Font Size:  

“Look at the two of you getting along.” Riley holds her hands up to us like we’re on display.

“She’s so annoying,” Hardin huffs.

“Twins.” I laugh, and he shakes his head at me.

“LAST CALL!” My new friend calls from behind the bar. In the last hour I have learned that her name is Cami, that she’s nearly fifty, and that she just had her first grandchild in December. She shoved some printed pictures in my face, like every grandmother does, and I praised them, telling her how beautiful the child is. Hardin barely glanced at the images. Instead he started mumbling something about trolls, and so I quickly pulled the picture away from him before Cami heard.

I sway from side to side. “One more and I’m so done.”

“I don’t know how you haven’t passed out yet!” Riley exclaims, with obvious admiration.

I do: Hardin has been taking my drinks from me halfway through and finishing them himself.

“You’ve been drinking more than anyone, probababally more than himmm,” I slur, pointing to the man at the end of the bar who has literally passed out with his head on the top of the bar. “I wish Lillian could’ve came with us,” I say, and Hardin crinkles his nose.

“I thought you hated her?” he asks, and Riley snaps her head to me.

“I don’t hate her,” I correct him. “I didn’t like her when you were trying to make me jealous by hanging out with her.”

Riley tenses, looking at Hardin beside me. “What?”

Shit.

“Don’t back away now, darling,” she presses.

I’m trapped and drunk and have no idea what the hell to say. I don’t want to make her mad, that’s for sure.

“Nothing,” Hardin says to her and holds up a hand. “I was being a dick and didn’t tell Tessa that she was gay. You already know that.”

Her shoulders relax. “Oh, okay, then.”

Jeez, she’s just like him.

“See, nothing happened, so chill out,” Hardin says to her.

“I’m chill, trust me,” she coos and moves her stool slightly closer to mine. “Nothing wrong with a little jealousy, right?” Riley looks at me with a glint in her drunken gaze. “Have you ever kissed a girl, Tessa?”

My scalp prickles, and I gasp dramatically. “What?”

“Riley, what the—” Hardin says, but she cuts him off.

“I’m only asking a question. Have you ever kissed a girl?”

“No.”

“Have you ever thought about it?”

Drunk or not, I feel the embarrassment creeping onto my cheeks. “I—”

“Being with a girl is much better, honestly. They’re soft.” Her hand moves to my arm. “They know exactly what you want . . . where you want it.”

Hardin reaches up and swipes her hand from my skin. “Enough,” he growls, and I pull my arm away.

Riley breaks into uncontrollable laughter. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I couldn’t resist. He started it.” She nods toward Hardin through her convulsions and then stops to look at him with a big smile. “I warned you earlier not to fuck with me.”

I let out a breath, extremely relieved that she was only trying to get a rise out of Hardin. A giggle bursts from my mouth, and Hardin looks mortified, pissed off, and . . . maybe slightly turned on?

“You’re paying for the drinks, since you want to be an asshole,” Hardin says, pushing the long piece of paper past me and in front of her.

Riley rolls her eyes and reaches into her back pocket, pulling out a card and placing it on top of the receipt. Cami quickly swipes it and goes to attend to the passed-out man at the other end of the bar.

As we get to the door, Riley announces, “Well, we closed down the bar—Lil is going to be pissed.”

Hardin holds the door for me to walk out. He almost closes it in her face, but I reach out to stop it and give him a hard glare. He laughs and shrugs as if he did nothing wrong, and I can’t stop the smile on my face. He’s a jerk, but he’s my jerk.

Isn’t he?

Nothing’s for certain, but I sure as hell don’t want to think about that while walking back to the cabin at two in the morning.

“Will she still be asleep?” I ask Riley.

“I sure as hell hope so.”

I hope everyone in our cabin is asleep, too. The last thing I want is for Ken or Karen to be awake as we stumble through the front door.

“What? Are you afraid she’ll scold you or something?” Hardin taunts her.

“No . . . well, yes. I don’t want to upset her. I’m already skating on thin ice.”

“Why?” I ask nosily.

“Doesn’t matter,” Hardin says, dismissing me and leaving Riley lost in thought.

The remainder of the walk is spent in near silence. I count my steps and laugh occasionally when I recall my bar-dancing experience.

When we reach Max’s cabin, Riley hesitates before departing. “It was . . . nice to meet you,” she says. I can’t help but laugh at the comical way she scrunches her face, as if the words taste sour coming out of her mouth.

I smile. “You, too; it was fun.” For a moment I think about hugging her, but that would be awkward and I get the feeling Hardin wouldn’t like it at all.

“Bye,” Hardin simply states without stopping.

When we’re almost to the cabin, it hits me how tired I am and how I’m so thankful to be close. My feet are aching, and the harsh fabric of this itchy, uncomfortable dress has surely scratched my skin.

Source: www.allfreenovel.com