the door for me, Jake. I’m a big girl. I think I can handle it.”

“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should have to. Besides, my mom raised me to be a gentleman, remember?” His boyish grin flashes back at me before he closes the passenger door, then climbs behind the steering wheel and turns on the ignition.

“Sometimes, I can’t believe you and Milo are actually best friends,” I admit as I click my seat belt into place.

His chuckle reverberates through the cab of the car. “Yeah, you’re not the only person who has a hard time believing that one. He isn’t one to open doors, is he?”

“You tell me. He never brings any of his girls around me, so…”

“That’s because he doesn’t want you to think less of him,” he counters, pulling out of the parking spot.

“Why would I think less of him?”

He glances over at me, his eyes crinkling at the corners. “He’s kind of a whore, Reese.”

“And he thinks I don’t know that?” I laugh. “I heard the stories in high school. Hit-It-And-Quit-It Milo Anders. Yeah, I remember those stories quite well. You, on the other hand…”

“Yeah, yeah. I was a reclusive nerd who enjoyed video games and rarely left my room. I remember.”

“Unless you were hanging out with Milo,” I recall as he turns onto the main road.

“Yeah. I still don’t know why he saved my ass from getting beaten every day, but you won’t hear me complaining.”

“And he graduated because you tutored him, so I’d say it was a pretty even trade.”

“The nerd and the asshole. Who’d of thought, right?”

“Mm-hmm,” I hum, watching him closely while subtly scanning him up and down in the glow from the dashboard. He looks good. A little less nerdy than I remember. A little more filled out too.

“Has Milo been forcing you to go to the gym with him again?” I tease.

With a cocky smirk, his grip tightens around the steering wheel and showcases his toned forearms. “You noticed, huh?”

Dude. I’d be blind to not notice.

I lick my lips that threaten to pull into another smile. “You look good, Jake. Seriously. If you keep it up and get some ink, you might even not stick out like a sore thumb whenever you’re hanging out with my brother.”

“Yeah, but I will when I’m TA’ing a class,” he counters.

“Good point,” I concede, pulling my gaze away from his honey-colored eyes to stare out the window. Trees line both sides of the dark street, blurring together as we pass by. “So…how’s the master’s program going, anyway?”

“It’s good. One more semester, and I’ll be done.”

“Jake!” I squeal before giving him a playful nudge in the shoulder. “That’s amazing. Seriously. I’m proud of you.”

There’s a soft blush that creeps into his cheeks, but he waves me off. “It’s not that big of a deal.”

“Maybe not in your family, but in the Ander’s lineage, it’s unheard of. I’m seriously impressed.”

“Well…” He glances over at me before turning his attention back to the road. “Thanks. It’s not like you wouldn’t be capable of it, though. I remember you being a math whiz.”

I roll my eyes. “I’d hardly call myself a math whiz.”

“Weren’t you doing accounting or something for…?” He cringes when he realizes the minefield he just walked into.

“For Ian’s family’s company?” I finish for him. “Yeah. But it’s not like I’ll be able to use that on my resume or anything. I didn’t go to college, remember? They probably just hired me out of pity in the first place.”

“That’s bullshit, Reese––”

“Debatable, Jake,” I argue with a dry laugh. “Besides, it doesn’t matter anyway. Any other company will want a degree, and I don’t have the time or money to invest in something like that. I need a new job. Stat. Especially if I’m ever going to be able to afford a place on my own.”

“You could take out a student loan––”

“I’m not going to get into debt.”

“It’s an investment––”

“One I can’t afford. Not right now. Not without a job.”

“Milo could-–”

“I’m gonna stop you right there, Jake. Milo has already done more for me than any brother should ever have to. I’ll figure it out, okay? On my own.”

His grip tightens around the steering wheel. “You’re allowed to rely on your brother, Reese.”

“Do you think I would’ve showed up at SeaBird tonight if I didn’t believe that?” I counter. “I know I can rely on him. But it would be nice if I could handle my own shit every once in a while too.”

The rev of the engine is the only response he gives me.

With a sigh, I tuck my hair behind my ear. “Speaking of relying on people…thanks for driving me home. And for letting me stay at your place for a little while. I know that Milo likes to pretend he rules the world, but he doesn’t, and if you would’ve said no, he would’ve supported that. So, thank you. I appreciate it.”

His gaze flicks toward me before returning to the road as he flips on the blinker. “No worries, Reese.”

More silence.

“So where’s your car, anyway?” I ask.

“At home.”

“Then how’d you get to the bar in the first place? I mean, if Milo had his bike…?”

“I caught a ride with Sonny,” Jake explains before turning onto one of the side roads that lead to their house.

I have no idea who Sonny is, but it seems like Jake isn’t feeling very chatty, and I’m not in the mood to dig for answers. Not right now. “Oh. Well, I guess that worked out then.”

Giving me the side-eye, he mutters, “Yeah. I guess it did.”

The cool glass from the passenger window kisses my forehead as I rest my head against it and let my exhaustion from the day finally catch up to me.

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