Page 38 of Mayhem (Mayhem 1)

A better question would be why the hell are we still talking about this? Before I can respond, Mike says, “Aw, c’mon, Code. She’s not the first girl to turn him down. There was that other one . . . What was her name . . .” His eyebrows scrunch together, and then he says, “Plum?”

“PEEEACH!” most of the guys near me suddenly shout out in unison.

Oh. My. God.

They break into loud laughter at Adam’s expense, and I’m suddenly mid-anxiety attack. Shawn is laughing with the rest of them until he sees the expression on my face. And before I can hide it, he witnesses all of the panic I’m feeling. He studies me curiously, his eyes growing narrower and narrower. And then I see the precise moment when he realizes who I am, because his eyes get wide, wider, super-freaking-wide. I can see him imagining me with my hair down, my glasses off, my makeup done. He looks from me to Adam and back again. When it seems like he’s about to say something, I shake my head almost imperceptibly at him, pleading with him to keep my secret.

Adam groans from the teasing and looks up at Shawn just in time to catch him staring at me with shock still written plainly across his face. He follows Shawn’s eyes and gives me a weird look, and then Shawn coughs and lets out a forced chuckle. “Yeah, Peach. I’d almost forgotten about her.”

My prayer for a distraction, any distraction—a fire in the kitchen, a five-car pileup on the highway, a nuclear freaking airstrike for all I care—is answered when the waitress pops back in to ask how everyone is doing. I stuff my face with more burger as I try to think of some way to change this disaster of a subject.

As soon as she leaves, Shawn says, “So.” I look up to see a devilish smirk on his face. “Why didn’t you get her number, Adam?”

“Because I’m an idiot,” Adam says, and my heart pumps a flood of heat into my cheeks. “I didn’t even get her real name.”

“And you have no idea what it is?” Shawn asks, shooting me an amused grin that no one else catches.

“Not a damn clue.”

“Do you even remember what she looked like?” Shawn chides. “You were drinking, weren’t you?”

“I’ll never forget,” Adam argues, rising to the challenge while Shawn’s smirk grows wider. “She was wearing these pink heels and this little black skirt. Her body, man . . .” This has got to be the universe’s idea of a cruel joke. Adam shakes his head like the memory is too much, and then he glances in my direction like he’s only now remembering that there’s a female sitting right beside him. He clears his throat and quickly finishes, “Blonde hair. Long legs. Pink eyes.”

“Pink eyes?” Joel asks.

“Her eye makeup,” Adam explains. “It was shadowy and sort of sparkly. And she must’ve been wearing glitter lotion or something because there was glitter all in the bed afterward.”

I swallow hard. Dee talked me into wearing shimmer body spray that night, and it had left glitter all in her bed too.

With a sharp glint in his eye, Shawn asks, “Her hair was kinda like Rowan’s, wasn’t it?”

I am going to MURDER him! My heart jackhammers in my chest when Adam glances in my direction, but he gives my hair only a cursory glance before dismissing the possibility that Peach’s hair was similar to what I currently have twisted up in my ultra-messy bun. “Yeah kinda, I guess. But lighter and wavier.”

My hair is always a little lighter in the summer, and Dee had worked her magic on my unruly waves.

“Maybe she’ll be at the concert tonight,” Shawn offers, his eyes sparking with trouble when I shoot him another warning look. It’s taking all of my self-control to not kick him under the table, but if he keeps this up, he’s going to learn what it feels like to have a kneecap lodged in his thigh.

Adam shrugs, and I interrupt the conversation by telling the guys I need to use the restroom. I tap Shawn’s shin with my toe and then dart my eyes to the front of the restaurant, hoping he’ll take the cue and follow. After Adam moves to let me scoot out of the booth, I walk around the corner to the front lobby and then stand there, waiting.

I can’t believe Adam told all the guys about me. I can’t believe he even remembered me.

When Shawn strolls around the corner, I practically steamroll him out the front doors so we can talk outside. He looks at me and starts laughing. “I knew I knew you!”

I sigh, worry settling on me like a blanket of ice. “Please don’t tell anyone.”

“Why? Why didn’t you tell Adam?”

I tug on a loose strand of hair escaping from my bun. “I didn’t want him to know.” I frown at Shawn, who looks as confused as he does amused. I use my hands to indicate my plain tank top, my jeans, my sandals. “I’m not that girl, Shawn.”

“But you are that girl . . .”

“But I’m not. I’m not interested in being one of Adam’s groupies.”

“He knows that, though.”

“And that’s all he needs to know.”

Shawn stares at me like I’m a puzzle he can’t put together. “Why did you really come along on this trip?”

I sigh again, rubbing the center of my forehead. “Our professor was threatening to fail him out of the class. I wanted to help, so I stepped in.”

“But why? Why did you do it?”

“The night you and Adam met me . . . I had just broken up with my boyfriend,” I confide. “I caught him cheating at that show, and Adam was really sweet to me. Honestly, that night would’ve been the worst night of my life if it weren’t for him. I felt like I owed him.”