Songs for this chapter are:
Come Up Short- Kevin Garrett (listen to this song omg)
Untied- Green Light Theory
When We Were On Fire- James Bay
When I step out of the bar, Dakota is standing on the sidewalk, raising her hand to hail a cab. I run up to her side and push her hand down.
"Don't touch me," she hisses, a cloud of smoke puffs out of her mouth from the chill fall air. I drop my hand and step in front of her. She keeps her arms down, crossing them in front of her chest in her defense.
I immediately begin to explain myself. Or try to.
"It's not what you think," I say in rushed voice. Dakota turns away from me. She's not going to let me explain. She never has.
I gently grab her arm but she wretches away from me as if I burned her. I ignore the judgmental glances of the people walking by and step in front of her.
"Bullshit!" she shouts. "Are you kidding me, Landon?"
I can smell liquor on her breath. Since when does she drink? Her eyes are bloodshot. She's had more than a few.
In my mind, she's sixteen again, her curly hair pulled up into a bun. She's wearing gym shorts and high socks, the kind with the red stripe on the top, sitting cross-legged on her bed. We are flipping through college applications over pizza. Her house is quiet for once. Her dad is gone, Carter is out with Jules. She's talking to me about how she's never been drunk, but wants to be.
It didn't work out the way she expected, alcohol doesn't taste as good as the characters in Gossip Girl made it seem. Within ten minutes of her statement and three swigs of eighty proof vodka, she was hugging the toilet and I was holding her hair while she swore to never drink again. Before I put the bottle back into her dad's crowded freezer, I dumped out half and added water. Maybe if the alcohol were diluted, his temper would be too. Apparently, vodka doesn't freeze, but water does. The next morning Carter came to school with a black eye and a sore ribcage because of my mistake. I never made that mistake again.
Moving back into present day, I delve right into the sticky mess I've made for myself. "She's Tessa's friend, I barely know her. I know what it looks like-"
Dakota cuts me off and doesn't look at me when she speaks.
"She's been talking about you for weeks now!" Her voice is loud, cracking at the end like a whip.
"He's sooo sweet," she croons, mocking a sultry female voice.
Passerby's on the sidewalk stare at us as I try to calm her down. One guy in a beanie gives me an "I would save you if I could, Bro" look as he passes with his girlfriend. His quiet girlfriend who doesn't seem to hate him. Lucky guy.
I attempt to defend myself, I begin to babble, "I don't know what she has been saying, but I didn't-" Dakota raises her hand in front of my face, waving for me to shut up. Her dress is bunched at her hips, exposing the line of her tights underneath. The more she moves, pacing on the sidewalk, the higher her dress moves. She doesn't even notice as she continues to let me have it.
She turns back to me after a few more seconds of pacing. Her eyes light up and she seems to remember something.
"Oh my god! She kissed you! She told us!" She takes a few steps across the sidewalk and bumps shoulders with a man walking a St. Bernard.
"That's who she was talking about! It's been you this entire fucking time."
Jesus, has Nora been giving Dakota a play by play of our every encounter? Dakota raises her hand for a cab again.
YOU ARE READING
Book 1 of 2 featuring After worldwide fan-favorite Landon Gibson as he leaves Washington to navigate love and life in New York City. At the end of the After Ever Happy, Landon got married-but readers everywhere have been wondering who will get to ca...