Lusting over your best friend’s girlfriend sucks.
First off, there’s the awkward factor. As in, it’s really fucking awkward. I can’t speak for all men, but I’m pretty sure that no guy wants to leave his bedroom and bump into the girl of his dreams after she’s just spent the whole night in his best friend’s arms.
Then there’s the self-loathing element. This one’s a given, because it’s kind of hard not to hate yourself when you’re fantasizing about the love of your best friend’s life.
At the moment, the awkwardness is definitely winning out. See, I live in a house with very thin walls, which means I can hear every breathy moan that leaves Hannah’s mouth. Every gasp and sigh. Every thump of the headboard smacking the wall as someone else screws the girl I can’t stop thinking about.
I’m on my bed, flat on my back and staring up at the ceiling. I’m not even pretending to scroll through my iPod library anymore. I popped the ear buds in with the intention of drowning out the sounds of Garrett and Hannah in the other room, but I still haven’t pressed play. I guess I’m in the mood to torture myself tonight.
Look, I’m not an idiot. I know she’s in love with Garrett. I see the way she looks at him, and I see how they are together. They’ve been a couple for six months now, and not even I, the worst friend on the planet, can deny they’re perfect for each other.
And hell, Garrett deserves to be happy. He plays it off like he’s a cocky sonofabitch, but truth is, he’s a goddamn saint. The best center I’ve ever skated with and the best person I’ve ever known, and I’m comfortable enough with my hetero status to say that if I did play for the other team? I wouldn’t just fuck Garrett Graham, I’d marry him.
That’s what makes this a trillion times harder. I can’t even hate the dude who’s tapping the chick I want. No revenge fantasies to be had, because I don’t hate Garrett, not in the slightest.
A door creaks open and footsteps echo in the hallway, and I pray to God that Garrett or Hannah doesn’t knock on my door. Or open their mouths, for that matter, because hearing either of their voices right now will only bum me out even more.
Luckily, the loud knock that rattles my doorframe comes from my other roommate, Dean, who waltzes inside without waiting for an invitation. “Party at Omega Phi tonight. You down?”
I dive off my bed faster than you can say pathetic, because a party sounds like a fan-fucking-tastic idea right about now. Getting wasted is a surefire way to stop myself from thinking about Hannah. Actually, no—I want to get wasted and screw someone’s brains out. That way if one of those activities doesn’t help me with my don’t-think-about-Hannah goal, the other can serve as backup.
“Hell yeah,” I answer, already fumbling around for a shirt.
I slip a clean T-shirt over my head and ignore the twinge of pain in my left arm, which is still sore as shit from the bone-jarring body check I took at the championship game last week. But the hit was totally worth it—for the third consecutive year, Briar’s hockey team secured another Frozen Four victory. I guess you can call it the ultimate hat trick, and all the players, myself included, are still reaping the rewards of being three-time national champions.
Dean, one of my fellow defensemen, calls it the Three P’s of Victory: parties, praise and pussy.
It’s a pretty fair assessment of the situation, because I’ve been on the receiving end of all three since our big win.
“You gonna be the DD?” I ask as I throw a black hoodie over my T-shirt and zip it up.
My buddy snorts. “Did you really just ask me that?”
I roll my eyes. “Right. What ever was I thinking?”
The last time Dean Heyward-Di Laurentis was sober at a party was never. Dude drinks like a fish or gets higher than a kite every time he leaves the house, and if you think that affects his performance on the ice in any way, then think again. He’s one of those rare creatures who can party like past-day Robert Downey Jr. and somehow be as successful and revered as present-day Robert Downey Jr.
“Don’t worry, Tuck’s the DD,” Dean tells me, referring to our other roommate, Tucker. “The pussy’s still hung-over from last night. Said he needs a break.”
Yeah, I don’t exactly blame him. Off-season training doesn’t start for another couple weeks, and we’ve all been enjoying the time off a little too much. But that’s what happens when you’re riding a Frozen Four high. Last year after we won, I was drunk for two weeks straight.
I’m not looking forward to the off-season. Strength and conditioning and all the hard work it takes to stay in shape are exhausting, but it’s even more exhausting when you’re working ten-hour shifts at the same time. It’s not like I have a choice, though. The workouts are necessary prep for the upcoming season, and the work, well, I made a promise to my brother, and no matter how sick to my stomach it makes me, I can’t renege on it. Jeff will skin me alive if I don’t fulfill my end of the deal.
Our designated driver waits at the front door when Dean and I come downstairs. A reddish-brown beard devours Tucker’s entire face, giving him a werewolf vibe, but he’s been determined to try out this new look ever since a chick he met at a party last week told him he had a baby face.
“You know that Yeti-beard doesn’t make you look more manly, right?” Dean says cheerfully as we walk out the door.
Tuck shrugs. “I was going for rugged, actually.”
I snicker. “Well, it’s not that, either, Babyface. You look like a mad scientist.”
He flips up his middle finger as he heads for the driver’s side of my truck. I settle in the passenger seat while Dean climbs into the pickup bed, saying he wants some fresh air. I think he just wants the wind to mess up his hair in that tousled, sexed-up way girls drop their panties for. FYI—Dean is nauseatingly vain. But he also looks like a male model, so maybe he’s allowed to be vain.
Tucker starts the engine, and I drum my fingers against my thighs, itching to get going. A lot of students in the Greek system piss me off with their elitist attitudes, but I’m willing to overlook that because…well, hell, because if party-throwing was an Olympic sport? Every frat and sorority house at Briar would be a gold medalist.
As Tuck reverses out of the driveway, my gaze rests on Garrett’s black Jeep, all shiny in its parking space while its owner spends the night with the coolest girl on the planet and—
And enough. This obsession with Hannah Wells is really starting to mess with my head.
I need to get laid. ASAP.
Tucker is noticeably quiet during the drive to Omega Phi. He might also be frowning, but it’s hard to tell considering someone shaved off all of Hugh Jackman’s body hair and pasted it on Tuck’s face.
“What’s with the silent treatment?” I ask lightly.
His gaze shifts toward me to offer a sour look, then shifts right back to the road.
“Oh, come on. Is this about all the shit we’re giving you about the beard?” Exasperation shoots through me. “Because that’s like the first chapter of Beards for Dummies, bro—if you grow a mountain man beard, your friends will make fun of you. End of chapter.”
“It’s not about the beard,” he mutters.
I wrinkle my forehead. “Okay. But you are pissed about something.” When he doesn’t respond, I push a little harder. “What’s going on with you?”
His annoyed eyes meet mine. “With me? Nothing. With you? So much I don’t even know where to start.” He curses softly. “You need to stop this shit, man.”
Now I’m genuinely confused, because as far as I can tell, all I’ve done in the past ten minutes is look forward to a party.
Tucker notices the confusion on my face and clarifies in a grim tone. “This thing with Hannah.”
Although my shoulders stiffen, I try to keep my expression vague. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Yup, I’ve chosen to lie. Which is nothing new for me, actually. It seems like all I’ve done since I came to Briar is lie.
I’m totally destined for the NHL. Going pro all the way!