Havoc:Mayhem Series #4

By: Jamie Shaw

I’m laughing, crying, and snorting when I make the mistake of glancing at Danica, and then I’m choking. She’s looking a little worse for wear—with finger-brushed hair and day-old makeup—but is still gorgeous in a black top that clings to her curves, skintight jeans that hug her legs, and knee-high boots that are probably worth more than every shitty hand-me-down car I’ve ever owned.

She’s staring right back at me, and the look on her face is deadly.

I lock my eyes on the TV, feeling her death glare burrow through the side of my skull. I don’t even want to know what I look like. I’ve gotten no sleep, I probably still smell like armpit, and I’ve cried countless tears while giggling the night away with Mike Madden. I’m guessing that last part is why she currently looks like she’s going to chainsaw me to death in my sleep tonight.

When she approaches us, every muscle in my body tenses in anticipation of the attitude she’s about to throw at me. But instead of bitching me out for stealing her boyfriend from the other bus—since, in Danica’s world, I’m sure it’s all my fault she woke up alone—she simply sits on the bench beside Mike, leans down to press a kiss against his cheek, and says, “What are you playing?”

“The new Deadzone,” he answers without peeling his eyes from the screen. He continues landing headshots left and right—an impressive feat considering how much Guinness is probably sloshing around in his stomach—while I stare at Danica like I’m the one who’s drunk.

She’s being . . . nice? Nice. Did I imagine that look she gave me when she came on the bus?

When she glances at me, I’m practically cross-eyed with confusion, but she simply grins and twirls thick chunks of Mike’s brown hair around her slender fingers.

“Are you winning?” she asks him.

“It’s not really that kind of game . . .”

“Then how do you play?”

Her voice, sweeter than pink cotton candy, makes me want to hurl. “Since when do you care about video games?” I ask, and she gives me that I’m-going-to-chainsaw-your-face-off look again. Nope, definitely didn’t imagine it.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Hailey,” she scoffs, her hand coming to rest possessively on the nape of Mike’s neck. “You know how much I love watching you and your brother play.”

I have some kind of stroke. That’s the only explanation. My jaw drops open, my character gets shot in the head, and my brain does some kind of sputtering thing that leaves my game controller hanging from limp hands. “Say whaaa?”

Since my twelve-year-old brother and I are now separated by hundreds of miles and won’t see each other until Thanksgiving break, I make it a priority to play games with him online on a regular basis, and two nights ago, we were playing Deadzone Four when Danica burst into my room demanding that I shut it off. It was one o’clock in the morning, but I was apparently slowing down the wifi and it was more important for her to look up manicure designs on Pinterest than it was for me to help my lonely little brother forget about the asshole who’d bullied him in gym class that day.

My head is tilted to the side like an extremely confused teacup Chihuahua, and Danica gives me another look.

Keep your mouth shut, her eyes threaten.

“You used to hate it when I played,” Mike remembers while I’m still trying to recover from my stroke.

“Did I?” Danica’s eyes glitter with deceit that I hope Mike can see. “That was so long ago. I was such a bitch back then.” When Mike just stares at her, she slides down into his lap and clasps her fingers behind his neck. “Forgive me?”

Mike dated her for four years. Four years. He should know better than to buy this crap, right? Right?

Say no, you giant idiot! Push her fake ass off your lap!

When Mike continues studying her with those big brown eyes of his, she leans in and kisses him. She squirms tight against his body and threads her fingers into his hair, and I roll my eyes and stand up.

If batting eyelashes and pink lip gloss are all it takes to get under his skin, then those two were made for each other.

“Alright, well, I’m going to get going.” Ignoring my disappointment in the drummer who made me laugh harder last night than I have in years, I grab my keys from the bench beside me and jingle them in the air while Danica whispers something in Mike’s ear—or does something in Mike’s ear. I don’t even want to know. “Dani, are you coming or what?”

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