Chapter Nine Summary: Faith wakes up with a massive hangover. She spends some time heaving in the toilet. Nikki arrives and they fight a bit, talk a bit, and in the end kind of agree with each other. Faith's mother is angry with her, because she thinks Faith invited her father to spend a week there. Her father, Nikolai, arrives. He's flamboyant and bi-sexual in a very over-the-top way and tries to hit on Jared, who arrives too. In the end, Jared and Faith are left alone in the hallway and Faith remembers everything she did the night before, when she wanted to sleep with him.

Chapter Ten

"So," Jared said lazily. "Sleep well?"

I wanted to slap that smug little grin of his right off his face. Instead, I made a choky sound that only succeeded in embarrassing me further. Cheeks flaming, I stepped backwards, fully intend on scurrying back to my room with whatever little trace of dignity I still had left.

As I had my back on him, he laughed mockingly. "I take it you remember everything from last night? I don't see any other excuse for your pathetic behavior."

Pathetic behavior? Somehow I found back some of the courage that had previously been destroyed by the utter humiliation of the whole thing, turning around to poke my finger in his chest angrily.

"Oh, that's rich!" The hairs in my neck were prickling (with annoyance) at being so close to the Devil's Spawn, and I was royally pissed off at him calling me pathetic. It wasn't enough that he'd embarrassed me last night, now he had to do the mornings as well? "This comes from a guy who lives with the girl he hates because he doesn't have anyone else to go to! Tell me, exactly why didn't you crash at one of your so-called friends? Could it be that," I mock-gasped, "the great Jared Boyd doesn't have any actual friends?"

Jared paled. Obviously I'd struck a sensitive chord, something that should've made me feel happy, but instead all I felt was my stomach clenching painfully. I felt like one of the girls I used to call 'meanies' a couple of years ago. The ones who picked up your weaknesses and used them against you.

It took Jared less than a minute to compose himself again. "If I'm so pathetic," he said, "then why did you want me to fuck you last night?"

Again with the crude language. "Oh, you were the closest thing available," I retorted coolly, tilting my chin up. Somehow Jared missed the effect of my collected composure, which probably had to do with the fact that my cheeks were still flaming and that I still looked like shit.

He lifted an eyebrow. "Yeah? Then why didn't you try to jump Logan?" Eyes smirking, he lifted one shoulder in a shrug at my taken-aback expression. "He texted me this morning, asked me if you'd gotten home all right."

A sense of anxiousness came over me. "Tell me you didn't-"

"Ask if you'd been whoring it up with him as well?" His grin said it all. "'Course I did."

I shrieked, in a very disturbing Kitty kind of way, "Asshole!" and threw a hairbrush at him.

Well, it was the closest thing nearby. Unfortunately, Jared used his freaky psycho jock-reflexes, ducking out of the way, causing the brush to hit a vase instead. Thank God I couldn't throw for shit and that the vase didn't fall. Nevertheless, I went over to steady it just in case. I only realized I'd come closer to Jared when he put his arms around my sides, one hand casually slipping under my shirt to stroke the skin there. My muscles tensed up.

"Now that you're sober," he whispered, his lips brushing my ear, "I might have to put aside my principles and take you up on the thing you offered me last night."

I did a haphazardly try to push him away, cursing my treacherous body. It wasn't supposed to feel this good! "No, thank you," I said, my voice strained.

He chuckled, moving his head lower so that his lips touched the sensitive skin of my neck as he spoke, "You offered me. If anyone should say 'no, thank you' it'd be me."

A shiver ran down my spine as I stood frozen. My mind was screaming at me. Jared was surely bi-polar, laughing and making fun of me one moment, and trying to seduce me the next. I knew fully well that he was manwhore, and that I'd hated him for the past ten years, and that-

He kissed my neck, and I drew a sharp breath. "I…," I started weakly.

"Oh my!" a voice that didn't belong to either me of Jared suddenly exclaimed. "I didn't know the two of you were together like that! How adorable!"

I sprang away like I'd been electrocuted, which in a way was true. My nerves were frazzled in a way that couldn't be healthy.

My flamboyant father stood in front of us, beaming like he'd just won a million-dollar price. "I know I don't always get along with that lawyer-mother of yours," he said to me, "but at least she did one good thing in her life by letting that boy in this house."

"Dad," I said weakly. "It's not like that."

I could see that Jared was slowly inching backwards, heading towards to the front door. Oh, that asshole. Leaving me here to clean up the mess he'd created, right? No fucking way. I sent him a chilling glare, as much as that was possible with my panda-eyes. It came out less threatening than I'd intended, if the twitching of Jared's lips was any indication.

"Don't deny it!" my father said cheerfully. "I didn't imagine that boy sucking on your neck, now did I? Congratulations, the two of you!"

Pookie chose that moment to run through the door, jumping up against Jared's legs enthusiastically. Jared's upper lip curled in disgust. He didn't appear to like the poodle anymore than my mother liked the owner of it.

"He likes you!" my father said, bending down to pet his dog on its little head affectionally. "You chose well, daughter of mine."

I rolled my shoulders to get rid of the tense muscles. There wasn't any way to get out of this, was there? How should I tell my father that he'd only caught me and Jared doing something that didn't mean anything, but only happened because of our raging hormones? My father wasn't overprotective, but even he wouldn't like his daughter letting some jackass leech on her neck because she was too weak to say no.

Jared grabbed his backpack and held it in the air for everyone to see. "I just came to grab this," he stated. Yeah, like we couldn't see that. "I'm heading to the pool." He stepped forward and bent down to lightly brush his lips against mine. A millisecond later, he'd disappeared out of the door with a grin on his face.

I still stood in the same place, frozen like a statue. Oh, how he was going to regret that later on. I'd punish him severely – in a non-sexual way – the next time he came near me. Seeing as he was living in the same house, that shouldn't be too hard. Now I only had to pull it together so that I didn't rip off his clothes accidentally.

A distant part of my brain wondered how I'd gotten from being disgusted by Jared's merest touch, to so turned on that I had to restrain myself from jumping him. Then again, my taste in boys wasn't exactly all that. Tom had proven that perfectly fine.

I stomped off, my father still gushing behind me. I could see Nikki peering down from upstairs, and knew she'd seen everything that had happened, including my encounter with Jared. There was no way she'd leave this alone. Then again, I wouldn't leave her alone about the whole Logan-and-Natasha thing either. I'm curious as hell and if anything had happened between Nikki and the quietest Boyd brother, I wanted to know every juicy detail about it, even if I'd feel kind of bad for Logan falling into Nikki's trap. She'd get out of the relationship as easy as she'd gotten into it, but he was more sensitive than that.

I made a face at myself. I was going way ahead of things. Besides, if what I thought was true, Logan had cheated on Natasha. I might not like her much anymore after last night, but she was still his girlfriend, and no one deserved to be cheated on.

Just look at where it had brought my best friend's parents.

I padded into my room, Nikki already back on my bed, with a huge grin on her face. "Okay you little slut," she said affectionally, "what was that?" She waggled her finger at me. "Don't even try to get out of this one!"

I blushed, cursing my pale skin. Normally I was quite tanned, but the weather hadn't been great lately and the overcast clouds hadn't done wonders to my skin tone. "I'll tell you if you tell me what's going on with Logan and you," I offered.

Now it was Nikki's turn to blush. "Nothing's going on with me and… Logan," she said carefully, lashes swept down to avoid my look. The slight pause in her sentence made me perk up, but I didn't understand.

I let out a small giggle. "Yeah, right. If nothing's going with you and Logan, then why are you being all awkward on the subject?"

Every trace of amusement was gone from Nikki's face, and she wouldn't meet my eyes. "If I tell you...," she hesitated, "do you promise not to breathe a word about it to anyone?"

Oh, my. If she acted this serious, the gossip was going to be very juicy, no doubt about that.

I waved her comment away. "You know you can trust me," I said flippantly. "Now spill!"

She opened her mouth, then closed it again, nervously wringing her hands together. It was so not-Nikki that I raised my eyebrows in surprise.

"There's really not an easy way to say this," she began, biting her bottom lip. "So I'll just, um, toss it out?" Her voice went up at the end, question-like, and I nodded in agreement, waiting impatiently. "Two weeks ago… I came over to your house, but you were like shopping with your Mom or whatever. Logan and Natasha were hanging out together in their garden, and Natasha invited me to join them." She ducked her head. "Logan went inside to get some drinks, and Natasha and I were just talking and stuff, and all of a sudden she leaned forward and well…" Nikki resembled a tomato by now. "She kissed me."

My jaw hit the floor and Nikki breathed in deeply. "That's not all," she said, somehow more collected after letting out the big secret. "I kissed her back, too."

Well. Shit.

"Logan came back and we sprang apart. I don't…think he saw anything." The words came out in large streams now. It appeared that she couldn't stop anymore, now that I wanted her to. I needed time to process all this. "Anyway, Natasha ignored me after. She once walked past me and all she said was that she'd kill me if I told anyone." Nikki seemed actually hurt by this. "And…that's all there is to it."

That's all? I fought the urge to laugh hysterically. I'd always seen myself as very tolerant regarding homosexuals, hell, my own father was bi-sexual, but hearing my best friend who went through guys like crazy tell you she was… God, impossible. Besides, she was meant to end up with Lucas. They were going to have their own little fairytale happy-ending, even if it killed me to take care of that.

Nikki hadn't confirmed anything either, had she? She'd kissed Natasha back, but I'd kissed a girl for a dare once too. Maybe she'd just been too surprised to pull back. Maybe she'd wanted to experiment. There were so many possibilities that didn't include Nikki being a lesbian. Plus, the evidence was against that. Nikki liked sex, she'd told me that many times. She liked boys too, and flirting, and dressing up for them. She'd never had a crush on a girl before, so why would she now?

"Before you ask," Nikki interrupted my thoughts, "I don't think I like Natasha." She scoffed. "She's such a bitch sometimes. I don't see why Logan puts up with her."

"Then why did you kiss her back?" I asked quickly.

"I don't know," she said awkwardly, plucking at my bed sheet. "It's hard to say no, I guess. Look, I told you what was bothering me, and now you're supposed to tell me what's going on between you and Jared. My turn's over."

No, it wasn't. It wasn't over by a long shot. She'd carefully deleted all the details that mattered out of her little speech. Like, had they flirted or only talked? Had she been attracted to Natasha? Nikki'd said she didn't like her, but you didn't have to like the person to be attracted to him. I spoke from experience. Besides, if it didn't mean anything, then what was the hurt look on her face when she told me about Natasha's Nikki-is-empty-air tactic about?

Nevertheless, I could see she wasn't going to tell me anything else. Firmly resolving to bring the subject back up later, I pushed the burning feeling of curiosity away and started at the beginning. How I'd stomped back home in a frenzy, how I'd been hell bent on confronting Lucas, and how I'd eventually ended up as a hooker in Jared's arms, practically begging to be screwed.

After I'd finished, Nikki's eyes were shining with an emotion that I'd seen many, many times before, whenever she'd tried to hook me up with one of her exes 'because he really was a fabulous kisser, no matter how much he dissapointed me later on' or with Lucas or whoever she thought was perfect for me at the time.

"Hell no!" I shrieked, jumping to the other side of the room in a very dramatic fashion. "I know that look!"

"He totally wants you!" she gushed. "And you want him too! You guys would have the perfect love-hate relationship." Her eyes widened. "Oh my gosh! It's totally like that movie, what's it called… Oh yeah, 'It's a boy girl thing'! They lived next-door and hated each other too!"

I don't get it. I really don't get how she can act like such a romantic, wannabe-matchmaker when her own love-life has exactly nothing except for the gifts and candy she receives and always either throws away or gives to me. More than one time I've received a weird look from one of her ex-boyfriends when I was parading around with something they'd originally given to Nikki as some stupid anniversary gift.

I gritted my teeth. "Nikki, don't. Don't do whatever you're already planning in that insane psychopathic mind of yours or I swear to God I'll have you put in an institution. And don't you remember Jared almost killing me with a plate of food at the funeral? Jared slamming me into a wall when he overheard me talking about him? It gave me a bruise, you know. Do you really want me to be with some unstable, violent, in definite need of therapy guy like Jared Boyd?"

"Well, yeah." She shrugged offhandishly. "You can totally reform him!"

"What planet do you live on?" I asked, perplexed. "As if."

Jared Boyd did not reform. I don't know why exactly in his freaky mind he'd decided to try and seduce me, but the thing was, we'd never had an actual conversation before that didn't revolve about sex one way or the other. Sure, that's a great base to build a relationship on! He had no reason to like me any more than he did before, aside from his wanting to add me as a notch on his bedpost, since he didn't know me any more than a month ago when he'd snarled and sneered at me more than ever.

And it wasn't because he had rock hard abs, a perfectly nice sculpted face, and that hair that you as a girl just want to run your hands through, that I'd fall for him just because he'd decided he wanted that to happen. Please! I had more willpower than that. I'm all for the character, really. I don't care about looks, nuh-uh.

"You like him," Nikki stated flatly. "Admit it. At night, you're thinking that maybe he was always such a jerk because apart from his mother's depressions, he also hated and constantly fought with his father and that really, that's not a nice environment to grow up in. He didn't receive enough love from his home-life, so he went to search it in meaningless one-night-stands and flavors-of-the-week. Add the guilt-complex after his mother's suicide and you've got one screwed up, bi-polar boy with mood swings that scare the hell out of everyone. So maybe, just maybe, you think you should give him a clean slate, because he's had it rough."

I looked at her, shell-shocked.

One corner of her mouth tipped up in a smile. "I'm thinking of becoming a shrink later on."

"I don't like him," I denied, and I didn't. Okay, fine. Maybe whatever Nikki had rambled a minute ago had passed my thoughts more than once, but angsty guys had never been my thing. That I felt bad for him didn't mean I wanted his friendship. A truce, maybe, in which we ignored one another and each led our own lives, but whenever I thought about Jared and me hanging out as 'friends' I got the chills.

Or maybe that was because I'd succumb to my hormonal wills whenever the two of us were alone, but really, I did not want to think about that possibility.

"You're sick." I shook my head in distaste. She opened her mouth, but I threw a pillow at her to shut her up. "Let's just watch a movie," I said quickly.

"Oh, can we watch The Covenant again?" Nikki asked excitedly. She clapped her hands, already lusting after Taylor Kitsch. He's like, her hottest male-fantasy. She has all his modeling pictures from Abercrombie & Fitch and downloaded all the episodes of Friday Night Lights because she didn't want to wait till it got out on DVD. She'll buy the box anyway, so she can lust after him on the 'Behind-The-Scenes' or something like that.

Me, I'm more a Toby Hemingway girl. Skinny and blonde, but goddamn does he have some hot tattoos!

"Sure," I said casually. I always acted like I didn't want to watch the movie that much. It's not that good, honestly, and it isn't very cool to come out as a celebrity-fan girl. Throwing the DVD at her, I walked out of the room and called over my shoulder that I was going to hit the shower first.

God knew it was necessary.


Nine hours later, I was sitting alone in the living room, watching a repeat episode of The O.C. It was the one in which Marissa died, and I already dreaded the moment in which she'd blow out her last breath. No matter how much that girl had irritated me and no matter how much I'd prayed for the writers to get her off the show, it's still different to see the character whose life you've followed for the past three years die because of some stupid accident.

What? I get attached.

My mother was out, meeting some colleges from work for a drink for someone's birthday, and my father had reluctantly agreed to move his belongings to the hotel ten minutes away. He'd been hell bent on staying in the house for reasons unknown, but even he wouldn't agree with spending six nights on a cramped couch. However, he'd assured me that he'd take me and Jared out for dinner the next day. I was already planning to make sure that Jared was out of the house then.

The front door opened and closed with a slam. I rolled my eyes up at the ceiling. That could only be one person and…

"You actually watch that crap?"

Yep. The lovable Jared Boyd has arrived, everyone.

I shot him a threatening look. "Do not insult the brilliancy that is Josh Schwartz," I said warningly. "He's way out of your league."

His eyebrows went up, but he chose not to respond, instead dropping himself next to me. I let out a little shriek as wet droplets of water hit me and looked at him incredulously. "You've been in the pool all day?" He looked freshly showered, wet strands of hair plastering on his forehead and a smell of shampoo surrounding him.

Of course, it was also possible that he'd went with some fuckbuddy after and had showered at her place.

"We went out for pizza first," Jared replied, shrugging off his coat. "We only hit the pool at three o' clock and stayed till it closed."

"Oh." I shut up, feeling awkward. That had been our first, kind of normal conversation in God knows how long. It was…weird. Unnatural, even.

Jared reached over and snapped the remote out of my hand. "Hey!" I protested, but he'd already changed the channel to sports. "That's my TV!"

He smiled lazily. "Oh really? Did you pay for it?" Rolling his shoulders to relieve them from tension, he made himself comfortable, going even as far as draping his legs over mine. Our couch wasn't that small, but now it made me feel claustrophobic.

"Get off!" I shoved his legs away and they fell on the ground. Jared groaned in protest, but let them be where they were.

I looked pointedly to the other, smaller couch on the left of the TV. "Is there any reason why you can't sit there?"

The moment he turned his head to me and grinned wolfishly, I knew that I'd walked right into his trap. Oh no.

To my surprise, the playful yet infuriatingly seductive look vanished from his blue eyes and he shrugged. "It's too small." He focused his attention back on the TV, then said, still looking straight-ahead, "If you're so bothered by my presence, you can always go to your room. If I'm not mistaken, you have a TV and a surround-system there." He shot me a bitter glance, making me recoil slightly. "That should be enough to grace even your needs, princess."

Taken aback, I just looked at him, my mouth opening and closing like a goldfish. Were we back to insulting each other again? Not that we'd actually ever stopped, but he'd focused more on the let's-try-and-fuck-Faith-while-she's-sober part lately.

In the end, I ignored the comment and looked back to the TV. The sports program had ended, and Jared zapped to a channel that played House of Wax, the recent version with Paris Hilton and Chad Michael Murray. "Ooh!" I smiled excitedly. "I love that movie!"

Jared merely looked at me incredulously, but put the remote down and leaned back, nodding in consent. I relaxed slightly, curling up in the corner the farthest away from him, and looked at the movie in blissful silence as the room got darker and darker around us, the sun setting.


I woke up when someone shook my shoulder and whispered for me to wake up. I groaned softly in protest, stretching my legs slowly before reluctantly opening my eyes. I recognized my mother, who pointed to the kitchen and mouthed 'Pizza'. I shook my head in consent, already smelling the waves of molten cheese entering my nostrils. My stomach squeezed happily at the thought of food.

My mother disappeared in the kitchen, and I got up on my elbows, blinking when I suddenly noticed the unfamiliar weight on my stomach. Jared Boyd – I disorientedly wondered how we'd ended up here together – was curled up in a fetal position, his arms around my legs and his head nestled just under my breasts.


I really, really didn't want to know what my mother was thinking now.

Jared was still sleeping soundly, the dark circles under his eyes somehow even more prominent in the yellow light streaming in from the kitchen. I wondered whether he slept enough. I'd never heard him up and about at night, but then again he'd only lived here for a couple of days, and the sleep of the intoxicated tends not be interrupted by any light sounds. Besides that being me last night, I was also a heavy sleeper, known for my habit of sleeping through my alarm clock or throwing it into pieces without even remembering it afterwards.

I brushed some blonde hair back from his face, freezing as I realized how intimate the gesture was. Not understanding my own actions, I lightly pushed his head away, letting it drop on the cushions. He murmured in protest, but didn't wake up until I untangled his arms from my legs and stood up. Actually, that didn't wake him up either, but that was until I lost my balance and crashed right into the salon table.

My mother ran in from the kitchen, Jared shot straight up in disoriented surprise, and I let out an impressive stream of curses.

"You're lucky you didn't break the glass," Mom said dryly. She was used to my tendency to crash and fall and trip all the time, and went back into the kitchen without saying anything more. There'd been a time in which she'd always inspected me for bruises and scratches, but it got old after doing it almost every day or more and she gave it up in the end. Strange as it may be, I've never broken anything in my life.

"You okay?" Jared asked gruffly, swinging his legs to the ground and stretching, showing off the impressive muscles on his stomach.

Mhmm. Nothing wrong with enjoying the view for as long as it lasted, right?

I inspected my arms and legs quickly, but aside from some bruises I'd be okay. "Let's just eat," I said shortly.

My mother had brought three pizzas without anything fancy, not knowing what kind of taste Jared had. He didn't seem to mind, wolfing down a couple of slices in a matter of minutes, only pausing to politely answer the questions my mother asked him. He didn't seem comfortable, his back tensed up like I'd never seen before.

Nevertheless, he didn't say anything offensive during the whole meal, even offering my mother to pay the pizza back. I thought it kind of normal, seeing as she had to pay for an extra mouth now, but she waved it away, saying that she'd already taken care of that kind of thing with his father, Patrick. She smiled a little too brightly, and I knew she was lying. I wondered who was going to pay for Jared's senior trip in a couple of months. Something told me that Patrick wasn't very enthusiastic about paying the expenses for the son who didn't want to see him ever again.

I remained quiet for the most part, clearing off the table like always and going upstairs to laze around in my room until I fell back asleep.

It was the first dinner together of which many would follow.

I only realized when I was already dozing off that I hadn't chewed Jared out for kissing me earlier.

Goddamn. What the hell was wrong with me?


Well, I'm back. If anyone still remembers this story, that is. : ) My laptop crashed in March, and I've been without till about a month ago. The thing that sucks the most? The new one crashed four days ago. I'm on my Mom's laptop now, but it sucks because I lost all my files, downloaded books, music and movies…AGAIN. If anyone knows how to fix a IRQLNOTLESSOREQUAL error, please tell me!

Writing this chapter was…strange. Probably because I've been away for so long. But at least, Jared and Faith acted kind of civil for the first time at the dinner with her mother. And Nikki might be a lesbian, or a bi-sexual, or just straight. Who knows? ;)

I'll respond through e-mail from now on!

But thanks to everyone who took the time to review the earlier chapters! Getting reviews gives me the same feeling as eating greasy food, like Friench Fries. Very, very happy and satisfied!