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Justin placed his baseball cap over his head backwards and stood up. “Nice to meet you,” he said, offering her his hand. “Likewise,” she said, taking it. I shook my head in disbelief, not only about the blaze but the fact that Justin was probably leaving with Jade sooner than I thought. “Wow. I can’t believe that about the fire.” “I wasn’t really in the mood to perform tonight, but I would have never wished that shit on Sal.” “Gosh. I wonder if I’ll even be working there myself again before the end of summer.” He took another puff of the cigar and flicked the ashes. There was something so sexy about that. “What are you ladies up to tonight?” “We were gonna have some drinks and have a girls night in.” “That sounds like a hot mess.” Tracy laughed. “It’s not every night that I get away from my kids. So, a girls’ night in is about as wild as it gets for me.” Justin winked. “Well, I’ll stay out of your way then.” “You don’t have to,” Tracy said. “You should join us for a drink.” “That’s alright. I’ll pass.” When we returned downstairs, Tracy went to use the bathroom. I was cutting up limes when Justin came down and spotted the gigantic bottle of tequila on the counter. “Jesus Christ. Enough tequila?” “It was her idea. I’ve never done tequila shots before.” He squinted his eyes. “You’ve never done a tequila shot?” “Nope.” “Damn, Patch. What did they not know how to live it up in New Hampshire?” “I never really drank at all until about a year ago. Actually, I’ve never drank more than I have this summer.” He flashed an impish grin. “Can I take responsibility for that?” “Maybe.” I laughed. Our attention turned to Tracy as she came back down the stairs. “I’m so sorry, Amelia, but Todd just called and said that Ava is sick and throwing up. He really needs me to head back home to Warwick.” “Are you serious? I’m so sorry to hear that.” “I guess you two will just have to enjoy the tequila without me. I’m just glad Todd called before I started drinking and couldn’t drive myself home.” “Do you need anything for the road?” I asked. “A bottle of water or something?” “No. I’m good.” Tracy pulled me into a hug and said, “I’ll see you back at school in a few weeks anyway.” “Thanks for coming down, Trace. I had a great time.” “It was nice meeting you, Justin.” Justin offered a silent wave before I walked her to the door. With Tracy gone, the mood shifted from light to extremely tense. When I turned around, Justin was leaning against the kitchen counter with his arms crossed. This was exactly what I had been trying to avoid. Part of why I’d encouraged Tracy to spend the night was to avoid being alone with him. Tonight was likely the very last time we would be alone before he returned to New York. I slowly walked toward where he was standing. Justin smirked. “What are we gonna do with all this tequila?” Shrugging my shoulders, I said, “I don’t know.” “I think we should drink it.” “I don’t know how to do tequila shots. Tracy was gonna show me.” “Simple. Lick, slam, suck.” “Excuse me?” “It’s a three-step process. You wet your hand, lick the salt off, slam the drink down, and then you suck the lime. Lick, slam, suck. I’ll show you how to do it.” Hearing him say the words lick, slam, suck made my body prickle. Just then, my phone vibrated against the counter. It was right next to Justin. His expression darkened after he glanced down at the screen. He lifted the phone and muttered, “Real fucking nice,” before handing it to me. All of the blood in my body seemed to rush to my head when I read the text from Tracy. Justin totally wants you. You should fuck him hard tonight. His stare was piercing when I looked up. Wracking my brain for a response, I let out a fake laugh. “She’s a jokester. She likes to bust balls. I’m sorry.” He didn’t say anything, just stared at me with an uncomfortable intensity. Shit. Thanks a lot, Tracy! My heart was beating frantically. Justin was quiet for the longest time then just simply said, “I really need that fucking drink.” Breathing out a sigh of relief, I said, “Me, too.” He examined the bottle. “Did you pick out this tequila?” Good. He was letting it go. “Yes.” “This brand sucks. It’s cheap.” “I told you. I don’t know anything about tequila.” “Actually, it’s not the worst thing in the world, because we’ll chug it down so fast, you won’t even taste it. If it were the expensive stuff, then that would be a waste.” Justin opened the small container of salt, grabbed two shot glasses from the cabinet, and placed them down on the granite before sliding one of them over to me. Lifting his hand, he spread his thumb and his index finger open and pointed to the space between them. “Put your hand like this, and do what I do.” He then licked the space between his fingers. God, that one swipe of his tongue was so erotic. He made it easy to see what that mouth could do in other ways. Jade was a lucky woman. Justin watched every movement of my tongue as I did the same. He then sprinkled some salt between his fingers and mine. “You’re gonna lick the salt off real fast before drinking the tequila down in one shot. Don’t stop. Drink it all down. Then, grab a lime and suck.” Holy hell, hearing the demanding tone of the words lick and suck come out of his mouth…it was almost too much. “Ready? We’ll do it together. On the count of three. One…Two…Three.” Following his lead, I licked my hand and slammed the liquid down, the tequila burning my throat. I’d forgotten to grab a lime. Justin took one and placed it in my mouth. “Quick. Suck on this. It will diffuse the taste.” I sucked the juice out, savoring the acidic flavor. My lips were touching his fingers as he held it. He was watching intently as I sucked on it. I wished I could have swallowed his fingers whole. When he took the lime away, I licked my lips. “God, that was strong. What do we do now? Another one?” “Easy, drunkass. We should wait a bit. You’re a lightweight.” We spaced out our shots, each one packing a bigger punch than the last. When I lost my balance a little, Justin said, “Alright. That’s it. I’m cutting you off.” I watched as he did two more shots. After several minutes, his eyes were starting to look glazed over. We were both pretty drunk. The room swayed as I made my way over to the couch and closed my eyes. I felt a heavy weight as Justin plopped down on the cushion next to me. He lay his head back and closed his eyes, too. He’d taken off his hat, and his hair was disheveled. The recessed lighting in the living room was shining atop his head, bringing out the natural blond streaks. After staring at him for a while, the need to run my fingers through that silky hair became unbearable. I reached my hand over and started to rake my fingers slowly through it. I knew it was wrong, but I’d somehow convinced myself that it was an innocent gesture between friends. Like we used to do. Deep down, I knew I was kidding myself. The alcohol had clouded my inhibitions and given me the courage to do something I’d been wanting to for so long.
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