“KISS ME,” I order the luckiest guy in Mayhem tonight. When he sat next to me at the bar earlier with his “Leave It to Beaver” haircut, I made sure to avoid eye contact and cross my legs in the opposite direction. I didn’t think I’d end up making out with him, but now I have no choice.
A dumb expression washes over his face. He might be cute if he didn’t look so. freaking. dumb. “Huh?”
“Oh for God’s sake.”
I curl my fingers behind his neck and yank him to my mouth, tilting my head to the side and hoping he’s a quick learner. My lips part, my tongue comes out to play, and after a moment, he finally catches on. His greedy fingers thread into my chocolate brown curls—which I spent hours on this morning.
Peeking out of the corner of my eye, I spot Joel Gibbon stroll past me, a bleach-blonde groupie tucked under his arm. He’s too busy whispering in her ear to notice me, and my fingers itch to punch him in the back of his stupid mohawked head to get his attention.
I’m preparing to push Leave It to Beaver off me when Joel’s gaze finally lifts to meet mine. I bite Beaver’s bottom lip between my teeth and give it a little tug, and the corner of Joel’s mouth lifts up into an infuriating smirk that is so not the reaction I wanted. He continues walking, and when he’s finally out of sight, I break my lips from Beaver’s and nudge him back toward his own stool, immediately spinning in the opposite direction to scowl at my giggling best friend.
“I can’t BELIEVE him!” I shout at a far-too-amused-looking Rowan. How does she not recognize the gravity of this situation?!
I’m about to shake some sense into her when Beaver taps me on the shoulder. “Um—”
“You’re welcome,” I say with a flick of my wrist, not wanting to waste another minute on a guy who can’t appreciate how long it took me to get my hair to curl like this—or at least make messing it up worth my while.
Rowan gives him an apologetic half smile, and I let out a deep sigh.
I don’t feel bad about Beaver. I feel bad about the dickhead bass guitarist for The Last Ones to Know.
“That boy is making me insane,” I growl.
Rowan turns a bright smile on me, her blue eyes sparkling with humor. “You were already insane.”
“He’s making me homicidal,” I clarify, and she laughs.
“Why don’t you just tell him you like him?” She twirls two tiny straws in her cocktail, her eyes periodically flitting up to the stage. She’s waiting for Adam, and I’d probably be jealous of her if those two weren’t so disgustingly perfect for each other.
Last semester, I nearly got kicked out of my dorm when I let Rowan move in with me and my roommate. But Rowan’s asshole live-in boyfriend had cheated on her, and she had nowhere to go, and she’s been my best friend since kindergarten. I ignored the written warnings from my RA, and Rowan ultimately ended up moving in with Adam before I got kicked out. Fast-forward to one too many “overnight visitors” later, I still ended up getting reported, and Rowan and I got a two-bedroom in an apartment complex near campus. Her name is on the lease right next to mine, but really, the apartment is just a decoy she uses to avoid telling her parents that she’s actually living with three ungodly hot rock stars. She sleeps in Adam’s bed, his bandmate Shawn is in the second bedroom, and Joel sleeps on their couch most nights because he’s a hot, stupid, infuriating freaking nomad.
“Because I don’t like him,” I answer. When I realize my drink is gone, I steal Rowan’s, down the last of it, and flag the bartender.
“Then why is he making you insane?”
“Because he doesn’t like me.”
Rowan lifts a sandy blonde eyebrow at me, but I don’t expect her to understand. Hell, I don’t understand. I’ve never wanted a boy to like me so badly in my entire life. I don’t even want Joel to just like me—I want him to worship the ground I walk on and throw himself at my feet. I want him to beg me to be with him and then cry his eyes out when I tell him I’m not a relationship kind of girl.
When the bartender arrives to take our orders, I order shots for both of us. At eighteen, Rowan and I are far from being old enough to drink, but our fake IDs and the stamps on our hands say otherwise.
“Make hers a double,” Rowan says, pointing a thumb in my direction.
I finally stop scowling long enough to smile. “See? This is why I love you.”
We’ve just gulped down our shots and slammed our glasses on the bar top when something heavy lands on my shoulder. Leti rests his left elbow on me and his right elbow on Rowan. He’s been dancing his butt off on the dance floor with some tattooed beefcake, but he smells like he just stepped out of the shower, fresh and sexy clean.
“What are we celebrating?”
I groan, and Rowan shakes her head in warning.
“Oh,” Leti says. “Joel?”
“He’s such an ass,” I complain.
“Didn’t you just spend the night with him this past weekend?”
“Yes!” I shout. “God, what is his problem?!”
Leti laughs and massages my shoulders. “If you like him, just tell him.”
Okay, number one, in what freaking universe do they think that would ever work? Joel is a serial player. He lures girls in with his bad-boy hair and his panty-dropping smile, and then he chews them up and spits them out. “Liking” him would be like “liking” ice cream. Sure, it’s great when you’re stuffing your face with it, but then it’s gone and you’re just left with this all-consuming emptiness. Yeah, you can go to the store and get more, but what if they don’t have the flavor you want? What then?!