Good Girls Don't Play with Fire
Rating: T for language.Summary: Reese was a good girl. Conscientious, effective, and thorough. Everything in her life was planned perfectly, except for a little infatuation with a certain arrogant brat named Cole Roderick. Oneshot.
Charlotte Reese Emerson was scrubbing a urinal.
Not just a urinal, but a public urinal, in a dingy pizza restaurant.
"...goddamnit...job description...nothing about scrubbing shit...damn idiot..." Her head bobbed as her gloved hand scrubbed with a dirty cloth, all the while muttering murderously under her breath. Charlotte; actually known as Reese, almost no one knew her actual first name was Charlotte; was absolutely livid. That sort of fury that almost makes you just want to grab a stick and beat an unsuspecting someone senseless with it.
Reese happened to work at the aforementioned dingy pizza restaurant full-time during the summer, though her job description did not include cleaning any bathrooms, and especially not men's bathrooms. However, when one of the kitchen workers vanished without finishing any of his sidework, his shitty jobs were thereby forced upon Reese. And not only was she cleaning piss off of the wall, but she was still being paid the custom waitressing wage, a staggering $2.13 an hour.
Reese groaned in irritation, leaning backward to rest her butt on her feet curled up beneath her.
She shouldn't have allowed it. She shouldn't have allowed herself to be subjected to such punishment. Unfortunately, when you're a good girl, you allow yourself to be forced into all kinds of torture.
Reese wiped the sweat off her face with a quick swipe of her forearm, and scrunched her nose violently when she caught a strong whiff of that piss, shit, and who-knows-what-else odor that was currently emitting from her gloved hand. A few dark brown curls loosened themselves from her ponytail and came swinging down into her face, forcing Reese to once again use her forearm to swipe viciously at her face.
This sucks. This sucks ass. The only way this could possibly get any worse is if someone- Reese's train of though was effectively interrupted as the only thing that could possibly make her situation any worse happened.
The door swung open, its hinges screaming in protest, and someone stepped into the bathroom. Reese whirled around to face her intruder.
Oh. So it could get even worse, and it just did.
Cole Roderick, rich arrogant conceited bastard extroidinaire, was stepping through the doorway, a look of disgust painted on his face.
Reese's eyes widened in alarm, and her head spun back forward and focused intently on the wall. If he didn't see her, he couldn't tease her about this for the rest of her life. Of course, he would have to be blind to not notice a girl sitting right in the middle of the men's bathroom. But if he did see her and didn't recognize her, he'd probably just brush past her and continue on his way, ignoring that poor unfortunate soul so unworthy of his smallest concern.
She prayed he wouldn't recognize her. She closed her eyes tightly and pleaded if there be any form of deity, that Cole Roderick would not recognize her.
"Reese Emerson?" Cole asked suddenly.
"Shit," Reese muttered under her breath, eyes still closed.
"Excuse me?" Cole asked, sounding delighted. Reese released a shuddering sigh, and finally opened her eyes. She slowly rotated her body to face him.
He was towering over her, looking as arrogant, rich, and conceited as ever. But appearances could be deceiving. Maybe he wasn't still a bastard.
Reese sat there, staring up at him dumbly. She really had nothing to say to him. But then, a terrible thought struck her.
"You're not eating here, are you?" she asked, her voice obviously full of dread. If she had to be his waitress...
"At this place? Hell no. I just had to piss," Cole snorted, sounding affronted she dare insult his good name by asking if he would condescend to eat at such a restaurant. He was still a bastard. "But then again, if you're serving here, maybe I'll stay for a while..." he gave her a smirk that clearly meant that his only intentions were to annoy the hell out of her. Oh yes, he was certainly as big of a bastard as ever.
Reese made no attempts to hide her scowl, though the impact of it was lessened by the fact that she literally had to look straight up to see him. That jackass was probably pleased as hell that it looked like she was kneeling to him or something.
With this thought, Reese immediately rose to her feet, stifling a groan as her calves ached from being in one position for too long. Of course, he didn't offer to help her up. Not that she would have accepted his help, but it gave her more cause to hate him. And oh, she really did hate him.
Reese leaned back slightly, crossing her arms and raising her eyebrows in a defiant and very annoyed pose. Cole's amusement at her attitude was obvious. He grinned down at her indulgently. They stood there like that for a few moments before Cole spoke up.
"Well?" he asked expectantly.
"Well the fuck what?" Reese answered, pissed as hell. It was obvious that Cole was trying as hard as he could not to burst out laughing. "It isn't fucking funny!"
"Temper, temper," Cole reprimanded mildly. "I'm shocked that I'm the only one that gets to see this side of you. I'm sure no one else in this world but me knows that you curse like a sailor."
"It shouldn't come as such as shock that you bring out the worst in me, considering you are the most self-centered dick to ever exist on this earth," Reese answered nastily. He quirked an eyebrow at her, and she maintained her disdainful expression. By far it wasn't her best comeback, but if he had an inkling of her sincerity it would be more than enough.
"Well?" he asked again.
"What?" she hissed back.
"I told you I need to piss," Cole explained.
"So?" Reese countered stubbornly, even though she already knew what he was asking.
"You want me to piss in front of you?"
"Use the stall."
"I'm not a stall guy."
"Then you'll have to wait," Reese responded, whirling around and kneeling back down to scrub the side of the urinal with renewed vigor. So the job may have been embarassing as hell, but it was too late now. And now at least she could annoy Cole before he got a chance to annoy her.
"Fine," Cole answered simply. Reese paused a moment from her scrubbing. There's no way Cole Roderick would ever give in so easily. She turned to glance at him and squeaked in alarm. His back was facing her and he it was obviously he was about to relieve himself in the trash can.
"Don't you dare! I have to empty that!" Reese shrieked, jumping to her feet.
"That's too bad, if you won't let me use the urinal," Cole answered simply. His plan, no doubt. To manipulate her into getting his way. She wasn't going to let it be that easy.
"There's no way I'm ever touching anything that's ever even possibly been in contact with your piss," Reese threatened dangerously, stepping up to him fearlessly with her hazel eyes flashing.
"So what do you suggest me-" Cole was interrupted harshly as Reese gave him a violent shove, aimed right out the doorway. She wasn't very strong, but catching him off guard had helped immensely. He stumbled out the doorway, and Reese slammed the door shut. Her hand whipped as quick as lightning to draw the lock.
"I can't honestly say that I don't give a shit!" Reese exclaimed, certainly more than loudly enough for Cole to hear through the closed door. Reese smiled derisively, swiping her forearm once again across her face before kneeling down again to work.
Reese continued scrubbing, now in a considerably better mood. It wasn't often that you got the chance to lock Cole Roderick out of a bathroom, and it was strangely satisfying.
Now, while Reese's loathing of Cole Roderick may seem unjustified, Reese had plenty of other reasons to hate him other than him being arrogant, conceited, annoying, and a dick. Cole was a slacker. And the only thing in the world more annoying to Reese than a slacker was a successful slacker. Cole had never cracked a book open through all of high school, and he still held perfect grades.
Beyond that, Cole was distracting. He disrupted class constantly, was always late, and often didn't bother showing up at all. Yet this didn't seem to remove him from his pedestal as Wheaten High's golden boy. Reese snorted. He could probably become a mass murderer and still be worshipped. Then again, how many mass murderers were straight A students, captain and star of the state champion soccer team, starter on the basketball team, and recently elected president of the student body?
Reese made a strange noise in her throat, closely akin to a growl. He had stolen the last position from her. She gritted her teeth and scrubbed at the urinal viciously. She had looked forward to being class president since middle school, and had been ecstatic to sign up to run in the election this spring. A few others had signed up as well, but as soon as Cole Roderick announced he was running, everyone except Reese had dropped out. Perhaps they had proper sense to realize that the presidential campaign was a popularity contest. Yet Reese was assured that there were enough intelligent students to realize that Reese took the position seriously and actually had good ideas to present to the administration. Reese was mistaken.
The tallied votes were close, but Cole still won out by nearly sixty percent of the voting student body. Reese bit her lip as she remembered with horrific vividness how she was standing on the stage, smiling confidently and looking as calm as she could be, while her heart was nearly beating out of her chest. Her fingers had crossed expectantly behind her back as she held her breath as the results were announced. When she heard Cole Roderick's name echo through the room and the resounding applause, her heart dropped. She did her best to look congratulatory, and not as if she would rather be drowning herself in a bathtub at that very moment. She even shook Cole's hand, and managed not to slap him silly as he gleamed at her, his smirk held firmly in place.
That evening she was pulled aside by the administrator to discuss her new vice presidential duties. Reese's every instinct was to turn down the position, even if it did make her seem like a sore loser. Nothing could make her tolerate working alongside Cole Roderick as his inferior. Yet she accepted the position anyway. She still had good ideas, and she could still improve the school even as vice president and Cole's personal assistant.
She still couldn't see what everyone saw in Cole Roderick. How could he possibly be Wheaten High's golden boy so effortlessly? She was involved in even more activities than he; she was Wheaten's second best track runner, captain of the girl's volleyball team, author and co-director of Wheaten High's musical last spring, singer in Wheaten's choir...and now she was vice president! And she studied! She studied until she nearly sweat blood. She killed herself over all her activites and academics. She had just a right to be worshipped as he...except she had no life, and no boyfriend.
Despite all of this, to any other person with all these qualities Reese would still remain polite to and secretly dislike them strongly. After all, she was a good girl and very tolerant of others. Even his constant teasing and taunting whenever he was near her (which was actually surprisingly often) would be forgivable. Yet Cole had one characteristic which made Reese detest him with every fiber of her being-
Reese's thoughts were interrupted yet again, this time by the sound of pounding against the door. She rolled her eyes. Did Cole really think she was going to let him in? He must be stupider than he looked. She stifled a chuckle; if that was true, Cole must be on the intellectual level with crustaceans.
"Piss off, Roderick," Reese called viciously, resorting to Cole's last name to make a point.
"Reese!" The scolding voice that came from the other side of the door did not belong to Cole. That was her regional manager's voice. Reese's eyes widened in horror. "Reese, open the door this instant!"
Reese stumbled to her feet quickly, unlocking the door and opening it, forcing herself to appear neither penitent nor brazenly defiant.
"Yes, Dan?" Reese asked, smiling innocently at the fifty-something, balding, overweight man standing before her, the title "Regional Manager" emblazoned on his nametag. She glanced behind her fuming boss to see Cole standing smugly, with his arms crossed and an expectant look on his face. He ratted her out.
"Could you be kind enough to explain why you are locking customers out of the bathrooms?" Dan asked, looking furious. As usual. He hated Reese, and did everything in his power to make her life miserable. It was probably because he was a bitter, lonely, unsuccessful bald man who worked in a pizza restaurant. Misery loves company. After Cole existed as the bane of Reese's existence for nine months of the year, Dan would graciously step in and take over the position during Cole's absence. Apparently today was Reese's lucky day.
"Oh, I did? I must have forgotten that I had locked the door," Reese explained.
"I think you owe the customer an apology," Dan instructed, apparently choosing to overlook the fact that he heard her shout through to door to Cole.
Reese's eyes narrowed, and she threw a dirty look to Cole.
"I'm terribly sorry. Next time I'll be much more careful," Reese said, mentally adding a "and be sure to kick your ass out of the restaurant."
"Glad to hear it," Cole replied, glowing with pleasure. Reese stepped out of the bathroom, being sure to drop the door just as Cole reached to hold it open. Cole's eyebrow raised, but he entered the bathroom anyway, shutting the door with a soft click.
"Reese, I expect you to treat each and every one of our customers like royalty," Dan bit out harshly. "And if I ever hear the word 'piss' from you again while you work here, you will be dismissed immediately."
"Yes sir," Reese said through gritted teeth. Dan gave her one more dirty look before turning and stalking off to go ruin someone else's day. Reese sighed in irritation, then glanced at the door. She'd bet twenty bucks that Cole was leaned against the door, listening eagerly. With a derisive smirk, Reese pounded her fist powerfully against the door where she surmised his head would be. When she heard an nearly-stifled grunt coming from the other side of the door, she grinned broadly.
A full ten minutes later, Reese was still waiting outside the door. Undoubtedly, Cole had already finished his business and was just standing around in there until he deemed her wait long enough. This left Reese with a spray bottle of bleach in one hand, a rag in the other, and plenty of time to think.
The one reason that made Cole Roderick so unbelievably insufferable to Reese was the fact that Reese had been harboring an embarrassingly strong attraction for him since freshman year. It was nothing freakish, Reese didn't have a shrine in her room or anything. She spent as little time as possible thinking about it, and a lot of time trying to end it. She had never mentioned it to anyone, ever. Even when she went to a slumber party in tenth grade in which two girls were discussing how intolerable Cole Roderick could be, then they both admitted he was still disarmingly good looking, Reese didn't say a word. Actually, she did say more than a few words, but all were along the lines of, "Ew, that's completely sick. Cole Roderick is a chauvinistic pig and I can't believe you'd actually think he was halfway decent in any way, shape, or form." When the other girls at the party; that is, the girls that thought Cole Roderick could do no wrong; had heard this pronouncement, they fell into giggles. Reese had glared at them haughtily before leaving to change into her pajamas.
But those horrid Cole-Roderick-fan-club-members were right. Cole was undeniably and inexplicably hot. He had light brown hair with natural sun streaked highlights, dark brown eyes, and an etheral glow due to his soccer tan. He stood at 6'1'', a formidable height to Reese, who barely reached a mere 5'4''. He was well toned thanks to his sport involvement, he was intelligent without paying attention in class or doing homework, and he was actually rather funny. That is, Reese thought viciously, If you find sarcastic jackasses amusing. But Reese wasn't fooling herself. He was attractive and she knew it, only covered it up with proclamations of hatred.
But the fact that Reese liked him did not excuse him of the other insufferable traits Reese knew he possessed. All his good attributes were offset by his selfishness, insensitivity, and arrogance, as well as the fact that he was a spoiled brat and a man-whore. You could hardly see him anywhere without a girl hanging off his arm or another throwing herself at his highly exalted feet.
Yet he'd still been her secret fantasy since she'd met him at 13. Not any sexual fantasies, just those romantic pronouncements of love while standing in the rain and staring deeply into each other's eyes. Reese blushed powerfully. How embarrassing.
Reese hadn't held out for him. In fact, as she told herself rather foolishly, even if he did admit to liking her, she wouldn't date him anyway. She didn't have time for boys, much less big-headed sons of bitches. Reese had already dated a few boys. Each boy a more spectacular failure than the one before. She just didn't seem fit to have boyfriends. They just found her too intimidating. She was always doing something, writing lists of things to do, or daydreaming about all the things she would do in the future. She always had a destination to get to or an ambition to realize. It was hard to keep pace with Reese Emerson.
Reese sighed exasperatedly. It was nearing the fifteen minute mark and this was getting ridiculous. He was wasting her valuable time. Finally, the door opened and Cole emerged.
"Done?" Reese asked snidely.
"Yes, thank you, though the condition of this bathroom is appalling," Cole remarked, for the first time sounding playful. Reese snorted, uncrossing her arms and relinquishing her cleaning tools.
"Well, forget it. It isn't my job anyway, and I'm not doing it ever again," Reese said determinedly. Her dark curls fell back into her face again, forcing her once again to use her forearm to wipe at her face. He smiled briefly, seeming genuine for one of the first of their encounters. And whether because Reese was a good girl or covertly very attracted to the boy in front of her, she offered a smile back. He's really tan, her mind commented rather unnecessarily. And his hair has grown out some...it looks good. Her mind decided. His eyes are still as dark as ever-
"If you're done checking me out, I really have somewhere to go," he remarked sardonically. Reese's cheeks tinged slightly. So sarcastic bastard was back again in full force.
"I was not checking you out, you conceited jackass!" Reese returned hotly.
"If it makes you feel any better," his voice lowered, and he leaned down close to her face until she could almost feel his breath on her face, "the summer's been good to you too." Her heart started beating crazily, and she sucked in a shaky breath.
"Get out," she said. It was meant to be a harsh demand... it ended up sounding hot and breathy. She kicked herself mentally as her cheeks flamed.
"Tomorrow, then?" his request rang out in the same soft voice. Reese racked her brain. Was there somewhere she was supposed to go tomorrow that she would see him? No, nothing was going on. Was he...requesting to return to the pizza diner? Oh no...please...hell, no...
"Get out," Reese repeated, this time more confidently. He smirked at her with an omniscient gleam in his eye before turning and walking straight out of the restaurant. Reese stood there a moment, concentrating on inhaling and exhaling before turning and stepping into the bathroom again. Shakily she removed her gloves and tossed them into the trash can, then began to wash her hands in the sink. Her gaze appraised her reflection quietly. Burning cheeks, shining hazel eyes, and cascading untidy dark chocolate curls...she looked affected. She looked every bit as if she had just had a close encounter with a long time crush.
"Shit," she cursed softly. She would die if he knew about her infatuation with him.
And she looked like hell. Her hairline at her temples looked darker, definitely indicative of sweat. Her cheeks were shining with what was undoubtedly a mix of sweat and the grease in the air that came with working in a dirty pizza restaurant. Her freckles were clearly evident, standing out on her pale face. She could even see a patch of sunburn on her neck from Saturday at the pool when she didn't put on enough sunscreen.
"Shit and a half," she muttered, tearing away her critical gaze. Not to mention the completely unflattering, three-sizes-too-big starch shirt tucked tightly into her high-waisted black workpants. She looked exactly how she felt.
That evening, after Reese got off work, she headed straight home to clean up. After taking a long, cold shower and donning a clean red t shirt and her dark wash jeans, Reese headed out the door again. She had a long letter she had spent the previous evening writing, adressed to the school superintendent and the PTA. She had written to introduce herself as the new vice president of the student body, to inform them of the many changes she wanted to work with them to create to improve their school, as well as her wish to be included in all PTA meetings. She had written this without Cole's knowledge or consent, partly because she was bitter about losing the election, and partly because she just didn't want to speak to him.
Her intentions were to attend the meeting tonight while recording everything discussed. After the meeting, she would make a notice of all topics as wells as all the ones she wanted to discuss in the next meeting, then make the copies and send them out the next morning.
Reese Emerson was efficient and thorough, and she would be taken seriously.
She arrived at the school fifteen minutes early. Punctuality was key.
As she walked to the door, she glanced up at the sky. It was quarter to eight, but the sky was completely dark due to black thunderclouds rolling in. It looked like there would be a terrible storm. Reese quickened her pace to reach the door. She didn't particularly want to be caught in the initial downpour that was sure to being momentarily.
Reese pulled at the door. It was locked. She tried each of the three main entrance doors, and each were locked. The pains of arriving early. She stood by the door patiently, until she noticed Phil the janitor down at the corner of the hallway. She pounded on the door a few times until Phil noticed her and toddled slowly down the hallway. Finally, he reached her and swung open the door.
"What are you doing here?" he asked, not unkindly.
"I was coming to sit in on the PTA meeting," Reese explained. Phil shook his head.
"What?" Reese asked.
"It's cancelled. The superintendent had a minor surgery and they cancelled the meeting."
"Minor surgery?" Reese questioned.
"Hemorroids," was his reply. Reese stifled an immature giggle.
"Well, do you mind if I come in to make a few copies?" Reese asked.
"That's fine, but I'm leaving now, so make sure to lock the door on your way out," the janitor answered. Reese nodded and thanked him before heading on her way. The hallways were lit dimly, but Reese had no problem finding her way. Good girls like Reese always knew where to find the offices. Reese started a moment when the first downpour of rain hit the roof powerfully, echoing through the empty building.
It was kind of creepy, being in the school alone in the dark. Reese shook her head briefly, stepping into the office and making her way to the copier. She fished the letter out, and while proofreading, decided to change a few things. She booted up the computer, scanned the letter, and began correcting it as she saw fit. Once completed, she printed the letter and placed it in the copy machine, as the first strike of lightning burst from the sky, the thunder rolling powerfully after it almost immediately. The storm was here.
Reese worked quickly, willing the electricity not to go out as the booms of thunder became louder and more frequent. But halfway through copying, one deafening burst of thunder came tearing from the sky, and almost instantaneously all the lights went out and the copy machine blinked off. Reese sucked in a quiet breath. It was literally so dark that she could see absolutely nothing. Her eyes adjusted and she waited patiently. Normally the electricity would cut back on within two minutes of it going out.
But it was only a minute and a half later that a strange sound startled Reese. It sounded like a door shutting, and it wasn't too far away. Then again, the sound of rain on the room was so loud, it was hard to distinguish any sounds at all.
But there had definitely been a sound. She didn't think it was imagined. Reese drew in a ragged breath, then stepped cautiously up to the door. It was probably Phil. She peered out the door quietly but it was too dark to see anything. Then, with a quick flash of lightning, the hallway was illuminated for just long enough for Reese to spot a figure down the hall. Her heart skipped a beat and she yanked herself back into the office. That figure was much too tall to be Phil.
Reese tried to regulate her breathing and keep herself from having a panic attack. What if the electricity wasn't cut off...what if it was turned off. How coincidental that when she arrived at the PTA meeting, everyone but her had been informed of its cancellation. And Phil left directly after she arrived...and the door she used was left unlocked. Her heart leaped up into her throat.
Pull yourself together and think logically! Reese ordered herself. If it was a shady character, it would probably just be a robber, right? There's no way it could be some murderer who planned out all these details well enough to kill and or rape her.
And during a robbery, the best choice was to hide. While maybe if she was at home and she was feeling brave, maybe she'd try to face the intruder. But this was her school, and she didn't give a shit if everything within it was stolen as long as she didn't get killed and or raped. She made her way quickly across the office, searching for anything that she could hold as a weapon. The best she found was a staple gun, but she grabbed it anyway and kneeled under the desk where she would be hidden discreetly, but still be able to have clear view of the doorway.
The next few moments felt like the longest of Reese's life. Her heart was beating erratically and she was literally trembling from anticipation. At moments she felt like she wasn't getting enough oxygen, and other moments she felt like she was getting too much. And that was before the 'i didn't get to's.
I didn't get to tell anyone I loved them romantically! I didn't get to be accepted to college! I didn't get to see Athens! I didn't get to go skinny dipping! Her eyes widened in horror. I'm still a virgin!
And when the figure appeared in the office doorway, Reese stifled the scream that threatened to tear out of her.
Just leave...just leave and go away...take anything you want, just don't see me...
The figure paused for a few moments, and Reese thought he was surveying the room. He stayed a few seconds, before turning slightly to leave. Reese panted expectantly. Then suddenly, something caught the figure's eye...the copy machine. He stepped over to it, his back turned towards Reese, and he picked up one of the copies. Reese waited with held breath. Lightning struck at that moment, and the figure got a glimpse at her letter before everything lapsed back into darkness.
What he was able to see, Reese didn't know, but it was now painstakingly clear that he wasn't leaving the room. She wielded the staple gun powerfully. She wasn't going down without either putting out his eye or stapling his balls together.
The figure surveyed the room once more, but this time, he paused when he was looking directly at where Reese stayed hidden. Reese counted to three to herself calmly, giving him the chance to turn without seeing her. When he was still staring intently at her hiding place, she let out a war cry and pulled the trigger of the staple gun, aiming for the intruder's left eye.
"Fuck!" the intruder shouted, his hand covering the left side of his face. Reese jumped up from her hiding place, this time aiming at his balls. "REESE!"
He knows my name...oh shit, he knows my name! This was a setup and he has been stalking me to kill and or rape me!
"REESE!" he bellowed again when she prepared to pull the trigger. She hesitated a moment. The voice was familiar... "REESE! What the fuck did you do to my face?"
Oh my God.
Her assailant was, unfortunately, none other than Cole Roderick.
"Cole?" she asked in shock.
"Reese!" his demand came again.
"Oh shit!" she answered him, dropping the staple gun and rushing over to him. "Oh shit, I'm so sorry, I didn't know it was you!"
"What did you fucking do to my face?"
"I..uh..shot it with a staple gun."
"Fuck! A staple gun! What the fuck!" Cole's vocabulary seemed to shrink when he was in pain.
Reese dragged him over to the window, in hopes of getting better lighting to see his face.
"Did it gouge out your eye?" Reese asked fearfully.
"No, it just mauled half my face off!"
"You have no idea how sorry I am!" Reese felt like crying. She didn't like blood, and she wasn't a strong, courageous girl. She was just the good girl with an overdeveloped sense of academia! She pulled his hand from his face and heaved a sigh of relief. They weren't heavy duty staples, and it hit his upper left cheek. A small trickle of crimson blood trickled from the wound. "Hold still, I'm going to get it out."
"What? Fuck no!" he answered, but it was too late. In one swift motion, Reese boldly plucked out the staple, willing herself not to feel nauseous.
"There, it's out," she said in a calming voice, though whether she was calming herself or Cole she had no idea. Cole took a few moments to glare at her. It was almost too dark to see his eyes, but she could sense his gaze anyway. She gave him a weak reassuring smile, and gently slid her thumb over the cut to wipe away the blood.
She knew she shouldn't have done it, but she couldn't help it. She allowed her hand to linger on his face. Her small palm barely covered his cheek, and occasionally she used the pad of her thumb to reach over and wipe away more blood. She released a breath she didn't know she had been holding.
Cole was suddenly now serene, and gazing intently at her. Of course, it was at that moment that Reese realized their proximity. The red lights began to go off in her head. She was certainly in a compromising situation by being this close to him. The last thing I need is for a panting Cole Roderick to be pressed up against me... she thought, fighting a shiver that threatened to course down her spine. Hm...I really ought to stop calling him 'Cole Roderick'...
"Reese," he muttered, his voice sounding almost tender.
She forced herself to breathe evenly, though her heart rate was speeding up again and she was beginning to feel warmth spread from her cheeks all the way down her neck.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, her breath hitching slightly. She had to start conversation or an argument or something... this, whatever this was, was driving her mad.
"Same thing you are," he answered, barely audibly. "Though I see you've come prepared." He motioned at the copier. Reese began to feel guilty. She shouldn't have left him out on the letter. He was the president, after all.
"I'm sorry, it's just..."
"Just what?" Cole asked, his voice taking an edge. Reese flinched slightly, surprised at his sudden change in attitude. She didn't often get to see his raw emotions. She thought a moment about her response, and decided to simply be as truthful as possible.
"I left you out on purpose," Reese said finally.
"Because I didn't want to talk to you," Reese answered quietly.
"Why?" the question rang out sharply, coldly. Reese sucked in a ragged breath. He was angry. She removed her hand from his cheek.
"Because I hate you," she replied with no conviction.
"Why?" he asked again once more. Reese hesitated. She wished she could see his face so she could try and guess what he was thinking. She could still feel his piercing gaze.
"I don't know," she answered feebly. For the past four years, she had always been able to summon up scores of reasons why she hated Cole. Now, she couldn't seem to recall any. All she knew was with one tiny step forward and their bodies would be pressed up against each other. She'd never been this close to him before, and it was a good thing, because this much Cole exposure was beginning to leave her breathless.
"You don't know?" he finally spoke again, this time his voice once again quiet and genuine. Reese didn't think she could trust her voice. She opted instead for shaking her head dumbly. He stared at her for a few moments, and then she suddenly became painfully aware of the fact that his head was lowering down towards her. Her heart nearly burst out of her chest. She couldn't see his face or eyes but he was most certainly leaning in to her excruciatingly slowly. Reese's stomach flip-flopped violently, and her eyes fluttered shut. He was going to kiss her. He was going to kiss her. He was going to kiss her.
Wait. He was going to kiss her. He was going to kiss her, and she had no idea if he even liked her. What if he just wanted to kiss a girl, and bam, Reese was sitting there waiting like an idiot. He'd only been a jackass for all the time she'd known him, and now what? Despite the pull she felt to him, she wasn't just going to let him kiss her because he wanted some action.
She was playing with fire, and she was going to get burnt.
And then she felt hot breath on her lips, and intelligent thought nearly left her. He was going to kiss her.
No, he was not going to kiss her. She couldn't allow it. Her eyes shot open, and with every ounce of willpower she had she forced herself to step away.
"I...I..." she stuttered for something to say...something to explain. He froze for a moment before leaning back away from her and reinstating his gaze.
"You what?" he asked, his voice a mixture of confusion, annoyance, and...
"I... I can't do this," Reese forced herself to say.
"Why?" he asked, his voice unreadable.
"I don't know," she whispered. And with that, she fled. She rushed out of the office and actually ran down the hallway. She had to get away. She couldn't take this.
"Reese!" Cole called after her, the sound of his footsteps entering the hall, barely distinguished amongst the steady pouring of rain on the roof. Hearing him pursue her only fueled her escape.
But she didn't count on him being a faster runner. She was reaching out for the door when she felt a hand grasp her arm and hold her. She tried to wrench away desperately, but he wouldn't let go.
"Please...please let me go," she pleaded, trying to pry his fingers from her arm.
"No," he said bluntly, turning her to face him and positioning her between the hall and his body so she couldn't escape again. Tears threatened to spill from Reese's eyes.
"Please," she tried again.
"No, I think you at least owe me an explanation," he said, his voice quiet and demanding. The hallway was better lit than the office, and she could see his features properly. The shadows cast on his jawline enhanced the lines and contours of his face. His hair fell across his forehead, looking a little more untamed then normal. His lips were drawn into a tight line. His left cheek had dried blood smeared over it from Reese's attack. And his eyes...they were darker than Reese had ever seen them. His emotions crossed them so quickly that Reese had no hope of identifying or deciphering any of them.
"Why?" he asked. It seemed to be his question of the day.
"I can't get involved with boys now-" Reese fumbled for a credible excuse.
"-I've just got too much going on and I can't throw a boy into the mix..." she continued on, unheeding his remark.
"You're scared," Cole commented strongly.
"No I'm not," Reese responded hollowly.
"Yes, you are. Why are you scared, Reese?"
She couldn't answer that she was scared that he just wanted a quick fling while she was practically in love with him. So what could she say?
"I don't know," Reese whimpered, trying once again to extricate her arm. "I just don't know...can I leave now?"
"Not before I kiss you," Cole said boldly. Reese's eyes widened as Cole's head came crashing down towards her suddenly. His lips captured hers in one swift movement.
It was unlike any kiss Reese had ever experienced. It was no chaste and awkward first kiss. Cole was kissing her hungrily, his hot mouth working quickly against her. Her stomach was tying up into knots, her thighs felt like they had shot up in flames, even her toes curled in her ragged tennis shoes. She stood there, being thoroughly kissed and doing nothing to aid it. His hands weren't moving anywhere; he still kept that his hand loosely gripping her elbow and that was all, but she could feel his touch everywhere.
And Reese let go. She had no idea whether or not he liked her or just want a little makeout session. She had no idea if he wanted to date her, or even if he still though she was that nerd without a life. But none of that seemed to matter anymore.
She couldn't be a good girl all the time.
She slowly began responding. She wasn't sure entirely how, but it seemed instinctive and she soon caught onto the pace. Her involvement spurred Cole on, and he deepened the kiss while simultaneously snaking his hands around her waist to the small of her back. Her arms slid up his chest, one slung around his neck and the other hand found its way to his soft hair, eliciting a groan from deep within his throat. He pulled her to him as tight as was physically possible and pushed her up against the wall, which was fortunate for Reese since she felt like her knees might give way.
And when the tip of his tongue passed lightly over her bottom lip, she literally trembled. Her fingers were shaking as she stroked his hair.
Her senses felt like they were overloading. She was getting signals from every part of her body, from the hairs on the back of her neck standing up to her arms resting on his strong shoulders to his large hand almost covering the small of her back.
And then he pulled away slowly. Reese forced herself to not grab the back of his neck and hold him down. Her breath came in short quiet gasps, and she opened her hazel eyes slowly. His forehead rested against hers gently, his arms remaining around her sides. His eyes were clouded over lightly, though she could still see his emotions swirling deep within them.
"I suppose it's a little cliché...the two rivals falling for each other," Cole murmured huskily. Reese stomach was flip flopping quickly and she felt like she might collapse. Falling for each other?
"It's not cliché unless they have an hour-long makeout session in the rain," she whispered back. He grinned at her broadly, and her heart skipped a bit.
"That can be arranged," he answered in the same low voice. She smiled shyly as he grasped her hand and led her out the door and into the pouring rain.
Author's Note: We all need some fluff in our boring lives. I lost a lot of sleep over this story, so I hope you enjoy. Please write me reviews, no matter if you loved or hated it. I'm open to any feedback at all.
And by the way, if you missed the summary, this is a one-shot. Yeeeah. This is it. No updating. Sorry!