Page 79 of Mayhem (Mayhem 1)

She glares at me before I slip into her passenger seat, and she’s still glaring when she slides into the driver’s seat beside me. “If you hide from him forever, things between you two really will be over. Is that what you want?”

I shake my head no, and she gives me a wicked smile.

“Good, because I know just what you’re going to wear.”

Chapter Twenty-Eight

THAT EVENING, AFTER waging World War III in front of Dee’s closet, she and I reached a compromise. I’m dressed in a stretchy black skirt and a slinky silver top, courtesy of Dee, but I’ve paired them with long black leggings, sparkly silver flats, and a chic black jacket.

“Stop being so nervous,” she orders as my foot bounces up and down. I’m sitting on her bed with my legs crossed, chewing on my thumbnail with my jacket tossed to the side because I’m roasting in my own skin.

“I’m not.”

I so am. What’s Adam going to think when he sees me? Is he going to think I’m pretty? Desperate? Classy? Boring? Will he wait until after the show to kick me out or will he do it right away?

“You look fucking hot,” Leti says, pulling me to my feet. So does he—dressed in dark denim jeans and a tailored lavender button-down. “Let’s see a little spin.”

I reluctantly do a carefully footed twirl, and then I plop back down on the bed and laugh when Leti takes Dee’s hand and she does a much more dramatic version. She’s decked out in a blood-red peek-a-boo dress with eyelets in all the right places, and gorgeous black ankle boots that even I wouldn’t mind borrowing.

Dee always dresses to the nines, but she’s never spent so much money on a pair of shoes before. We spent the entire day shopping, and she dropped an entire week’s salary on them. I can tell the outfit is for Joel’s benefit, despite how many times I’ve warned her over the past few hours about what a player he is. I did my best to recount some of the raunchier things that happened on the bus, but I think it only made her want him even more.

“You know Joel is going to be with other girls tonight, right?” I ask, trying to prepare her.

She flicks her hair over her shoulder and ushers us from the room before flicking off her light switch and smirking at me. “We’ll see.”

It isn’t until I see his jaw drop when we approach him at the bar in Mayhem that I realize how talented she is at playing this game. He has two girls clinging to his sides, but as soon as his blue eyes land on Dee, his arms drop from their shoulders. He gravitates toward her like he can’t resist her pull, and then his arms wrap possessively around her.

“Let me show you the bus,” he purrs, and she giggles up at him.

“Maybe later. Where is everyone?”

Joel finally notices me then, and his eyes bug out of his head. “Whoa, Peach!”

God, I don’t look that different. So I have some freaking eye shadow on and Dee worked her magic on my hair . . . and I’m sparkly—super freaking sparkly . . . Not a big deal!

Joel laughs and takes a step back to rake his eyes over me. “Damn.”

I’m cherry-red from the roots of my hair to the tips of my toes when Dee says, “Where is Adam?”

“Yeah,” Leti adds. “Weren’t you guys supposed to be onstage already?”

The tussle Dee and I had by her closet, and then the fuss she made over my hair, made us ridiculously late. I was hoping Adam would be onstage so I wouldn’t have to have the inevitable awkward conversation with him without at least getting a few drinks in me first, but of course, God hates me.

“He wouldn’t go on until Peach got here,” Joel says, pulling out his phone to text someone.

Dee winks at me while he’s occupied, but I feel the sudden need to be near a trash can in case I need to throw up. He wouldn’t go on until I got here? That can’t be good . . .

Joel hasn’t even finished typing the text when Shawn materializes at the other end of the bar, stopping dead in his tracks when he sees me. His eyes get just as wide as Joel’s did, but he recovers much more quickly. “I was worried you weren’t going to show.”

“Why were you worried?” I ask, feeling more worried than anyone.

Shawn just smiles at me, and then he smacks the back of his hand against Joel’s shoulder. “Time for the show.”

Joel smiles widely at me. “You need to go to the bathroom or anything?”

I raise my eyebrow. “No . . .”

“Good.”

He and Shawn lead me to the bar and sit me on a stool, somehow convincing the people on either side of me to get up and leave so that Dee and Leti can take their spots.

“Stay right here, okay?” Joel asks, already backing away from me.

“O . . . kay?”

“Best seats in the house!” Shawn calls as he walks away, and then he and Joel disappear in the crowd.

“What was that about?” Leti asks, still staring at the spot where Shawn and Joel were swallowed up.

I have no idea. All I know is that I need a freaking drink. I spin around on my stool and order an extra strong vodka cranberry, forgoing the straw and taking a big swallow when it arrives. I sip on my drink and talk about anything but Adam until the crowd starts screaming and I know he’s just taken the stage. Dee and Leti immediately spin around for the show, but I’m too busy ignoring the chills racing up my spine.

“Hello MAYHEM!” Adam shouts, and the crowd rewards him with a chorus of deafening screams. “How is everyone tonight?!”

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