“Well, hello there, hot stuff. I’m Kaylee. What’s your name?”
“Noah,” he said, moving over on the couch at the frat party he and his twin, Drake, were attending. He made room for her, her island scent hitting him hard in the nostrils, and he wondered if she’d dumped the body spray over her head like so many chicks seemed to be doing.
His younger brother, Wyatt, was upstairs with some freshman in his class. His cousin Cade was here somewhere with a girl too, but his cousin Bryce, who was in his junior year like Noah and Drake, was probably in his room studying.
“Noah is a nice strong name,” she said, running her long nail down his bicep.
“It goes with the last name,” he said, letting out a laugh as his twin, Drake, walked into the room and sat in a chair across from them. Drake ran his hand under his nose letting him know that he was thinking the same thing about Kaylee’s scent.
“And what is your last name?” Kaylee asked, her hair flipping over her shoulder. It was hard for him to not start coughing with the smell of coconut smacking him in the face. He hated coconut.
She giggled and snuggled closer to him. “Sounds perfect for you.”
“We like to think so,” Drake said, his grin growing wider.
Kaylee looked up. “Are you guys related?”
“Drake Fierce, Noah’s twin.”
“Oh, there are two of you.”
“Actually there are five of us here,” Drake said.
“All brothers?” Kaylee asked. Drake took a sip out of the red solo cup in his hand.
“No. Drake and I are juniors. Our younger brother, Wyatt, is a freshman. Our cousin Bryce is a junior; our other two cousins, Cade and Ella, are freshmen. So really six here, now that I think of it.”
“Fierce?” she said. “Like the engineering firm in town?”
“That would be our father and uncle,” Noah said back, surprised she’d recognize that. “How do you know?”
“My friend is going for engineering and she talks about the firm and how everyone wants to get their internship there. So let me guess, you are all going into the family business?” she asked, inching closer. He had the sudden urge to ask if she planned on going to the beach since she smelled so much like sunscreen.
Then he realized it didn’t matter. Kaylee wasn’t out for a relationship; she was out for fun. He knew her type.
“Cade and Ella are business students and going back to work for their family business in Charlotte. Bryce is studying chemistry or something. Who knows if it changed, but not engineering. He might just save the world one day with something he discovers,” he said laughing. His genius cousin would probably go to school his whole life.
“And what about you and your brothers?”
“I’m going for engineering,” Drake said. “Our youngest brother is following in our other cousin’s footsteps going into medicine.”
“Oh, doctors,” she said. Kaylee was almost on his lap. He was going to need a shower when he left if she rubbed against him anymore. “So engineering, pre med or, let me guess, a lawyer for you?”
Drake started to laugh. “He’s too bossy for those fields,” Drake said.
Noah just grinned. Not only didn’t he want any part of those professions, he didn’t think he was smart enough for them.
Sure, he could get by, but it wasn’t what he wanted. He wasn’t strong in math and science and business was boring to him. Nor did he want to wear a suit, so law was out.
“Bossy?” Kaylee asked. “I like men who take control. So what are you studying?”
“I’m a history major. I’m going into teaching,” he said.
“You want to be a teacher?” she asked, wrinkling her nose like someone pissed in her solo cup full of beer. “Why? There is no money in that.”
He snorted. “Why does it have to be about money?” Not only was she not plastered to his side now, she was scooting over like he had a stench to him.
“Micki,” Kaylee shouted across the room and waved her arm. “I’m coming, hang on. Sorry, my friend is calling me over.”
“No problem,” Noah said, shaking his head. Drake rolled his eyes and handed his drink over.
“Looks like you need this more than me. Want to get out of here?”
“Yeah,” he said, taking his brother’s drink and walking out of the door. They’d go back to their dorm now. They’d stayed in the same room since their first year. They had two other roommates too, but they’d never been apart.
“Don’t let her get to you. Those superficial chicks will go hook up with someone else.”
“Probably Wyatt,” Noah said, letting out a much-needed laugh. “Oh, I hope so, then I can bust on his ass that she came to me first.”
“That’s the spirit. Seriously, Noah, do what makes you happy, not what other people judge you by.”
His twin always knew what to say. Of course Drake was the one that floated with the wind and nothing ever bothered him or got under his skin. It was annoying but he’d gotten used to it.
“I don’t give a shit what she thinks. I know what I want to do with my life and I’d rather not have someone want to be with me for my name and how much money I make.”
“But we are so strong,” Drake said in a high pitched girly voice, taking the cup back and downing the rest of it.
“What the hell? It’s kind of sick, isn’t it?” Noah said, remembering how many times silly girls made that comment. His brother would know what he meant without explaining.
“It’s been like this for us forever. I don’t have a problem with it, why do you?”
“No problem at all,” Noah said. “It’s just the first time I’ve had a woman do that.”
His entire life everyone asked if he was going to work for the family business. Even his sister, Jade, was going for engineering at the University of North Carolina and his younger cousin Ryder planned on going for architecture. But he’d never had anyone react quite like that over his field of study.
“They aren’t worth your time,” Drake said.
“Besides, we all know you want to teach because you want to spend the whole day bossing someone around just like Mom.” He shoved his twin off the sidewalk and kept walking. Drake caught up fast, laughing. “You know I’m right.”
Noah was the closest to his mother, who also happened to be a teacher. The same with his Aunt Diane. He wouldn’t consider himself a Mama’s Boy like his brothers and cousins always said, but he just found he had the most in common with her.
“Whatever. You’ll be busting your ass fifty–sixty hours a week and I’ll be working ten months a year and out at three. You tell me who the idiot is?”
“You won’t stay teaching for long and you know it. You probably have it all planned out on your way to superintendent.”
He wiggled his eyebrows at Drake, then turned to the door of their dorm building. Yeah, his twin knew him well, but it wasn’t anything he’d shared with family. His goal was to teach for a few years, then move up to a principal, then superintendent. He planned on being there by the time he was forty. No later.
“Guess you’ll have to wait and see,” he said. “I’m hungry. The food was shit there.”
“There’s nothing in our room and the cafeteria is closed. Pizza?” Drake asked.
“Sure. Call Bryce and see if he wants to join us. He’s always up for takeout and it’d get his nose out of the books.”
As they walked into their room, Drake pulled his phone out and called their cousin Bryce to get his ass over. Noah heard the arguing that ten wasn’t that late. The minute Drake mentioned pizza, he assumed Bryce was on the way when Drake said, “See you in ten minutes.”
He ordered the pizza and hung up. “It will be about thirty minutes.”
Drake grabbed the remote and turned the TV on in the living room they shared with their quad. Their two other roommates were nowhere to be found. It was just as well for him and Drake.
The minute Bryce walked in the door, he said, “I thought you guys were at that party. The one you wanted to drag me to. Couldn’t have been that great if you are back this early.”
Noah snorted. “It was fine, but we left.”
“What happened?” Bryce asked.
Noah looked at Drake and saw that he wasn’t going to say anything, so Noah fessed up. “Some chick was coming onto me, then found out what I was studying and took off.”
“Been there,” Bryce said. “Not your type so move on. If they don’t want you, they aren’t worth your time.”
“That’s what I said,” Drake said. “Enough gabbing about women. The food will be here soon and there is no reason to spoil our appetite.”
The three of them started talking about anything but women. He appreciated what they were doing, but they didn’t need to. It wasn’t that big of a deal.
But later that night when he was lying in bed, it still bothered him. Would it always be like this? Would a woman always see his name and assume he was going to have some big paycheck with his career and walk away if he didn’t?
Or worse yet, how would he know if they really liked him or not?
He shook his head and turned over. This stupid shit shouldn’t be keeping him up at night.