#Poser:The Hashtag Series #5(2)By: Cambria Hebert
Didn’t surprise me one bit. Rim knew football was in Rome’s blood. She’d never stand in the way of that. I clapped him on the back. “My sis knows what she’s talking about.”
“I need you to do something for me.” He looked at me. “Not sure how you’re gonna feel about it.”
“Dude.” I sighed dramatically. “I told you. That was a one-time thing. If I go running across campus in my boxers again, I might give the old ladies in the office building heart attacks.” I gestured to myself. “It takes a strong ticker to handle all this.”
“I don’t wanna see you in your damn skivvies.” He flashed a smile. “Though I’d pay to see Ivy’s reaction to that shit.”
“Hell,” I muttered. “I’d never hear the end of it.”
Romeo’s smile grew wider into a shit-eating grin. “Rim says Prada has taken quite a liking to you.”
“Damn rat,” I spat. But then I smiled. It was hard not to love her when she’d come prancing up to the door in a stupid pink outfit when I walked in. And okay, yeah, maybe I let her sleep with us.
“Who’s whipped now?” Romeo laughed.
“You kiss your momma with that mouth?” I cracked.
He laughed and pushed off the railing to sit in the row of seats behind us. I dropped down beside him.
“What do you need?” He had to know I’d do it. We had each other’s backs like that.
“I rented a house.” A ring of keys appeared in his hand, and he spun them around his finger as he spoke. “It’s not too far from campus. Nice neighborhood, fenced-in yard, security system, garage…”
“But you’re leaving for training in like a week.”
He glanced at me.
Ah. He was leaving, but Rim wasn’t.
I laughed. “You rented her a house? She’s so pissed, isn’t she?”
The grimace on his face said it all. “She wasn’t too happy. Took some work to get her to come around.”
I didn’t need to know about the kind of “work” he was talking about.
“I thought she had to live on campus, you know, as part of her scholarship?”
He shrugged. “I called the dean.”
That was the Rome I knew. Rules didn’t apply to him. If he wanted something, he had the rules bent. It got my respect.
“You sure her living alone is a good thing, though? Might be better on campus or at your place.”
“She won’t stay at my place, not with Mom right next door,” he answered. “I asked Ivy to move in with her.”
My eyes shot up to his. “What?” I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. “She never said anything to me.”
“I asked her not to. Told her I wanted to talk to you myself.”
I started shaking my head. “Them two alone in a house?” I thought about what happened to Ivy not that long ago, what she didn’t even know. I thought about the way she sometimes still called out in her sleep. I didn’t want her alone. “I don’t like it.”
Romeo nodded like he already knew my reaction. ‘Course, he couldn’t possibly know how sick it made me to think of Ivy alone in a house, vulnerable. He didn’t know everything. I didn’t even tell him.
“That’s where you come in,” he said.
And then I knew what he was asking. Romeo wanted me to move in with them. He wasn’t just renting Rimmel a house. He was renting a place for all of us.
“You know damn well I can’t afford rent on a three-bedroom home. You probably rented it over in the Palisades,” I muttered.
A smile played on his lips. “It’s four bedrooms.”
“You totally fucking did!” I accused. “My mom can’t even afford that neighborhood, Rome.”
“This ain’t about the money.”
I laughed. “Says the guy with a fat fucking bank account.”
His eyes narrowed and the look behind them was hard. “You know I ain’t about money. We ain’t ever been about it either.”
I scrubbed a hand down my face and cursed. “No, we ain’t. I’m not about to start now.”
“I get it,” he said low. “You’re a man. You got a lot of pride. I’m not trying to take it from you. But you know full fucking well if you had the cash for this, you’d do it too. This is best for them. Ivy can’t keep hiding that rat in her dorm. With the new semester, her and Rim’ll probably be assigned new roommates. I don’t want my girl rooming with some bitch I don’t know. And I know you don’t want Ivy doing it either. People aren’t gonna forget too easily about all the shit the #BuzzBoss said about her. I wouldn’t be surprised if she reminds everyone of it the first week back.”