Home > Nothing But Trouble (Malibu University #1)(4)

Nothing But Trouble (Malibu University #1)(4)
Author: P. Dangelico

The garage is open. Two cars sit inside. Dallas’s yellow Porsche and a white Range Rover I don’t recognize. Cole and Brock are out––their bikes missing. Which means Dallas has some girl over. I love the guy, but his dick’s given more rides than a N.Y. City yellow cab and I’m really not in the mood for company right now.

I park and stare at the phone sitting on the passenger seat. Anxiety climbs up my throat as I contemplate the call I have to make. Alice from New Jersey didn’t ask for a police report––or a campus security one for that matter. Problem is, Doc Fred will most definitely call my father so I might as well get the ass chewing over with now.

I pull up his number and pause, my finger hovering over the button. I’ll call him in an hour. After he’s had his second scotch. He’ll be in a better frame of mind then. Not a minute later, my phone rings and my father’s name flashes onscreen. And if that’s not a great big screw you from the universe I don’t know what is.

“Hey, Dad.”

“Have you called Jim Sullivan yet?”

Pat Reynolds has never met a greeting he liked.

“No, not yet.”

“What are you waiting for?”

It’s a forgone conclusion that I’m attending UCLA medical school next fall. It’s never even been discussed, simply accepted as a done deal as soon as I was old enough to apply to colleges.

Legacy. A word bandied about often in my family. I come from a long line of accomplished doctors. My great-grandfather helped establish Cedars-Sinai. My grandfather holds two patents on surgical instruments. My father is the head of the cardiothoracic surgery unit––my mother the head of dermatology. You get the idea.

Everyone assumes I’ll follow in my father’s and grandfather’s footsteps and specialize in cardiac surgery. An assumption I have done nothing to correct because the path of least resistance is the only way to keep the peace with my old man. And after the “great disappointment” my older brother has been to him, it all rests on me to “save the family name.” I’ve heard that speech more times than I care to recall. All of it simply an effort to stroke his own ego––my dad cares for little else.

“He has my MCAT score and my application. I don’t see why I need to call him.”

“He’s a friend and the dean of the medical school, Reagan. Do I need to spell it out for you?”

Frustration builds in my chest. I can’t have this discussion with him now. Not over the phone. “Something happened today,” I start, steering the conversation away from what is bound to turn into another ugly argument. My father and I have never been close, but lately it seem all we do is argue.

“What is it?” he spits out in a tone sharpened by irritation. He’s always irritated. I’d be concerned if he wasn’t.

“Nothing serious. I was in a minor car accident on campus.”

“Is your car damaged?”

This line of questioning does not surprise me at all. That’s dear old dad, for you.

“No, I didn’t hit anything. But there was a girl…she sprained her ankle.”

“Did you get a police report?”

“No, but––”

“Was anybody else present? Someone you can trust?”

My resolve to keep a cool head around him starts to slip. He knows exactly where my buttons are and goes after them every chance he gets. “No. Just the two of––”

“Then it never happened,” he cuts in again. “It’s her word against yours.”

My frustration boils over. “You’re not hearing me, Dad. She’s not asking for anything, but I know she can’t afford medical care and her ankle is really fucked up.”

“Watch your language,” he bites out. “And if the girl doesn’t want anything, then thank your Irish luck and drop it.”

“It’s my fault this girl is injured. I was waiting for Brian to call. He texted that he needed to talk to me.”

A heavy sigh comes through the phone. “I’m being paged. We’ll talk about your brother later. Leave it alone, Reagan. And if she calls looking for a payout let me know immediately. I’ll have to get Henry involved.”

My family’s lawyer. Less than a moment later, the call drops.

I pull in the empty trash cans from the curb, make my way up the front steps.

Dallas’s parents bought him this monster of a house our freshman year. Our school doesn’t have dorm restrictions due to the lack of on-campus housing available. You would think he’d be stoked to live on a private beach next door to movie stars and pro athletes. I mean, who wouldn’t, right? Dallas, that’s who. He was always crashing on the couch in the apartment I shared with the Peterman twins.

It took us a while to get it out of him, but he eventually admitted that he hated living alone. Once he did, we all moved in with him. Seemed stupid to let the house go to waste.

The front door opens and a tall brunette I vaguely recognize from the girls’ volleyball team steps out.

“Hi, Reagan.”

“Hi,” I say to the tall chick whose name I can’t remember.

Avoiding eye contact, she ducks her head and walks past me when she sees me checking out the stains on her neck, arms, and clothes. This has Dallas written all over it.

To put it bluntly, Dallas Van Zant is the team’s resident fuckup. He also happens to be my best friend, has been since our freshman year when we beat USC by three goals scored by the two of us. From that day forth we were known as Thunder and Lightning, and like thunder and lightning we became inseparable.

Also like thunder and lightning, Dallas and I are profoundly different. I’m a straight-up team player, doing everything by the book, while D just likes to play. Being on this team is a means to an end for him. And that end is to accrue all the glory and the fun of being on a championship winning team without any of the responsibility. If he didn’t have such mad skills, Coach would’ve kicked him off years ago. Not that I blame him. Responsibility is for chumps like me.

I walk into the kitchen to find D naked, with his back to me. He’s focused on scrubbing the marble countertop. He’s also, I note, covered in the same shit-colored stains as the girl who left.

“Do I wanna know what happened here?” I ask, dropping my backpack at the threshold and tossing the keys on the counter.

“Karen and I made a Nutella sandwich,” he says, throwing a wad of dirty paper towels in the trash. He swipes a pair of basketball shorts off the kitchen floor and steps into them.

“You missed some on the refrigerator.”

“Where?” he says, glancing up to inspect the stainless steel behemoth. Four athletes live in this house and growing boys need to store a lot of food. I motion to the spots and he grabs a handful of clean paper towels and starts wiping.

I slip onto the counter stool, rake my hands through my hair, and press the heels into my eye sockets. The pressure’s been building since I dropped off Alice Bailey at her dorm. “Did you get any on the bread?”

“Yeah, no bread. We were the sandwich––” He glances up with a sly grin. “Very slimy, dude. No recommendo, amigo.”

The instant he catches sight of my expression he stops cleaning and gives me his full attention. “Who stepped on your nuts?”

I need sustenance for this conversation so I get up, grab two Coronas from the refrigerator, hand him one. He’ll tell me if I should be worried.

Despite the cavalier attitude, Dallas possesses an uncanny ability to read people. He’s strangely intuitive about their character and has never steered me wrong. It took me three years to see past Jordan’s bullshit. It took Dallas ten minutes of speaking to her. I don’t know if this talent is a consequence of what his parents put him through, and from what I’ve heard it was pretty bad, or it comes naturally. Regardless, he has it in spades.

I pop the top off my beer, lean back against the counter, and exhale tiredly. “I screwed up today.”

“Welcome to my life.”

“I was driving down Severson after practice and I glanced at my phone for a split second, thinking it was Brian calling––it wasn’t, by the way, it was Jordan. And I almost ran someone over.”

Looking unfazed, Dall takes a long pull of his beer. “Who?”

“New girl. Alice Bailey. A film major.” A smile tugs my lips away from the edge of the bottle at the memory of the glare she aimed at me when I asked to see her cameras.


“I took her to see Fred. She twisted her ankle, looks pretty bad. She might’ve torn something.”

“Might have? Didn’t she go to the ER?”

“She refused. Said she couldn’t afford it.”

He nods. “And you’re worried she’ll sue.”

Leave it to Dallas to know where my head is, one of the reasons why we’re so good in the pool together. I tip my beer bottle in his direction. “You’re spooky. You know that, right?”

“Everybody has a gift,” he deadpans.

Having money has its perks. No doubt about it. But it also has some major drawbacks. The minute we were born, my brother and I were taught to safeguard our reputation, our family name, and our trust funds. It was imprinted in our minds with all the subtlety of a jackhammer. And we were reminded of it every time we made a new friend, dated someone outside our social circle, or stepped out the door.

I’m not saying everyone I come in contact with has bad intentions. That’s how my father thinks and I’ll never be that guy. However, the suspicion that I could become someone’s living blank check is never far from my mind. Especially after what happened to my brother.

“I don’t know…” My gut tells me Alice Bailey is not interested in money. “She didn’t ask for a police or campus security report. I can’t get a read on this girl. Except that she doesn’t like me very much.”

Most girls jump at the chance to stroke my ego. This one couldn’t wait to insult me. And something tells me she was holding back a lot more. Recalling the mix of interest and repulsion on her face teases another reluctant smile out of me.

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