I laugh. “Forget that fucker cocktail?”
“Hey, if you can come up with a better name, be my guest.” He smiles warmly at me. “So what’s in it, Peach? You name it, we’ve probably got it. And if not, there’s a liquor store down the street.”
I think about it for a while, staring up at bottles stacked in front of bottles. A full fifth of gin catches my eye, reminding me of the only time I ever saw Brady get truly shit-faced. At a homecoming party my junior year, he drank way too much gin and was still throwing up a day and a half later. He hasn’t touched the stuff since.
“Brady hates gin,” I say, and the corner of Adam’s lip curves up in approval.
“I love gin.” He grabs the bottle from the cupboard and sets it on the counter. “What else?”
“He hates anything grape flavored.” Grape lollipops, grape gum, grape soda—he’ll scrunch up his nose and turn his head away like it’s trying to escape from his neck. It’s actually kind of adorable. But right now? I want to bathe in grape juice, wrap myself in grape-flavored taffy, and shove my grape-clad fist down his lying, cheating throat.
Adam roots through the cabinet, bottles clinking as he slides them around. “Aw, come on, I know we must have—Aha!” He pulls out a half-empty bottle of grape-flavored vodka, smiling triumphantly as the liquid sloshes around. “Anything else?”
I shrug. “I’ve discovered a love of tequila.”
Adam leans in close, resting his elbows on the counter with his chin in his hands. “You have, have you?”
I chuckle and cover his goofy face with my hand. “I have.”
With his black-nailed fingers, he pulls my hand to the side by my pinky so he can grin at me some more. “Good to know.” He stands back up, turning around to root for the tequila. He mixes gratuitous amounts of all three liquors in both of the glasses, and then he slides one over to me.
I pick it up and study it. When I dip my nose over the rim and sniff, the scent is like a pool of acid behind my eyes. “This is going to be nasty,” I cough.
“Good. More reason to make sure you never have to drink it again.”
He has a damn good point. I raise my glass, and he clinks his to it. “On one?” I say.
He nods, and then I count down from three, trying not to think too hard about the last time I counted backward with Adam and all of the toe-curling things that happened afterward. On one, I gulp my drink down, and it blazes a river of fire all the way from my tongue to the pit of my belly. Eyes watering, I look back up to see Adam still holding his full glass, grinning at me.
“You have to drink yours too!” I complain, my throat and eyes stinging like unholy hellfire.
“Are you sure you don’t want to be extra forgetful?” he asks, setting his glass in front of me.
“Adam!” I scold, sliding it back over. My hoarse voice alone is evidence of how strong the drink is.
Adam laughs and sighs, steeling himself. Then in one quick movement, he tilts his head back and empties the amber liquid down his throat. “Holy Christ,” he chokes, setting the glass down and vigorously shaking his head back and forth like he might be able to shake the acid-hot taste away. “If that doesn’t make you forget, I don’t know what will!”
By the time Shawn comes home, Adam and I are totally tipsy. I tend to Adam’s busted knuckles while he tells the story of punching Brady in the face, and then we both giggle like crazy. Even when I learn that Joel sleeps on their couch, so I’ll have to sleep with Adam, I’m too drunk and exhausted to object. I crawl under his covers that night feeling the alcohol weighing me deep into his mattress. Adam is still in the living room with Shawn and Joel, which leaves me alone with way too much quiet.
Before I can stop them, memories of Brady flood my mind and escape in the form of salty tears dripping on Adam’s pillow. I thought I was over him, but that didn’t make the pain of seeing him with that same girl again hurt any less.
When Adam crawls in beside me a little later, I’m trying desperately to keep from sniffling, and instead I end up hiccupping.
“He’s not worth it, Peach,” he says, lying eye-level with me.
The pale moonlight illuminates the concerned expression on his face, and my voice breaks when I say, “I know.”
Adam sighs, and I finally let myself sniffle. After a long moment of silence, he lifts his arm so that the covers are held up and there’s nothing separating us but open space. “Come here.”
“Why?” I nervously ask. I want to go to him. Badly. But my nerves are making me run my mouth instead of closing the distance between us.
“Because I’m going to hold you.”
“You’re going to hold me?”
Adam nods against his pillow.
He pauses for a moment, and then he says, “Peach?”
“Stop asking questions and just get over here.”
While I battle my better judgment, Adam holds the covers in the air, waiting. I cautiously inch my way across the bed and press my front against him, and he wraps his arms around me. I don’t know what to do with my hand, so I wrap my arm around him, placing my palm against his back. And then we’re just holding each other.
Adam lets out a deep sigh, and I gaze up at him. “What?”
“Nothing,” he answers without looking down at me. “Go to sleep.”
I snuggle closer, trying to get comfortable, and Adam’s hold on me tightens. My cheek molds to his hard chest, and I listen to him breathe. I want to thank him—for coming to my rescue tonight, for letting me stay with him, for holding me. For everything. But instead, I fall asleep to the perfect rhythm of his heart.