“You’re not supposed to eat the whole lime.” Tara laughs and Stan shakes his head, smiling. “Watch me, and then you’re going to do it again.”
“Okay.” I watch as she does exactly what I did, but in the end, she just puts the fleshy part of the lime into her mouth.
“Voila,” she says, taking a bow. “Now, it’s your turn.”
“Okay, but this is the last one,” I tell her, taking the salt from her hand while she gets the tequila from the bartender. I do the shot just like she did, the burn filling my chest as I shove the lime between my lips. “Holy cow,” I breathe out.
“Now, let’s dance!” she shouts, and before I can tell her yes or no, she’s dragging me out onto the dance floor.
“Oh God, kill me now,” I moan, covering my face. My head feels like it’s going to explode, my stomach feels like a million bubbles have taken up home in it, and my body feels like it’s been run over by a sixteen-wheeler.
“Go back to sleep,” a male voice that sounds like Kenton’s says and my body goes rigid.
Praying I’m wrong, I peek out from between my fingers. Nope, not wrong. What the hell happened last night?
“What are you doing here?” I ask, not sure I want to know, seeing how I’m wearing nothing but a sheet, his body is naked at least from the waist up, and his arm is draped across my stomach, his frame plastered to the length of mine.
“Sleep.” He squeezes my waist and my stomach slightly contracts.
I try to remember last night, but my brain is coming up with nothing. My whole night is blank after my second shot of tequila.
“Stop thinking and sleep.”
“I have to get up,” I tell him, trying to lift his giant arm. My body feels so weak that I stop trying after a couple of seconds.
“You were up all night. You just went to bed two hours ago. You need to sleep. I need to sleep, so stop moving around.”
My eyes widen when I realize that his very evident erection is pressed up against my leg. “I can’t remember anything,” I tell him, covering my face.
“Seeing how you drank a shit-ton of tequila last night, that’s not surprising,” he mumbles sleepily.
“Please don’t say that word.” I shake my head. Just the thought of that drink alone has my body ready to revolt. “How did I get home?”
“I’ll tell you every embarrassing detail from the time you texted me until now when we wake up later.”
“Oh God, I texted you?” I groan.
“You did. Now, go to sleep.”
“I feel sick.”
“You have nothing left if your stomach,” he says on a sigh.
“What do you mean?”
“You were sick all night.”
“This just keeps getting better and better,” I whisper.
“Sleep, babe,” he says quietly as I feel his lips against the bare skin of my shoulder; the touch has my pulse picking up.
“Why am I naked?” I ask, concentrating on the feeling between my legs. I sigh in relief when I don’t feel any tenderness or anything that would lead me to believe I did anything stupider than drink too much and send drunken texts.
“You were sick and I put you in the shower last night. I tried to give you a shirt, but you wouldn’t take it.”
“Oh,” I say, squeezing my eyes closed.
“Don’t worry. I didn’t see anything. Much,” he says quietly, and I can hear a smile in his voice.
“I’m never drinking again.”
“Why?” he asks, sounding surprised. “You had a good time. You just don’t know your limit. I will be having a talk with Tara. No way should she have given you shots of tequila on your first night out drinking.”
“You are not talking with Tara.” I shake my head, imagining him talking to her. I can see it now—it would be a lot of yelling and none of it nice.
“We’ll talk about it later. Right now, we’re going to sleep, and then later, we’re going to my Aunt Viv’s house for dinner.”
“Your aunt?” I shake my head in disbelief.
“Yep, my aunt.”
“How in the hell does this stuff happen to me?” I question as my stomach gurgles loudly.
“You’ll be okay. You had some Tums a little while ago.” He squeezes my side, and I’m pretty sure my life is like a really bad Lifetime movie.
“You can go to your room,” I tell him after a few minutes.
“No, I’m comfortable.”
“I’m not,” I whine.
“Go to sleep, Autumn.”
“You can.” He squeezes me again. “Close your eyes and go to sleep or I will give you something that will put you to sleep.”
“You didn’t just say that.”
“Sleep,” he growls.
“Can you at least move your arm so I can move?” I pull the sheet up higher on my chest, lifting my head slightly to see if I can spot a shirt anywhere near me.
“Jesus, you’re a pain in my ass.” He flings his arm behind him and pulls a piece of fabric from behind his back.
“Why do you have this?” I ask when I see that it’s a shirt.
“I just told you. I tried to put it on you last night, but you refused.”
“Oh,” I whisper, slipping the shirt on over my head and then shimmying it down under the sheet.
“Now, lay your ass down and go to sleep.” He tugs me back onto the bed, not giving me a choice.
I turn my back to him and try to scoot away, but it feels like it takes all of my energy to move an inch. I close my eyes as he pulls me into him. My ass curves into his hips, his arm wraps around my waist, and his bicep slides under my head like a pillow. I try not to think about how it makes me feel to be so close to him. I try to tell myself that I don’t feel incredibly safe and comfortable. Before I can convince myself that I hate how I feel, I fall asleep.
I wake up slowly and take notice that I don’t feel the warmth of Kenton behind me, and I open my eyes, wondering if I dreamt the whole thing. I lift my head slightly and look at the clock. “Shit,” I whisper, seeing that it’s eleven already. I take a deep breath and smell Kenton’s cologne. I lift some of my hair to my nose. The smell is so strong that my stomach flips over.
I take my time sitting up on the side of the bed, and I see that a glass full of water, two Tylenols, and a few Tums have been set on the nightstand. I don’t want to think that it’s sweet that he thought about how I would feel when I woke up and made sure to leave them where I would find them before I got out of bed, but I can’t stop thinking about it as I take the pills.