“No, no. Stop.”
“I’m teaching that a*****e a lesson.”
“Cameron, no!” I screamed.
He stopped, allowing me to circle in front of him. I put my trembling hands on the panels of his coat.
“If I don’t lose my job over this, it’ll be a small miracle. Let’s not hasten the inevitable, okay? Let them fire me first, okay?”
“Did he touch you?”
“No, I promise. He never touched me. I ran out of there as soon as I figured out what was going on.”
“Christ, Maya.” He gritted his teeth and pulled away.
I weakened at the separation. The waves of his rage were rolling over me, crushing me. “Why are you angry with me? This wasn’t my idea!”
“I warned you about her, for starters. Secondly, did it ever occur to you that drunkenly making out with someone from work might have perpetuated this?”
He held my gaze. Anger was there, but also disappointment. A sickness rooted in my gut as I followed his unspoken thoughts.
My lips tightened into a firm line and I avoided his eyes. Those eyes that crushed me with the simplest, purest look of disdain. I inhaled a shaky breath, but it wasn’t enough to restore what that look had taken away.
“It did not occur to me because I haven’t had a moment to even make sense of it, and here you are, attacking me, turning this into something that’s my fault.”
I stepped away quickly and hailed an approaching cab.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going home. Alone.”
I hopped in, shut the door, and locked the door before he could reach for the handle.
“Drive,” I ordered the cabbie.
“Delaney’s on Pearl.”
CAMERON. I sat in the dark quiet of the room, listening to the seconds tick by on the new clock Olivia had hung on the wall. Everything was perfect, I guess. Furniture, f*****g throw pillows, even art on the walls. Somewhere in Olivia’s world, pleasing our parents still mattered this much.
It was past one o’clock in the morning. They’d descend on the house in a matter of hours, yet I couldn’t bring myself to sleep. Maya had made it clear that she didn’t want me coming after her. I’d promised not to let her run anymore, but the guilt had overrun the frustration. I’d reacted without giving it a second thought, without considering for a moment what all of it meant for her personally. I’d been a complete a*****e for freaking out on her, for passing judgment too quickly. She’d already walked out on me for that before. Apparently I had to learn that lesson more than once.
I jerked when the phone rang. Maya’s number came up.
“It’s Vanessa. Are you home?”
“Yeah, why what’s up? Is everything okay?”
“It’s Maya. She’s…”
I stood quickly. “What’s wrong?”
“She showed up at my apartment about twenty minutes ago. She nearly fell out of the cab. I’d have her stay here, Cameron, but my parents are going to be here in the morning. I just don’t want her to be uncomfortable when she comes out of it. I’m sorry—”
“It’s fine. Text me the address. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
I hung up, rushed downstairs, and jumped into the SUV parked on the street.
When I arrived, Vanessa came out front to flag me down. She was in her pajamas, her arms wrapped around herself.
“Where is she?”
She led me inside and through a hall to a small bedroom. In it Maya was sprawled across the bedspread, passed out. Her face was obscured by the tangled mess of her hair. Her limbs were limp and outstretched in different directions.
“How much did she drink?”
Vanessa chewed her lip, her eyes never leaving Maya. “I’m not sure. She said she came from Delaney’s. It’s this bar near the office that she goes to sometimes.”
“I’ve never heard of it.”
“I doubt she’d bring you there. It’s kind of a seedy joint. I wouldn’t be surprised if they served her whatever she wanted for as long as she wanted. That could be a lot. She doesn’t really know when to stop when she gets going.”
“You think?” My voice was clipped, dripping with disappointment that she could allow her friend to carry on this way.
Her shoulders slumped a little, betraying her guilt. “I’m sorry for bothering you with this. Usually Eli is around to help, but he left town to visit his family. I didn’t know who else to call.”