The Dare(7)

By: Rachel van Dyken



"Nope." Beth grinned, seemingly enjoying my shock. "Then again, I don't live in Oregon."

Idiot. Last words said. Gauntlet fallen. Game set. I watched her disappear yet again into the bathroom.





Chapter Three





"Ma'am, with all due respect. You've committed a federal crime. I don't believe a breath mint is going to solve that problem, and for the last time, no. Your dog may not serve as a character witness."

"It's because he's French, isn't it?" Grandma nodded knowingly.





Beth





I needed a paper bag and a do-over Back-to-the-Future-style. I leaned against the door and took a few deep breaths before opening my eyes.

Jace.

It had to be Jace. Out of every damn single man at the wedding, my ovaries had decided to jump into his pants? Really? Was I that desperate? It didn't make sense! I spent the better part of my shower trying to figure out the equation with logic.

Was it because he saved me before? Was I still holding onto the one that got away? To be fair, had he not run away like a scared child, I probably would have run myself. It terrified me, made me feel things that an eighteen year old shouldn't. I spent the better part of my freshman year of college thinking about that kiss. Thinking about the way his lips felt against mine and wondering what would have happened had he stayed instead of run.

But he'd left, and I never saw him again.

It wasn't until a year later that I realized he hadn't even gone to my school.

I self-consciously tucked my hair behind my ear. Did he even recognize me?

Know who I was?

Why couldn't I have done something normal? Any other guy I could have forgotten — not him.

My eyes burned, my body hurt, I was starving my ass off, and I looked like I'd just gotten run over by a chicken truck. Taking a deep soothing breath, I focused on the previous night.

We were both at the wedding.

We both drank.

Did he remember anything? Or was I the only cookie-eating loser who had blacked out partway through our night of fun?

I would not freak out. I couldn't freak out. Ha, Ha, I was officially losing my damn mind. Calling my sister was out of the question. Not only would she be massively disappointed in me, but she was supposed to be packing for her honeymoon.

Stepping away from the door, I placed the dress gently on the toilet and stared at it.

That dress had betrayed me.

Grandma Nadine had promised it would be magical. She'd said, and I quote, "Beth, you just trust Grandma. She has everything figured out for you."

Figured out. My. Ass.

I should have figured Grandma Nadine would have something up her sleeve. After all, the woman meddled in everyone's lives, thinking she knew what was best. She was like a freaking cupid, only she wore leopards instead of hearts, and even on her worst day she could still outsmart the CIA.

The dress glared at me.

I made a face.

The white sparkles on the dress reminded me of my senior prom. It was white and looked like something a princess would wear. My stomach clenched at the memory…

"Will you dance with me?" Brett held out his hand.

Once I picked my jaw off the floor and my breathing returned to normal, I grasped his hand and leaned against his chest as KC and JoJo's "Crazy" came on the loudspeaker.

I couldn't believe I was actually dancing with Brett Xander. I tried to appear calm, but my heart was beating erratically against my chest. I pulled back and smiled. "Thanks for doing this for all us girls."

"No sweat," he responded, seeming to genuinely mean it. "I mean, it would have sucked to not graduate."

"Not graduate?"

"Right." He rolled his eyes. "My penance for being a jack-off for the last four years came in the form of my idiotic teacher saying I needed to learn how to be less self-absorbed. Unfortunately, my parents agreed. So not only did I have a shitload of homework to do to get my grade up, but I had to do community service."

"Which was what? Taking out all the AP girls in biology?"

"Hell no." He laughed.

I instantly relaxed.

"It was to pick girls who I knew wouldn't get dates and take them with me to prom. I mean, no offense, Beth. You're kinda hot in a nerdy, pent-up-sexually-frustrating librarian-type way, but you're much too smart and intimidating for a guy to actually date."

"I'm too smart?" I repeated, stunned. I mean, I knew he was an ass for doing what he did and not realizing how much it affected the rest of the girls, but still? To call me out? On a special night?

"Well, yeah." Brett nodded and pulled me close. "Maybe if you dumbed yourself down a bit, people would like you."

"People?"

"Yeah." He actually looked embarrassed. "I mean, it's not just dudes that walk the other way when you stroll down the hall. People think you're like one science experiment away from pulling a Carrie on the entire school."

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