I can’t figure him out,” I’m saying, because apparently I’m incapable of keeping my mouth shut when I should. “Something about the way he leans against the wall during Professor Barton’s lectures… He just stands there, looking at us with that too-cool expression in his eyes—”
“Looking at you,” Lucy jumps in, and I shake my head.
“I don’t think he’s interested in me,” I say. Why would he be? “But anyway, that attitude, it makes him seem like such a…bad boy, you know?” The words sound stupid out loud; I cringe a little but keep going. “But then on the other hand, he’s not, like, covered in tattoos and piercings, and he’s a teaching assistant, which doesn’t seem like a particularly bad boy job.” I pause to sip on my mocha, mulling over the mystery that is Evan Strauss. “He can be really nice and helpful,” I continue, “but then he has to ruin it all with some assholish comment…”
Lucy frowns. “In class today? I didn’t think he was assholish at all. I thought Barton was the asshole, and the way Evan handled the whole situation was amazing.”
“Oh, me too, I wasn’t talking about that, I was—” Oh shit. Lucy doesn’t know how Evan saved me from falling on my ass yesterday, and then followed up his rescue with that comment about my tripping over an “invisible rock.” But now I’ll have to tell her.
When I’m done with the story, Lucy stares thoughtfully down at the table for a minute, her fingers tracing delicate patterns across the surface of her coffee cup. Somehow, she even makes fidgeting look graceful. Her hands leave the cup to wave and gesture through the air, punctuating her words as she says, “It’s not like it’s that simple, anyway—like a guy’s either a bad boy or he’s not. I mean, Doug has tons of tattoos, but he’s a teddy bear most of the time. Well, except when he’s really hungry or hasn’t gotten enough sleep.” She rolls her eyes.
“I know it’s not that simple,” I grumble, jiggling my cup till the ice rattles, “but sometimes I really wish it was. It would make life so much easier.”