Author: epiklyhigh PM
"Are you saying I can't talk to other guys?" I asked. "Not Rory Tate, he's got a thing for you." he grumbled. I let it process for a moment, before bursting into laughter. It was outrageous; Rory liked Barbie types.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Chapters: 11 - Words: 28,285 - Reviews: 91 - Favs: 46 - Follows: 76 - Updated: 10-14-12 - Published: 12-27-11 - id: 2982968
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I didn't know what to do. The hurt and accusing stare on Rory's face made me want to shrink into a ball of shame, but at the same time I wanted to wrap my arms around him and explain that it wasn't what it looked like.
Chris, the only one actually moving – Rory and I were completely still – rubbed the back of his neck before saying, "I've got to, uh, go home. See you guys at school," gave a little wave and then walked off.
As soon as he was out of earshot, Rory said coolly, "Care to explain?"
It was my turn to be awkward. "I, um, we... He came over last night, and we talked, and I guess we both just fell asleep."
"I see," Rory said. "All you did was talk and sleep."
"Yup," I said, just as my eye started twitching. Luckily he'd broken eye contact and was instead inspecting his shoes, and didn't see my slip up.
"I'm glad you guys are getting closer," he said finally.
"We've always been close," I muttered. "He's my best friend." As if that justified my actions.
Rory, his expression unreadable, simply nodded. "Um, I thought I'd walk you to school. And, uh, these are for you." He held out the bouquet.
I realised in that moment that we were still standing in the doorway, him in his school uniform and me in my thin robe thrown over my 'skimpy' sleepwear.
"Sorry," I said, taking the roses and opening the door wider. "Want to come in?"
He shrugged, though he was careful to walk quietly. "I'll just be a minute," I assured him as I ran upstairs. I thought he'd be perverted and follow me, and while I was changing into my uniform I was half expecting him to come through the door. Luckily, and surprisingly, he stayed downstairs. I found him in the kitchen, looking through my cupboards.
"You have no food. Again. What are you planning to eat for breakfast?" he asked, his voice cross.
I shrugged in response. "I wasn't going to have any?" I said.
"Not on my watch," I heard him mutter, as he pulled out eggs and milk from the fridge. Five minutes later, and I was eating breakfast as Rory watched me like a hawk.
"Can you stop that?" I grumbled, as I chewed. "It's a little off-putting."
All he did was roll his eyes. "Don't speak with your mouth open," but he turned around, to clean up the mess he'd made making the eggs.
"Hey Rory," I said softly. When he didn't reply I took it as approval to continue. "I wanted to say, I think we should stop this... sham." Of all the words, Nadia rolled her eyes.
He stopped mid-motion, and still with his back to me, said, "Is that what you want?"
No it's not, I wanted to say.
"Yes," I whispered.
"Does this have anything to do with what you and Chris did last night?" he asked.
"Then why suddenly..?" he finally turned around to look at me. He looked... I couldn't describe it, but if I had to try, it'd probably be 'sad'. He was avoiding my gaze, and was looking at his shoes again.
"Because I don't want to ruin your chances with this mystery girl of yours," I said. Finally something truthful.
Rory gave me a strange look. "Is that it?"
I shot him a look in return. "Shouldn't that be enough?"
"Well," he said, a little uneasy looking, "That's not really your concern is it?"
I furrowed my brow. Okay, so it was really his decision to do whatever he wanted. Maybe he was pursuing her right now. Maybe she knew all about this arrangement, knew he was only doing this to help a friend, which was why he wasn't concerned about hurting mystery girl's feelings. Whatever it was, it was pretty big headed of me to think that our 'relationship' actually affected him.
"Fine," I said stiffly. "I want to stop because I've decided I don't want to be with Chris that way anymore. And it's not like it worked anyway."
He gave me another look, but was silent this time. I hadn't run out of things to say, but I suddenly felt too tired to speak. Everything was just so confusing now. Everything used to be so simple. Before, I'd managed to suppress my feelings for Chris by just concentrating on our friendship, and Rory was just another idiot boy that annoyed me. Who knew having someone new in your life could screw things up so much?
"You don't like Chris anymore?" he asked finally, lifting his head to stare at me with wide eyes. I bit my lip. Was he going to be angry that he'd wasted time on me, or start judging me for being fickle?
"I can't really explain it," I said slowly. "I thought I liked him, but I dunno, recent events have made me rethink stuff."
He looked confused – it didn't make much sense to my ears either – but nodded anyway.
"So, do you have someone else in mind?" he asked.
I stared at him. Was he serious? Like our pathetic attempt at making Chris jealous was amusing or something, and he wanted to do it again?
"I was just curious," he said, giving me a half smile. "I told you about the girl I liked."
"I told you about Chris," I shot back.
"Uh, no you didn't. I guessed it. Like the genius I am," he said.
"Fine," I said grouchily. He looked at me with his eyebrows raised, and I groaned before twisting to my side to avoid contact, faking an interest in this weird wooden sculpture thing I'd made at some holiday art program, which mum liked to use as a paper weight for our bills. "I guess a part of the reason I realised that I didn't like Chris as much as I thought I did had to do with a guy," I began. "This other guy," I paused, and wrinkled my nose, in thought, "I'm not even sure how I feel about him. All I know is that things are..." I wracked my brain for a word to describe how things were like with Rory. Complicated, fun, weird, fake. "...right, with him. He's easy to get along with."
It took a couple of deep breaths and a few mental slaps before I gathered the courage to take a peek at Rory.
He looked deep in thought, one eyebrow arched and his eyes focused on nothing in particular.
"Rory?" I said, and he snapped out of his daze.
I raised an eyebrow. "No snide comments?"
He grinned. "That's all that takes?"
I stuck out my tongue at him, but I was groaning internally. So he was judging me.
"Do I know him?" he asked, his expression still playful.
I pressed my lips together, trying to stop from smiling. To avoid the question, I asked one of my own, "What, so you can bash him up like you did Andre?"
He at least had the decency to look guilty. "Chris told you." he said knowingly.
"It might shock and surprise you, but I can take care of myself you know. I'm not going to agree to go out with some guy who I don't even know. I still don't know who he is, thanks to you," I said.
He muttered something incoherent, but shot me an apologetic look, which I guessed was all I'd be able to get out of him.
"Hey, do you like drawing flowers?" he asked suddenly.
I suddenly remembered the roses he'd given me, which were lying on the kitchen counter. Seeing them made me itch for my sketch pad. For so long I'd craved to draw flowers, but because they'd sap half of my art funds, I could only use photos off of the internet as reference. Which wasn't as fulfilling as having the item in front of you.
"Of course," I assured him. "Thanks for them, by the way."
"I didn't mean those," Rory said, "I meant flowers in general."
"Oh," I said. "I guess, sure."
"Good," he said. "C'mon, we're going to be late for school."
Dragging my eyes away from his beautiful cheekbones, I looked at the clock, which said that we had five minutes to run to school, get our books and bolt to our homeroom. After swearing under my breath, I grabbed my bag and made a mad dash for the door. When I turned to lock up, I saw that Rory was walking along lazily behind me, not at all concerned about being late. Or what it'd look like if we turned up late to homeroom together. Hetty would have my head on a stick.
"What?" he said defensively, seeing my frantic waves at him to hurry. "We're not going to make it anyway."
We didn't make it. Halfway, I gave up and sunk down to the ground to wait for Rory to catch up. He'd been walking at a snail's pace before we'd even left the house, and hadn't seen the need to rush, so hadn't.
"Oh gee, don't run," I said drily when he'd caught up. "It's only school. Education's not important."
He rolled his eyes at my theatrics. "I wasn't planning on going anyway."
"Did it occur to you that I might have been?"
"You didn't have to wait for me, you could have just run off," he said, kicking a nearby stone.
I made a face, not sure of what to say to that.
"Hey, do you have your sketchpad with you?" he asked suddenly. I gave him a look. He'd been acting weird since... well, he'd always been a bit weird.
"What, did you want me to draw you naked? I don't think so, buddy," I said, still pissed off that he didn't give a damn about attending school.
"Oh, I was thinking we could do that another time," he replied breezily. "Today I've got something else planned."
"Don't tell me what to draw," I muttered to myself but followed him anyway. I was pretty curious to begin with, and when I realised – it took me a while, but I got it eventually – that we were walking along the same route to the old run down house, my curiosity increased tenfold.
I was speechless. To think that he'd spent so much money – I know how expensive flowers can get – as well as time; I could tell the flowers were fresh. Like bought-this-morning-despite-it-being-not-even-nine-yet fresh.
I didn't realise my jaw had dropped until Rory tapped my chin. "You'll swallow a fly," he teased. "No really," he continued, his face straightening, "The flowers are attracting all sorts of things."
Not having the guts to leap into his arms and squeeze, I settled for swatting his hand away in what I hoped he'd interpret as an affectionate gesture, and then a small smile. He grinned smugly back. He spent the next two hours just grinning like that, while I tried to ignore him and make use of the amazing scenery. It didn't work very well, because I could feel his gaze on the back of my neck, so I made him turn his back. Turning his back didn't shut his mouth, however.
"So are we going to continue our conversation before?" he asked.
"Our conversation about how we should go to school? If you want, although I thought we already settled that I'm right and you're wrong," I said dryly.
"About the guy you like," Rory said, and I could sense him rolling his eyes.
"I'm not telling you who it is," I said firmly.
"You don't have to," he said. "You said the two of you get along well, right?" He held up my phone. "I'm guessing you two talk a lot."
I glared at him, unable to stop his as my fingers were smudged with charcoal and paint.
"Chris, Mum, Cal, Ivy..." he recited as he scrolled through my texts, ignoring my livid expression. "Who's Ryan?"
I crossed my arms. "Wouldn't you like to know?" Ryan was one of Cal's friends, who was an artist and generous with sharing supplies, though that could be because he stole half his collection anyway.
He continued scrolling, trying to find new names. "Josh?" he asked.
I grimaced at the name; we'd met at the supermarket, exchanged numbers, texted for a week and then I never heard from him again.
"And...," Rory squinted at the dirty screen. "Andy?"
I smirked at that one; Andy was a girl in my English class.
"And you call Hetty a slut–Argh!" he yelps at the charcoal stick I flung at him, fumbling to catch it before it got on his white shirt.
"Did I strike a nerve, Nor?" he said teasingly.
"No," I huffed.
"But seriously, you're on friendly terms with everyone, how am I supposed to guess?"
I gave him a look. "Uh, no one told you to guess, genius. And I'm not. I know a handful of people compared to the billions of girls you know. If anyone's going to have a hard time guessing it'd be me."
"Uh, no one told you to guess, idiot," he said, sticking out his tongue. I couldn't help but laugh.
I also couldn't help blurting out, "Can we just be friends? Like, without this whole Chris thing."
"I dunno Nor, I was sort of starting to like being your pretend-boyfriend," Rory said. His expression made it difficult for me to tell if he was being serious or not. So I waited for him to go on, and continue he did.
"But you know what I would like even more than that?" he asked as he stood up. He began to stalk towards me, and I felt my mouth go dry at the intensity in his stare. "To stop pretending."
AN: Hey guys, long time no talk. I think it's been over two months.
Just wanted to say: I'm sorry for a short chapter, was actually going to continue it, but wasn't sure where to go. Tbh I'm excited for when they do get together but I think they need to have more time to themselves before they do. Plus there's stuff that's unresolved with other people in their lives, like with Chris and Cal and Hetty, etc. Let me know what you guys think should happen after this.
See you guys soon, please help me out and take a second to give me some constructive criticism and I'd muchly appreciate it!