From Chapter One
He smiles at me, and I’m staring. Who knew I was sucker for dimples? “That’s right,” he says, and I try to remember what we were talking about. “There are some nineties hits that would never see airtime if it weren’t for hockey games.”
Focus, Lianne! “Really? Name one.”
“‘Ice Ice Baby,’ by—”
“Vanilla Ice,” I finish. “Yeah, okay. I can see that.”
“‘Cold as Ice,’ by Foreigner,” he adds.
“That’s not a nineties tune,” I argue. “It’s 1977.”
DJ tips his head back and laughs. “Your knowledge of seventies hits is—”
“Impressive.” I finish. “‘Cold as Ice’ was B-sided originally before it was released as its own single.”
His eyes widen. “Marry me,” he says after a beat.
I giggle like a schoolgirl. (Footnote: I was never a schoolgirl. But if Hollywood scripts are to be believed, they giggle plenty.)
“Are you, like, a Foreigner fan girl?” he asks. “Or do you have encyclopedic knowledge of all seventies music?”
With a shrug, I just shake my head. The truth is that my father was friends with Lou Gramm. In fact—one of the reasons I know so much about music is that my father loved to talk about it. He’s gone now. But when I listen to my iPod, I feel closer to him.
I don’t mention any of this to DJ for two reasons. It’s name dropping, which I loathe. But also—so many Harkness students assume I’m stupid. I don’t mind at all if DJ thinks I’m smart. It’s a nice change. “What other songs are kept alive by hockey?”
He starts talking again, and I do my best to listen. But I’m distracted by the way his full lips move when he talks and by the five o’clock shadow roughening his jaw. He’s wearing a flannel shirt that looks soft to the touch. And there’s a V of skin exposed at his chest that teases me. I get just a glimpse of a dusting of dark hair against olive skin.
I have to work hard not to stare, wondering what he’d look like without that shirt on.
So this is what people mean by attraction. He is the magnet, and I feel the pull. It tingles in my belly. It resonates in my chest whenever he laughs. Hopefully I’m nodding and agreeing at all the right junctures in this conversation. Because whenever he smiles I experience a loss of executive function. Last time beer was the culprit. Tonight it’s just him.
The loudspeaker crackles to life. “Pie thirty-seven! Thirty-eight! Forty!”
DJ cocks a thumb over his shoulder. “I gotta get that. Be right back.”
When he walks away, I return my attention to the jukebox. My heart is pounding and my palms are sweaty. Talking to him is exhilarating and terrifying.
If there’s another nineteen-year-old in the world with less game than I have, I pity her.