You and Everything After(10)

By: Ginger Scott

“Be right back,” I say, holding both cups in one hand and pushing myself back inside.

The crowd around the keg is thick; I move toward the kitchen and pick up a few smaller cups, filling them with the tequila I brought. I pour eight shots, putting them on a plate in my lap, knowing I can probably talk Nate into doing a few with me. I know he said he was done with this…but I think he’ll play along just long enough for me to get in with Cass.

By the time I get outside, the other blonde—Paige was her name, I think—has made herself at home on Nate’s lap; I catch his glance and wiggle my brows at him. He shakes his head and rolls his eyes a little. I know if he truly hated having this girl crawl all over him like she’s doing—he’d put an end to it. My brother might think he’s done with his partying ways, but he also has a hard time saying no to certain things.

“Shots?” Cass says, wrinkling her nose.

“Beer line was long,” I say, glancing over my shoulder. When I turn back to her, I hand her the still-empty red cup from my lap, but not before noticing the name she’s scribbled on it. “Adrianna, huh?” I ask, glaring at her and wondering why she’s pretending to have a different name. I know her name’s Cass—I heard it loud and clear the other day, and there’s no fucking way I was going to forget it.

“That’s me,” she says, pulling it from my hand and kicking off from the wall, “and I’ll just get my own beer then.”

Her friend is still working on Nate, but I can tell my brother’s not taking the bait this time. He keeps checking messages on his phone, asking about scores when other people walk by—scores for games that I know there’s no way he’s interested in. Cass, or Adrianna, is standing on the tips of her toes looking over the crowded living room for the keg. The party is starting to really get going now, and I know she’s not getting to that keg for at least fifteen minutes. And when she does, there’s a good chance it’ll be dry anyway. She turns back to me; I hold up my makeshift platter of tequila and raise an eyebrow.

“Yeah, tequila it is, I guess,” she sighs, coming back to lean against the wall next to me. I hand her one of the tiny paper cups, and when our fingers touch, we both react, almost dropping the liquid.

“Damn, sorry. I thought you had that,” I say, catching it just before it spills, minus the few drops that splash over the side onto her. I’m nervous in front of her, and it’s really fucking weird. She licks the tequila from the top of her hand, then reaches to take a new cup from my lap, my pulse racing the closer she comes to touching me. What the hell?

“Paige?” she says, elbowing her friend and handing her a drink. They have an odd exchange at first—her friend looking at the drink for several seconds and then at Cass—almost like she’s scolding her. “Just take the stupid drink, Paige.”

Before the quiet grows any more uncomfortable, I pick up a cup and hand it to Nate, raising my brows high, urging him to do one shot—just one, man. Come on. After an eye-roll and a heavy sigh, he takes the drink from me, tilts it back, and lets it slide down fast, which thankfully, has Paige mimicking his actions and doing the same. Without pause, Cass downs hers quickly. Before I can blink, she reaches for another, and it goes just as fast.

I’m pretty sure she’s drunk way before she realizes it. I’ve had two, maybe three shots, but she’s gone and refilled the cups twice, which would put her at about…six, I think. “So…wanna play a game?” she slurs, as she sloppily pulls up one of the patio chairs, pushing it right in front of me, and sitting down—our knees touch. I can’t feel it, but I swear just seeing her bare legs grazing mine is the hottest sensation ever. Or maybe I’m drunker than I think I am, too.

“Sure, I’m in,” I say, moving the plate of empty cups from my lap to the table at the side of us. I lean forward and crack my knuckles, watching as she tries to crack hers. It’s cute, the way she acts tough. She holds her hands out flat and nods at me to do the same. When I hold them in the air in front of her, she studies them for a few seconds and then pulls them a little closer before resting her hand flat in mine, her knuckles on top.

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