“Shit,” I hiss. “Shit shit shit.”
I shove people out of my way and don’t give a fuck when they call me a bitch. I don’t have time to worry about Maxie and Chance. I don’t have time to think about anything.
“Tipsy already?” Dean smirks as I reach him, clearly ignoring the fact that I’m out of breath and panicking. “You’re usually better than this, Mayfield.”
He tenses. “Who?”
“The stranger. From the bar. He’s here.”
Dean immediately turns stiff. His jaw ticks and those eyes darken even more—but there’s a dangerous glint somewhere. One of his fists clench and I don’t think he even notices.
“I fucking knew it,” he breathes, nostrils flaring. “That shady little bastard. Following us like some damn Peeping Tom. Where is he? Let me go talk to—”
“No!” I put my hand in front of his torso. He freezes, and the muscles beneath his shirt grow tight. Dean looks down at it and has a little frown in his face, eyebrows furrowed. Shit. I forgot about the bruise on his abdomen. I pull back quickly. “Sorry. Does it still hurt?”
“No.” He’s still tense.
I sigh. “You’re heated up right now. Let me handle it.”
“Are you even sober?”
“Sober enough,” I spat. I don’t like it when we fight. We’re supposed to be on one team, and while this pact brings us closer—
—it can also tear us apart.
I turn around before he can say anything else.
The plan is already wrapping around my head by the time I spot the stranger again. Curly blond hair; brown eyes; fancy dress shirt that’s out of place. I think back to what I’m wearing. If Maxie can still seduce boys with a T-shirt over her turtleneck, I can do the same with my skirt and stockings, right? Or maybe that’s because she’s cute as hell.
Whatever. I can be seductive enough to get him into a room.
So I can figure out what the hell this bitch wants.
“Hi there,” I smile my most flirtatious smile. “You look a little lost there. Let me introduce myself.” I extend a hand. “I’m Lina.”
Though you probably knew that already.
“Elliot,” the stranger responds, his voice deep. Wait—where have I heard that voice before? “Nice to meet you. And yes, I’ll admit I’m a little lost.”
“Don’t worry, you’ve got yourself a tour guide,” I wink, holding back from cringing at myself and pulling back too quickly of his hand. “So, which way do you wanna head to? The dance floor? The crackhead corner? The orgy room?”
He chuckles. “Wherever the drinks are.”
I tense. I don’t know if he’s testing me. “Wise choice.”
Who are you?
“Enjoying the party?” Elliot asks nonchalantly, walking beside me. He makes me nervous—and not the good kind.
“It was a bit boring,” I graze a table with my fingers as we pass by, “though it’s gotten a bit more interesting.”
“Is that so?”
His tone is just as suggestive as mine, but flirting with him makes me sick. Especially with Dean watching us right now.
When we arrive at the drinks table, the only ones available are root beer, some Red Bull and a half finished bottle of coke. “You’ve come at the wrong hour,” I click my tongue.
“Or at the exact right one.” Elliot’s looking at me as he says this.
I lower my lashes, tilting my head. “Wanna find out?” I inch closer and angle my exposed thigh subtly. He glances at it.
Don’t believe me, Dean.
“You’re the tour guide,” he lets out a low laugh. “I’ll take my chances.”
With that, I take his hand. He squeezes it with a firm grip, making my heart jump out of my chest for a moment. My cheeks heat at what’s implied, at the thought of what we’re going to do.
I lead Elliot upstairs, ignoring the catcalls and whistles that follow my footsteps. I give the nearest boys the middle finger and they scurry off. After what feels like forever, we reach an empty bedroom. I let him go in first.
We stand in front of the bed, just looking at each other. As if we’re both waiting for the other to strike.
Then I hear the door crack again.
And he closes the door shut.
“Uh,” Elliot laughs nervously, “what’s going—”
“Who are you?” I blurt, my heart thundering in my chest. “And don’t lie to us. We know it was you in The Black Swan. Near Boston Avenue. You approached us—”
“—and now you’re here,” Dean finishes, jaw clicking. He crosses his arms as he leans against the door he just locked. “Stalking us like a creep. Care to explain who the fuck you think you are?”
Elliot blinks. For a moment I think I’m stupid, that I’ve made a huge mistake, that he’s just some random college guy.
But then he smiles.
“Elliot Duarte,” he sits on the bed, nonchalant as if this was a normal conversation with friends rather than an interrogation. “And you’re Leanna Mayfield.”