Whitney’s gaze flicked toward her parents then back to my face. “S’up?” she asked as if she wasn’t interested in the least, which about drove me crazy. Every other girl in Pine Grove would have been more than happy for my attention. But not this one. And yet, I could have sworn that she was interested in me earlier, a few months ago. Havoc wasn’t the only gargoyle who’d won Parcheesi games and collected kisses. I could still remember the taste of her mouth, the heat of her kiss, the way her lips had yielded beneath mine. She was warm then. Now she was all ice and frost.
I shoved my hands into the front pockets of my jeans. “We haven’t seen you much lately,” I started, feeling suddenly awkward. She shouldn’t have rattled me the way she did, considering I had two years on her.
“I’ve been busy,” she said lightly, already moving away from me across the polished wooden floor toward her family.
“I’d…like to see you sometime,” I said, hoping I didn’t sound desperate but feeling like I was already running out of time as she walked away and I tried to keep up.
“I’m sorry,” she answered. “But…”
“Why did you flip me off?” I asked, cutting to the chase.
That slowed her down a bit. “I didn’t flip you off!” she exclaimed.
I forced my voice to be calm and tried to produce a friendly smile. “After that last basketball game. You flipped me the love symbol.”
“Oh, that.” She shot a nervous glance at her parents a few feet away then cleared her face and shook her hair behind her back. “What makes you think it was for you?”
I hadn’t expected that kind of answer because she’d been looking right at me when she did it. I’d thought she might tell me that I’d misunderstood the gesture. Or that I was out of luck because she’d changed her mind and didn’t feel that way anymore. And of course, I’d hoped she’d break down and admit that she’d flipped me the love symbol because she liked me.
For about two seconds, I searched her face, confused. But before I could put together a reasonable response, she turned on her heel and joined her parents who herded her through the door and out of the gym. As I followed them with my eyes, my gaze snagged on the gaggle of girls who’d clapped for me earlier. They’d moved from the stands over to the exit and were staring at me with wide-eyed sympathy. I’d just been shot down, pretty fatally. In public. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before. I felt a burn of heat scorch my cheekbones and, right then, I promised myself that the high-maintenance blond would never make a fool of me again.
Out in the school’s big lobby, I caught up to the rest of my pack…
“How’d it go?” Havoc asked in a low murmur as I reached his side, obviously talking about my conversation with Whitney.
I held his pale green gaze for several heartbeats. I didn’t know what game Whitney was playing but I wasn’t without pride. I was descended from a great Jarl on my mother’s side. That’s fricking royalty! I wasn’t going to grovel, even though that’s exactly what I wanted to do most of the time. And I refused to make a fool of myself over a girl. My first instinct about human females had been right; they couldn’t be trusted. “I’m done with her,” I growled.