that I know
There's nothing here to run from.
And there, everybody here's got somebody to lean on
-Don't Panic, Coldplay
Gabby stood at the top of the staircase, feeling the butterflies jitter in the pit of her stomach. She had been anticipating that particular night for longer than she wanted to admit. Tonight, she knew, she was going to spill her guts to the one person that she liked. It was nerve racking. A small part of her already wished it was the next day because that would have meant that she already told him how she felt, she would've gotten an answer, and then she could sleep without those butterflies fluttering around inside her.
Smoothing down her dress, she was happy that there was one thing about her that didn't belay her anxiety. The dress was a beautiful lavender color, made of the softest silk. It hugged her body perfectly, emphasizing her chest, and then flared out at her knees. She also wore matching gloves that slid up her arms and stopped just below her elbows. A white pearl necklace hung about her neck while pearl earrings dangled from her earlobes. Her hair had been pulled back into a chignon and small pearls were strewn about it, making it look as if she were wearing a crown. Light make up was applied to her face, highlighting her best features. Overall, the effect was amazing, which was something that Mr. Akuji couldn't hide.
He had opened the door to his room and stepped out. When his eyes had fallen on Gabby, he rubbed them to make sure he wasn't seeing things then began to whistle his appreciation. "I think I married the wrong Tucker."
As soon as he said that, though, Betty had walked out of the same room and slapped him upside the head. "It looks like I married an idiot!" she said with a mach-angry voice. Turning to her daughter, she offered her a brilliant smile. "You look lovely, honey."
"So, who's the special guy you're going with? Is it Clayton or Paul?" Betty asked with curiosity apparent in her eyes.
If Gabby hadn't known any better, she would have said her mother was still betting on who she had chosen. "Neither. I'm going there by myself."
"But honey, it's your senior year. You should go with someone for memories sake."
Gabby barely grinned. She already knew that this last year would constantly plague her throughout her entire existence. She didn't need some random gangly boy to further complicate what she was going to do that night at the dance. "I'll be fine," she responded while she took a few steps back. Hurrying to the other end of the corridor before her parents could stop her, Gabby went in search of her friends.
She didn't want to admit it to anyone, but she had the entire night planned out. First, she would make her entrance with both boys. They had agreed to go to the event together, and it being located in the large gym of the school grounds didn't bother her so much as all the other students who had wanted to hold it at some place special (like a five star hotel in the middle of nowhere). In that area, she already had the layout of the school figured out.
First, she would ask one of them to meet her at the lunch tables where she would confess her feelings of only friendship to them. She had no idea what she would say, exactly, but she firmly believed that the words would appear out of nowhere when she was faced with the person…well, she didn't firmly believe it, but she hoped that she could choke out a few syllables when push came to shove.
Secondly, she would ask the second person to walk her around the school grounds, claiming to be really hot from dancing the entire night. Then, underneath the light of the stars…well, beneath the smog filled sky, she would confess her feelings to him.
It was perfect. She couldn't see any real fault in her plans. They were simple and she could carry them out easily, without a second thought. Unless, she thought, that the person she confessed her feelings to didn't feel the same way as she did. That would pose a great problem. And then she would have to drive home in the same car as the both guys and how awkward would that be?
Her only real comfort was that Jordan was coming. Granted, she was going to be in another part of the school taking her final test which just happened to be English. Jordan had been working non-stop the entire morning and noon in her other classes. She would get about a thirty minute break in between tests where she would either cram or recuperate. Each test was only about an hour long, but it was still too much to take in one sitting. She had requested to take the final one later that night, so she could cram for it and the teacher had agreed. So, for the time being, she was going to study for the last test the entire day, until she would drive with Paul, Clayton, and Gabby to school later that night.
Gabby smiled. Maybe I should wish her good luck or something. I should probably bring her food, too.
With that thought in mind, Gabby went downstairs and to the kitchen in order to prepare some snacks for her friend. Since cooking wasn't exactly her forte, she merely grabbed crackers and found some spread. Placing them on a plate, she ran up the steps, trying not to trip so that her prom dress wouldn't get dirty.
Jordan's door was open, slightly. Gabby was about to push it when she heard a familiar voice through the door. Her hand hesitated in mid air as curiosity over took her. Bending over slightly, she tried to hear what was going on through the door.
Jordan had been hovering over her desk, trying to recall the century that a certain writer made his literary debut but her mind was failing her. She was truly tired from constantly writing, researching and reading all day long, but she knew that she just had to push herself a little bit longer. Then, she would sleep for a few days, and then get ready to leave for Europe. She couldn't believe that everything was ending so soon for her in her state and in a mere week, she would not exist in that continent for at least two years.
Turning the page of her book, she felt, rather than heard, someone enter her room. Glancing over her shoulder, she frowned. Clayton stood there in tux pants and a white, long-sleeved, buttoned down shirt that had only been buttoned half way, revealing the wife beater he wore underneath. His feet were sheathed in black, silk socks while a black bow tie hung undone around his neck. His hair was slicked back, away from his face, giving her a clear view of his gray-blue eyes that seemed to be full of curiosity. "What are you doing here?"
"Fine way to greet a friend," he muttered as he crossed his arms over the expanse of his chest. He cocked his head to the side and narrowed his eyes at her.
"Who said that you were a friend?"
"Come off your high horse, Wynn. You know it to be true."
Having Clayton consider himself her friend gave her a little queasy feeling at the pit of her stomach. What made the feeling worse was that she knew it was true. He was really trying to make an effort to be nice to her…now that she was leaving.
"Fine…you're a friend."
"You don't need to shudder when you say that," smirked Clayton while he leaned against her bed post. His eyes landed on the books surrounding her and her quirked up an eyebrow. "Still not done studying for this last one?"
She shook her head and turned back to the book she had been looking at before. "It's a bit tougher at the moment."
"Because you're thinking about Paul?" he asked.
That statement caused Jordan to whip her head around and give him a dark glare. "Do you need to say that so loud?"
She heard him chuckle slightly to himself. That only caused her to frown. "It's true, isn't it? I mean, you're leaving in a few days and you still haven't told him how you feel."
"Didn't we already have this chat?" she asked, trying not to grind her teeth. It was a strange habit that she developed after meeting him.
He nodded. "Yes, but your answer wasn't satisfactory to me."
"So you're insisting that I give you more insight as to why I'll probably never tell him."
"Short answer: yes."
Jordan bowed her head, letting her hair fall in front of her face, like a curtain. Carefully, she thought the words over in her head. It was always hard, trying to get her emotions out, but now that it had to deal with something so complicated, she didn't know if she could find the right words to make him understand something that seemed so simple to her. "Have you ever been in love with a close friend without it being reciprocated?"
"Are you trying to get out of the question—"
Figures. He's the freaking playboy of his group. Of course everyone he likes will like him back. Taking a deep breath, she stared straight into her palms as she began talking. "It's hard to make people understand, especially when they've never gone through anything like that before." Instead of hearing one of his sarcastic remarks, she heard the rustle of his clothes followed by the crying of the bed springs. He sat down, she thought to herself. "I mean, you sit there, day in and day out, listening to them whine and bitch about wanting to be with someone, wanting to know what love is, and know that in your heart that you're the right person for them…but it's like they don't see you…it's like they don't even know you exist. So, you stand idly by and watch them trip and fall with the wrong girl, over and over, watching his pain and listening to his hurts all the while you want to comfort them but know you can't...at least not in the way that you want. You just know it isn't right. Because, no matter how much you like this person, you just know that they don't like you in the same way. It's painful…it makes you cry sometimes…and telling them would only lead to more pain."
Her eyes traveled upward for a second, to see what his reaction would be. Clayton had merely sat forward, his chin resting precariously on his hand while he watched her with calculating eyes. "And how would a confession lead to more pain? I thought it would alleviate it, if anything."
Gabby pulled away from the door, visibly shaken. She set the tray she had been carrying on the ground so that she wouldn't spill the contents. Backing up quickly, she nearly tripped over her own foot, while she made her escape.
Clayton, you liar. Jordan did like Paul!
"Silly, hot, rich boy; I knew you wouldn't get it." Jordan replied with a smile. "If I tell him, it'll change our relationship forever…he won't look at me the same and hold me at arms length…he would do it unconsciously, trying to dissuade me from liking him because he doesn't like me. He likes Gabby. And despite everything; I still want him to remain as he normally is to me, goofy and funny because I'd rather have that then him treat me like a close stranger."
Jordan cast her eyes to her books, paying close attention to the words, as if she were actually studying instead of thinking how her reasoning was correct, but appeared a bit stupid to her.
"But you're leaving. It just seems like it doesn't matter anymore if he treat s you different since you'll be gone and all," Clayton observed while he finished buttoning up his shirt. Deftly, his fingers began to thread the tie around his neck, unskillfully.
She had nothing to say to that, since in the back of her mind, she knew he was right. She had nothing left to lose, now that she was leaving…but there was still Gabby. Jordan wished she knew who Gabby had chosen…if it was the idiot before her—Jordan had stood up and brushed his clumsy fingers away from the tie and quickly did it for him, her eyes focused on her task so that he couldn't see what she was thinking—then she wouldn't have a problem confessing to Paul…but if it were Paul…then, Jordan didn't know what she would do.
Stepping back, she admired her work and gave a curt nod. "As simple as that," Clayton remarked.
"If only everything else were just that simple," she replied.
Having said all he needed to say Clayton bid Jordan good luck and opened the door. His foot rammed into a tray as soon as he left the room. Cursing, he looked down and saw some food. Who left this here? He wondered to himself as he bent down to retrieve it.
Paul arrived to the mansion, right on time. He was dressed in a dark black, stylish suit. It was different from Clayton's traditional tux because it had a more Asian cut to it. He seemed at ease in what he wore as he strode into the complex.
Betty was there to greet him. Smiling, they made what little small talk that they could before they both heard the click of shoes. Betty stepped away, with a large grin on her face, while Paul looked up at the stair case. Descending down it was one of the loveliest sights that Paul would ever remember. The image of her had taken his breath away. The dress just accentuated her light curves…but it was the shy smile that she wore that made his heart beat faster than he knew was physically impossible.
He gulped several times before he held out his hand to her, grabbing her delicate, gloved, fingers in his, and pressing down warmly. Kissing them, he knew, would just be a little too intimate on his part.
"G—Gabby," he was slightly embarrassed at how his voice cracked at that moment, "you look beautiful."
"Thanks," she replied, although she did not look at him. There seemed to be something bugging her, but before he could ask her what it was, there was a bright flash of light that distracted him. Looking up, he saw Neil coming at them with a camera. He was quickly pressing down on the button so that there were successive flashes of bright light. Paul could have sworn that this was the night he was going to become blind.
There was another set of shoes coming down from the staircase. Paul squinted and saw that it was Jordan, dressed as a chauffer. Clayton was in front of her, with a strange look on his face as he glared daggers at his father. As if it were a challenge, Neil turned to his son and gave him an evil grin.
"RUN!" Clayton yelled, jumping down the rest of the staircase and bolting for the door. On his way, he grabbed a hold of Gabby and Paul and dragged them out the door behind them. Not until they were safely in the limo did the three of them begin to calm down.
"You can't run from me!" they heard a man yell as they shut and locked the doors.
A second later, they heard the engine start and they were off.
Paul returned his attention to Gabby. He tried to meet her eyes, but for some reason, she just wouldn't look at him. There was something wrong, and he couldn't figure out what it was. Glancing at Clayton, he tilted his head slightly toward Gabby, but all Clayton did was shrug and look out the window.
This looks like it's shaping up to be a wonderful night, Paul thought to himself.
Gabby was standing by a wall, hanging out with Ali and Ali's date, another senior who went by the name Yen. Yen was a tall and gangly boy with straight black hair that was cut short…almost a centimeter away from his scalp. He wore thick glasses and had a slight overbite. Despite his looks, he was a really funny guy and Gabby found herself laughing despite her anxiety.
Tonight was supposed to be the night that she confessed and here she was leaning against a wall and chatting with two people who looked as if they wished to be alone for a second…but Gabby found that she couldn't drag herself away from them. Doing that, she would find that she was alone, amongst the billions of couples who somehow got together just for the night.
And she wasn't one of those couples. For a fact, she knew that two other guys didn't have dates and she had arrived with both of them. As a joke, both had grabbed onto one of her arms as they led her in, to make it look as if the three had gone together.
Gabby's cheeks reddened when she thought about it. All the eyes had turned to her. Seeing Byron and Shelley off in the corner, they had given her thumbs up to show their approval. Meanwhile, Ali had given her a knowing wink and mouthed the words, "I envy you." Despite all of that, she had been really pleased by what happened. However, as soon as the attention was off of her, she had told the boys that she needed to use the restroom then made her escape as quickly as possible. She had then found Ali and began talking about random nonsense when in reality, her mind was screaming random profanities every five seconds or so.
She knew she had to make her confession soon, but her legs wouldn't move her in the direction of where she needed to travel. From her peripheral vision, she could see Clayton talking with one of his swim mates while Paul was busy talking to the DJ. She wondered which of the two she should attack first when her decision was already made for her. She was astonished to see Mrs. Simon walk up to Paul and whisper something in his ear. He seemed to nod then follow her out the door.
Wasn't Jordan taking a test with Mrs. Simon? For a second, Gabby wondered what was going on. It had been almost an hour. Was Jordan done? Did she want to talk to Paul?
She felt a hand slam down on her shoulder and she winced from the pain. Looking up at the person who had done this, she found that her throat had constricted painfully and she couldn't get words out of her mouth.
Clayton looked down at her, curiously, his eyes relaying something that looked a little like concern. "Something wrong?" he asked causally. "You look as white as a ghost."
All that escaped her mouth was a croak. She mentally shook herself. Now wasn't the time to act like an idiot. Just say, can you walk with me outside for a bit…just say it…just say it…
But the words would not come out of her mouth.
"I think she looks a little sick," Ali commented from beside them. She cocked her head to the side and smiled wickedly. "You might want to give her some fresh air."
"Good idea," Clayton replied absentmindedly. Grabbing a hold of Gabby's upper arm, he dragged her to the exit.
Periodically, Gabby looked over her shoulder at Ali who merely grinned and winked knowingly.
Well, I guess I can't be mad at her. She helped me reach my goal.
Paul followed Mrs. Simon until she stopped in front of a dark classroom. "She's in there," Mrs. Simon said as she opened the classroom door.
Passing by the elderly women, he walked into the rather familiar classroom. He found it odd that for someone who was taking an English test; she had to perform it in the art room. Mrs. Simon had said that Jordan wanted to be in an environment that she felt comfortable, but it still looked a little strange in his eyes. Pushing that thought aside, he stopped in front of the only inhabitant of the class.
She lay, hunched over an old desk with her head tucked firmly between the arms that she used as a pillow. Her hair was splayed all about her, like as if it were a blanket, trying to keep her warm. Currently, she had discarded her large, bulky chuffer's coat so that she appeared in only a white buttoned down, long sleeved shirt that contorted around her gentle curves as well as black, dress pants.
"H—hey," he whispered. Whether it was from the sheer lack of people in the room or the fact that the acoustics in the room were incredible, he found that his voice seemed to echo around him. Despite that, Jordan still didn't awaken.
He laid a hand on her shoulder and shook gently. "Hey, Jo," he whispered again. "You're done…Jo?"
Finally, she began to stir. Slowly, her head lifted and she squinted at him. Yawning and stretching, she said, "Paul? What are you doing here?"
"I asked Mrs. Simon to tell me when you were done." He sat at the edge of her desk and looked down at her. She looked completely and utterly tired. For a second, he felt the smallest amount of sympathy since she had pushed herself so hard just to get a good grade.
"But—why? What about the dance?" she asked. It was always fun whenever Jordan, who pretended to know just about everything in the world, looked so bewildered.
"Don't you remember?" he asked, flicking her forehead gently. "We promised each other the first dance at our senior prom. It's the reason I didn't go with anyone. It'd have been too much of a temptation to dance with them. Thank Mrs. Simon, too. I asked her to tell me when you were done." When he looked over his shoulder, he found that the teacher had already left.
Between Jordan's eyebrows appeared a crease, as if she were trying to make sense of something that was not supposed to make sense. "W-wait, what are you talking about?"
"I'm surprised you don't remember. We were smack talking about school events and what not when we were in middle school. Then we said at our senior prom, that we'd dance like idiots so we could mock everyone around us for conforming to some medieval tradition."
She ran fingers through her hair, bringing it away from her face. When she looked up at him, she still appeared completely bewildered. Suddenly, her eyes shifted downward and she whispered, almost imperceptibly, "I—I thought that you wanted to be with Gabby tonight."
There was something in her voice that made him hesitate for a second. Shaking his head, thinking it was just a momentary lapse on his part, he merely grinned and said, "Just because I like Gabby doesn't mean that I've forgotten that you're my best friend and all the promises that we've made. What kind of friend do you think I am?" He held out a hand for her, as if inviting her to dance.
Jordan looked at that hand, hovering in the midst of the dark classroom. Placing her hand in his, she whispered, "Just a friend."
He pulled her up and began to shake his hips. "My wild hips of fire have a mind of their own!"
"Moron," Jordan replied, with a grin.
Clayton walked with Gabby beneath the moonlight of the school grounds. While he walked with her, in utter silence, he felt that she had wanted to tell him something of utter importance, but he didn't press her on the subject despite wanting to know for certain what she was thinking.
Instead, he focused on the night sky. The heavy clouds danced in frenzy above him. He was surprised that it had yet to rain in their small town and he wondered at what point the clouds would spill the cold, indifferent drops of water.
Beside him, he noticed that Gabby had shivered. "Cold?" he asked as they stopped in the middle of a courtyard, surrounded by buildings. One of the classrooms close by, he noticed as he looked over Gabby's head, had an elderly woman walking away from it. She looked utterly content and he wondered what she had been up to.
"N-not really," Gabby stuttered, although her teeth were chattering. He wasn't shocked. Inside the gym, where the prom was being held, was hot as hell thanks to the gyrating pseudo-sex that the teenage population was going through in there. He noticed the severe drop in temperature the second they walked out of there but it had appeared that Gabby didn't mind, until then.
That usually meant that something was on her mind.
"What is it?" he asked.
"If you have something to say, just get it over with."
She bowed her head and clasped her hands together. She looked like an angel with the ethereal glow of the moon tracing her soft features. "But…You see, Clayton, I…no…"
He was really getting bored with all of her hesitations. "For Pete's Sake, woman, just tell me what's bothering you," he commanded, annoyance flaring in his eyes.
"It's just that…with…you know…"
Letting a harsh breath escape his lips, he took a step forward. Trying his best to not let his annoyance get the best of him, he schooled his features and dropped both hands on her shoulders. Forcing her to look up by the sheer proximity that they shared, he said, in a calm voice, "Just tell me."
Gabby blinked her wide eyes which were full of trust and something else. He didn't completely feel at ease with that "something else" he was witnessing but let it slide for the moment.
"I like you," Gabby whispered. "And I want to be with you."
From inside the classroom, Paul had stiffened between her hands. Jordan guessed that he had heard everything that had transpired outside since she had heard it, too. They stopped their little mock-folk dancing so they could hear what Gabby and Clayton were saying outside.
Gabby felt a cold, wet, drop of water hit her in the back. She shivered slightly as she watched Clayton closely for his reaction.
He didn't appear to move for the longest time while he processed what she was saying. Suddenly, his eyebrows drew downward and he dropped his hands until they swung loosely at his side. Turning, he stormed out of the courtyard and headed toward the gym.
Gabby, unsure of what to do, went after him. She felt another rain drop hit her against the forearm and yet another on her nose. Stopping briefly, she looked up at the sky and saw millions of tiny droplets make their way towards earth, crashing down and hitting whatever was beneath them.
Jordan stared at Paul, wondering how he felt. She gazed at him, concern filling her black eyes. She understood how he felt…the unrequited love, especially after liking the other person for so damned long, and then having them like someone else. She understood all too well.
He shifted beneath her hands and she let go of him. "Are you okay?" she asked.
Shifting on his feet, he stormed toward the door. Jordan was surprised, wondering what was going on. She chased after him as he flew out of the classroom.
Rain poured out of the sky in torrents, soaking her wet the second she walked out of there. She squinted, seeing the dark shape of Paul as he made his way toward the dance. She quickly caught up with him, thanking the powers that be that she was not wearing heels.
"Paul!" she called out. She saw him hesitate then turn to look at her. "What do you think you're doing?"
"I'm going to tell her how I feel," he said calmly.
"Do I really have to repeat myself?"
"No, but…I don't know. Why are you going to do that? She likes someone else!" Jordan was more confused than ever. If someone liked someone else, then what was the point of confessing to them? Wouldn't it just be a painful experience for everyone involved?
"So what?" he called out. She could hear his frustration in his voice, yearning to escape. "I don't give a shit if she does like him because…there's also a slim possibility that she might like me. And even if it's just a slim possibility, I'm still willing to take the risk." He turned his back to Jordan and continued walking briskly toward the gym.
Jordan couldn't believe her ears. All she could do was stand beneath the pounding rain and try and figure out what to say next. "And if she doesn't?" she managed to croak.
He stopped in his tracks then glanced at her over his shoulder. His trademark grin was plastered onto his face as he said, "Then at least I took that chance."
Looking at her feet, she felt as if the wind had been knocked out of her. He was willing to take the chance whereas she was still hiding behind smiles and facades. She felt somewhat inferior to him at that moment. To have the strength that he did…to just go for it despite all the odds…to go for something with all he had with the knowledge that it probably would not go according to plan…it was truly inspiring. She wanted that. She wanted that courage that he had.
Forgetting all the reasons that she told Clayton that confession was a stupid idea, she had taken a step forward, clinched her fists, and said, "I love you!"
The rain pelted her, wetting her to the bone. It made her tremble uncontrollably…or maybe it was not the rain but the fact that she finally spoke what had truly been in her mind the entire time. She had confessed to him in the heat of the moment and for some reason, she didn't regret it.
He was in front of her, his eyes searching hers. There was a warm smile on his mouth while he engulfed her in a tight bear hug. He was warm against her, while the rest of the world was utterly cold, like the rain. She felt his lips against her ear and she almost melted against him with the sheer happiness that she felt at that moment.
Then he spoke.
"I love you, too."
Jordan felt ecstatic. Her whole world was completely spinning off of its axis as he said what she had long imagined him to say.
Then he continued to speak.
"You're the greatest friend I could have ever asked for."
And then she knew. He had mistaken her words as encouragement for him. She felt the sharp sting of tears in her eyes. This wasn't the way in which she envisioned that moment.
"Thanks for all your support. You've no idea how much I need it right now. I'm so frightened right now…what if she completely rejects me."
You don't want me as your girlfriend…just a friend…you don't see me as anything more, do you?
Despite her whole world starting to crumble before her, she sucked up the lost feeling that surrounded her and smiled despite herself. She pulled away from his warm hug and stared at him in the eyes. "Then I'll be here, waiting for you with a big tub of ice cream."
Paul smiled and kissed her on the forehead. "Thanks, Jo."
He turned to go, leaving her standing in the middle of the courtyard with the rain shrouding her. Whether it was tears or the rain falling down her cheeks, she didn't even know since it was impossible to differentiate one from the other.
The rain had soaked her entire dress through, but she still found herself going after Clayton. She hated the fact that she was in heels because it made her progress slower then she wanted it to be. "Wait," she called out, wondering why he had just walked away from her after she had revealed her feelings for him.
He finally stopped and turned around, his eyes dark with fury. She took a step backward, trying to escape the wrath of his eyes. "I'm not in the mood for your games, Gabby."
"What? What are you talking about?"
His jaw flickered slightly as he clenched it. "Don't bullshit me. The only reason you confessed to me was because you didn't want to ask your first choice."
Gabby could only stare at him wide-eyed. There was no way that she could talk, especially when he was in that much of a mood.
"You want Paul, don't you? Don't you?"
Her body wouldn't move as the rain assaulted her. She could feel the cold seep through her skin and chill her to the bones. Her body began to tremble even more than it had been before.
He ran a hand angrily through his hair. For a few minutes, he began to pace around, letting his anger flow through him so that he wouldn't explode at her. Finally, he stopped and stared at her, his cold, brutal eyes measuring her, watching for every little reaction. "You heard Jordan say that she had feelings for Paul, didn't you?"
"Yeah," she said.
"Was that the reason you confessed to me instead of him?" Clayton demanded.
Wringing her hands in front of her, she stared at his feet then whispered in the quietest voice she could muster, "Yeah."
There was a stream of dark curses that he whispered from beneath his breath. He continued to pace around the place, all the while ignorant of the harsh rain that poured on him. "Then why the hell are you here with me, right now?" he questioned.
"Forget her!" he screamed, suddenly. Taking a deep breath, he said in a quieter voice, "Forget her. What is it that you want?"
Gabby hesitated, but only for a fraction of a second. Staring at him, she said, "I…" but the words wouldn't come.
There was a strange moment between them, as if all the tension had finally eased. Clayton winked at her as he turned away. "Then why the hell are you here with me, right now?"
She had hidden herself beneath the shelter of a tree. Although it didn't provide as much covering as she would have liked, it was still a form of shelter. After leaving Clayton's side, she had tried to look for Paul but he hadn't been anywhere. Now, she was cold and tired and most likely, she was going to be sick the following day.
But she wasn't about to give up. She was merely taking a break and letting her emotions wash over her, slowly.
It was when she heard a soft cough behind her that she jumped almost five feet in the air. Turning around, she was shocked to see Paul standing about eight feet away, staring at her as if she were from another planet.
"Paul!" she almost squealed.
Not saying a word, he ran the rest of the distance and scooped her up in his arms. She could feel him trembling against her, feeling that it was partly from the cold, but wanting to believe it was from something more.
She tried to pull away from him so she would be able to talk, but her lips brushed against the exposed part of his neck and they both froze. It was such an intimate thing to have happened and Gabby felt her body blush a deep scarlet.
Slowly, he dragged himself away from her, but not fully. It was as if he didn't want to be away from her. He pressed his lips against her temple and said, "I know you like Clayton, but hear me out…"
"No, let me talk. Gabby, please don't get mad at me, but…I fell in love with you. At first, it was a mere crush, but now…I think about you all the time. I smile whenever I see someone else make you laugh for the simple fact that you're laughing (1)…Gabby, I--"
She turned her head and rising on her tippy toes, she pressed her lips against his in a warm and gentle kiss that slowly escalated into something more. It completely took her breath away. She had originally done that act because she wanted to shut him up, but now, she was caught up in it.
When they finally broke apart, due to lack of air, she rested her head against his chest and whispered, "It's you, Paul."
"What?" he asked, resting his chin on the top of her head.
"Paul, you're the one that I want to be with."
Clayton walked around in the rain, letting it slam against his back. He really didn't feel as if he was in the mood to do anything else other than mope around. This was the first time he didn't get the girl and it was a surreal experience for him.
A few paces away, he saw Jordan, staring off into the distance, the water splashing against her upturned face. Squinting, she saw that she was looking at Paul and Gabby enmeshed in one another's arms. He walked up to her and hit her on her shoulder. He enjoyed seeing her stumble forward a few steps.
Glaring at him, she stuck out her tongue. "Jerk," she whispered.
"Wench," he replied. He then studied the other two people in the distance. "It's disgusting, isn't it?"
"Very much so," she replied with a shaky smile.
"Those two. Can you imagine all the mushy crap that I have to go through? At least you'll get to miss all of that while you're in Europe, right?"
"Ha!" Jordan said. He could tell that she was forcing the jesting, but at least she wasn't contemplating dark thoughts. "The PDA the Barry White songs playing through your wall…I can only imagine the torture."
"Thank you for putting disturbing images in my head," he replied sarcastically.
"It's what I do," she replied with an annoying smirk.
Ruffling up her wet hair, he said, "Come on, Wench, let's get out of here. I feel like a block of ice."
Jordan took one last look at Gabby and Paul. "I hope they make each other happy," she said then turned to leave.
Clayton watched her, a small smile on his lips. There was no ounce of anger or bitterness directed at the other two people when Jordan said that phrase. "I'm pretty sure that they will," he replied as he walked beside her to the car.
The quote about smiling because someone else made you laugh thing...This is one of my cousin's quotes
Sorry I hadn't updated in like, 2 weeks, but I was preparing for a butt load of finals and writing 10 and 20 page papers. So, to make it up to you all, I made this extra long. If there are mistakes in this one, I really don't give a rat's behind because I'm tired.
So…let's celebrate! The story's over. I'm sorry for those who didn't want it to end this way and I know you'll try and kill me if you ever did see me. But, I'm thinking of a sequal focused either on Jordan and/or Clayton...
As for the reviewers, I thank each and every one of you. It's thanks to your comments and observances that I can make my story better. It's also because of all of you that I get off my lazy behind and continue to write it and churn out a new chapter about every week or so. I shall hug you all (even the ones who are out for my blood).