Mike’s arms wrap around Shawn’s and Adam’s shoulders. He smiles down at me and says, “I heard you have a thing for secondhand sweat.”
Joel squeezes in on the other side. “Mike! I heard that too!” They’re all laughing as I try to make myself as small as possible. I’m not trying to squirm out from between them because then I’d just end up getting even sweatier. They’re all so tall, I doubt anyone looking at us from the outside would even be able to see me standing here helplessly in the middle. Eventually, I drop to the floor and crawl out from between someone’s legs, sliding over to Driver and jumping up behind him. I grab onto his shoulders to use him as a shield.
The guys laugh as he tries to get away from me and I hold on tight, practically strangling him with the collar of his own T-shirt. When they finally go back to gulping down water and toweling themselves off, I release Driver and give him a sheepish smile before I take a seat next to Cody on the stairs. He’s pouring water on a towel and rubbing it over his face and head. Cody and I haven’t shared more than a few words, but I think that’s because he’s much quieter than the other guys. “You guys sounded really good tonight,” I tell him, hoping to spark a conversation.
He smiles over at me. “Thanks.”
“Is everyone planning on going back to the bus after this?”
“Hey Shawn!” Cody yells, interrupting the conversation that Shawn, Adam, and Driver are having. “Are we going out or staying in?” Like dominos, Shawn looks to Adam and Adam looks to me. Slowly, his lips curl into a smile, and then he’s grinning at me like a Cheshire cat—one with very bad ideas.
“OUT” IS REALLY just a dive-bar across the street from the venue—which goes from being crowded to being unbelievably crowded when the band and their entourage walk through its doors, followed by masses of concert-goers.
Adam’s hand stays glued to my lower back as he leads me to the only open bar stool, sitting me on top of it and standing behind me. He orders a round of shots for everyone in our group, and then he asks me if I’ve ever done a tequila shot before.
I shake my head. “Nope.”
“You’ll have to let me show you how then,” he says near my ear.
If he thinks I’m letting him slurp tequila out of my belly button, he’s got another thing coming. I turn around, prepared to tell him so, when I come face to face with the group of girls who have sidled up next to him.
“Hi,” the clear leader of the harem says to him. She has long midnight-black hair that is curled to perfection, with thick fake eyelashes that she’s batting for no reason, since Adam isn’t even looking at her. When he finally notices she’s talking to him, he turns to her and smiles.
“We just came from your show,” she says with a seductive smile. “You were so amazing. I love the way you sing.”
“Thanks,” he says in that smooth voice of his. He doesn’t look ruffled at all by all the heat she’s throwing at him. I guess he must be used to it.
When our shots appear in front of me, I pick mine up and down it before Adam even has a chance to see they’ve arrived. He’s still chatting with the black-haired hussy, and I need the liquor like I need air. I’m tempted to gulp his down too but decide that might be a little much. At some point in the conversation, Adam’s eyes travel to our shot glasses, to my empty one, to me. He interrupts the girl mid-sentence to ask me, “You already drank yours?!”
I chuckle at his horrified expression. “Sorry.”
“That’s not how you do a tequila shot!”
“Oh!” the girl next to him says. “I love tequila.” Her hazel eyes swing to me and she smiles. “You’ve never done a shot before?”
Before I can answer, she says, “Here, let me show you.”
She takes a lime wedge in one hand and one of her friends’ wrists in the other, sensually licking the pale skin there before covering the area with salt. She places the lime wedge between her friend’s teeth—a short girl with a peroxide-blonde pixie haircut—and then her tongue glides provocatively over the salt on the girl’s wrist. She swallows Adam’s shot and then bites the wedge from her friend’s mouth as sluttily as humanly possible.
I roll my eyes, but no one catches it. Adam is thoroughly engrossed with the spectacle in front of him, which makes my blood boil. “Lovely,” I complain.
He peels his eyes away to give me a devilish smile. “Want to try?” I narrow my eyes at him, and he laughs. “Come on. It’d be fun.”
I’m looking at the black-haired bimbo when I say, “Pass.”
Adam leans in close, whispering in my ear. “Not with them.”
“Rowan!” Shawn suddenly shouts from behind me, weaving his way through the crowd to stand next to Adam. “What are you drinking there?” He looks down at my empty shot glass and then smiles at me. “Schnapps? Peach?”
I ignore his stupid implication and hop off the stool, grabbing his elbow. “Play a game of pool with me.” I need to get away from Adam before I lick him from head to toe, and away from his whores before I claw their eyes out.
Shawn leads me to the pool tables, where Cody and Joel are already mid-game. “Who’s winning?” I ask, vaguely noticing that Adam has followed us—and so has his glitter-fueled convoy of girls. They blend in with the groupies already here watching Cody and Joel. Mike is standing off to the side with a beer, and even he has a girl trying—and failing—to get his attention. He’s ignoring her like it’s his job, standing with his arms crossed and his shoulder against a wooden pillar. When he hears me ask who’s winning, he walks over to stand next to me.