Isn't She Lovely Page 44

“Okay, how about this,” I say, tapping my pen excitedly on my notebook. I forgot what a rush screenplay writing can be, especially when an idea clicks. “So far we have the two of them doing all of the things that we’ve been doing in real life—faking a kiss on the boat, faking a dance at a wedding—but they’ve always been on the same page. We need for them to get off. For one of them to throw the other off balance.”

Ethan yawns. “I can tell you right now that no dude will go to this movie unless he’s fourteen and his mom drops him off so he can try to hold hands with his crush.”

I give him a patient look. “This insight into your horny childhood is delightful, but I think it’s safe to say that dudes aren’t our primary audience here. We’re going for the tween girl crowd.”

He brightens and starts to stand. “Sounds like your territory. How about you have at it, and I’ll go get us a couple of sandwiches.”

I jab my pen at his chest. “Sit. Stay. I am not doing this alone.”

He reluctantly drops into the chair. “Fine. I’ll bite. How do we throw our characters off balance?”

Other than having one of them carry the other through Central Park under starlight? Other than having a harmless slow dance turn sexy? Other than that, you mean?

But although I know both of those incidents happened, it’s becoming increasingly clear that they don’t matter. At least not to Ethan. Because just when I thought something was maybe happening, something other than the game, he went back to normal. He went back to a teasing, indifferent roommate.

Which is perfect for real life.

And exactly what isn’t working in our movie.

“They need to have a romantic moment that’s not about their charade. That’s not about convincing everyone else that that they’re in love. It needs to be real, and just between them.”

He gives me a blank stare. “Romantic. You mean like … flowers?”

“Yes, Ethan. That’s exactly what I mean. Please bring me flowers.”

His eyebrows creep up. “Who said anything about you and me? I thought we were talking about Tyler and Kayla.”


“Well, it’s equally ridiculous with them,” I say, hoping he doesn’t notice the color I feel creeping up my neck. “We need to make it clear that they’ve crossed some sort of line.”

“So when you say romantic, you mean sexual,” he says, his brown eyes glowing gold.

My mouth is dry. “Um, sure, I guess.”

He shakes his head. “It won’t work. Nobody will believe there’s real attraction between these two.”

The flush that was creeping up my neck rushes to my face, except it’s no longer embarrassment. It’s anger. And maybe a little bit of hurt. Somehow I know he’s not talking about Tyler and Kayla either. He’s talking about us. Telling me that there can be no attraction there.

Except he’s wrong. There is.

Only apparently it’s one-way.

Suddenly I can’t be in this room anymore. Not with this guy whom I both want and hate. Hate because he’s a superficial snob who can’t see beyond my eyeliner … who can’t accept the girl who hates pink. Want because … well, hell, I don’t know why I want him. But I do.

I need to get out of here.

“Got it, Price. You figure out what would work in this story and just let me know.” I shove my notebook into my bag and am moving toward the door before I’ve even zipped it all the way.

I feel his fingers wrap around my arm seconds before I’m spun around and pushed up against the whiteboard, my backpack falling to the floor as he pins my hands above my head.

His mouth comes down on mine, and it’s rougher than the two times we’ve kissed before. Of course, those were both blatant demonstrations for an audience. But for this kiss we’re 100 percent alone.

His mouth moves insistently against mine, his tongue sweeping along my bottom lip once, twice, until I open for him. The kiss deepens and I try to pull my hands free so I can touch him, but his grip tightens, and he moves closer, using his body to pin me to the wall.

I’m distantly aware that although the study room is windowless, it’s also a public space, and anyone could come in at any time.

And I don’t care.

I give myself over to the kiss, and he seems to know the second I relent, because the kiss becomes softer. As though he’s seducing me instead of claiming me. I want him to be seduced too.

The room is silent except for the soft, wet sounds of our mouths moving against each other, and I’m really, really wishing that we were home. Or at least some place with a door. Because I don’t want to stop at kissing.

My eyes go wide at the realization, and I struggle against him, frantically trying to tug my hands free. Ethan seems to sense my panic and pulls back immediately, even as he gently cups my elbows to steady me.

We’re both breathing heavily, and I wonder if my face is as stunned as his at what just happened. Probably.

But I’m not just stunned. I’m terrified. For the first time since before my mom died—since before Caleb freaking drugged me—I want to be intimate with a guy. I mean, I really, really want Ethan Price. I want to be naked beneath him, want to see him above me …

I give my head a little shake and push against his chest. “What was that?”

He doesn’t say anything, just runs a hand across the back of his neck. I’ve come to realize that he only does that when he feels out of his element, and it should make me feel better that he’s as off-balance as me, but instead it just pisses me off.

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