When Marc swung by my room before he left for the alumni game, I didn't mention that I had plans to see Eli afterward. He didn't even ask if I wanted to come along; he just assumed that I was done with Eli's bullshit and wouldn't want to see his brother. Which maybe I should be, but I can't seem to shake the guy. He has already begun to occupy space in my mind and heart, and I don't know if I'm going to be able to stop it. Maybe I don't want to stop it.

It's a few minutes until five-thirty, the time that Eli said he would be here. I'm trying not to get my hopes up that he will even show, let alone be on time, but I did do my hair and makeup in anticipation, so I guess you could say my hopes are already there.

I hear a knock on my door and look at the clock. If this is Eli, not only did he show up, he's early.

I open the door and can't hold back the smile plastered on my face when I see Eli standing in my doorway.

"Hi," I say.

"Hi," he says in return with the same expectant smile.

I doubt he's noticed it, but whenever I greet him, I always say "hi" instead of "hey" or "hello." It's a stupid little thing I reserve in my mind only for him.3

He doesn't say anything. He just stares at me, which is fine by me because I can't help but stare right back at him. I swear, every time I see Eli, he gets more handsome. It's like God made him the most attractive man I've ever seen so that I would forgive all the stupid shit he does. Because right now, I'm starting to forget why I was even upset with him last night.

He's wearing his hockey sweatshirt again with jeans and converse. He has his hat on backward, and it reminds me of the night we kissed, and I accidentally knocked it off. The memory makes me blush then giggle like a little schoolgirl.

"What's so funny?" He asks while laughing with me, but not knowing why.

I shake my head. "Nothing," I tell him as I try to hold back my giddy smile.

"You look... beautiful," He tells me, quickly changing his tone from playful to serious.

I feel my cheeks warm.

"Um...thanks," I shyly respond.

I'm really not looking all that great, but I'll take the compliment. Honestly, I had no idea what to wear because Eli didn't give me any indication as to where we are going. Plus, Ali went to the game with Marc, so I didn't have her here to help me pick out an outfit. I'm happy to see that my decision to dress on the casual side was the right move. My jeans, hoodie, and Vans seem to match his intentions for tonight perfectly.

Though, I do hope I dressed warm enough. Marc told me that there was a massive party at the hockey house tonight, so I know we won't be out too late because Eli will need to get back. Thinking of the temperature suddenly causes me to remember Eli's jacket that he lent me on Monday after class. As much as I don't want to return it to him because it's filled my room with his masculine scent, I grab it off my chair to give to him.

"Almost forgot about your jacket," I tell him as I hold it out for him.

"Keep it. You might need it tonight," He tells me. "I don't know how cold that California blood gets."

"I'm from northern California. It gets cold there. I'll be fine." I inform him, playfully rolling my eyes at his concern.

"Mmm-hmm," He hums, unconvinced.

"Do you drink coffee?" He asks as we exit my room, and I lock the door behind me.

"I'm a grad student; of course I drink coffee," I sarcastically answer.


"Okay, good. I'm taking you to my favorite coffee shop," Eli tells me as we get in the elevator.