I hoped Trisha kept her mouth shut. I should have offered to take Eva to the restroom. The last thing I needed was for Trisha to share all my shit with Eva. I’d thought bringing her here to meet everyone would feel right. Instead, I was tied up in knots. Seeing Priscilla out in the parking lot had been my warning flag. Eva didn’t know the real me and if she found out exactly how f**ked up I was she would go running for good this time.
“I gotta know man, are you really seeing someone, like, on a regular basis? I mean, she’s the damn farmer’s daughter. It ain’t like you can f**k her and leave her. So what the hell is going on?”
Rock was frowning. I couldn’t figure out if it was because of the innocence dripping off Eva or if he was worried about me screwing up my scholarship.
“I’m working on it,” I snapped, wishing he’d mind his own business.
“You’re working on what? Bagging her?”
My head started pounding and both my hands balled up into fists. I leveled my glare on Rock. “It isn’t like that,” I hissed through my teeth.
Rock leaned back and studied me. Then he shook his head slowly and let out a low whistle, “Damn. I thought I’d never see the day.”
“See the day to what?” Preston asked as he set a beer and a Coke down on the table. “Those are yours by the way,” he said, pushing the beer toward me.
“I believe Cage has gone and actually got himself feelings for some girl other than Low,” Rock drawled out in an amused tone.
Preston jerked his head around and looked back at me, “What? You’re serious about the brunette? Well, shit. I was hoping you’d share.”
“Don’t,” I growled in warning and Preston closed his mouth before he could run off more bullshit that just pissed me off.
“CAGE! You’re here!” Amanda Hardy, Marcus’s little sister came up to the table all smiles and glassy eyes. Great, Marcus would be pissed if he knew Amanda was drinking. I’d have to call Low before I left.
“Dance with me Cage,” she demanded, taking my hand and pulling me toward the dance floor. When had Amanda become a party girl? I’d always known her to be a classic good girl.
“She’s trashed,” I said, looking back at Preston with a frown.
He scowled and shook his head. “Just go dance with her. At least if she’s dancing with you she’s safe. I’ve been beating the vultures off her all damn night. I’m about ready to call Marcus. Babysitting ain’t my f**king job.”
I was missing something here but I went on out to the dance floor with Amanda. She pulled me out into the middle of the floor and wrapped her arms around my neck. Then she began moving in ways her brother would kill someone over.
Yeah, I was gonna need to call Low. If she kept this shit up with other guys tonight she’d be waking up in a stranger’s condo.
“I’ve missed you,” she slurred then cackled with laughter as she spun around in front of me and threw her arms back around my neck.
“Last I checked you weren’t a real big fan of mine,” I replied.
“Oh, no! I’ve always been a fan of yours.” She ran a fingernail down my face and across my bottom lip. Her eyes were zoned in on my mouth. Shit.
“You’re not a drinker, Amanda. What’s with you tonight?” I needed to distract her because I was sure as f**k not going to let her kiss me. That was the last thing I needed. Eva was already dwelling on the fact I’d had a threesome. If she saw some girl kissing me I was pretty damn sure I’d lose any chance of her ever seeing me as something other than a player.
“You know what I’ve always wondered, Cage?” Amanda asked, leaning into me. I took a step back and she began to wobble so I grabbed her waist to steady her.
“What’s that Amanda?” I started scanning the crowd for someone to come to my rescue.
“What it’s like to kiss the famous Cage York. Girls fall mindlessly at your feet. You must be doing something right,” she leaned up on her tiptoes and I moved back fast. If she fell on her drunk ass then she deserved it. The girl shouldn’t be out alone like this.
“I won’t tell Marcus,” she promised staring up at me. “We can go outside to my car. No one will see.”
I glanced back toward the table. I needed Preston’s help, now. His eyes were looking directly at us and he wasn’t happy.
“Help me,” I mouthed.
Amanda’s hands were now clasped behind my neck again. “I know you want to. Bad boys like you want to do it anywhere they can.”
Holy SHIT! What had gotten into her?
I checked to see if Preston was close when I saw him stalking through the crowd. He reached us and wrapped his hands around Amanda’s waist. “Come on Amanda. I’m taking you home.”
“Nooooo. You’re not my daddy. Go away Preston.” She reached for me and I stepped back again.
“He’s right. You need to go home.”
“But don’t you want to take me outside alone?” she asked in a hurt voice.
Preston shifted his gaze to me and the murderous glare flashing in his eyes was not something I was familiar with. The guy never got mad. What the f**k was with everyone tonight?
“Her idea. Not mine. I’ve got a date,” I reminded him.
Preston smirked and nodded his head at something behind me, “Looks like you might be wrong there. She seems to be having herself a fine time without you.”
Eva was dancing with some guy. Some random strange guy. I’d asked her to dance and she’d turned me down but this dude comes out of nowhere and she dances with him?
“I still can’t believe you’re here. When I turned around from ordering my drink and saw you sitting over at a table I thought I was seeing things.”
Brett Cortwright was one of the closest guy friends Josh had in high school. When he’d walked up to the table I’d been so happy to see a familiar face. Cage had gone off dancing with yet another blonde. I shouldn’t be mad at him because he’d asked me to dance and I’d said no out of fear. All the same, I was mad. I was hurt. I was jealous.
“I’m slowly starting to get out again. Jeremy is leaving next month for LSU.”
Brett frowned, “Really? You okay with that?”
Why was that everyone’s immediate reaction? Did they all think I couldn’t survive without him?
“I’m happy for him. It’s time he got back to his life. We’ve both been on pause for a while now.”
Brett nodded his head in agreement. A slower song started to play. “You up for a slow dance? I won’t bite,” he teased.
I’d only ever slow danced with Josh. I started to say yes when Brett took a step back from me. Confused, I looked up at him and he was focused on something behind me.
“Good idea. Go on. Get the hell away from her.”
Cage’s angry snarl startled me and I spun around to see him glaring at Brett. What was he doing? “CAGE! Stop that,” I demanded. “Don’t go anywhere, Brett.”
Cage’s furious expression shifted to me. “You’re on a first name basis now? Is this what you’re looking for? A preppy momma’s boy with good f**king manners?”
My blood was boiling. I’d never been this mad in my life. I stalked over until I was as close to being in Cage’s face as I could get.
“It isn’t any of your business who I dance with. You can apologize to Brett or I’m leaving,” I yelled.
Cage smirked but the angry gleam still flashed in his eyes. “I ain’t apologizing to anyone, sweetheart.”
I wanted to scream and punch his chest and cry because he wasn’t who I thought he was. He wasn’t the sweet guy I’d gotten to know the last couple of weeks. I should tell Brett goodbye but I couldn’t. I was too close to tears. So, I ran.
I heard Cage call my name as I pushed through the crowd but I didn’t look back. He’d shown his true colors tonight. I’d fallen for his act but not again. My chest ached and the lonely feeling I’d slowly been overcoming was seeping back in. I pushed out the first set of doors I came to and ran out into the parking lot. This wasn’t where my Jeep was parked. The tears I’d tried to hold back had finally started to fall and my vision was blurry. I hated this. I just wanted to go home. I wanted to cuddle into my covers and be safe. No more pain. No more being let down.
I started walking. I’d just walk around the building until I found my Jeep. Maybe I could find it before anyone came out here and saw me like this. I hated looking weak.
“EVA!” Cage’s voice called out from behind me. I wanted to run but I was wearing heels and walking on gravel. I’d just end up falling into a heap if I tried. Even so, I didn’t have to stop. If he wanted to talk to me then he could do it while I walked. It would be easier to ignore him that way.
“Eva.” He repeated my name again as he caught up to me. I didn’t turn my head to acknowledge him.
“I’m sorry. I saw you with that guy and I snapped. I didn’t think about your feelings; I just cared that he was touching you. I didn’t want him touching you. I was wrong.” The pleading sound to his voice was a little more powerful than I’d have thought. I stopped walking but I kept staring straight ahead. I was afraid to look into his eyes just yet. If he was as sorry as he sounded then his eyes would tell me and I’d melt. Damn his pretty face.
“Brett was a friend of Josh’s. He wasn’t some strange guy in a bar.”
Cage let out a heavy sigh. “Fuuuck.”
“You were dancing with some girl. I don’t see how me dancing with some guy was any different.”
Cage’s fingers wrapped around my arm, “Please look at me, Eva.”
He was really good at the begging thing. His voice even dropped to a low sexy rumble. Danggit.
I shifted so that I was facing him. His pale blue eyes looked desperate.
“I’m a jackass. I know that. I’m sorry. I should have never treated you that way.”
“Me? What about poor Brett?”
Cage frowned, “I didn’t touch him.”
“But you were rude to him.”
Cage gently tugged on my arm to pull me closer to him. “The girl I was dancing with was Amanda Hardy. She’s Marcus Hardy’s, Low’s fiancé, little sister. She was trashed and that is not normal for her. I danced with her because I was worried about who she might grab up if I turned her down.”
So, he was being kind. Not what I was expecting.
“Okay. I understand that.” I replied.
“Will you come back inside?” he asked as he cupped the side of my face with his hand.
“Will you apologize to Brett?”
Cage’s soft expression went hard but only for a moment. Then the corner of his mouth tilted up, “Probably not.”
“Then I’m not going back inside,” I replied.
Cage’s face fell, “But I never got to dance with you.”
Now that Brett had broken me in to dancing in that mass of people I was a little disappointed that I hadn’t been able to dance with Cage.
“Okay, but just one dance.”