Maybe, just maybe, Jared had pulled the corn cob out of his ass and gotten over whatever problem he had with me. It didn’t hurt to hope.
The evenings had turned chilly, so I was reluctant to step out of my warm bed. Throwing off the covers before I chickened out, I slipped on black Chucks and covered my white camisole with my black hoodie. My hair was hanging loose, I was wearing no make-up, and I sported my favorite pair of blue and white pinstriped linen sleep shorts. I could’ve looked better and probably should’ve put on some more modest bottoms, but I just didn’t care. I was too tired, so I just stalked down the stairs and out the front door in all my disheveled glory.
It was either the warm, August evening or my nerves, but I had to roll up my sleeves to cool down as I left my yard and traipsed into his. The front lawn boasted random people, none of whom I recognized, and the beating of my heart relaxed a bit at the knowledge that there’d be few people I might know here. I knew Jared’s list of friends included people from other schools, colleges, and even legal adults from questionable backgrounds. By now, the crowd was so wasted that I slipped by unnoticed.
Inside the house, the carousing was loud and obnoxious. People danced in the living room, or rather some slutty looking girls let themselves get dry-humped, while others sat or stood in various parts of the downstairs chatting, drinking, and smoking. My nose crinkled at the revolting den of underage debauchery and stench…but, I admitted, everyone looked like they were having fun and being normal. It was official. I was a stick-in-the-mud.
Chevelle started pumping through the speakers, which seemed to have an output located in every room. Hats Off to the Bull might make it worth my while coming over after all.
Entering the kitchen in my search for Jared, I immediately halted. While various people lingered around the keg and other, harder offerings located on the countertop, the sight of Madoc sitting at the kitchen table playing drinking games caught me off guard. He was with a few other guys and a couple of girls. It was too late to do an about-face.
“What the f**k are you doing here?” He popped out of his chair and stalked over to me. His sneer was plastic. For show purposes only. I knew Madoc relished any drama that spiced up his night.
And I was drama.
I decided to play it cocky. “Well, I’m not looking for you.” Smirking, I continued to scan the room looking disinterested. “Where’s Jared?”
“He’s already got a girl for tonight. And I doubt he’d be interested in you anyway.” He got in my face with the last.
More than a few girls wanted Madoc’s attention, but I wasn’t one of them. He was good-looking with his bright, blue eyes and styled blonde hair. He had a great body, and his clothes complimented his form. However, I doubted he ever used girls for longer than one night.
I turned to leave and continue my search, but he grabbed me at the elbow. “Actually, I’m a glutton for punishment, but you do look f**king fantastic in your pajamas. If you’re looking for some action, I can take care of you.”
My stomach turned and my body stiffened. Was he joking? Didn’t he have any pride? Freshman and sophomore year, he and Jared made my life hell. I was suffocated everywhere I went. Even at home. Now, he wanted to take me upstairs? Now, I was good enough?
“Hey, man, Jared says she’s off limits.” Sam Parker, one of Jared’s nicer cronies, chimed in from the table.
Madoc’s eyes glided down my body, lingering at my legs. “Jared’s upstairs f**king Piper. He’s got other things on his mind right now.”
My mouth went dry. Unwanted images of the boy I used to share a tent with in my backyard flashed in my mind. Jared was upstairs, in bed right now, screwing some girl. Blowing out a breath, I turned to leave. I just needed to get out of here.
Madoc jerked me backwards into his body and wrapped his arms around me. I briefly registered Sam bolting out of his seat and out of the room. My body twisted and my muscles tensed, but I held off on any serious struggling for the time being. I wanted to see Jared, and hopefully that’s where Sam went. If I could get out of here without major drama, I’d prefer it that way.
But Sam had better be quick, because Madoc’s nose was about to meet the back of my skull.
“You don’t learn, do you?” I stared straight ahead. A few feet away, some guys were playing pool, but paid us no attention. Clearly, the game was more important to them than a girl being assaulted.
“Oh, my nose? It’s healed well, thanks. And I think I owe you for that one, by the way.” His words were muffled as his lips glided down my neck. My shoulders wiggled from side to side as I tried to pry myself out of his grasp.
“You smell good,” he whispered. “Keep fighting me, Tate. It turns me on.” His snort was followed by his tongue darting out and licking my ear lobe before grabbing it between his teeth.
My pulse raced with anger, not fear. Fire surged in my arms and legs.
Play the game. I forgot if those were K.C.’s words or mine, and I didn’t care.
Let’s see how he likes being handled. I worked my hand behind me, in between our bodies, and grabbed Madoc by the crotch. I squeezed just enough to get his attention but not enough to hurt him....yet. Madoc didn’t release me, but he stilled.
“Let.Me.Go,” I gritted out. Onlookers were beginning to take more notice of the scene, but still stayed out of it, looking amused. No one made a move to help me.
I applied a little more pressure, and he finally released his hold. I quickly stepped away before turning to face him, forcing my anger down. Until I got Jared to turn down the damn music, I wasn’t leaving.