Page 13 of Riot (Mayhem 2)

Joel crosses his arms and leans against the whitewashed wall, smirking and shaking his head.

I glare at him, but then I do exactly what he wants: I stand on my tippy-toes and reach up as high as I can. My ass curves out, my shirt pulls up, and my breasts push into the icy air of the refrigeration. My cold nipples strain against my top as I turn my face to Joel and make my eyes big and my lips pouty. “I still can’t reach it,” I say.

“Do you need my help?”

“Please?”

His lips pull into a satisfied smile, and he comes up behind me, pushing his hard-on tight against my ass as he reaches up to get the creamer for me. “This one?” he asks, intentionally pointing to the wrong one to torture me.

“The one next to it,” I say, and he curls his fingers around my hips with his left hand to tug me even tighter against him as he reaches for the creamer with his right.

“This one?” he asks, pointing to the one on the wrong side.

“The other one,” I say, standing on my tippy-toes again to create friction between us. I point to the one I want, my shirt lifting up to reveal my taut stomach again.

“Oh, you mean this one.” While Joel reaches for it with his right hand, his left snakes around my waist. His fingers trail lightly over my stomach and sneak under my raised top, giving me goose bumps all over and making me shiver. His lips press near my ear and he says, “I can’t wait to get you back to your place.”

I don’t think he means it literally, but I sure as hell feel it literally. I’m about to pull him into a dirty bathroom so he can fuck me against a wall.

“Split up so we can get this done faster?” I suggest, and we speed-walk in opposite directions.

I don’t even know what the hell I’m shopping for, so I throw a few things in the cart—bacon, eggs, bread, whipped cream, extra-large condoms—and then I walk back through the grocery store searching for Joel.

I find him in Aisle 6 with two girls who barely look legal.

I take a step back to be better hidden from view, watching as he flirts with them. They smile and giggle, flip their hair and bat their eyelashes. Then they mold themselves to his sides for a picture.

They must be fans, and fans, I’m fine with. Pictures, I’m fine with. I’m even fine with one of them writing what I’m assuming is her number on a piece of paper and handing it to him. What I’m not fine with is him tucking it into his pocket and reaching forward to play with her necklace.

Part of me wants to march right up to them and stake my claim, wants to let the girls know that Joel is mine and if they don’t want to get their eyeballs clawed out, they’d better stop looking at him. But I’m not going to give him the satisfaction of turning me into that kind of girl, especially not when he’d just continue being a man-whore and driving me crazy. Instead, I grit my teeth and abandon my cart right where it’s parked, walking from the grocery store with my head held high but my molars threatening to grind each other into dust. I climb into my car, back out of the spot, and drive all the way home. When my phone beeps along the way, I don’t bother looking at it. I don’t check it until seven beeps and two missed calls later, after I’ve slammed my apartment door behind me and have grounded myself on the couch.

Where the fuck are you?

Joel’s latest in a long line of texts—which went from being confused, to concerned, to angry—just pisses me off. My phone receives the brunt of my temper as I type back, Home. Looked like you got another ride, so I figured I was off the hook.

What the fuck are you talking about?

I don’t bother responding. Anything I say will just make me sound jealous—because I am jealous. I hope Joel fucks those girls and makes them a breakfast they all choke on.

Did you seriously leave me at the fucking grocery store?

Not responding.

This is so fucked up!

Not responding.

You’re fucking crazy!

I text him a GIF image of Marilyn Monroe blowing a kiss at the camera before I turn my phone on silent and toss it on the coffee table.

When Rowan calls me, I’m angrily biting into an unlucky pickle.

“Did you really have sex with Joel and then leave him at the grocery store?”

“He brought it on himself,” I insist, and she starts laughing.

I hear Joel yell in the background, “I TOLD YOU!”

“What did he do?” she asks.

“He dragged me to the grocery store, and I left him alone for two minutes—two freaking minutes, Rowan—and he goes and gets some other girl’s number.”

She yells at Joel, “You took her grocery shopping and got some other girl’s number?!”

“She just gave it to me!” he yells back.

“And you took it?!”

“He’s an asshole,” I say, biting off more of my pickle.

“It’s not like I was going to go home with her right then or something!” Joel insists, like that makes a difference. I can practically hear Rowan’s eye-roll.

“Joel, you should probably stop talking,” she orders.

“Why?”

“Because if you don’t, I’m going to smack you and it’s going to hurt.”

“Whatever,” I hear him say. “Dee is crazy.”

I hear a loud WHAP! and then an “OW! WHAT THE HELL!” Loud laughter follows—I’m guessing from Adam and Shawn.

“One more word, Joel!” Rowan warns, and I smile around a mouthful of pickle. “Hold on,” she tells me, “I’m going outside.”

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