Jordan holds up his hands, scans me once more, sending a wink in my direction, and then turns around and walks back into the shadows, which is not only weird, but is also a little creepy.

“Are you okay?” Evan asks, and my gaze moves from where Jordan disappeared to his eyes.


“Yeah, he just startled me,” I tell him quietly, feeling his hand wrapped around mine, his fingers over the pulse point of my wrist. His touch sends tingles up my arm, causing my breath to come out funny as his eyes roam my face. His touch is so familiar yet so foreign. Even if it’s only a small part of me he’s touching, I feel it everywhere. Dropping my hand, he runs his fingers through his hair, and I immediately miss the way it felt being connected to him. I know it doesn’t make sense, but if it were possible for someone else to have your heart inside of their body, I know he would be carrying mine around.

“I didn’t know you were going to be here,” he says after a moment, and I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from asking if it would matter had he known.

“Wes and July asked me to come. I can go if you don’t want me here,” I whisper, and he closes his eyes for a brief moment. When he opens them, he pins me in place with his stare. I see it then, through the yellow light shining around us coming from the fires in barrels and the low lighting off the building above us—

Pain.

A pain so deep that it tears at my soul, ripping it to shreds inside my chest. A pain so harsh, I can feel it like it’s my own.

“Evan,” I exhale, taking a step closer to him, placing my hand on his bicep.

“Don’t.”

“I…” I shake my head, blinking back tears.

“Don’t,” he repeats, taking a step back, and my hand falls from his arm to my side. “Your sister’s inside. Go find her. There are a lot of people here tonight, so stick to her or Wes,” he says sternly then turns and starts to stalk off.

I don’t know what comes over me, but the words are out before I can even think about keeping them in, or filtering them. “I lied.” I’m not sure if my voice is loud enough to be heard, because my heartbeat is thumping wildly in my ears. He stops walking away, and I see his shoulders rise and fall. “It might not matter now…” I pause then pull in a breath through my nose. “I don’t…maybe it never mattered.” I shrug, even though he can’t see it. “You were all I ever wanted,” I say then continue on a whisper, “I believed in you. I believed in us. There was never a time you weren’t good enough for me.” When I finish, I feel my face heat in embarrassment and aggravation. Before I can make an even bigger fool out of myself, I hurry away in search of my sister and alcohol.

“Shot! Shot! Shot!” I chant loudly, along with everyone else at the table, as my sister shoots back a shot of tequila. Her eyes meet mine as she slams the glass down on the tabletop, and I giggle at the pinched expression on her face.

“Your turn,” she yells, pointing at me, and I pick up my shot glass and shoot it back, feeling the burn in my chest as the heat of the alcohol hits my system. It’s not my first shot; actually, I’m pretty sure it’s my twelfth. I’m feeling good.

Happy…

Relaxed…

After my talk with Evan—or my weird outburst, I should say—I found July and Wes in what they consider the common room. My sister, being my sister, took one look at my face and yelled, “Harlen!” and the second Harlen, who I’m pretty sure is a real-life giant, appeared, we started trying to outdrink him. I have no idea why. The task is pointless; the guy looks like he could drink a bottle of tequila alone and still not feel the effects.

“You know you girls are never going to be able to outdrink Harlen, right?” Mic, one of Wes’ friends, asks from my side, and I turn my head and grin at him.

“I know.” His eyes drop to my mouth and he smiles. Biting my lip, I look away from him. He’s definitely good-looking, like super hot, but I vowed to stick to my story of lesbianism. I’m not even sure if that’s a real thing, but I need a man like I need a hole in my head.

“Caaan someone call me a cab or Lüber or whatever?” I slur, looking around the table. I need to get out of here. The alcohol I’ve drunk is floating through my system, making me feel loose.

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