There are about five seconds of calm and blissful ignorance after I crack my eyes open. Five seconds when I stare at the white ceiling looming not far from my face, as my eyes adjust to the dim light, Las my brain just sits idly, waiting for the neurons to start firing.
And then the avalanche of confusion hits.
Where am I?
How did I get here?
What the hell happened?
I roll my head and find my sister’s face only a few inches away. “Kacey?” I whisper.
She moans, and my nostrils catch her rank breath. I cringe and turn away. Too quickly, it would seem, as a sharp, stabbing pain pierces my brain. I cringe a second time.
We’re in my dorm room. That much, I can quickly deduce by the cramped space and a few personal belongings. But I don’t remember coming home.
What do I remember?
My hand slides feebly up to my face to give it a good rub while I pick through my foggy memory, trying to piece together the night… Bits of blurry images flicker so faintly that I’m not sure they’re real. Shot after shot. After shot. Orange, blue, green . . . Kacey and me doing the robot on the dance floor? I groan and immediately wince at another throb of pain in my head. God, I hope not. From there . . . nothing. I remember nothing. How can I not remember anything?
Kacey moans again and I’m assaulted with another wave of that foulness. Swallowing several times, I accept that my breath can’t be much better and that I would kill for a bottle of water. I push my sheets off my body with slow, uncoordinated kicks.
And I frown as I take in my exposed flesh. Why am I . . . Oh, right. I was wearing that stupid toga last night. That doesn’t explain why I’m in nothing but panties now, but my head hurts too much to think about tha . . . Whatever. It’s only my sister. And Reagan, but she’s a girl.
I struggle to sit up, groaning as I push my hands back through a mess of knotted hair, squeezing my temples to relieve some of the pressure. And why does my head feel ready to burst! I think if someone walked in here with an axe, I’d stretch my neck out for a clean cut.
There’s already a vile taste in my mouth when a surge of nausea hits me. I need water. Now. With shaky arms and legs, I rock my body around and down, not wasting time with the ladder and hoping I don’t step on Reagan’s head. If I can just make it to the mini fridge and chug a bottle of cold water, I’ll feel better. I know it…
A second later, as my feet hit Reagan’s plush white shag rug by the bed, I get my second shock of the morning.
An ass. A male ass. And it’s not just an ass. It’s everything. There’s a very large, very naked guy sprawled out on Reagan’s bed, his legs and one arm hanging off the edge. By the mess of honey-blond hair poking out from beneath the covers in the corner, I can see that Reagan is buried somewhere in there.
I can’t stop staring. I’m standing there in nothing but underwear, the room is spinning, my mouth tastes like I drank sewer water, and I’m frozen, focused on this naked man in front of me. Partly because he’s the last thing I ever expected to see when I climbed down. Partly because he’s the first naked man I’ve ever seen. Partly because I’m wondering what the hell he’s doing here.
And . . . what is that on the top of his left ass cheek? My curiosity overtakes my shock as I step forward cautiously, hesitant to get too close. It looks like . . . a tattoo. It’s red and puffy. I’ve seen pictures of fresh tattoos and that’s what they look like. Like, really fresh. It’s a fancy scroll font and it reads “Irish.” Irish? I frown. Why is that word jogging my memory . . . ?
The floor creaks as my weight shifts, startling me. I abruptly back away. The sudden movement makes the crammed room spin. Water. Right. Now. With wobbly legs, I stumble toward the fridge and my robe that hangs on a hook by the door. Unfortunately, our dorm rooms are tiny and, let’s face it—I’m an ox in a closet when I’m nervous. My back slams into Reagan’s dresser, hitting it hard enough to knock over an array of her glass perfume bottles. I hold my breath, hoping the loud noise isn’t enough to wake up the naked giant.
No such luck.
My heart stops beating as I watch the guy’s head roll over to face out. He cracks open his eyes.
Oh. My. God.
It’s the Jell-O thief. It’s Ashton.
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Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.
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