Beautiful Disaster - Jamie McGuire Page 0,1

shoulders rammed into me, bouncing me back and forth

like a pin ball. The tops of Marek’s and Travis’ heads became visible, so I continued to

push my way forward.

When I finally reached the front, Marek grabbed Travis with his thick arms and

attempted to throw him to the ground. When Marek leaned down with the motion, Travis

rammed his knee into Marek’s face. Before Marek could shake off the blow, Travis lit

into him; his fists making contact with Marek’s bloodied face over and over.

Five fingers sank into my arm and I jerked back.

“What the hell are you doing, Abby?” Shepley said.

“I can’t see from back there!” I called to him.

I turned just in time to see Marek land a solid punch. Travis turned, and for a moment I

thought he had dodged another blow, but he made a complete circle, crashing his elbow

straight into the center of Marek’s nose. Blood sprayed my face, and splattered down the

front of my cardigan. Marek fell to the concrete floor with a thud, and for a brief moment the room was completely silent.

Adam threw a scarlet square of fabric on Marek’s limp body, and the mob detonated.

Cash changed hands once again, and the expressions divided into the smug and the

frustrated.

I was pushed around with the movement of those coming and going. America called

my name from somewhere in the back, but I was mesmerized by the trail of red from my

chest to my waist.

A pair of heavy black boots stepped in front of me, diverting my attention to the floor.

My eyes traveled upward; jeans spattered with blood, a set of finely-chiseled abs, a bare, tattooed chest drenched in sweat, and finally a pair of warm, brown eyes. I was shoved

from behind, and Travis caught me by the arm before I fell forward.

“Hey! Back up off her!” Travis frowned, shoving anyone who came near me. His stern

expression melted into a smile at the sight my shirt, and then he dabbed my face with a

towel. “Sorry about that, Pigeon.”

Adam patted the back of Travis’ head. “C’mon, Mad Dog! You have some dough

waitin’ on ya!”

His eyes didn’t stray from mine. “It’s a damn shame about the sweater. It looks good on

you.” In the next moment he was engulfed by fans, disappearing the way he came.

“What were thinking you idiot?” America yelled, yanking my arm.

“I came here to see a fight, didn’t I?” I smiled.

“You aren’t even supposed to be here, Abby,” Shepley scolded.

“Neither is America,” I said.

“She doesn’t try to jump in the circle!” he frowned. “Let’s go.”

America smiled at me and wiped my face. “You are such a pain in the ass, Abby. God,

I love you!” She hooked her arm around my neck, and we made our way up the stairs and

out into the night.

America followed me into my dorm room, and then sneered at my roommate, Kara. I

immediately peeled off the bloody cardigan, throwing it into the hamper.

“Gross. Where have you been?” Kara asked from her bed.

I looked to America, who shrugged. “Nose bleed. You haven’t seen one of

Abby’s famous nose bleeds?”

Kara pushed up her glasses and shook her head.

“Oh, you will.” She winked at me and then shut the door behind her. Less than a

minute later, my cell phone chimed. Per her usual, America texted me seconds after we

had said goodbye.

staying w shep c u 2morrow ring queen

I peeked at Kara who watched me as if my nose would gush at any moment.

“She was kidding,” I said.

Kara nodded with indifference, and then looked down to the mess of books on

her bedspread.

“I guess I’ll get a shower,” I said, grabbing a towel and my shower bag.

“I’ll alert the media,” Kara deadpanned, keeping her head down.

The next day, Shepley and America joined me for lunch. I had intended to sit alone, but

as students filtered into the cafeteria, the chairs around me were filled by either Shepley’s frat brothers or members of the football team. Some of them were at the fight, but no one

mentioned my ring-side experience.

“Shep,” a passing voice called.

Shepley nodded, and America and I both turned to see Travis take a seat at the end of

the table. He was followed by two voluptuous bottle-blondes wearing Sigma Kappa tees.

One of them sat on Travis’ lap, the other sat beside him, pawing at his shirt.

“I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth,” America muttered.

The blonde on Travis’ lap turned to America. “I heard that, skank.”

America grabbed her roll and threw it down the table, narrowly missing the girl’s face.

Before the girl could say another word, Travis let