CHAPTER EIGHT: WITNESS

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The place was overly crowded. It reminded me of JoJo's, but ten times more packed. The house's two stories were still big enough to fit the number of people, not to mention both the front yard, which counted with the dock, and the backyard near the woods area.

The crowd appeared to be growing by the second. I spotted more and more people wearing costumes either too tight or too short for them, and anyone would have been able to count the number of guys who had their shirts on with the fingers of their hands. Suddenly the image of a shirtless Hunter joined the club, and I shook my head.

Nope, we're not going down that road. I forced the image out of my mind and replaced it with the vision of his empty file in my hands, of his changing physical appearance. That's better.

If I wanted to confront him about it all, ask him what the hell was happening, I had to focus. And I would never be able to do so with the tentative image of his bare torso and his toned back dancing inside of my head. It had to go away.

Without thinking twice, I emptied the shot glass in my hand. Luckily for me, the girl wearing her trusty nipple pasties and playboy attire walked past me again, and I took another shot of tequila. That one followed his friend's way down my throat, leaving a burning memory behind it. You can do this, Olivia.

I squeezed through everyone around the kitchen's entrance and got to the living area. It was just as packed as the rest of the house. I could see people in every corner and inch of the place, the stairs appearing to be the most cluttered part of it all.

Laughter poured from the second floor, and I thought about all the videos that were probably being posted of whoever was dumb enough to get laid with the door unlocked. They always did that.

I caught a glimpse of people playing beer pong on one of the tables outside through the glass paneled walls. That would be Jared's favorite spot—he was the master of beer pong—but I still couldn't find him anywhere near it. Perhaps he was in here, too, yet that one was a bit hard to confirm as well.

With the amount of Cat Women and "sexy" firefighters I saw on my way, I could barely register who stood three feet from me. And I wasn't lying the other night when I told Hunter about my claustrophobia. The air felt tight, and with the speakers blasting at full volume, I started to regret the decision of leaving my free spot in the kitchen. It was packed, but not like this.

When I finally made it to the bar area, my lungs shrank another inch. Bad idea. Horrible idea, actually. The mass of people only kept growing, and—of-fucking-course—where would all of them go? Right toward the alcohol. I suddenly envied the bartender, who so happened to be Will's cousin, because he at least had space and a barrier between him and the thirsty animals.

Someone's hand met my lower back, and when I turned around, I was honestly disappointed. It was neither Hunter nor Jared, but some guy I didn't seem to recognize. He mouthed, Hey.

At least he'd retreated his hand. "Hi...?"

Surprisingly, he was part of the few wearing something to cover his body. A pirate. He had freckles to spare all over his cheeks, and droopy, green eyes, which were painted with the peachy tonality that weed left behind. I couldn't really see his hair because of the tricorn he wore.

"You're Olivia, right?" I had to make the biggest effort to hear him over the music, and I ended up reading his lips instead. "I'm..."—I couldn't catch his name, but certainly it had been something with an A. Andrew? — "We have Philosophy together."

Did we? I spent half of those classes cursing the existence of Plato and Socrates to notice who else was in there cracking their head. "I'm sorry, I had no idea," I said, unsure of where this was supposed to go. "Did you need anything?" Too rude?

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