49. A Different Morning After

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If life was like the movies, Satan's Ride would have been a climax in my life that led to a happily-ever-afterwards that l, or at the very least, a happy-for-now

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If life was like the movies, Satan's Ride would have been a climax in my life that led to a happily-ever-afterwards that l, or at the very least, a happy-for-now. As it turned out, it was merely preparation for the bizarre mayhem that would ensue in my progressively freakish life.

Likewise, things should've changed for me socially after winning the crown in such a dramatic manner, but it didn't. If anything, it made people even more uncomfortable around me-- I was still an outcast and they continued their whispering, but now, they acted as though I had some kind of evil superpower on top of everything.

Which was fine, whatever. Popularity was the least of my concerns.

My biggest problem was unloading mangled sheep carcasses from his truck bed.

Oh, boy.

The morning after our first kiss? That was adorable com pared to this. This was a whole new level of unmanageable. What I was supposed to do? I mean, what was the protocol after everything we did a mere hours ago?

Flashbacks flooded my brain, getting me all hot and bothered. Turns out my mind had an artistic flair for all this stuff because it all came back to me in black and white, complete with the hazy porno filter. But I didn't regret it, feel ashamed, or anything like that. Quite the opposite, watching Jake (yes, unloading dead sheep) made me want to jump his bones all over again. As soon as possible.

Well, if you want that to happen, we need to get over this. Let's just go say hi.

Yeah, let's.

But my feet turned and booked it, darting between hay bales like I was competing in the championship round of some obstacle course race.

Once I was safely out of sight, I sighed. I still had a whole lot of growing up to do. After kicking at some rocks, I set off on the super long detour back to the pig sties, where I saw Peyton manhandling Alice.

He had her by the upper arm, hauling her out of Beaudry's mansion. She stumbled behind him, obviously struggling to keep up, but he didn't slow down for her. No, he dragged her all the way to his car.

Once there, Peyton opened the passenger door with his free hand and shoved her forward. Alice continued her struggle for freedom, going as far as to brace her hands against the door frame and kick at him.

That's when she looked up and spotted me. "Layla!"

Peyton turned too.

Chagrined, I waved, wishing I'd have caught this moment behind the privacy of some bushes or something.

Alice gave her arm a final shake and that time, Peyton released her.

She ran to my side.

Peyton stayed where he was. He looked exhausted and miserable, and most jarringly, frazzled.

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