Read Teaching Roman Online

Authors: Gennifer Albin

Tags: #coming of age, #romantic comedy, #new adult, #college

Teaching Roman

Teaching Roman

Good Girls Don't, Volume 2

Gennifer Albin

Published by Gennifer Albin, 2014.

This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.

TEACHING ROMAN

First edition. June 27, 2014.

Copyright © 2014 Gennifer Albin.

ISBN: 978-0996033138

Written by Gennifer Albin.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

CHAPTER THIRTY

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

A SPECIAL THANKS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ALSO BY GENNIFER ALBIN

CHAPTER ONE

I
f your girlfriend doesn’t melt into you or burst into a waterfall of tears when you propose, it’s a bad sign. We both knew that, but he was still down there on one knee with a ring in his hand.

It takes a lot to shut me up completely. I’m talking about total I-can’t-think-of-a-thing-to-say silence, but Brett had managed to dumbfound me. In fact, I could barely process thoughts at all, so I started to make a mental list, hoping that it would look like I was thinking and not stalling long enough that he’d give me an out. Or we’d fall into a wormhole. Or die of old age.

Basically, anything that got me out of answering his one simple question.

Lists were my back-up plan. They kept me on top of school, out of trouble, and most of all, they made sure my life was organized. My whole brain was like a giant list, split into neat categories: classes, MCATs, Cassie and Jills, family, and Brett. Not necessarily in that order, but close. Brett’s list took up the smallest amount of space in my brain. He didn’t need much. Brett was independent and responsible, majoring in business and planning to continue straight through for his MBA. He didn’t take up as much space in my head and on my lists because he didn’t need me, which was something I liked about him. But what he was asking me now would require a major recategorization. Apparently Brett wasn’t happy with the tiny, but adequate, space he occupied on my priority list. Otherwise he would never have asked this of me.

Retracing my night, I examined each of the evening’s events moment by moment, looking for some clue as to what the hell had brought this up. We’d both finished finals earlier in the week, which let me focus on getting Jills through her own tests. Tonight we had met Cassie, Jills, and Liam at Garrett’s for the end of the semester celebration. Cassie had begged out to hunt down Trevor, and Jillian and Liam had left for a private party back at our apartment.

But no matter how hard I retraced my steps for the evening, I couldn’t find one hint that Brett was unhappy with our relationship as it stood. He was quiet at the bar, but he always was. Brett’s brain was constantly in two places at once: trying to go on a date while worrying about school or the future. We had that in common. It was part of what made us work.

Brett cleared his throat to remind me he was still there, and I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts. I was out of time, but I still couldn’t think of anything to say to him. What would Jills or Cassie do in this situation? Jills would laugh at him and Cassie would curse at him. Neither of those reactions seemed appropriate, although I felt a little like doing both. And maybe crying, too, but not in a good way.

“Jess?” Brett prompted, and I forced myself to look at him. He was good-looking but not so hot that he was an asshole. Clean-shaven, precisely cut hair, and clothes that skirted the line between hipster and preppy. I had no doubt that the closer we got to graduation, the preppier those clothes would become. Blazers and khakis were in his future. He was the perfect choice for someone who planned to continue on to a demanding career. Steady, responsible, and moderately ambitious, but staring down at him now, that didn't mean anything to me.

The fact that he was down on one knee made the whole thing so much more awkward.

“I’m thinking,” I hedged.

“Are you thinking yes or no?” The accompanying laugh was too forced to break the tension.

“I don’t know,” I said finally. I
really
didn’t know. My mind was incapable of producing a definite answer. He could ask me if the sky was blue right now and I couldn’t say yes.

Brett’s shoulders dropped, but the smile stayed pinned to his face. I was beginning to think he wouldn’t budge from this spot until I agreed to be his wife.

His wife!

Crap on a cracker. Brett wanted me to marry him, and no matter how hard I tried to adjust the never-ending lists in my head, I couldn’t seem to find a spot for that. I couldn’t tell
him
that though. Instead, I closed the lid of the jewelry box, concealing the sparkling princess cut diamond engagement ring as though
I
could hide from
it
.

The muscles in Brett’s jaw popped as he rose to his feet. “I guess that’s my answer.”

“That’s not an answer,” I stopped him. “I need to think about it. There’s a lot to consider. Med school, finances, residencies.” Even as I said it, I knew that even if he’d presented me with a power point on how our marriage would affect all those things, I wouldn’t have been able to say yes on the spot. I wanted to believe this was because I was a careful girl, and not because I’d been stringing him along for the better part of a year.

Had I?

“I get it.” Brett held up a hand in surrender. “Make your list, Jess.”

But even though I hadn’t said no, Brett didn’t kiss me goodnight at my door, and I couldn’t blame him. We both knew this was one decision a list couldn’t help with.

CHAPTER TWO

W
henever my phone buzzes at 2 am, I tell myself that it’s preparing me to be a doctor and I need to get used to it. If I didn’t, I would wind up killing my friends.

Fumbling for my phone, I yanked it free of its charger, glad Brett had gone back to his place.

“You better be bleeding,” I mumbled as I answered.

“I’m on my way over,” Cassie said. The phone went dead, and I sat up straight in bed. I adored my best friends, but they could be a tad dramatic. Not that they didn’t have their reasons. They usually did. But whatever reason Cassie had for heading to my house at 2 am on a Friday night, I knew it was serious. For one thing,
it was 2 am on a Friday night
. Normal people were having sex or still at the bars right now. For another, she hadn’t cursed. Her voice had been totally monotone. A calm Cassie was the scariest thing in the world. The girl didn’t do calm.

Pushing out of bed, I pulled my blond hair up and padded down the hall, stopping at Jillian’s door. She was definitely having a normal Friday night. Against my better judgment, I pressed my ear to her door and held my breath. It was surprisingly quiet. Only a few giggles punctuated the silence. I took my chances and knocked.

Twenty seconds later, the door cracked open. Jills raised one eyebrow at me. The door exposed the curve of her hip, and I realized she was naked. It was totally uncool to cockblock her, and I felt terrible interrupting, especially since she’d only worked things out with Liam recently, but this was an emergency.

“Cassie is on her way over. She sounded
calm
.” The only other person who would understand what that meant was Jills.

Her eyes widened. “Shit, give me five minutes.”

Jillian disappeared behind her door and I tried not to eavesdrop on the muffled voices. She was back in less than two minutes, slipping out of her room and following me to wait in the living room. Liam was on her heels as she raked her fingers through her sex hair. I tried to look away as he buttoned his fly. He was mostly undressed, his six pack on full display as he tugged on his shoes and finally his shirt.

“I’ll see you tomorrow?” he asked Jillian at the door, and she nodded.

“Bright and early,” she reminded him, popping onto tiptoes to kiss him goodbye. A strange mix of happiness and jealousy flooded through me. They were totally perfect together, and Liam was more than a nice guy. He was a catch. I turned away as they finished their farewell with a display worthy of a porno.

Liam left with a soft “I love you,” and a final kiss on the forehead.

Jillian didn't lock the door behind him. She joined me on the couch, glowing like a lightbulb, the happiness radiating from her. But I could tell she was doing her best to look natural and serious for the sake of Cassie.

My stomach began doing gymnastics with each second that passed.

“What do you think happened?” I asked her, biting my thumbnail.

She swatted my hand from my mouth. “Stop that.” Jillian paused and let out a long sigh. “I have a feeling I know what this is about.”

I waited for her to tell me, but she seemed reluctant to do so. “Which is?”

“I ran into Trevor at the library and he was acting weird, like I had caught him.”

“Caught him doing what? Studying?” Trevor was the kind of guy who wouldn’t want the rep of being the studious type. The way he threw around money, I knew he wanted to look carefree and wealthy. It was obviously an act, but Cassie had fallen for it—hook, line, and sinker.

Jillian snorted. "I doubt he was having a tryst with an economics journal. I think—"

Before she could tell me exactly what she thought, Cassie burst into the apartment. The calm was gone replaced by a visible anger that shook her entire body. “That son of a bitch!”

“Uh oh.” My eyes flashed from Cassie to Jillian whose shoulders slumped. Whatever Jillian thought was going on, it was clear Cassie had confirmed it.

“You want a drink or something?” I offered. I knew exactly what I needed to do.
Get her comfortable. Calm her down. Distract her.
Then discuss options. I called it my chill pill list. It was a bad habit of mine to fall back on my bedside manner when one of my girls was freaking out.

“I would like a baseball bat or some pepper spray.” Cassie  off a list that grew scarier with each item. She ended on “one of those giant medieval devices with the spikes that you shut assholes up in.”

“I’m not sure we have an iron maiden,” Jillian said, a note of apology in her voice. She patted the couch in an effort to get Cassie to sit down, but Cassie kept up her manic pacing. The whole room was filled with the frenzied energy of a woman scorned. Normally Cassie was totally put together, but right now her black hair was pulled into a messy pony tail and her clothes were wrinkled.

“You’re going to be a doctor.” She pointed at me, and I shrank back against the couch cushion. “What do they use to castrate assholes?”

I shook my head. “Um, we generally don’t do that, even to assholes.”

“Knives,” Jillian spoke up and I shot her a look. Whatever was going on, arming Cassie seemed like a bad idea.

“Good. You have knives, right?”

“Noooooo,” Jillian answered, looking to the kitchen.

I made up my mind to tackle Cassie if she took one step toward the kitchen cabinets.

“What’s going on?” I asked her, trying to dial down her homicidal mood.

“Let’s just say that I went over to Trevor’s and there was a pair of legs around his neck that definitely weren’t mine.” That did it. As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she crumbled onto the floor in a deluge of tears.

Jills and I shared another
oh shit
look before we scrambled onto the floor to join her. We both wrapped her into a tight hug and let her sob, nodding supportively as she tried to choke out more of the story, but between her sobs and her cursing, we couldn’t follow it.

One thing was clear. Trevor had screwed up big time, and Cassie was the casualty of his idiocy. Over Cassie’s shoulder, Jillian was looking positively murderous herself and echoing Cassie’s half-coherent ramblings.

He is a worthless piece of shit.

I’ve always thought he was an asshat, too.

I was glad Jillian was around for this. My talents consisted of calming someone down to have a rational discussion. I was never any good at just getting verbal about my anger. Once we got Cassie calm, I’d be able to reason with her. Jills had never liked Trevor, but I’d been less concerned, except for when Cassie went and got a tattoo for him—because guys like Trevor didn’t last. It was so obvious to everyone
but
Cassie. Not that that made me want to chew him out any less. 

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