“Hey Adam!” I shout. He looks up to find me standing a few people away. “I’ll catch up with you later. Mike and I are going to get something to eat.”
Adam weaves around people to get to me. Michelle is right on his heels. “Want me to come?”
“Nah,” I say on impulse, not wanting him to feel like he has to babysit the poor nerdy tutor girl who doesn’t quite fit in. And besides, the last thing I want right now is to have dinner with Michelle or any of the other girls who were practically drooling over him. “We’ll probably be over in like twenty minutes.”
Adam looks at Mike and then at me again. “You sure?”
“Yeah, it’s cool. We’ll see you later.” Michelle is already gently pulling him toward the crowd of people now walking toward the club. She’s dressed in a short skirt and super high high heels, and I kind of hope she trips and skins her knees so badly she has to have her legs amputated.
Okay, no . . . that’s a lie.
I really hope that happens. Please fall, please fall, please fall.
“Alright,” Adam says, interrupting all the bad karma I’m giving myself. “See you in twenty.”
I force a smile and turn away from him, jaywalking across the street with Mike. “I can’t stand her,” I mumble once we cross the yellow line.
He chuckles. “The girl with Adam?”
“She went to my high school. Prom Queen and all that crap. She’s so fake.”
Mike shrugs. “That’s kind of Adam’s type.”
I frown and clamp my jaw shut. This is so not a conversation I want to have.
Inside, Mike orders us an entire pizza. We get the plain cheese since there’s one already made, and then we find a table and sit down. “God, I’m starving,” I say, choosing a big piece with an airy bubble—my favorite.
Mike scoops three pieces onto a paper plate and sprinkles them with extra oregano and red pepper. “I live for pizza.”
“If you were stranded on a deserted island and had to live on only three types of food for the rest of your life,” I ask as I chew on a thick piece of cheesy goodness, “what would they be?”
Mike squints his eyes a little as he thinks and chews. “Pizza . . .” He pauses. “Pizza . . .” He pauses again. “And pizza.”
I laugh. “Excellent choices.”
He smiles around the piece he’s biting into. “What about you?”
When I list pizza as my first choice, he smiles wide at me. “And strawberry pancakes,” I add, “aaand . . . hm . . . what else . . . OH! Cookies, my mom’s.”
Mike chuckles. “I’d like to change my answer to that. Pizza, pancakes, and cookies . . .” He nods. “Yeah, ship me to this island.”
Mike and I talk about everything from what kinds of cookies my mom makes to why strawberry pancakes and bacon are the perfect cure for hangovers. He tells me that the parents of an ex-girlfriend of his actually owned a farm where they raised pigs and had a strawberry patch, and we make plans to grow strawberries in Dee’s dorm and raise a pig on the bus—a pig named Breakfast.
“But we can’t slaughter Breakfast!” I insist.
“How are we supposed to have bacon then?”
“We’ll just have to go to IHOP . . . and bring Breakfast with us.”
“And feed him bacon?!”
“Oh my God! You’re a monster!”
Mike laughs harder than I’ve seen him laugh before, which makes me smile.
“So what ever happened to that girlfriend?” I ask.
He makes a noise. “She went off to college and expected me to follow. She didn’t see a career with the band as being anything that was worth pursuing.” He smirks. “I disagreed.”
With a shrug, he says, “Yeah, it kind of did, but what can you do.”
“Why don’t any of you guys have a girlfriend now?” I regret the question the second it slips from my mouth. It’s really none of my business.
Mike chuckles. “Well, Adam, Shawn, and Joel don’t really want one. Cody can’t keep one. And I just haven’t met the right girl yet.”
I suspected as much—about all five of them—but hearing Mike say it out loud . . . eh, it kind of stings. Adam doesn’t want a girlfriend. I mean, not that I want a boyfriend, and even if I did, it wouldn’t be a playboy like Adam, but . . .
I have no idea why that makes me feel all . . . blah.
“I’m sure you’ll find her eventually,” I assure Mike. “You probably need to look in better places though.”
“Yeah, the girls we meet at these shows . . .” He shakes his head. “They’re only interested in one thing.”
He chuckles and shakes his head some more. “No, sex I’d be okay with. They just want the fame. They want to be able to say that they bagged one of the guys in the band. I’m not interested in a chick that’s going to bang me on a bus on the first night she met me, with my buddies hanging out two feet away, you know what I mean?”
If only Mike knew how close I had come to being one of those chicks. “Yeah” is all I can say.
After we finish the pizza, which I insist on paying for since I actually brought my wallet along this time, Mike walks me back to the club. Inside it looks—and smells—just like I remember it. It’s dark and pinkly lit and smells so strongly of perfume that I might be tempted to wear a gas mask if I had one handy. I don’t know if Emily’s sprays the place down before they open, or if it’s just the smell of all of the trashy girls crammed in here, but the effect is overwhelming.