“Good. We’re perfectly late.” Rosalyn grabbed my gloved hand. “Let’s get a drink.” She led me through the crowd to the kitchen. I spotted Jess as she rushed past me, knocking me into the wall. She ran to a powder room and slammed the door.
“Gross. She’s always sick before the party even gets started,” Rosalyn rolled her eyes. “She seriously needs to learn to control her alcohol.”
No kidding. And from the looks of things, there were a few people who wouldn’t be far behind Jess’ state. I knew right then that I was in over my head. I thought about calling Axel, but was too stubborn to admit that I’d been wrong about telling him not to come.
Rosalyn towed me along with her to the kitchen. It was big with an island in the center. The counters were light speckled granite, but I couldn’t really see them under all the booze. Liquor bottles and red cups, along with an assortment of sodas and juices were spread all over the place. In front of the sink was an extra-large plastic trashcan filled with ice water and a keg floating in the center. Three boys stood around it as they filled red cups and handed them down a line of kids.
I checked my watch. It wasn’t even 8:30 yet. How were there so many people already drunk?
Carlos was filling shot glasses on the counter with some amber colored liquor.
Right. That was how.
He looked up at me. “Hey, Tessa. Glad you could make it,” he said with a grin. His dimples made him look more charming than he actually was.
He hadn’t said anything to Rosalyn, and by the look she gave him, she was pissed. I so didn’t want to get in the middle of that.
“How about a proper welcome to Texas? Take a shot of tequila.”
Rosalyn dropped my arm and stepped back. I glanced at her, and she shrugged. “Go ahead.”
At that the other three boys who were lined up for a shot looked at me. My palms started sweating. I’d never taken one. I’d never even had a drop of alcohol before. Would it make me act stupid? Or worse—would my visions go crazy?
That was not appealing at all.
Finding a way to be normal was my goal here. I snatched the glass that Carlos held out for me with my gloved hand.
“We take ‘em Texas style here,” he said.
I gave my best fake-confident smile. “Okay. What exactly does that mean?”
“Here, let me show you. Take off your glove.”
There was no way I wanted to do that, but I’d already committed.
As soon as the glove was off, he grabbed my hand and, looking me straight in the eye, licked it.
I was instantly drowning in his hormones.
Glimpses of half-dressed girls. Moans echoed in the backseat of his car. Flashes of wet skin.
As soon as he dropped my hand, I was back in my own body. I grabbed onto the counter as the dizziness faded. That was the fifth time I’d been in the backseat of Carlos’ car this week, thankfully never in my own body. I made a promise to myself to keep it that way.
The wet streak glistened on my hand. Was that supposed to be sexy?
He grabbed a saltshaker and put some onto the wet spot.
Oh no. Please don’t mean what I think that means.
He reached down to a bowl of sliced limes, and handed me one. I took it with my gloved hand.
“All right. So, we motion up and say, ‘Por arriba.’ That means for above. Then we motion down and say, ‘Por abajo.’ For below. Then we motion out and say, ‘Por alcentro.’ For the center. Then we say, ‘Por aldentro.’ For inside. And then lick the salt, take the shot, and suck on the lime. In that order. Got it?”
I nearly rolled my eyes. Most people heard my last name and just assumed I was white, but my mother was Mexican. Thanks to her I could speak Spanish.
“Lo entiendo, chavo.”
Carlos’ face went blank for a second. “You Latin?”
I nodded. “My mother is. So, yes.”
“Cool.” He paused. “What’s chavo mean?”
Christ. With a name like Carlos Rodriguez and his explaining of how to take the shot, I totally thought he spoke Spanish. “It means dude. I said I understand it, dude.”
“Yup.” But still I wished I didn’t have to eat spit-salt.
“You know you don’t have to do this. They’re just stupid boys,” Rosalyn said. She crossed her arms.
Fantastic. She had to say that after I said I’d do it. There was no backing down now, not without looking like an idiot.
Damn it. I was already an idiot. Her boy had been a little flirty with me and now she wanted me to make a fool of myself. I should’ve noticed before I agreed to the shot. “No, I’ve got it.” I tried to keep my hand steady as I held the tiny glass.