“Sorry. Yes. Just gravy.” She can barely keep her eyes open at this point, and my only thought is keeping her safe.
Once I have her second shoe securely in my hand, I help put her foot down on the floor before standing. “Sav. Let me take you to your room.”
“I’m fine,” she quickly argues, patting down her dress. “I have my key card somewhere.”
“C’mon, let’s find your things, and we’ll go.” I press a hand to her lower back and hold her shoes while I guide her back to the ballroom. She doesn’t argue this time and presses her body into my side. Dozens of memories surface, and everything about this woman has me transfixed.
The way she feels pressed against me. The softness of her skin. The smell of her hair.
It’s as if no time had passed at all.
It’s as if she didn’t break up with me over the phone and shatter my entire life.
It’s as if I haven’t spent the past ten years wondering what-if.
“Hunter,” I say, grabbing his attention from the brunette shaking her ass on the dance floor. Although he came as a buffer, his eyes have been glued elsewhere. “I need a favor.”
He finally turns and looks at me with furrowed brows. “What?”
I step closer. “I need you to take Veronica home,” I tell him, keeping my voice low.
Hunter leans slightly and notices Savannah next to me, then gives me a look that tells me he doesn’t approve.
“It’s not like that,” I reassure him. “She’s wasted. I just want to make sure she gets back to her room safely.”
“Mmhmm. Right.” Hunter crosses his arms over his chest and straightens his stance. He’s bulkier than me, no question, but he tries to act like the big brother when I’m five years older.
“Yes, right. If she stumbles back to her room, she might not make it before some fucking creep takes advantage of her. Or hell, she could choke on her own vomit in the elevator. Either way, I’m just gonna take her upstairs, get her settled into bed, and that’s it.”
Hunter shrugs, deciding not to push me on the subject. “Alright, man. But if Veronica starts stroking my dick, I might not be gentlemanly enough to say no.”
That comment alone has me roaring with laughter. Hunter’s twenty-three, fresh out of college, and working his way through all the single ladies in town. I can’t say he was always like this, though; at least not until she barged into his life and made it hell.
“Do whatcha gotta do,” I tell him, slapping his shoulder. “Just please, use a condom.”
“Pff,” he scoffs, pushing off my hand. “Don’t gotta tell me twice.”
“Thanks, I owe ya. Text me when you get home so I know you made it safe.”
“Sure thing, Dad,” he mocks.
I turn toward Savannah and see how glazed over her eyes are. She’s beyond drunk at this point.
“Savannah,” I call, grabbing her attention. She spins around and nearly topples over. I step forward and quickly catch her elbow before she can faceplant the table next to us. “C’mon, let’s get you back to your room. Where’s your purse?”
“I don’t n-need a babysitter, Hayden.”
The corner of my lips tilts up slightly at the exaggerated way she says my name. Even in drunken distaste, I’ve missed hearing it come from her lips.
“Sav, it’s time to call it a night.” I effortlessly pull her into my arms. “Before some drunken douchebag takes advantage of you.”
She giggles for some reason, but I’m quite sure it’s the alcohol. I don’t know if she always gets like this, or if she can’t handle her liquor, or if she got drunk because of me—in fact, I don’t know a lot about her habits anymore—but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let her wander off and potentially get hurt.
“Donny can take me,” she argues as her body melts against mine.
I tilt her chin so she’ll look into my eyes, and that’s when I feel it. The heart racing, rapid breathing, would die for her feelings I’ve tried so hard to erase rush through me. Ten years of heartbreak, and I still want to pull her mouth to mine and claim her.
“Donny’s making out with the bartender and elbow deep in margaritas,” I explain, popping a brow.
“Damn,” she mutters, and I can feel her back arching into my embrace.
With my hand wrapped around her waist, I help her find her purse. She waves at Donny before we make our way out of the ballroom, and I let him know I’m taking her.
“I don’t remember you feeling this hard in high school,” she blurts out as soon as we walk onto the elevator.
My eyebrows raise at her admission, and I smirk when her face turns red.
“I mean, you got buff. Like your muscles. Are hard.”
Holding back a smile, I nod. “I work out with the football team a lot.”