My Neighbor

"Hey… hey, Leila," my neighbor, Carter, called running up to me.

I turned from my position of all but standing on my head to reach my mail box, "Yeah."

"Um…" he said, finally reaching me, "Um… I was… did you just run or something?" he asked, looking over my body.

I blushed dark red, realizing I was only in a sports bra and short shorts. Nodding slightly, I turned back to the mail box to hide my blush. It wasn't exactly my fault, well… I guess it was kind of, but not really. Penny, my sort of roommate, came into my bedroom last night (we share a sort of condo thing) and stole all of my shirts. No joke. I woke up and she was sitting at my desk, spinning in circles and singing a 3 Doors Down song. "What the hell, Penny, I'm sleeping," I whined, pulling my pillow over my head.

"No, honey, you are going to get dressed and go running," she said, clucking her tongue.

"I actually have another fifteen minutes before I normally get up and go running, so thanks but no thanks."

"I'm serious, get up."

"Penny," I sighed exasperatedly.

"Look, you are going to go running now, because you have to show off for Brandon, that hott man who lives three condos down. Then, when you get back, I'll have breakfast made for you."

"Why… I mean he lives all the way down there."

She huffed angrily, "Listen, you need to go on a date. It's all but a tragedy that you've never dated anyone at the age of twenty. So, I'm going to help you get a guy. First, you are going to go running in that outfit I picked out for you and put on your bed, and then I'm going to set you up with some new clothes. We'll work on your make up I guess, I mean, you are gorgeous without it, but if we accent your eyes a little more, you—"

"No, Penny," I said rolling my eyes.

"Yes," she said stubbornly, "Now go."

"Penny, you—"

"Well fine, you can go naked if you want to," she said, standing and edging her way towards my door, "But you don't have any other clothes, so you better—eek!"

I threw a pillow at her in shock, "What?"

But she was gone.

"Yeah, I run every morning," I answered Carter's original question.

"Oh, huh, that's weird I never see you."

I shrugged, because I see him every morning. Of course I wasn't going to say that though.

"So, I was wondering… okay… well we're neighbors right?"

"Was that a rhetorical question, or do you actually need me to say yes?"

He smirked and rolled his eyes at me, "Well thank you, I didn't realize you were so sarcastic. What I meant, was we're friendly, right?"

"Um…" I started, with the whole dear-in-the-headlights look on my face, "…yes?"

"Well, then I have a favor to ask of you," he said arrogantly, as if he already knew what my answer would be.

I rolled my eyes at him, "And the favor is…?"

"Well," he started, whipping out the charming smile, "I need someone gorgeous, such as yourself, to be my date to a party tonight to make my ex jealous. The favor I am asking of you would be to please be my girlfriend for tonight."

I stared at him for a second, entranced by his smile, and I couldn't help thinking he actually said please. He just earned major brownie points. "Um… why are you asking me?"

"Well, because all of my girl friends are friends with Amber—my ex—so they would just tell her if they were pretending… you're the only girl I know who doesn't know her… does that make sense?"

"So you want me to—"

"Jesus, Leila, could you take any longer?" Penny sighed.

"Sorry, I didn't realize I was on a schedule," I said, raising an eyebrow at her.

"Oh, hey, who's this?"

"Carter, this is my best friend Penny, Penny this is my—our—neighbor Carter."

"Oh it's nice to meet you," she said smiling widely, clearly enjoying what she was seeing.

"Yeah, you, too; so, will you come with me?"

"Come where?" Penny asked, fighting a smile.

"To a party," I answered, immediately regretting it once I did.

Her smile widened and gave me a look that clearly said this-is-your-chance-please.

"So…?" Carter asked.

"Sure," I said, smiling.

He looked incredibly relieved, before saying, "Excellent, okay, I'll meet you down here at six, and we can come up with a story, okay?"

"A story," I said nodding, "Right, of course."

"Cool, I'll see you later."

Penny watched him walk away before smiling hugely, "I am so good. I told you, you were going to get a date! It must be fate!"

"You don't get it; he's asking me to be his sort of girlfriend to make his ex girlfriend jealous."

"So? You can make him fall for you, and that way, it will be amazing, and then…" she sighed, "God, you two would be perfect together!"

"God, Penny," I said turning and walking towards our condo, "You don't even know the guy."


"So I'm not his type," I said, rolling my eyes.

"What, you talk to him?" She asked, grabbing my arm in shock.

"Duh, Penny, he is my neighbor."

"Eek," she shrieked, "This is just so adorable!"

Instead of gracing her with an answer, I just shook my head and went to take a shower.


"Good, you came," Carter said sighing when he heard me coming towards him, "I seriously thought that…"

I looked down at myself, wondering why he was staring at me like that, "What?"

He smiled widely at me, "You look really good."

Looking down at myself, I took in stock of everything that I was wearing. A.K.A everything I wouldn't normally be caught dead wearing. I mean my fingertips were passed the bottom of my skirt—normally my skirt would be at my knees… if I even wore one. Seriously, the last time I wore a skirt was at eighth grade graduation and, needless to say, that was a while ago. The shirt was way tighter than any shirt I owned, and made me feel incredibly self-conscious. Then, Penny had curled my hair, which I almost killed her for when I realized what she was doing, and had darkened my eyes up a little. "Thanks, you don't look so bad yourself." Really, I had always wanted to say that. How many times had I heard people in movies say that? I've lost count.

"Alright, so I think we should say that I asked you out two weeks ago one morning when you were running. I waited for you when you came back and asked you to go…"

"…on a picnic." I rolled my eyes at the look on his face, and sighed, "This way, we don't have any witnesses. If we name a restaurant, people would have seen us. Or we could say we went hiking or biking or something like that. And why are you the one to ask me out?"

"You hike and bike?"

"I love both… why?"

"What, you aren't afraid of getting your clothes dirty or something? And god, all those wild animals in the woods?" He asked, teasingly.

I rolled my eyes, "Puh-lease, I am not one of those girls. God, no, but you didn't answer my question: Why were you the one to ask me out?"

"Good," he said nodding approvingly, ignoring why he had to ask me out.

I sighed after a few minutes, realizing that he wasn't going to answer me, so I continued with our story, "So we've been on two dates so far. The first—"

"—which was a bike trip to the coast," Carter cut in.

"And the second was a hiking trip up The Hill."

Carter laughed at my choice, "The Hill? Okay, I can go with it." The Hill was a well known scare spot for teens on Halloween. There was a huge maze like thing, with people hiding in the bushes, and there were little stations where skits were played out to scare people.

"Um…Um… exactly what does being your pseudo-girlfriend entail?"

He graciously held back a smile at what I was implying and said, "Don't worry, I won't do anything to make you uncomfortable. Simple hugs, maybe a kiss on the forehead or cheek, but that's it. I may hold your hand too, but seriously, nothing too girlfriend-ish."

"Ah," I said nodding, sighing, "You're touchy-feely, huh?"

"What?" he asked, obviously offended.

"Touchy-feely… do you need a definition?"

"What do you mean, you don't hug people? Have you ever held someone's hand? Really, that's not touchy-feely."

"Um… hugs? Not so much… I mean except grandparents, but it's basically a rule to hug your grandparents, so… I guess that doesn't count…"

"You don't hug your friends or something?"

"Um… why would I need to?"

"Are you serious right now?"

I quirked an eyebrow at his question and asked, "Why wouldn't I be?"

"I've never met someone like you before," he said shaking his head in confusion. "And holding hands… you've never held someone's hand before?"

"Do my little cousins count? I mean when we cross the road and stuff I hold their hands… I also pick them up, so that could be counted has a hug…"

"No, those definitely don't count."

"Oh… well then, no."

He shook his head again, smiling.


"Nothing, I'm just… have you ever dated anyone before, because I totally see you being the guy in the relationship?"

"Excuse me? What does that mean?" I asked. No, actually, I hadn't ever dated someone, but I didn't want to tell him.

"And you're a feminist too," he said smiling wider.

"So? What does that mean?" I asked again.

"It means that this will be more fun then I had originally anticipated."


"Because you are going to flip when you meet my friends… I'm pretty sure they don't even know what feminism means."

"You have got to be kidding me," I said darkly, picturing a bunch of jocks bossing around a bunch of slutty blonds, and shuttered.

He all but laughed at the expression on my face, "Nope, no joke."

I sighed, "Alright, I'll try not to be too angry at them. I mean I don't remember ever getting angry angry at someone before, but I will… debate… with them about equality between men and women."

He winced, "Tell me you're a hard core tree hugger and we are ending this date here and now."

"God, no, I'm not really into politics at all… like at all, at all."

"Good, come on," he said, slipping his hand in mine, and pulling me towards the door.

"Uh, Carter," I said, pulling on my hand.

"Just relax; it'll become almost natural if you let it."

I sighed, "I won't comment."

"What were you going to say?"

"I was going to say… never mind, I mean hand holding can't be that bad…"

He laughed, "Chill out, seriously. I'm not leading you to your death or anything, it's just a party, and I'm just holding your hand."

"That's what you say," I mumbled, earning a laugh from him.


"Dude, we didn't think you were going to—wow, who's the babe?"

"I'm right here you know," I sighed, rolling my eyes. I looked at the guy standing in front of me and couldn't help but compare him to Carter. He actually looked like one of those wrestler wannabes who are clearly tiny, but wear really baggy clothes to look like their more muscle-y then they are, whereas Carter was actually jacked, but not overly so.

Carter smiled, "This is Leila; Leila, this is Joey."

Joey's eyes ran up and down my body, making me shift uncomfortably, "Not bad."

"No way, man, this is my girlfriend," Carter said, giving Joey a look. I winced slightly, because Joey still gave me that look, and shifted so that I was hidden slightly by Carter.

"Alright, alright," Joey said smiling.

"Come on, I'll introduce you to some of my actual friends," Carter said, pulling me further into the room.

"God, are all the people here like that? I'm leaving if they are," I warned, walking quicker so that I was closer to Carter. I mean, I wouldn't normally try to be in someone else's bubble, but the people here were seriously making me worried.

"No, a few of my guy friends have a little bit of a conscience."

"Oh, that's so reassuring," I said sarcastically.

He shrugged arrogantly, "That's what I'm here for."

"Carter," someone called from our left.

"Tucker," Carter said smiling, then whispered to me, "Don't worry, he's cool."

"As in sweet cool or asshole cool?"

"How can an asshole be cool?"

"I'm pretty sure that 'Joey' is considered cool, and he is an asshole by all standards."

"Touché," he said, turning back to Tucker, "Tucker, this is my girlfriend Leila; Leila, this is my best friend Tucker."

"Nice to meet you," he said smiling. He was the classic blond haired, blue eyed jock that everyone hears about, with the tanned skin and killer smile. Unlike the other clichés though, this guy was nice.

"Oh he even has manners," I said to Carter, then turned to Tucker and said, "It's nice to meet you too."

"She met Bobby?" Tucker asked, laughing.

"Nope, Joey," Carter laughed with him.

Tucker just laughed harder, "If she's that hard on Joey, I've got to see her meet Bobby."

"Why," I asked warily.

"Let's just say that Joey's a gentleman compared to Bobby."

"And Bobby's your friend?" I asked, raising an eyebrow at Carter.

"Nah, actually—"

"Talking about me, baby?" Someone said behind me, sliding a hand down to my ass.

"What the hell?" I snapped, stepping closer to Carter.

"Um…" Carter started, putting an arm around my waist and pulling my back to his chest, "Yeah, Bobby, this is my girlfriend Leila; Leila, this is Bobby." I couldn't help but notice how perfectly I fit against his body. I mean the top of my head was just about even with his chin, and the closeness between us sent all of my nerves on edge.

Bobby had brown hair, a solid build—but not as strong as Carter (I don't know why I couldn't help comparing them…)—and icy blue eyes. His most notable feature though, was the arrogance and cocky-ness just radiating off of him.

"She's feisty; I bet she's good in bed."

"Excuse me?" I snapped, startled.

"Dude," Tucker said, shaking his head seriously, "She's taken man, go screw someone else."

"Are you offering?" Bobby asked, smiling.

Carter burst out laughing, and I jumped, turning to him, "the look on your face," he said through laughs, "was priceless."

I rolled my eyes, "Well if you're done, I vote you introduce me to someone else."

"Aw, baby scared of me?" Bobby asked, smiling widely at me.

"Oh, please, if I were scared of you, you wouldn't wake up until next year."

"If you were scared you'd be the shit out of me?"

"Did you figure that out all by yourself?" I snapped, narrowing my eyes at him.

He smiled, "I like her Carter, keep her close."

I stuck my finger down my throat in the universal 'gag me now' gesture, before being pulled away by Carter.

"Seriously," he warned, shaking his head, "Don't encourage the guy."

"Well, I can safely say that that is the first time I've ever met an asshole."

"What about Joey?"

"Yeah, I mean Joey was just icky. I thought that Joey was an asshole, but Bobby just set the new standards. Really, I'm probably completely oblivious and too sheltered, but I've never actually talked with such a… a…"

"Such an asshole," he said, leading me over to the bar.

"Yes," I said emphatically.

"Well, you handled it much better than expected."

"Am I as entertaining as you anticipated?"

"More so," he said smiling, handing me a cup.

I easily drank whatever it was, without asking what he had gotten me, but winced when I realized that he got me a virgin something or other. "Am I the designated driver?" I asked.

He smiled, "You know we walked here, right?"

"Yes, that's why I asked."

"… Um…?"

"It's a virgin," I said, holding up my cup.

"You drink?"

I rolled my eyes, "I may be sheltered and oblivious and have never dated someone before and… well all of my other lack of 'normalcy', but that doesn't mean I'm a complete straight."

"What does that mean?"

"It means," I said frustrated, "That I do not live in a bubble. I have gotten drunk, I can hold my alcohol, and I do not need your protection, I can take care of myself."

He smiled, and just stared at me through the bangs of his shaggy dark hair, for a second longer than normal.

When he turned, I exhaled the breath I hadn't realized I was holding, and tried to get my blush to go away, while he ordered me a drink. "You can hold your alcohol?" he asked, holding up a tall drink.

"I did say that," I said, raising an eyebrow.

"I know I just figured you were trying to show off or something."

"Um, no, I wasn't."

"Okay, okay, cool down, tiger," he said, holing up his hands in mock surrender.

"Hey, Carter," a girl said from over my shoulder, "Who's the new bitch?"

My mouth twisted at that because seriously, was everyone here an asshole? God.

"Hey, Amber," Carter called, but didn't look over at her, he watched as I attempted to cool down, because this was his ex, I had to be nice… right?

"I've been told she's feisty, you know… good in bed or something?"

My face colored angrily. Why are they making so many assumptions about me?

"Amber, Jesus where did that come from?" Carter asked, standing up for me. I was surprised, actually, that he would.

"I don't know… I mean, she's obviously better than me in bed if you pick… um…" she walked around to look at me. "Um… well," she winced, "… well if she looks like that."

Basically I deserve a gold star or two; I didn't even wince when she said that, I just shrugged as if it didn't bother me, and took a sip of my drink.

"Amber, back off," Carter warned, sliding his hand around my waist again.

"Carter," I said sighing, "If she wants to bitch at me to feel better, let her."

"You think I'm just looking for attention or something?"

"Why else would you be standing here making crazy assumptions? I mean, if you wanted the guy, why did you accuse him of cheating? Seriously, no one here is at fault but you."

She looked like she'd been slapped. I mean, I didn't think that what I said was that bad…

"Come on," Carter said, pulling me out back where a bunch of guys were sitting around a rotting picnic table, and about thirty or so guys and girls were playing spin the bottle over to our left.

"I'm sorry, I mean she's your ex, and I was trying to be nice, but—"

"—that was awesome," he said laughing, "I mean I told you that I was over the girl, it's not a big deal."

"Are you sure? I mean, I thought that you—"

"No, you were perfect, thank you."


Some guy at the picnic table called Carter's name, saving me from having to say an awkward thank you. "Um…" he looked at me in apology. "Those guys are actually my real friends… you know, the ones who are half way decent."

I rolled my eyes, "I told you, I can take care of myself. I mean I may not know anybody here, but you wanted to come, so you go and have fun or whatever."

"Yeah? Okay, I'll come to get you soon, okay?"

"Don't worry about it. Just…" I blushed, "Just tell me when you're leaving or…"

"I'm not going to leave without you," he said exasperated.

"Oh, right, okay," I said, "Okay, I'm going inside."

"Hey," he said, grabbing my arm to stop me from leaving.

I inhaled sharply when I saw the look on his face. It wasn't one of those awkward moments where it feels like it lasts forever; it was more like it didn't last long enough. For one second he was staring at me deeply, his bright green eyes seeming to get darker, and then he leaned in and kissed me on my forehead, making my eyes flutter close.

He pulled back and looked at me. It took me a few seconds to open my eyes, but when I did he was smiling. I blinked a few times, then quickly pulled away, feeling a blush creeping up my cheeks, "I… I am… I'm just—just inside."

"Okay," he said, giving me a look that said I-know-something-you-don't-know, which was just completely infuriating.

Inside, I found an empty couch that I inspected first. It didn't smell like sex—not that I would actually know what that smelt like, but I hoped that I would have some sort of sixth sense of knowing—so I sat down and pulled my legs up to my chest, taking soothing breaths.

"You okay?" Tucker asked, walking over with a pretty girl holding his hand.

"Yeah, I'm good," I said, trying to act normal. I mean he only kissed my forehead… what's the big deal?

"This is my girlfriend Rachel; Rachel this is Leila, Carter's girl."

"Ah, good luck," she said smiling.

I gave her a look, "For what?"

"She doesn't need luck," Tucker said smiling, "She knows how to handle people like him."

"… Like him?" I asked.

"He acts different around her… I don't know, I think you may be the real deal," Tucker said, scrutinizing me.

"The real… different… what are you talking about?" I asked, lowering my legs and sitting criss-cross-applesauce.

"I think he loves you," Rachel said nodding.

I laughed, wanting to straighten them out because one: he and I were just friends. I mean the only time we used to talk was when we would bring the garbage out or when we were both walking to the library or something… although I did develop a crush on the guy during our short conversations… whatever, and two: I'm not actually his girlfriend. I didn't say that though, instead I just said, "We've only been dating for two weeks."

"It only takes a five minute conversation to fall in love… sometimes less." Rachel looked at me seriously, giving me the impression that she was a psychology major or something.

"Really," I said, raising an eyebrow, "I don't believe in love at first sight."

"You don't believe in love either, right?" she asked, looking at me hard.

"Um… why are we talking about this?"

"Chill, Rach, don't scare her away," Tucker said, putting a hand on her arm.

Rachel sighed, "Okay, fine."

I glanced around the room for something to talk about. It was crazy loud in the house, but I had always liked the feeling of the bass in my chest. The pictures on the wall were vibrating, and the small tables that weren't very heavy were jumping to the beat of the music. The only thing wrong with this picture—in my professional opinion—were the dancers. I mean why on earth would someone want to show that much skin, and basically have sex in front of fifty or so onlookers? Do people have no shame anymore?

Rachel sighed, "Come on," she said to Tucker, "Let's go outside, I'm going to go into cardiac arrest with all the music hammering on my heart." She put her hand up to her chest, feeling the beat, and wincing slightly.

"You going to be okay?" Tucker asked me, standing up to follow Rachel.

"Of course," I said smiling, "You guys go have fun."

"I'll see you around," Rachel said nodding to me.

Once they left, I only lasted about thirty seconds, before I pulled out my phone and started texting Penny, Gavin and Bianca. It was very awkward to just sit on a couch—by myself—and stare at people dancing. Plus, the conversations got my mind off of Carter.

Shit, Carter.

As soon as I thought about him, the moment outside when he kissed my forehead popped into my head, making me blush again.

Someone put their hand on my shoulder, making me drop my phone and gasp. Thankfully, no embarrassing squeak or yelp was uttered by me.

"Hey, Sugar," Bobby said, putting his hand on my other shoulder, and started to… I guess it was massaging my back. Ew, I had never gotten a massage before, and, frankly, I don't remember asking for one.

"What are you doing?" I asked, trying to shrug off his hands.

"What does it feel like I'm doing?" he asked, leaning down so that his breath blew across my neck.

"It feels like you're trying to look down my shirt," I said, still trying to pull away from him.

He laughed, and tightened his grip so that I couldn't even move, "That may be an ulterior motive, but can you blame me? With a body like that, well, you're hott, babe."

"Bobby, move your hands," I warned, lifting up my hands and pushing with all I was worth. Normally in these situations, I would sock the guy in the jaw, and give him a nice kick to the family jewels. Unfortunately, neither was possible with our current positioning.

"Aw, don't be like that," he said, kissing my cheek. I reached my hand up to slap him, but he pulled his head away and chuckled before I could reach him.

"Eugh," I groaned, "Please tell me you did not just kiss me."

"What, you prefer it on your lips?"

"Eugh," I uttered in disgust again, and pulled my face as far away from his as I could, with his hands still on my shoulders.

I glanced around, looking for anybody that could help me. I saw Amber watching with a smirk on her face, nope, no help there. Looking towards the door, I felt myself sigh in relief. He was turning away from the living room though, clearly looking for someone. Me, I hoped, anyway. "Carter," I called out.

The smile on his face dropped almost comically when he saw Bobby standing behind me.

"Baby," Bobby whispered into my ear again, earning another wince from me, "Why'd you call him?"

"Do you seriously need me to answer that?"

"Yeah," he cooed, "Because no girl can resist me."

"Obviously you've got to pay those girls a lot, 'cause you are just disgusting."

"Bobby," Carter warned, "Take your hands off of her."

"Why, what are you going to do about it?" Bobby asked, moving his face closer and kissing my cheek again. I lifted my hand up to try to slap him again, but—again—I missed.

"Eugh," I whined again, "Stop."

I closed my eyes tight, and then felt Bobby's hands leave my shoulders and heard a loud crash from behind me. I hunched my shoulders and put my hands over my head in defense for whoever just kicked Bobby's ass.

"Hey," Carter said gently, tugging on my arms, "What's wrong?"

I allowed him to pull my arms away a little, and then slowly opened one eye. In seeing that it was only Carter—and no Bobby—I opened my other one, and straightened my back. "Where'd he go?" I asked stupidly, because I had heard him fall.

"I took care of him," he said, staring at my intently, "Did he hurt you?"

"Does my ego count?"

The corner of his lips quirked into a small smile and said, "I guess I can let it slide for now."

"Then no, he didn't hurt me," I said, sighing.

"Good," he said arrogantly, holding his chin up, "because I can easily kick his ass again—"

"Hey, I can—"

"Obviously, you can't always take care of yourself if I had to knock the guy out," he said sternly, glaring at me.

"Hey," I said, holding up my hands in defense, "I'm sorry I asked…" I sighed, "That I asked for—for help, okay? I mean it's not like you'll ever find me doing it again."

He rolled his eyes, "It's not a crime to ask for help, you know."

"I'm fine," I said stubbornly, angry at him for yelling at me.

Sighing, he stood up and held out a hand to me, "Come on; let's go."

"What? Why?"

His glare hardened again. "Why?" he asked coldly, "Because that douchebag just tried to feel up my girlfriend."

"Okay, first of all Carter, I'm not actually your girlfriend, remember? And two," I rolled my eyes, "He's your friend, so—"

"No, he's not," he said exasperated, "Did you see what he does to girls? He's an asshole, plain and simple."

My eyes widened in surprise. Part of me wanted to blush at how much attention he was giving me, but the other part—the stronger part—was angry that he would ever lose a friend over someone like me. "Don't be stupid," I replied, standing up, "You stay, I'll go. I mean—"

"He wasn't ever my friend, friend. He was just a guy that I talked to because he was friends with my friends. Seriously, it's no skin off my back if I'm not on speaking terms with the guy."

"Carter," I warned.

"I'm serious," he said sighing, pulling me out the door. "And stop arguing, you aren't going to win."

I narrowed my eyes. "That sounded like a challenge," I said lowly, digging my heels in at the bottom of the steps and glared at him.

"No, it wasn't," he said quickly, "I'm merely stating a fact, that—"

"That sounded," I said again, a little bit louder so it cut him off, "Like a challenge."

"Leila," he said rolling his eyes, "You can't talk me into being friends with someone."

"I can talk you into not being stupid and stop wasting so much time over me."

"Really, you're going to do that how?"

My glared hardened, angry that he was patronizing me.

I decided that my best course of action would be to simply ignore him, so I glared at him and turned around, making my way home.

"Wow," Carter called, "Leila, what the hell?"

I ignored him, and held my chin up, staring straight ahead. I wasn't even going to give him the benefit of looking at him.

"Jeez, so much for being shy," he said smiling, trying to be lighthearted, "I mean all those other times that we talked you were always so much quieter… this is an entirely new side of you, really, why did you hold back before? Seriously, you went from being quiet to yelling at my friends and getting angry at me, its quiet a turn around."

My eyes were stony I was so mad. This was the first time, I realized, that I had ever been truly mad at someone. I had never, ever held a grudge on someone, and I had never, ever, gotten so mad that I felt like throttling someone… well, except for right now.

"Okay," I heard him sigh, "I guess you're really pissed. Um…"

Then he was in front of me, forcing me to stop and stare angrily at his chest.

"Look at me," he demanded.

I just stared at his chest, crossing my arms defiantly over my chest.

"Leila," he warned.

Anger coursed threw my veins. Who does he think he is demanding me to look at him, when he royally screwed up, and completely pissed me off?

He sighed again, "Please?"

I could almost hear the charming smile on his lips, and forced myself to hold my ground. That is, until I felt his fingertips under my chin and slowly, gently, lifting my face to look at him. There was no avoiding him now, his piercing green eyes were trained solely on me, and his mouth was quirked into one of those charming apologetic smiles.

"I'm sorry," he finally said.

I huffed, glaring at him, "For what?" I knew I was being petty, but I wanted him to say it.

"You know why I'm apologizing, don't push your luck," he said, raising an eyebrow.

"I don't remember asking you to apologize; therefore, if I were being lucky you would be walking away," I said coldly.

He rolled his eyes, "Jeez, you're tough."

I didn't flinch. I didn't know why I was being so hard on the guy, I mean it wasn't like I would just let people off the hook in two seconds, but I normally wasn't this much of a hard ass.

"Okay, I'm sorry for making assumptions and completely pissing you off, is that better?"

"Yes," I said, losing my hard glare.

"Good," he said, and—if I'm not mistaken—he sounded very relieved.

"So what did your friends want? You know the ones out back that called you over?"

"They invited me to this party that, I guess, is a really big deal."

"Cool… right?"

"Eh," he shrugged, "Maybe."

I furrowed my brow in confusion, "But you said the party was a really big deal."

He shrugged again in a noncommittal sort of way.

Rolling my eyes, I realized that we were at our condos already. "I guess—"

"Listen," he started, cutting me off.

"Did I give you any reason to think I wasn't?"

He rolled his eyes, "Seriously, just… just let me talk, okay?"

"Mhm," I said, looking up at him somewhat warily.

"Thank you for coming it was cool… um…but—oh wait, that's my phone," he said, grabbing his phone from his pocket. "It's Amber, just hold on a second, okay?"

I nodded, hurt.

What did he mean? Thanks for coming but. Well, call me a coward but I didn't really want to be told how he wished that I was more like the shy girl he had gotten used to talking to. I also didn't want to hear him say that he was pissed about me for having to kick that guy's ass or… for whatever I messed up on tonight. So, coward as I am, as soon as he turned away from me, I quietly slipped inside and made my way to my condo. It wasn't even the 'but' part that was the problem… I mean he all but jumped to answer his phone. I mean no one jumps to answer their phone, especially if it's their ex, unless they want to get out of a conversation.

"Honey," Penny called excitedly, "Tell me everything."


After giving Penny a run down of basically everything that happened that night, I took a shower and fell asleep right before my head hit the pillow.

I had lasted two weeks. That was it though. I guess he finally got fed up with me avoiding him, because exactly two weeks later, Penny wasn't there to save me, so I had to answer the pounding at the door.

"Jesus, hold on," I called, surprised at how insistent the person was. "I wasn't waiting by the door you know; I had to actually walk—oh… hey Carter."

"Yeah hey to you too," he said, narrowing his eyes at me, "You wouldn't be avoiding me or anything would you be?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," I said, holding my head up.

"Of course not," he said, eyes narrowing even more, "Because why would you be avoiding me when you left me standing outside two weeks ago?"

I blushed and swallowed, "I was just…" but an excuse wouldn't come.

"You were just…?" he prodded, looking at me expectantly.

"Why do you care," I asked angrily, "Didn't your ex call you or something?"

He stared at me for a second, before a slow, lazy smile spread across his face, "Oh, I get it now."

I raised an eyebrow at him, "Get what."

"Well this all makes perfect sense," he said, still speaking in the I-know-something-you-don't-know voice.

"What makes perfect sense, Carter?" I asked, impatience slipping into my tone.

"You were jealous," he said easily.

I blushed, and gaped like a fish, "I am not jealous, God."

"Of course you weren't," he said smugly.

I glared at him, "I'm not jealous of her, Carter."

"You said that," he said, clearly not believing me. I grabbed the door, and was about to slam it in his face when he grabbed it, and held it firm, "Don't even think about it."

"Obviously," I glared angrily, "If I almost just did it, then I thought about it."

He sighed, "Can you please tell me why you're so pissed at me?"

"I don't know," I snapped, meeting his gaze head on, "I mean it's not like you actually do anything to piss me off more then my other friends do. I guess it's how you treat me! I mean you can't just kiss my forehead and have that look on your face, then beat the shit out of your friend for me and then go all gender rolls on me! It's stupid, because you obviously think you're better than me, and then there's the fact that you are incredibly arrogant and think that you just know everything."

That slow, lazy smile reappeared on his face again, making my glare harden.

"There you go again," I snapped, whacking him on his chest, "You think that you know everything, and you think that you can control any situation because you're Carter Kline, King of the school, and notorious heart breaker. Please," I glared, "Don't even."

His smile didn't even waver at my outburst.

"Eugh," I groaned angrily, "will you drop the face?"

"No," he said shaking his head, sliding his hands on my waist and pulling me closer to him.

My breathing picked up a little, and my heart rate jumped into my throat, "Stop. Carter, stop, you didn't even think twice about me before I went running dressed in basically only my underwear."

"Please," he said rolling his eyes, "I've seen you run every morning since you moved in next door, which was—if I recall—three years ago. Then, I would wait outside for you to go to class even though sometimes I would get there late because I wanted to walk with you. I would always see when you were going to go outside so that I could just oh-so-conveniently be out there when you were. Do you need me to continue?"

"Wait, but you said…"

"Come on," he said shaking his head, "I wasn't going to admit that I had secretly been crushing on you before I made sure that you had fallen for me too."

I sighed, thinking up other reasons why we shouldn't be standing in each other's personal space, "well… just… just stop."

"No can do," he said smiling smugly, "You like me."

"Don't be stupid, have you been listening to me?"

"Yes I have," he said smiling, "but you're the one that hasn't be listening to yourself."

"Please to don't go all philosophical and psychological on me," I said wincing, "I don't want to hear it."

"You just don't want to admit that you've fallen for me," he said arrogantly, "You have though."

"Have not," I said childishly.

"Have too," he said smiling.

"Nuh-uh," I stood stubbornly, crossing my arms over my chest.

"Don't worry," he said smiling, "I like you too."

And then he kissed me.

It wasn't earth shattering or life changing… but it was pretty close. At first I just stood there in shock, and then I slowly started mimicking what he was doing. I mean this was my first time; I had no idea what I was doing.

He pulled me closer to him, sliding one hand around my back and holding me possessively, while one hand went up and pushed the hair out of my face. Slowly, I raised my hands to his chest, and leaned against him, surprised at how much I liked this new sensation.

"I told you," he said smiling after pulling away from me, "You like me."

I whacked his chest again, "Don't think that arrogance is a virtue, by any stretch of the word."

He laughed, but didn't drop the smugness from his face.

Sighing, I rolled my eyes, "Whatever."

"So this means," he said, holding my hips against him, "That you are officially my real girlfriend."

"You sound pretty sure of yourself," I noted, raising an eyebrow.

"I am," he said, raising his chin.

"Well, I'm not going to be your girlfriend," I said matter-of-factly.

"Really," he said, but I could detect a hint of confused worry edging into his voice.

"You have to promise me something," I said, very seriously.

He lifted an eyebrow in expectation, "What?"

"You can not let me get between your friends." I felt incredibly conceited saying that, because of what it was implying, but he had already cut Bobby out of his life, so I figured it was justified… sort of.

He rolled his eyes, noticeably relaxing at that, "Leila, I told you that Bobby and I weren't friends. Besides, that was two weeks ago."

"That didn't sound like a promise," I said, narrowing my eyes.

"Well it's not really necessary. I mean if one of my friends starts to rag on you and act like Bobby, then they aren't my friend anymore anyway, so—"

"Carter," I said, rolling my eyes, "That's exactly my point."

"Well then no, no deal."

"Then I'm not your girlfriend," I said stubbornly.

He shook his head, "God you're stubborn."

I held my chin up defiantly, telling him I wouldn't back down.

"Fine," he relented, glaring at me, "I promise."

"Good," I said, smiling as he leaned down to kiss me again.

"You know I was kind of disappointed," he said between kisses.

"Why," I asked, closing my eyes.

"I haven't seen you in running in a sports bra since the day we went to that party."

I laughed out right at that and pulled away from him, "Penny made me."

"Damn, then why hasn't she made you anymore?"

"Come on, you aren't surprised that I actually did it once?"

He thought about it for a second then nodded, "You're right…would you do it for me though?" he asked a wicked smile on his face.

"Carter," I said smiling and shaking me head in amusement.

He laughed, and then captured my lips again, kicking the door closed as he stepped us further into my condo.

Author's Note:

Okay, so I hope I didn't offend anyone with any of my jabs (e.g. 'tree hugger')

I hope I created enough chemistry between these two, but I'm not sure how well I did, and I hope you liked it!


P.S. Please tell me if there are any glaring mistakes.