Page 40 of Mayhem (Mayhem 1)

You are so full of shit! But OMG LOOK AT YOU!

He is so fucking hot!

MARRY HIM FOR REAL. OR GIVE HIM MY NUMBER!

Even as I’m reading her texts, my phone keeps beeping from the messages Leti is sending me.

I squealed like a schoolgirl!

Please tell me you’ve had a repeat of last month!

Bring him to my room! I promise I won’t trample you (all the way) to death!

Look at how happy you two lovebirds look. AW!

“Did they buy it?” Adam asks.

“No,” I laugh. “I think we just encouraged them.”

He looks all too happy to hear it, smiling from ear to ear as I start responding to the texts. I tell Dee I’ll call her later to tell her all about the trip, and I tell Leti I’ve been good. He sends me a picture of him pouting with his bottom lip pushed out, and I giggle and shake my head.

Turning the volume on my phone low so that Adam can’t hear, I start listening to my voicemails. My mom just wanted to check in, so I text her to let her know that I’m alright and that I’ll call her later in the week. Dee has left me multiple voicemails threatening “unforeseen consequences” if I haven’t been “deflowered” by the time I come home. And finally, Brady.

His voice plays through my phone. “Hey, Ro . . . I’m just calling to see if you’re free at all this weekend. I have both days off, and I just thought that maybe we could get together and talk . . . if you’re up for it. Call me, please. Whenever you get a chance.” A long pause. “I still love you, baby. I’m not giving up on us.”

I manage to keep a blank poker face as I tuck my phone away, and then I look over at Adam, at his braceleted wrist and black fingernails. He catches me staring and gazes over at me, and for a few seconds, our eyes stay locked, neither one of us smiling or speaking. What is he thinking?

I realize I’m still wearing his ring, which is too big for my finger anyway, so I take it off and hand it back to him. “Thanks for the picture,” I quietly say. “That was awesome.”

He slides the ring back onto his pinky finger. “Thanks for wearing my ring.” He winks at me, and I giggle and roll my eyes.

“You should sing me another song.” I recline my seat a little farther back and close my eyes.

“You want me to sing you to sleep?”

“No, I want you to keep me awake.”

“What do you want to hear?”

“How about one of yours?”

Adam picks up his phone and sorts through his music, setting it to an instrumental, acoustic version of one of his band’s calmer songs. He sings me the lyrics, about best friends and late nights and memories that will last forever. I watch him as he sings, thankful that he doesn’t look down at me, because then I’d have to look away. His voice is quiet compared to when he’s onstage, and here, like this, it sounds even more beautiful. It gives me chills.

When the song finishes, he finally looks down at me, and I’m smiling up at him. “You really are talented, you know.”

He switches hands on the wheel and reaches over to cover my eyes. “Stop,” he says bashfully. “You’ll make me blush.”

Adam? Shy? I laugh and pull his fingers away. “Yeah right.”

He winks at me with a smirk on his face, and I have to look away from him, over at the trees to my right. I keep telling myself not to fall for him—because he is Adam freaking Everest and my heart’s already been broken enough this year as it is.

I let the wind wash over my skin for a long while, listening to the music pouring out of Adam’s speakers, before I pick up my phone and type a reply to Brady’s voicemail.

I’m busy this weekend, but we’ll get together soon. I promise I’ll call you in the next few days and we’ll set something up.

Later, I’m on the tour bus alone while the rest of the band sets up inside. I curl my feet under myself on a bench seat and call Dee. The first thing she says when she answers the phone is “DETAILS!”

“What do you want to know?” I ask, and I’m sure she can hear the smile in my voice.

“How far have you gone with him?!”

Expecting that would be her first question, I answer, “We’re just friends, Dee.”

“Boys like that don’t have girl friends, Ro. I mean, Jesus, how can you stand it?! I got a hot flash just from looking at that picture you sent me! Just ask Macy! I had to lie down!”

I laugh into the phone. “I’m not saying it’s easy . . . But he’s just a really sweet guy.”

“So what’s the problem?!”

“He’s not really sweet to the girls he sleeps with . . .” I remember the way he shifted that girl off of his lap last night like she was nothing but a clingy housecat he was finished paying attention to.

“Oh . . . has he hooked up with girls since you’ve been with him?”

“No, but there were a bunch all over him last night.”

“And? What happened?”

“He . . .” Okay, this is going to sound so much more significant than it really was. “He kind of ditched them to hang out with me.”

“WHAT!”

“Because we’re friends! I felt totally out of place, and I think he could tell.”

In a singsong voice, Dee says, “He liiikes you!”

I shake my head. “I mean, yeah, I guess I could probably hook up with him if I wanted to. He doesn’t exactly have high standards . . . But he’s not looking for a relationship, Dee. And neither am I, but I’m not looking for a one-night stand either. Especially not after . . .” I let the sentence hang, and she sighs, knowing exactly what I was going to say.

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