Into the Deep Page 27

We were having a great time, laughing and dancing, the four of us in our own little bubble among the crowded party. The apartment was super swank with an open-plan living space and kitchen, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and sliding doors that led out onto a balcony big enough to hold a good portion of the partygoers. All that plus free food and booze? No wonder the place was filled with people, most in costume. This made Claud and I feel a little less out of place. Aaron and Zach were in dark suits, hats, and sunglasses—the Blues Brothers. I thought that was cool.

Being drunk, I thought everything was cool.

It was a good few hours later and Claudia had disappeared with Zach, leaving me on the corner of their massive L-shaped couch with Aaron. When he started kissing me, I let him. I was drunk and fuzzy and hurt and confused and his kisses, his touch, let me forget all that. The kiss deepened and I cupped Aaron’s face, holding him to me, silently asking him to keep going. He was a great kisser and the way he caressed my upper arm with the tips of his fingers was nice.

When he finally let me up for air, he murmured, “Wow,” against my lips. I grinned, a little embarrassed that we’d been making out in public. I turned my head to make sure no one was paying attention and felt my muscles lock as I spotted Jake across the room with Melissa. My vision cleared and I suddenly felt very sober. He was staring straight at me, his face perfectly blank. My stomach flipped as he quickly looked away and frowned at something Melissa said to him.

“Hey, Charley,” Beck’s voice called from above. I twisted around to see him standing behind the couch. “We just got here. Do you know where Claudia is?”

I shook my head, frowning. “I haven’t seen her in a while. She’s not around?”

He shook his head.

“Let’s look for her.”

A hand gripped my leg and I looked back at Aaron. “She’ll be fine.”

“I’ll be back,” I promised and stood up, taking Beck’s hand as he helped me around the couch.

“You both had a lot to drink?” he asked, scowling down at me.

“We’re just having a good time.”

“With a bunch of guys you don’t know.”

“We didn’t know you,” I pointed out.

He sliced me an unamused look from the corner of his eyes but didn’t say anything. We searched the balcony and the bathroom, but no Claudia. I was beginning to get a little worried. Claudia wasn’t the kind of girl to lock herself in a bedroom with a guy she barely knew, so I moved down the hall toward the bedrooms with renewed determination to find her.

Just as we were drawing to a stop at the first door, the second bedroom door opened. Claudia strolled out giggling at someone behind her, readjusting her bustier and hair. “I didn’t think I was going to get that back on,” she laughed, still unaware of us.

“I’m a master with women’s apparel,” Zach smirked as he emerged from the room. His chin lifted when he caught sight of us and seeing his expression, Claudia spun around and jerked in surprise.

I raised an eyebrow at her, completely shocked that she’d gone far enough with Zach to lose clothes. It was unlike her, and it hit me that I’d been so busy with my own problems, I’d completely missed the fact that Claudia was going through something too. The tension magically disappeared out of her body and she threw Beck a flirty smile and said, “What? You were the one who said I was a good girl. Not me.” She brushed past us, a confused Zach following in her wake.

I needed to have a serious talk with my girl.

Feeling his tension beside me, I glanced up at Beck. His jaw was taut and his hand clenched his beer bottle so tight, it was a wonder the thing didn’t shatter.

“Beck …” I didn’t know what to say because I honestly didn’t know what was going on between them.

However, I might as well have been a ghost.

“Fuck it,” Beck muttered. He turned and strode back into the party without a word to me.

As soon as I shook myself out of the confusing scene, I wandered back into the party to find Beck had a girl pressed against the wall, flirting his ass off. That boy moved faster than a cheetah.


Strong arms wrapped around me and my feet left the ground as Matt gave me a bear hug. When he settled me back on the ground, I found myself standing beside Jake and Melissa.


And Jake wouldn’t look at me.

Double great.

“Having fun, Supergirl?” Matt winked, raking his eyes over me again.

“I will be once you get me a beer.”

Finally, Jake honored me with his attention. “Don’t you think you’ve had enough?”

What is your problem? I’m not your girlfriend! Your girlfriend is standing right next to you. I’m the girl you dumped, remember?

“No, Dad, I don’t,” I answered, my drunken, loose lips about to get insulting when arms came around my waist and pulled me back into a strong chest. Aaron.

“I need to steal Supergirl away for a bit,” he told the group, laughter in his voice. “She needs to rescue me from a dire, dire situation …”

I laughed and let him drag me away, hoping it annoyed the f**k out of Jake. Uneasiness settled over me almost immediately, though, when Aaron led me down the hall to bedroom number one.

I tugged on his hand and he looked over his shoulder. “What?”

“I’m not going in there with you.” I shook my head and tried to pull my hand out of his, but Aaron held tight.

“Come on, Charley. Loosen up a little with me.”

Annoyed at his persistence and annoyed at myself for giving him the wrong impression, I yanked my hand back. “I’m not sleeping with you.”

Aaron’s handsome face darkened. “Are you kidding me? I’ve wasted all night on you. I thought it was clear that this was just going to be a f**k.”

My ears were ringing with his brutal honesty, so I didn’t reply.

He sighed heavily and brushed past me, leaving me standing there feeling stupid and worthless. In the morning I’d be pissed that I let him make me feel that way, but right then, I was too drunk to push my gloomy feelings away.

Back in the main room Beck was making out with some random girl and Denver, Rowena, Jake, and Melissa weren’t anywhere to be seen.

Lowe and Matt were chatting and drinking at the kitchen island.

Lowe gave me his sexy, flirty grin as I approached. “Babe, you’re killing me in that outfit. You should wear skirts more often. You’ve got great legs.”

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