The Dare(4)

By: Rachel van Dyken



"Why yes. I served a few months in a Russian prison after The Cold War. I was a spy and was guilty of poisoning a government official. Then again, they could never prove it. I'd slipped something into his mouth during a heated kiss." She reached into her leopard purse. "Breath mint?"





Jace





"Great, they're going to put Cradle Robber on my tombstone," Beth yelled, interrupting my rendition of Katy Perry as she made her way into the bathroom.

I was trying to lighten the moment until she started having a panic attack in the middle of the bathroom. I was still trying to figure out how long it would take her to realize I was showering, naked, and she was standing there rocking back and forth like someone about to have a nervous breakdown.

"I can't believe I'm thirty and still can't make sound decisions!"

Something I'm guessing it was a shoe slammed against the wall. More cursing. Damn, it was hot when she cursed.

"Why the hell don't I have that drunk text thing? Wait. Does that exist yet? Son of a—" More banging around. And then silence.

To be honest, the silence freaked me out more than the nervous breakdown. Yelling I could deal with. I was a politician for shit's sake. I cut my teeth on people who yelled and bitched every day of their lives. But silence? Kryptonite. Superman was officially going to crash into the moon if Beth didn't pull herself together.

Her eyes were more green than I remembered them. Then again, my memory wasn't so great; it had been over ten years. Ten years, and I still couldn't get those damn eyes out of my head. Instinctively, I reached behind my ear and touched the scar; it may as well be a blazing red sign that read Danger. Last time I had a run-in with Beth, I landed in the hospital.

So we shared a one-night stand. Big deal. People did it all the time.

I mean, I didn't. But people did. They had to, right? Where else would Hollywood get all that shit about one-night stands and waking up in Vegas and the Ashton Kutchers falling in love with the Cameron Diazes?

I closed my eyes against the memories. Damn. It was her stupid dress that had done me in. It had reminded me of prom. It had reminded me of her sweet scent, and after a few drinks, I'd been done for.

"I'm going to die. And then I'll burn in hell," Beth wailed.

Well, at least she was talking again.

I cleared my throat and shook away the past regrets, burying them deep into the part of my brain where boxes sat with cobwebs. "Wait, why are you dying?"

The shower must have muffled my question because Crazy Pants just kept talking.

"No, scratch that. First they'll put She loved her cats very much, cradle-robbing hussy."

I turned off the shower, grabbed a towel, wrapped it around me, and stepped out.

"Still not following." I cringed when she almost slipped on a puddle on the floor of my own making. Whoops.

"Just…" Beth took a few deep breaths, pressing her fingers to her temples. "Help me turn on the shower, and you can leave."

"Not a fan of personal hygiene? Don't know how to turn on a shower? The hot water is this way." I pointed to the right. "Cold this way." I pointed to the left. "Easy as pie."

Beth's stomach grumbled. Her face flushed with red.

"Ah, so the lady doesn't just like cookies, but pie as well?"

"The shower's too fancy," Beth grumbled, changing the subject "Just help me so this nightmare can be over with, and I can go home and drink wine until I die."

"Death by alcoholism. Classy. You'd make a great politician."

Beth's eyes narrowed. "Just the shower, not career advice. I'm perfectly happy curing cancer, thank you."

"How's that working out for you?" I leaned against the doorframe, enjoying this little exchange a little more than I should.

"Wh-what?" Her eyes darted between my bare chest and my mouth.

"Curing cancer."

"I, uh—"

"Wow, I can tell humanity is in good hands. Can't turn on a shower at a fancy hotel and answers uh to my questions."

"Never mind." She sighed irritatingly. "Move out of the way. I'll turn it on myself."

"There's a skill I'd like to see." I chuckled as I watched her step into the shower.

"What?"

"Turning yourself on," I teased.

"Were you this much of a jackass last night, or were my beer goggles just that broken?"

"Beer goggles," I stepped into the shower with her and placed my hand on hers, "give the impression that without alcohol you wouldn't have slept with me."

"So." She breathed, her hand shaking underneath mine.

"So," I slowly turned to the right, stepping out of the way, "alcohol had nothing to do with it."

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