Hooked by Love (Bellevue Bullies #3)(10)

By: Toni Aleo

“No. He’s a sperm donor, and you best remember that because if you keep on, he’ll hurt you. I promise you that,” Jude says this time, and it kind of surprises me. While he doesn’t get along with my father, he hardly ever talks badly about him. It’s usually just Jayden and Lucy. “We just want you to stand on your own two feet. You’ve been fed with a silver spoon your whole life. One day, you’re gonna have to support yourself, bro. Better start preparing for that. Mom isn’t going to be there to clean up your messes forever.”

I nod. “I got this.”

And I do. I’m good. I want to enjoy my last year of fun before it’s time to adult, but these two don’t want to give that to me. They want me to be them, and it’s not realistic. They had their time of fun, living off my dad. Why shouldn’t I get that? Because of a divorce I have nothing to do with? That’s not fair. I get what they are saying and I’m watching my back, but I’m not gonna refuse a free car. Or money.

“Have you gotten a job?” Jayden asks and I shrug.

“Working on it.”

That has both of them rolling their eyes, but my dad said he’d send me money. Why do I need a job? I’m not telling them that, though. I need to focus on hockey; I need to have fun. I’m still a kid, damn it!

“I hope so,” Jayden says and then his arms come around me, hugging me tightly. While he does have a scary temper, he loves harder. That’s Jayden for you. You take the crazy with the real good. He’s a good brother. A pain in the ass, a broken record, but a damn good brother. “I love you. Call me if you need anything.”

“Love you,” I mumble as he hugs me, and I know he’d rather I call him than my dad, but it’s just easier. I feel like my dad will give me what I want with no strings attached and no lecture. But with Jayden and Jude, I will have to pay them back, own up to what I need, and I don’t want their disappointment.

Jude takes me into his arms next, hugging me tightly. “I love you, Jace. We just want you to be a good man, you know that?”

“I do,” I say back and he hugs me harder. “And I love you too.”

Pulling back, he looks deep into my eyes, urging me to listen. “It seems great now. He’s doing everything, sending money and buying you shit. But he’ll burn you, and then what will you have? Nothing. So get it together now, prepare yourself, because that money train won’t last. Believe me. He’s burned us all. Plus, you don’t want to be that guy, the one who depends on other people. You are stronger than that.”

For fuck’s sake, I’m nineteen, people. Let me be a kid.

I can’t say that, and as I bite the inside of my cheek, I nod. “I hear you.”

“Good. I love you, dork. Call me if you need guidance on how to pick up chicks. I know you’re struggling with that.” His face breaks into a grin, and before I can push him away, he is tackle-hugging me again, squeezing me tightly.

“Remember, don’t be a fool, wrap up the tool…if you can even get that far,” Jayden jokes, and I break from Jude to push hard against his chest as he laughs, smacking the side of my neck with his big hand.

“And remember there are two holes. One is good, the other is also good, but most of the time, girls freak the hell out,” Jude says between laughs.

“Plus, the boobs are not handlebars, they are love cushions.” Jayden cups his own chest and I roll my eyes.

These guys are fucking sixteen-year-olds, not men.

“You guys are assholes,” I say as Markus wheezes on the car.

“Hey, we are trying to help,” Jude says. “Can’t send my brother out to lose his V-card and not know what to do.”

My jaw drops. “Dude, I’m not virgin.”

“Of course not,” Jayden says with a wink. “I’m sure some girl will believe that.”

Closing my eyes, I take in a deep breath as I shake my head. I want to chase them, but then my phone is vibrating in my pocket with text messages, and I know I need to go. Pulling it out, I see I’m right. Without looking up, I say, “I hate you both.”

“But we love you, Jace, so much,” they say together in a repulsive way that sets my teeth on edge. I swear they were put on this earth to drive me batshit.

Still though, I love them. “You guys don’t want to come tonight?”

Jude scoffs. “No way, Claire would throw a bitch fit.”

“And Baylor would help,” Jayden laughs. “No, we are gonna hang with Mom. Be old and shit.”

“Lame-ass bitches,” I tease, walking around to my car. “Fine, go put your tampon in, but if by chance you change your mind, come on out and watch your baby bro pull girls left and right.”

Markus heckles. “You couldn’t pull a wagon. Really, guys, he sucks at pulling girls. You failed him.”

I glare as Jude and Jayden chuckle. “I don’t like you.”

“I looooooooooove you,” Markus laughs as Jayden cups my shoulder.

“Don’t worry, young one. The force is strong within you. Your game shall come. I feel it.”

“I hate you.”

“Just remember, don’t stare at their boobs.” Jude is still laughing.

“And listen to what they say,” Jayden adds. “Girls like that shit.”

“You guys are dumb, and plus, I don’t want some boring marriage. I want fun.” I get into the car.

“Ha!” Jude laughs. “I had fun for a good long time. Let me tell you, my boring marriage is a billion times better.”

I roll my eyes as Jayden says, “I’d take Baylor over a thousand different women. You just wait. There is a girl out there ready to knock you on your ass.”

“Yeah, right.” I slam the door and wave at them. “I’m sure as hell not looking for her.”

“You don’t have to,” Jude calls out to me. “She’ll come along and hit you harder than a two-hundred-pound defensemen, you watch.”

“And then you’ll be saying, man, my brothers were right.” Jayden’s attempt at mocking me is a fail in my eyes, but apparently Markus and Jude think he’s funny.

“Whatever. I don’t have time for all that, and I sure as hell won’t admit that you two losers are ever right.”

“You’ll see,” Jayden calls out as I back out of the driveway. But I just wave, thinking they are both crazy.

But for some reason, those turquoise eyes flash in my mind and I quickly shake my head.

Nope, no girl is worth all that.

Especially when you add in the possibility of admitting my brothers are right.

No way.

Won’t happen.

The campus is buzzing with excitement as we head toward the Bullies’ house. Every person I pass is talking about the party and asking who is going. With every step I take toward the house, excitement rattles within me. According to Mekena, this is the party of the year. It is always wild and so much fun. There is already even a video posted on Facebook of people doing keg stands and a big game of broom hockey. It was huge, and it looked like fun. But I can’t say I wish I had been there for that.

Since I hate hockey and all.

Well, maybe not the sport…but eh, whatever.

Mekena is excited, though. She is smiling, waving at people, and quickly I realize my assumptions of her were wrong. She is a people-pleaser and she obviously knows everyone. She hugs and kisses a lot of our classmates as we make our way across the quad. Soon, I learn that she went to high school here in Nashville. Along with that, her sister is a senior here and took her to all the parties last year to get her ready. While my home life is shit, Mekena’s isn’t. She loves her family, and her sister is basically her best friend.

Lucky bitch.

God, how I wish I’d had a sister. Someone I could confide in, someone to tell about my newest crush, and someone to hold me when that boy breaks my heart. We’d go shopping and share clothes; we’d be two peas in a pod. Man, how amazing it would be. Instead, I got three huge brothers who smelled most of the time and made me carry their shit after games. No shopping, no heart-to-hearts, and definitely no holding me after a breakup. Nope. Nothing.

But Mekena has all that, and when I come face-to-face with Skylar Preston, the only thing I can think is, holy crap, they are twins. Just Skylar is thicker…a lot thicker than Mekena. Not fat, but I’m pretty sure the girl could bench me over her head.

Kind of scary.

Especially when she sets Mekena with a look that tells her she is not playing around and also that she is annoyed. “I’m not going to chill with you all night. You’re on your own.”

“I got this,” Mekena says confidently, and that blows my mind. Where was this girl for the last week? I swear, she had her nose in the books, was quiet, and nothing else mattered but getting A’s in all her classes. This girl is ready to party, dressed to kill, and self-assured. What the hell? “And you know what? You can’t chill with me and my friend.”

“Oh, poo.” The sarcasm is strong in Skylar’s voice, but worry is still in her eyes. “Remember, don’t take drinks from dudes unless you know them, and even then, be careful. You start feeling weird, drop the cup and find me. Don’t do drugs here. They are mostly laced with something. And also, don’t end up getting raped, please. Be smart. This ain’t your first rodeo.”

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