I tossed over for the about the fifth time in a minute. Images of him – running down the soccer field, wind streaking through his dirty-blonde hair; aiming for the goal and scoring, effortlessly – kept floating into my mind. I smiled in spite of my insomnia and tossed over again. Sighing, I sat up. I need a respite from this. I needed –
Buzz. My cell vibrated on the table. Come up, I can't sleep. – Drew.
Typical. Just when I needed him too.
I smiled and pulled on a robe before leaving the house surreptitiously. Should I take the stairs? I decided to. In a few seconds, I was in front of his open front door. Guess he opened it so his mum wouldn't wake up. I frisked into his room, which was as messy as it always was. Where was he?
I heard the toilet flush, and he strolled out – in his boxers and sans shirt. I felt a blush creep up my cheeks. This wasn't the first time I'd seen him practically naked, but it had never bothered me until recently.
I should explain. My name is Jacklyn Sparroe, or Jack, as everyone else calls me. I'm an only child, but my parents are pretty cool people and aren't too strict with me. I got my dad's black hair, which curls up a little at the most unexpected times (There was a time I'd just gotten my hair straightened, and not two minutes after leaving the salon the curls started to come back. I never attempted to straighten them again.). I have Mom's green eyes and Gran's Asian build, which is to say, petite. I'm kind of fair as well. My skin apparently can't tan very well, hence my 'pan-Asian' look.
My best friend is Drew, or Andrew Daniels, as everyone knows him. Everyone but me. (Enter evil chuckle) I'm the only person, with the exception of his mum, of course, who can get away with calling him Drew.
Well, how did I get to know him? The usual way of course (catch the sarcasm). Our moms were best friends, and 16 years back Drew's mom had him, and his dad had ditched. The jerk. My parents were married by then, so they moved to be close to Rena (that's Drew's mom. She always insists I call her by her first name, even though I think it's kind of rude). Then they found out they were expecting me. Tadah! So now we're living directly below Rena and Drew.
I might as well add that my parents had thought I was going to be a boy, because Rena was going to have a boy. What kind of absurd logic is that? It's akin to saying it's going to rain on Easter next year because it did this year. Well, my parents assumed I'd be a boy and Drew and I would become the 'best of friends'. What did they do? Oh, noting, just named me Jack. Not officially of course, but they took to calling me that before I was born. Imagine their surprise when it turned out I was a girl! So they named me Jacklyn instead. Like that makes any difference; everyone calls me Jack anyway. Jack Sparroe. Thank God my last name isn't 'Daw'. Still, I got teased a lot after the Pirates of the Caribbean was released.
Well, at least my parents got one thing right: Drew and I were best friends. We grew up together, after all. Drew was 5 months older than me, and often acted the older brother. I was never excessively girly (because Drew'd laugh! I hate being laughed at by Drew.) but I wasn't a tomboy either. Drew gave up persuading me to play with toy guns after we turned 5, and boy was he persuasive!
Drew was a really sweet and persuasive guy, I mused, as I stood there admiring his physique. I could tell he worked out pretty often (heck, all the girls in school could tell! Resulting in more swooning over him than strictly necessary) but Drew always denied it. What, a body like that was natural? Oh right. The egoistical pig.
Drew had long, toned legs. His boxers were black and had Tweety all over them. I chuckled inwardly as my eyes moved up slowly, taking in his admirable abs and muscled arms. Then I met his eyes. He was smirking. At me. I rolled my eyes. The prat.
"Done? I know I'm hot, but you don't have to gawk at me like that," he said, still smirking. The nerve of him! I reached out and punched him on the arm. It didn't have any give to it, not that I expected it to.
"Oww!" Drew jerked his arm back and rubbed it vigorously, giving me a reproachful look. "That hurt!"
Oops. I believed him, because I'd taken karate when I was younger. I'd forgotten all I'd learnt, but I could still pack a mean punch.
"Are you okay? I'm sorry, I really am." I rubbed his arm for him.
His laughing eyes gave him away. "You – !" I started, but he lifted me by the waist and threw me on his bed. "Hey!" I protested. Drew grinned and scrambled onto the bed.
"So, why aren't you asleep?" he asked good-naturedly. I blushed and looked away.
"Oh. It's him again. When are you ever going to tell me who he is?"
I didn't have to look at him to know he wasn't pleased. It didn't surprise me. Drew had always been protective of me. The result? I'd never had a single boyfriend. Heck, I'd never been kissed. I'd quarreled with him about being overprotective a few times, but he always looked so upset and hurt after that that I didn't have the heart to bring it up again. He was just 'preventing those jerks from breaking my heart', after all. his words, not mine.
I tried to change the topic. "Why can't you sleep?" I checked the time on my cellphone. It was 3 am.
"I was thinking," he muttered.
"About?" I probed. I was getting a little worried; he'd been 'thinking' a lot lately.
"Just thinking," he insisted, and suggested we play Scrabble, a favourite childhood game. I agreed, and we rolled onto the floor.
15 minutes later, I was leading by 8 points.
" 'Quest'! I win!" I whooped. Drew grinned. "I owe you lunch." I nodded cheerfully. That was one of the many things I liked about Drew: he wasn't a sore loser, and he took his losses gracefully, which was more than what I could say of many other guys. I rolled over onto my back, sighing.
Drew picked me off the floor effortlessly and threw me onto the bed. I gasped as I regained my breath.
"Y…You..!" I sputtered, then faltered as Drew came closer, an evil glint in his brown eyes. My heart raced. Was he going to -
"No!" I squealed as he tackled me, tickling my sides mercilessly. I'm not like most people; I don't laugh when I'm tickled. I make a series of weird grunts and snorts and occasions, squeals.
It was one such squeal which apparently woke Mrs Daniels. She rapped sharply on the door, and Drew stopped in the midst of torturing me. Thank God.
"Andrew, please don't seduce Jacklyn in the house. Her mom will kill me." She paused. "At least, not when I'm home. Oh and do shut the door!" She snickered and closed it, going back to her room.
It was at this point that I realised Drew was straddling me. Gulp. He was sitting on my hips. I think he realised it too. I flushed scarlet, turning crimson when I realised he was only in his boxers. Gulp.
Drew seemed to sense my discomfort, because he got off me and grinned. "I didn't know you were that affected by me."
When I made to punch him, he moved a little further away and smiled. "Sleep," he said simply, and flopped down on the king sized bed beside me. A tug of war for the blankets ensued, and he won. But he gave me the larger share anyway. I snuggled into them, about to fall asleep…
When an image of him drifted into my mind again, I groaned and sat up. Drat my brain! Andrew propped himself up on his elbows.
"What's wrong?" I didn't answer him.
'Oh. Him,' he muttered darkly. He sat up as well, turning to look at me.
Andrew had nice, soft-looking hair, which was a deep shade of brown and matched his eyes. They reminded me of chocolate, and I'm a sucker for chocolate. His hair was tousled, and strands were falling into his eyes, but he didn't bother to push them away, just stared hard at me, expression unreadable. I made to push his hair out of his eyes, but he stopped me.
Why did that hurt?
Drew turned his head so he no longer faced me.
"What do I have to do to make you think of me instead?" I heard him whisper (my ears are pretty sharp), and I caught a tone of seriousness in his voice. I didn't have much time to ponder, because he dropped down under the covers after that.
I stared at his mop of unruly hair, uncomprehending. Then I fell asleep too.
I lay on my side quietly until I could hear her breathing become steady, a sure sign that she was asleep. I turned to face her. Did she know just how beautiful she was? I tucked a strand of hair behind her ear absently, enthralled by the silkiness of her hair.
Then she grabbed my hand. If I hadn't known her better I'd have thought she wasn't really asleep. But I know better. It's just that she –
Jacklyn released my hand, only to drape her arm around me. My heart did one of those skidding-up things which supposedly only happen to girls. Well I could tell them otherwise. Yeah fine I'll admit I read those romance books of hers when she isn't looking. Just to see what they write in there. Really!
She snuggled closer, so that the top of her head was just under my chin, against my chest. She felt so soft and warm, and it felt so right. Jacklyn sighed and cuddled closer.
I almost forgot to breathe.
Then she hooked her right leg over my own and still didn't wake up. Yep, you got it. Jacklyn is a cuddler.
Not that I'm complaining, I thought, as I gently pried her off me, albeit reluctantly. It was just that, well, she was my best friend, and I'd be damned if I took advantage of her this way. So why tempt myself? I pushed her arm off me slowly, and she moaned softly, causing my heart to do a backflip. The things this girl does to me… Then she turned over onto her other side.
I sighed. It looked like I wouldn't be getting any sleep tonight… not while thinking of her anyway.
"Hey Daniels! There's a party the night after at Brock's. He's getting kegs, man. Going?"
I was about to reply 'Hell, yeah!' when I remembered that Jack didn't take kindly to people who drank. Sighing, I shook my head, pasting a disappointed look on my face.
"Nah, I'll pass. got something on," I lied.
"Can't you skip it?"
"No, I can't."
My friend, Josh Lakers, gave me an odd look. "You sure, man? Lots of hot babes down there… I'm going to ask – "
I shook my head, cutting him off. I felt really bad about lying to him. He was my best friend – after Jack, of course.
"No, sorry. Have fun!"
Josh backed away, still giving me an odd look. "If you're sure…"
After he left, I sighed to myself. Why are you being so hard on yourself?
A voice piped up in my brain. I don't know. Jack never thought of me as anything more than a friend, so why shouldn't I broaden my horizon? I wasn't bad looking, in fact, I worked out pretty often, something I'd always kept from Jacklyn, because I was sure she would laugh and call me a vain, egoistical pig. I shrugged mentally. I just don't want to, I thought, answering that bodiless voice. As if any girl could possibly compare to Jacklyn.
Jack and I had grown up together, and we told each other everything. Even things we didn't need to know, we did. She used to tell me when she had her period (resulting in a more than a few awkward moments), but she doesn't anymore because I can tell even without her mentioning it. I guess it's a best friend thing. I tell her about the girls who hit on my friends (and me, although I neglect to mention that. I'd fantasize about her getting all jealous and possessive, but sadly, it's still a fantasy.)and tell her not to do that (the only guy she should hit on is me! ME!!!) ; it makes girls look desperate and considerably pathetic. (I would add "slut" to the description, but that would be pushing it. Jack is a little feminist.)
Well, at least we used to tell each other everything. I sure as hell hadn't told her about how I felt about her. She'd once told me if she liked a guy, she would make the first move – unless he was 'hot' (I rolled my eyes at that) – but other than that she wouldn't like a guy just because he liked her. In fact, she would avoid him. I know this for a fact because in our freshman year Josh Lakers a.k.a. my best friend had told her he liked her, with pink roses and chocolates and all. He left notes in her locker, wrote letters to her, the whole nine yards, thus making her the envy of the rest of the female population.
What did Jack do? Why, avoid him like the plague of course!
And Josh apparently had a thick skin and skull(at least back then), because he just didn't seem to get it. Not until I cornered him after school one day and beat him up. Not very badly. Okay, quite. He lay off after that (yes, I liked her even back then), and somehow we became good friends.
I guess its obvious now why I don't dare to tell Jacklyn how I feel about her. Oh, plus the fact that we guys simply do not reveal our feelings. We just don't.
Ah, chicken, Daniels, you're such a chicken! I chided myself mentally.
As I was saying, Jack and I used to tell each other everything. But recently (in the past half year, actually) Jack has been keeping something from me. More specifically, a crush (I can't wait to nail him to the wall and kick him in the – ah, you don't have to know). How do I know? Apart from the best friend instinct thing, she gets a weird, dreamy look in her eyes whenever she thinks of him, and the way she blushes (Jack NEVER blushes) when I probe her about him… It's enough to conclude that she has a bad crush on someone. I really want to know who he is, to see if he's worthy of her (read: break her heart like how I know Josh would have, back then), if not to see if I'm a better candidate or beat him up. I've got a violent streak where Jack is concerned. So sue me.
I slung my backpack over my shoulder and headed for the main entrance, allowing my mind to wander freely, guessing who Jack's crush might be. Girls – tall, short, stick skinny (I bet they've got some eating disorder, anorma or bulexia - or was it anorexia and bulimia? I couldn't care less. - or something) – loomed closer and closer. Some waved a cheery hi, some leaned in and tried to smile seductively (Hah! Failed! Only Jack can seduce me, and she does it without trying. I feel pathetic.), and others (the sluts) ran their hands over my back and attempted a sexy, husky, 'hello gorgeous'. Okay, so I admit that some of them are attractive and sexy, and their husky voices do sound husky. But still, they creep me out. I gave a visible shudder and move away.
You may wonder why I'm so unaffected. Well, I guess I'm just used to it, because I get it every day. The other guys are bothered all right. But what bothers me is that Jacklyn doesn't seem to mind, or get jealous. I wish she would at least pretend to like me.
My mind wandered from name to name. Who exactly is he? Michael Conner? Chris Johanssen? Anthony Markson? Who? Well, it definitely can't be Josh Lakers. I think I beat him up badly enough to make him stay away. I rounded a corner.
The sight of them stopped me in my tracks. My mind went blank. No, I thought frantically. It can't be.