summary. Who were you supposed to choose? Your best friend's older brother? Someone who has been there since forever, or the sweet, popular guy, the one you've been obsessing over . . . for forever? The true question: who did you want to spend the rest of forever with?
disclaimer. I own nothing that is noticeable. The only thing I own is my soul and this oneshot.
She knew she was smart — one of the top students in her classes, in fact — but, under pressure or intense excitement . . . she tended to lose her mind and spurt out whatever she was thinking.
She hated it; one of her fatal flaws.
Sometimes it was amusing, hilarious even, but other times, said fatal flaw was just annoying, making her blush, stutter, or run away from fright. Like when she'd been asked to the dance, the first of her friends to get an invitation, but she, being a horrible judge of character, had blurted, "I don't like you, so no thanks. I'm sorry," making that poor junior turn away from her and suddenly disappear off the face of the earth.
Her friends, as amusing as they were, suspected that she'd made him move away, just because she'd rejected him so rudely.
She was one of the sweetest girls in their school, which was totally contradictory because of her refusal in going to that dance with The Poor Guy, but she'd just gone and bluntly come out with that response, not listening to reason. At all, which was really and truly something she hated.
In later retrospect, she finally realized that he'd actually been a nice person, hoping to ask out a sweet girl but being shot down so rudely had made said guy—who, once again, she'd never seen since—move away, and probably believe that, outwardly, sweet girls were, just that, sweet but, inwardly, they were just vicious bitches who had nothing better to do than make a guy lose all faith in the female species, poorly making him believe that she was sugary and sweet outside . . . and then, without warning, committing a 360 and rebuffing him so suddenly, surprising him to the ends of his rather finely styled hair.
Karma, karma, karma . . .
"Oi, Arabella!" Quickly, she turned, dark hair flying into her face, the smack of strands hitting face reeling her from her thoughts, which had always plagued her relentlessly because of her conscience.
"Oi, Jasmine!" she parroted, smiling cheekily at one of her best friends.
"What are you doing later today?" Jasmine Chase asked, grinning as well. Generally happy, Jasmine was a sweetheart—the epitome of innocence, sugar, and sweets. Except when she was angry… then she was the complete and total opposite.
"Nothing much, maybe read a little. Why?"
"Read a little?" she asked, raising an eyebrow. She loved a good book just as much as Arabella, but she never would've thought of staying inside and just reading. Because, beneath that sweet, innocent exterior, Jasmine was the queen of party monsters, only abstaining from the one night stands and the alcohol . . .
And plus, Jasmine was gorgeous, a golden-haired beauty with crystal blue-grey eyes and a bright, energetic smile. And she was happily taken, too.
"Yes, a little," Arabella said defensively. "I don't like the dancing, the stifling heat, and the smell. I don't like it at all. I prefer staying at home, thanks."
Her best friend sighed, nodding in acceptance. "Fine," she mumbled. "Leave me there."
"Oh, come on, Jas. You know Craig will be there. You won't be alone."
Pouting adorably, Jasmine pinned those grey-blue eyes on Arabella. "I know, but it doesn't mean that I don't want my best friend there!"
"Awwww, Jas!" Arabella cooed. ". . . Go find your boyfriend."
"You love me inside, Ara," Jasmine cried dramatically.
". . . yes, Jasmine-dear, I love you deep, deep inside." Another cheeky grin directed at Jasmine, her eyes catching Craig's gray from just a few feet behind her sweetheart-of-a-best-friend's in the process, resulting in making her grin morph into a smirk and then Arabella took her (dramatic, dramatic) leave, waving cheerily at Jasmine (and Craig, but her BFF didn't know that), and left, giggling uncontrollably at hearing the high-pitched Jasmine-shriek a moment later.
Those two were perfect for each other.
Skipping cheerfully into the high school's parking lot, she initiated her cheerful baby blue Toyota Prius into beep beeping and allowing her access into the driver's seat.
Once she was buckled up and ready to go, she was surprised when, putting the car into reverse, a knock was placed on her window. Turning her head to the side, she nearly squealed like a tween (of course she didn't; she had more dignity than that) when Parker Bradshaw's face framed her Prius' window. Instead, she just sucked in a large, thoroughly audible breath, making her chest contract painfully and nearly making her choke on air.
That would not be a good thing, she reminded herself solemnly.
He waited patiently while Arabella activated her spiffy automated sliding-window-up-or-down thingies and smiled pleasantly as she finally caught a whiff of fresh air and his minty, clean scent. God, she could just swoon. But, you know, she couldn't, because then she'd make a fool of herself in front of Parker Bradshaw, only the sweetest, hottest guy at Montgomery High and probably make him think she was a crazy psycho person who was practically in love with him.
Which she wasn't. Not at all.
"Hi, Parker B—" She blushed, nearly having said his entire, gorgeous name like an idiotic idiot. "Um," she laughed nervously, trying to redeem herself, "do you want anything?"
D'oh. She wanted to smack her face into her hands, she was so stupid. Of course he wanted something if he'd taken the time to knock on her window. Again, think things through.
. . . Think. Things. Through.
Those were some of the three vaguest words in Arabella's language arsenal.
Parker (Bradshaw) didn't seem to notice though, instead just smiling at Arabella trying to be 'cool' while drumming his fingers against the window's ridge, right where the window had slid down, down, down . . .
"Yeah," he told her, finally replying after catching sight of her patiently waiting face and jolting back to reality. "I was wondering if you knew what the History homework for today was."
"Oh, um, yeah." Quickly, she wracked her mind for the assignment and nearly whooped when her memory somehow scrounged it up. "We have to do page 345, problems one through three. And there's a test on Thursday."
He grinned at her, flashing blindingly white teeth. "Thanks."
She smiled back, swooning internally. "You're welcome."
"Okay, well, um, bye."
Goodbye my love, my beloved, my knight in shining underpants—"Bye Parker," Arabella replied cheerily, groaning inwardly at the internal goodbye she'd just, technically, given to him.
He waved. "Bye Ara . . ."
Note to self, Arabella told herself mentally, stop incoming, relentless squealing once he's gone and windows are closed all the way . . . and he's not facing my car.
She wanted to whip open her cell, wanted to squeal along with Jasmine, but she also knew that her best friend, what with her AP classes and generally busy life, didn't really spend as much time with Craig as they (as in, he and she) wanted to.
How awesome of a best friend was she?
So she smiled, drove out of the parking lot and went home, off to squeal her head off, best friend or not, because . . .
. . . because Parker Bradshaw had just talked to her! And the conversation had needed more than a couple of sentences too!
Finally pulling into her parent's driveway, Arabella paused, took a deep breath, and squealed, freeing herself from the pent up excitement, into the steering wheel, ignoring the looks she got from the high school students who lived near her and were passing her driveway, wondering what in the hell was dying in the baby blue Toyota Prius.
Finished with her insane squealing, Ara grinned and looked up, only to find that Hunter Chase, Jasmine's older brother, was staring at her, smirking with an eyebrow raised.
"You OK?" he mouthed.
She nodded, laughing as she opened her door and stepped out. He was laughing as well, smiling good naturedly as he stared at her with those ridiculously blue eyes of his; so much more different than Parker Bradshaw's milk chocolate.
"So," he ventured curiously, raising an eyebrow again, "why were you squealing so loudly? I could practically hear you over my earphones."
"Just because," she replied vaguely.
"And what is this because?"
"Because," Arabella finally caved, rolling her eyes good naturedly as she perched herself on the hood of her car, "I talked to Parker Bradshaw."
He looked at her with the utmost curiosity. " . . . Parker Bradshaw? As in the guy you've been pining over for a jillion years, Parker Bradshaw?"
She nodded, smiling happily. "It hasn't been a jillion years, Hunter . . ."
"It sure feels like a jillion years," he mumbled under his breath.
Arabella smiled as she peered at him. "What did you say?"
"Nothing," he said, brushing it off quickly and efficiently. He breathed a relieved sigh when, easily distracted, Arabella started talking about another topic, nothing about what he'd said or Parker Bradshaw. To his immense (and he meant immense) relief.
It was a very good thing Hunter was a good listener . . . and had a lot of time.
"Hunter?" she asked him curiously, once again distracted, "Don't you have any friends?"
He looked at her like she was a psycho, which, to an extent, she was, but in a good way. "Yeah, I do."
"Why are you staying here, listening to me go on and on and on about random stuff, then?" she asked him, incredulous.
"Because . . ." he grinned, looking adorable and embarrassed all at the same time, "you're way more interesting than them."
Arabella laughed in disbelief. "Are you sure about that? You don't have to go see the doctor or anything . . . do you? Because, personally, I'd rather hang out with friends than myself . . . which is kind of saddening, because I don't hate myself—I really don't—but I mean, if you hung out with yourself every single second of every single day, you'd probably get sick of yourself, too, unless, ya know, you talk to yourself . . . and you loved yourself because you were just that kind of person . . ."
- ehem. She stopped herself from blabbering away, probably also embarrassing herself and making Hunter, her best friend's older brother, think she was delusional, or psycho . . . probably both.
She laughed nervously but he only smiled, grinning in amusement. She was just so funny when she was rambling on about the most adorable things.
So maybe he did like her in that way, but she was always so absorbed with Parker Bradshaw, so adorable when she was talking about him that he couldn't stop her from talking about him (PB) and asking her to think about him (HC) instead. It was purely not him, not his nature, though, so he could only bear it.
He liked her enough to do anything for her, and he really did think that what he felt for the certain "little sister's best friend" was amazing and something he had never experienced.
Maybe she was "The One" to him, but, then again . . . maybe Parker Bradshaw was "The One" to her; love was weird that way.
"You're hilarious," he told her. "It's fine, keep on rambling . . ."
Arabella laughed in genuine disbelief now, staring at him with her brilliant jade green eyes.
"What are you talking about?" she nearly screeched. "Why are you being so nice to me all of a sudden? . . . or, hold on a sec, have you always been this nice to me?"
Not feeling meek at all, Hunter nodded emphatically. "You just noticed that?" he asked her, voice softly floating into her ears.
She was smart, despite obvious misconceptions, and realization flashed in her mind before she could stop it. "Oh . . . crap."
He laughed, despite the way his heart was ramming against his ribcage like a crazed monkey rattling his cage bars just to get the piece of banana outside his enclosure.
It was exhilarating.
. . . And totally and completely freakin' scary at the same time.
"You're laughing?" she screeched now, her hair flying back as she flew off her car's hood and landed in front of him, eyes bugging out of her head comically—it only made him laugh more, which was pretty odd. He was pretty odd. "Why are you laughing?!"
"You're just so funny, Ara . . ." he replied and the way he said her nickname made shivers run up her spine.
WHAT THE HELL?
She wasn't supposed to feel this way for her best friend's brother—it was just so cliché! And if Arabella Henderson was anything, she wasn't someone who lived a cliché life.
Sure, she was in love (was she really?) with the most popular, total opposite of the typical jock stereotype of the entire high school, but then again, she was stuck in between a somewhat-love-triangle between her, said antithesis of the normal "jock" and her best friend's brother, so what was her life, anyway?
And why was she suddenly sucked into this? She hadn't even wanted it, let alone known about it . . . until now, apparently, according to the aforementioned shiver-up-the-spine.
Hesitantly, she backed up, and then realized that she was a hair's breadth away from the front bumper of her car and stopped.
He noticed, though, the scared way her feet stepped back those few crucial steps and then just stopped; he knew she'd only stopped because of her car's front bumper . . . not because of him, and he knew that.
Those crystal blue eyes met hers, finally, encompassing a disguised hurt that hadn't really been disguised so well.
Guiltily, like a little child who had just been caught sticking their hands into the cookie jar, Arabella scuffed her foot against the cement of the driveway and met his eyes, confusion glittering in the green depths; the depths Hunter could just get freaking lost in.
He was weak, he was a wimp, he was a whipped—super whipped—dude and he knew he was going to forgive her for not knowing about his feelings (she was always just stuck in her own little world . . . that was another endearing quality of hers) in a quick, hot second.
Once she gave him that look of hers, he knew he was going to melt internally and forgive her. He just knew it.
"Hunter . . .," she mumbled softly. "Why did you never tell me? I mean, I've been over to your house enough, and you had the perfect opportunities . . . but why did you never tell me . . . ?"
"I never thought you'd wanted to know. I mean, you were always talking about Parker Bradshaw . . . and why is it that you always want to say his complete name, anyway? You've gotten me into the habit."
Arabella smiled, despite the awkward situation she was in. "Isn't it such a catchy name?" she gushed, totally forgetting that he liked her and that she really did talk too much about Parker Bradshaw.
She was terrible: a terrible person, a terrible friend, just plain old terrible overall.
". . . oh . . . I am so sorry, Hunter." They both caught the double meaning in her words.
He looked at her, a dejected look on his rather handsome face. "It's fine."
"I really am sorry, though," she mumbled softly.
"It's fine," he told her once again, "really. It is fine."
And, as she turned away from him, both literally and figuratively, he realized, his heart already ripping into a million pieces, that no, it wasn't fine at all.
"Jasmine, I feel terrible." Arabella was on her stomach a few hours later, resting on her bed while burying her face in her hands. "I feel terrible for not liking your brother back."
She'd finally decided to call Jasmine and was thoroughly surprised when she realized that Jasmine wasn't with Craig. Apparently, he had had to leave after a few hours of quality time together, so it wasn't like Arabella had been disturbing them, for which she was glad.
"It's not your fault you seem the same way about him," Jasmine whispered softly.
"What do you think I should do, Jas?"
"Listen to your heart," her best friend smiled, voicing one of her favorite songs. A Party-Animal and a Romantic, Jasmine was clearly a force to be reckoned with. Plus, she gave pretty awesome advice.
"I should, shouldn't I?"
For once in her life, Arabella Hallie Henderson was thoroughly thinking things through.
And she had no idea if she liked it or not.
Releasing a high-pitched shriek/squeal/groan, she seized a pillow from the top of her bed and buried her face into it.
"UGHHHHHHHHH! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THIS? PARKER BRADSHAW OR HUNTER?"
She pouted as she glanced up at Jasmine again. "This is such a hard decision."
". . . Who do you think would be better for you, Ara-dear?"
"That's the problem, Jas! I don't know!"
"So just think about it."
And so Ara did, tears nearly overflowing because she was just so overwhelmed.
But finally she made a decision, and went off to go fulfill it, Jasmine watching her leave with unreadable eyes.
. . .
notes. and now i'll let you guys decide who she ends up with. (:
oh, and please tell me if i have made any mistakes.