Home > Off The Bench (#UofJ # 4)

Off The Bench (#UofJ # 4)
Author: Alley Ciz





* * *


“He’s got to be kinky in bed, right?” Liquid spills over the rim of my Solo cup as I throw my arm out toward where the man in question stands.


I lick the tangy, sweet margarita off the back of my hand while my two best friends eye me like I’ve lost my mind.

In their defense, I am teetering on that precipice.

It’s not my fault though.

Eight months.

Eight flipping months.

You would think a time frame that is almost long enough for a person to gestate an entire human being would be enough time to get the guy you’ve been crushing on to pick up all the things you’ve been throwing down, right?


Not so much.

I’m sure you’re asking yourself now, but Quinn, why wouldn’t you just move on if he’s not interested?

Harrumph. Lord knows my mother would rather I did so.

Ay dios mío.

I can’t even begin to imagine what she would say to me if she knew I was sitting here pining over an adorkable nerd and wallowing in my unrequited feelings.

It wouldn’t be good.

Pinche mierda.

She already thinks I’ve wasted my first two years of college by not locking down one of the many athletes my school, the University of Jersey, or U of J for short, churns out to the pros like Nabisco shelves Oreos.

Don’t even get me started on how she considers working toward a bachelor’s degree a “waste of time.”

Freshman year, she asked, “Quinny, linda, are you sure you won’t consider joining a sorority? You know that’s how I met your father.”

If her beliefs were rooted in how, like many others believe, a college degree isn’t necessarily needed for a job nowadays, it would be one thing. But, unfortunately, it’s not. And worse? She can’t respect that my degree is so much more than a fancy piece of paper for me—it’s a stepping-stone for a career that will be all my own.

This past year it was, “How are the boys at the school ever going to notice your pretty face if you keep it buried in a book, linda?”

Of course, she wouldn’t care about my grades. To her, the only degree I should be focusing on is my MRS. Preferably with one of those athletes I mentioned earlier.

I love my parents. It’s obvious they adore each other, but I don’t want my looks to be the only thing others see as valuable about me. Mamá wanted me to cheer for the social status it gave me, but I continued with it because I saw it as my free ticket to a top-notch university.

Oof. That’s way too heavy of a topic to be thinking about right now.

Tequila will fix that.

Margaritaville it is!

Mamá would be praying to La Virgen María if she knew that while my studies may have been the reason behind the tunnel vision my freshman year, it’s the cute blue-eyed boy with the Clark Kent-style glasses who has prevented any other guy from capturing my attention for the last. Eight. Freaking. Months!

“Who are we talking about?” Emma leans to the side, bracing her forearm against the cushion of her lounge chair, attempting to get a better vantage point from which to view the cluster of sexy beasts across the balcony from us and effectively knocking me out of my mental musings on things better left packed away.

On my other side, with her cup poised in front of her face, eyes peering into its depths, Kay mumbles, “I’m going to need to be another margarita deep if you expect me to give up the deets on Mase.”

Emma and I snort, our heads coming together to make Is this biotch serious? eye contact.

“Umm…” The weight of Emma’s body presses into my side as she folds hers over to peer around me for an unobstructed view of our delusional friend. “I know the master suite is separate from most of the penthouse, Kay, but it is not soundproofed.”

“Nor are you quiet, babe.” I hide my Yeah, you get the good dick, girl grin behind my cup.

Color blooms across Kay’s pretty face. “You guys suck,” she grumbles before downing a healthy swallow of her margarita.

“Nuh-huh,” I counter, twisting around and leaning back into Emma, who props her chin on my shoulder like my own gorgeous brunette parrot. “From what I overheard this morning, that honor goes firmly to you.” I poke my tongue into the side of my cheek three times, simulating a good knob slob.

“Ohmigod.” Kay flops forward, her long curly locks obscuring the burning cheeks that match the recently re-added pink streaks in her hair.

“Your embarrassment is adorable but highly unnecessary.” I pat Kay’s back. “Hell, if I were you, I’d be strutting around this place like a motherfucking peacock.” I pause, my face scrunching up in thought. “Though I guess it’s hard to strut when you’re walking funny.”

Emma snorts again, and I have to press my lips together to restrain a laugh. As the daughter of a state senator, it’s a goddamn miracle the impulse to release such an unladylike—her mother’s words, not mine—sound hasn’t been trained out of her.

“An awkward gait isn’t always indicative of good sex.” The pointed emphasis Emma puts on the second syllable of indicative has Kay straightening, and both of us tap our cups to Emma’s in punny cheers.

The three of us all nod in agreement. This is true. I may be in the middle of a human-growing, about-to-be-infant-birthing dry spell, but I have experienced a hitch in my giddy-up thanks to chafing caused by a round of overeager jackhammer humping before.

“Though by the way that boyfriend of yours practically had you singing an opera with his name, I think it’s safe to say Mason is all about tasting your rainbow, babes.”

“Skittles pun.” Emma does a Yes! arm pump. We have far too much fun with Mason’s choice of pet name for Kay.

“I hate you guys.” Kay buries her face into her hands, despite being used to the constant teasing.

“No, you don’t,” Emma and I chorus together just as a shadow falls over our little cluster of chaos.

“Skittles?” Both concern and amusement tinge Mason’s tone as one of his dark brows hits the edge of his backward ball cap when I whisper a “Whoop, there it is” then hiss when Kay connects an elbow to the side of my ribs.

Totally worth it.

Objectively speaking, Mason Nova is one sexy beefcake. The six-foot-five football god could practically have my bestie coming on the spot with the simple twinkle in his seafoam-green eyes and a flash of his matching set of dimples. But…that’s not why all of my girly girl parts are sighing dreamily as he continues to glower at us.


It’s not his looks that have the plastic of my cup giving an ominous crinkle as I clutch it tighter in an effort to keep myself from visibly swooning.


The thing that has me and, much to my friends’ acute displeasure, the UofJ411, our school’s gossip Instagram account, captivated by them, is the intuitive and instinctive way Mason Nova is aware of all things Kayla Dennings.

Like right now.

There Mason was, standing clear across the massive thousand-square-foot deck, in the middle of his own conversation with our five other roommates—yes, you heard that right: there are nine of us living here in our own U of J reboot of The Real World—and still he was aware of his girlfriend’s growing mortification.

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