JACE'S VOICE CAME FROM SOMEWHERE behind me. "Fuck, I'm so sorry you had to be here for that."
I twisted round in the dining chair to look at him, but I didn't argue. Talking about any of his conquests was a big, fat no-no. I knew this from past experience. It would only encourage the bitter bite of jealousy to grow in my chest, so I said nothing.
Jace raked his hands down his face, exhaling harshly. "They always seem cool with just hanging out, and then suddenly you're having that conversation," he considered aloud. "Funny how you think you have an idea of what someone's like."
"Well, I thought she was nice."
His tone became thoughtful. "She was an entirely different person last night."
"Probably because you were saying all of the right things then," I pointed out. "Man, I almost forgot how much of an asshole you could be."
His eyes slid away, as if he was momentarily embarrassed, and my suspicion was confirmed when a soft pink crept into the hollows of his cheeks. Was he actually blushing? "I never advocated that I make good decisions when I'm drunk. I tend to make a mess of things, kind of like that night with you last year."
Wait—Jace had been drunk that night, too?
Then, once becoming utterly aware that we were about to have that conversation, my stomach swirled sickeningly.
"Nope," I deadpanned. "That's my cue to meet you in the car."
I made it all of five steps when I felt his hand fall on my shoulder.
As much as his touch sent a jolt of sizzling awareness through me, I was still determined to bury it as far down as I physically could. That was the only way I was going to survive this year at UGA with him.
I knew what I'd seen this morning was only the beginning. I was even willing to bet that by lunchtime I'd spot another scantily dressed girl draped all over him in the campus cafeteria, vying for his attention. Because that was how it had always been with Jace, and I was just as deluded as Jenna if I honestly thought that might change.
"Hayley," he said gruffly. "I really am sorry about this morning. I know the last time we saw each other, you told me that you—"
"Let's not take a trip down memory lane," I interrupted, my voice sharper than I'd intended. "I know what I said last year, and it was stupid, so can we please just keep pretending like it never happened?"
Jace frowned at me. "Is that what you want?" A heartbeat passed, and he leaned in closer, his breath warm on my skin. "I personally think we should talk about it."
It'd been almost a year since I'd been this close to him, and God, he smelled amazing. A faint scent of cologne and shampoo that was uniquely his surrounded me, and I was excruciatingly aware of the heat from his hand, still resting on my shoulder. His proximity threatened to weaken my steely resolve, but I forged on.