“I’m serious,” I insist. “I want a real answer.”
We’re interrupted by a loud bang on the table. Courtesy of my sorority sister Beth Bradley, who showed up only thirty minutes ago and is already tipsier than everyone else.
“We should play Dare or Dare,” she announces, smacking the table until she’s gotten everyone’s attention. She raises an eyebrow at me, biting her lip impishly.
While Lisa and Olivia don’t seem to be Abigail fangirls, I know Beth is somewhat chummy with her, which means I’m instantly on guard.
“We should get a new game,” I answer dryly.
“What’s Dare or Dare?” Across the table, Foster has just committed the cardinal sin of volunteering himself. Poor dumb bastard.
“Well,” Beth says, “I challenge you to a dare and you must complete it upon penalty of death.”
The other guys snicker.
“Sounds intense,” remarks Matt.
“You don’t know the half of it,” I tell him.
I can’t help but glance in Rebecca’s direction, a tiny lump rising in my throat. Whatever potential friendship we might’ve had was just another casualty of this stupid game.
“Here.” Sasha shoves a shot in front of me. She’s just returned from her own trip to the bar, sandwiching herself between me and Matt. The two of them have looked pretty darn cozy all night.
I eye the shot glass warily. Drinking this would be a terrible idea. One, I don’t shoot liquor well, and two, where Conor’s concerned, I’ve got to keep my wits about me. There are traps and pitfalls everywhere, holes full of sharpened bamboo spears waiting to impale me.
“Go on,” Sasha urges. “It’ll take the edge off.”
So I knock it back. It tastes like cinnamon gum and licorice, and not in a good way.
“I just wanted to see you.” Conor murmurs in my ear, continuing our conversation as if it had never stopped.
The combination of liquor heating my blood and his warm breath on my neck makes my head go a bit fuzzy. I lean closer, my arm draped over his thigh to keep myself steady. “Why?” I murmur back.
This time the conversation does stop. His attention has been diverted to his teammate, who is foolishly calling Beth’s bluff.
“Go on then,” Foster says. “Give me your best shot.”
“Careful,” Conor warns. “I’ve seen their handiwork.”
“Oh no, don’t dare me to sleep with a cute blonde.” Foster deadpans. “That’d be the worst thing ever.”
“Alright.” Beth sits up straight, narrowing her eyes at him. “I dare you to get any woman in this bar to take a shot out of your waistband.”
Conor and the guys burst out laughing.
“Oh shit, dude. Let me FaceTime Gavin for this one.” Matt yanks out his phone, his muscular arm sliding off Sasha’s shoulder.
“Yeah, cool.” Foster jumps to his feet while Lisa goes to order the necessary shot. “How ’bout it, Beth. You thirsty?”
“Nuh-uh. Can’t make it that easy. Better start hunting, big boy. You’ve got five minutes or face the consequences.”
As soon as Lisa’s back with the shot, Foster’s on the prowl. He starts by scanning the room for groups of girls who don’t look like they have any hostile meathead boyfriends to worry about. Matt and Bucky hop out of their chairs and follow him for moral support and to record his conquest.
“Tick tock!” Olivia taunts him as we all watch his progress. “Better hurry.”
In short order, Foster’s got a redhead on her knees. I watch with wide, impressed eyes as the girl takes the shot and pops up with a cherry between her lips. Chick’s got moves.
A few seconds later, Foster saunters back to our table with a dumb grin and his chest puffed out.
“Too easy,” he says, then chugs his beer. “My turn now. Beth.”
She smirks up at him. “Give me your best shot.”
Foster and his teammates have a conference before daring Beth to make out with a girl of her choice while the two girls trade bras. Without the slightest hesitation Beth enlists Olivia, who, as I’m discovering tonight, possesses a wild streak as well as a pretty decent sense of humor. I don’t know why we never hung out before.
Not wasting any time, the two Kappas stand up and lock lips while each tucks their arms into their shirts to undo their bras and pull them out of their sleeves then put on the new one. It happens so fast the men are left speechless and gawking.
“What just happened?” Cory asks stupidly.
“That’s some kind of witchcraft right there,” Conor remarks beside me.
I make the mistake of looking at Rebecca again, and this time she actually looks back. What ensues is the most awkward eye-locking in the history of mankind. I break visual contact when I hear someone say, “Taylor.”
“Huh?” I turn at the sound of my name.
Olivia is fluttering her fingers together like a cartoon villain. “It’s your turn. I dare you to…”
Oh, right. That’s why we don’t hang out. Because anyone who knows me well and whom I consider a friend wouldn’t put me on the spot like this.
Sasha must read the panic on my face. “Oh come on. Hasn’t Taylor done enough? I think she’s earned her retirement.”
“…To give Conor a lap dance,” Olivia finishes gleefully.
Fuck my life.
Conor stiffens. His eyes meet mine, and although his expression reveals nothing, I can feel his concern. We haven’t known each other long, but he’s perceptive enough to know I’d rather accept the penalty of death than accept this embarrassing dare.
“Hell no,” he declares, jumping to his feet. “I don’t want a bunch of drunk perverts eyeing my girlfriend.”
To my shock, he peels out of his hoodie. Now he’s left in a tight white tank top that shows off his sculpted arms and washboard abs. Olivia audibly gasps.
He cocks his head suddenly, a slow grin spreading across his face. “Nice. Even got the music on my side,” he drawls. Then he pulls my chair back a bit and stands between me and the table.
“What are you doing?” I yelp.
“Blowing your mind.” He winks at me.
Dread fills my stomach when I recognize the song blasting from the bar’s sound system. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard. Oh fuck me.
“Don’t,” I beg Conor, fear trembling in my voice. “Please don’t.”
Rather than heed my pleas, he licks his lips, sways his hips, and launches into a raunchy performance.
Oh my fucking God.
My fake boyfriend is giving me a real lap dance.
“Work it, baby!” Beth catcalls, while Olivia and the other girls transform into the living personification of the heart-eyes emoji.
When I try to cover my eyes, he pulls my hands away and runs them down his abs. Then he presses them against his ass as he gyrates and undulates in front of me to cheers and whistles as the entire bar stops to watch.
As mortifying as the attention is, Conor is weirdly good at this. And after the initial terror subsides, it becomes pretty hilarious the way he’s playing more goofy than sexy. I find myself laughing along with everyone else, as Foster and Bucky start shouting out the chorus of the song.