Page 48 of Chaos (Mayhem 3)

“That’s because everyone here is gay!” I protest, but Mike’s response comes quick.

“Not everyone.”

My eyes narrow with suspicion, and I swing a finger back and forth between us. “You don’t mean . . . ”

“God, no,” he rushes to say, his hands out like he’s going to physically stop me from dropping to one knee and proposing to him or something. “You and me?” He starts laughing again—hard.

I prop a fist on my hip in mock offense. “Are you saying I’m not your type?” When he can’t stop laughing, I hold back a smile. “What’s your type then?”

“Someone . . . not-mean,” he says, and when I burst out laughing too, it only encourages him. “Someone not-loud, someone not-crazy.”

“I get it,” I interrupt. “Someone nice and calm and sane.”

Mike grins and nods his chin toward the girls I pointed out earlier. “A.K.A., definitely not those girls.”

When I turn my head to find them cackling like drunken hyenas and falling over each other, Mike and I laugh even harder. Those girls would be a sure thing, a trio of one-night stands he’d never have to call again, but I should’ve known Mike better than to think he’d go for glitter and glam and easy. Whoever captures his heart is going to be class and brains and worth waiting for.

By the time Shawn, Adam, and Joel finally track us down, Mike has finished a beer and a half, and I’m double-fisting raspberritas—mine, and what’s left of his.

“Are those raspberry margaritas?” Adam immediately asks, stealing one from my hand and taking a big swallow before I can answer.

“You fit right in here,” Mike teases him, and Adam flicks him off with a black-painted fingernail while still taking a long drink from my glass.

“What happened to your shirt?” I ask, my eyes traveling past Adam’s newly acquired glow necklace, past the Magic 8 Ball tattoo inked on his left pectoral, and down to a unicorn stenciled on his stomach. Mike wasn’t exactly wrong about him fitting in.

“Some dude offered to trade him a glow necklace for it,” Shawn explains, and Adam chuckles into the raspberrita at Shawn’s disapproving tone. He coughs and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, and I stiffen when Shawn squeezes into the space half beside, half behind me to order a drink of his own. His front is pressed tight against my back, and his fingers find my side as he places his order.

“Where are Leti and your brother?” Joel asks me, oblivious to the way Shawn’s hand on my side is making it impossible for me to talk.

“Still haven’t come back yet,” Mike answers for me, still shaking his head at Adam’s bare chest. Adam wraps an arm around his shoulder and flashes him a white smile.

“Is he gay?” Joel asks me point-blank, tearing my attention from Adam and Mike. “Your brother?” His voice holds no disapproval, no judgment, but I avoid the question anyway.

“Is Adam?” I reach out and poke Adam’s unicorn, and he barks out a laugh, snapping Mike’s head forward when his arms jerk down to protect himself.

The boys get into a scuffle that forces me even tighter against Shawn, and it’s impossible to miss the way his body reacts to mine. We both feel him between us, but neither of us moves an inch, and neither of us says a word. Instead, I nibble at the inside of my lip when his fingers close even tighter around my waist.

Shawn and I stand like that, listening to the guys act like idiots under the downpour of techno bass—and ignoring one big, pressing, unspoken thing between us—until Leti and my brother emerge from the crowd, looking like they just danced twenty pounds off. My brother’s cheeks are red—from exertion or from crushing on Leti too hard, it’s impossible to tell. I try to shift away from Shawn before they can reach our group, but he catches the curve of my waist and refuses to let me budge. And all I can do is stand there, my heart doing flips and tumbles and cartwheels in my chest.

Does he know what he’s doing? He has to know what he’s doing. Why is he doing it? And why does he feel so. fucking. good? I purposely shift against him, and his fingers draw me even closer.

“Dude.” Leti laughs as he practically skips up to our group. Kale is right beside him, but they don’t so much as brush elbows. Leti may have gotten my brother out of the house, but he’s still firmly in the closet. “You know what those mean, right?” He points at Adam’s glow necklace, and when Adam simply lifts it up and raises an eyebrow, Leti starts laughing again. “They mean you’re DTF.”

“DTF?” Mike says.

“Have you never watched Jersey Shore?” Leti asks like it’s a crime.

“It means you’re down to fuck,” Kale answers, and Adam looks around to find that no fewer than ten guys are eyeing him up.

My bandmates get into a hilarious conversation about why Adam won’t take it off—with him insisting that he’s used to the attention and that glow necklaces are “cool as hell,” and Joel teasing that he’s been away from Rowan too long—while Shawn and I stay quiet on the fringes of the group, his front glued to my back and his hand stuck to my hip. I pretend that the way he’s touching me is normal, that this is what friends do, that I’m not tuned in to every breath he takes or every line of his fingerprints indenting themselves in my skin.

When I feel eyes on me, my gaze drifts to Leti to find him grinning my way. My brother, standing beside him, is busy glaring at Shawn’s hand.

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