One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths, #2)(8)

He drops his forehead into the pillow. “Oh, thank God,” I hear him mumble, ignoring her question. With surprisingly graceful movements, he rolls out of the bottom bunk and stands. Air hisses through my teeth as I inhale, shifting my wide eyes to the window, but not before I get a full frontal show.

Chuckling, he asks, “What’s wrong, Irish?”


My head snaps back. “What’d you call me?”

He smirks, his hand resting on the ladder rung, seemingly comfortable in his current lack of covering. “You don’t remember much from last night, do you?”

The way his intense dark eyes settle on my face makes my stomach slide down into my leg. I have to clench my muscles before I lose bladder control right here. “If it explains why we’re all in a room together and you’re naked . . . then no.” The words fly out of my mouth, two levels higher than normal and wobbly.

He takes a step forward and I instantly shift back, trying to squeeze into the space between the wall and the dresser. I’m so light-headed, I’m sure I’m going to pass out. Or throw up. All over the bare chest that I just barely remember groping last night.

There’s a plain white sheet resting on the dresser beside me. I curl my body toward the wall as I reach over and grab it, pulling it down to cover my front. He takes another step and I lean against the dresser for support, willing my eyes to stay level but panicking the entire time. If he moves any closer, that thing is liable to brush up against me.

“Don’t worry. We agreed last night that I’m not marriage material,” he says.

I tighten my grip around the sheet and my chest and set my jaw stubbornly. “Well, at least I was still semi-coherent, then.” I can’t seem to peel my focus away from his rich brown eyes. They’re boring into my face but there’s something unreadable behind them. I wonder if he remembers kissing me. I wonder if he regrets it.

I sense him about to edge just a tiny bit closer. And then I can’t control it anymore. I burst out, “Can you please point that thing somewhere else!”

Throwing his head back to howl with laughter, he holds his hands up in surrender and backs away. “Reagan, don’t tell anyone. Especially your dad,” he calls out over his shoulder.

“No worries there,” Reagan mutters, rubbing her face.

“What the f*ck?” I hear Kacey mumble as she comes to. She sits up and peers down at Ashton—all of him—before her gaze darts to me standing there. Her eyes widen momentarily. “Oh, no . . . please tell me you two didn’t . . . ,” she says with a groan.

I hug my body tight as I stare at her pleadingly. I don’t know! I don’t know what we did!

“No, they didn’t!” Reagan calls out.

Air explodes out of my lungs in relief, and then I wince. Even that rattled my pounding head.

I’m not the only one relieved. The deep frown on my sister’s face relaxes. With that out of the way, she takes another look at him, dropping her gaze low. “You wanna cover your junk, buddy?”

He grins, holding his hands out. “I thought you liked me like this?”

She responds with a smirk of her own, her eyes dropping meaningfully downward. “I’ve got better things waiting at home for me.” She flickers her hand toward the door. That’s Kacey. Cool and confident when faced with a random penis.

Shaking his head but chuckling, he says, “Fair enough.” He turns to hold my gaze for a long moment, an unreadable expression on his face, before his eyes drop to the sheet I’m clutching for dear life. “I believe this is mine,” he says at the same time he yanks it out of my grip, leaving me exposed once again. My arms fly to cover my chest as I watch him close the distance to the door in four strides. Throwing it open, he strolls out into the hall.

Which is exactly when a student and her mother pass by, suitcases in hand. Ashton isn’t fazed by their hanging mouths as he strolls past them, taking his time wrapping the sheet around his lower half. “Ladies,” he says with a half-salute. But then I hear him bellow, loud enough for I’m sure half the floor to hear, “Sorry, but I don’t do one-night stands, Irish!”

I’m left standing in the doorway with my arms hugging my boobs, hoping against all hope that a piano will come crashing through the ceiling to end the most mortifying moment of my life.

That’s when I feel the warning stir in the pit of my stomach, moving up my esophagus. I know what’s about to happen. And there’s no way I’m going to make it to the bathroom in time. My mouth flies to cover my mouth as I frantically scan the room for something. Anything. Including the gold and beige planter holding Reagan’s ficus. I dive for it just as a night’s worth of Jell-O shooters rises.

I was wrong. This is the most mortifying moment of my life.

“I should have just let you wear that T-shirt,” I moan, my arm flung across my forehead. After poisoning my roommate’s plant with high doses of stomach acid and toxins, I crawled back into my top bunk with Reagan’s hangover stash—Advil and a gallon of isotonic liquids—where I’ve remained, drifting between unconsciousness and self-pity. The few hours of sleep have helped with the monstrous headache. The puking helped with the nausea. Nothing has helped with the shame.

Kacey giggles.

“It’s not funny, Kacey! None of this is funny! You were supposed to keep me out of trouble!” I shift, and the movement reminds me of the discomfort in my back. “And why is my back sore?”

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