A/N: Shocked? I am too. Alright so first I have to rant on how I'm a complete dumbass when it comes to updating. I say I'll update soon you don't hear from me for a month, I finally give you guys a fair warning and I update a day later! What's up with that?! Obviously I fail at life. Though to be fair I did say maybe. Still I've never updated this close together, it's a bit strange. I'm sure a lot of you will hate me for this update. I don't know what to think of it myself. Lots and lots of info, but I ask that you go with it. Normal rhythm will resume in the next chapter. In fact it might start moving faster. : o Consider this a bonus chapter even. Enjoy the Harry Potter movie for those who are going!! The impossibly long wait is almost over!! :D Oh and yeah enjoy the chapter too.
"We need to talk." Her voice was serious. I stopped in front of her.
"Okay. About what?" I couldn't fathom what she could want with me, but I enjoyed seeing her again.
"Not here. Come on." She started walking to the other side of the parking lot where there was a cute little red car. It fit her personality perfectly. I waited outside the passenger door.
"I can't just leave. School starts in like 20 minutes." I whispered. She only smiled at me.
"It's fine, besides it's healthy to ditch every once in a while." She took out sunglasses from her bag and placed them on before getting in the car. Normally this might have been a bit strange, but it was surprisingly bright out this morning. I looked around uneasily and she opened the door. "I can talk to you about Lucas." I fidgeted before getting in. She smiled as she saw me step in. "Wow you are so easy; I guess you two are similar that way." She laughed turning the car on. I hoped no one saw me leave the school. I couldn't help it, it was in my nature to follow the rules, at least it had been. "Relax Alex."
"Alright so what did you want to talk about?"
"Hold on lets go get some breakfast." I noticed she drove a lot like Lucas did and when I commented on it she merely laughed. "So he takes you out a lot huh?" She lowered her glasses and I turned to face the front.
"No it's not like that." I had forgotten how blunt she was. "Does he know about this?" She laughed in response.
"Oh yeah like hell. He's going to have a fit when he finds out too. I predict it will be hilarious. He'll forgive me though, he always does."
"Why would he be mad? Does he not want you to hang out with me?" It made me sad to think this. He didn't want me in his life more than I had to be.
"Oh you know Lucas he doesn't want me to spill the beans, but if you ask me those beans were spilt a long time ago." I was confused, but figured that was how I was going to spend most of my time with her. "Either way it's ridiculous that's why I came. I figured that everything would work out soon enough, but now things have gotten complicated and I'm here to help." She beamed at me and I couldn't help but smile back.
"Okay if you say so." I sat still until we arrived at a cute little restaurant. I wondered if she did anything that wasn't cute. It sort of reminded me of a French café. I supposed that was the theme, it had a nice red/brown scheme. "Wow how did you find this place? It's beautiful." I commented as I shut the door.
"Ah I have a good eye for things. Always have, I know the owner of this place, she's amazing." She came over to me and linked arms with me. "Come on let's go." She beamed at me again before dragging me in with her. We found a nice table outside that was far away from anyone. It was very private. As I sat down a waitress came to take our order.
"I want some strawberry cake with a coffee and my friend will have a…" She looked to me.
"Lemonade, thanks." The waitress wrote the order down and left.
"Alright now let's get down to business." She clasped her hands together and her eyes were sparkling, as if she had been wanting to do this for a long time.
"Okay. So what's going on?"
"Alright first things first, what the hell did you do to my brother? Honestly it's been killing me not knowing." She looked at me waiting for a response. I didn't know what to say.
"Uhh, what do you mean?" I felt stupid sitting there.
"What do I mean? I mean, okay so get this I go over to his house nearly every day to watch movies or TV, since his is bigger than mine right?" I nodded my head. "So one day he just comes home and he slams the door and I'm like what the heck Lucas? Because I also offer the sisterly advice to him. Still this time he doesn't say anything he just locks himself in his room, and I figure he just had a bad day right?" I nod again fascinated to hear more. "But it's not just a day. Every single day he's been tense and moody. Not to mention so tired. He won't tell me a single thing either. So I decide to just leave him be for the moment. Then yesterday, oh boy." She stops because the waitress arrives setting our drinks down along with the cake. "Ooh this looks good, thanks."
"Compliments of Melissa." She replies.
"Oh is she here? Tell her to come out later will you?" The waitress nods and leaves. I take a sip of the lemonade waiting for her to continue. "Oh okay so like I was saying I'm sitting watching a movie with my date right. His name is James and it was more of a casual thing. This might be a bit odd I know, but Lucas is usually cool to have around potential dates. It's a good system, because there's no pressure and if we click we can just arrange a real date. Not to mention this way we get Lucas meeting him on the first go. So it satisfies his overprotective side. Plus Lucas is an amazing cook. Ha-ha but you know that." She smiled at me taking a sip of her coffee and I flushed a bit. "Okay so we're watching a movie and I'm thinking this will break him out of his funk-oh man okay so he comes in around 7 and he's playing tonsil hockey with some redhead." I took an involuntary gasp of air and she gave me a sympathetic look. I figured she was aware of everything and if she wasn't, well she knew now. My fists clenched and I bit down on my straw. Yesterday. I almost cried out of anger, I was so frustrated with myself for continuing to have this stupid hope that things would change. He was clearly doing fine on his own. "Oh but don't worry. Okay so I'm like oh my god, what the heck to him, but he just shouts at me to go. So not a good first impression to James let me tell you. Anyway though he goes into the guest room with her-"
"Guest room?" I wondered out loud. I really didn't want any more details my heart was already clenching in on itself, but the words came out.
"Oh I told you this before. He doesn't let girls into his room, ever. Remember?" I did remember that day; I would never be able to forget it. Who could, waking up with his smell all around you, it was heavenly. Not to mention what else had happened that day.
"Yeah, but why?"
"I don't know it's just a weird Lucas thing. His personal space or whatever. One time he let me stay in his room though, when I was sick. Ha-ha it was great he can't resist being a gentleman." I smiled despite myself. Still it didn't make any sense.
"But I stayed in there?"
"Yes you did." She looked at me in a serious, analytical way. It was making me feel weird, like I was being studied. "This is why I made a big deal out of it, before he told me to shut it of course. You should have seen Victoria trying to get in that room; they had a lot of fights over it." I didn't know exactly how to feel about all this, it was overwhelming. Jealousy, anger, hurt, confusion, warmth all mixing together inside me. I was glad I hadn't ordered any food. "So they go in, right and I ask James to leave, because something is obviously not right here. Lucas isn't like this, he had a couple wild days in college, but it was never anything to really worry about. So James leaves and I'm just left there and then I start hearing them in there and I think maybe I should go for the moment, but as I pick up my purse I hear a groan-"
"I don't need the details." I shut my eyes trying to think of anything else. I couldn't stand the thought of him kissing anyone else; much less doing more than that, it was eating away at me.
"No, no it's not like that. It was frustration and right after that he comes out of the room and heads to the kitchen. I follow him and when I see him he has his hands on the wall and he's mumbling to himself about something, but I can't catch it so I ask him. He turns to me as if barely realizing that I'm there, and he looks so beaten down that I'm thinking he's finally going to tell me what the hell is going on, but of course he doesn't. I try to get it out of him by saying that this is certainly not like him and I wouldn't leave until he told me, but nothing. So I do what I always do, I tease him except that that was so not the right move."
"What do you mean?"
"Well because I love teasing him about you, I tell him 'what if Alex did this sort of thing,' mentioning you always gets a reaction, but then he punches a hole in the wall! I swear it was crazy so this leads me to question what the hell did you to him?!" I sat still unable to process her words.
"He punched a hole in the wall?!"
"Yep. So come on your turn?!"
"I didn't do anything. I mean-I don't know. I haven't done anything."
"Come on! You're holding out on me, you must have done something in the last couple of weeks?"
"I started dating Miles?" I replied. It was the only thing I could think of. She clapped her hands together.
"OHHH, okay now it all makes sense. God that guy, I don't know what I'm going to do with him." She laughs as if everything is alright now.
"What do you mean?"
"Well it's quite obvious, alright so what happened yesterday?"
"Nothing I just, I sort of…" I flushed red, ashamed of saying it out loud, but she continued to prod at me. "I sort of made out with Miles on top of his car."
"Wow. Now that is harsh." Despite saying this she was breaking out in laughter.
"I didn't know it was his car and it wasn't intentional. Anyway I don't get any of this."
"Oh Alex, he's very clearly jealous. I mean come on can you imagine that? What it would feel like for you. Watching him make out with some girl every day and not being able to say anything, for weeks. Wouldn't it drive you crazy?" It would just the thought of it had me angry, but that was just me. "Anyway it's his own fault."
"Jealous?" The word seemed to tie everything together. I was so used to denying myself anything by now that it wasn't processing in my head. I was having a difficult time with it. "That can't be it." This conversation was depressing me. Danielle stopped smiling and her face turned serious. I wondered what she was thinking.
"Alex…" She bit her lip and let the thought fade.
"He's going to kill me." She sighed to herself. "I'll deal with it then, because he's being a dumb ass right now. Alright where to begin? Well in the beginning he would talk more freely about you, you know?"
"What do you mean?" Despite my warnings, my heart began beating again.
"Well I realized it from the start, but it took him longer. Once he did however he clamped up about you. It was after that morning. Oh yeah I never said, sorry about that. If I had any idea I wouldn't have come back." I blushed at the memory. "Was that the first time?"
"It was the only time." I replied softly.
"Of course it was that guy I swear. Okay well before that he would always talk about you. I mean even in the beginning it wasn't anything strange, it was just the way that he said it. He was really impressed with you and everything you did seemed to fascinate him. Whenever he said anything about you he would get this small smile as if he was remembering you. I got so tired of hearing about you, and I wanted to meet you so bad. Of course that was out of the question. The way I knew for sure he liked you though, was when I asked if you had a boyfriend. Obviously he didn't take that well. I confronted him about it after you ran off that day. He couldn't deny it anymore. I mean he never said the words, but he didn't deny it."
"He never said the words." I repeated to myself forcing my heart to listen.
"Everything but. Look Alex there is no question. I've already said too much, but it's for his own good." She was chewing on her cake now.
"I don't understand any of this." I shook my head attempting to clear it. It wasn't helping this time.
"You're afraid." She stated simply her voice serious. It resonated with me.
"Afraid to believe, to hope." She smiled a sad smile. "That is why you cannot see what everyone can clearly see." I took a sip of the lemonade thinking on her words. After what felt like ages my mouth parted slightly, and my hand trembled.
"Maybe." I whispered so low I wasn't sure she heard, but she smiled in return. As the word slipped through my lips I realized by saying it, it opened a whole other part of me. The part I was trying so desperately to keep a lid on for so long. Allowing myself not only to wish, but to want. It was terrifying. I didn't know how I had managed it before and then I realized it had been because I hadn't yet experienced rejection on that level. I was fully aware now of how it felt like to be rejected by him and I wasn't sure if I could take that again. My head began to hurt, as if it was trying to discontinue this course of action.
"Anyway I always believed he was the jealous type. I mean honestly he's so overprotective he just had to be. I just had never seen him jealous before. So that's how it looks huh." She seemed to be conversing with herself a smile on her lips. "Well for what it's worth I'm behind you girl. All the way." She took another sip of her coffee.
"Thanks. I still don't know what that means though."
"Ha-ha trust me you want me on your side. I wasn't on Victoria's and look what happened there, chucked in the bin. You are so much better than her. I like the effect you have on him." She took another bite.
"What do you mean?"
"You make him alive. I've never seen him like that, ever. I mean me, I fall for guys all the time, but him he's always so reserved, so focused. Nothing could penetrate that, well before you came along anyway. Not going to lie I do love that now he doesn't know what to do with himself, welcome to the rest of the world I say." Her words were filling me with warmth. Could I really have such an effect on him? The truth was that before Lucas had come along I had been similar. I had never known what I was missing. Oh these feelings were terrible and painful, heartbreaking, but they were also amazing, brilliant and beautiful.
"What about the rest of your family?" I wanted to know everything about him.
"Well we have an older brother, but we don't really talk to him. Mom and Dad are pretty awesome. They're so proud of him, especially mom. Oh she's going to be thrilled when she finally meets you. Every time we meet with them the first thing out of her mouth is if he's found someone, ha-ha it's great. He's never introduced anyone to them though. Well I think Ashley, but that was in high school and it was only because she was at the house when they came home." I felt a stab inside, it was so irrational, but it was there nonetheless. I tried to shake it off. "Victoria sort of met mom, but Lucas totally moved her away before they could say more than two words. Just as well mom hated her. I keep her in the loop of his happenings. I haven't mentioned you, because it's a precarious situation and like I said Lucas would kill me."
"She sounds nice." I smiled picturing them in my head.
"Oh yeah, but she was always strict with Lucas. Wanted to make sure he would turn into a gentleman of course. Not that it was hard; he has a natural inclination towards it. Mom always jokes that it's not fair, she made the perfect man and he's just going to waste." I couldn't disagree with that. "Oh but don't let that fool you he has his moments. One time he found out I was going to a college party when I was a senior and he threw the biggest fit and dragged me out of there. He also had a rebellious stage when he was in college, did a lot of things then too. He's way too self-righteous sometimes. When he thinks he's right you can't change his mind, it's ridiculous." It was fascinating to learn so much about him. "Oh and he's afraid of needles! That one is fun I tell you." I laughed along with her. So there was something he was afraid of. "He's had 3 girlfriends, if you count Ashley. None of them were serious though. He went through a lot of girls when he was in college though, like I said rebellious stage. That might have just been the influence though." Three girlfriends, I bit my lip to keep myself from asking about them. I also didn't like the sound of all those girls.
"So what exactly do you expect me to do with all this information?" I asked.
"I'm just trying to move things along." She took a final bite finishing off her cake.
"Danielle?! Oh my gosh!! I haven't seen you in ages!" A woman with brown curly hair had come out of the kitchen and was now heading for our table. She had soft features and dark brown, caring eyes. She couldn't be older than 25. Danielle got up to greet her. They hugged and then turned to me.
"This is Alex, she's Lucas's girlfriend." I choked on the last of my lemonade coughing, my face turning red. Danielle only smiled cheekily at me as I regained my voice. "Alex this is Melissa, she owns this fine establishment."
"Hi, it's nice to meet you Alex. Did I hear right, girlfriend? Lucas? Really?" She seemed impressed and I hated having to correct her.
"No, Danielle was just joking." I replied trying to keep the sadness out of my voice.
"It'll be true soon enough." Danielle quipped in.
"I see well congrats then. I hope you enjoy your stay and Danielle we really must get together soon. It's been too long. Alex you too of course. I'd love to hear about this 'soon enough' deal."
"We will, but right now I should be taking Alex back, we've missed quite a bit of her classes I think." I had forgotten about that and took a look at my watch. 10:48, I would get back in time for lunch. I hadn't realized so much time had passed.
"Oh alright then, well it was great to see you, I'll call you tonight?"
"Yeah that'd be great!" I stood ready to leave. As we got into the car Danielle threw me another curve ball.
"So this Miles, is he cute?" I didn't know how to respond to that. I couldn't exactly tell her about Josh. I figured a half truth would have to do.
"You don't sound that into him." She smiled as she turned on to the street.
"Oh! Well I am. He's great." It was hard to get the words out.
"Oh." Her voice did not hide her disappointment. "But what about Lucas?" Her voice was eager.
"I-well we're friends. That's what we agreed on."
"Agreed huh. Alright I can live with that for now. I'm really glad we had this chat Alex." I smiled I was too.
"Me too. It was nice."
I had a lot to think about when Danielle finally dropped me off at school. She had given me her phone number and email so I could keep in touch. The knowledge that Lucas still cared about me was the most important thing I had learned, I had to believe in that. How much he did was the question I had to answer now. I remembered my objective from the morning and headed straight for Josh's classroom. I was going to end this once and for all. Students were scattered all around now, so I assumed lunch had commenced. I walked by them and into the building. I opened his door not bothering to check if he was in first.
"I'm done with you, with everything." I folded my arms across my chest making sure he understood clearly what I was telling him. He merely took in my words and then smiled; he finished texting something on his phone and then stood up slowly. I was not going to let him unnerve me this time.
"I'm serious. I'm not going to do this anymore, I'm tired of it and it's way too much."
"Can I say something?"
"I think you've said enough already."
"Alex, please indulge me." I bit my lip and nodded curtly. "I heard about what Miles did and I'm sorry about that. He was supposed to inform you of the change-"
"I don't want to hear excuses."
"Then how about the truth?" I froze, chewing on my lip. No matter the situation he would always have something over me, even when I was breaking free from him. He knew that I wanted to know what this had all been for and now he was using it. I wasn't going to let him get the upper hand though.
"It won't change anything." I was surprised to see him chuckle, he moved from his desk walking towards me. I felt a sense of déjà vu, the first time we had been in here had been similar.
"Alex I suppose maybe I should have told you from the beginning, but I feared your reaction." For once he seemed serious. He looked tired. I was trying to not let that bother me. "I met Lucas as a freshman in college, on the first day actually." He smiled remembering. I found myself loosening my arms, he was actually going to tell me. I was definitely eager. "He was in the library of course and he was sitting alone. I was with a group of friends already, I make them pretty easily. That ability has always come naturally to me." He looked at me and I knew it was true. He was so good with people, knew exactly how to charm them as well as use them. "He was reading something I don't remember what, but he was really into it. I remember thinking he was strange; it was only the first day after all." I tried to picture it, he must have been only months or a year older than me. "We hung out there for a time, while Trish, a girl I was seeing at the time got the books she needed. Afterwards my friends wanted to get some coffee before we headed off to a party, but I stayed behind. I noticed he hadn't moved an inch since we had gotten there. I don't know exactly why but I went up to him. He didn't look up at me until I sat down across from him. I'll never forget his first words. 'A library is for books, not socializing.' Oh man it was so classic Lucas. Then he went back to reading." He laughed and I couldn't help, but smile.
"It's true." I replied and he looked to me with a peculiar look on his face, before continuing.
"Yeah well from then on I realized I had a couple of classes with him. Picking on him or bothering him became one of my favorite things to do. He was just so strange. Always looking forward, heading in the direction he had always planned. Thinking back on it I think I wanted to get a rise out of him, I wanted him to lose it just once. It's not like he was a loner though he made friends too, they all hated me actually. We ran in different groups. His friends were future doctors, lawyers, rulers of the world and mine were just normal people. Some of them liked me though, like I said natural ability. Eventually he got used to me hanging around and even called me his friend. It was easier after that. I think I intrigued him too. He would open up more and I could notice the small things. Because that's what Lucas is, it's all about the small things, you have to look closely or you'll miss them. No one knew him better than I did and that's when I finally got a rise out of him." He was standing right in front of me now and it made me uncomfortable so I walked over to his desk and leaned slightly against it.
"What did you do?"
"You have to understand back then I was a different person. I was a player. It was my identity. Lucas hated that part of me. He always lectured me on it. Still he couldn't change me and I think he knew that." He walked back towards me. Standing a couple feet in front of me, his green eyes glittered dangerously. "There came a night when I got really drunk at this party and I called him to come get me, but he took so long I ended up walking home. The thing is I wasn't alone. There was a girl with me, she was a cute little thing too. I mixed up my room with his and ended up sleeping with her on his bed. To say he was not happy when he got back would be a large understatement." My mouth must have been hanging open. He chuckled in response. I couldn't believe he could be so candid about this. "Well he threw me out quite literally and you want to know what was hilarious about it?"
"What?" I asked nervously.
"He escorted the girl back to her dorm. I was like are you serious? He didn't even give me my clothes back, but he was taking her all the way back to another city, since she went to a different school. She totally fell for him after that night too, and he blamed me for that." I sighed, so much competition, it was ridiculous. "So yeah after that we got into a big fight about ethics and all that and it was the first time I ever saw him really lose it. Still eventually he forgave me and the strange thing about it was that I think that brought us closer together. It was the strangest thing. It's like he had accepted who I was. Two years later I brought him down to my level." He stopped speaking then and Danielle's words ran through my head chilling me. He went through a lot of girls when he was in college though, like I said rebellious stage. I knew that I didn't want to hear more, but that he was going to tell me anyway. I clenched the desk in response.
"I mean it's not like he had to make an effort, girls were already throwing themselves at him, they liked the whole serious thing he had going on." I bet they did, I bit my tongue to stop myself from saying anything. "I mean before I'd only seen him date this one girl, Emma. They were sort of serious, but not really. That was the thing about him he was there, but it wasn't like other relationships. She definitely loved him more than he did her. It was like it was just a convenience, anyway when they broke up that's when things changed. He seemed restless like he wasn't getting enough out of life and that's when I came in, offering him the chance for more. It took a while, but I finally cracked him. He was the strangest player I'd ever seen though. There was something polite about the way he was with them, but of course this was Lucas so what else could I expect. He never led them on, not once, they knew exactly what it was he was offering and they were more than willing to take it." I must have looked strained because he placed a hand over mine and I realized it had turned white from gripping so hard. I loosened it slightly. "Anyway it didn't last very long and then he was back to his Lucas ways. We did a lot of damage though. He was the perfect wing man and all the other guys hated us. Do you want to hear more?"
"No." I shut my eyes. "But keep going."
"Alex you have to know that it was more than just getting something out of it." His statement threw me.
"This whole thing with Lucas and you. At first it was all for what I needed it was the only thing I could think about, but then…" He trailed off.
"I still care about Lucas, I want him to be happy. He's like a brother to me, a really annoying one, but nonetheless. After everything that's happened I still wish him that, and you.." He stepped forward and pushed a strand of my hair back. His voice was almost a whisper. "You can do that. I've known him for 5 years and when I arrived here it was like he was a different person, except that that's not what it was. Knowing how people work it's always been so easy and yet I can't believe that I imagined he had changed. He hadn't, this was always who he was. You brought him out. It was all you. It's like he's a person now, a whole person. It's been so interesting to watch." I didn't know what to say so I said nothing. "I could tell you so much about him." I wanted him too; I wanted to hear it all. "But I won't." I stared dumbfounded as he smiled. "Not for free anyway." He played with a piece of my hair and I couldn't believe I had fallen into his trap again. He smiled and I had to admire this ability of his.
"You are such a jack ass." Was my response.
"Some things never change I guess." He seemed to be talking to himself again, but before I could think more on it he continued, "I like you too Alex. You're definitely something else." He stopped and stared straight into my eyes. It was discerning. "Let me help you." His voice was so strong, so fierce I couldn't say anything. "Please, will you let me?" His eyes shone brightly and try as I might I couldn't see deceit in them. I nodded. That's when he leaned in and placed his lips over mine. I sat frozen in place not able to believe what was happening. He moved a hand to the back of my neck to keep me in place, not that he needed to I was too shocked to move. He placed his other arm around my waist pulling me to him, moving his body over mine, and that's when my brain finally kicked in. His lips moved softly over mine and it wasn't unpleasant. He was a good kisser, still it wasn't what I wanted. I placed my hand on his chest to push him off and that's when it happened. I heard a door click shut. Somehow I knew who it was before turning around. Josh released me standing to face Lucas, a smirk on his face.
Okay I know that's a harsh place to stop, but I didn't plan it that way. I have no clue when the next update will be and I'm not going to screw myself over by giving another estimate. Like I said I always answer reviews when I finish writing the next chapter so if you'd like a little pre-alert then that's how.