Page 44 of Mayhem (Mayhem 1)

I laugh and nod my thanks to him as he disappears into the crowd. When Shawn finishes racking the balls, he stands back and says, “Alright, your break, Peach.”

My eyes dart nervously to every face around us, but no one else seems to have heard or noticed. I glare at Shawn and walk over to him to line up my shot. “I’m going to kick your ass for that,” I mutter as I lean over the table.

He laughs. “You were going to do that anyway.”

After knocking a ball into a corner pocket on my break, I stand up and grin at him. “True story.”

I walk to the side of the table closest to the wall to line up my second shot, which means I can see Adam across the room. There’s a new girl already in my seat chatting him up, the old one is still on his lap, and another has her hand on his shoulder. I take my shot and completely botch it, cursing under my breath.

Shawn laughs. “Okay, or not.”

As we play, I grow increasingly frustrated, because I am seriously sucking ass. I’m not sure if it’s because of the drinks or because of the sluts, but I can’t concentrate at all. Shawn walks over to stand next to me, staring at Adam, who is whispering in some girl’s ear. “You know, I don’t think he’d be paying any attention to them if you were still over there.”

It irritates me that he’s observant enough to know what’s throwing me off my game. I scoff and say, “He doesn’t need to babysit me.”

Shawn gives me a weird look. “That’s not what I meant . . .”

“Just take your shot, Shawn.”

He stares at me for a moment longer before shrugging and leaning over the table, sinking a ball in a side pocket.

I win the game, but I swear it’s because he let me. He probably feels sorry for me. Glancing at Adam, who is currently laughing with his own personal harem of giggling slutbags, I’m suddenly not really feeling this bar. I gaze up at Shawn and Mike, who are chatting in front of me. “I think I’m gonna get out of here.”

“Aw, come on,” Shawn says. “You weren’t that bad. You wiped the floor with me!”

I force a smile. “It’s not that. I’m just tired. I can’t keep up with you guys.”

Mike wraps his arm around my shoulders. “I’ll walk you back.”

Inside the bus, he immediately sits down in front of the TV and grabs a controller from the tangle of wires in the entertainment stand. He asks me if I want to play, but I pass and head upstairs to get ready for bed. I wash my face, brush my hair, and change into silky pajama pants and a clean tank top. When I walk back to my bunk, which someone has kindly made for me, I stare down at it with dread. I wasn’t lying when I told Shawn I was tired. I feel like I haven’t slept a wink in the past forty-eight hours, and the long drives in the warm sun and the alcohol-fueled nights with the band are catching up with me. Another night of Joel’s snoring might very well kill me—and I definitely won’t be able to pull a marathon tutoring session with Adam tomorrow.

My eyes drift to the closed door of the back room, and then, with a heavy sigh, I enter it. I move all of my things to a corner of the room and crawl under the black satin covers. The sheets are chilly, which feels amazing against my liquor-heated skin. I bury my face in a soft plush pillow, which smells deliciously like Adam, and fall asleep wondering if he’s noticed I’ve left yet or not.

Chapter Sixteen

I’M SLEEPING WHEN I feel the bed shift. The covers lift, and then there’s a weight behind me. It settles close, and I vaguely realize that it’s Adam. It smells like cigarettes and a stronger version of the faded cologne still lingering my pillow. Sleep has almost pulled me back under when I feel something warm press against my shoulder. Something wet.

Adam kisses my shoulder and traces his tongue up the curve of my neck.

“Adam,” I say quietly, still not quite awake. The four drinks I had are keeping me in a fog. “Don’t.”

“Why?” he replies just as quietly, kissing my neck again.

“We’re friends.”

His soft fingers trail lightly up my arm, giving me goose bumps all over as he plants soft kisses against my sensitive skin. “Really, really good friends.”

I giggle and roll away, onto my stomach. With my cheek smushed against the pillow, I gaze over at his gorgeous moonlit face and let out a deep breath. “I like you.”

He props himself on his elbow and reaches over to brush the heel of his thumb sensually over my lips, freezing me in place. “I like you too,” he says, and then he drops his hand to the pillow before I find the strength to pull away from him.

I don’t know what I would have done if he hadn’t stopped touching me just now . . . What would I have done? Probably something stupid. Something really, really stupid. Frowning at him, I say, “Then let’s not ruin things, okay? I don’t want to mess around with you and have to hate you in the morning.” And I mean it. Adam wouldn’t think much of hooking up with me tonight, but I would. And then he’d get over it, and I wouldn’t.

“I don’t want that either . . .” He stares at me for a long moment. His grayish green eyes are impossible to look away from. “Okay,” he says, leaning down to kiss my shoulder one last time, even more softly than before. And then he rolls away from me. I’m not sure if I just did the right thing, but I know he did.

“Thank you, Adam.”

“Don’t thank me yet. There’s still a few hours ‘til sunrise and I’m pretty sure I’m not going to fall asleep now.”