July 7, 2013
I hope everyone had a wonderful Fouth and got to see lots of lovely fireworks displays. I'm lucky enough to be invited to another extravaganza next weekend. Never too many fireworks, right?
Tonight's post is from It's Academic and in keeping with the firecracker theme, the couple definitely has some sparking, crackly chemistry. :D
Here's the tagline:
Chaos and control don't mix, but Kari Pride and Thorn Summers must find a way to balance the two or drive each other mad when they become roommates. By the end of the semester, Thorn tempers Kari's sloppy habits and she makes him yield his ruthless organization for some much needed spontaneity. When their relationship gets personal, they have to figure out how to navigate new territory.
And a preview snippet…
Thorn entered his room and groaned. "God damn, Kari."
He couldn't see the floor, her clothes tossed haphazardly all over the place. Kicking her stuff aside, he made his way to his corner and set his books on the desk, after shoving her—lunch?—into the trash bin. Flinging his pack onto the bed, he turned around in a circle and basically found the place in utter shambles.
He couldn't live with the chaos anymore. He'd either kill Kari or she'd kill him if he didn't set some kind of boundaries. He'd let her get too comfortable with the sloppy mess in the interest of keeping the peace.
With a quick decision made, Thorn gathered up everything of Kari's and dumped it in the middle of her half of the room. Grabbing a spare sheet from under his bed, he rigged up two hooks and some sturdy twine and attached the sheet with clothespins. People could give him shit about being prepared, but sometimes it saved his sanity.
Stepping back to observe his handiwork, Thorn figured his solution would work just fine. The door opened in the middle of the far wall, so no worry about walking through one half to get to the other. He shouldn't have to see or deal with Kari's slobfest from this point forward.
Heaving a relieved sigh, a weight already gone, Thorn got started on reorganizing his half of the room. Fifteen minutes into his cleaning ritual, the door burst open and Thorn braced for a reaction.
Kari skidded to a halt just inside the entrance. "What. The. Hell?" She frowned and kicked the heavy oak closed with her booted foot.
Thorn shrugged. "You obviously need clearly defined boundaries. Consider this set up as example number one."
Kari strode to the edge of the sheet and flicked her gaze between the two spaces. "Geez, Thorn, you could've mentioned something. I'd have tidied up if you had."
Thorn's fingers itched to strangle her. "I damned well did mention something. Repeatedly."
Kari's lips quirked, but she choked down her laugh. "It's hilarious. Have you seen what this looks like from here? Our cookie cutter sized room now looks more in the vicinity of a postage stamp."
She had a point, but he'd be boiled in hot oil before he'd agree.
Her gaze rose and met his. "Where did you come up with this painfully stupid idea?"
Only the genuine curiosity behind the snarky words had him supplying the answer. "My mom. She split the room I shared with my brother this way." He gave her a pointed look. "Thrace lived like a slob, too."
Kari snorted. "My mom would've lit a match and walked away."
She spoke the reply quietly, an undertone of sadness in her voice.
Thorn had no idea what her relationship with her mom had been, but burning everything sounded harsh. "Wow." What else could he say?
Kari's lips twisted with a half-smile. "Yeah." She bent down and started picking her clothes up off the floor, refilling the open drawers of her dresser. "Why'd your mom split you two up that way? Other than the neat versus messy thing."
Thorn answered before thinking about it. "Because when we fought, she had to mediate and that took time away from—" Shit, he never shared crap about his mom's drinking habits. "Well, I mean, it took away time from something else she'd rather do."
A very knowing and understanding gleam crept into her eyes when she glanced over her shoulder in his direction. Kari recognized the lie for what it meant. Thorn wanted to staple his mouth shut.
But she surprised him by sharing her own truth. "Mine went on binges. Ugly ones." She went back to sorting her clothes, turning away to focus on the task. "Used to have to shut myself up in our pantry to avoid flying objects."
Well, hell. Common ground. Who knew it would be mothers who had issues with alcohol.
Thorn yanked half the sheet down and crossed over into her space, bending down to help her fold the pile on the floor. "Mine did the slow and steady thing. Always waited until we got home from school to get started and didn't stop until she crawled into bed."
Kari paused and met his gaze, hers full of commiseration. "Sucks."
Thorn agreed. "Yeah." He worked steadily, grabbing a shirt and neatly tucking the sleeves under the back before flipping it in half and smoothing the wrinkles.
Kari laid a hand on his. "Thorn. I got this. It's my mess, I'll clean it up." She wrinkled her nose. "And make an effort to keep the clutter to a minimum."
Thorn believed her. Didn't mean he couldn't help.
He smiled. "Goes faster with two doing the work." He handed her the tank top in his hand and snagged another one from the dwindling pile.
Kari lifted a shoulder, but didn't argue. Thorn considered the lack of a snarky comeback progress. Maybe because they shared a similar situation from childhood, they'd finally broken through the wall of discontent built from the moment they met.
Thorn sort of hoped so. A truce would be great. So much better than spending the whole semester acting like combatants on a battle field.
Kari stopped again, tilting her head sideways to study him.
Okay, a reprieve might not have been reached.
He lifted a brow. "What?"
She answered. "Nothing. I mean, well, I'm hungry and thought about heading to the commissary for dinner. Wanna join me?"
He almost fell over, but quickly nodded. "Sounds great." He put the neatly folded pile of clothes on top of her dresser and got to his feet. "We could go now and finish this up when we get back."
Kari grinned. "Awesome. They're having one of my favorites tonight. Grilled cheese and tomato soup." She pushed her bottom drawer shut and stood up, grabbing her ID from the clutter on the desk.
Thorn chuckled. "Comfort food. There's nothing like it."
Kari strode toward the door, but shot him a look over her shoulder. "I know, right? Let's go."
Thorn checked his pocket, making sure he had his identification then followed her.
A definite truce. The rest of the semester looked to be shaping up.
Humming one of his favorite songs, he closed and locked the door and picked up his pace to catch up with Kari.
And common ground is achieved and a thawing of the ice begins. Instead of constantly being at each other's throats, Kari and Thorn find better ways to spend their time. :D
And that's it for this week!