Coming back to my senses, knowing there’s a table full of people here, I break our stare. Then, I catch sight of Sienna’s eyes swinging between Carrick and me, and I know that she saw the look that just transpired between us.
Her brows pull together, like she’s working something out.
And then I see it settle on her face. She knows Carrick and I have slept together.
Something really uncomfortable stirs in my stomach.
She twists in her seat to face me. “So, your name is Andi?” she says, her tone biting.
“Yes…” I answer carefully.
“Andi…” she says in a bitchy singsong voice. “Andi, who has a man’s job and a man’s name. Maybe you should just go the whole hog and have a sex change, not that there’s much to change!”
She belts out a laugh like it’s the funniest thing she’s ever heard. She glances around the table, expecting the others to be laughing with her. But what she’s failing to realize is that these are my friends, not hers. And no one is laughing.
“Sienna,” Carrick snaps out her name in warning.
“What? It was just a joke! Can’t you people take a joke?” She lets out an awkward laugh.
God, I’m so fucking done here that it’s not even funny.
“Sure it was a joke.” Pushing my chair out, I get my jacket off the back and pull it on. “Just like your face. But the thing is, Sienna, yes, I could trade my vagina for a cock, but sadly for you, you can’t fix ugly.” Throwing a quick glance around the table, ignoring Carrick’s eyes and Sienna’s open mouth, I say, “I’ll catch you all tomorrow.” Then, I turn on my heel and start walking away.
I hear Carrick calling my name, but I just ignore him, moving my legs as fast as they’ll go.
“Jesus, Andressa. Just wait up, will you?” He finally catches up with me. He tugs on my arm, pulling me to a stop.
“What?” I shake my arm free of his hand. My skin is left burning where he just touched me.
“Are you okay?”
I turn away and start walking again.
Sighing, I turn back, putting my hands on my hips. “What do you want, Carrick?”
“I just…” His eyes go to the ground. He looks unsure for a moment. Then, he lifts his eyes back to mine, his confidence back. “Where are you going?”
“To the hotel.”
Then, wouldn’t you know? Little miss pop princess comes marching up in her pretty heels. “Carrick!” she cracks his name out like a whip. “Where the hell do you think you’re going?”
He turns his head to her and gives her such a stare that I even shudder. Seriously, his look could take down a bear. I’m not surprised when she shrinks back because I probably would at the level of anger emanating from him.
“I’m making sure Andressa is okay.” His voice is like granite. “So, go back to the bar, sit the fuck down, and try not to offend any more of my friends before I get back.”
Friend? Oh, so now I’m his friend.
“Ugh! Whatever!” She throws up her hands, swivels on her heel, and sashays back in the direction of the bar.
The moment she’s gone, I turn and start walking.
Goal—get away from Carrick.
Plan—catch a cab and go to bed.
And possibly cry.
Carrick falls in step beside me.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I flash an angry look his way.
“Coming with you.”
“Well, I’m going back to the hotel and then straight to bed, and you’re most definitely not invited.”
He lets out a throaty chuckle, and I have to fight hard to keep the smile from my lips.
“Habits” by Tove Lo and Hippie Sabotage starts to hum from the speakers of one of the bars we pass.
I love this song. The lyrics. Just sometimes…I wish I could numb the pain.
Out of nowhere, I suddenly feel exhausted and sad. Really sad.
Wrapping my arms around myself, I say in a quiet voice, “Go back to the bar, Carrick. I’ll be fine on my own.”
“Andressa, I know you think I’m a total bastard, but there’s no way I’m letting you walk around late at night on your own. Anything could happen to you.”
“Like you’d care.” I regret it the moment I say it.
He grabs my arm. Pulling me to a stop, he stands in front of me, way too close. I can practically taste his aftershave on my tongue and feel the warmth of his breath on my face.
His hand is still on my arm, and it’s burning me from the outside in, right down to my core.
I need him to stop touching me…and never stop touching me.
I’m so confused, and it hurts like a physical pain.
“Of course I’d care,” he says low. “You’re—” He cuts off. Rubbing his forehead with the heel of his free hand, he takes a step back.
He drops his hand from my arm, and I’m more than relieved for the space.
“You’re my friend, Andressa.” He sounds resigned.
I just don’t know to what he’s resigned.
I laugh, and it’s a hollow sound. “We’re hardly friends right now.”
His face tightens, and I see his jaw start to work angrily.
Not wanting another fight, I step around him and start walking again.
A moment later, he’s back beside me, keeping pace, but he says nothing more, and silence ensues.