There are angry drunks.
And reckless drunks.
Grace is a silly drunk.
“Another!” she declares, slamming her last glass on the table and hiccups, then giggles.
“Nah, I think you’re good,” I tell her, trying not laugh.
She pouts. “I want more.”
I shake my head. “Maybe later.” More like never, but I don’t tell her that. The girl is a lightweight, and there’s no way she’ll be able to stomach anything else and still function.
“You’re such a fun sucker.”
I laugh. “I don’t hear that one often.”
She glances down at dance floor. “I’m going to dance.” Before I can blink, she’s up out of her chair, heading for the exit of the VIP room.
“Like hell you are,” I mutter under my breath, storming after her.
When I get to the hall, she’s already gone. I look left and then right so fast that my head probably blurs. How can someone in heels that high walk that fast? It can’t be humanly possible.
“Fuck,” I curse, tearing at my hair. I practically run down the stairs into the club and of-fucking-course she’s disappeared yet again, swallowed whole by the crowd. The chances of me finding her are slim to none, like finding a needle in a haystack. But I never give up, and I’ll burn down the damn haystack if that’s what it takes to find the needle.
I shove my way through the crowd, my eyes searching every person I pass.
“Dammit, Grace. Where the fuck are you?”
Panic rises inside me and I never panic. But the thought that Grace is drunk off her ass and lost in here is killing me. If she gets hurt, or some guy gropes her, it’s my fault.
“Hey, watch where you’re going.” Some beefy ass dude shoves me away. I’m tempted to punch the fucker in the face but I have more important matters at hand.
I spot a flash of glossy brown hair in a ponytail and grab the girl’s shoulder. “Grace?” She looks up at me, her blue eyes pissed off. I immediately let go. “Not Grace.”
I move along the dance floor, but she’s nowhere to be found. I’m beginning to worry that she left, and the thought of her outside wandering the streets alone actually scares me.
I head toward the bar to find Danicka in the hope that maybe she’s seen Grace.
That’s when I finally spot her, leaning over the bar speaking to one of the male bartenders. The guy grins and she throws her head back and laughs.
Oh, hell no.
I storm forward. “What do you think you’re doing, Princess?”
She nearly collapses in my arms. “Bennett, I was just talking to Peter here thanking him for the delicious drinks.”
“Danicka made your drinks, remember?” I tell her, holding onto her waist so she doesn’t fall.
“Ugh, Porn Star, that’s right. I remember now.” She taps her forehead.
“Come on, we’re leaving.” I start to drag her away.
“No,” she cries, pulling out of my arms. “I want to dance. Dance with me, Bennett.”
I lower my head, silently cursing Grace and this whole “Bennett’s Guide to Being Bad” thing.
“Fine. One dance,” I tell her, holding up one finger and wiggling it.
“Yay!” she cries, bouncing up and down. She all but tackles me, wrapping her thin arms around my neck and hugging me. “Your chest is so hard,” she says in her alcohol-induced haze.
“I thought you wanted to dance,” I remind her, pushing softly against her shoulders.
“Aren’t we dancing?” Her words slur.
“Oh, yeah. Totally dancing.”
“You’re lying.” She pulls away, her eyes glassy. Her pink lips pucker in a frown. “I’m going to go find someone who really wants to dance with me.” She starts to flee into the crowd but I grab her arm and she ricochets back into my chest. She looks up at me with wide doe eyes. “That wasn’t nice.”
I lower my head, my lips skimming her ear. “You wanna dance, Princess? You dance with me.”
Bennett: (squirms in his seat) Maybe this makes me weak, but I’m sorry, I don’t think I can.
(Grace grabs his hand, entwining their fingers together, and gives him an encouraging smile)
Interviewer: Grace, have your parents accepted Bennett? Bennett, did you have to do anything to win them over?
Grace: (looks at Bennett with a wistful smile) Once the truth came out about everything, and I explained that he’s the man I love, they were accepting. My dad still gives him a hard time, but that’s just my dad. He means it more as a joke than anything else.
Bennett: He made me eat these gross ketchup flavored chips, then smacked me on the shoulder, and said I was part of the family now—so I guess that’s all I really had to do to win him over. (chuckles) I’ve learned the man loves ketchup. If I’d known that beforehand I would’ve surprised him with an antique bottle of the stuff and called it a day. Those chips were gross.
Interviewer: We know that you two are living together for the summer, so fill us in on how that’s going? Has it changed your relationship any by living together?
Grace: (shrugs) I don’t think it’s changed much—other than learning to live with each other’s quirks. Like Bennett always leaves his toothbrush on the sink and it drives me nuts.
Bennett: And she always leaves coffee mugs sitting around. (kisses her cheek)
Grace: So far it’s been really good, though. I like waking up in his arms.
Bennett: (smirks) Of course you do, sweetheart. These arms are what dreams are made of. (looks at interviewer) have you seen my abs? I’ve heard they’re lickable.
(Interviewer blushes and stutters a response. Grace smacks his arm and they dissolve into laughter.)
Interviewer: Now that Bennett is playing professionally again, and you’ll soon be returning to college fulltime, how do you think that will effect your relationship?
Grace: He was already back with his team for the last few months of the school year—so I think it won’t change that much from what we were used to. He’s busy with hockey and I’m busy with school, but we’ll always make time for each other.
Interviewer: Bennett, are you still in touch with Coach Harrison? How’s Michael—the player on the college team you became friends with?
Bennett: Yeah, of course I still talk to Coach. He’s the man. We’ve always stayed in contact—that’s why I was able to train with him when everything fell to shit. Michael is going into the draft, and I know he’s going to go to a good team. He’s also flirting way too much with my sister. (huffs in agitation)
Grace: Do you think he’ll end up on your team?
Bennett: Maybe. It’d be cool.
Interviewer: It looks like we have time for one more question. If you could offer anyone out here one piece of advice, what would it be?
Bennett: Never give up on your dreams.
Grace: Trust your gut. It will always lead you in the right direction.
Interviewer: Okay folks, that’s all we have time for today. I hope you enjoyed the interview. Grace and Bennett, thank you so much for stopping by to chat with us.
Grace: We were happy to do it.
Bennett: What she said…but if you skew what we say like all these other asshat media people I will end you.
Interviewer: (gulps) Of course not. Everything will stay 100% as you said it.
Bennett: (nods) Good. Thank you. (takes Grace’s hand again and bends to kiss her)