Cousins: An Alpha Bad Boy Romance(8)

By: Lisa Lang Blakeney

And that's when it happens.

Pure pandemonium.

Chapter Three


I AM CHOKING AND GASPING for breath. The air around me is thick and heavy. Tears start to pool in the corners of my eyes, because the burning sensation of the chemicals is so overpowering. I reactively blink and squeeze my eyelids tightly to stop the stinging, but all that does is start to give me a dull headache at my temples.

I'm not sure what to do with my hands first, as I indecisively alternate between rubbing the corners of my eyes and grasping at my throat, almost breaking the delicate gold chain hanging around my neck. I desperately need fresh air, but my lungs are being denied what they crave most and like the idiot I am, I haven't paid any attention to where the exit doors are located. This is exactly what I deserve for not listening to my inner voice. My instincts. My gut. The voice that told me to just keep my ass at Sloan's, eat ramen, and watch Netflix.

Panic starts to swell inside of my chest. Was it those girls that did this? Although I know that a little pepper spray never killed anyone, I am also well aware of the pandemonium that spraying it in a confined location can cause. I wonder if people feel this type of dread right before they meet death, like in the final five seconds before a fatal car collision or a plane crash.

While I can't see very much, especially at a distance, I can definitely hear the quickening click-clack sounds of women's stilettos and the growing chant of deep male voices straining the words, "Push! Push!" in unison. After a few high pitched screams, I realize that the hysteria around me is starting to mushroom, and I am certain that the shrieks are coming from young women being pushed and crushed not only at the front doors but through the other exit side doors as well. Without consideration of others, people are running, pushing, and stepping on top of other people's bodies to get out of the club as fast as they can.

Not. Good. At. All.

The level of danger in the room is starting to rise at an accelerated pace, and I realize that I need an exit plan and fast, because getting out of the club through the main doors unscathed doesn't seem to be in my immediate future. I don't see her at first, but am relieved when Sloan grabs me from behind by the shoulders.

"It's me Bitsy."

"Thank God," I exhale.

Sloan coughs a bit while spitting out her idea of an exit plan. "We'll get trampled if we stay by the bar or if we try to leave now. Let's hide behind the speaker over there. When it thins out we'll leave."

I mutter under my breath, "I can't breathe."

And frankly I don't really like her exit strategy. Hide in the middle of a chemical apocalypse? So at this point I am freaking out, but I also don't have any other better ideas, especially with the three drinks I've consumed clouding any coherent judgment I have left. Since I don't want to compound the issue by totally losing it, I take a few deep yoga breaths (not easy since the air is filled with pepper spray), while I continue to consider her suggestion. I can feel Sloan carefully studying my face. She knows I'm on the verge of a melt down.

"I can't see the exit Bitsy," she explains slowly to me like I'm an idiot. "But I definitely hear people getting mashed. Trust me, the best thing to do is to wait this out. We’ll be fine. Take shallow breaths and hold onto me.” She pats my shoulder in an attempt to calm me. I'm pretty sure she can see the fear all over my face and oozing out of my pores. I hate who I've become since that night. I reluctantly offer a soft, "ok" in agreement and follow her lead. Both of us moving low to the ground.

Sloan's plan to get us out of the club in one piece includes having us, much to my horror, crawl on all fours to hide behind a huge sound speaker that I pray is unplugged or blown out, so that I'll still have my hearing by the end of the night. In my favorite and only pair of two-hundred dollar jeans, a halter top, and platform heels we start our trek towards the speaker by crawling our way across the gritty, sticky, concrete floor of one of the most exclusive clubs in the city. Or so I've been told.

Sloan turns her head. "Don't stare at my ass Bitsy. I'm going on a Paleo diet on Monday."

I grin at the fact that Sloan is either trying desperately to make me laugh or that she's extremely delusional. There is nothing fat about her ass. I wish I had that ass.

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