Page 39 of Mayhem (Mayhem 1)

Shawn stands there for a long time, thinking. Then he shakes his head. “I can’t believe he doesn’t recognize you.”

“I looked a lot different that night, and he had been drinking . . .”

“Yeah, but he like obsessed about you for weeks.”

“He obsessed about me?”

“Yeah. He talked about you a lot, and he always listed you on the backstage list, and he’d give you a shout-out every time we performed at Mayhem to see if you’d meet up with him afterward.”

I don’t even know how to process that, much less respond to it. I end up just standing there staring at Shawn, who still looks mildly stunned.

“So you’re never going to tell him?” he asks.

I shake my head. “No, and I’d really appreciate it if you wouldn’t either . . .”

Shawn studies my worried expression for a long moment, and then he sighs and scratches the back of his neck. “If you don’t want me to, I won’t. BUT, for the record, I really think you should.”

“Nothing good would come of it, Shawn. He doesn’t need to know.”

He shrugs. “I still think you should.”

When we walk back inside, I make a bee-line to the restroom to pull myself together. Adam obsessed over me? I find that hard to believe, since he definitely didn’t recognize me when I saved him from Dr. Pullman, and he had sauntered quite happily into class with all of those sluts hanging all over him less than two days after we made out. But then again, it seems like most of the guys have heard about me—about Adam’s “Peach”—so he must have told them about me . . .

None of this even matters. Even if that night did mean something to Adam, he’s not relationship material. And even if he was, I’m not looking for a relationship.

I walk back to the table, intentionally avoiding meeting Shawn’s eyes, and wait for Adam to stand up and let me squeeze back in.

“You okay?” he asks. I realize he’s referring to my having been “in the bathroom” for so long.

“Yeah,” I lie. “I think maybe I’m just feeling a little carsick.”

“Oh . . . Do you want to ride on the bus?”

I glance at Shawn, who is attentively waiting for my answer to Adam’s question. “No . . . No, that’s alright,” I say. “Just don’t let me fall asleep again.” I force a smile at Adam, whose concern for me is clear in the way his brows pull together over his gorgeous gray-green eyes. It reminds me of the way he looked at me at Mayhem when he saw that I was crying, and it makes me want to melt into his arms all over again. I quickly look back to my plate and finish off the last few bites of my now cold burger.

The guys insist on paying for my food, and then we’re all walking back out into the bright afternoon sunshine. The diner’s air-conditioning had been blasting the whole time, so the warm rays feel great against my goose-bumped skin. Adam and I split from the rest of the group, and then he flips down his shades and lights a cigarette before climbing back into the car.

On the road, I grab my textbook and start quizzing him on things we covered on the bus. I need the distraction, desperately. If Shawn tells Adam who I am . . . I don’t even know what I’ll do. What would Adam do? Would he be happy? Pissed? Would he even let me stay the rest of the weekend?

I dive into French tutoring, and to my surprise, Adam actually remembers most of what we covered earlier this morning and he seems much more focused. I guess there are fewer distractions while he’s driving, and I intend to use that to our advantage and make the most of our car rides. We continue onto the next chapter, and I begin feeling a little more hopeful that we might be able to get him where he needs to be by the time we have our exam in a few days.

After about an hour of grilling him and making good progress, I slap the book closed and toss it into the backseat. “Time for a break.”

I rummage through my purse for my phone and start checking the messages I’ve missed. The last one I got from Dee this morning makes me laugh.

Have you been thoroughly deflowered yet?!

Leti’s text makes me laugh even harder.

I had a dream last night. You were there, and Adam was there . . . and I trampled you to get to him. Sorry! (Kind of.)

“My friends are ridiculous,” I explain when Adam gives me a curious look.

“Oh yeah? What are they saying?”

“They’re just gushing over how hot they think you are.”

Adam grins and abruptly steers the car onto the shoulder, shutting it off.

“What are you doing?” I nervously ask.

He pulls one of his rings off and says, “Here, give me your hand.” I do what he asks and he slides it onto my ring finger.

Butterflies. So many freaking butterflies.

“Take a picture of us and send it to them,” he says. His smile is bright with trouble, and it makes me bust up laughing.

“You’re a genius!”

I turn my back to Adam so I can get a picture of us together, but then his arm snakes around my waist and tugs me over the center console, pulling me flush against him. He presses his cheek against mine for the photo, and I know I’m blushing like an idiot. I fumble around for my camera app, and then I snap a picture of me holding my ring-clad hand up in an exaggeratedly giddy pose. I laugh and crawl back into my seat, texting the picture to Dee and Leti as Adam starts the car again and pulls back onto the highway.

Within seconds, my phone starts blowing up, and I laugh. Dee’s messages are as loud as she is.

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