Part 2: Heat
I walked through the house and the partygoers in search of quiet, space, and cleanliness. In the end, numbness descended and I embraced it. Basically, I decided not to care, and instead thought about my ideal party.
Give me a small intimate gathering of five people, a dinner party, where one-on-one conversations can be had, where people talk about current events, good books, good food, and weird news. That was my idea of a good time.
Not keg stands with a hundred people on a private island, with a DJ and underage girls puking in the bushes while venereal diseases were shared in the hot tub. Add to that Martin ignoring me and making out with random girls.
Not that. That was not fun.
I happened upon the library, or a room with a lot of books. It was packed with people and I’m pretty sure a few someones copped a feel as I tried to squeeze past the bodies in favor of the books. I scanned the shelves and felt a spark of something good, something nice as I spotted Twenty Years After, by Alexandre Dumas. I’d been meaning to read it for a while. It was about the three musketeers twenty years after their initial adventures.
To my right someone threw up on the carpet. I glanced at the guy and decided that if people were throwing up on the carpet then no one would care if I borrowed a book.
I pulled it off the shelf, clutched it to my chest, and went in search of a quiet space. I roamed the house for a bit, thought about going back to the souped-up golf carts and just waiting for everyone outside, but dismissed the idea. The available reading light would be insufficient. I also dismissed the bedrooms, as those would be occupied. A bathroom was an obvious choice, but not a good one because they’d be in high demand, and it would be selfish of me to tie one up so I could read.
I tried to find a closet with a light. At one point I almost tripped over a passed-out Ben in the hallway. I glanced around and found Herc hovering nearby, talking to several girls. He gave me a nod. I returned it and continued on my way. I decided my suspicions were correct: Herc had been following Ben around. I wondered if Ben had inadvertently consumed his own date-rape drug.
I made a mental note to contact the campus police department about Ben when I got home. Martin had promised to handle it—whatever that meant—but if handling it meant no jail time for Ben, I would step in and do something.
Shaking off thoughts of Ben the rapist, I ended up stumbling upon the laundry room quite by accident. It was actually perfect. There was a clean comforter folded on the washer and plenty of reading light. Therefore, I arranged the blanket and hopped up on the machine, leant against the wall with the cushy comforter at my back, and began to read.
It was a truly excellent book. I didn’t know how much time passed—two hours, maybe three. That Porthos…I swear, he’s a riot. His antics always make me laugh. Although Athos was my favorite. I think it was because of his tragic past. I was a bit of a sucker for a guy with a tragic past.
“What are you doing?”
I lifted my eyes at the sound of Martin’s voice, but not immediately. I finished the paragraph I was reading, then I looked up, holding my place in the book with my thumb.
He was dressed in swim trunks and he was wet, with beads of water dripping down his chest. As such, he looked super hot. However, only the right side of his body was visible as the door blocked the other side. His hand was still on the doorknob and he leaned a tad to one side, into the room.
My eyes wandered over his form and I allowed myself to appreciate the beauty of Martin Sandeke like I might admire the beauty of a cold, soulless statue. Physically, he was a magnificent male specimen: corded muscle, long limbs, and rigid angles. Even his temples were drool worthy, especially since I knew his head housed a giant—albeit mismanaged—brain. Truly, he was one of our finest. His ancestors should really give themselves a big pat on the back.
A little pool of water had gathered at his feet, which made me wonder how long he’d been standing in the doorway. My eyes traveled upward again and I noticed he wore an angry expression. He looked livid.
I started a little at the heated annoyance in his stare. Then I glanced around the laundry room, searching for the source of his anger. I found that I was still alone. Therefore, I surmised his fury must be directed at me.
But, just to be sure, I said, “Who? Me?”
“Yes. You,” he growled, then stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. “What are you doing in here?”
I raised the book and tipped my head toward it. “I’m reading.”
Martin exhaled loudly, another growl. “I can see that, Parker. But why the fuck are you in here reading?”