Just Say When - Kaylee Ryan

At the sound of Kara fumbling into the apartment, I close my chemistry book. Glancing at my phone, I see it’s after two in the morning. She’s later than normal. Kara, my best friend and roommate, has a bit of a wild streak. We were paired as roommates our freshman year and hit it off immediately due to our similar taste in books, music, and clothes. Kara is what some might call a serial dater. She claims that college is a time for her to sow her wild oats. I, on the other hand, am the exact opposite. I’m here to get an education to be able to get a good job. Dating has never been a priority to me. I grew up with an older brother who scared away any potential boyfriend prospects. Even when he joined the Marines, the knowledge of who he was on top of his size kept them at bay. I was used to it, so it didn’t really bother me. It also didn’t help that he got his size from our father. They are both intimidating as hell at first glance.

From an early age, my parents, especially my father, impressed upon me how important it was to be able to take care of myself. He taught me to change a tire and even change the oil in my car. He said he never wanted me to feel weak or dependent on a man. He’s fiercely protective, hence where Brody, my older brother, gets his ‘stay away from my little sister’ attitude.

I’m pulled from my thoughts as Kara appears at my bedroom door. “I had the best night.” She beams at me.

I can tell from her glassy eyes and slower speech that she is a little bit tipsy. Not the worst I’ve seen her. “I bet it didn’t top mine,” I retort.

She looks at me in question. I point to the chemistry book on my lap. “The wonderful world of chemistry,” I reply dryly.

Kara rolls her eyes. “Ava, you work too hard. You need to take a break every now and then. College is supposed to be the time of your life. You study too much. How long has it been since you went on a date?” she asks.

Shit. It’s been months. “Clint.” All I need to say is his name and we both shudder. Freshman year, Clint and I had a biology class together. He was a junior and had failed the year before. For some reason, he attached himself to me and wore me down until I finally said yes to a date, as long as Kara came too. The entire night was a disaster. Clint showed up at our dorm with one of his frat buddies and they were already drunk as hell. They took us to a frat party, big surprise there. I spent the entire night trying to keep Clint’s tongue off me. Kara, who pretty much loves men, wasn’t even feeling his buddy. They were sloppy drunk assholes. I was never so glad for a night to end. Clint continues to ask me out. He’s always laughing and smiling telling me it’s only a matter of time. It’s a game to him, so I just brush him off. He knows it’s never going to happen. There are several guys around campus who think Clint and I are an item. He’s all hands and doesn’t let my insistent glare and occasional elbow to the gut stop him.

“Exactly!” Kara exclaims. “It’s time for you to find a real man.” She wags her eyebrows at me. I know exactly what she’s referring to.