One Over The Other
Chapter One: Old Friends
Jack walked into the kitchen, ignoring me completely. He was speaking to his twin sister Brooke, clearly oblivious that I was there and pulled his shirt off. He must have seen me and this was some kind of torture method. I knew it. Suddenly he stopped talking and looked over the room at me. This really helped things because I was panting at the sight of him. I was leaning against the kitchen counter hyperventilating. He looked straight into my eyes and a small smile formed on his perfect face. Great he was enjoying this.
Jack turned again to Brooke and said something. I was listening but I couldn't process any of the words. They were both speaking perfect English but it sounded completely foreign. Jack then left the room chuckling and by Brooke's expression she didn't say anything funny. I wanted to melt into their floor. How was I going to stay here for a year with that distraction around?
The only reason I'm staying here is because for years the Dormer's have offered me a room but my legal guardians weren't particularly keen on it but this year they changed their minds, who knows why, and thought it would be okay. I certainly wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to get out of the boarding house so I accepted the invitation.
Brooke turned to me and smiled. Oh that's just great, she thinks it's funny too. In my own defence last time I saw him he wasn't topless and when I had seen him with his top off he certainly didn't have those muscles. Usually he was in some form of t-shirt and jeans so he was covered up.
"It's okay Elliot. Just ignore Jack. He only took his shirt off to get a reaction from you. And guess what? It worked!" She was still smiling. This was clearly great entertainment for her.
"He knew I was here." I said a bit too quickly. Brooke just laughed
"Yeah he knew… But look don't worry about it now that he got a reaction from you he will leave you alone. That's all he wanted. Trust me he just wanted you to boost his ego."
"Great so I'm free entertainment for him and to be used at his own will. That makes me feel super" I chimed sarcastically. Brooke just laughed then grabbed my hand and dragged me up the stairs. She was rambling on about how I couldn't stay in this bedroom or that one because of the leakage problem. I wasn't really listening.
She pushed me into one room that had a beautiful view of the surrounding estate. The house was located on over 100 acres of private land. Out my window I could see the river that ran through the estate. It looked picture perfect with the sun on the hill in the back. Then Brooke interrupted my train of thought.
"Sorry but you will have to share the bathroom across the hall."
My daze was lost. "Sorry what did you say?"
"God my brother really had an effect on you… Anyway you will have to share the bathroom across the hall with Jack." I nodded and ignored her previous comment. Brooke hugged me then said that she had a dentist appointment. Her instructions were I could do anything I wanted to the room except knock down walls.
The rest of the afternoon I carried boxes from the truck to my new room then when they were all up the stairs, unpacked them. I was busy arranging things when I realised I was suddenly not alone. The painting on the wall showed the reflection of Jack leaning against the doorframe watching me. Thank the Lord he was wearing his shirt. As my back was still facing him I decided to carry on as usual and see how long he is going to stand there.
Five minutes passed and he was still there. What the hell did he want from me? If it's some kind of reaction he wanted then he's already had it. I had been side stepping across the room waiting for him to leave. I must have looked completely insane with my reaction to him in the kitchen and then walking in a weird fashion across the room. I quickly turned round and spoke.
"Sorry but is there something I can help you with?" God what the hell was I saying. For starters why did I just apologise to him? And second, it sounds like I'm a teller in a store. Jack smiled and flashed a look at his pearly whites then he chuckled. What did he find so amusing?
"Actually yeah you can help me…" Oh dear Lord what was he going to ask me to do? "…I was wondering if you wanted to take a break and go swimming with me."
Okay. Swimming that seemed harmless enough. I would have to change. So would he, I observed as I was looking at him in the doorframe. I would be in a bathing suit and Jack in trunks. Oh no I see what he was trying to do. If we went swimming he was going to have to take his shirt off again and I would most likely drown in the pool due to hyperventilation.
"Well?" he was clearly getting impatient but he was looking at me like I was stupid and hadn't understood what he said. "You know …. Take a break… you me…. Go swimming" I felt like smacking him. He pronounced the last sentence like I was stupid. Wait why hadn't I said anything? This was going to get really bad. I quickly needed to say something, anything. But if I said yes then he would take off his shirt and I would lose the ability to function properly, people shouldn't be able to look that good. Then again if I said no he would… I don't know what he would do. Hyperventilate and drown or reject his offer. Drown or reject. Drown or reject.
"Reject" I almost screeched at him, my brain couldn't take the pressure to answer him, it was working overload. Oh crap what the hell did I just do? He looked at me in the weirdest way. Crap!
"Sorry what was that? I heard what you said but how is that a response to my question?" I noticed that he was now just outside the doorframe. I had clearly scared him.
"Em… sorry... Yeah okay…actually no. I really want to finish unpacking so I don't have too many boxes left to do later." That was awful. I may as well have stayed silent and avoided all that embarrassment.
"Well okay if you change your mind just come find me. I will be in my room." Then he smiled and sauntered away.
Things never used to be like this. For years I have spent the holidays with the Dormer's instead of staying at boarding school. Everything was always great.
Brooke and I go to the same school, she is a daygirl and I was a boarder, until now. We eventually became really good friends and her family invited me over more during the holidays. Her parents always treat me like their second daughter which is nice considering I never had parents, just legal guardians. Jack and I never had problems either. Things only changed a few years ago.
About 3 years ago I was spending winter break with the Dormer's. At this time Brooke, Jack and I are 14 years old. We were the only kids our age. All the others were about 5 to 9 years old. So generally not our sort of crowd. We had a great winter break that year. Jack was absent the following two years since he moved to a different school in a different location and decided to spend his holidays with his friends. We hadn't seen each other in person since Brooke's Birthday, 5 months ago.
When Jack was young he was thin, had scruffy black hair and wore ripped jeans and t-shirts. Now he's tall, handsome, has a great body and physique, has gorgeous black hair and even some facial hair. Instead of his old tattered clothes he wears shirts, tight t-shirts, low cut jeans, formal jackets for casual occasions and some really expensive accessories. Let's just say he has really changed the way he looks.
Brooke's Birthday was the catalyst of all this awkwardness between Jack and me. I flew in from a trip to see my legal guardians on the 9th of April for her birthday on the 11th and Jack flew in on the 10th from his boarding school. It had been about 2 and half years since we had last seen each other.
At first sight I didn't even recognise the really good-looking guy in front of me until he spoke. Over the week we spent a lot of time together –without Brooke. Eventually it started to get awkward. Everyone suspected us of being more than friends, which made us unsure how to act around each other.
One awkward night changed our relationship for good though. We were both leaving and he kissed me. At the time it was nothing. But now it seems like everything. It wasn't your average kiss good-bye either. He kissed me on the lips for a start. This really surprised me simply because he had never done that before. Then to complicate matters even more, when the kiss ended I kissed him but this time it involved tongues. I immediately thought he would pull away. To my surprise he deepened the kiss and brought his tongue into my mouth, which almost floored me.
We never told anybody about what happened that night. Many had their suspicions but we just denied them. The one person we didn't want getting suspicions was Brooke. She can be very protective and wouldn't want to see either of us getting hurt.
I did like Jack but at the time a relationship was the last thing I needed. Our friendship fell apart after that kiss and he jetted off back to his boarding school for 5 months.
Now it's weird to be around him because I don't know how he feels about me or even how I feel about him. I'm not sure what to do. I want to keep things simple in my life. Drama has only brought me trouble.
The only problem is I'm now living here. I would be staying here a whole year. Hopefully the situation will blow over and Jack and I can just stay out each other's way. The fact that we go to the same school now doesn't help though.
I heard Jack's door shut then I returned to the boxes at my feet. Brooke's car pulled into the drive. Thank God she's home. Now it shouldn't be so weird being here.
Even though I'm going to be living here, I still feel out of place. I'm a guest in this house therefore I don't want to overstep the mark and intrude on their lives.
Brooke entered the room and sat on the bed inspecting her new surroundings.
"I like it." She stated. I turned to her and laughed. Brooke doesn't like things. She either loves them or hates them. There is no in-between.
"No I don't mean it like that. I just meant that it's nice for your taste but I personally couldn't have it this simple."
She got up, grabbed my hand and instructed me that we were going to get something to eat.
We entered the kitchen and I sat at the counter as Brooke pondered about by the fridge. "So what do you want: pizza or some home-made meat slush? Mom's not much of a cook. Your choice" Brooke then laughed and turned to me expectantly.
"Well although the home-made slush sounds lovely I think I will pass and have pizza"
"Wise choice" Brooke removed the pizza and started removing the packaging.
10 minutes later the pizzas were almost ready. From where I was sitting they smelt great. Then again I'm biased considering I'm completely starving.
Footsteps could be heard from down the hall. I could see straight into the dining room. When the person came into focus I saw it was Parker Faley who was my friend then boyfriend for three years before he transferred.
He looked really good in a light blue shirt with sleeves rolled up above the elbow which showed off his muscular arms. His black pants and black dress shoes complimented the outfit nicely. As Parker sauntered into the kitchen he brushed his dirty blond hair out of his dark mahogany eyes.
"Hey gorgeous." He said looking at me. This was his usual greeting when we were going out. Then he turned to Brooke. "Hey sweetie, you look much better than the last time I saw you." She smiled and gave Parker a hug. He ended the embrace and walked round to me. Oh I forgot how good he looked.
"Hey" His eyes scanned me, up and down." You look fantastic." His hand slowly cupped the right side of my face. I forgot how soft his hands felt. He then leaned forward and kissed me on the cheek. I turned to look at him. His eyes were piercing.
"God Parker, give the girl a chance. She's only been here a few hours. At least wait a few days before you make a move on her"
We both snapped our heads to the door to see Jack leaning against the kitchen door with his eyebrows raised. Parker immediately dropped his hand and took at least 3 steps back.
Suddenly Brooke ran towards the oven and grabbed a dishcloth to pull out the pizzas. The tray clattered on to the counter top. It was completely burnt. Black and crispy all over. "Just great. We now have nothing to eat except that homemade meat slush."
Jack turned to Parker and looked at him expectantly. Parker returned the look then spoke to Brooke and myself.
"We were going out for something to eat. Why don't you both join us?" Brooke looked at them wearily.
"You two are having a private dinner together?" Parker chuckled. The sound was mesmerising. I forgot how sweet it sounded.
"No we are meeting up with Mitch, Leopold and Blaine. Maybe to a bar or something, you would need fake id's though if you wanted to joins us, but it would be alright to go for something to eat first."
Brooke turned and asked if I wanted to join them. After the arrangements were made she dragged me up the stairs to get ready. Twenty minutes later we were downstairs ready to go.
We were going to meet Leo, Mitch and Blaine at the restaurant. Mitch, Leo and Blaine also attend the same school as us. They are all pretty good friends with Parker and Jack. Brooke and I don't know them that well but we know enough to keep our distance. Leo and Blaine are the jokers of our year. If anything goes wrong they most likely have something to do with it. They also like to fool around with any girl who gives them the time of day.
Everyone was at the restaurant before us so we all just headed in to be seated. We had to wait ten minutes until the table was ready so we were all seated at 8:30.
I was seated next to Parker and Jack. Our drinks and meals were ordered then small talk began. Conversation was easy. It was just like old times being back together. We spoke about school, old friends, university and relationships. This is where things became murky.
First to be scrutinised was Brooke and Mitch. They dated on and off for about 3 years. They're still together at the moment but who knows how long that will last. The whole group knows enough about their history so they weren't asked many gruelling questions. Leo and Blaine were always too graphic when talking about their relationship's so we stopped asking them. That left Jack, Parker and myself.
I really hope Jack doesn't mention anything about that kiss. Even though Parker and I were not together when it happened it would bring up some awkward questions. Old wounds could be split open and I know I would never here the end of it. Parker never came out and just said it but he always suspected me of cheating on him.
Suddenly the conversation turned onto Parker.
"So Parker have you dated anyone new over the past year?"
In my opinion Mitch was on very thin ice asking this question. If Parker said no he would have to explain why, which could make things uncomfortable and if he says yes he will have to give us all the details of the relationship. Since Parker is a decent guy he won't give too much away given that I'm present. It was as if he had read my mind.
"Well there were one or two girls but they didn't last longer than a couple of days. They didn't compare to another girl that I haven't quite gotten over."
My heart started racing. The next thing I know Parker had put his hand on my knee and was slowly caressing it. This would have been comforting if he wasn't slowly making his way up the inside of my thigh. The situation was getting really bad. To make matters worse Mitch started to quiz Jack on his relationships. His response almost floored me.
"Well there have been many girls in the last year but my favourite had to be a girl I was with 5 months ago. She changed the way I acted and I ended up developing strong feelings for her. It took me several years to realise how I felt about her."
He also decided to put his hand on my other knee. Being the gentleman that he is he only patted my knee then returned his hand to the top of table. Luckily no one else at the table spotted his gesture.
Now it was my turn. Mitch arched his eyebrows waiting for my response. It sort of spluttered out my mouth. "Emm…well I haven't really dated anyone recently…I'm not really interested in anyone anymore."
This stupid comment changed things dramatically at the table. Jack appeared quite hurt by my comment and gave me a look of disappointment.
Parker on the other hand seemed taken aback and his hand stopped groping my thighs, thank the Lord. Instead it returned to the table with a thump. Brooke and Mitch both looked at Parker as Jack gazed in the other direction unhappily.
The rest of the meal was a haze. I remember enjoying the company but constantly panicking in case I offended Parker or Jack. I still have feelings for Parker, very small ones, but we had planned on getting back together if we were both single when he moved back. Then there is my feelings for Jack, there could be something there, I would like there to be something there. At the end of the meal everyone got up from the table and headed out towards the parking lot.
We all emerged from the restaurant in silence. No one was sure what to say. Parker and Jack didn't seem to want to speak to me after my comment about relationships. They both looked pretty hurt by what I said.
When we just about reached the Jack's car Mitch called over to Brooke asking her if she was coming. I gave her a pleading look and all she could do was kiss me on the cheek and left me with one sentence. "Sorry…it'll be fine…you are all friends."
Then she trotted off towards Mitch's car. I felt like chasing after her and forcing her to ride home with us.
Instead I turned back to the car, opened the door and climbed into the backseats. Parker and Jack both sat in silence. The journey home was the same, no one spoke.
Arriving home I quickly jumped out before Jack had it in park, and sprinted for the door. I looked back down at of them. They shook hands and Parker parted to his car. Clearly he had no intention to stay over.
Jack got to the top of the steps and looked at me expectantly.
"Well why are we standing out here?" he inquired.
"I'm waiting on you to open the door."
He paused then took his hands from his pockets and felt around his jacket for them.
"I don't have any keys on me."
I automatically lost it. "What do you mean you don't have keys? You live here. How could you forget them?" I asked but with my voice raised. I wasn't shouting though. He looked taken aback by my tone and decided to respond in the same manor I had.
"I didn't forget them. Brooke never gave them to me!"
"Well then who locked the door?" We were most definitely yelling at the point.
"Brooke locked it!"
"Well don't you have some kind of spare key or is someone in the house?"
"We don't leave spare keys around the place and don't you think that I would have rang the doorbell? Come on Elliot I'm not an idiot!"
"Well I think differently considering you forgot your keys!"
"I'm glad I now know how you feel about me."
Jack turned away from me and ran his hands through his hair. He turned back, loosened his tie then threw it on the steps. I sat next to it looking out on to the courtyard in front of me. Jack sat next to me and put his hand on mine.
"Elliot I'm sorry I yelled back at you. Considering I have lived here longer I really should have a set of keys with me."
I looked at him and he returned my gaze.
"Forget about it. I actually raised my voice at you first so I should be apologising to you…" he quickly cut in.
"Yeah you should." He said smiling. I smiled back at him wondering why I had lost my temper with him. Him of all people. The guy who has always been there and looked out for me. Jack wasn't perfect but to me he was pretty close. I know, you want to gag from that last comment but it's still true.
"I'll call Brooke." He pulled his cell phone out and put it on loudspeaker. Voicemail. That's just great. Jack left a message then shut his phone and put it in his jacket.
I broke the silence first. "Do you think it will rain tonight?" I asked, looking at the cloudy night's sky. He shook his head then answered.
"No I don't think so. If you're worried about getting wet before we get in then we could go somewhere."
"Where would we go?"
"Well we just need somewhere to stay the night so we could go sit at the barbeque area round back."
The barbeque area round back he was referring to was actually like an outdoor kitchen. It's sheltered from the rain, had a bench that one of us could sleep on and was close by so if Brooke returned home we would hear her.
"Okay the 'barbeque area' as you called it seems pretty suitable."
He stood up and took my hand leading round the back of the house. We walked for a couple of minutes in silence. He was still holding my hand, which was nice. I felt protected as he held it. We both stopped on arrival then he dropped my hand and started rummaging through the cupboards. I sat staring at him. Jack eventually found blankets and tossed me the larger one.
He slowly walked me over to the bench and sat me down; I guess I was sleeping here. I lay down on the bench and he knelt down so we were at eye level before saying good night and kissing me on the forehead.
"Oh and if you get cold take my blanket or my jacket. I will leave the jacket on the counter. If you get really cold or just want some company come lie next to me. Okay?"
"Yeah. Thanks." I then sat up and lightly kissed him on the cheek. He looked at me for a few moments. His gaze was hard and strong as though he was searching for something. Jack then smiled and walked over to where he was going to sleep on the ground. I watched him lay down then slowly my eyes closed and I drifted off to sleep when he smiled comfortingly at me.
Sadly this sleep did not last long as I was awoken a few hours later due to the cold. I swear the temperature must have dropped to, at least, below 5 degrees out here. I thought back to what Jack said about being cold then glanced over at the jacket sitting on the counter where he left it.
I quickly got up and pulled the blanket up with me. I was trying not to break the cocoon I had formed round me. I hobbled forwards to the counter and slowly picked up the jacket. Before I knew what was happening there was a crash. I jumped away, breaking my cocoon of heat. Jack had awoken and was staring at me, his brow knitted together in confusion. Jack's phone had fallen out of his pocket when I was carrying it. So my stealthy movements really paid off.
Jack then burst out that super smile of his and kept staring at me. I mouthed sorry to him and was about to go back to my bench when he tugged lightly against my blanket. I stopped and looked round to see him motioning for me to lie next to him.
I sat down and pushed my blanket off my shoulders to put his jacket on. My cocoon of heat was completely non-existent at this point so I decided why bother. Jack then wrapped the blanket round me and pulled me close to him so we were lying next to each other.
"Cold or company?" he whispered in my ear, which sent a whole different kind of shivers down my spine.
"Both" He then smiled and put his hand on my waist and pulled me closer. My head was buried in his chest region and my hands were on his shirt. He whispered something about body heat escaping but I was high on his cologne.
As I lay next to him I could hear his heart beating softly. This sound was so calm and relaxing to listen to. Next thing I realised, my eyelids were starting to feel really heavy and I slowly drifted off to sleep.
Recently edited. Just wanted to thank ReadWriteLive for pointing out all my mistakes, without your help this would still be abysmal.