Page 60 of Mayhem (Mayhem 1)

Eh, who am I kidding? There will be no words or waves because Adam and I will never actually pass each other. He gets to class after me and leaves before me. There won’t even be any passing words or smiles, no friendly phone calls or breakfasts at IHOP. He said he wants me to come to Mayhem when his band performs in two weeks, and I’ll go—hopefully Peach will still be on the backstage list. And if I actually get backstage, I know he’ll let me stay, even if he’s . . . preoccupied.

Which is my own damn fault.

For good reasons. Good reasons, good reasons. If I just keep reminding myself of that, maybe this will stop being so damn tough.

After collecting myself, I muster the courage to climb the stairs. Two flights, and then I’m standing in front of Brady’s door. I probably should’ve called. Hell, I should probably call now. But this is my apartment too, and I’m not going to pretend it’s not. I rummage around in my purse for my keys. If I’m going to be living here, I don’t need to call or knock or anything, and I don’t need to forgive him either. I don’t owe him anything—if he wants my forgiveness, he’s going to have to earn it, and no one said I had to make it easy.

I’m pretty sure that entering a conversation with him when I’m this irritated isn’t the best way to start things, but it’s too late for that because I’m already getting myself worked up, putting up a wall between us before I even step foot inside the apartment.

Good. It’s probably for the best.

I could have called Dee and told her this is where I was coming, but I didn’t want her to feel like she pushed me back into Brady’s arms. Or worse, I didn’t want her to jump in her car and speed over here to physically restrain me from making what I know she would think is a mistake of epic proportions. The real mistake would be allowing my best friend in the entire world to get kicked out of her dormitory her first semester of college. Dee’s always been an amazing friend to me, and now I have to be one to her.

I’ll call her after Brady and I talk—when it’s too late for her to do anything drastic. I’ll call her after resolutions have been reached and decisions have been made and all the uncertainty I’m feeling right now has been erased by a long, dramatic, exhausting conversation that I’ve been putting off for far too long.

I take a weighted breath and squeeze the key to the apartment between my fingers. Then I twist it in the lock and push open the door—to see the last thing in the world I ever fucking expected. My sort-of-ex-boyfriend and that girl from the fucking club, half naked and writhing on the couch.

“You’ve got to be fucking KIDDING me!”

Brady looks up from where he’s buried balls-deep in what I’m assuming is a herpes-infested vagina. A look of shock and then of absolute horror washes across his face, and he scrambles to pull on his pants. I’m already racing back down the hallway.

“Rowan! Wait! No!”

Suitcase in hand, I reach the end of the hall and throw myself into the stairwell, slamming the door behind me. I take the stairs faster than anyone with a sense of self-preservation would take them, thanking God that all I brought with me on the trip were flats.

Seconds after the door bangs closed, I hear Brady throw it open, and then his voice is echoing after me down the well. “Rowan! Baby, please!”

I’m practically tripping down the stairs, missing one here or there and stumbling to catch my footing. I’m not even looking where I’m going because my eyes are on my phone and Adam’s number is on my screen.

“Baby! I can explain!”

Hah! Oh, if that isn’t the line to end all lines. If he catches up with me, I am going to slap him across his goddamn face so hard he goes cross-eyed. We’ll see if that bitch in my apartment likes him when he can’t see straight.

Adam’s phone is ringing for the second time without him picking up, but when I burst through the door, I see his car hasn’t even finished pulling out of the parking lot. His brake lights are on, and then they flash white as he throws his Camaro in reverse. I run to him as he speeds back to me, and then I’m tossing my suitcase into the open backseat and literally jumping over the passenger-side door to get in. Brady bursts out of the apartment building like a cannonball, my name sounding all wrong as he shouts it across the lot.

“What happened?” Adam growls, throwing his arm around my seat, watching Brady run toward the car. “What did he do to you?” He jerks the car into park and reaches for the door handle, and I grab onto the sleeve of his T-shirt.

“Nothing! Just . . . he was with someone!” Brady is getting closer, and I’m full-on panicking. “Just get me out of here, okay?”

“Sorry,” Adam says with a resolute shake of his head, and then he opens the door and gets out of the car.

Brady barely has the time to shout “Who the hell are y—” before Adam’s fist punches him so hard that my ex flies backward and lands in a heap on the pavement. I gasp, and Adam shakes the sting from his hand.

“Peach, come here.”

I do what I’m told because I’m really just too shocked to do anything else. When I step up to Adam’s side, Brady is on the ground nursing his jaw, clearly too frightened to get up.

“Say what you want to say to this asshole,” Adam turns to me, his expression deadly serious, “because I’m taking you home with me, and I never want you seeing him again because you’re too fucking good for a cheating piece of shit.”

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