Schooling the Jock (Nerds Vs Jocks #1) - - Eli Easton
In hindsight, the prank that brought down the wrath of God—or at least, the wrath of Dean Robberts—was one of the weakest and most harmless pranks we Sigma Mu Taus had ever pulled against the Alpha Lambda Alphas. Over the years, we’d put itch powder in their laundry, delivered pizza made with extra hot peppers, and rigged some pretty elaborate ruses, all a part of our ongoing feud with the rival frat house across the street. But this? This one was peanuts. Most of us didn't even know about it beforehand, not until the sirens and the flashing lights flooded our street making it look like our entire block was holding a retro ’70s disco party.
The Sigma Mu Tau frat house is on a street of frat houses just off campus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over fifty frats and sororities occupy big old homes around the university. Ours is a turn-of-the-century Victorian with a round cupola on one side and a wide gray porch. Only about fifteen percent of the student body are in fraternities and sororities, but the influence of the Greeks, as we’re called, is outsized. A lot of the brightest guys with the highest GPAs are SMTs, while the biggest athletic stars—or dumbest jocks, depending on how you look at it—are ALAs.
I'd been cramming for a computer architecture test in my flannel PJ bottoms and a thermal shirt when the sirens began. It was as good an excuse as any to take a break, so I grabbed a coat, stuffed my feet into some dodgy old loafers, and jogged down the stairs and out the front door. A half dozen of my frat bros were already on the lawn, watching as an ambulance rolled to a stop across the street, joining a jumble that included several cop cars and a massive fire truck. Being January, the night air was cold, and a thin layer of snow crunched under my feet as I crossed the front lawn.
The center of attention appeared to be the huge brown craftsman-style house of the ALAs. We called them, the A-hoes. It was a house full of assholes, each one bigger and more obnoxious than the next. And now, apparently, they were on fire. I didn't see flames at the front of the house, but there was a haze visible in the night air, and the acrid sting of smoke hit my throat.
"Ha! Now what did those geniuses do?" I asked Jax as I sidled up beside him, grinning.
Jax was our fraternity president and one of my best friends. He normally appreciated my sense of humor, but the glare he shot me was anything but amused. He stroked his red-brown beard and resumed his vigil of the A-hoe house, his arms crossed over a UW hoodie, his lips pressed tight.
"What is it? What's wrong?" I asked, my smile fading.
"Billings and Johnson set fire to the A-hoe kitchen."
"What?" I gasped. Billings and Johnson were our guys. "Do they know it was them? I mean, what happened? Why would they do that?"
He shook his head in disgust and didn't answer.
Shit. This could be bad. We were already on shaky ground with the dean. I looked around and saw Billings and Johnson across the lawn talking to Felix and Sai. They were back in the shadows of the yew hedge that flanked one side of the Sigma Mu Tau property, as if they didn't want to be seen.
Billings and Johnson were juniors. They looked like twins—both slender with longish brown hair and brown eyes. But they weren't related at all. They came from the same small town, though, had been best friends growing up, and now roomed together on the third floor. You rarely saw them apart.
In fact, I wasn't sure I'd ever heard the name Billings separate from Johnson in a conversation. They were practically the same entity, like some two-headed carnival attraction. It made sense if one of them had pulled a prank, the other had been right there with him.
I jogged over there. "Jax said you guys did something? What happened?"
Felix answered. "They burnt popcorn in the A-hoe's microwave and started a fire."
"They couldda burnt the whole house down!" Sai snorted.
"We just wanted to make some smelly smoke!" Billings insisted hotly. "The A-hoes had date night tonight."
Ah. Motive revealed. Billings had a crush on Jennifer Tyson, a football cheerleader who was dating one of the A-hoes. Of course, he'd be up for anything that would disrupt date night.
Felix grinned. “On the plus