But when I round the corner, he and his date are gone.
I don’t think about what that means.
The dance floor is straight ahead, and I find Kiersten, Rhett, and Nathan immediately. Kiersten and Rhett grind on one another, dancing like two lovers who know each other’s bodies well. I move beside them and do my best to make it clear to Nathan that we will not be dancing like that.
He seems to take the hint, dancing close but without touching me.
Between the alcohol and the rapidly changing songs, I easily lose track of time. It seems like mere minutes pass before I’m ready for a break. My mouth feels stuffed with cotton, and the flush on my cheeks begs for something cold. I stop dancing to dig my cell out of my clutch to check the time. It’s just after midnight.
The lack of movement gives Nathan the perfect opportunity to sneak up on me. Hands grip my hips and pull me close, and his forehead presses against my temple. When he speaks, I can smell the gin on his warm breath. His lips brush against my cheek when he moves them.
“I don’t think I told you how fucking beautiful you look in that dress.”
He shifts his hands to trace a single finger over the cutout beneath my breasts.
“Nathan,” I warn. As I lift my eyes, I catch someone staring at us from over his shoulder. Law stands near the back of the dance floor, his eyes steady on mine. His date converses animatedly, but she’s lost his attention, just as Nathan has lost mine.
He twists his head. “I’m sorry, Cami. I like you, and I feel like if you’d just listen to me, we could give this thing a try.”
I shake my head, dislodging his weight from mine. “No. I’m sorry, but no.”
Kiersten and Rhett have graduated to sucking face. I don’t want to bother them, so I quietly slip away, leaving the three on the dance floor. Four, if you count Law.
I return to the back hall. It’s time to step outside to cool off and call a cab. A hand wraps tightly around my forearm and spins me around, pressing my back against the cool, concrete wall before I can make it that far.
My eyes widen in shock. I try to pull my hand away, but in his drunkenness, he’s holding on too tight. “Nathan,” I gasp, and a shiver of dread runs through me. “Let me go.”
“Just listen to me.”
“No.” I state firmly, keeping my eyes on his as steady as I can. Unfortunately, we’re both drunk and that makes matters worse.
His forehead creases. “Why do you look so afraid? I’d never hurt you.”
“You are, Nathan. Your hand is hurting me.”
nbsp; “I think I’m in love with you.” He speaks as if I hadn’t. As if he’s too drunk to hear me, which he probably is. His eyes turn lazy and the lids lower.
“No, you’re not. You’re drunk and you need to let me go.”
His thigh wedges between mine, forcing them apart, and the hem of my dress rides higher. He moves his grip from my forearm to my hand and snatches the other, pressing both tightly to the wall.
He’s going to kiss me, and I’m powerless to stop it.
His head dips, and without another word, he swallows my protest when his mouth hits mine. This is nothing like our first kiss. It isn’t sweet and exploring. It’s rough and stealing something I don’t want him to have.
His body is abruptly ripped from mine and thrown against the opposite wall. Harsh breaths echo in the cramped, dark space. I can’t tell who they belong to. Law stands beside me, staring down at Nathan with his face a terrifying mask of rage.
“Don’t ever fucking touch her.” He doesn’t shout. The words rip from him in a deep growl.
Nathan looks between the two of us, and his shoulders slump. “I’m sorry, Cami.”
Law doesn’t wait to hear what else he has to say. That, or he needs to leave before he loses control. He wraps his arm around my upper back and guides me down the hall to the exit.
I’m trembling. He shrugs out of his jacket and wraps me in it. I breathe in his warm scent and use it to ground me. What the hell just happened?
We ascend a flight of stairs, and he holds the door open. Bitter cold greets me, but I welcome it. My body burns from the mixture of alcohol, dancing, and the recent encounter.