Page 68 of Mayhem (Mayhem 1)

“Seriously, Adam. At Dee’s, I just had my stuff in piles on the floor. You saw.”

“So? Here it’ll be better.”

I take a deep breath. “Look . . . I really appreciate what you’re doing, but seriously, you don’t have to do this. I really don’t want you to think that you have to take me in or anything. I mean, we haven’t known each other for that long and I don’t want to be a burden and I know I don’t have anywhere else to go but I don’t want you to feel like—”

“Hey,” Adam interrupts while I practically pull my hair out, “we’re friends, right?”

“Yeah,” I answer, staring apprehensively at the empty drawers still hanging open.

“And friends help each other out, right?”

Forcing myself to look him in the eye, I say, “Yeah, but—”

“Well, I want you to stay with me,” he interrupts, giving me a warm smile. “So . . . you should help me out.”

I chuckle and shake my head at him. “I should help you out?”

He nods, a goofy grin spread wide across his cheeks.

“You know I probably won’t be back on my feet for the rest of the semester . . . right?”

“Yep.”

“That’s a long time . . .”

“It’s not that long.”

“You’ll get tired of me.”

“You’ll get tired of me long before I get tired of you.”

“You just met me.”

“I’ve known you for almost two months now.”

“You’re crazy.”

Adam flashes me his pearly white smile, and that alone is suddenly enough to convince me to stay with him for as long as he lets me. I thank him, he gives me a hug that makes my insides melt, and then he goes back out to the living room so I can finish unpacking.

As soon as he leaves, though, the warm feeling leaves with him and I’m suddenly freaking the hell out again. Am I seriously moving in with a boy I am not dating, who I’ve only actually known for less than a week, who also just so happens to be Adam freaking Everest?

I reluctantly fill his drawers with my clothes. Putting my bras and panties into his dresser feels beyond strange. Staring down at the white thong that tops the pile of panties in my new underwear drawer, I almost want to back out of my decision. I quickly snatch the silky garment up and bury it at the bottom, covering the bras and panties with a thick layer of boring socks.

God, this is crazy! My mom would so not approve. At least, I don’t think she would . . . Would she even like Adam? My dad . . . oh God, my dad, my dad! Do I really feel like sending my parents to an early grave?

“Are you alright?” Shawn quietly asks as he enters the room.

I let out a deep breath, feeling light-headed and overheated. “This is weird, right? Please tell me I’m not the only one who thinks this is weird.”

Shawn sits on Adam’s black comforter, rubbing his hands over his knees. “It’s definitely weird.”

“Thank you!” I turn around and start pacing. “Adam acts like this is just normal. Like it’s no big deal.” I speak quietly and then slowly close the door, needing some private counseling from the sanest person available.

“Oh, it’s a big deal,” Shawn confirms. He’s staring absently at the wall, and I can see his wheels turning.

“Does Adam do this all the time? Just randomly ask girls to live with him?” If he does, maybe it’s not as weird as I think it is. And then I’ll at least be able to ask Shawn what happens to those girls. Does Adam get tired of them? Does he kick them out?

If he doesn’t do this all the time . . . then, well, I honestly don’t even know what to make of this.

Shawn shakes his head. “Adam has never let a girl even spend the night here.”

“I just spent the night here last night . . .”

“I mean before you,” he corrects. “Adam has never let a girl spend the night here before you.”

I stare at him for a long moment, letting that sink in. “Ever?”

“Ever.” He raises a socked foot up onto the bed. “And now you’re moving in . . .”

When the door suddenly clicks open, Adam looks back and forth between us like he might be interrupting something, and then he asks if he’s doing just that.

“No,” I say. “I just . . .” I just needed to pry some intel out of your closest confidante. I don’t want to get Shawn in trouble, but . . . I need to ask. “Adam, you’ve never let a girl stay here before?”

He shoots a pointed look at Shawn, who raises his hands in surrender. “Sorry, man. She asked. She was kinda freaking out.”

Adam’s expression softens as he leans back against the door. “Why were you freaking out?”

Isn’t it obvious? Because that’s what I do! “I was not freaking out.”

Shawn and Adam are both staring at me when Shawn nervously says, “Yeah . . . ya kinda were. I thought you were going to tread grooves in the floorboards.”

Realizing I’m still shifting from foot to foot, I force myself to stop fidgeting. “Sorry . . . I don’t mean to seem ungrateful or anything . . . but . . .” I sigh and sit down right where I was standing, right on the floor. “I can’t help feeling like I’m taking advantage of you.” That’s only half of it. The other half of me is paranoid that I’m going to get kicked out on my ass the minute Adam finds something else to attract his attention. He’s like a honey bee at a botanical garden, and I’m just a tiny daisy in a bed full of roses. I’m the only flower that won’t put out.

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