Author's note: Something I whipped up when I was bored. Excuse the excessive amount of cliché used in this one shot. XD No really. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Being with You
"OK, time is up!"
Oh, God. No. No, I'm not done!
"Write any harder and you'll make fire," Jonnie chuckled as she passed by. I didn't have time to shoot her a glare, but I made a mental note to poke her after I finish this sentence.
"Larissa, time's up! Get your butt up here," Mr. Heckler called out, amused, as students filed out of the classroom one by one, passing him their completed tests.
Hopelessly, I put my pencil down and took a deep breath. Fine. That's OK. I didn't finish a few questions. I won't get that low of a mark.
I glanced at my sheet and nearly had a heart attack. That's eight questions right there I missed. How the crap could I—
"Thank you." He plucked the sheet right out of my hands whilst I stared at it in horror. I snapped back to reality.
"I'm sure you did fine, Larissa. You always pass."
"You call 51 percent a pass?" I grumbled as I stalked back to my seat and grabbed my bag. Sighing, I stepped out of the classroom and made it my personal mission to find Jonnie and poke the laughter out of her puny body.
I saw her a few feet away. "Jonnie—"
Someone stopped right in front of me. I felt my heart give an almighty pound when I smelled a familiar scent that usually sent my emotions into haywire.
"You scared me," I said, putting a hand over my heart. I doubt that his sudden appearance was actually the cause of my heart beating rapidly. It's probably due to the fact that just his smell rids my head of any rational thought I've ever had.
God, I'm pathetic.
He grinned dazzlingly and wrapped his arms around me in the familiar hug I've always felt safe in. "Hey, babe. How'd your test go?" He leaned against the wall so we didn't block anyone, pulling me with me. I landed on his chest and tried to ignore my face heating up.
"Horrible," I muttered against the crook of his neck. I felt him tighten his grip. "I missed like, eight questions. I know I'm going to fail again," I muttered, twitching. I swear, if I get another 60—
He chuckled. "You studied forever on that crap. You're not going to fail."
I lifted my head and shot him a tiny glare. "You said that about my history test. And I failed."
He grinned sheepishly. "OK, so that was my fault. I distracted you. But I wasn't with you this weekend so you must've got some studying done."
I paused before nodding.
He didn't need to know that I was actually too busy missing his ass that I hardly picked up my pencil and memorized any formulas. I mean, who could blame me? He was off to the states visiting his cousins, but you never know what could've happened.
I'm such a…
I stopped that train of thought and sighed, just leaning against him. It felt so good in be in his embrace, you have no idea. He buried his face in my hair.
"I missed you," he murmured, kissing that sensitive spot behind my ear. I shivered against him and I felt him smile against my skin.
"I missed you, too," I said. "How was your trip? Anything interesting happen?"
"Baby, nothing is ever interesting without you around," he drawled, pulling back to look at my face. I scoffed, but the smile on my face gave it away. His grin lowered to a smirk as he brushed a strand of hair from my face. "But really, I couldn't stop thinking about you. I know you missed me more than you'd like to admit." He grinned suggestively here.
"Don't feel nice now," I drawled in his voice and laughed when he made a face. I dodged his hand and broke out of his embrace.
Jonnie glanced behind her and smiled. "Ah, the lovely couple. What're you two up to?"
"I don't know. I don't want to find out," I said, cowering beside her as my boyfriend neared us.
"Jonnie, can you…?" He raised his eyebrows. I watched, confused, as Jonnie brightened and nodded. Suddenly, she turned around and locked me by the arms. I gasped, struggling to escape.
"Jonnie—you traitor!" I exclaimed. "OK, OK, I have class. I—have—to—"
He swooped down, grinning and had me locked in his arms. I knew I was blushing profusely, even as I struggled against his hold. "Where's my good morning kiss, sweetheart?" he murmured.
"You don't deserve it," I declared, glaring at him a little. But he just winked and leaned forward, capturing my lips with his in a soft kiss.
"You're going to make my breakfast come back up," Jonnie said in a pained voice. I broke away, giggling nervously.
Brandon suddenly swooped me up. Jonnie laughed and I sputtered. He snickered as I tried to escape. Oh, my God. "People are looking," I said in a hiss, face burning brightly. "Where are you taking me?"
"Where else?" he said in his low bedroom voice.
I cannot believe he— "We're in school," I said, horrified. "What's wrong with you?"
He stopped walking and kissed me, hard on the lips. I was gasping heavily for air by the time he finished mauling my mouth. I felt hot with embarrassment when I realized a crowd gathered hooting and laughing. I gave Brandon a reprimanding look and he just shrugged.
"Babe. Seriously, three days without you? What are you, insane?"
"You went on sixteen years without seeing my face—" I started. He just smirked and continued to walk. I grumbled under my breath. "You're disgusting, Brandon. Absolutely sick in the head. Aren't you tired?" I exclaimed worriedly and tried to get him to stop. He studiously ignored me.
Sighing, I just leaned against his chest and I heard him let out a breath. I glared at his neck, an idea suddenly popping in mind. We were in the stairwell. I had no doubt that he was heading towards his car and drive us somewhere more private.
I leaned forward and began to sucked his neck slowly, the way I knew drove him crazy. He took a sharp intake of air and his steps faltered.
"What're you doing?" he asked dangerously quiet.
I grinned against his skin and pressed an open mouth kiss before answering. "Giving you my good morning kiss, what else?"
I laughed when he growled under his breath.
"Don't tempt me, Riss. You don't know how close I am to—"
I gave him a saccharine grin. "Really? Close to losing control?"
He exhaled sharply, giving me a reproving look. "I'm the one baring your morals in mind here. I've got no problem taking you here right now, at this moment—"
My grin fell. "Fine," I grumbled. He chuckled triumphantly and pressed a kiss to my temple.
I relaxed in his arms and closed my eyes. I missed him so much and seeing him felt like a glass of water after days in the desert. We made it to his car and he silently helped me to my feet. He had a thing where he had spontaneous moments when he carried me in his arms.
I only hope I'm not that fat.
"You're a liar," he said as he started the car. I turned to him with a raised eyebrow. "You've got a spare, Riss. You think I'd forget? Class my ass."
"How else was I supposed to get rid of you?" I shrugged.
He growled under his breath but said nothing else. The comfortable silence stretched, even as we both knew what was going to proceed after this. I tried to ignore the familiar build of excitement in my chest and tried to stop myself from shifting too much.
He noticed though. God, that sucked.
"Uncomfortable, sweetheart?" He smirked at me for a moment before turning back to the road.
"Not at all," I retorted, not missing a beat. "And yourself?"
He flashed a smile. "Perfectly at ease."
I didn't doubt him. We drove around for a while until we reached the park. I gave him a look but he just grinned brilliantly and got out of the car. Sighing, I followed suit. Almost immediately, he was at my side with his arm casually around my waist.
I snuggled against him comfortably. "Have the sudden urge to swing?" I teased.
"No. I want to make out on the grass."
I elbowed him hard and laughed when I heard him groan in pain.
"Fine," he grumbled, "I just want to hold you."
My eyes twinkled. "You are holding me," I pointed out. His response was leaning down to kiss my cheek. "But I guess it'll be fun. I mean, reading a book, or hanging out with my boyfriend… what to choose?"
"Do you even have to ask?" he muttered under his breath as we approached a secluded area. I sat down and he followed suit. "So what happened this weekend?" he asked, absentmindedly playing with my hair. "Tell me everything."
"Well, I went to the library and borrowed five more books," I said in matter-of-fact tones. "You know. To help me for the test that I failed. But a load that helped." I rolled my eyes, leaning on his chest. I felt him chuckling. "I went to work. We got someone new - he's teaching the grade above me," I added. "He's pretty easy to chat with."
He stopped playing with my hair. "He?"
I laughed a little at his dark jealous tone. "Yes, he."
"He better be a fifty year old balding man," Brandon muttered.
"Actually, he's our age," I corrected. Grinning slyly, I tilted my head back to look at him upside down. "I'd love to touch his biceps any day."
Brandon growled under his breath. "I think I'll come to work with you tomorrow," he announced, his eyes glinting dangerously. "And you better be wearing a shirt and shorts over your bathing suit."
"It's not like you complained before."
"That's before this new guy had to come."
I rolled my eyes. "Brandon, he's not interested." I didn't have to mention his comments or scorching eyes on my every move . . . Lord know how he'll react.
"He better not be."
Giggling at his pouting expression, I tilted my head up and kissed his chin. He lost his moody face and looked down at me with a softened expression before kissing my lips in return.
"He's an idiot for not being interested," he said at last.
I just groaned.
Brandon and I have been dating for a steady eight months. Honestly, my initial feelings towards him was some level of hatred. I wouldn't say that I hated him with a passion—I hated who I thought he was. Well, technically is. I hated how arrogant he always seemed to be and overconfident about his abilities… in whatever. He was the type of person I strived to avoid during high school.
Scary how I ended up falling for him, huh?
"It's not like he knows," I muttered under my breath as I avidly watched my students flap around in the shallow ends of the pool. "OK, guys. On your back now," I called out, getting their attention.
I crossed my arms over my chest and looked up for a split second and smiled when I saw Kirk waving. I waved back before turning to my students.
Brandon Montgomery. His father owns a huge business I know nothing about. Him being rich probably has a reason as to why I "hated" him prior to our relationship. He just seemed so… shallow. Like the side of the pool my students were currently splashing each other in.
How the crap did I not notice? "Hey!" I said, getting into the water. "What do you think you're all doing?"
"He kicked me when I was on my back," Jessica wailed, pointing at Andre.
"I was trying to stay on my back," he protested, shooting daggers at Jessica.
I smiled. "OK, Jess, it was an accident. But please—don't splash each other with water." And then I paused, realizing what I said sounded ridiculous. They were eight and were in a pool. How can they not splash each other?
They stared at me, their faces mirroring my thoughts. Laughing nervously, I waved my hands around. "OK, so enough of floating on your backs. Who's having trouble with that? I'll help you out."
My eyes snagged a certain small red head staring at the pool. He was my special project. His mother spoke to me in the beginning saying that he didn't want to learn, but they—his parents—insisted. He was a shy, cute little thing. Despite his reluctance, he always did as he was told.
"Dylan? Are you OK with it?" I asked gently. He stared at me with soulful eyes before shaking his head. I smiled and walked over to him (as best I could in the water, anyway).
"I keep sinking," he said in his quiet voice.
"That's OK, sweetheart. I'll help you out." I turned to the others. "OK, kids. Remember how to glide? On your left, please. Back and forth twice. When you're done, stay against the wall."
With one eye trained on my class, I turned to Dylan.
"Alright, sweetie. Now lean back. Don't worry about sinking—I've got your back. Yeah, just like that. Now, relax your body and let your arms hang free at your sides."
I positioned his body before I slowly let go and smiled brightly at him when he stared back at me with lit up eyes.
"There you go!" I exclaimed, giddy. "Wasn't that easy?"
He got to his feet and nodded.
I glanced at the clock and frowned. "We've got five more minutes. I want to see your glides on your right now. Ready?"
Five minutes later, we got out of the pool. I watched them critically, making sure that none of them were running, before I got out of the pool myself. I grabbed my pink towel and wrapped it around myself.
I felt a pair of strong arms encircle my waist. "This is why you're amazing," he murmured, pulling me tight against him.
I turned my head, pleasantly surprised. "Brandon," I exclaimed. "Hi. What're you doing here?"
He grinned lazily. "Didn't I say I would come by?"
"Well, yeah, but I didn't think you were…"
He kissed my nose and winked. "I had to see you, of course. I was watching you the whole time."
I flushed. "Really?" I frantically tried to remember anything embarrassing I've done in the pool. But when he smiled down at me, I didn't think it mattered.
He looked over my shoulder, his expression faraway. "You're really great with kids, did you know that?" he asked, turning back to me. "I saw you with that kid. That was pretty… incredible." His voice was soft and his eyes were intent and I couldn't stop the blush that rose to my face.
"It's my job," I said, trying to brush off his compliment. "No big deal."
He shook his head, a smile on his face. "It is a big deal, babe. You'll be a great mother."
I smiled and squeezed him before letting go. "You probably smell like chorine," I chimed. "Sorry."
"No big deal," he smirked, pulling me back to him. "Besides, we can always clean ourselves toge—"
I smacked his arm. "Keep your comments to yourself," I said, trying to avert my eyes from his sexy grin. "Gosh, Brandon."
He gave me a loud kiss on my lips that had me burning from embarrassment when people turned our way. "Never," he said.
I rolled my eyes and began to drag him off. "Whatever, sweetheart," I deadpanned, trying to stop myself from smiling. "I'm going to go and shower, alright? It won't be more than fifteen minutes."
When I returned, I grew confused when I saw Kirk and Brandon talking. For once, Brandon's face was serious and unsmiling, while Kirk just looked at him coolly.
Yeah. I didn't like how that looked.
I hurried over. "Hey guys," I said brightly, ignoring the fact that I just stopped them from mid-conversation. "What's up?"
Brandon stared at Kirk. "You didn't tell me he was working here."
I grew puzzled. "But I—"
Kirk cut in smoothly, smiling charmingly at me. "We grew up together," he said to me.
My jaw dropped. "Really? That's fantastic!" I took another look at their expression and hastily fixed my words. "Er… to be seeing someone from your childhood. Am I right, Brandon?" I asked, nudging him.
His face hardened before he abruptly gripped my wrist. "We're going, Lariss."
I made a confused/apologetic face to Kirk who just nodded and I turned, trying to keep up with Brandon. "Hey, hey, there!" I cried out, yanking his hand. "What's up with you, Mr. I'm Going To Turn Cold?"
He stopped at his car and whirled me around, and I found myself pressed up against his vehicle. He stared at me, his eyes searching before his forehead leaned against mine.
"What's wrong?" I asked softly, staring into his eyes.
He breathed out before shutting his eyes. "He just really pisses me off," he muttered. "I can't believe that that jackass is working with you."
"Watch your mouth, Montgomery," I said automatically before smiling and kissed his cheek. "Hey, he's not bad," I said, trying to cheer him up. "He's very friendly."
"Too friendly." He scowled.
We got into the car, but we didn't drive anywhere yet. The air conditioner was on, thankfully, and I watched Brandon from the corner of my eye.
"Want to talk about it?" I asked after five minutes of complete silence. "It helps, you know."
"I know." He let out a breath, his face still troubled. I reached out to touch his arm. "Remember when I met you?" he said lowly, his eyes trained forward, but I knew he was looking at something I couldn't see. "Throwing myself into parties and all that crap… it was because of him."
"Him?" I asked confusedly.
He shook his head. "He hates me. Always has. Didn't think I was good enough."
"For what?" I asked timidly, suddenly afraid where this was going.
"For her." His voice was barely audible. My froze as I listened in rapt horrid fascination. "If he's here… then that means she's here."
I stared at his broad shoulder and found myself nodding. "Yeah. It was because of her… because you loved her."
That was all we said before we drove to my house silently. I stared out the window, contemplating the news. Kirk's younger sister had held Brandon's heart. But then they moved abruptly without warning, her telling him it was best if they broke up.
A thought slams me so hard that I lost air in my lungs.
What if he still loves her?
I immediately pushed that thought away and focused on the scenery. We got to my house and he got out. He always walked me to my door, even when I insisted it was okay. I didn't reach for his hand like I usually would; he didn't either. He looked too deep in thought to be bothered.
"Well, thanks," I said, smiling, trying to keep up a cheery front. "And um, hey. When you're ready to talk," I said, nodding to him. "I'm here."
His face settles and the familiar grin that made my heart beat was on his face. "I know," he said, pulling me close and kissed my lips softly. "I know, babe. Thanks."
The new student was a beautiful girl with wavy brown hair and bright green eyes that captured your gaze in a trance.
I would know. I'm staring at guys drooling on their laps without blinking.
"It's a bit late in the semester," Jonnie whispered, eyeing the new student. "Status?"
I smiled half heartedly. "Prep/normal. She looks nice enough. But her looks would have her recruited by the popular group." I didn't need to add that I knew she was Kirk's younger sister.
The bell rang and we stood up. I walked out of the classroom, heading straight for my locker without staying around to see if Brandon was there. He wasn't. It's been like this for a week. I didn't mind. I know where he's coming from, especially since he found out that she was back.
Breanna—Bree, she preferred—came three days ago, and I hardly saw Brandon. When I did, he had this distant look on his face. I understood, so I stood by his side and talked to him as I normally would. Minus all the hugs, kisses, and smiles.
If you know what I mean.
"Finding Brandon?" Jonnie asked with a grin. I didn't stop my swift movements in my locker as I smiled back at her.
"Yeah." Not really. He wasn't at school. "Have fun at class," I teased before she left with a smack to my shoulder.
I ended up in the library, curled up in the corner. I was studying for my next World History test when I heard voices that made my blood run cold.
"Brandon?" Bree said, her voice shocked and surprised. "Um—hi."
There was a long pause. "It's been a while," he said, his voice low.
I wanted to run. Panicked, I glanced around, but knew that if I stood up, they would see me. But I could hear everything, and this wasn't a conversation I would like to eavesdrop on.
Her voice was soft and hushed now. "How've you been?"
"Great," he said. "You?"
I can almost picture them standing in front of each other, staring but averting their eyes when they catch each other's gazes. It was fascinating, in a sick twisted way. I closed my eyes and pulled my textbook to my chest. OK, I needed to study. Determined, I flipped the pages and tried to ignore their voices.
"I missed you," she said, her voice still soft. "I cried for months, Brandon."
He was silent.
"I heard you had a girlfriend," she said, her voice wobbly. "Kirk told me she was pretty."
"She's beautiful," he murmured.
"Do you love her?" she asked after a pause.
Unconsciously, I found myself holding my breath. My book was long forgotten as I struggled to remember how to breathe. Stay calm, Larissa. Stay calm.
"I'll never love her like I loved you," he finally said, and suddenly, I couldn't breathe anymore.
I stared blankly at the bookshelf in front of me, their voices now buzzes in my ears. I don't know how long it was, but I finally blinked and took a deep breath, dismayed to find tears running down my cheeks.
"This sucks," I muttered under my breath, trying to ignore the growing ache in my chest. I wiped my cheeks hastily and shoved all my textbooks in my bag. They were gone. I didn't hear their voices. When did they leave?
I cleared my throat quietly and sniffled, pushing his words to the back of my mind. That's okay. It wasn't like I loved him anyway.
I winced at that lie and stepped out of the aisle I was sitting in.
Brandon looked up at the sound of movement and both of our eyes widened. It was only one second that I looked at them, but to me especially, it didn't look proper, with his arms around her and her crying on his chest quietly.
I smiled quickly and put a finger to my mouth. "Hi," I whispered. But it was fine, because I understood. I'm an understanding girlfriend, can't you tell? God, even if it hurts like a bitch. Shoot. His mouth opened and closed, and I saw something in his eyes—something I didn't want to decipher—so I looked at Bree who was staring at me with a wounded expression.
"I—Larissa . . ." he said faintly.
I shook my head quickly. "S'OK," I said without missing a beat. "I understand. I heard everything."
Horror washed over his face and I realized my mistake.
"I didn't mean to eavesdrop," I said hastily. I giggled nervously, suddenly finding my eyes fill up. Oh, for crap's sake. I'll cry when I get home. Gosh. "Just don't worry about it. I'll see you later, alright?" I added as I began to walk out of the library.
I casually walked down the corridor before I turned the corner and broke into a dead run. I didn't know what I was running for, but all I knew is that I need to get away. I needed to breathe—I needed to think.
I'll never love her like I loved you.
I fiddled with my keys, and glanced back.
But I think it hurt the most when I didn't see him there running after me.
"A 70..." I sighed, staring at my math mark. "I guess I did study after all." Immediately, I had the urge to run and tell Brandon about this, but I just bit my tongue hard and stuffed it into my binder.
"How did you get a 70 when you didn't answer some questions?" Jonnie pondered, staring at her 64. I laughed a little and glanced at the red markings.
"You probably didn't do proper procedures," I said, smiling.
"Yeah, like you know all about that." She sniffed before giggling. "Gosh, next time we should study together."
Chuckling, I shook my head. "Honey, the last time we studied together, we both got zeros. All we did was write our names."
"Your fault," she instantly muttered. Grinning, I slapped her back just as the bell rang.
I peaked at my sheet again and smiled when I saw Mr. Heckler's writing that said "You studied! I'm impressed, Larissa. Keep it up!". Chuckling, I shoved it back, just as I stumbled backwards when I bumped into someone.
"Sorry," I said as sweetly as I could and glanced at the person quickly before—before I caught a whiff of the person's scent.
"Clumsy," Jonnie noted, smiling as she stopped as well, oblivious to the stiffness in my neck.
Mustering a grin, I turned to Brandon. "Hi," I said as happily as I could. "How's you?"
He didn't have a smile, which was strange. And suddenly, I felt a sense of foreboding echo throughout my body and my chest constricted. Jonnie blabbered about her grade.
"Hey," I said, lowering my voice, trying to keep it light. "If you're going to break up with me, can you make it quick and painless? You know. Future reference."
Jonnie abruptly stopped. Oh, God. I didn't think she was listening. "What?" she said, her voice strange.
Brandon also had a look of shock. "What?" he echoed, his voice incredulous.
Okay, I guess he didn't want to. Not yet, anyway. I waved my hands, trying to look nonchalant. "Never mind," I said breezily, heading towards my locker.
Only to discover that I couldn't move. Confused, I looked down at our intertwined hands. It's been a while. But even so, I found myself relishing in his warmth and safety.
"Can I talk to you?" he asked.
I nodded and followed him.
Okay. He's going to do it now. I mentally prepared myself, knowing that it isn't the worst thing to happen. I told myself that there was plenty of fish in the sea (I hated that metaphor) and that I didn't love him anyway.
(I'm still lying.)
We stopped down the hallway and I carefully had a small understanding smile on my face.
"I'm sorry," he said, stuffing his hands into his pocket. I bit my bottom lip to keep it from trembling.
I was nodding before I even realized it. "I understand," I said as reassuringly as I could.
He looked at me for a long time. "I'm not breaking up with you," he said, his voice torn. "All I need is… time. You understand, right?"
He nodded once and exhaled before smiling forlornly and turned around to walk away from me.
I stood there for five minutes before inhaling and turned around. I'm fine. My heart didn't just break into a million pieces. Gosh. I'm made of tougher stuff than that.
"What're you doing?" Jonnie's voice cut through my thoughts sharply.
I glanced up from my TV and chocolate bar before waving her in. "Watching A Walk to Remember." My voice was a matter of fact. "Want to watch with me?"
She studied me. "Don't you only watch chick flicks when you're depressed?"
I rolled my eyes. "Do I look depressed to you?" She didn't need to know that my crying gets so bad that I end up vomiting.
"What's wrong, Larissa?" she asked softly, sitting beside me.
I looked at the movie for a while before shrugging. "My heart just got killed," I told her, "It happens to everyone. Now my time has come."
"Oh, Riss," she sighed, hugging me tight. "What'd the jerk do?"
"It's nothing." I folded my hands on my lap and gave her a brief summary on his life and his feelings. "So basically I'm the rebound girl who kept his interest until his true love arrived," I said. I've already accepted these facts. I'm halfway to recovering!
She looked at me, horrified. "How could you say that?" And then she smacked me.
I glared. "Hey! That hurts," I mumbled. "What? It's true," I said defensively when she continued to glare daggers at me. "I'm fine with it, gosh," I said laughingly. "You don't have to freak out."
"Do you love him?" Her voice was a deadly whisper.
"Liar. It's written all over your face."
"Then why would you ask?" I asked wryly.
"Because you're not acting normal."
I muffled a laugh. "Do you want me to be crying every second of my life?" Even though I wanted to, so bad. "I'm not going to. If he's happy, then that's great. All I want for him is happiness."
I did though. I really did. So if that happiness was with Bree, then I accept it, no questions asked.
"Ten bobs!" I said cheerily. "Your head under the water. Your whole head."
I counted out loud, watching the students disappear and remerge from the water.
"I haven't seen your boyfriend for two weeks," Kirk's voice said from behind me. "Doesn't he pick you up from work?" Smiling, I looked over my shoulder.
"Yes you have," I corrected.
He stared at me. I turned back.
"He's with Bree," I said. "And he's not my boyfriend."
"To which statement?" I asked.
"Both," he sputtered.
I frowned. "Oh. Well, he dumped me for Bree because she's his true love." I swear that was the bluntest way I could put it. I laughed at his horrified face.
"What the hell…" he muttered, clearly dazed as he looked away. His eyes snapped back to mine. "Then why is he here?"
"What?" I whirled around and saw him walking towards me with a determined expression. Oh, great. I didn't need this now.
But even so, I felt my heart long for him that it was a physical ache. I flashed him a smile but didn't bother getting out of the water. Hastily, I turned back to my students and began talking about the procedures of learning the front crawl—
"Larissa, I'm terribly sorry," a staff worker said, popping from behind the serious looking Brandon (whom I've chose to ignore at the moment). "He said that he needs to speak to your urgently."
"I'm teaching a class," I said, unable to believe the words that were slipping out of my mouth. I can't believe I just put off the boy that I love.
Her voice was nervous. "Heh… he said he wouldn't leave until you agreed. That, and he'll get me fired, seeing as his father practically owns the community center... With his charity donations… he said…" she trailed off, averting her eyes fearfully.
I gasped, whirling around to automatically glare daggers at him. His smirked arrogantly with his arms crossed over his chest. I knew that he didn't abuse his family's power. He told me that he only did it if it were necessary. But threatening to fire someone?
"Larissa?" the girl said timidly.
I nodded, my expression dark as I furiously got out of the pool.
"What is your problem?" I hissed in the safety of the storage room. "You can't just threaten someone like that! The poor girl just started working yesterday!"
His eyes burned mine. "How would I know if she started working yesterday? You don't talk to me anymore."
I opened my closed my mouth in complete disbelief. "I was giving you time," I struggled to say in fear of going into a fit of rage. "I was being understanding. I was supporting you!" I yelled, clenching my hands. "Do you know what time means between a couple? That it's over. Yeah, we're over, I knew it the moment I saw Bree standing in front of the class as the new student. But I didn't say anything because I understood what you were going through—" I said, choking on air before taking a deep breath. "Look," I said, suddenly tired. "I don't want to get into this, OK? So how about we just—"
I was suddenly pushed against a wall.
"We were never over," he said dangerously low into my ear. I felt my heart beating erratically at our proximity. "Don't you even think that we're over because it's never going to happen, do you understand me?"
Wide eyed, I stared at him, trying to catch my breath.
He stared at me, his eyes searching.
"So what," I said tonelessly, tearing my gaze away from him. "Am I the part-time girlfriend or just the sex toy?"
It was painfully quiet before he suddenly pulled his hand back and punched the wall, right beside my head. Shocked, I snapped forward and looked his head bowed down. When he lifted his eyes, I felt a sharp cut through me when I saw the hurt and pain reflecting.
"Damn it," he whispered, bowing his head again. "I didn't think that it'd hurt so much, even though I knew I deserved it."
I patted his shoulder detachedly. "It's okay," I said. "That means we're even, right?"
It was deadly silent. I had the strongest urge to pull him into my arms, but I didn't.
"You were always stubborn," he chuckled bitterly.
I felt my throat close.
"If you're happy," I forced, "then whatever you choose."
"But that's not how I want you to know it," he said, frustrated. "I never went back to her, Larissa. You have to believe me. I said I needed time because—because I didn't want to hurt you when I was all distant and moody and…"
"You were distant and moody and whatever you were going to say," I pointed out.
His lips thinned. "I realized that." He sighed. "But I needed time to think and get the words… to tell her that I moved on and I… love someone else more than I've ever loved her."
I stared at him blankly.
"How long did you practice this speech?" I asked curiously. His jaw dropped and his eyes flared with fire. "I mean, it's actually pretty—"
"I didn't practice, damn it!" he roared. "I was too fucking busy thinking about you and how long I had to grovel until you took me back." His voice stopped before he continued, "And how much I hurt you. God, I'm a fucking asshole." He exhaled sharply.
"Stop swearing," I scolded him. "You promised me."
His lips lifted a little into a faint smile. "You always used to smack my head."
I smiled back before I leaned forward and, surprising both of us, gave him a tight hug.
His body was stiff with shock before I nuzzled his neck and he pulled me against him as physically close as possible.
"I'm sorry," he mumbled and kissed my head once, twice, and three times. "God, you don't know how sorry I am."
Quiet, I stared over his shoulder, unable to say anything. I don't know how long we stood there, but it felt too soon when he pulled away to look at my face.
His eyes searched mine. "What's wrong?"
"It seems too easy," I said and looked down at his hand. I gasped quietly before I took it in my own and began to search for the medical supplies in the storage room.
"What seems too easy?" he asked, watching me work.
"This whole making up scene." I looked thoughtful. "Don't I have to make you chase me around for a while?" I asked, frowning. "I mean, you damaged me," I pointed out, "so shouldn't I do some revenge thing?"
He stared at me for a long moment. "To be honest, I think I deserve anything you throw my way." He sighed. "Just as long as you still trust me."
I felt my chest constrict. "Oh, Brandon… you stupid, chauvinistic, rich spoiled brat…" I sighed.
He pouted a little. "You can stop with the name calling."
I smiled weakly. "I'll always trust you." I felt him studying me as I bowed my hand, studiously wrapping his hand up.
"Is this part of your whole revenge scheme?" he asked at last. "Because if it is, I understand where you're coming from, even if it'll hurt like a bitch. Not to mention the blow to my ego," he added, watching me intently.
I stifled my laugh and sighed. "No. Baby, I'm not that cruel," I said, smiling sweetly as I stood up. It was a second after I moved away from him that I found his arms around me once again. Puzzled (though not unhappy), I twisted around to raise an eyebrow. "Yes?"
"It's been too long," he said by means of explanation. "But I meant every word I said," he added seriously. I stopped moving. "I love you. I've always had, ever since your declaration of not leaving me to wallow in my ugly misery," he quoted dryly. "Ever since you showed me how strong you are… and how strong I can be."
"You know," I said faintly, hearing an odd sensation of a buzzing sound in my ear, "I would've sworn that you didn't love me."
He chuckled, pressing a kiss to my temple. "I know what you're talking about," he said against my skin. "You don't know how horrified I was to know that you were listening, even though I had an idea. After all, I came to the library looking for you."
My mouth opened and closed.
"And you misinterpreted. When I said I'll never love you as I loved Bree…" he trailed off, "well, that was true." I tried not to feel the almighty pound of pain. "Because what I felt for Bree can't even touch what I feel for you. What I'll always feel for you."
My mouth opened and closed. I'm still unable to say anything.
"Did I shock you speechless?" he teased.
"No," I managed to say. "OK, yes," I admitted when he raised his eyebrows.
"I thought you trusted me," he said amusedly, but beneath those humoured eyes, I noticed the uncertainty. Trust was a big thing to him, ever since he's been let down repeatedly by his parents who are always away on business trips. He's learn how to depend on himself and no one else. That is, until Bree came. And then me.
"I do." I nodded my head against his and closed my eyes. "Do you trust me?"
"What kind of question is that?"
"The one that needs an answer."
"Then, of course," he said immediately. "Look, I'll even seal it with a kiss." He smirked arrogantly before leaning forward and kissed me hard. My lips were swollen by the time he was through with them.
I shifted against him, my skin on fire. "You need to know not to do that inside a closed space," I muttered, trying to wrench away as he nibbled on my earlobe. Laughing, I turned my head and I felt him smile against my skin. "How'd Bree take it?"
"Oh." I felt guilt twist in my stomach and I leaned my chin on his shoulder. He stopped moving and slid down the wall, dragging me with me so I was resting on his lap with his arms wrapped around me securely. I felt him looking at me so I looked up and met his gaze. "I feel so horrible," I said aloud.
Immediately, he was frowning. "Why?"
I looked away. "The girl's obviously still in love with you." I sighed, wrapping my arms around my knees. Brandon pulled me close, despite my wetness. I furrowed my eyebrows. "It must hurt so much to see the boy she loves loving someone else."
He was silent as well. I smiled faintly, knowing I hit a sensitive spot. Even if he says he loves me more, I know he still has feelings for Bree. Who knows? Maybe he'll love Bree in that way forever. That connection will always be there as long as… as long as she's special to him.
"Hey," I said, realizing, "why don't you guys give it another go?" I suggested. And the moment the words left my lips I saw his eyes darken.
"Excuse me?" he gritted out.
I tried not to show the fact that I was nervous. "Um, you know. Try being a couple again. I mean, you never know—"
His lips cut me off and I was left breathless.
He kissed me again.
When he pulled away, we were panting heavily.
I glared. "Stop that!"
"I did," he pointed out innocently. Groaning, I slapped my forehead and opted for leaning against his shoulder. He placed a kiss on my forehead and sighed. "Babe, you gotta understand I know what I feel. I know that it's you I'd rather spend the rest of my life with—no pressure—," he added with a cheeky grin when I felt my face flame, "but really. I loved her. She showed me that love is real. But you showed me that being in love is—you know," he ended, trying to maintain the last ounce of dignity he had as a male.
"Your masculinity astounds me," I said, laughing lightly.
We enjoyed the silence together. I was content just sitting there against his chest, listening to his heartbeat.
"So what now?" I asked reluctantly.
My boyfriend didn't miss a beat, "We love each other."
Slowly, I looked up and stared into his eyes, trying to read him. He stared back, any hint of smile lost, and for once his face was wiped clean of any joking emotion.
I felt my eyes start to fill up with tears and choked on my laugh when I saw panic rise to his eyes. I knew he hated it when I cried—what guy liked girls crying? But he told me once that was the only time he felt helpless because he couldn't do anything to make whatever bad feeling I had go away.
He was half-asleep when he told me, so it's a good guess he wanted to keep that to himself.
"Don't worry about it," I said, brushing my arm over my eyes to wipe away any waterworks.
"How can I not—?"
I hugged him around his middle tightly. He didn't need to know that I felt so happy and so relieved that it caused tears.
He wasn't lying when he said he loved me. To be honest, I don't think he ever was.
"You're supposed to let me win!" I shouted when he blocked the fifth ball I shot towards the net. He grinned cheekily.
"Not on your life," he called back. "You have to earn it."
I looked at Jonnie wryly who shrugged. "Would you prefer him lying?"
"No," I said easily. "I just wanted to see what he'd say."
"Did he pass?"
Giggling, I kicked the soccer ball as hard as I could and groaned when he effortlessly blocked the shot. I stuck my tongue out before letting Jonnie have a try and bounded to the sidelines where Jonnie's boyfriend sat under the shade.
"Hey, hey Jeremy," I smiled. "Why aren't you exercising?"
He moaned. "It's lunch. It's hot. I don't know how Jonnie got me out here."
"The love you share?" I tried.
He gave me a wry look. "Or pure intimidation?" he whispered.
"I heard that!" Jonnie yelled from where she was standing. Jeremy and I both froze before breaking down into laughter.
"Your girlfriend's creepy," I muttered. He nodded silently but flashed a huge grin when the said girl turned to glare at us both.
"Yeah. But I'm crazy about her," he admitted. "I'm an idiot."
"Aw," I cooed, giggling. "That's so sweet."
"And insane," he muttered. "Two years. That has got to be some record."
"Jeremy, I'm not deaf," she growled, stomping in our direction. Sweat dropping, I watched him cower before opening his arms for a hug which she ignored and planted herself beside me. "Stop whispering about me, damn you two."
"It's because we love you," I said solemnly. "Right, Jer?"
"Er… yes. I mean, yeah, because we—" He broke off when Jonnie tackled him to the ground and began to tickle him. Fascinated, I watched them wrestle before I broke into laughter when Jonnie ended up under him.
"Cute," Brandon drawled from behind me, panting a little before sitting against the tree. Silently, he opened his arms and I crawled over to him and leaned against his chest. "Isn't he squishing her?"
"Nah." I frowned. "At least… I don't think so."
He laughed. I turned to him and noted his sweaty forehead and grinned a little.
"Aren't you hot?"
"Why, thank you."
I stared at him before laughing and smacked his arm lightly. "I never meant that." Sighing, I searched through my bag before producing a mini hand towel and wiped his forehead. He grinned a little and kissed my cheek briefly.
"You ready for the movie-marathon night tonight?" he asked, quirking an eyebrow. "I bought a new load of horror flicks, chick flicks, comedy… suspense… action… oh, and more horror," he said, a thoughtful look on his face.
I cringed. "No horror, please. I couldn't sleep last time, remember?"
He was suddenly snickering. "Oh yeah. I had to wait a good hour before I was sure you wouldn't wake up."
"You actually waited the whole hour?" I asked in surprise.
He gave me a puzzled look. "Didn't you ask me to wait until you were really sleeping?"
"Well, yeah, but…"
He was tense all of a sudden and when I looked up, I knew why. Bree stood there, looking down at us with an unreadable expression before a small smile covered her face.
"Hi, Brandon. Hi, Larissa."
"Hey, Bree," Brandon said casually. I smiled hesitantly.
Bree took a deep breath. "Can I talk to you, Larissa?"
Me? What? Confused, I nodded slowly and stood up. I glanced at Brandon who was staring at me with a transfixed expression before shrugging and nodded towards Bree.
I followed the latter until we were out of earshot. She fiddled with her hands before taking a deep breath. Suddenly, I was self-conscious around her and found myself developing an inferiority complex. She was gorgeous, and it wasn't hard to figure out why Brandon loved her.
"I wanted to tell you that you don't have to worry." She smiled forcedly.
Puzzled, I tilted my head to one side. "Oh. Um, about what?"
She nodded towards Brandon. He was flipping through my textbook with an adorable frown on his face. "Taking him away from you. He spoke to me and I know I lost him."
Stricken, I tried not to feel the almighty pound of guilt. "Oh, no! No, he loves you," I assured her. My heart broke when I saw her face crumple. I reached forward, grabbing her wrist and held on tightly. "You don't have to worry. I—I offered to step back." I realized something then that made me happy and devastated. "You know, if I told him I hated him, you—" I broke off and stayed silent.
If I told Brandon that I didn't want him anymore, he'd have nothing holding him back from loving Bree.
But she was shaking her head. "He loves you more than he ever loved me," she said, sniffling. "It just hurts." Dismayed, I watched her wipe her eyes. "I wanted to tell you that… that you better take good care of him, because he deserves happiness in his life. He deserves someone like you." She smiled a little. "My brother was right… you are one of a kind. And if someone's to be by his side, I'm glad he chose you."
I think I choked on a sob. I took a deep breath and tried not to cry.
Oh, God. I feel like we're right out of some soap. Gosh.
"Thanks," I tried smiling. "And I will."
She nodded once and walked away.
I walked back to Brandon who was instantly up when I approached him. "What's wrong?" he demanded, taking my face into his hands. "You looked like you were about to cry."
Laughing lightly, I tore away and tiptoed to kiss his cheek. "She loves you enough to let go," I told him.
He smiled a little and sighed. "She'll find someone—like I found someone." Raising an eyebrow, he turned to me with a teasing expression. "Where have you been all my life?"
Smiling, I joked, "Waiting for you."