Fall from India Place Page 15

I wasn’t stupid. I knew there were other girls, because some of them had bragged at school about hooking up with him.

It was different seeing it with my very own eyes, though.

Sadie snapped her fingers in front of my nose. “Did you not hear me?”

I blinked, trying to breathe through the pain of unrequited torturous idiotic love. “What?” I asked sharply.

“I said I heard a rumor that Scott Wilder fancies you. He’s older.”

“Scott Wilder? The sixth-year?”

Sadie nodded excitedly. “He told his friend Jamie and Jamie is Amanda Eaton’s big brother. Jamie told Amanda, who told Vicky, and Vicky told me. Scott is so hot, Hannah. You’d be so lucky!”

And so it was with the burn of disappointment in my gut that I found myself saying, “Yeah. He is.”

Sadie’s eyes widened. “Oh, my God! I’m totally telling Vicky to tell Amanda.”

Disappointment turned to anger, and I lifted my gaze and looked over at Marco as he put his arm around his date and walked her onto the escalator. “Don’t bother,” I told her. “I’ll friend Scott on Facebook. We’ll go from there.”

I swore Mum and Dad to secrecy when I told them I was going out on a date. My family – as in Braden and Adam – could get really overprotective and I didn’t know how they would react to the fact that I was dating. To my surprise, Mum and Dad were okay with it, and despite Dad’s glaring an alarming amount at Scott when he picked me up for our date, they acted cool enough about the whole thing. Well, Mum did.

“You look great.” Scott beamed at me as we walked away from my house.

It didn’t feel right using Scott to get over Marco, but we’d talked a little lately and Scott actually seemed like a really nice guy. And I’d have to be dead to think he wasn’t hot. He was good-looking and he was taller than me. That was always a plus. I’d decided to give tonight a real shot and since he was taking me to D’Alessandro’s for dinner, I also decided to dress up a little. I was wearing a shift dress that came to just above my knees and I’d looped a belt around my waist to give my figure definition. Heels would have worked with the look, but I’d gone with flats so I didn’t end up towering over Scott. It felt a little strange going to Marco’s uncle’s restaurant for my first date, but since he didn’t have a great relationship with his uncle, I knew there was no chance of bumping into him.

“Thanks. You too.” And he did look good. He was wearing a pair of suit trousers, a shirt, and a waistcoat. Very dapper.

He grinned at me and I wished, oh, how I wished, it had made my stomach flip like Marco’s grin always did. “I’ve wanted to ask you out for ages.”

I smiled. “Well, here we are.”

“You’re not like other girls, Hannah. You’re so confident and smart and gorgeous. It’s a little intimidating.”

I made a face. “Believe me, I’m not intimidating.”

Scott didn’t look convinced.

I didn’t want anyone putting me on a pedestal. Ever. “Okay. I snore.” I nodded in earnest. “I can’t lie flat on my back if I’m sleeping in company because of it. And not normal snoring. It’s this weird, breathy kind of snoring that’s almost as annoying as elephant snoring. I know because my sister once recorded a video of me on her phone. I’ve been afraid to sleep in a room with another human being since.”

He threw his head back laughing, just as I’d intended him to do.

“When I was little I called my dad’s great aunt Virginia Aunt Vagina the whole time we were visiting her. My parents were mortified and had no idea how to explain my inappropriate error to me, so I pretty much called her that until I understood the difference.”

By this time Scott was choking on laughter. We reached the restaurant and he held up his hands in surrender. “Okay, I’m no longer intimidated.”

“Good.” I smiled at him as he held the door open for me and we stepped into the warmth of the restaurant.

Scott gave his name to the hostess and she led us through the front dining room and into the back dining room to a cozy table for two.

There was a little awkwardness when we sat down so I resorted to my fallback – teasing. “So, cradle snatcher, how does it feel to be on a date with a sixteen-year-old?”

“It helps that she doesn’t look sixteen. And anyway, a little birdie told me you’re seventeen soon.”

“In a few months.”

“We’ll be seventeen together then. Late birthday,” he explained. “I don’t turn eighteen until my first semester at uni.”

“Where are you going?”

“I’ve applied to all the usual, but we want St. Andrews.”


“My parents are really involved in my academic career.”

“That’s good. Sometimes —” I stopped talking, the words deserting me as my eyes clashed with Marco’s.

What the hell?

My gaze drank him in, taking in the stained apron tied around his waist and the tray of dirty dishes in his hands. Marco was a busboy for his uncle? Since when?

I moved my lips, curling them into a smile that quickly disappeared as I processed Marco’s expression. His gaze flicked from me to Scott and back to me again.

His jaw clenched, and his knuckles turned white as his grip on the tray tightened. There was unmasked fury in his eyes.

My mouth fell open in shock as he turned on his heel and marched out of sight.

“Hannah?” Scott asked, drawing my gaze back to him.

“Sorry. I thought I saw…” I smiled weakly. “Never mind. What were we saying?”

I worked my arse off to remain present in the conversation because Scott was nice and charming and down-to-earth. He wasn’t some huge, brooding American who kept throwing me dirty looks anytime he had to come into the dining room.

After the main course, Scott excused himself to go to the restroom and as soon as he was out of earshot, I twisted my head to look at Marco. The restaurant was too busy for me to shout his name, but I waited until he felt my gaze. He looked at me and I waved him over.

He gave me a slight shake of his head and walked out.

I felt that rejection so acutely I lost my breath for a second.

I never saw him again for the rest of the evening and any attempt at not being distracted was lost to me, as I was lost to thoughts of Marco. I didn’t understand what had happened. Was he jealous? And if he was jealous, then why on earth hadn’t he asked me out a long time ago? It wasn’t like I hadn’t made it clear I liked him. Right?

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