Laying Syd down on her back, I watched her lashes flutter up. The color of her eyes were like the clearest blue skies of summer. “You’re so… pretty.”
“Come again?” I said, choking on my laugh. “Did you just call me pretty?”
She started to roll onto her side again, but I stopped her. “Pants,” she repeated, reaching down, her fingers fumbling on the button of her jeans. “Off.”
I froze for a second, not sure if I should laugh at her one-syllable responses or dive-bomb out the nearest window. Undressing Syd was not something I ever thought I’d be doing, especially when she was drunk. But I didn’t want her to wake up and in a drunken stupor, crack her head open trying to get undressed. With Syd, anything was possible.
I could do this. I could do this and it wouldn’t be weird and I wouldn’t be turned on by it, because it was Syd and she was drunk and it wasn’t a big deal. We’d grown up together. I was pretty sure that I’d pissed in front of her on more than one occasion. Hell, I think I did that about a month ago after a night of drinking moonshine. I could take off her pants and not feel like a total fucking pervert.
I should’ve drunk more tonight.
Taking a deep breath, I quickly unbuttoned her jeans and undid her zipper. The striped panties peeked out as the material parted. Double shit. I closed my eyes as I tugged them down her hips. She wasn’t helping. Not a single bit. She was out cold. I got a hand under her back and lifted her up far enough to get the jeans past her ass. I kept my eyes shut as I pulled them down her thighs. My knuckles brushed her legs, and I really didn’t think about how soft her skin was, because that was really inappropriate and then some.
It felt like freaking forever before I got those damn jeans off, and only then did I realize she was lying the wrong way again. Cursing under my breath, I went over to the chair and grabbed the blanket off the back. I spread it out over her, tucking it along her sides and then I got the pillow back under her head.
Picking up her jeans, I felt her cell phone. The whole backside of her jeans was wet. I pulled the cell out and tapped on the screen. Nothing. Hell.
I headed downstairs, trying to get her cell to turn on as I checked the front door and made sure it was locked. Turned up the heat and made my way to the kitchen. The phone still wouldn’t turn on. Recalling something Tanner had said about rice, I found a tiny screwdriver and took the back off the phone. I placed both pieces in the rice and hoped it worked out. If not, I had a few extra cells at home she could use.
Needing to check on Syd, I returned to the bedroom she was in. The moment I saw her, I was rooted to the floor. All I could do was stare at her. My heart was beating pretty fast and for no apparent reason.
Finally, I sat beside her and pulled the blanket up her bare shoulder. I didn’t want her getting cold. I started to get up, but what if she got sick or needed something in the middle of the night? Syd never drank like this. God only knows what was going to happen.
There was a good chance I was overreacting, but I stretched out beside her. Maybe a second passed, and in her sleep, she rolled onto her side, wiggled her way over toward me, so that her head was nestled against my chest, and folded her hands under her chin. Damn. I could’ve gotten up and gone into my own room. I could’ve set the alarm and checked in on her in a few hours. I could’ve put a trashcan by the bed.
But I didn’t.
My head was pounding like my brain was holding its own personal rock concert somewhere near my temples. My mouth and throat felt like sandpaper. And I was freezing. I didn’t want to open my eyes, but there was this strange noise—a soft humming. It took me a couple of seconds to recognize the song.
Dave Matthews’ “Tripping Billies.”
Forcing my eyes open, I found myself staring at the ceiling…from the foot of the bed. Odd. And the room was dark, like it was still night outside. Even more strange was the fact I was in my tank top and panties. Nothing else.
I didn’t even remember getting in bed or taking off my clothes. Entire sections of last night were nothing more than a blur. What I did remember I prayed to God was just a weird dream.
“Look who decided to grace the world with her presence.”
At the sound of his voice, I turned my head. Kyler was sitting beside me, facing the large windows. He was wearing a long-sleeved sweater and he looked a hell of a lot better than I felt.
“Hey,” I croaked.
Turning toward the head of the bed, he grabbed something off the nightstand. He handed me a glass of water and two aspirins. “Take these and drink up. You’re going to need them.”
Shoving the blanket down, I took them and shivered. “Why is it so cold in here?”
Kyler leaned onto his elbow, watching me. “I have bad news, badder news, and baddest news.”
“Badder and baddest aren’t words.” I finished off the water, handed it back, and then tugged the blankets up to my shoulders as I pulled my legs up to my chest, trying to suck in some of the warmth.
“Good to see the tequila didn’t damage your brain cells.”
I winced. “I don’t know about that.”
A fond smile appeared. “Well, here’s the bad news. Last night, when you decided to knock us down in the snow—” Aw, hell, that hadn’t been a dream. “—and rolled around? You got your cell phone soaked.”
I closed my eyes. “Shit.”
“I took it apart and put it in some rice last night. Hopefully it will turn on after that.” He poked my blanket-covered arm. “I have high hopes that it will.”
“Thank you,” I mumbled, opening my eyes. “What’s the badder news?”
“Well, this is a two-part thing which includes that badder and the baddest news. Remember that pesky snowstorm? They gave it a new name—Saint Snowmas.”
“What?” I made a face. “That’s a stupid name.”
“I agree.” He sat up. “But the Saint Snowmas storm turned into a nor’easter on steroids. If you look outside right now, you’ll see that it’s snowing pretty steady—nothing too bad, but they’re saying that it’s supposed to get real bad and real quick. Here’s the badder part: the gang turned back this morning. No one can make it up here.”
I sighed. “Well, at least that’s the safe and smart decision. Are we leaving soon then?”
He brushed his hair back from his forehead. “And here’s the baddest part. Even though it’s not the apocalypse outside right now, we have no chance of making it home if we leave. We’ve got to head east and the storm is coming in from the north and the east. We’re stuck for several days before we can even try to leave.”
“Here,” he repeated, nodding. “The storm is moving really slow. They’re saying that it will dump most of the snow tomorrow and through Wednesday.”
“Holy crap.” My stomach tumbled over. “How much snow are they calling for?”
“Somewhere between a lot and holy fuck.”
I flopped onto my back and stared up at the ceiling. “We could be stuck here all week in the middle of a blizzard?”
“Could be. I think we’d be out sooner than that, but depends on how fast they work everything.” He nudged my leg. “I cranked up the heat, so it should get warmer in here. Hopefully when the brunt of the storm gets here, we won’t lose power.”
My eyes widened.
“We got a backup generator that will run the essentials if we do, but let’s not think about that right now.”
Being stuck here alone with Kyler hadn’t really set in. Normally that wouldn’t be such a big deal, and truthfully I usually would’ve looked forward to something like that, but there was this nagging dread in the pit of my stomach.
I frowned, trying to pull together the memories into something that made sense. I remembered the tequila shots and Mr. Ski Instructor. “Did you get into a fight last night with the guy I was dancing with?”
Kyler’s lips thinned. “You mean the creep you were dancing with? We didn’t get into a fight per se, but we didn’t part on friendly terms.”
Wiggling an arm free, I rubbed my brow. My skin felt gross. That couldn’t be why I felt so uncomfortable. There was more. There had to be. I remember going outside and Kyler making me wear his hoodie. Speaking of which… “Please tell me that I undressed myself last night.”
A half-smile formed. “Is that what you want to hear?”
I smacked my hand over my face. “Oh, my Gods…”
He chuckled softly. “You helped undress yourself and I didn’t peek. And I already saw your unmentionables earlier, so…”
I groaned. “Thanks for reminding me.”
“You’re welcome.” He paused and then he took a heavy breath. My muscles tightened in warning. “How are you feeling?”
That innocent question didn’t match his tone. There was something about last night. Last night. What the hell happened…and then it all came back in a horrifying rush. I’d practically molested him in a drunken stupor.
My body jackknifed into a sitting position, and I almost knocked Kyler off the bed, but that was least of my worries. The movement rattled my poor brain and horror swamped me. “Oh, my God. Oh, my God, I…tried…you…” I was so embarrassed I couldn’t even speak the words.
Kyler sat back, a muscle flexing in his jaw. “I was sort of hoping you wouldn’t remember.”
He was hoping I didn’t remember? I smacked both hands over my face and moaned. Had I been that bad? Had it been that bad for him?
“Hey.” His voice had softened and his fingers wrapped around my wrists, gently pulling my hands away. “Its okay, Syd.”
“No it’s not,” I moaned, ducking my chin. “I molested you.”
Kyler laughed. “You didn’t molest me. Okay. Maybe just a little, but you wouldn’t be the first girl to get all—”
“It’s not funny!” I cried.
Two fingers landed under my chin and he tipped my head up. “It’s no big deal, Syd. People do a lot of things they normally wouldn’t when they are sober, and you were really drunk.”
The problem was that I had wanted to do that while I was sober and apparently it was just a big joke to him. I cast my eyes to the blanket. “I’m sorry.”
“You don’t need to apologize, baby. It’s not like it was a horrific experience,” he added dryly.
My gaze swung to his and that’s when I remembered the better moment of last night—him telling me I was beautiful, that he always thought I was beautiful. Some of the unease slid away. “It wasn’t?”
His lips quirked in that adorable way of his. “I’m never going to complain about a girl crawling all over me.”
Okay. That wasn’t a declaration of mutual lust, but it was something I could work with. “Then why…then why did you stop me?”