Author: Grand M PM
"The next guy that walks through that door will be your test subject," Sofie said. "No ifs, ands, or buts." "Fine," I said through gritted teeth. In hindsight, I should have waited five more seconds before agreeing, because the moment Scott Maher walked into the class, he had become my guinea pig. I had to seduce the most powerful guy in the senior grade. No ifs, ands, or buts.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Romance - Chapters: 19 - Words: 106,485 - Reviews: 187 - Favs: 80 - Follows: 153 - Updated: 06-09-13 - Published: 11-03-12 - id: 3071025
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Empty take-out containers were strewn across the coffee table in the living room. The lights were off, it was nine-thirty at night, and I had come to realize too late that watching The Exorcist was probably not the wisest choice.
I absent-mindedly nibbled on the Cheeto in my hand, my eyes fixated on the TV screen.
Regan was about to descend down the stairs in her infamous spider walk. I was waiting for it. I was anticipating it. My heart was beginning to flutter.
Suddenly, I shrieked, nearly flying up in the air when I heard something violently vibrating against the wooden coffee table. My phone.
After pausing the movie and allowing my pulse to settle down, I let out a shaky sigh and reached for my phone.
I heard the most peculiar thing today.
I furrowed my eyebrows as I read the text over. Sofie had sent it.
What did you hear? I wrote back, reaching for the bowl of Cheetos.
Apparently, Jacques told Jules that you and Colt had something going on. I couldn't find any more out, so dear Willa, would you care to elaborate?
I blinked at my phone, beyond confused. What? Jacques had said what?
Why on earth would he think that? He knew Colt and I were simply frie—oh. Oh no.
Before I could write anything back, Sofie was calling me.
"Hello?" I answered.
"Hey," she responded. "So what's going on?"
I rubbed my eyes, Charlotte's advice suddenly coming to mind: Keep rubbing your eyes like that and you'll have wrinkles before you're forty!
"He was confused! I-I just…ugh. Okay, you know what, let's start at the beginning. Here's what happened," I sighed. "When Colt and I went to get lunch, Jacques came by and started to talk to us. We talk for a while, I figure he's a great friendly and funny guy, and then he leaves. Later on, as I'm packing my bag to go home, Jacques calls out to me. I look up and I find out he's not alone—he's with Scott Maher. Naturally, I freeze up and my brain goes haywire, more so than usual, because Scott Maher is standing there in a fitted black shirt and he's all sweaty and his face is red from running and I had this strong urge to run my hands through his hair," I said, running out of breath. I hear an excited giggle, but I continued on before Sofie exploded into full-on shrieks. "Jacques says something about me going to the game to support "my man", and I know I should've corrected him but my brain was lagging and the only thing I could say was, 'Oh, right!' and then they said bye and I said bye and now I know why he must've thought that there's something going on between Colt and me."
"Wow," Sofie said finally. "I'm so glad I'm going to help you when talking to guys."
"Shut up," I growled.
"Well, the bad news is that now, most of the baseball team is under the impression that you and Colt are dating. And you know how fast word spreads—we'd better clear things up before this rumor reaches Ellie," Sofie sighed. It wasn't until she said those words that the realization dawned on me.
"Crap," I hissed. "How are we going to do that!?"
"Listen, I have an idea," Sofie piped up. "Win or lose, Chris Butcher's having a party at his house tomorrow after the game. Now, I know you don't like those types of things, Will, but it will give you the perfect opportunity to clear everything up. Go around to everyone and casually bring the topic up. By the end of the night everyone will know that you and Colt are nothing more than good old pals."
"I'm not a social butterfly like you, Sof," I reminded her. "I don't know how to casually change topics like that. I just blurt things out. Why beat around the bush?"
"Because otherwise you'll come off as blunt and sometimes people just don't know how to react to that," Sofie replied. I could hear her dog barking in the background. "Listen, I'll help you out. I'll set up the stage for you and you'll take over, okay? Anyway, I'll talk to you tomorrow; I'm about to take Wiggy out for a quick walk. Be ready by two o'clock tomorrow—I'll pick you up and we'll head to the game."
I thanked her and ended the call. I sat in silence before doubling over and screaming into the pillow. I hated parties.
With a passion.
"Willa," my mother called from downstairs the next day. "Willa honey, breakfast is ready!"
I groaned as I carried myself over to the door, trying to rub the sleep from my eyes. To my surprise, Charlotte had beaten me downstairs.
"Good morning, baby sister," she grinned. Someone had a great night out.
I remained silent as I took my place. "Hey," I croaked out. I didn't even have time to brush my teeth.
"What did you do last night? Any wild parties?" she asked as she took the silverware into her hands. My father glanced up, his eyebrows stitched together. However, he couldn't say anything because his mouth was full of chocolate-chip pancakes.
"'Course not," I yawned. "It was just me and The Exorcist. Bad movie to watch when you're home alone and all the lights are off, by the way."
My dad snorted. "Knowing you, you probably didn't finish it, did you?" he asked, his hazel eyes glowing knowingly. I let out a sheepish chuckle before digging into the pancakes my mother had set out for me.
She finally sat down, indulging in some scrambled eggs, two pieces of dry whole wheat toast, and half a slice of grapefruit. I raised an eyebrow.
"Mom, what are you eating?" Charlotte asked, beating me to it.
"Scrambled eggs, toast, and grapefruit, honey," my mother smiled.
"I know that," Charlotte deadpanned. "I mean why are you eating that?"
"Well, you see your mother thinks she overdid it last night at dinner. I almost had to roll her up the stairs," my dad laughed. You wouldn't know it by looking at him, but my father was the laid-back parent. Usually people believed my mother to be the laid-back one, the one who went easiest on the kids.
You see, because my father had narrow hazel eyes, a strong jaw, and an overall stern look, people believed him to be the no-nonsense patriarch, the one who never caved in. My mother, on the other hand, had large, round doe-like eyes—which I inherited from her—and a heart-shaped face. She looked kind and giving. On the contrary, my mother was the stern matriarch. She was the one who grounded us and kept my sister and me in line.
Now that I thought about it, Charlotte and I were like carbon-copies of our parents. Charlotte had inherited nearly everything from my father—from his face to his height and to his personality. I, meanwhile, could pass for my mother's twin sister.
"Joseph," my mom warned, despite the small smile on her face.
"Okay, okay. But honey, even the girls think your breakfast isn't what it should be! How could you possibly cook such delicious pancakes and yet refuse to eat them?" my father asked, going so far as to snake a fork pierced with a fluffy pancake in front of my mother's face, taunting her.
"Yeah mom," I piped up. "You look great; you shouldn't worry about one night of binge eating. I went through an entire bag of Cheetos last night."
Charlotte gasped, glaring at me accusingly. "So that was you!?" she cried. "Do you know how long I spent looking for the bag this morning?"
"Calm down, we'll get another bag today," my mother said. "As long as you accompany me to the supermarket that is."
"Sure, sure," my sister sighed. "We need to stock up on holiday cookies, chai tea, and hot cocoa. Winter is coming."
"You make us sound like squirrels," I pointed out.
"Would you like to come?" my mom asked. I shook my head.
"I'm going to the baseball game. Sofie's going to come pick me up at two," I explained.
"Baseball game? You never went to any of the games," my dad said, wiping a smidgen of chocolate from his chin.
"Well, Colt's playing today. He's starter, actually," I said. "I want to go support him."
And clear up the misunderstanding that Jacques Kings had caused.
"Wow, he's starting? Well, all the luck to him. Tell us how it goes," my mom smiled.
"And because he's starting," I continued, "he's hosting a small get-together at his house after the game."
Come on, Willa, you can do this. It's just a small white lie. My parents know that I'm not the crazy party girl, anyway. They know I'm responsible.
My mother looked uneasy. She remained quiet as she chewed on her grapefruit. "Who will be there?" she asked.
"Sofie, Ellie, Colt, and a few friends of his. Not a lot," I replied.
"I say it's okay," my dad said. "Come on, honey, Willa is responsible. I trust her."
My mother sighed and nodded reluctantly. I smiled at her, knowing how protective she could be sometimes. "All right, all right. You are responsible, and you give me less gray hairs than somebody I know," she smiled back.
"Hey!" Charlotte cried.
I grinned at her, dodging the balled-up napkin she tossed at me.
"Well look at you," I said as I climbed into Sofie's borrowed sedan. "All full of school spirit."
Sophie was draped in white and blue from head to toe. Navy skinny jeans, white Converse canvas shoes, a white lace tank top, a navy cardigan, and various rings and bracelets—all white and blue, of course. It hurt my eyes a little to be honest.
I had simply tossed on some jeans, a navy long-sleeved V-neck shirt, an olive green military jacket, and my favorite boots. As always, I was going more for comfort rather than cute.
She grinned as we pulled away from the driveway. "Of course!" she said. "I have to show some support for my man."
She started to cackle upon seeing the glare on my face. "Shut up," I growled. "Let's just get this over with."
She quieted down as we pulled up at a red light.
"Does Colt know?" I asked.
"Well I don't know for certain, but I do think he's heard something by now. Don't worry about Ellie, though. The orchestra kids don't usually hear the rumors until the following week since they're not avid sports fans. However, if we don't solve your little problem today, we're in major poo-poo," Sofie warned. And by orchestra she meant the geeks and the nerds.
"How did he react?" I asked quietly, almost reluctantly.
"No…Scott," I replied. "I couldn't read his expression yesterday when Jacques came up to me after school. He was neutral. Do you know how he reacted?"
Perhaps I was being too optimistic—Scott and I barely knew each other. Up until a few days ago, he probably didn't even know my name. He probably knew me as the Ice Queen he borrowed a pen and some notes from. That's what he had basically said to Colt, after all.
"No," Sofie sighed. "The only reason I know all of this is because I stopped by the field to visit Jules after the yearbook meeting was over. They were talking about it then, but Scott wasn't on the bench with them, he was on the field."
"Oh," I said.
"As for Colt, I don't know how he reacted either. He was up pitching," she added. Sofie looked over to me, her expression sympathetic.
"Don't worry, we'll fix this," she said. "We will most definitely fix this."
Fifteen minutes later, Sofie and I found ourselves sitting on the cold steel bleachers, my friend having wrapped her arms around herself in an effort to keep warm. There were already many people waiting for the game to begin. The excitement in the air was palpable—it was enough to get anyone pumped up.
"Crap," Sofie whined. "I kind of want to go home and get my jacket."
"This is why I check the weather before I step out of my house," I said, glancing at her. "Want my scarf?"
She nodded vehemently, drawing a chuckle out of me when she immediately wrapped the maroon-colored cloth around her neck and chin.
"Thanks," she huffed, stretching the sleeves of her cardigan so that they covered her hands. "Oh, I know they'll kick Bloomfield's ass!" she grinned.
If it weren't for the fact that my friend was in today's game, I couldn't possibly care any less. I wasn't really the type to care about school sports. To be honest, I would have much rather joined my mother and sister on their shopping trip than watch a baseball game.
I curiously glanced around, trying to find any familiar faces in the sea of parents and family members.
I instantly caught sight of Kaitlin Fallow, sitting with two of her sheep on either side of her. She was fighting the wind, trying to readjust her hair. I was honestly surprised to see her there—she wasn't a person full of school pep, after all. Her weekends were spent at the mall or in the city, not in Montclair, New Jersey. She would almost always come into science class with a new story about the Upper East Side restaurant her parents had taken her to, or she'd gush about the most adorable chic boutique she had discovered in SoHo.
It then hit me—she was there for Scott. I was almost one hundred percent sure that I would find her at the party afterwards, too. Of course.
"Bloomfield's good," Sofie said as the players started to spill out into the field. "They've remained undefeated so far. I couldn't help but notice that a lot of the guys looked defeated at practice, though," she added glumly.
"Colt must be feeling the pressure right now," I sighed, scanning the crowd of players for him. I finally found him, mitt in hand, head bent down slightly, and eyes focusing down on the ground as Coach Waynes spoke to him. I couldn't help but smile—he definitely deserved this. He had worked so hard for it.
"There he is!" Sofie squealed, grinning like a madwoman when she pointed A.A. out to me. The person standing next to him as he spoke made my stomach drop a little. Scott was laughing along with Jules, possibly trying to shake off the nerves.
"Oh, look! Colt's looking over here!" Sofie said excitedly, waving at him. He caught sight of us and grinned widely—Sofie and I both smiled back. Behind that dimpled grin, however, I knew the guy was shaking in fear.
The players took their positions. Colt continued taking deep breaths. I crossed my fingers and prayed that they triumphed. Nothing would hurt more than to watch him dejectedly walk off the field, dreams and aspirations crushed.
Five to six.
The score was five to six. We were leading, but barely. To be honest, we were desperately clinging to that extra point, and we needed at least one more to secure our win.
I'll admit, I had somehow gotten sucked into the game, and I was screaming and chanting along with everyone.
"Isn't it exhilarating?" Sofie grinned knowingly. I laughed and nodded, sitting back down. I almost didn't care that my breath was now coming out in puffs. The temperature had plummeted, but I barely felt it. The rush of adrenaline was enough to keep me from noticing.
I was unbelievably proud of Colt. Although I had yet to fully grasp the dynamics of the game, even I knew the boy had played phenomenally well. He was resting in the dugout now, hunched over with his elbows on his knees, watching the game intently.
Now, if Santiago Vega managed to make a home run, we would be in the clear. He was on second base. There were five minutes left in the game and two more sprints to make.
"Santiago better run that cute little Colombian ass of his to home base," Sofie growled. I glanced at her, never expecting her to look so solemn. She really got into the game. She gripped my arm, almost painfully.
Bloomfield's pitcher was about to throw the next ball. Santiago was preparing to make a run for it. In first base, Jacques was also getting ready to sprint to second. Jules Willard, in all of his 6'2, two-hundred pound glory, was about to swing. Those muscles better come in handy.
I know understood why these moments were overly dramatized in movies. Everyone was anticipating the moment Jules's bat came into contact with the fast-flying ball. He was going to make it. That ball was going to fly into oblivion. For once in his life, Jules Willard was standing in a completely different light. He ought to feel honored.
Except all of that came crashing down when the moron missed. The crowd erupted into pained "ooo"s as Jules dejectedly shook his head, taking a few practice swings.
"C'mon, Jules," Sofie whispered. "He'll do it this time. I know it. You see, he freaks himself out and then, when he realizes what he's doing to himself, he gets serious."
She was right. The ball flew high into the air amidst the happy shouts and cries of the crowd, sending Bloomfield's players scrambling about the field. Santiago and Jacques took off running, their minds pushing their bodies to go faster and faster. They each reached their designated bases.
"One more," Sofie said, swiftly glancing at her watch. "We have two minutes left, Willy."
We watched as the next player walked up to the bat. Phillip Dorian, the team captain, was met with cheers of encouragement. He took the bat in his hands, swung a few times for practice, and took his position.
I watched intently, crossing my fingers. The boys had played a rough game. Dust stains covered their uniforms, they were sweaty, and their bodies were fatigued. I hoped they at least showered before heading to the party.
"Yes!" Sofie squealed in delight as a crack shot through the field, signaling the impact between the bat and the ball. Santiago, Jacques, and Jules all ran for the next base while the Bloomfield players tried to toss the ball as quickly as they could before Santiago reached home.
Their effort was in vain. We won.
Sofie and I waited for Colt in the parking lot. Mr. and Mrs. Fredericks stood next to their car, smiling proudly as a freshly showered Colt walked up to us. His smile stretched from ear to ear, his cheeks slightly flushed as his father slapped him on the back.
"You were amazing, honey," Mrs. Fredericks gushed, taking her son's face in her hands and planting a kiss on his forehead.
"Ma," he groaned. "Come on."
She chuckled, tucking a piece of auburn hair behind her ear. "All right well, we're heading home now. Don't stay out too long, okay? I know you guys want to celebrate, but please do not stay out too late," she said, opening the car door and sliding in. "Take care, girls."
Colt placed two fingers on his forehead and gave his parents a salute. "Got it, guys," he answered, placing his gym bag full of gear into the backseat. His father squeezed his shoulder and slipped a few bills into Colt's hand.
"Thanks, dad," he smiled. Mr. Fredericks nodded and slipped into the car.
Once they were gone, Colt turned to us, grinning happily.
"You were amazing!" Sofie cried, pulling Colt into a hug. She was jumping up and down.
"Yeah," I laughed, also offering him a hug, "You were incredible."
A wolf whistle caught our attention—Jacques was standing behind us, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively. I blushed, wishing I could just fast-forward through the party and snuggle up in my bed. It was going to be a long night.
"Sorry to interrupt you two love birds," he said in a suave voice, "but we're heading to Chris's house now. Colt, you coming with us?"
Colt glanced at us pleadingly. He had promised to come in our car, but we knew he would much rather go with the rest of the team.
"Go," I smiled. "We'll catch up with you."
He turned to go, slapping Jacques on the back as they headed towards Jules's massive car. That behemoth couldn't possibly be any good for the environment.
"Off to Chris Butcher's house we go!" Sofie cheered, turning the car on as I rode shotgun. "Now listen, you have to follow my lead. Smile as much as you possible can. There's a possibility that you'll end up with a sore face at the end of the night but hey, at least people will know you were trying to be friendly. Second, laugh at the jokes. No matter how corny they are, laugh and be polite. Roll with the punches. Open yourself up, offer some jokes and don't be afraid of being a little self-deprecating, okay? That shows that you don't take yourself too seriously and that you're capable of making fun of yourself. Being uptight the entire night will get you absolutely nowhere."
"Wait!" I said, holding my hand up. "Should I write this all down or something?"
Sofie laughed and playfully shoved my shoulder. "Okay, okay, I'll slow it down," she said as we pulled out of the parking lot. Darkness had already fallen, what with winter approaching. She kept her eyes on the road as she turned the heat on full blast.
"Where were we? Ah, yes. Okay, so we'll go from group to group, casually talking about how great Colt was and how he's hopefully going to start in many other games and then we casually slip in that he's single and looking. Now, because gossip spreads two times faster amongst the elite, they'll definitely ask you, my dear, about your relationship and question whether the rumor was true. That's when you laugh it off, flutter your eyelashes, and say, 'Why no, of course not! Colt and I are nothing but friends, but I do have my sights set on one mighty fine Scott Maher!'" she said, going so far as to raise her voice a little. My glare remained undisturbed.
"Sofie," I warned her. "Sofie, you're not funny."
Another car had intercepted ours and Jules's car at the red light, but we could still see some arms flailing around as loud hip hop music blasted from the SUV.
"Oh, and take off your ponytail," Sofie said, quickly glancing at me. "And your jacket."
"Okay, the ponytail I can understand, but my jacket? Sophie, I'll freeze without it!" I protested, shaking my hair out as I put the elastic on my wrist.
"Hence why we'll be indoors, Willa. Trust me, it will get warm in there. Odds are, you'll take it off, put it up in the closet or coat hanger, and someone will end up taking it home with them. Just leave it in the car, no big deal. Plus, that shirt is cute," she smiled.
I looked down at it. It was pretty plain, but whatever. She had already convinced me when she brought up the possibility of never seeing my jacket again. The light changed and we were on our way to Chris Butcher's once more.
We arrived in ten minutes. The guys jumped out of the car and headed towards the two-story brick house, the party already in full swing. The bass emanating from inside was enough to make me want to go home. Instead, I sighed and wrestled out of my jacket as Sofie stepped out of the car.
"All right," she said to me once I was out myself. "Here's the game plan: we enter the kitchen. Odds are, kids will be in there all night for the beer. We'll squeeze in there, make some small talk, and move on. But above all, have fun, okay? Here's your crash course on opening up and shedding that Ice Queen status," she smiled.
I smiled back, took a deep breath, and headed in with her.
"Hey," I said, the guilt of leaving Ellie out of all our plans suddenly hitting me. "Don't you feel kind of bad about Ellie? We should've at least asked her if she wanted to come, you know?"
Sofie threw me an amused face. "She would just say no. You know this isn't her sort of thing," she replied as she opened the door.
"I know, but…I just feel like we could've offered at least. Like it's the thought that counts—that sort of thing," I tried to explain. I winced when I stepped in, the volume of the music doubling.
"Oh!" Sofie cried loudly. "Oh, I see. Yeah, you're right. Well hey, she doesn't have to find out we were all here tonight, right?"
She smiled and pulled me by the arm before I could say anything else.
We entered the kitchen, where several kids already had bottles of Bud Light in their hands. I tried not to toss them judging looks.
But I was judging all right.
Sofie scanned the room for an easy group to infiltrate, but she was beat to it when a large arm wrapped itself around her shoulders.
"I was hoping you'd get here quickly," a deep voice chuckled into Sofie's ear. I stifled a gag.
Sofie, as usual, giggled flirtatiously. "I'm glad you were thinking about me," she grinned. A.A. planted a quick kiss on her lips. That was my cue to go.
"I'll just…be over here," I said, throwing A.A. a quick glare. Sofie nodded eagerly and promised to meet up with me later. Later as in five minutes before we leave later that is.
Scream and Shout was blasting out of Chris's stereo. It was open for everyone, meaning that if you had an iPod and some good party music, you were free to change the songs. Some of the rather preppy girls had taken control now, dancing amongst themselves with red SOLO cups in their hands.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is what my generation likes to do—pretend they're twenty-something-year-olds at a club, when in reality they're nothing more than teenagers in suburbia. I decided to stick to the kitchen. It was more secluded, the music wasn't as loud in there, and people were actually carrying on with conversations. Maybe if I could weasel my way into one…
I scanned the area for anyone I knew or had a conversation with at one point in time. My eyes landed on Jenna Alesio, who was leaning against the island counter, looking rather bored.
"Hey, Jenna," I smiled as I approached her. Her face instantly lit up—she was definitely relieved to have some company.
"Willa, hey! I didn't know you liked to come to these sorts of parties!" she said.
"Yeah well, I decided to check them out," I said. "They're actually quite fun."
Lies, lies, they're all lies. I was dying on the inside.
"I'm so glad!" she giggled. "They are fun, right? Ugh, my friend Katie just ditched me to go make out with some guy, though. Such a bitch."
"Oh, well…did you go to the game?" I asked, trying to find something to talk about. I kept a small smile on my face.
Jenna shook her head. "Nah, sports aren't my thing. Usually the only people that go are parents, family members, and the players' girlfriends, you know? Did you?" she asked curiously. This was my chance. This was my chance to straighten things out, to have at least one person (a big-mouthed person at that, too), know the truth about my relationship status.
"Yeah, I did. Sofie and I went to support Colt," I replied. "But that doesn't—˝
"That's right!" she said, her eyes widening to the size of plates. "You're dating Colt Fredericks! Ugh, everyone knew he'd eventually end up with one of you! Like, seriously, it's impossible for guys and girls to be just friends, right? Oh em gee though, you guys make such a cute couple! Congrats!"
"But that's the thing," I said, attempting to correct this hyperactive bubblehead, "Colt and I aren't dating. It was all a misunderstanding. We're literally just friends."
Jenna looked confused. "Wait…what?"
"Colt and I aren't dating. Jacques thought we were, but we're not," I explained once more.
"Oh…so you broke up?" she asked, suddenly becoming excited. Whoa there, girl. Try to keep those hormones in check, please; at least until I was a safe distance away. I tried again.
"No, no, no," I said, letting out a small desperate laugh. "No, he and I were never dating! Not one date. He's been single and I've been single."
The realization finally dawned on Jenna. "Ohhhhh! Wow, what a terrible rumor! But I could totally understand why it would start, I mean like I said, guys and girls can't just be friends, you know? In the end, someone always develops feelings for the other, you know what I mean?" she asked.
I was just about to rebut that statement when I remembered Ellie and how she had fallen in love with Colt. Jenna had started talking again, this time telling me some story about how she once dated a friend of hers and how that went downhill after just one week.
Was that true, though? To an extent, yes, it was true. Ellie, whose only close male friend was Colt, had ultimately fallen for him. On the other hand, Sofie and I were also his close friends, and we weren't vying for his affection and attention. We were capable of managing a friendship that never crossed over to something more.
"Oh! There's Katie. Ugh, I so don't want to talk to her right now," Jenna scoffed as a blonde walked up to us, her face slightly flushed.
"Hey!" she greeted. I smiled at her. "You're Colt's girlfriend, right?"
I shook my head, but she didn't care. "Because he's flirting his ass off with Francesca. I would go yank his ears if I were you," she winked.
"No, see we're not dating," I replied.
"Oh, you guys already broke up?"
"No," I sighed. "We were never dating to begin with. It was just a rumor."
"Oh, really? Well, forget I said anything then. I feel bad for him though. Francesca's ignoring him as always. Why can't some guys just understand that no means no? Like, if she's uninterested because she has a boyfriend already, why keep trying?"
"That's a solid point," I said, fascinated by Katie Montgomery's insight. Maybe there was more to the girl than I initially thought! We all looked towards the living room, where Colt was following Francesca around like a lost puppy.
"Then again, he is cute, you know? There's nothing wrong with having a little fun, right?" she added as an afterthought, biting her cherry stained lip. "I would do so many things to him. How good do you think he is?"
And I was out of there.
I excused myself, claiming that I was going to get a beer. Instead, I made a beeline for the porch.
This was going to be harder than I thought. Those people and I were on completely different levels. I passed a couple making out next to the staircase as I opened the door, breathing in the cold autumn air. The door shut behind me.
I sat down on the steps, cradling my head in my hands and letting out a long groan. Why couldn't Sofie just ditch Jules for the night and help me out? She could go back to being his pretend-girlfriend tomorrow. She was the social butterfly; she was the one who knew how to maneuver these things. This was the most painful crash course.
The door swung open and slammed shut. I jumped, expecting it to be some rowdy kids looking for some fresh air. Instead, however, I heard nothing but silence. I glanced over my shoulder as a certain blue-eyed brunet baseball player walked to my right, standing a few feet away from me and leaning against the white railing.
What should I do? Should I say something? Yes, I definitely should. I needed to prove to Scott that I was no Ice Queen and that I was fully capable of being nice.
"Hi," I smiled, offering him a small wave. He remained still, leaning against the railing. He glanced at me.
"Hey," was all he said as he turned away from me once more. He didn't look all too content. Should I say more? Should I shut up?
I turned back around, wrapping my arms around myself—I knew I should have kept my jacket on. Instead, it was lying on the passenger seat of Sofie's car, and I knew it would take me a while to find Sofie.
Sneaking one more glance at Scott, I could tell he was upset. His face was hard and displayed little emotion. His eyes were looking dead ahead, as if he was preoccupied by his thoughts. Maybe it was better that I kept my mouth shut. I doubted he would want to start talking about what was running through his mind with a semi-stranger. This wasn't some cheesy rom-com flick where the two protagonists would have a heart-to-heart about love and life while reminiscing about happier times. No, this was real-life, and Scott Maher was pissed for some reason. Something told me it had to do with Kaitlin.
I stood up, dusted myself off a bit and made my way towards the door.
I froze in mid-step, my eyebrows furrowing. Was I hearing things or did he actually speak?
"Did you say something?" I asked reluctantly.
"Uh…I just said it's cold. That's…why you're going back in, right?" he asked.
To be honest, despite the drop in temperature, I was sure I would have been able to stay out for ten minutes longer, but Scott's obvious foul mood and my discomfort were enough factors to get me moving.
"Oh! Y-yeah," I replied lamely.
"Because you know, if I made you uncomfortable, then I'm really sorry," he continued on. I nodded curtly and stared at Sofie's car, wishing I were in it.
"No, it's fine. It's okay," I said with a small smile. "Um, you guys were great tonight, by the way."
Scott leaned back on the railing, crossing his arms. "Ah, thanks. Yeah, um…Colt was awesome. His first time, too, which made it even better," he smiled slightly. Of course he would bring Colt up. After all, we were a couple. "So, uh, how's your head?"
"My head?" I asked confusedly. "Oh! My head! Well, to be honest I had a slight headache afterwards," I laughed. "An Advil took care of that, though."
"Yeah, I had a headache, too. It was some knock to the head, huh?" he smiled, his blue eyes slowly warming up.
"Yeah," I replied quietly, frantically searching for something else to say. He beat me to it.
"Oh, and your notes really helped me out. I can honestly say I walked out of there pretty confident that I aced that thing," he grinned. "I know this is a lot to ask, but…do you think I could…?" he trailed off, obviously not wanting to say any more.
"Borrow my notes? Sure!" I replied with what I hoped was a warm, inviting smile. I even took a step closer to him.
He rubbed the back of his arm and looked away, embarrassed. I could help but notice how great he looked in that sky blue T-shirt. "I was actually thinking of studying together. You see, I need to keep my GPA up in order to be in sports, and science just isn't my strongest subject. No matter how hard I try, I fail. I know, I know—pay more attention, they say. Let me tell you, it's quite a hard thing to do if you go to sleep every night at one in the morning because you're finishing up homework and projects. With baseball and lacrosse practice, I end up getting home late. All I literally do is eat, shower, and lock myself in my room, and I'll definitely make it up to you," he explained. I put up a hand, effectively stopping him.
"I get it. It's all right—I'll help. Just…we might need help from others sometimes, because I'm not so good at science, either," I laughed sheepishly.
"Like who?" he asked.
"Well, Colt's the smartest guy I know in that field, so we could always ask him for help," I answered. He nodded quietly, a tiny smile playing at those gorgeous lips of his.
"Thanks, Willa—you have no idea how much it will help me. I walked out of Patel's class feeling like I just aced every single question. That was a first," he chuckled. "And listen, I'll make it up to you. If you ever need something, don't hesitate to ask."
"Got it," I replied. We fell into a comfortable silence, opting to listen to the quietness of the street instead. The party was raging on inside, but I couldn't care any less. I was perfectly content out here, in the company of Scott. I was surprised at how at ease I felt speaking to him. Whatever had upset him was quickly pushed aside, because his typical persona quickly came back.
"So…you and Colt, huh?" he asked.
"Me and…oh! No, listen, don't believe the rumors. We were never dating to begin with, I just misunderstood what Jacques had said and next thing I know, all these rumors are flying left and right and I'm trying to do some damage control before—erm, before this gets even more out of control," I explained, mentally sucker punching myself for nearly blurting out the truth behind Ellie McMahon's feelings for Colt.
"So you guys weren't dating? Wow, I was under the impression that you were. Well, that's good," Scott said, looking directly at me. My heart skipped a beat. What did he mean by that? Oh God, Oh God, could this possibly mean that Scott saw me in a different light?
"He was flirting with Francesca and I thought it was pretty messed up. I-I recently went through something similar, so I felt for you," he said quietly, looking down and rubbing a hand down his flat stomach, smoothing out his short. "But now that you've told me this, maybe Colt's not such a bad guy after all."
The door swung open once more, revealing none other than Sofie. Her cheeks were pink from the heat—there were tiny droplets of sweat on her forehead.
"Oh Lord the cold feels so good," she groaned. "It's like a sauna in there! Anyway, ready to go? Colt's coming, he's just saying bye to his friends. Oh, hey Scott!" she grinned. How did her face not hurt?
"Hey," Scott greeted with a smile. Right on cue, Colt stumbled out behind Sofie, nearly toppling her over. He let out a laugh before being pulled away by my best friend, only managing to give Scott a quick wave.
We were alone again momentarily while Sofie and Colt got into Mrs. Valenti's car.
"Well…see you," I smiled, making my way down the steps.
"Yeah, have a good night," he replied. "See you Monday."
I glanced back once more before sliding into the backseat. Sneaky Colt had seized the opportunity to ride shotgun.
Well, while the night had not turned out the way I had planned, I couldn't help but feel triumphant. After all, not only did Scott now know the truth, I had gained a study buddy.
My apologies, folks. I know this chapter was a doozy. Fourteen pages in Word. I don't think I'll make chapters this long quite as often, but because I had a little bit of extra time on my hands before the Spring semester started, I just wanted to get all of this out of the way before the next chapter.
Again, reviews are welcome! Thank you to everyone that has reviewed! I love reading the reviews and figuring out where I should tweak the story. Your words of encouragement are amazing, especially when writing about someone like Willa.