Havoc:Mayhem Series #4

By: Jamie Shaw

“I’m sorry for being such an asshole, Hailey. I didn’t know you’d end up on your own here all night.”

“It’s alright—” I start, but Mike shakes his head.

“No, it’s not. I wasn’t thinking.”

The sincerity in his gaze makes me swallow hard, and when he frowns at my silence, I shake my head. If anyone should feel bad about tonight, it’s Danica. She made me drive her here, forced me to follow her around like her personal butler for hours, and then fell the hell asleep. “Really, it’s okay. I haven’t been alone for long. I spent most of the night gaming with Rowan.”

Mike stares at me a moment longer before a small smile graces his face again. “She’s pretty good too. She can wipe the floor with me half the time.”

It’s true—she was pretty awesome, both in the game and out of it. We apparently go to the same school, so we exchanged numbers and made plans to have lunch together—along with Joel’s girlfriend, Dee—on campus on Wednesday. It’s the only good thing I got out of tonight.

“Not as good as me though,” I brag, and Mike chuckles.

“No, you’re something else. I still can’t believe you got air support in, what, just a few hours.”

I lift my beer bottle into the air for a toast, and he clinks his to mine.

“I play DZ4 with my little brother a lot,” I explain.

“And you’re Danica’s cousin, right?” he asks after taking a long sip of his beer. When I nod, he adds, “She never mentioned she had any cousins.”

I take another drink, remembering the way she just tossed my favorite hoodie on the ground. It’s currently lying wet in the bathroom sink of the bus. Shawn tried to help me get the stain out of the sleeve, but we only made it worse.

“Probably because she’s a self-centered bitch who doesn’t think about anyone but herself,” I spit, and as soon as the bitter truth leaves my mouth, my eyes go wide and my lips clamp shut.

I can’t believe I just said that. Out loud. To the very guy she just finished doing God-knows-what with not more than twenty minutes ago. I’ve lost my damn mind.

I hold my breath while Mike stares at me, and then he gives me an amused smile and teases, “Why don’t you tell me how you really feel.”

I take a humongous swallow from my bottle to clear the even bigger lump in my throat. “Sorry.”

“For what?”

“I didn’t mean to insult your girlfriend.”

“Girlfriend,” he repeats, frowning. He sits back against the leather seat and lets his head fall back. “Tonight is so fucked.”

I repeat my mantra. Not my business, not my business, not my business.

“Do you want another beer?” I ask, dropping my eyes from the dusting of stubble on his chin to his empty bottle. Mike is an enigma. A rock star who doesn’t hook up with groupies. A guy who just got laid, yet acts like someone just died. I don’t know what’s bothering him, but even if I asked, I’m guessing I wouldn’t understand. The guy was in love with Danica, and that’s something I could never comprehend regardless of how many years I spent playing tour bus psychiatrist.

“There’s not enough beer in the world,” he answers, but I hand him what’s left of mine before taking his empty bottle and walking in the direction of the kitchenette in the back. I know I can’t get involved, so instead, I do the next best thing.

“Where are you going?” Mike asks, sitting up.

“To see if you have anything stronger than beer.”

Chapter 4

When Danica steps onto the bus early the following morning, Mike and I are sitting shoulder to shoulder in an open space on the aisle floor, game controllers in hand, beer and liquor bottles littering the benches surrounding us. He’s drunk, I’m overtired, and the combination of us has resulted in a night filled with so many laughs, I have a permanent cramp in my side and the muscles in my cheeks ache.

“Hey, Danica,” Mike says after a glance toward the door, “watch this.”

He activates the air support, and when the alarms in the game begin wailing, so do we. We’ve been doing this for the past couple hours, but it’s still the funniest thing I’ve ever heard, and I struggle to mimic the sound through the snorts that interrupt my laughter. They make Mike laugh even harder, which makes me laugh even harder, which makes us an absolute mess.

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