Summary: Getting bullied was one thing. Plotting revenge against the leader was another. Kissing the leader? A big thing. "Don't you know boys treat girls like dirt because they secretly like them? A lot." Jayce stepped closer, our breaths mingling.
"You're shy and quiet. Something shocking this month will happen. Lucky days: 3rd, 11th, 23rd."
Do you believe in what the horoscopes in those stupid magazines say about you? I don't. I used to believe in that stuff. Once, I read that I'd be able to sweet-talk myself out of situations, but I got into trouble instead – like I always do. Well, what happened was my older brother told on me for dropping his ice cream cone on purpose and I tried sweet-talking my parents out of it. Evidently, it didn't work. As punishment, I did not receive allowance for a long, long period. That was extremely annoying since I needed the money for a concert I was planning to attend to that month - a concert I had been waiting to go to since I was a child. And I ended up not going. Another time was when I accidentally dropped a porcelain figurine in a department store. I tried telling the store manager it was an accident and, you know, pretended to be all sweet and innocent and all. What do you know? They billed me. Yes. You heard me right. They billed me. I still don't get why. I mean it's not like anyone would want to display a large, naked woman breast-feeding in his or her dinning room. Not exactly appealing. But I digress. My parents found out, of course. Hurray! Another suspension of allowance for me.
I, Veronica 'Ronnie' Grey, will never believe in those ridiculous horoscopes again.
I walked briskly to my locker but froze as I spotted a group of people throwing the junk from my locker onto the floor. I had absolutely no idea how they got the combination for the lock. Looking up, I recognized their faces. They were the school's elite group of bullies. To make things worse, their leader, Jayce Patterson, has his hands on a black notebook – not just any notebook; it was my freaking diary! I wanted to run up to them and snatch it before the leader could even turn a page but I didn't dare. The last time a guy dared standing up to Jayce, he got himself glued to a chair and the teachers couldn't get it off him until they literally cut out his pants. Everybody heard about it and came to watch, videotaping every minute they got - as I'm sure that was one of the many intentions of Jayce's – and the poor guy was forced to walk down a lengthy hallway to the main office for a change of trousers with two gigantic holes on the back of his pants. The rest you can imagine. It didn't help that Jayce was extremely charismatic and unlike me, could most definitely talk himself out of any situation if he wanted to. Somehow, he convinced the teachers that it wasn't him, even though everybody else knew it was.
"Hey guys, check this out: 'Dear diary, you can't tell this to anyone but I can't help but feel giddy every time I see him'" said Jayce in a girlish tone and the crew cracked up as Jayce read a bit more from that entry I had written during second grade.
"'Dear diary, I cried today because he said that I was the ugliest thing he had ever seen,'" read Jayce, holding a hand to his chest dramatically. The gang burst out laughing again. My face turned a bright shade of red. I was horrified. How could they?
"This girl must be pretty ugly," said one of the guys.
I wanted to curl up somewhere – preferably where no one would ever find me – and die.
"Obviously. She's so ugly she damaged her own eyesight looking at her reflection in the mirror!" Jayce raised my thick black glasses in the air for his friends to see.
"Dude, or she's a nerd," another one of his jerk friends said. A nerd? Just because I wear glasses I'm a nerd? There was a crunching noise as Jayce crushed my glasses under his shoe. Catching myself before I lost my cool and ran over, I felt my vision blur as tears prickled at the corner of my eyes. Ripping noises followed as they tore my book apart.
I couldn't stand it anymore. I turned around and dashed into the girl's bathroom. Fortunately, it was empty. I stared myself in the mirror. Was I that ugly to look at? Oh shut up. This is their point. Don't let them get to you I thought.
I had been in the midst of jotting down notes for history class when a large shadow loomed over me. "You're in my seat."
I scowled and faced none other than Jayce Patterson himself. The usual late, always excusable Jayce Patterson.
"Mr. Patterson, you are late. Again." Miss Harrison tapped her pencil against her desk patiently, waiting for an excuse. Exactly where Jayce's expertise lay.
5, 4, 3, 2 . . . and here we go.
"I'm truly sorry, m'am. My aunt is in the hospital and she called for me. She's in such terrible state with her husband dead and her sickness and all. I just wanted to take care of her and make sure she was going to be okay. She tells me she loves me like I'm her own son. It just hurts me to see her like this. So yes, I'm sorry for being late, m'am. It is entirely inexcusable. You can even give me a full week of detention." Jayce said as he bit his lip and gazed at Miss Harrison with glassy eyes.
Miss Harrison put a hand over her chest sympathetically. "Oh no. If your aunt is sick you must keep on taking good care of her. I must say, Jayce, the woman you'll marry is very lucky. You will put all the husbands in the world to shame."
Jayce's smug, self-satisfied smile was all it took to make the girls in the room swoon. Jayce may be known as the biggest bully of the school but he was also known for hooking up with girls like tissues. Once used then thrown away. Yet girls still line up for even the slightest contact or acknowledgment from him.
It is undeniable the act was quite impressive; really deserving an Oscar for being such a terrific actor . . . and a big fat liar.
Looking up, Jayce stared down at me with astonishment and confusion as if only just realizing I was there, "Where are your glasses?"
A blinding outrage boiled in my blood and before I could think the words tumbled out of my mouth haughtily. "As if you didn't know."
The room hushed. Realization dawned over Jayce and a flicker of inscrutable expression crossed his eyes. " . . . You're in my seat."
"I wasn't aware we were assigned seating," I said.
"You're in my seat," he repeated.
"What are you? In second grade?" I retorted. The unbearable tension in the air thickened. I was in big, big trouble.
"You. Are. In. My. Seat." Jayce spat and gritted his teeth, annoyance etched across the features of his handsome face.
"Miss Grey, Mr. Patterson has been having a hard day why don't you just—"
"You must be in second grade then since those are the only words you seem to comprehend. Why don't you try studying instead of kissing girls on a daily basis? And maybe . . . maybe your vocabulary will expand."
"For your information, the ladies love me. I am smart, charming and devilishly good-looking. But speak for yourself, you look like you've been living in a dumpster! Don't go in a zoo now, they might mistake you for a gorilla." Jayce snapped, the vein in his neck throbbing madly.
A round of 'oohs' and whoops went around and I was pretty sure I was at the top of the kill list.
"That is quite enough! Miss Grey, you will spend the rest of the week in detention after school! I will be personally speaking with your parents about this crude behavior of yours." Well, there goes another round of suspension of allowance.
This just wasn't right. I couldn't just let him break me down so easily. I had to fight back somehow.
The next day, during lunchtime, Jayce shook a ketchup bottle and began squeezing out the ketchup but instead of squirting out nicely, it splattered all over him. He was covered in ketchup! Take that, Patterson! I had emptied the ketchup and poured baking soda in the ketchup.
Revenge couldn't taste any sweeter.
A few days later, as I began opening my locker, whipped cream began pouring out of it. I gasped in shock. Who would have done this? Then my eyes narrowed . . . Jayce Patterson. He must have found out that I had been the one that pulled the prank on him.
"Veronica Grey! Ronnie!" cried a voice enthusiastically. I turned around to find one of my best friends walking over to me.
"Hey Cassie" I greeted dryly.
"Not in the mood today? Oh wait. I heard about Jayce Patterson and his gang dumping your stuff onto the floor. I'm sorry about that," Cassidy said as she rubbed my back soothingly. I smiled at her grimly.
"So I'm guessing you were the one who did that prank to Jayce?" asked Cassidy. Her eyes scanned the hallway, looking for the person in question.
"How did you . . .?" I trailed off.
"After the little scene you caused that's got everybody talking, it's pretty obvious . . . So what are you going to do with that?" asked Cassidy as she pointed to the whipped cream that was now building into a nice mound on top of my shoe.
"Clean it up," I stated simply. It was all I could do after all.
"I'll help you! You think it's Jayce who did this?"
I fought the urge to roll my eyes. "Of course. Who else would've done this? He must have found out," I said. Cassidy nodded her head in agreement.
Just then, Jayce walked by. He stopped for a second, head turning slightly to me and catching my eye. I glared at him and promised that he'll be sorry he did that.
"What?" He sneered. " Can't take a joke?"
I huffed, got my books as best I could, slammed the locker door on the whipped cream, and went to class.
The rest of the week passed by in a whirlwind of homework and practical jokes. I took every chance I got into carrying out a prank, as well as dodging Jayce's and trying to guess what his next one would be and when. At home, when I wasn't busy doing homework or completing my chores, I was busy plotting and coming up with a new idea. By the end of the week, I'd pretty much taken apart Cassidy's car by a 'misunderstanding' between Jayce and I, where I deflated all of his tires. Seeing me coming in with Cassidy's car one time (I only just got my license), he assumed that it was mine and promptly took out all the windows and dismantled the bumper. Needless to say, Cassidy didn't look very happy at that.
Jayce's friend, Derrick, got pissed off after he found out that Jayce had lost his credit card by accident while shopping for materials for his revenge. Jayce and I were responsible for the clogging up of the male and female bathrooms, and we were also the ones that put a huge dent in one of the walls. There was a large red stain in the library from where a small bottle of food coloring had fallen on Jayce when he had walked in. And the second floor left window had a teensy crack on it when I tripped backward from one of the other pranks. But we both knew that the practical jokes started because of something stupid and it was kind of hard getting through the day with your best friends ignoring you. Plus, we were starting to piss a whole lot of people off.
I looked up from the novel I was currently finishing off while everyone else was trying to complete the test. "Yes?"
"Since you've finished the test and it is the last period of the day why don't you bring Jayce's make up homework to him. It seems he's not feeling well and won't be coming back till another week or so." Miss Harrison gestured towards the pile of homework on her desk.
I glanced at the vacant seat in the classroom, only noticing now that Jayce hadn't showed up for a couple of days. I assumed he was skiving like any other teenager who couldn't care less about school.
"But, Miss Harrison, you know Jared and I aren't . . . on good terms."
"Well then, why don't you go there and rekindle that little 'friendship' you have."
"Why can't one of his friends bring the homework to him?" I protested. There was no way in hell would I waste a moment of my life showing up at Jayce Patterson's doorstep, giving him his homework and looking like I cared.
"I'll do it!" A redhead named Bianca raised her hand willingly. "If she won't go then I'll go. I finished my test too."
"Yes! Why can't she go?" I pointed at Bianca desperately.
"No. You will go to Mr. Patterson's house and bring him his homework. Besides you can think of it as a favor to all of us. Those silly little pranks of yours are getting old and tiring. Do something about it."
I groaned. I guess I did owe everyone that much.
I grumbled, my feet itching to break into a run. I did not want to be here. I really did not want to be here. Before I could lift a hand the door swung open revealing an extremely attractive brunette who looked about ready to yell at whoever was at the end of the other line but was abruptly cut off.
"Ugh! Stupid, stupid . . . " The brunette stopped short and glowered at me with such disdain I could've melted into a pile of goo. "And who are you?"
Wow. I can see the Patterson has enough bitterness to pass around. "Um. I'm here to deliver Jayce's make up homework. He wouldn't happen to be here, would he?" I asked, nervously tugging at the hem of my shirt. It seemed that this girl could eat me whole if she wanted to. And that wasn't exactly the way I planned to die.
"No. He's not." The brunette said and flashed a wry smile. "Run along now. He's not here. You can tell your stalker-ish friends to stop hiding behind that bush and go home."
"Wha . . . " I trailed off and blinked around in confusion.
"Shallow fan girls," The brunette muttered under her breath as she turned around and walked back into the house, her long hair bouncing off shoulders.
"Wait! I'm just a student at Westville High. My name is Veronica Grey and I . . . I just came to drop off Jayce's homework. I wouldn't be here if I had a choice." I said.
The brunette froze and whipped around, her eyes lit with surprise and excitement. "You say your name is Veronica? Would that be the longer version for Ronnie?"
I nodded my head. I really didn't get where any of this was going.
"Oh my gosh! Hi!" The brunette gushed and crushed me in the tightest hugs mankind could ever experience. The Patterson really do have mood issues. "Come on in! Jayce is in his bedroom."
I scrunched my eyebrows in confusion and asked, "Didn't you say that he wasn't home?"
"Oh. That. It's just my job to protect my younger brother. I'm Gabriela, by the way. But you can call me Gabby." Gabby said and smiled widely.
I didn't know how I didn't notice it before but Gabby and Jayce both looked awfully alike. Both had chocolate brown hair, straight pointed nose, thin upper lip, angular jaw bone and dimples in their smile. The only difference was the eyes. Gabby's were a clear crystal blue while Jayce's were a darker shade of midnight blue.
"Oh! Meet our little sister, Blair," Gabby said as she lifted up a cute little girl with red ribbons in her hair. She looked like a miniature version of Jayce. "Say hello to Ronnie, Blair."
Blair looked at Gabby with wide eyes and sucked her thumb tenderly. "Wonnie?"
"Hello, Blair," I said and beamed.
With her other free hand, Blair tugged at the ends of my wavy black hair, twirling it around her fingers. "You haf pweety hair."
"Thank you. But I think your hair is prettier. You look very cute."
Blair looked back up at Gabby and flashed a toothy grin, "I like her. She's nice and she's weally pweety."
"She is right though. You really are gorgeous. Jayce told me you were pretty but he never mentioned you were this pretty!" Gabby exclaimed.
I blushed hotly at the compliment. "Jayce talks about me?"
"Oh yeah. You have no idea. You're all he ever talks about. It drives us nuts! Right, Blair?" Gabby asked and Blair bobbed her head up and down in agreement.
All bad things, I suppose I thought.
"You guys would make a very cute couple." Gabby said.
"What? Oh no. Jayce and I aren't . . . we aren't . . . " I spluttered unintelligently, the blush intensifying.
Gabby smirked knowingly and winked and said, "I won't tell anyone. Jayce is in his room upstairs."
I really did not want to be here.
Tip toeing into the room I noticed that the bedside table was piled with tissues. Jayce was curled up into a ball, the blankets twisted around his sleeping form. His nose was a furious red color and his skin a sickening pale hue. He must've caught a cold. A really bad cold, I noted. He looked almost peaceful . . . and in really bad shape. Leaning in closer, I noticed his mouth was slightly parted and a pool of drool stained his pillow. A giggle slipped from my mouth and then before I knew it I was tugged under the covers in a harsh grip.
"Ow!" I cried out, rubbing my wrists.
"Ronnie? Wh-What are you doing here?" asked Jayce. He rubbed his eyes and yawned widely.
"I'm here to deliver your homework."
Jayce groaned. "Homework. Perfect. Just what I need to take care of after curing myself first."
"How'd you catch a cold?" I asked curiously.
"I was setting up one of the pranks when it started to rain," Jayce said then glanced down at the papers. "Oh great. Homework that I don't even know how to do. Excellent."
For an unknown reason guilt started settling in the pit of my stomach and I couldn't help but ask, "Do you need help? I could tutor you . . . if you want."
Jayce narrowed his eyes in suspicion and curiosity, "Why? Is this some kind of trick or something?"
"No. I'm really offering. I'm genuinely offering." Jayce snorted, "Fine! If you don't want my help then fine. It's not like I want to waste my precious time with you."
I stood up and adjusted the strap of my duffel bag on my shoulder when a hand shot out and stopped me from leaving. "Fine. Okay."
"Yes, I . . . I want you to tutor me. Help me. It's not like any of my friends would be willing to." Jayce said, and both of us looked at each other guiltily.
A week had gone by and Cassidy and the others still have yet to acknowledge my presence. Jayce, on the other hand, had gained back a little respect but thus far none of his friends would converse with him other than a simple 'Hello. Glad you're feeling better.' We were both royally screwed. We knew we should apologize but neither of us dared walk up to our friends. Not when all of them had the advantage of snapping our necks like twigs. So if we weren't busy in class, we were either in the library or at his place sharing and comparing study notes.
"You're so stupid. The answer is negative two b to the power two, stupid," I said.
"I'm not stupid. You're stupid, you ninny!" Jayce retorted, sticking out his tongue childishly. And to think he's a big bully.
"I'm not a ninny!" I cried out, throwing a ball of paper at him, which hit him smack in the middle of his forehead. "Who's the ninny now?"
"Oh, it is so on!" Jayce smirked menacingly and launched himself into war battle mode, hurling everything his hands could get on at me. "Take that, Grey!" Just as a Hello Kitty pencil slapped me square in the face.
"Ow! My eye! It stings!" I whimpered, covering my right eye.
"Are you okay? I'm so sorry. Let me see," said Jayce as he leaned in closer for a better look. Worry lines carved his concerned eyes. Poor guy. He didn't even know what was going to hit him. Literally.
I smirked and smothered his face with snot covered Kleenex, rubbing it all over his pretty little face. I scrambled up, giggling at the astonished, horrified expression displayed on Jayce's face.
"Get back here, you little prick!" shrieked Jayce. Two firm arms encircled my waist, wrenching me against his chest.
"Are you ticklish, Ronnie?" He whispered huskily, his breath tingling the bare back of my neck. We were both equally out of breath.
"No!" I squeaked. Dread consumed me and I struggled to detach myself from his strong arms. Not good, not good, not good I chanted in my head, not good at all.
Jayce's fingers pinched my waist in repetitive motion and it was all it took to get me barking with laughter and begging for mercy.
"Excuse me! This is a library! This is no place for your personal needs or public display of affection! You should know that by now!" The librarian snarled. Her nostrils flared and her eyes were cold and with such hostility you had to look away. This woman was petrifying.
That was when I realized we looked like a couple embracing intimately. I reddened and stammered, "We-We're sorry . . . We . . . We won't do it again. Sorry."
As soon as the librarian disappeared from our view we shared a look, and soon after the faint echoes of low rumbles of laughter could be heard throughout the library, the both of us quickly forgetting that his arms were still enveloping my small figure.
I sighed heavily, flinging my bag over my shoulder, relieved that the day was finally over.
I turned around and spotted Jack, one of Jayce's buddies. "Um. Hey."
"Jayce. He-he's feeling better, right?" Jack asked worriedly.
"Why don't you ask him yourself?"
"I've got to go," Jack said abruptly then paused and turned back around. "He didn't know, you know."
"What?" I asked.
"If he knew, if he had a choice he would've turn back in time and never did what he did. He cares about you. More than you'll ever know."
"What?" I asked again, but he was gone.
Every pulse in my body throbbed to an agonizing stop, the rawness in the air crawled up the back of my neck; my body rejecting any act of movement. There leaning against the car door was Jayce with a pretty girl pressed up against him. She smiled up at him lazily while trailing a finger up and down his chest in a seductive behavior.
An unsettling sinking feeling engulfed my stomach, twisting in the most uncomfortable way possible. I wanted to throw up. The impulse of yanking the girl by the hair and throttling her sent shivers to the tips of my fingers. Why? Unrevealed uncertainty. I just knew I wanted to.
I walked over, swallowing the lump forming in my throat just as the girl blew a goodbye kiss to Jayce.
"Hey! I was wondering where you disappeared off to," Jayce said, pushing himself off his car and smiled at the bag in my hands. "You brought me soup! I know you care about me but I told you I'm feeling better you don't have to keep . . . Hey. What's wrong?"
"What? Nothing. I'm fine," I mumbled distractedly.
Jayce frowned, tilting my head to meet his eyes, his thumb brushing my chin in a compassionate manner. My breath hitched and it felt like all the oxygen was sucked out of me. "'Fine' is the code word for 'I'm really in a messed up state and I really want to talk about it'. Everyone knows that. I know we're not exactly tight buds but you can talk to me."
"Yeah. But I don't really want to talk about it." I said, turning away, not wanting to meet his eyes.
"I said I don't want to talk about it, Jayce."
"Ronnie, it's not good to bottle it up inside all time, you've got to unleash your feeling at one point or—"
"Just let it go! I don't want to talk about it! God!"
Jayce's face darkened and his shoulders tensed up, "Fine! Then don't! It's not like I give a crap about you. Why don't you just go back to your little rat hole and cry to someone who cares!"
I watched hopelessly as Jayce got in the car and slammed the door shut and drove off, leaving me standing in the empty car park with no ride back home. I sighed heavily, ignoring the pang in my chest and began traveling home by foot.
I moaned as I glanced at my phone. The screen glowed: 'new message.' Clicking it open, it read: We need to talk. 4:30 at the park – Jayce. I would have asked how he got my number (we never really did exchange phone numbers), but by now, we pretty much found out things like that by any sort of means we could. I found out his address like that. Suspicious but a little ready to think about making peace, I sighed, slipped on my clothes and headed to the park.
"You're late," I said as I saw him strolling towards me.
"I know. I'm sorry. Before you say anything just hear me out. Okay?" Jayce drew in a deep intake of breath. "This wasn't exactly how I planned to tell you but . . . I like you. I've liked you for a very long time."
I scoffed, not believing any word he was saying. "What about the girl?"
Jayce let out a frustrated growl, "I just told you I like you and all you can think about is the girl? Wait. What girl?"
"You know, the pretty blonde who was practically rubbing herself on you," I muttered.
"Melissa? Melissa's my friend! We don't like each other that way." Jayce exclaimed.
"Really? It didn't seem that way!"
"For crying out loud, Ronnie, Melissa's a lesbian!"
" . . . What?" I spluttered, completely bewildered.
"Melissa was just showing me how she was going to seduce her girlfriend later on that night. And if you paid close attention you would've noticed that I was completely disturbed and freaked out!" Jayce fumed.
"Oh." Now I feel stupid and foolish.
"Wait. You're jealous, aren't you? You're jealous that it wasn't you that was rubbing yourself all over me!" Jayce smirked, a mischievous glint twinkling in his eye.
"N-No! I wasn't!" I objected, my face coloring five different shades of red.
"You're jealous. Ronnie's jealous! Admit it, you like me!"
"I don't know what you're talking about." I huffed, crossing my arms and mentally noted to bash his head with a textbook the next time I see him.
"You like me!" Jayce beamed, his adorable dimples revealing for the world to see.
"Well. What about when you were being such a jackass and ripped my stuff apart and crushed my glasses! What about then?"
Jayce grew still, his eyes hooded with various flickering emotions. The atmosphere rapidly swapped from a light, teasing aura to a heavy, rigid tension. "I was a jerk then. I didn't know it was your locker. If I could I would go back in time and do things differently."
A vague memory of Jack saying the exact same thing clouded my mind. 'He cares about you. More than you'll ever know.'
"But you're still a jerk. You still bully people."
"I know. But I'm trying to be a better person. I will be."
A slightly uncomfortable silence passed by so I asked the first question that had kept lingering in my mind, " . . . So you like me, eh?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I do. Ever since fourth grade," admitted Jayce, a tinge of pink coloring his cheeks. Aw. How cute.
"Fourth grade? Wow," I said. How did I ever miss that? "But you treated me like a jackass all these years."
The corners of Jayce's lips twisted up a little. "Don't you know boys treat girls like dirt because they secretly like them? A lot."
"Really?" I murmured, my heart thumping widely in my chest. Jayce stepped closer, so close our noses were centimeters apart and our breaths mingled together.
"Really," he said then closed the gap between us. His fingers caressed the side of my face as he kissed me sweetly, his lips soft and tasting of peppermint.
"You taste good."
"Really?" said Jayce, smiling against my lips before deepening the kiss. I sighed in content, threading my fingers through his smooth hair. I was in pure bliss. I wanted to stay in this moment forever.
"So what did you want to talk about?" Jayce asked and pulled away before feathering light kisses across my jaw line. I frowned in disappointment, already missing the feel of his lips molded with mine.
"What do you mean what did I want to talk about? You were the one that text me and said that we 'needed to talk'," I said.
"No. You text me saying we needed to talk," Jayce insisted.
"What?" I asked, clearly confused.
Something tightened against my left leg and Jayce met my eyes. Suddenly, the rope pulled us up and I yelped as I found myself hanging upside down from a branch. Someone moved into my line of vision; it was Cassidy.
"Cassie?" I whispered, shocked. Then the rest of my friends and Jayce's buddies were looking up at us curiously, trying to hide their smiles.
"What? Can't take a joke?" Derrick smirked. Cassidy and the others were bent over their stomachs, chortling with laughter. They walked off together - arm in arm - leaving us hanging behind.
And that's when it hit me. I was set up . . . We were set up. So I guess my horoscope was right after all.
A/N: I remember swearing to myself I would never write a cliché typical bad-boy/jerk/jock liking a typical no-one/nerd/ordinary girl story. But I did. For entirely different reasons though. I swear! I was rummaging through my old stuff when I found a story I had written a few years back and I decided to give it a major edit and twist the plot a little. This is probably the longest and completed story I've ever written in a really, really long time. So kindly drop a review! It would be greatly appreciated.