chapter twenty four

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"Okay, but honestly Abby, how much did he have to pay you to come with him tonight?" Viv deadpans, her eyes widen conspiratorially as she fights back her smile, "seriously, blink twice if he's black mailing you

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"Okay, but honestly Abby, how much did he have to pay you to come with him tonight?" Viv deadpans, her eyes widen conspiratorially as she fights back her smile, "seriously, blink twice if he's black mailing you. I can help."

I grin at her over my glass of sparkling water as Dean leans into me. His lips hover inches from my ear so that his voice can be heard over the palaver echoing through Carson Hall. When his hot breath hits my cheek, I can faintly smell the liquor he's been sipping on since we got here; the same glass I've been sneaking sips from when no one was looking since I forgot to bring my fake ID with me.

I've always been a year younger than everyone else in my friend groups since the private school I went to in Florida allowed for kindergarten students to start a year earlier than the public schools around us. I was a year behind my friends in everything; getting my period, my permit, my license, and now not being able to buy a drink legally is just another thing to add to that list.

"How about one last dance before we sneak out of this place?" he whispers.

His dark blue eyes are wrinkled in an earnest smile when he pulls away from me and my cheeks start to warm knowing that his friends are watching us. I can feel the heat from his hand as it hovers and just barely grazes the material on the small of my back.

"I think an hour and a half is long enough to get credit for attending," Dean sighs as his eyes filter through the crowd, "we're gonna go dance and then we should head out. I'm kind of tired of networking with drunk old lawyers who aren't going to remember my name when they wake up tomorrow,"

"Agreed," Sam nods, pushing her golden blonde hair behind her bare shoulders before smoothing out the front of her black strapless gown, "come with me so I can grab another drink before we go, Ms. designated driver," she grins and hooks her arm around Viv's elbow before pulling her toward the open bar. Viv looks over her shoulder and motions for Dillon and Jack follow behind her, which they do, but both of their eyes are glued to the phone in Dillon's hand as they slowly make their way toward the open bar on the other side of the hall. 

I follow behind Dean as he leads us toward the dance floor, sliding past a few older couples who are slow dancing to the soft melody currently being played through the speakers. Once he finds an open space in the middle of the swaying bodies, he turns around and considers me for a second, hesitantly extending his hands to my waist. I reach up and lock my arms around his neck easily and take a step forward to close some of the space between us.

Dean is tall, taller than I am at least, but in my heels, we're nearly eye to eye and I can't help but notice the major height difference between him and Tristan. Even in these heels, I barely scraped his chin when we danced at the formal, and the memory of his hands on my waist as he led us rhythmically to the beat of the song flashes in my mind.

Dean isn't moving us very quickly, in fact, his movements are a lot slower than the actual beat of the song. I can feel his nervous energy as he loosens his hold on my waist and I try to help him out by setting our movements with the rhythm of the dance, hoping that he'll be able to keep it up on his own so I won't have to lead the entire time, because honestly, it's the uncoordinated leading the uncoordinated here.

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