Page 41 of Mayhem (Mayhem 1)

“Is he still calling you?” We’re not talking about Adam anymore.

“Yeah . . . I told him we’d talk soon. Probably this week.”

I can tell Dee is being deliberately careful about what she says next. Since stealing my phone and telling Brady off on our way back from fall break, she has definitely toned down her bossiness. “What are you going to say?”

“I don’t know yet. I’ll figure it out when I see him.”

“You’re not thinking of going back to him, are you?”

“I don’t think so . . .”

“You don’t think so?”

“We have a lot of history, Dee. I just . . . I’m just going to talk to him and figure things out. But I’m not stupid. You know that, so just trust me.”

She sighs, and there’s a long moment of silence before I ask, “So have I missed anything good since I left?”

“Carrie came by to officially kick you out of our room.” She scoffs, and I roll my eyes at the mention of her RA. “You should have seen her face when you weren’t here. She gave Macy and me an official written warning, but I’m not worried.”

An official written warning? I frown. “What will happen if I keep staying there? What did the warning say?”

“Don’t worry about it, Ro. She’s just a bitch who has nothing better to do than harass people who actually have friends.”

“I need to look into getting an apartment . . .”

“Can you afford that?”

I’m silent, because we both know the answer is no, and there’s no way I’m asking my parents for more money.

“Maybe you can stay with Leti a few nights a week . . .”

“Yeah, maybe,” I agree, but I don’t mean it. I’m tired of being a burden on my friends, so I need to figure something else out. Soon. “Are you nervous about work tomorrow?”

“Nah,” she says. “I’m ready to start raking in those tips! I’ll even take you and lover boy out for drinks when you get back!” I’m chuckling when she says, “OH! And guess who I went out with last night!”

“Who?”

She tells me the guy’s name, but I don’t bother committing it to memory since in two weeks, she probably won’t remember it either. By the time she’s finished gushing, it’s almost time for the concert to start. I brush the tangles from my hair and toss it up into a messy bun, and then I change into a pair of tighter jeans and freshen my lip gloss. When I step off the bus, locking the door behind me, I’m surprised to find Adam leaning against the siding with one leg propped against the black metal and a lit cigarette dangling from the hand hanging by his hip. He takes one last drag and smashes it when he sees me, walking over and draping his arm across my shoulders.

“What are you still doing here?” I ask, looking way up to meet his gray-green eyes. That night at Mayhem, I’d been wearing skyscraper heels. Without them, he towers over me. “I thought you were heading in to get ready.”

“And be on time?” He scoffs and smiles down at me. “I’d rather walk you in.”

Adam had a few drinks before he left the bus, and I can smell them on his breath, the smoky scent of the whiskey mixing with his cologne. When he walks me to the front of the line and we slip inside with his arm still around me, earning envious stares from every girl we pass, I find myself repeating a familiar mantra.

Don’t fall for Adam. Don’t fall for Adam. Don’t fall for Adam freaking Everest.

He leads me backstage and I hang with the band until they take the stage. Then I stand with Driver and watch as they perform. Girls scream their heads off after every song, and by the third, I find myself joining them. Adam hears me and spins around, flashing me that smooth pearly-white grin that turns my insides into funfetti pudding. In spite of my blushing, I cup my hands over my mouth and scream even louder. I look over at Mike behind the drums, who laughs at me before he starts the beat to the next song. The guys are absolutely amazing, and when Adam and Shawn both sing at once, finishing each other’s lines and singing over each other, it gives me goose bumps all over. Shawn’s voice is lower than Adam’s, but they work together perfectly. Shawn, Joel, and Cody all have quick fingers as they strum their guitars effortlessly, and Mike on the drums is as hectic and controlled as ever. I wonder if Adam would consider me a good enough friend to let me come backstage even after this trip . . . I’d love for Dee and Leti to be able to see this.

When the band ends its set, they’re all drenched in sweat. Adam walks over to me and lifts his arm like he’s going to rest his elbow on my shoulder, but I quickly step out of reach. When he gives me a look, I tell him, “You are soaked.”

His eyes drop to his sweaty shirt, and then they lift back up filled with trouble and bad ideas. “Aw, c’mon, you’re not afraid of a little hard-earned sweat are you?” He takes a threatening step toward me, and I take a matched step backward, throwing my hands up in self-defense.

“Don’t you dare!”

His eyes dart to a spot over my shoulder, and I’m about to turn around to see what he’s looking at, when long arms suddenly encircle me. Big green eyes meet mine from under short black hair—Shawn. Before I can wiggle out of his hold, Adam presses against my front, squeezing me into a sweaty Shawn-and-Adam sandwich.

“EW!” I squeal, cringing and trying to make myself paper-thin to escape their sweat-dampened T-shirts. But then another molten-hot body is pressing against my side.

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