“Thanks.” I took the cup and then slowly turned back around. What to do? What to do?
Sipping my drink, I ambled around the stage and stopped by a pillar that looked like a unicorn had puked glitter all over it. I stretched up on the tips of my toes and scanned the crowd until I found Heidi.
A wide smile broke out across my face. She wasn’t alone. Emery had come to her, and she was eyeing Heidi like I eyed tacos on most days.
That was what I wanted at some point in my life, for someone to look at me like I looked at tacos.
Heidi’s back was to me, her shoulders swaying as Emery’s arm swept around Heidi’s waist. I so wasn’t going to bust up their little dance party. I would wait until they were done. Meanwhile, I was going to do my best not to think about how I looked lurking by the edge of the dance floor. Since I knew I probably looked pretty dumb. Maybe even a little creepy. I took another drink. Wasn’t like standing here all night was a viable—
I turned at the sound of a vaguely familiar voice. Shock splashed through me. A girl from school stood behind me. We had had class together last year. English. “Colleen?”
She smiled as she tilted her head. The tops of her cheekbones glittered. She had the smoky eye thing going on, just like me. “What in the world are you doing here?”
I lifted a shoulder. “Just hanging out. You?”
“With some friends.” Her brows knitted as she tucked several strands of blond hair behind her ear. “I didn’t know you hung out here.”
“Um, this is my first time.” I took a sip of water as I glanced over my shoulder. I didn’t know Colleen all that well, so I had no idea if this was something she did every weekend or if this was her first time here too. “Do you come here a lot?”
“Sometimes.” She smoothed a hand over the skirt of her dress. It was a slightly lighter blue than mine, and strapless. “I didn’t know you liked to come—” Her head jerked toward the dance floor, and her flushed cheeks deepened in color. I thought maybe someone had called her name. “I’ve got to go. You’ll be here for a while?”
I nodded, having no idea how long I’d be here.
“Cool.” She started backing up, grinning. “We should chat later. Okay?”
“Okay.” I wiggled my fingers at her and watched as she turned, slipping past the churning bodies along the edge of the dance floor. I knew that people from school came here, but I guess I hadn’t been expecting to see anyone, which was stupid—
A hand landed on my shoulder. Startled, I jumped and water splashed over my hands and hit the front of my dress. Wrenching forward, I pulled away from the grip and spun around, prepared to throat-punch whoever had grabbed me, like my mom had taught me. I froze, my stomach dropping as I found myself staring into the studded face of Mr. Clyde.
Oh, this couldn’t be good.
“Hi?” I said weakly.
“You need to come with me.” The hand on my shoulder grew heavier. “Now.”2
My stomach hollowed as I glanced at the sparkly pillar like it could be of some help. “Uh, why?”
His dark gaze met mine, and all I could focus on was the tiny diamond under his eye. That had to be such a painful piercing. He didn’t speak as he gripped my arm with a meaty hand and wheeled me around. Panic blossomed as I looked at the dance floor, unable to see Heidi or Emery in the crush of dancers.
Heart pounding in my chest, I held on to my water as Clyde led me away from my pretty pillar. My cheeks caught fire as a few people at the tables stared. An older girl smirked and shook her head as she lifted a glass of amber-colored liquor to her mouth.
This was so embarrassing.
I was about to be thrown out. Just my luck. Which meant I was going to have to text Zoe or someone to come get me, because I was not going to ruin Heidi’s night. Not when Emery had approached her. I was going—
Clyde wasn’t leading me to the front of the club.
He suddenly cut to the left, dragging me along with him. My heart dropped all the way to my pinched toes when I realized where he was taking me. The shadowy alcove—to the couch.
Sitting in the same lazy sprawl as before, still tapping those long, tapered fingers, was Luc. His lips tilted up at the corners.
Shock stole my breath. Normally I would be relatively excited about chatting with an extraordinarily hot guy—especially with a guy who, wow, had such thick black lashes—but everything about this was wrong.