Page 35 of Mayhem (Mayhem 1)

“Hm . . . what about at your job, then?” he asks. “Do you work?”

“Not right now. My parents are helping me out a lot. I’ll probably work over the summers though.”

“Oh well, I’m sure I’ll remember eventually,” he says, but not if I can help it!

When we finish with the dishes, he asks me if I want to go on a coffee run with him. We’re already exiting the kitchen when I ask, “Won’t the guys wonder where we are?”

“Nah,” Shawn says, working a kink out of his neck. He’s dressed in long, baggy cargo shorts and a worn-thin black band T-shirt. “They’ll probably still be sleeping when we get back. The coffee shop is just around the corner.”

The walk to the coffee shop is a little chilly, but Shawn was right—it’s less than two blocks away, and we get there in no time. He pulls a chained wallet from his back pocket and approaches the counter, glancing at me over his shoulder. “What do you want?”

“Oh, you don’t have to get me anything.” I wish I would’ve brought my wallet though.

“Come on, just pick something,” Shawn insists. “Everyone else is getting something. Call it your delivery fee.”

“Okay,” I agree, “Um . . .” I stare up at the menu posted on the wall behind the counter, and then I smile at the young barista waiting to take Shawn’s order. “Can I please have a large iced mocha?”

As the girl makes my drink, Shawn stares through the window case that protects all of the pastries and cookies and muffins. “Do you like blueberry muffins?” he asks me.

“Yeah . . .”

“Can I get two blueberry muffins too, please?” he asks the barista. She hands him two, and he gives one to me. “Can I also get a chocolate-chip frap? Medium?” Shawn pulls a piece of paper from his back pocket. “And all of these drinks to go. In carriers, please.”

It takes forever for the girl to ring him up. She holds the piece of paper in front of her as she does, and then she hands it to a second barista, who gets to work writing down names on cups and marking what the orders are. When our first two drinks are ready, Shawn grabs them for us and we sit down at a table, picking at our muffins.

It’s a little awkward at first. I thank him for the coffee to fill the silence. “And the muffin,” I add.

“No problem,” he says. “So how are you liking hanging with the band so far?”

It’s a damn good question. It went from fun to not-so-fun, back to fun again, and then weird, and now just kind of comfortable. “It’s been interesting.”

Shawn grins, amused. “Interesting how?”

“Well, I’m sure not many people get to see what goes on inside a tour bus.”

“Is it how you imagined it?”

I remove the lid from my iced mocha to scoop out the whipped cream with my straw and eat that first. “I guess. I mean . . . I didn’t really imagine it any particular way.”

Shawn sips his coffee, staring at me thoughtfully. “Adam told me what you did for him in class.” He pauses for a while, and then he asks, “Why’d you do it?” When I raise my eyebrow, he adds, “I mean, obviously you aren’t a groupie, and you’re not interested in hooking up with him or anything. So why?”

After licking my straw clean, I shrug and put the cap back on. “He looked like he could use a hand, and . . . I don’t know. I just felt like it, I guess.”

Shawn chuckles. “Now you sound like Adam.”

“Dear God, don’t tell me that,” I joke, and Shawn laughs.

“Adam’s not so bad. I mean, he has his issues. But he’s my best friend for a reason.”

I smile. “I was just kidding. I actually think he’s pretty great. I had a lot of fun with him yesterday.”

“Before you demanded he get some self-respect,” Shawn quips.

“Well, he should!”

He stands up to get our drinks, smiling brightly. “I’m not arguing!” He chuckles. “I was just shocked to hear you say it. What happened when you guys left the bus?”

I stand up to grab one of the drink carriers filled with coffees. “He chased me around town for a while, and then we agreed to be friends.”

“Really?” Shawn gives me a weird look.

“Yeah . . . why?”

“No reason.” He squeezes his drink into a carrier and then picks the other two up. I walk swiftly to the door to hold it open for him since his hands are full.

“No, what were you going to say?” I ask.

“Adam doesn’t really have girl friends. So . . . just don’t be surprised if he doesn’t get what that means.”

We walk down the sidewalk for a bit before Shawn asks, “How are you going to get him to study for that class you’re in?”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ve been getting on his case about school since . . . well . . . middle school, I think.” He chuckles. “If he doesn’t want to go to class, he just doesn’t. Same with studying.”

“How the hell has he passed all his classes then?”

Shawn shrugs, and I guess it doesn’t make any more sense to him than it does to me.

“Well I didn’t come along just for the ride,” I say. “What time are you guys planning on leaving today?”

“What time is it?”

I pull my phone from my back pocket, staring at a black screen. “No idea. My phone’s dead.”

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