Chapter One Hundred and Fifteen

After We Fell


one hundred and fifteen




Max sidles up to me and asks, “Where do you suppose she took Theresa off to?”

    I correct him. How the fuck does he even know her name is Theresa? Okay, maybe it’s a little obvious that’s her full name, but I don’t like his saying it.

    “Tessa.” He smiles and takes a long sip of champagne. “She’s a lovely girl.”

    I reach for a bottled water from the table and ignore his prodding. I have no interest in talking to the man. I should’ve gone with Tessa and Kimberly, wherever they went. I try to show Tessa that I can “lighten up,” and this is where it gets me. Sitting next to this guy in a club with shitty music.

    “I’ll be back in a second; the band just arrived,” Christian informs us. He tucks his cell phone into his dress slacks and wanders off. Max stands and follows him, giving his date instructions to enjoy herself, to have more champagne.

    They aren’t seriously leaving me alone in here with this chick . . .

    “Looks like it’s just us two,” this Stacey Whomever chick says to me, confirming that yes, that’s exactly what they just did.

    “Mm . . .” I spin the plastic cap of a water bottle across the stone table.

    “So what do you think of the place? Max says it’s been packed every night since the opening.” She smiles at me. I pretend not to notice when she tugs at the bottom of her tiny dress to expose her cleavage . . . or lack thereof.

    “It only opened a few days ago. Of course it’s been packed.”

    “Even so, it’s a nice place.” She uncrosses her legs and crosses them again.

    Could she be any more desperate? At this point I can’t even tell if she’s actually trying to come on to me or if she’s just so accustomed to being a whore that it’s all automatic.

    She leans across the table between us. “Do you want to dance? There’s room in here.” Her long fingernails brush against my sleeve, and I jerk away.

    “Are you out of your fucking mind?” I move to the other end of the couch. This time last year I would have taken her desperate ass into the bathroom and fucked her brains out. Now the thought makes me want to vomit on her white dress.

    “What? I only asked to dance.”

    “Maybe dance with your married boyfriend,” I snap and reach to push the curtain back, hoping to see Tessa.

    “Don’t be so quick to judge me. You don’t even know me.”

    “I know enough.”

    “Yeah, well, I know some stuff about you, too, so if I were you, I’d watch it.”

    “Do you, now?” I laugh.

    She narrows her eyes at me, trying to intimidate me, I’m sure. “Yes, I do.”

    “If you knew shit about me, you would know better than to be threatening me right now,” I warn her.

    She lifts a champagne flute and gives me a little salute. “You’re exactly like they say . . .”

    Which is my cue to leave. I push through the curtains to go find Tessa so we can get the hell out of here.

    Exactly like who says? Who does she think she is? Christian is lucky that I promised Tessa a nice night. Otherwise, Max would have to answer for his whore’s mouth.

    I circle the club in search of Tessa’s sparkling dress and Kimberly’s bright blond hair. I’m thankful that this is not the type of place where everyone is swaying around on a dance floor; most of the patrons are seated at tables, making my search that much easier. Finally, I find them standing at the main bar, talking to Christian, Max, and some other guy. Tessa’s back is toward me, but I can tell by her posture that she’s nervous. Seconds later, another guy joins them, and as I get closer, the first man starts to look more and more familiar to me.

    “Hardin! There you are.” Kimberly reaches out her arm to touch my shoulder, but I dodge her and move to Tessa. When she turns to me, her blue-gray eyes are wary as they lead my gaze to the guest.

    “Hardin, this is my teacher from World Religion, Professor Soto,” she says, smiling politely.

    Are you fucking kidding me? Does everyone end up making their way to Seattle?

    “Jonah,” he corrects her. He pushes his hand into the space between us for a handshake that I’m too thrown off to deny.