“Can’t be more than I miss you.” The words are a constant reminder of how unavailable Olivia is, and Bryson Daniels isn’t one for competition off the baseball field, but since the moment he knocked on the door to his new apartment and his roommate “Ollie” wasn’t who he expected, he can’t help but consider bending a few of his rules—even if it means heeding to Olivia’s.
“I love you, sweet cheeks. Chat with you later?”
Bryson hears the conversations through the paper thin walls, but there’s a pain inside Olivia he can’t seem to walk away from. He vows to be there for her when the voice on the other side of the computer inevitably breaks her heart, but will he ever be able to compete with someone who’s more than a memory?
I join him on the couch and wait for the awkward conversation to pop up again. It’s not the first time he’s caught me appreciating his body, and if he keeps living here, it won’t be the last. In my defense, he’s practically half naked and cut like an Olympian. I’d like to meet a heterosexual woman who wouldn’t do a double take at a shirtless Bryson Daniels. I imagine the list would lean toward the geriatric end of the spectrum, or the blind.
“What are you doing?” he chastises as I scoot a sliver of watercress away from my food. “That’s the best part!”
I hold my plate up for him as he stabs the evil vegetable with his fork and pops it into his mouth.
Plush lips, strong jaw, and masculine slashed eyebrows—this man has everything going for him.
I give my head a slight shake and turn my attention back to the TV. He seems relaxed and unfazed by sitting on the couch beside me. I, on the other hand, am full of turmoil. His thigh is touching mine, his shoulder bumps mine every now and then, and my body shakes slightly when he laughs, ever aware of his proximity.
“You seem like a Hermione,” he says as Harry and Ron sit down beside her in the library.
I watch her with sad eyes as she struggles to remain proud and unaffected by the naysayers trying to pull her down. I’m nothing like her. She stands up to those who throw negativity her way. She faces adversity with her head held high. I cower and hide.
“I wish I were as strong as her,” I say, my voice low. “I used to be like her.”
“What changed?” I tilt my head in his direction, finding the softness in his voice matches the compassion in his eyes.
Looking away, I shake my head, trying my best not to let the tears stinging my eyes fall down my cheek.
“Hey,” Bryson says, reaching over and hooking a finger under my chin, “forget I said anything.”
His finger is gone just as fast, and I miss his touch immediately. My appetite gone, I lean forward and place my half eaten plate of food on the coffee table, the idea of hiding away in my room sounding better by the second.
“Nope,” Bryson says. Picking up my plate, he puts it back on my lap and points to the pile of broccoli. “None of that. Only those in the Slytherin house refuse to eat their vegetables. You’re not Slytherin, are you?”
I grin at his silliness. “Hufflepuff all the way.”
I pop a chunk of food in my mouth.“That’s what I thought.”