I get out of bed and look down at myself, noticing that I’m not wearing one of my shirts, but a shirt I’m sure belongs to him. I walk to the dresser and get a pair of panties and a bra before going to the closet and grabbing a pair of shorts, a tank top, and an oversized sweater. I open my bedroom door, looking both ways before running across the hall to the bathroom.
Once inside, I quietly shut the door and turn to look in the mirror. I cover my mouth with my hand when I see myself. My hair is sticking out all over my head. My eye makeup is smeared around my eyes and down my cheeks, and my freckles stand out due to how pale I look.
“Kill me now,” I whisper to my refection as I grab a couple of makeup remover cloths from the drawer and wipe my face. When I’m done, I start the shower and step inside. I look down when I feel something soggy under my feet. My dress from last night is on the shower floor, sopping wet, so I pick it up and ring it out before tossing it over the shower rail.
I don’t know what happened last night, and I can’t help but be thankful I don’t remember anything. I can only imagine the kind of fool I made out of myself while drunk. I get out of the shower and quickly get dressed before french braiding my hair and putting on some mascara, blush, and lip gloss.
As I’m picking up my clothes from the floor, my eye catches my cell phone sitting on the back of the toilet. I pick it up, looking at the black screen, afraid to click it on. I say a silent prayer that I didn’t actually text Kenton last night and that he was just joking when he told me what I’d done. I press the round button before sliding my finger across the screen.
The picture that is now my background has me almost dropping the phone into the toilet. I’m lying across the bar at the club we were at with my dress up around my waist. A guy has his back to the camera and his upper body is bent over me, his face near my stomach.
“Please, no,” I whisper, and my shaky fingers press the icon for my text messages. As soon as the screen changes, texts between Kenton and me pop up. “No, no, no…” I chant, reading the messages.
Me: Why do you hav to so hot?
Kenton: Where are you?
Me: da clubs lol
Kenton: What club?
Me: I wants to kis you all ovr
Kenton: Dammit, tell me where you are.
Me: I asj Tara shesnice.
Kenton: I’m on my way.
Me: howz that
Me: Yoi kisz god
Kenton: Go to the bar and ask for water.
Me: Tequeda is like watber
Kenton: Baby, I need you to find somewhere to sit down until I get there.
Me: Sitty with a nicews guy
Kenton: Where’s Tara?
Kenton: Parking now.
I close my eyes and bite the inside of my cheek hard, trying not to cry from embarrassment. I’m never drinking again.
Not My Ass!
After I read the text messages in the bathroom, I try to sneak back into my bedroom, planning to hide out until it’s time to go to Viv’s house for dinner. Unfortunately, as soon as I make it back into my room, Kenton knocks on the door.
I think about not answering, but I don’t want to be mean after he so obviously took care of me the night before. As soon as I tell him to come in, he pushes the door open, carrying a cup of coffee in one hand and a bagel in the other. I don’t know how to react to him being sweet. Since the day I met him, things have been a roller coaster, and I’m not someone who likes amusement parks.
“I want you to try to eat something,” he says, walking around the bed.
“Thanks, and thank you for taking care of me last night,” I tell him, taking the coffee from his hand as he sets the bagel down on the bedside table.
“How’s your head?”
“Better. Thanks for the Tylenol.”
The small smile he gives me has my eyes dropping to his mouth. I take in his face, the scruff along his jaw, and the way his hair hangs, touching the collar of his shirt.
“You need to shave,” I blurt and look away, but my eyes go back to him when his laugh hits my ears.
“You think so?” he asks, rubbing his hand along his jaw. I want to lean forward and touch his face to see what it feels like against my skin. “You might like it,” he mumbles, his eyes dropping to my thighs.
I don’t know if he’s thinking what I am, but the thought of the rough scruff on his jaw running along the inside of my thighs has my hands shaking.
“Eat. We’ll head out in a couple of hours. I got some stuff to take care of before then, but come find me in the office,” he says, his voice sounding deeper than before.
I nod, not able to say anything. I have a feeling that any words that might come out of my mouth right now would be incoherent anyways.
He looks at me again then stands, shaking his head. I watch him as he walks to the bedroom door, stops at the threshold to look at me over his shoulder before tapping the doorjamb twice, and then leaves the room. I let out a long breath, wondering what the hell I’m going to do. I’m drawn to him. He scares the shit out of me. I’m never like this and don’t know what to do with the jumbled mess my emotions are in.
“You okay?” Kenton asks, and I look from the house in front of us over to him and nod before I start to open the door to his car. “Wait here while I come around,” he says, unfolding his large body from behind the driver’s seat.
I watch him walk around to the passenger’s side of the car. Watching him move is fascinating to me. He reminds me of a lion or a bear, his movements fluid, even with his large mass.
He opens my door and I get out, running my sweaty palms down the front of my shorts as I stand. As soon as I clear the door of the car, his hand goes to the small of my back and he leads me up the front porch. He doesn’t even knock or ring the bell; he just opens the screen door and walks us into the house.
My feet stop inside the front door. I didn’t tell Viv that Kenton was going to be bringing me, and I don’t want her to think that I’m rude, even if they are family.
“What’s wrong?” he asks, his eyebrows coming together.
“I feel bad. I should have called and told Viv what was going on. I don’t like springing this on her,” I tell him, fidgeting with the ends of my sweater.
“I called her this morning and told her I was coming,” he assures me.
“It’s all good. Come on.” He grabs my hand, pulling me along with him.
When we clear the front hall, we walk into the large living room, where more than a dozen people turn to look at us.