The Bargain:Vargas Cartel Series, Book 1(3)By: Lisa Cardiff
I grinned at him. “Jerk,” I joked.
“What time do office hours end?”
“It’s only two hours, so I’ll be done by nine.”
He slid my hair behind my ear. “Don’t wait up for me. I’ll be home late. I’m meeting the guys at that bar on K Street after I’ve put in enough face time to satisfy my dad. There’s a good band playing there tonight.”
My brows scrunched together. “I don’t remember you mentioning that before.” I didn’t like Evan’s friends. For the most part, they were a bunch of entitled assholes with a cruel sense of humor.
“I’m sure I mentioned it.” He kneaded the back of his neck, his face utterly blank.
“What’s wrong?” Massaging the back of his neck usually meant something was amiss or he was hiding information. He didn’t realize he did it. I should’ve told him. Obvious tells weren’t beneficial in politics, but I liked being able to read him.
His eyes flickered to the side and then a huge smile flashed across his face. “Nothing. I’ll miss you tonight.” He threaded his fingers through mine and guided me toward his car. “Are you ready to go home?” He never wanted to rush back to our apartment after class. Normally, he had a million and one things to do.
“I could meet you at the bar. I’ll be done by nine, and if no one shows, I can leave early.” I squeezed his hand, pulling him closer to me as we walked to the parking lot. “We can have a few drinks and be in bed by ten-thirty.” I flashed him a naughty grin letting him know exactly what I meant. Over the last month, we’d been so busy our sex life had suffered. Not that we were ever too crazy, but now we lived like roommates instead a young couple in love. That didn’t bode well for the future, but I tried to push the thought out of my mind and mentally recite all the reasons we were perfect for each other.
“You don’t have to come. I understand.” He stopped next to his car and I tried to catch his eyes, but they roamed everywhere except to me. “I know you don’t like my friends.”
“What?” A completely fake laugh slipped from my lips. “I never said that.”
“You didn’t have to. It’s obvious.”
I bit on the side of my lower lip. “I’m that transparent, huh?”
He tapped my nose. “Don’t be upset. I think it’s cute you can’t hide your emotions…especially when it comes to me.” He lowered his voice. “I like that you’re mine, and you’ve only been with me.” By all accounts, Evan hadn’t been an angel before he met me, but it never bothered me. Once we met, we clicked, and that’s all that counted anyway. His reputation as a womanizer quickly disappeared, and for the most part, he’d never given me a reason to doubt him.
My cheeks heated and I ducked my head. “You’re embarrassing me,” I whined even as I smiled at him.
“I’m not trying to.” He pressed a kiss on my forehead, and then he opened the passenger door of his car for me.
“If I can leave Eric’s office hours early, I’ll meet you at the bar,” I reaffirmed. I did want to spend time with him. I owed it to him for missing the fundraiser.
“I can’t believe you dragged me here. This place smells like stale beer and vomit,” Vera said as we pushed our way through the crowd of people.
The band had started playing about a half an hour ago, and I was late, but I still wanted to meet Evan, so I came anyway. I’d texted him, but he didn’t respond.
After nearly fifteen minutes of searching, I spotted a couple of Evan’s friends sitting at a table near the stage. Evan wasn’t at the table, but they probably knew where to find him.
“Hey,” I said as I stood near the edge of the table.
“Hi,” Darren and Matt replied, hardly looking in my direction. My dislike was mutual. At first, I tried to be friendly, but they were a bad influence on Evan. He always drank too much and did stupid shit when they were around.
I tipped my head toward Vera. “Do you guys remember Vera?”
They nodded as though it were too much effort to say anything. Vera hated them even more than I did. Unlike me though, she didn’t hold back.