We talked all night, until we curled up under the stars and fell asleep where we lay. He told me about meeting Mike and Joel, about starting the band with them, about discovering Mayhem for the first time. I learned about his mom, his dad, an older stepsister he has. We told each other our favorite colors, our favorite places, our favorite songs. We shared childhood stories, and all the crazy things we want to do before we get old. We laughed and smiled and held each other, and this morning, nothing’s changed.
What happened between us last night was real. It still is.
“Dude,” says a voice, and I jerk myself awake. Mike is standing over us, kicking the sole of Shawn’s shoe, and I remember in a daze that the click of the steel hotel door is what woke me in the first place. I shield my eyes from the sun and attempt to sit up, shrinking under Mike’s gaze. I feel like I’ve been caught red-handed—because in Shawn’s arms, I have been. But he’s my boyfriend. He fell asleep holding me. There’s no need to hide it anymore.
Nervous butterflies flutter wildly in my belly, and I manage a pathetic, “Hey.”
My entire body gets jostled when Shawn sits up in a rush, a curse word already flying from his lips. “Shit. What time is it?”
Mike’s eyes slowly swing to the disheveled boy next to me. Shawn’s hair is poking out everywhere, mussed by the sleep and the way my fingers twirled in it as we both drifted off last night. “Half past nine.”
“You’re kidding.” Shawn is already pushing to his feet, and I’m left sitting on my sore ass, rubbing my sore back, looking like a sore mess.
“Everyone is looking for you,” Mike tells him, and I don’t doubt it. We were supposed to leave for the next city before the sun broke the horizon this morning, but now it’s high in the sky, casting light over a secret Shawn and I have been keeping for weeks. Mike’s gaze swings down until I’m shrinking again. “And for you.”
Under the sun and our drummer’s scrutiny, last night suddenly seems a little less real, a little further away. It’s not just Shawn and me anymore. It’s not just us in the dark.
When calloused fingers drop in front of my face, both Shawn and Mike watch me, waiting to see if I take Shawn’s hand. My palm is clammy when I do, but I hold on tight and let him help me up.
The contact is broken as soon as I’m on my feet—by me, by Shawn, by habit. I brush myself off while trying to think of what I can possibly say to Mike.
But Shawn beats me to it.
“Hey,” he says as he combs his fingers through his hair, “don’t say anything to the guys about this, okay?”
I can feel Mike shift his attention to me, but I’m too busy staring at Shawn with my stomach dropping to my knees to care. When I finally turn my head, Mike reads the hurt in my eyes and then looks back at Shawn. He shakes his head and sighs. “Whatever you say, man. See you back at the bus.”
With that, the steel door of the hotel clicks shut behind him, leaving Shawn and me just standing there. Alone. Again. And last night suddenly seems impossible—if Shawn told me it was all a dream right now, I’d believe him.
He finally turns toward me, but I quickly drop my chin. The gravel crunching under my boots is real. The way my fingernails are stabbing into my palms is real. The metallic taste of my lip between my teeth—that’s real too.
“Hey,” Shawn says, his finger lifting my chin. Enchanted green eyes search mine.
“What do we do now?” I ask with his fingers gliding over my cheek, threading into my hair.
“What do you mean ‘what do we do now?’ ”
I step away from his touch, and his hand falls from my face. “Last night,” I stammer. “It’s cool if you . . . I mean, I’m sure Mike won’t say anything . . . and, I understand, you know . . . ”
Jesus, I’m tripping over words and feelings, crashing with no one to catch me. But then Shawn steps forward, his hand capturing mine. “Whoa. You’re not changing your mind, are you?”
My brows knit at him. “You just told Mike not to tell anyone . . . ”
A smile tugs at the corners of his mouth, which only makes me want to yank my hand away, but he squeezes it tighter. “We’re trapped in a tin can with those guys,” he says, like that should be explanation enough. “We’d never hear the end of it, trust me. And there are only two days left of the tour.” When I continue frowning, he threads both hands into my hair and presses his forehead against mine. “I’m still yours.”
My hands close over his, and I don’t know what comes over me—maybe the spell in those green eyes. “Prove it.”
His lips are against mine in an instant, warm and intoxicating as they part mine and prove that last night happened, that what I felt between us was real. His fingers curl in my hair, and my hands slide to his wrists. I hold on as he kisses me—until my knees are weak, until my thoughts are miles away. My back collides with the brick building we’d fallen asleep against, and my fingers are tugging him close when I bite down on his lip, his body trembling against mine as a deep moan sounds from his lips.
Last night, this had been building. For weeks, this has been building. We postponed it, but now there’s only me, him, and nothing else to stop us.
When I release his lip from my teeth, he stares at me with a green fire flaming in his eyes. He kisses me until I turn my head, giving him access to erogenous zones that he knows intimately by now. His tongue flicks over a sensitive spot below my ear until my fingers are clawing desperately into his shirt. I’m squirming against him, my breaths coming out in twos and threes, when I finally find the sense to remind him, “We’re late.”