Big D: Senior Year (Three Daves #3)

BOOK: Big D: Senior Year (Three Daves #3)
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Three Daves, Book 3: Big D, Senior Year Copyright © Beverly Nickelson, 2016

All Rights Reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976,no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmittedin any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher.

Omnific Publishing

2355 Westwood Blvd, Suite 506
Los Angeles, CA 90064
www.omnificpublishing.com

First Omnific eBook edition, April 2016
First Omnific trade paperback edition, April 2016

The characters and events in this book are fictitious.

Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

Library of Congress Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

Elson, Nicki.

Three Daves, Book 3: Big D, Senior Year/Nicki Elson–1
st
ed.
ISBN:978-1-623422-43-1

1. New Adult—Fiction. 2. College—Fiction.

3. Sex—Fiction. 4. Virginity—Fiction. I. Title

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 21

Excerpt from Abraham Lincoln’s “Farewell Address,” February 11, 1861. Library of Congress, manuscript. (
http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trm059.html
)

Cover Design by Micha Stone

Printed in the United States of America

A Note from the Author

Oh, how I adore being a writer during the digital age of publishing. It made it possible for my publisher to say yes when I had the crazy notion to rewrite my debut novel,
Three Daves
, and split it into three novellas—one for each Dave.

I’ve always said
Three Daves
could be told in any modern era. I became curious to see what it would look like in a current setting, so I time traveled Jen and all her Daves from the 1980s to the new millennium. But don’t worry, fellow 80s lovers—that most awesome of eras still gets a nod through David’s retro playlists.

Writers never stop honing their craft, so while I dug my hands back into the manuscript, I took the opportunity to streamline. The writing’s been purged of unnecessary verbiage and passive phrasing. Scenes have been reworked to “show” more and “tell” less. The narrative is less judgmental. The story is the same, but now it’s told in a more active, engaging way.

I had wicked amounts of fun slicing and dicing Jen’s adventures with her Daves. I hope you all have as much fun reading this new version.

Dedication

For every Brian, Sean, Rob, Rick, Len, Steve, Carter, John, Darren, Craig, Dan, Chris, Patrick, Jack, and mysterious guy from Decatur who inspired the Daves. And to the campus of Eastern Illinois University for being my personal Neverland.

Chapter 1

Jen entered her senior year at Central Illinois University with something new to put on her resume. Thanks to her summer internship, she now had tangible experience at making corporate coffee and waiting in line for the copy machine. She joked with her roommates about how invaluable these new skills would be when she took the marketing world by storm after graduation. Only one more year at CIU.

She, Kate, and Maria had renewed their lease at Netherfield Park Apartments. Kate expected to be around more on weekends since her boyfriend Jake was in England for his semester-long law program. They’d decided to be non-exclusive while he was away, so she was free to date other guys for the first time since starting college.

Now that Jen was a senior, she could no longer put off taking U.S. Government and History. It was a graduation requirement. Her dread turned to delight when she walked into class on the first day and saw David sitting alone at the back of the room. His dark brown eyes sparked when they fell on her, and he grinned.

His hair was shaved close on the sides now, but the top was still long, giving him a hipster look. He combed his hand through his thick bangs, brushing them off his forehead. For the first time in a while, Jen could see his whole face. The angles of his features struck her as sharper than the roundness she remembered from when they’d met freshman year. He wasn’t a boy anymore. He was a man. An irritatingly handsome man.

“We saved you a seat!” a familiar female voice called from a desk closer to the front of the room.

Jen looked over to see her friends Marcy and Joe waving at her. The three of them had intentionally signed up for the class together. Though Jen wanted to go straight to David, class was about to start and it would’ve been rude to reject the saved seat. She shrugged an apology to him and joined her friends, happy to know she’d be seeing David more often this semester. It was the first time they’d ever had a class together.

She hadn’t counted on David skipping class most of the time. Though she ran into him a couple of times out at the bars, she didn’t see him in class again until mid-October. He approached her on their way out with an uncommon glint in his dark eyes.

“What’s the goofy look for?” she asked.

“I got a car.” His soft, pink lips spread into a wide smile.

“Congrats.”

“Wanna see it?” Despite the manly quality she’d noted in him earlier in the semester, at the moment he reminded her of a little boy with a new puppy. She didn’t know if she’d ever seen him so animated. “Where are you headed? I’ll give you a ride.”

“Thanks. I’m going back to my apartment—same place as last year.” She followed David to the parking lot.

He walked up to a rusted shell of a car that was minus a passenger door. She was sure he was messing with her. He took the ruse as far as opening the driver’s door and sitting in the small sedan.

Two can play at that, mister,
Jen thought, sliding in through the hulking gap where a passenger door should’ve been and hoping the car’s true owner didn’t show up. She turned to David, raising an eyebrow in a dare to make the next move.

He stuck a key in the ignition and twisted. A loud crack was followed by a deep, unhealthy rumble. The shaking lever between their seats told Jen the noise was the car’s engine. Her eyes popped wide. “You’re serious?”

She regretted saying it the moment David’s smile faded. “It’s perfect for a local car.”

“Oh, yeah, yeah, it’s great,” Jen was quick to add. “It’s just not what I was expecting. But you’re smart. Why spend a lot of money on something you’re just using for short drives?”

“Exactly.” His grin was back. “You still want the ride?”

“Of course.” She didn’t, actually, but wouldn’t deliberately douse his brilliant smile again. She took a deep, silent breath and fastened her seatbelt. As he maneuvered through the parking lot, she gripped her book bag to her chest, hoping he wouldn’t notice her knuckles turning white.

“Are you going to Romans this week?” David shouted over the noise of the engine.

“No! You’re not going to believe it, but I’m going to a fraternity party! Kate’s dragging me! I have to go with her date’s loser friend who couldn’t get his own date!”

“Too bad!” His car shook the entire way to Netherfield Park.

***

It hadn’t taken the Kate long to move beyond the friend zone with her psychology classmate, Brett. Jen was happy her roommate didn’t continue to wallow about Jake being gone, but she was also resentful. The girl had only been a free agent for less than a month before she’d landed another guy. Meanwhile, Jen remained perpetually single.

She’d had a fun summer flirting with tons of guys in the Chicago and suburban bars after she’d turned twenty-one, but nothing of substance had materialized. She constantly reminded herself that she wasn’t looking for a boyfriend, but in the silence of night, when she lay awake in her bed, she thought about the theory she’d read many times in magazines and on blogs—once you weren’t looking for a guy, that’s when you found him. Apparently, she was an outlying statistic.

Probably the worst downside of not having a boyfriend was that it made Jen a prime target for blind dates. Kate had begged her to go with one of Brett’s fraternity brothers to the Sigma Chi Halloween party. Jen enjoyed a good party, but Greek life wasn’t her scene. She didn’t like the concept of manufactured brother- and sisterhood, so she’d always viewed fraternity guys with a touch of disdain. The fact that her date would be a frat boy cancelled out any joy she may have otherwise felt at the prospect of a date.

She’d resisted for as long as she could, but Kate was relentless: “Please, Jen. I’m not going to know anyone else there. Don’t you want to hang out with me? I swear it’s the last thing I’ll ever ask you to do. Ever.”

“Fine!” Jen had relented. She’d spoken to the guy on the phone once to determine their Halloween costumes. Since it was a date party, they were expected to dress as a couple, but Jen wanted to avoid anything with romantic connotations. Being a Matthew Perry fan, she’d suggested they go as Oscar and Felix.
The Odd Couple
seemed sufficiently platonic.

Jared, her blind date, had agreed to the plan with an, “Uh, yeah, whatever.”

“Okay, so I’ll be Felix and you be Oscar,” Jen had said, and the conversation ended. “How is Brett friends with this personality-less wonder?” Jen had asked Kate after hanging up.

“Jared’s his little brother.”

“His what?”

“Little brother. You know, when a guy joins the house, he gets an upper classmen for a big brother. Sort of like a mentor.”

Jen had stared at Kate. “How old is Jared?”

Kate’s expression had frozen, her eyeballs shifting sideways. “Didn’t I tell you? He’s a sophomore.”

Jen had let out a chuff and left the room without another word.

The evening of the party arrived and Jen gave her shoulder-length hair a tidy, Felix Unger part, but she left her cropped bangs straight down over her forehead—she was only willing to go so far for the look. Just as she pinned a tight, low bun at the base of her neck, a knock came at the door. She tucked the tie she’d borrowed from Tom into her vest and answered the door to let in Brett, who looked adorable as Rhett Butler, and Jared, who was not so adorable. He wore a fuzzy, green carpet over his shoulders and a tin garbage pail lid on his head.

He looked Jen up and down, his lips pulling into a sneer. “I thought you were going to be a cat.”

“A cat? I said I was going to be Felix and you were supposed to be O—oh, my God! Are you dressed as Oscar the Grouch? I meant Oscar and Felix from
The Odd Couple
!”

“Who?” Jared grunted.

“It was only so popular they gave it a reboot. How could you not have heard of it? And how is Oscar the Grouch and Felix the Cat a couple’s costume? They’re not even the same genre—one’s a cartoon, and the other’s a Muppet!”

“Are you going to bitch at me all night because we’re not this
Odd Couple
thing?”

“Oh, we’re an odd couple, all right.” Jen shot a menacing glare at Kate, and stomped through the doorway. “Let’s get this over with.”

“Gee, Kate, your roommate’s a real sweetheart. Thanks for fixing us up,” Jared griped from behind her.

Almost immediately after walking into the party, two young guys came bumbling up to Jared. They were dressed in black trash bags bursting with actual garbage. “Dude, we’re going to get totally trashed!” one of them said, and the three of them slapped each other high fives.

This was terrific. Jen’s date had come dressed in a couple’s costume with two other guys. Before long, the trashy trio tromped off together to the keg and then disappeared. Brett introduced Jen and Kate to a few people and then offered to go get them both drinks. Jen took the gesture as an unspoken acknowledgement that her date wasn’t coming back. She turned toward her roommate, intending to give her grief, but as Kate stood awkwardly by her side, playing with her knuckles while her eyes darted around the room, Jen reminded herself that her reason for coming had nothing to do with Jared. She was there for Kate.

Brett returned with their drinks and walked the girls around the room, introducing them to more people. When it came time for dancing, Jen insisted she didn’t mind standing against the wall—all alone—while Kate and Brett hit the dance floor. After a few uncomfortable and lonely minutes, one of the guys Brett had introduced earlier approached. He was dressed as Superman, which Jen thought suited his burly frame and strong, chiseled features.

“Do you remember me yet?” he asked.

“Bret said you’re Big D, right?”

“That’s me, but I mean from before tonight.”

Jen studied his thick jawline, steel blue eyes, and dark hair. He did look vaguely familiar, but she couldn’t place him. “Uh…”

“Accounting II, spring semester last year.”

“Oh, yeah.” The slicked-back superhero hair had thrown her off. She remembered him as the guy in the stairwell that time she’d run into Dave at Meryton Hall. She also remembered he typically displayed his Sigma Chi letters somewhere on his person. Glancing down, she saw he’d doctored his costume to bear a large Sigma instead of an S in the emblem. “Thank God that class is over, huh?’

“Yeah.” He looked down at his cup. “Though I wish it would’ve lasted long enough for me to get a chance to talk to you.” He lifted his gaze to meet Jen’s. His eyes somehow looked even bluer than they had a moment ago—like a clear summer sky, cloudless and inviting. “But I could never manage to catch you without your friends from the back of the room.”

Jen rolled her eyes. There was no way a guy like this had been too shy to talk to her. He’d probably had to memorize these pickup lines as part of fraternity initiation. But he was being nice, and he wasn’t wrapped in a smelly floor covering, so Jen willingly listened.

“Seriously. I noticed you day one of class. But I guess I was right to not come talk to you, seeing as I made such a weak impression that you don’t even remember me.” He pushed his lower lip into a pout.

“I remember you,” Jen protested.

“So you say.” He gave a small, sad shrug, continuing his play for sympathy.

“I do! I remember seeing you talk to my boyf—to my friend Dave in the stairwell one day, and I remember walking past you to my seat every class since. What does it matter, anyhow—you’re talking to me now, aren’t you?”

“Of all the fraternity houses on campus, you had to walk into mine,” he teased with a wistful sigh. “Who’re you here with tonight?”

Jen grunted. “Jared. He’s a sophomore, Brett’s little brother or something. I only came as a favor to my roommate, Brett’s date. Totally not dating Jared at all.” She was looking past Big D’s Greek letters. The way she figured it, any guy who could unabashedly strut around in form-fitting blue and red spandex—and look damned good doing it—was worth further examination.

“Hmm,” Big D murmured. “I’ve got a date here, too. It was a last minute thing, totally not dating, either, but it’d be of rude for me to ask someone else out while I’m here with her.” His gaze drifted to focus on the ceiling while he spoke, as if he’d been thinking out loud. Then his stunning, decisive eyes landed back on Jen. “Tell you what, I’m not going to be disrespectful to either of our dates by asking you for your phone number tonight, but I can always get it from Brett later, right?”

“Right.” Jen nodded, hoping to convey her enthusiasm at the idea.

“And I’ll talk to Jared before I call to make sure he’s cool with it.”

“You don’t need to talk to him! He’s probably already forgotten who I am. Seriously.” She didn’t want this nice guy to hear any of the unflattering things Jared would probably say about her.

“It’s a brotherhood respect thing.”

“Okay.” She sucked in her bottom lip, unable to come up with any way to dissuade him.

“Here’s to me calling you next week.” He tapped his cup to hers, lingering for an extra moment to engage her in a flirtatious stare-down that sent the beginnings of a tingle across the back of her knees. Then he was off like a flash.

Standing alone was no longer an unpleasant prospect now that Jen’s mind was preoccupied with Superman. She could hardly believe she’d been so Dave-drunk last semester that she’d barely noticed him. As she watched the dancers bounce to peppy love songs, Big D’s face appeared through the swarm of bodies. He towered over the short girl he danced with.

His blue eyes locked onto Jen, and he lip-synced the cheesy lyrics. A giddy laugh bubbled up and out of her. He was such a dork. Such an adorable dork. He disappeared into the mob again, but not before he flashed Jen a bright grin and a wink.

“Jennifer Whitney, is that a smile I see on your face?” Kate came from behind and wrapped an arm around her shoulder, squeezing. “Glad you’re having fun, but do you mind if we get going? Brett has an early class tomorrow.”

“Now’s great.” Jen preferred to leave before she could do something to mess up this perfect first encounter. She didn’t even try to find her date on the way out. During the drive home, she told Brett, “It’s okay if you give you give Big D my number. He said he might ask for it. But he was probably just being nice because he felt sorry for me getting ditched.”

BOOK: Big D: Senior Year (Three Daves #3)
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