BEFORE & AFTER BOOK BLURB: Rike and Peyton fell in love in college. A boy from the wrong side of the tracks, covered in ink and crooning in a bar is the last person a straight laced girl with a art major should fall for, but his rough edges made her jagged, alive, shaving away the coddled southern princess and revealing a soul wild and brilliant. They fell in love, despite her family and his past and all the reasons why it wouldn't work--and with their best friends, they made a life. Everyone was supposed to live happily ever after. They, more than anyone, knows that life doesn't go according to plan. Rike and Peyton fell in love in college. A boy with a guitar, and a poet's heart, and a girl with freckles dusted over her nose, a perfect fucking fairy tale. But what happens when the fairy tale doesn't fall apart--but is forgotten?
Prologue: Now It's raining buckets and I don't want to go out in that. I stared at it from under the awning of the club and felt Lindsay sway into me. For a second, we both wobbled and another one of the girls banged against my side and I shrieked, sure we were going down. Lindsay rights me, pulls me close. I lean my head on her shoulder and puff out a petulant, "Bitch." Her grip tightens just a touch and she laughs. I haven't been this drunk since senior year of college, when we did Christmas at her parent's beach house in Key West. I wouldn't be this drunk now except she begged. Hung over and washed out wouldn't do for the wedding, and even after that insane night on the beach with jello shots and beer funnels and tequila body shots, I had woken up without a hang over. And that's what you do, when your best friend begs the night before her wedding--you do her shots while the rest of the bridal party screams at the strippers and you slip her watered down beer that smells like piss. You take the holy fuck never again drunk, because tomorrow, no one will be looking at me while she prances down the aisle in white. Well. One person will. And he'd think this shit was hilarious. I giggle against Linds' shoulder and she bumps me gently. "You good?" She murmurs as we wait for the cab. I smirk up at her, the world spinning unsteadily. "I'm fucking wasted." She laughs softly and kisses my forehead. "Lindsay, get in," one of the other girls calls and she peers at the cab. It won't hold all of us, and I can feel a new tension settle over my best friend. Lindsay doesn't have a lot of close friends. Partly because we came here, to this city neither of us knows, because of the boys. So we both started over. And because when we have each other, and the boys, well. We don't need much else. But she's more social than I am. And she works at a small ad agency, where she's gotten close to the other girls. So when she needed bridesmaids, of course she asked them. I smirk as Lindsay shakes her head. "Y’all go. Peyton and I will grab the next." There's a moment of rain splattered quiet and then the girl--I forget but I think she's one of the Jennifers--shrugs and slides into the little cab, slamming the door behind her. "What a bitch," I mutter. She laughs, that real noise that I know like breathing. Not the fake shit she's been shoveling at the other girls all night. "Stop it," she orders and I blink up at her. "You’re thinking too much. Your drunk, Pey. Let go and enjoy it." I lean into her, and murmur, "Wanna help?" She laughs again, shoving my shoulder, and I giggle. "You are such a slut when you drink." She mutters. I nod agreeably, and a cab pulls up. It's dingy and the driver is frowning at his phone even as it he pulls to a stop. He gives us a distracted look as we spill in and the world sways, dizzy for a long moment. Lindsay tugs me against her as I whimper and pushes my hair back, studying me. "The Embassy Suites," she says and he nods, jerking into motion. Linds mutters under her breath and reaches for her seatbelt. "Sit up, honey. Belt. The rain is awful." "Freaking mother hen," I grumble and she shrugs, implacable. I huff and shift to sit up and my phone goes off, the ringtone that only Rike has. I squeal and Lindsay reaches for me as I scramble for my purse, abandoned on the dark, dirty floorboard. I close my hand over it and hear her scream, my name a twisted noise that is almost unrecognizable. It's the last thing I can't remember.