Focus Page 1


Chapter One

“All right, I think that’s everything.” I flopped down on my new bed, sweaty and exhausted yet unbelievably excited.

“It’s official… we’re in college.” Hailey mirrored me, sitting up on an elbow across the room. “Umm, you boys can go now.” She made a shooing motion at the three large guys leaning against the wall under the air conditioning vent.

“Just like that, you’re kicking us out?” Jared complained.

Hailey sat up, sitting with her legs crossed. “Oh wait, I forgot. Ground rules. Under no circumstances can you flirt, hook up with, or otherwise interact with any of the girls on this floor. Is that understood?”

Owen and Levi both laughed, the rules weren’t for them.

“You can’t tell me what girls I can hook up with.” Jared ran a hand through his black hair.

“Yes she can. You are not making things weird for us.” I crossed my arms over my chest, trying to make myself look more intimidating.

“And how are you going to enforce it?” Jared challenged.

“Do you even want to go there? Do you want us to tell every freshman girl you have an STD, or just our floor?” I threatened. “Don’t test us.”

“Okay, okay.” He held up his hands in mock defeat. Knowing Jared, he was already trying to find a loophole. He wasn’t one to step away from a challenge.

“Hey, Al, can I talk to you for a second?” Levi used his nickname for me instead of calling me Allie like everyone else.

“Uh, sure.” I looked at him, waiting for him to continue.


Hailey glanced at me to gauge my reaction. I nodded. Levi was nothing if not persistent, so it was probably better to get the conversation over with.

“All right guys, time to help me buy my books.” Hailey walked toward the door with Owen and Jared on her tail.

“You’re lucky you are my sister or you’d be dead right now.” Owen touched the molding above the door on his way out.

“What’s your excuse, Jared?” I called after him.

He grunted, and Hailey laughed. She loved her new power over the guys now that they were willing to do anything to keep me happy. They left the room. Jared slammed the door behind him.

It was the first time Levi and I had been alone in a room together since the night that changed my life forever—or really the morning after.

I sat up on my bed and Levi took it as an invitation to sit next to me. I could tell he was itching to touch me, but he knew better.

“So I was thinking we might get dinner tonight. Maybe Jacques-Imos?” His brown hair had grown out a little longer than when I first met him. I was tempted to tell him to get a haircut, but he’d probably enjoy that too much.

“Why would I go to dinner with you?” I smoothed out the light blue comforter.

“Why wouldn’t you? I’m really glad you agreed to let me help you move in. I’ve missed you so much.”

“Why would the fact that I was interested in using you for your physical labor, equate with us going out?”

“Come on! I just spent the better part of the day lugging boxes of your stuff up three flights of stairs.” He crossed his arms, which only accentuated the muscles underneath his shirt. Carrying boxes couldn’t have been too hard for him.

“And I appreciate that, but it still doesn’t change anything.” I knew how cold I sounded, but he deserved it.

“Please, Al. You can’t stay mad forever. It’s just dinner. Or if you don’t want to do dinner, let’s go out later tonight.” His gray-blue eyes pleaded with me, but I looked away before I could even be tempted.

“I can’t do this. You’re supposed to be giving me space.”

“Space? I never agreed to that. What do you expect me to do? I’m dying here.” He put his head in his hands. It was still weird to see Levi look so defeated.

“Why? Because you can’t handle going a few weeks without getting some?” Out of habit, I tugged at the ring that was at the center of all of my problems.

“I waited a lot more than a few weeks for you the first time around.” By the expression on his face, he probably regretted the words instantly. “This isn’t about sex and you know it.”

“Then what is it about?”

“Us. We are so good together, let’s give it another chance.” His voice was low and husky.

I closed my eyes, trying to ignore the dull ache inside that made me want to reach out and touch him. He took advantage, but really I left myself open.

His lips met mine as his arm wrapped around my shoulder, turning me toward him. A voice in my head told me to cut him off, but I ignored it. He pushed to deepen the kiss, and I let my resistance fall away. He leaned into me, moving me so I was lying down. I felt his weight shift on top of me, his lips moving to my neck and trailing downward. I snapped myself out of it. Kissing Levi was a really bad idea.

“Stop!” I pushed against his chest. He didn’t respond at first, but he reluctantly moved to let me sit up. “What the hell was that?”

He grinned. “Don’t say you didn’t want that.”

“Don’t look so proud of yourself. It’s never happening again.” I straightened my hair out with my fingers, trying to get rid of the evidence.

“So about tonight?”

“What about it?” I snapped.

“What do you want to do?” He sat up, still looking way too proud of himself.

“I’m going to a party with Hailey. She says all the freshman will be there.”

“Please tell me you aren’t talking about Disorientation.”

“Yeah, I think that’s what it’s called.”

He shook his head. “No way. You’re not going!”

As if on cue, the door started to open. “Are you two decent in there?” Jared yelled obnoxiously.

I groaned. “Of course, we are.”

Hailey and the boys pushed into the room.

“Are you sure about that?” Owen asked.

I probably blushed wondering what evidence still existed. I followed his gaze and realized my tank top was pulled up on one side. Levi pulled it down before I could, letting his hand graze my skin in the process. The goose bumps that formed were completely coincidental—or so I told myself.

I stood up, needing to put distance between us. “That was fast.”

“Yeah, we heard the line was out the door and came back. We’ll have to try again later.”