Chapter 37

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T H I R T Y—S E V E N

      "WHAT?" I WHISPERED back, surprise lacing my tone. "Why?"

      He shook his head. "I'll explain in a minute." His gaze switched down to my pinky laying over his and the corner of his lip lifted into a smirk. "Thanks."

      Heat rushed to my cheeks as I realized he really didn't need the touch, so I gently slid my hand away as he turned back to face the two kissing.

      By this point, Cyrus had his hands rested gently on her cheeks to hold Selena in place. Her hands were resting on his wrists and her eyebrows were slightly furrowed at how lost she was in the moment. You could practically see the fireworks fly up between them, and I was sure, at that moment, that Cyrus had to have been in love with her just as long as Ryder. It'd been a triangle for years that nobody had known about but Cyrus.

      "Did he know?" I whispered at Ryder as Dakota told them their sixty seconds were up. Still, it took them an additional few seconds before they were finally able to tear themselves apart, heads resting against each other's as they breathed heavily.

      Ryder leaned my way, eyes still locked on the two. Heat rose to my face at the close proximity, and I couldn't tell if he'd moved so close on purpose or because his focus was elsewhere. "No," he answered. His eyes shifted to mine and proved the former to be correct when he didn't back away. "Neither did she."

      I tried to ignore the flutter in my stomach that I was quickly becoming accustom to. "Are you gonna tell them?"

      He nodded. "If not, they'll both feel like shit and avoid each other."

      There was a pause as I watched Cyrus and Selena jump apart guiltily, both of their eyes averting back to the bottle as people cheered for them. "Are you okay with them being a thing?"

      He hesitated before nodding. "I'm not in love with her, but that doesn't mean I don't still remember the way it felt." He looked back at the two of them as Cyrus spun the bottle. "I want them to be happy, even if it takes a while for them to get there."

      My eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "What do you mean?"

      He chuckled quietly. "Knowing both of them, it could take years before they actually get together."

      "Oh," I said quietly.

      Sensing the end of the conversation, Ryder leaned back on the couch and focused in on what was happening around us.

      "So, Tyler," asked the blonde beside Kimberly, grinning ear to ear at the aspect of daring the extreme party boy. "What are you going to pick?"

      Tyler grinned and answered, "Dare, duh."

      I tuned out as she dared him to give Dakota a lap dance, which he did scarily well, and focused back in on Cyrus and Selena. Ryder noticed my curiosity and followed my line of focus as I watched the two awkwardly converse, both their cheeks flushed as they stuttered.

      Cyrus suddenly turned his head with wide eyes towards the stairs. "God, what happened to you?"

      Jay came stumbling down the stairs, his own wide eyes staring unfocused at nothing in particular. His eyes were glossy and slightly red, and a grin tugged at his labret as I took in his appearance.

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