Page 27 of Mayhem (Mayhem 1)

I immediately stop laughing. “Shit.”

When Adam looks over and sees the expression on my face, he turns the music all the way down. I quickly push his phone into his hand. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to read that. It just came through.”

When he reads the text, he rolls his eyes and sighs. He hands the phone back to me. “Reply to that however you want. But don’t tell her it’s from you.”

“Huh?”

“Let her have it. And whatever you say, I want her to think it’s from me.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously.”

I give Adam a skeptical look, but he just takes another drag of his cigarette and then puts it out in his ashtray, not looking worried in the slightest. I sit there thinking for a while, and then I type:

Herpes isn’t really something I fantasize about. Sry!

I hand the phone back to Adam, hoping he’ll get a kick out of the text before he deletes it. He laughs appreciatively and then hands the phone back to me. “Perfect. Send it.”

I gape at him. “No way!”

He snatches the phone back and hits SEND before I can delete the message. I’m just sitting there with my mouth hanging open when he looks over at me and chuckles. “She deserved that.”

“She’s never going to talk to you again.”

“Sure she will. Just watch. She’s going to text me in three . . .” His eyes drift to his phone, which he’s set back into his cup holder. “Two . . .” He points at the phone, like he can work magic. “One!” When nothing happens, he frowns and says, “Damn, how cool would that have been?”

I giggle at him and can’t stand myself for it, but he’s seriously cute as hell. His phone beeps a few seconds later, and he grins.

“Told you.”

“She’s probably telling you off.”

He picks up his phone, reads it, and then shows me the screen with a triumphant smile on his face.

:( Did I do something wrong? Please don’t be mad at me.

I shake my head. “That’s just sad.”

“Glad I’m not the only one who thinks so.” His words surprise me, and I stare over at him, but his eyes are back on the road and his shades are back down. He turns his head to smile at me again, but it only lasts a second.

Before that smile, I’d never understood girls like Jaylin. Now? It’s almost too easy.

Chapter Eleven

I’M STILL MUNCHING on a cheeseburger when Adam downshifts and turns into the venue’s parking lot. Shawn is sitting on the steps of the open tour bus, scowling at his cell phone—which solves the mystery of who has been blowing up Adam’s phone for the past twenty minutes. When he spots us, he immediately stands up, pockets his phone, and starts walking over. He does not look happy, and the bite I’m chewing is suddenly hard to get down. I really hope Adam isn’t in trouble, but more than that, I really, really, really hope Shawn doesn’t recognize me.

“You’re late,” he tells Adam. His eyes are narrowed at the fast-food bag in my lap, and I suddenly feel guilty for taking Adam up on his offer to grab me something to eat from a drive-thru on the way here. I would have turned him down if he had told me we were running late, but he acted as laid-back as ever, like we were in no big hurry.

“You’re surprised,” Adam replies, and if it weren’t for the look Shawn gives him, I would probably crack a smile. He walks over to my side of the car and leans against the black paint as I get out. “Shawn, this is the girl I told you about. The one who’s helping me out with school.”

“Rowan,” I add for him, wondering if he even remembered my name.

Shawn extends his hand and introduces himself, but he still seems agitated and is giving me a weird look. “Do I know you?”

“Right?!” Adam interrupts as I shake my head no. “That’s what I said!”

Not good, this is so not good.

The night I met Adam, Dee had done my eyes in smoky pink eye shadow with extra-thick mascara. She’d made my lips a pouty pink and had blushed my cheeks and curled my hair before tossing a micro-mini skirt at me, followed by bright pink heels and a scandalous pink top. I was practically music-video ready. When I looked in the mirror before leaving her dorm room, I hardly recognized myself, so I’m praying Shawn won’t recognize me either.

I try to sound honest when I say, “Nope. I must just have one of those faces.”

“Are you sure?” Shawn asks, still scrutinizing my every faded freckle. “I’m usually really good with faces. I swear I’ve seen you somewhere before . . .”

I shrug. “Not that I know of. But maybe, I guess.” I walk to the back of the car, hoping some distance will keep Shawn’s memory fuzzy, and ask Adam if he can pop the trunk.

As I get my stuff out, Adam walks over to me. “I have to go in now. We were supposed to start”—he looks at his phone—“fifteen minutes ago. But just give your stuff to Driver. He’s . . . the bus driver.” Adam chuckles at the look I give him. “Tell him you’re with me, and then tell him to lock up and bring you backstage, okay?”

I nod. “Alright.” I really feel like I should apologize for making Adam late again, but I know he’ll tell me not to be sorry, so instead I thank him for the food.

He smiles warmly at me. “Sure thing. See you inside.”

He doesn’t bother putting the top of the convertible up before he disappears with Shawn. I close the trunk and walk to the bus. The door is still hanging open, so I step up to it and call out, “Hello?”

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