“You’re a great dancer,” Alexandria says breathlessly when we slow down, her hands tightening around my neck. “Did you see the look Shep gave you?”
“He can’t believe I’m dancing,” I tell her.
“So you’re doing this just for me then,” she murmurs, her eyes glowing with happiness.
I stop moving and hold her close in the center of the dance floor. I don’t care who’s watching us. “I do a lot of things just for you.”
She smiles. I bend my head down, about to kiss her when someone taps me on the shoulder.
Practically growling, I turn to find my old friend Marc standing in front of me. We joined the fraternity together our freshman year. Used to party with him all the time though we eventually grew apart. Hard to make a friendship stick when all you have in common is that you both like to drink beer. “Hey, Marc—”
“Alex McIntosh? Holy shit, is that really you?” Marc’s not even looking at me. He’s grinning at Alexandria like he just found a long lost friend.
She blinks at him, panic racing across her face, her smile shaky. “Umm…”
“Don’t tell me you don’t remember me because I’ll call you a liar right now to your fucking beautiful face.” Marc reaches for her, pulling her into a bear hug, his hands sprawled across her back, way too close to her ass for my comfort. “I haven’t seen you since high school! Damn, girl you’ve grown up.”
He releases her before I have to step in between them, the lucky bastard. Marc’s staring at her but her gaze keeps shooting to me, like she wants me to say something. I don’t even know what to think. I’m still stuck on the last name. She told me it was Asher. But Marc said McIntosh.
What the hell?
“You two know each other?” I ask her.
Alexandria sends me a pleading look. “We went to high school together.”
“Oh sure, tell Prescott that as if we’re just acquaintances. Like we hardly know each other. We dated when I was a senior and she was a junior for like, what? The entirety of the football season?” The grin on Marc’s face says it all. “Had some fun behind the bleachers and all that shit. You know how it is.” The asshole actually winks at me.
Yeah. I know. He’s fucked her. And now Marc thinks we’re members of the same club or something stupid like that.
“It was nothing serious,” she tells me, like that’s supposed to somehow make it better.
“When is it ever serious, Alex? I remember you going through lots of boyfriends back then.” Marc guffaws like he told a hilarious joke.
I clench my hands into fists. Damn it, I want to rip his fucking face off.
“We should go…” she starts, turning toward me when Marc pipes up again.
“How are your parents anyway? I heard they got in a lot of trouble, what with those charges brought against them and all.”
I go completely still. Charges? Her parents?
“Wait a minute.” Marc snaps his fingers, then points one at Alexandria. “They were found guilty, right? Got sentenced with prison time.” He shakes his head, his voice full of mock sympathy. “That totally sucks.”
Alexandria’s trembling as she steps closer to me. “Take me out of here,” she whispers. “Please.”
“Not enjoying your little reunion with the ex?” I ask, my voice sharp. So sharp she flinches, like I physically cut her.
Damn it, I can’t help it. This Marc prick seems to know more about her than I ever will. And he’s had sex with her. I know he has, the asshole motherfucker. If I could get away with beating his face in, I so would.
Does that make me a jealous asshole? You better believe it does. And I’m cool with it. More than cool because I’d like to take out his punk ass. Just the thought of him having his hands on Alexandria…
I can’t stand it.
“Can’t believe I haven’t seen you around campus. We should get together sometime. Would love to play catch up. Nice dress, by the way.” He touches her again. Actually puts his arm around her waist and that’s when I see red.
That’s when I lose it.
“Tristan, no!” I scream when he shoves Marc away from me so hard Marc falls onto the floor. I lurch forward to help him up but someone else holds me back as we’re suddenly surrounded.
I glance over my shoulder to find that it’s Shep holding me back, his expression determined as he shakes his head. “Stay right here,” he tells me, his voice low and deadly serious. “You don’t need to get in the middle of that mess.”
Jade rushes over to join us. “We don’t want you to get hurt,” she tells me, her hand going to my arm. I nod, shrugging out of Shep’s hold though I don’t move away from him. Instead I wait, panic making my stomach churn.
Shep and Jade don’t want me to get hurt, but I’m hurting already, watching as three guys, including Gabe, hold Tristan back so he doesn’t unleash on Marc, who’s on his feet again. His face is red, the sneer on his face ugly, his eyes glazed over with anger. I recognize that look, even though it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it. Marc had a bit of a temper when we were teens. Guess some things don’t change.
“Why the hell did you do that, asshole?” he roars.
Marc’s also drunk. I remember him always being all about the party, always looking to get high, drunk, whatever. We did go out like he said, messed around a few times even, but like I pointed out, it was nothing serious. There was never anything serious between Marc and I.
He implied we’d been going at it like bunnies from the first moment we met in high school, the prick, the smug look on his face making me want to slap him. I have no doubt Tristan picked up on that.
“You touched her,” Tristan says, nodding in my direction. “You have no right to touch my girl.”
My heart warms at the way he calls me my girl but this has turned into such an ugly scene. I want to leave, just escape and forget this entire night ever happened.
“She was my girl first, dick.” Marc laughs and Tristan lunges for him once more, the other guys holding him back, telling him to calm his shit down.
All I can do is stand there and watch this unfold like I’m some sort of extra on a movie set, not being used but somehow deemed necessary.
“Marc, stop,” I start but Tristan glares at me, his nostrils flaring, his mouth drawn into a tight line.
“You two should go,” Gabe says firmly, his hand on Tristan’s shoulder as he steers him my way. “Unless you don’t want to go home with him?” Gabe asks me, his expression one of genuine concern.
I throw my arms up, irritated by his line of questioning. What, like I’m supposed to be afraid of him now? “Of course, I want to go home with him.”
“Let’s go then.” Tristan shrugs off Gabe’s hand and steps closer to me, his eyes blazing with anger. Disappointment. And a myriad of other emotions I can’t even being to identify. “You ready, Alexandria?”
Nodding, I let him take my arm and escort me out of the room, his grip tight, his expression completely shut off. All that remains is his usual emotionless mask, the one he’s so damn good at wearing.
We don’t say goodbye to anyone and so many of them stare at us as we walk past I’m embarrassed. What a way to end the evening. I feel like I ruined everything. Like stupid idiotic Marc ruined so much too. Why isn’t he getting kicked out? Not that I want to stay but everyone automatically assumes Tristan’s the bad guy in this situation.