“Uh-oh, why’d they get in trouble?” Quinn asked nervously.

Jace shrugged his shoulders. “I think they just weren’t running plays correctly. Coach is anal like that.”

“Great, now they’ll be in delightful moods. It’s probably best we meet them there,” she responded.

I actually liked this plan better. I could get in a few shots before Jax even got there, without having to explain why I was taking them. Then hopefully, this crazy negative energy charging through my veins would chill out in time for me to act normal around my boyfriend. I hoped it worked, because I needed these memories out of my head. Last night, I had dreamt about the last time I had spent with both my mom and dad, before they got divorced. We had gone to this little amusement park a couple of hours away and I had fallen in love with the only rollercoaster there. I swear they rode that ride with me a million times that day. I just kept remembering how hard my dad was laughing when we rode through the upside-down loops. I needed to drown out that laugh. God, how do you stop missing someone? Especially someone you were so mad at?

“I’m going to ride the bike there, is that cool? Or do you ladies need me to drive you?” Jace asked while walking toward the door.

I was still stuck in my flashback so Quinn responded for us. “Go ahead, Jace, we’ll be right behind you.” When he closed the door behind him, she turned and stared at my face. “Are you sure you’re okay, your face is pale.”

“I’m fine, Quinn, stop mothering me. Let’s go.” I shouldn’t have said that, it was cruel. She had always been my support through everything, but just for today and tomorrow, I didn’t need anyone prying.

I grabbed my phone off the kitchen countertop and noticed I had actually missed two calls. One was from Jaxon, one was from a number I didn’t recognize, and they had both left voicemails. I entered in my voice mailbox code and listened to what they had to say.

The first one was from Jax: “Hey babe, we f**ked up at practice today, Coach is keeping us late. I’ll meet you there tonight. Love you.” It was still strange to me how he would just throw in that last little line now. His voice had sounded stressed; looks like he was joining the crowd that would be blowing off some steam tonight.

The second message was from a voice I didn’t know: “Yes, I’m calling for a Emerson Moore. This is William Gordon calling from the Law Offices of Gordon, Simon & Bates. I have an urgent matter pertaining sensitive material set up by Robert and Michelle Moore. If you could call me back at your earliest convenience, I would appreciate it.”

Thank God, Quinn was in the bathroom and had left me alone in here. I’m positive if my face was pale before, it was downright colorless now. My stomach had hit the floor when I heard my parents’ names. No one had said either of their names to me in years. What could this lawyer possibly have to tell me? It’s not like my parents were out there stirring up new situations. They were dead. Mr. Gordon would have to wait until tomorrow. Tonight I was getting wasted.

There were two things wrong with this party already. The first being that there wasn’t any tequila, only beer. I could get drunk off beer, but it was taking me longer to get there. The second problem was Devon Ryan was here, the only other guy I’ve come close to dating. I never expected to see him again after he transferred to some school up north after freshman year. If I were smart, I would have just left after discovering the first problem.

When I arrived, I went straight for the kitchen to find the hidden liquor. To my disappointment, all the bottles were empty. When I slammed the last cabinet above the fridge in frustration, I felt hands reach up around my waist and help me off the countertop. The mysterious hands set me down and I turned around to face Devon.

“Devon?” I gasped when I saw his golden brown eyes and blond hair. He still looked as handsome as ever. He had a long lean body like a swimmer, which I had appreciated freshman year. Now that I’ve had Jaxon’s body though, nothing could compare.

“Hey, little lady. How’s life treating you?” He smirked at me, assuming I was checking him out. I wasn’t though; I was just surprised to see him.

“Well, I plan on spending today and tomorrow drunk, but then everything will go back to being great after that.” I popped open a beer.

“Uh, okay. What’s today and tomorrow?” Shit, why had I just said that out loud, especially to him?

We needed a subject change. “Don’t you have a cousin down here?”

He laughed at my avoidance, “Yes, that’s why I’m here. Well that, and for the championship game. You guys got lucky with that Jaxon Riley guy; he’s killing it out here.”

“Yeah, my boyfriend’s pretty great.” I finished the beer and went for another.

“Is that what you’re calling those poor suckers these days?” He laughed.

“Holy shit, this guy must walk on water to get Em Moore to settle down.” He pinched me in the side and I laughed.

An hour and a half later, I had finally reached wasted status and I was on the dance floor trying to sweat out this frantic energy I still had inside of me. I was hoping I could drink it away, but I swear someone in this room had the same exact laugh as my dad, or maybe I was just hearing things. Devon was dancing next to me in the middle of the dance floor. I wouldn’t say we were dancing together, just dancing in the same vicinity. I didn’t feel like dancing with anyone, just needed this feeling to go away.

I stepped away from the dancing to get another drink out of the kitchen when I was scooped up into strong familiar arms. He started raining kisses across my eyelids, nose, and then finally my mouth. I smiled into his kiss and enjoyed the clean scent of Jaxon.

“I missed you, Beautiful. Sorry it’s taken me so long to get here.” He smiled down at me, although he still had some tension in the corners of his eyes.

“S’okay.” Damn, I was smashed and I knew I was slurring.

“Are you drunk?” he asked, shocked. I couldn’t tell if he was upset about that or not, so I just shrugged my shoulders.

All of a sudden, Quinn came barreling through and grabbed me by the arms to take me in the kitchen. Jaxon followed behind, along with Cole.

“Emmy, tell me I didn’t see you out there dancing with Devon Ryan?” she screeched at me.

“Okay, first of all, I wasssn’t dancin’ with anybody.” I hope they couldn’t tell how bad I was slurring. My head didn’t feel drunk, but my actions showed that I was. “But ya, thas him.” I placed my forearms down on the countertop to steady myself. This room was spinning faster than I cared for.

“Shit, Em, you’re hammered,” Cole said laughing at me.

“Who the hell is Devon Ryan?” Jaxon stepped in to ask Quinn.

“The only guy besides you that came close to being her boyfriend,” she decided to input.

“Shut the hell up, Quinn, I never had a boyfriend before Jax.”

He continued giving Quinn a questioning look, deeming me too drunk to be accountable, so she continued, “He was the reason she created the three-limit rule.”

I groaned at how they were talking about me like I wasn’t even here. They were also starting to sober me up with this conversation. I really couldn’t deal with them right now. I hadn’t done anything wrong here. I stood up to leave the kitchen in search of another way to get these memories out of my head when Rachel and a couple of girls came into the kitchen smiling right at Jaxon.

She came over to him and placed her hand on his shoulder with a perfected pouty look. “Are you really dating her exclusively now?” She said ‘her’ like she was disgusted with the idea. I figured she was up to something because by now, I had no doubt she knew damn well that we were dating.

He removed her hand and stepped back. “Sure am, sorry Rach.” I’m not sure whether I should be glad he used a nickname for her or not. It seemed too personal, but then again, he never called me by my nickname and we were about as personal as I knew how to get with someone.

Her pouty routine was grossing me out, when she continued, “Aw boo, and does that mean I don’t get any more rides on the motorcycle? It’s so hot the way I could hold tightly onto your waist as we took those twists and turns.”

And… I was sober. Thanks a lot, bitch. I was trying to find my words as I stared at the two of them. Rachel stood there smiling at me, knowing exactly what she had just said.

Quinn stepped in before Jaxon could comment, “You’ve been on the motorcycle with Jaxon? Are you sure it wasn’t Jace?” she gasped.

She turned her saccharine smile toward Quinn. “Oh, I know who I had between my thighs; it was definitely this hunky guy right here.” She patted his chest, while I heard him groan and I almost ripped her arm out of its socket, but I was completely frozen.

When had this happened? If she was just now bringing this up, was it while we had been dating? Even if we hadn’t been dating yet, I’ve been asking to go on that motorcycle since the first day of school and he always told me ‘no’. Why would he take her?

“You remember, silly, it was that night after the game.” She turned toward Jaxon. “When we were all at that party. Actually, it was at Quinn and Em’s apartment. You came up to me to ask me to leave with you. We had so much fun.” She smiled brightly, while pretending to stare off at a fond memory.

I was going to be sick. On one hand, I had no room to be mad. I had pissed him off that night and told him to back off of me. I remember him leaving with Rachel. He told me that he had just taken her home. Rachel made it sound like a lot more had happened. Why take the motorcycle though?

“Shut up, Rachel, I took you home and that was it,” Jaxon growled at her.

She shrugged her shoulders and walked out with her crew following behind. Her damage had already been done and she knew it. I started backing out of the kitchen toward the patio door.

“Don’t do this, Emerson. Don’t you dare start running from me. I get to at least explain the situation.” He looked at me, angrily coming toward me.

“What’s there to explain? I think I understand pretty clearly. I told you to back off from me that night, and anything that happened after that, I deserved.” He didn’t understand that this was my fault not his. I continued my retreat slowly. He stepped around me to block the patio door.

“When I left with her that night and got all the way down to the garage, I only had keys to the motorcycle. I was so angry with myself and with you; I needed to get out of there as soon as possible. So I got on the bike with her. I’m sorry, babe.” I couldn’t look at him, even though there was no reason for him to apologize. When I didn’t reply, he continued. “Let’s go home so we can talk, please.” I could tell he was trying his hardest to calm his voice down for me.

“Oh, I definitely can’t go home yet, I have way too much alcohol to consume before this night’s over. And seeing as how Rachel just sobered me up, I’m not too happy I have to start from square one now.”

Getting away from everyone before I ruined everything was priority one. If they could all just leave me alone until after tomorrow, I swear I’ll be back to normal. I just needed them to leave me alone until then, but I couldn’t explain that to them. I stared at all three of them, urging them to understand me without making me say it.

“I’m not mad at you, Jaxon.” He needed to know that, even though I hated that he had taken her on his bike. I really was only mad at myself.

“Of course you are, babe, why else would you be trying to run away from me right now? You’re always running, when we should be talking!” He panicked and reached for me and I took another step back toward the door to the living room.

“I’m not mad. I just… I just need to be left alone. I swear I’ll be okay after tomorrow. I just can’t deal with this for the next two days,” I pleaded. “Please. Just trust me. Do this for me.”

“What the hell does that mean?” he shouted. I turned and ran when he was distracted, looking at Quinn for guidance.

When I reached the living room, I heard Quinn say, “Oh my God, what is today’s date?”

Leave it to Quinn to put it together because of my big mouth. I ran faster out the front door. She’ll explain the whole thing to Jaxon and he’ll pressure me to talk about it. I felt like I was going to hyperventilate. I never wanted anyone to ask me about it. I know Quinn won’t make me, but Jaxon knows how to push every barrier I have. I just want to deal the only way I know how and then go back to normal when it’s over. Everyone always thinks we should talk about our feelings, as if that would make it better. Guess what, it doesn’t bring back my parents and it doesn’t change that my dad cheated on Ellie with my mom.

I reached the side of the house because I obviously couldn’t drive, so I just hid in the shadows of the large house. I heard footsteps following me around the side. I squeezed my eyes shut and ignored them, while trying to control my breathing so I wouldn’t have a panic attack. Please, let them just go away.

I felt whoever it was lean up against the house next to me. “Shh, just take deep breaths, in and out.” It was Devon. I didn’t know whether I should be happy or sad about that. “You want to get out of here, go somewhere else?” he asked in a calming voice.

“I won’t sleep with you, Devon. I’m with Jaxon,” I said with my eyes still closed.

“Well, it’s a good thing I didn’t ask you to sleep with me then, huh? I have a fiancé back home that I love. I’m just trying to help you out. Call me crazy, but it seems like you don’t want to be here.”