Home > Nothing But Trouble (Malibu University #1)(6)

Nothing But Trouble (Malibu University #1)(6)
Author: P. Dangelico

Right. The study group that I desperately need to attend, that I can’t attend because it’s on Thursday nights on the other side of campus and I don’t have a car. That study group.

“My car died on me. And well, my ankle.” I lift it for his viewing pleasure.

His face twists into an adorably troubled frown. “What happened?”

The question induces an image of a dolphin tattoo to pop up. My ankle is still sore and the lack of sleep is making me moody as hell.

Flipper happened. Instead I say, “Long story.”


“What’s up, Jersey,” I say, pulling the Jeep up in front of the film and television building. Alice Bailey, a.k.a. the hardest woman on the planet to track down, is presently speaking to a guy dressed in skinny jeans. I immediately don’t like the look of this dude.

Phone tree turned out to be an epic waste of time. No one I know knows this girl. Which is almost an impossible feat since I know everyone there is to know on this campus. No matter. Failure isn’t in my vocabulary and so here I am.

Pausing their conversation, they both glance at me and frown. I stand through the open top of the Jeep. Smile and wave. There’s no change in their expressions. It’d be funny if this dude hadn’t already crawled under my skin and made himself unfuckingwelcome.

She says something else to him and he stares down at her with a wolfish smile. Very shady. I don’t like it. Shady guy walks away and Bailey finally grants me her attention, a pointed look that lasts all of a second before she starts moving up the steep incline which leads to the Communications building. Naturally, I give chase, coasting the Jeep along the sidewalk.

“Did you fall down a rabbit hole?”

Her dark eyes flash. Yeah, she’s not amused.

“Okay…okay, that was the wrong thing to say. I can see that now. Seriously, though, I’ve been looking for you everywhere and I mean everywhere. Are you in the mob? Because you’re harder to track down than Whitey Bulger.”

Circumstances dictated that I resort to some questionable tactics. Like stalking. I’m not proud of myself, but when I don’t sleep shit gets real.

She stops, regards me curiously. I can see it on her face––she’s gearing up to tell me off. So I jump in and backpedal before she gets the chance. “That sounded stalkery as fuck but I promise my intentions are true.” My hand falls over my heart, as if I could dig it out and hand it to her as evidence that it’s not completely black yet.

“What do you want?” she queries, tone not nice.

“To drive you to class.”

“What do you really want?”

“I have a proposition for you. Let me drive you to your next class and we can discuss it.”

“A proposition?” She smirks. “That’s cute. Go away.”

She starts back up the hill, attempting to speed past me on her crutches and it almost makes me laugh. Almost. After doing thirty minutes of eggbeater intervals and passing drills with a weighted ball, I’m dog tired and in no mood for a lengthy debate.

“You’re getting a sunburn, Alice.” Ignoring me, she keeps moving. Annoying her may not be the best plan, but it’s all I’ve got. “Aren’t you tired yet? Those crutches look hard to operate.”

She bites her bottom lip to stop from smiling. Good news. I’ve managed to get a semblance of a smile out of her. The bad news is that it fades at record speed and she’s back to glaring at me.


“Stop––stop saying my name.”

“Nope. C’mon, Bailey. Hear me out.”

She stops, exhales a loud exasperated breath, and wipes her sweaty brow with the back of her wrist. “Give it a rest, dude. Haven’t you caused enough trouble already?”

That one stung. I’m man enough to admit it. She’s also proving a little more stubborn than I’d anticipated but whatever. Game on. I’m not known as the best two-meter specialist on the Sharks for nothing.

“I haven’t slept in three nights. You know why? Go ahead, ask me why.”

“I don’t care why.”

“No, really, go ahead and ask me.”

“I don’t care.”

“That’s cold, Alice. But I’ll tell you anyway.”

Her lips quirk. “Please don’t.”

“I feel bad. I do. I feel bad that I crippled you, turned you into a gimp, and it’s keeping me up at night.”

Shaking her head, a full grin cuts across her face and I swear I feel it in my chest. This chick’s smiles are so hard to come by it feels like I’m scoring the championship winning goal whenever I manage to get one out of her.

“It’s not my job to make you feel better, Flipper.”

Flipper? Now I’m smiling. Why am I smiling? I’m tired. That’s all.

Behind me, a car horn blasts. In my rearview mirror, some douche waves his arm for me to move the Jeep. Fuck that. It took me two days sitting outside Bailey’s dorm to find her. I’m not about to let her slip through my fingers now because this guy can’t get his Hummer around my Jeep.

Raising my arm out the roof, I flip him off and tires screaming, he guns it around me, nearly missing a head-on collision with a Lexus coming down the hill.

People drive like shit around here.

Having reached her destination, Alice is standing in front of the communications building. She’s rattled if the color on her cheeks and the way her small fists grip the crutches tightly is any indication. Add that to her dismayed expression and it’s safe to say I won’t be winning her over today.

“You’re insane.” She turns and walks away.

“But only in a good way!” I shout through cupped hands. “Let me at least give you my email address.” There’s no masking the rising desperation in my voice as I watch her retreating back. I need a good night’s rest dammit, and this chick’s obstinacy is standing in the way of that.

“That way we can work around our class schedules.”

Too late. She’s already gone.

Chapter 5


“You coming over for dinner on Friday, sweetie?” my aunt Peg asks as soon as I answer my cell. She’s my father’s older sister and the only family I have in California. Notwithstanding my cousin Marie on my mother’s side, she’s the only family we have left period.

It’s been four days since the incident and my leg looks as bad as it did the day it happened. Having to navigate the treacherous hills to get to and from class isn’t helping for sure. I’ve got new bruises to show for it too. Under my armpits. And one should never have bruises under one’s armpits.

“Can’t. Sorry, Aunt Peg,” I answer while trying to gingerly descend three measly steps that lead back to my dorm.

My good leg is sore. My arms are throbbing and useless. Three steps take me forever––they may as well be Everest. “The car died and I might have broken my ankle.”

Across the quad, I catch sight of Reagan Reynolds laughing it up with a girl in little more than a scrap of material over her bikini top. He almost caused another accident this morning. What’s his deal with wanting to drive me around anyway? I can’t figure out what he wants from me and it’s making me nervous.

“Broken? Are you sure?”

“No, I didn’t go to the ER. I can’t afford to right now.”

“Order the Uber––I’ll pay for it. That way Wheels can have a look.”

Arthur “Wheels” Webster, my aunt Peg’s live-in boyfriend. Wheels is called Wheels because he’s been in a wheelchair since getting into a car wreck twenty years ago. How do I know this? Because when we met, he shook my hand and said, “The name’s Artie but everyone’s called me Wheels since I got in a car wreck. You should know that I live here with your aunt Peg even though she and I aren’t married. Tried to marry the woman but she won’t let me. I apologize if this causes you discomfort.”

“Why would he take a look at my ankle?” As much as I love Aunt Peg, she’s always been a little “out there.”

“Wheels is a doctor––was a doctor. One of them highfalutin types too. Well, before he got pinched for selling prescription drugs and did time.”


Picturing the quiet, silver-ponytailed man with gnarled leathery hands that’s often tending the small garden out back when I visit, I can’t keep the disbelief out of my voice. “Wheels? A doctor?” And a drug dealer? I leave that last bit out.

“Don’t sound so shocked. Come over. He’ll tell you what’s wrong with it.”

The foot of the crutch catches on a rock. I almost fall and in the process stab myself in the armpit. Tears of frustration prick my eyes as I adjust the crutch under my aching pit. When I don’t answer, she presses, “Alice?”

“Life sucks rotten eggs.” My voice breaks as I fight back tears of frustration.

“Oh, sweetheart. Take life with a grain of sugar and it won’t seem so bad.”

“You mean salt?” I say wiping a stray one away with the back of my hand.

“No, I mean sugar. Life’s salty enough, dear.”


“Yo, Rea,” Cole yells from the other side of the Cantina, the bar overlooking the beach were we usually hang. It’s got peanut shells covering the scuffed-up wood floors, large television screens strategically placed around the bar, and the kind of vibe that makes you never want to leave. The nachos also happen to be awesome.

He waves me over to a table already littered with beer bottles. All the guys are already here. Brock and Cole Peterman. Dallas. Warner Moss, a recent transfer from UCLA and probably the most naturally talented player on the starting lineup. Shane Westbrook, a sophomore who earned a spot when three of our top players graduated. And lastly, Quinn Smith, our notorious goalie.

Tuesday is twofer night so the place is packed, filled to capacity with girls looking to hook up with all the athletes and the occasional celebrities that hang here.

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