SKoW Member Challenge - Bubblegum
1) Opening line must be: "He hated the way she popped her bubblegum."
2) MC must be male and the story must be told through a male point of view.
3) Setting must be in high school.
4) Use of cliched high school stereotype for both characters, i.e. the rebel and the nerd, the druggie and the cheerleader etc. However, these stereotypes must be employed creatively and in a way so that the stereotypes are not the main focus of the story.
1) Romance; the end result of the story does not have to be a couple.
2) A love-hate relationship.
The Bubblegum Fairy and The Bad Boy
He hated the way she popped her bubblegum. He probably would never have noticed her if it wasn't for that particularly annoying sound coming out of her mouth.
Actually, when he really thought about it, unless they were moans of pleasure, any other noise coming out of a girl's mouth were generally quite annoying. He couldn't bear inane chitchat. He couldn't bear disgruntled nagging. He couldn't bear polite curiosity or the ploy of flirting.
In fact, he wasn't a fan of talking, full stop. He didn't need it. It just wasn't necessary. If he couldn't get his needs across with five words or less, then it was just too much effort. And he supposed he could be extremely grateful that he could easily get into a girl's pants with a heated stare and a quirk of the lips. Nobody could put the blame on him if Hamilton High School girls were just that easy. They were all Daddy's little girls with the trust funds and the ponies, saying please and thank you, while seeking him out in the dark of night, searching to tangle with the forbidden.
But he didn't mind playing the Bad Boy for them. After all, it wasn't hard. He was from the wrong side of the tracks, he had the motorcycle and the leather jacket, he smoked and he drank and he fucked around with all the girls that had boyfriends and all the young wives that had older husbands, all because he just didn't have anything better to do.
He wished he could find the energy to have a better ambition than that, but with his father being an alcoholic and his mother being completely out of the picture, he figured his boundaries were already set as far as they were going to go, so he might as well just enjoy what life sent his way instead of foolishly setting his sights too high.
And at eighteen, he was well on his way to being the alcoholic that his future promised him, which was why, with his raging hangover from the previous night and having gotten into a fight which left him with a touchy black eye and a pounding headache, the popping and clicking from the blonde sitting to his left, was not appreciated. As if English wasn't unbearable enough already.
He couldn't put a name to her face. He couldn't say she'd actually ever appeared on his radar in any way, shape or form before. And by his radar, he meant his penis. What could he say? A girl never really made much of an impact on him unless he'd dallied with them in some devious act of fornication.
So if it weren't for the continuous popping and clicking from her mouth, he probably would never have noticed her. He probably wouldn't have looked twice at her.
But he was looking now. She was blonde, but then, so was seventy percent of the girls at their school. Except, unlike the rest of the blondes, instead of having the latest hairstyle, this girl looked like she rarely ever brushed her hair. It was done up in two plaited ponytails, either side of her head, haphazardly arranged so that neither was symmetrical, and both contained pieces that had fallen out of the plaits into lone ringlets. And upon closer inspection, which he did very discreetly, he thought he might have seen a few multicoloured feathers and flowers or leaves in the mass, as if she had crashed into a peacock on the way to school.
She wore thick, black-framed glasses and he couldn't see the colour of her eyes, but what he did happen to notice, quite abruptly, was her mouth. Perhaps it was the ways she was continuously chewing and popping, or perhaps it was the way she pouted them whenever she turned her head up in thought, but whatever it was, he was absolutely riveted to her lips.
He was a big fan of a girl's mouth, which was kind of ironic because he rarely ever liked what came out of it, but he was definitely an avid admirer of the perfect pair of lips, which evidently, this girl had.
How had he never noticed before? They were a delicious looking red, plump with the perfect pout. Upon the judgement of her profile, she had the perfect mouth made just for sex. He was kind of dreading seeing her front on and possibly being disappointed. If her hair was any indication of her looks as a whole, then there was no hope in hell that she would be the sexy vixen her mouth was promising. And if her personality were as odious as the clicking noise her gum was producing, then he'd have to kiss that mouth goodbye. Figuratively. Because that noise grated on his headache like an electric drill, digging into his skull until he was ready to make her choke on it.
Yeah, the perfect mouth or not, it really needed to stop making that obnoxious sound.
"You know, that's really annoying." He grunted finally, giving her the intimidating glare he was so well known for.
She turned to him with a half-dazed look on her face, as if unsure whether or not someone had actually spoken to her, and upon seeing his daunting expression she released a melodic giggle, along with an equally eloquent, "Huh?"
Great. She was a giggler - another annoying sound from a girl's mouth to tick off the list. It was a shame really, that with such sinful lips and all it managed to do was aggravate him. He supposed he could put those dirty little fantasies with that beautiful pout to rest.
"You're popping is doing my head in."
She giggled inanely again, completely unmoved by his glare or the threatening tone to his voice. "My what-ing?"
He almost let out a growl. "Popping. Your gum? It's annoying. Please stop."
Her eyes, green he now noticed, cleared with understanding and of course, she giggled again, as if laughing through her sentences was just the natural way she spoke. "Oh. Right. Sorry bout that."
He sighed and looked away from her towards their teacher whose back was turned to them as she wrote a long list of things he was never going to get around to reading. He sent a lazy glance around the room and noticed almost every other student was either zoned out or enraptured in mini conversations with those beside them. Their teacher wasn't really known for her discipline so they always managed to get away with it.
He heard the scrape of a chair and desk against wood before he felt a soft thump from beside him, and then the start of a discussion he hadn't realised he'd initiated.
"It's just that," the Blonde began, totally unaware of his disinterest, "I had my braces pulled out yesterday and I'm absolutely brace-free for the first time in seven years. See."
And with as little warning as that, she poked her face in front of him and opened her mouth wide for a few seconds before closing it on a grin. "Neat, huh?"
He stared at her as if she were crazy… probably because she was, and replied, "What?"
"You have no idea how liberating it is not to have a metal brace clamped to each individual tooth." She rambled, running her tongue along the front of her teeth and then leaning her elbow on his desk as she rested her head on her hand and stared at him curiously. "Have you ever had braces?"
He was too bemused to answer. This girl had just shoved her desk into his, completely invaded his personal space and forced him into this whacked conversation while she stared intently at his mouth and he was expected to participate?
"Well have you?" She reiterated, her eyes wide and inquisitive.
She nodded. "You're lucky. Can I see?" And then she lifted her right hand to his mouth and pried his lips open with her fingers, pushing her face closer to his in efforts to see better. And then she nodded. "Oh. You have lovely teeth."
He jerked his head away and stared in disbelief. "What the fuck are you doing?"
Her eyes rounded in surprise as she gasped. Then she bit her lip and whispered, "You said a swear word."
He wasn't sure whether to laugh or shove her back to where she belonged. He settled for doing neither and replied, "I say several. Often."
She bit her lip again in thought and he couldn't take his eyes off the action. Really, really good lips. A shame she was such a fucking nutcase.
And then she did the most surprising and most surprisingly erotic thing he might ever witness her mouth doing. With intentional slowness, her tongue snuck out to wet her lips and on a hushed whisper she said, "Fuck." As if to test the sound and to see if lightning struck and then tried again. "Fuck... Fuck."
And before she could say it again, she burst into helpless giggles, her head fell forward, her hair brushed his bare arm and he stared at her shaking form and wondered if he'd just stepped into some alternate universe.
This crazy bitch with a beautiful mouth just rocked his world a little bit and he didn't know why. He was use to girls forcing themselves on him, especially at parties or when they wanted to piss their boyfriends off or give Daddy a scare. Girls doing unexpected things to get his attention was not something uncommon and usually, it was the inevitable lead up to lifting their skirts for him.
But having a girl throw herself at him because she wanted to inspect his teeth, reprimand his language and then whisper naughty words to his face was enough to keep him frozen in astonishment. And it wasn't because of how weird she was, but because of the weird effect she was having on him.
He wouldn't say she was of his normal calibre. She was obviously insane, for one thing, and though most girls were insane in some form, this girl seemed to have mental asylum stamped across her forehead. She was odd looking too – the artless conundrum of a hairstyle, the thick geeky looking glasses, the multi-coloured, sparkling dress that looked like it was missing the fairy wings, over the bright pink tights – if it weren't for the sexpot mouth, he probably would've dismissed her for the coked-up hippy she obviously was from the start.
That would have been enough to make him stand and head for the door, keen to keep distance between them, but then her teeth pressed into her lips and she said the magic word three times and he found, to his absolute horror, his cock popping up to say hello.
It was disconcerting to say the least, because even with her head bent as she pissed herself laughing, his cock saw a whole other reason for her head to be bent over his lap and it would not refuse to let the image die – the image of her lips doing exactly what they looked like they'd be best at. And cackling like a hyena was not one of them.
"Oh my god." She murmured as she gasped for breath. "I can't believe I just said the 'F' word. My Grandmother Florence would scrub my mouth out with soap. Especially now that I don't have my braces on." Her nose wrinkled in distaste. "Gross, could you imagine getting soap stuck in your braces and you'd be like," She started giggling again, "Trying to flick it out with your tongue but you'd just keep tasting it so you'd stop but then you'd still have soap in your mouth and it would just be this endless cycle that would have me never swearing ever again." She twirled a strand of hair around her finger as she stared into space. "That would be the worst."
He stared at her in stunned disbelief and wondered if she was aware she was speaking such rubbish out loud. And then he wondered vaguely how it was his penis was still staying so interested. Was she giving out a scent? Was it pheromones? Was it an after-effect of his conquest of the night before? Some untimely reminder? Or was there a mistress phantom giving him an invisible hand job beneath his desk?
And to his further disbelief, she started up again. "You know what else is so annoying when you get it stuck in your teeth? Popcorn. You know, the little shell bits? I absolutely hate that. Especially when it's digging into your gums and you're like, tonguing it and tonguing it because you can't get it with your fingers and when all else fails you have to go and get a toothpick or dental floss? Well, when you've got braces, it's worse."
He opened his mouth to order her to shut up, but she carried on. "But I don't have braces anymore and to celebrate I went out and bought every type of gum the store had because, did you know, I'd never had gum before? How crazy is that?" She didn't wait for him to answer, not that he would have. "My grandmother never, ever allowed me to have sweets, she'd say, 'Annabel, lollies are for the Devil's children. Are you a child of the Devil?' and then I'd be like, 'Well, I don't know. Are you a child of the Devil?' cause like, if she was then I was, right? But she never really found that funny and then she'd send me up to my room and I'd have to copy out a verse of the bible." She shook her head. "I probably shouldn't be so happy that I'm not living with her anymore though, huh?"
And before he could stop himself, his mouth opened and he asked, "Why not?"
And he really didn't know why he did it; it wasn't like he was actually interested. And it wasn't because he was polite because he didn't have a polite bone in his body and yet, something had made him join in on their one-sided conversation and if he weren't so shell-shocked by this weird event, he would have slapped himself upside the head.
She blinked bright green eyes up at him, as if bringing him into focus, like she may or may not have forgotten she was actually talking to somebody and then sent him a sweet, maybe even grateful smile and he thought perhaps that may have been another thing her beautiful mouth had been made for; blow jobs and smiling.
"Because she died." She stated matter-of-factly. "And so I got sent here to live with my Aunt Mellie. She's great. She's so much more fun. And she said, 'Bell, honey, we'll get those braces off you in a year.' And a year later, my braces are gone. Do you want some gum?"
He blinked, stunned speechless once again and shook his head in response.
"Are you sure?" She grabbed her bag and opened it up. "I have all sorts of flavours. You can have any one you want. They're really good. I really like the strawberry ones. That's the one I'm chewing on now."
And sure enough, in her bag, amongst books, papers, pens and what looked to be juggling balls, lay numerous packets of gum scattered amongst her things. Her belongings seemed to be as distorted and as random as her head, and the longer he sat beside her, the harder it was to class her – to put her in the cliché group that everyone else went by. She was a freak, for sure, and her sense of dress and her crazy hair could class her as arty, but her personality and the way she talked, her clear innocence put her with the bible bashers.
When he was so accustomed to dealing with the sluts, the popular girls and the outcasts like himself, what was it about her that held his confused fascination?
Whatever it was, he didn't have time to find out as the bell rang and signalled the end of English and all he could think was thank fuck for that.
"That's the bell." She said, just in case he didn't know. "What do you have next?"
"Workshop." He answered shortly, picking up his bag from the floor.
"Oh." She sounded almost disappointed. "I have Math. Do you want to sit together at lunch?"
God no. "No."
"Oh." And this time, it was disappointment he heard in her voice. He may have actually felt bad if he had a conscience, but she shrugged it off and smiled anyway. "Well, it was nice talking to you."
"Mm-hmm." He stood and slung his bag over his shoulder.
"Are you sure you don't want some gum?"
"No, you don't want any, or no, you're not sure?"
He sighed. "Fine. Give me the strawberry."
She grinned up at him and handed him a piece. "That's my favourite."
His answer was a frown as he popped the gum in his mouth.
"My name's Annabel, by the way."
"What's your name?"
She didn't know? Everybody knew who he was. His ego was big enough to actually be offended by that, but then, since it was so obvious she associated with the fairies and other non-existent creatures that were so common among crazy people, he probably shouldn't be too surprised.
"Jake." He answered finally.
"Jake." She repeated with a small smile. "I like it."
He raised an eyebrow. "Well, that's a relief."
She simply grinned at him and held out her hand. "Nice to meet you."
He rolled his eyes, shook her hand and swore it was the last time he would ever have anything to do with her.
"Enjoy the rest of your day." She stated, wishing him farewell with one last pop of her gum.
He turned and walked away. His easy dismissal was assurance that this would be his first and last encounter with one Annabel the Weirdo.
… It wasn't.
Somehow, each day through English class, no matter which desk he changed to, she always found a way to be sitting beside him. Right beside him. Pushing her desk to connect with his without any qualms in the world and without ever being reprimanded from the teacher. Everyone else in class, not to mention the school, found the situation strange and never ceased to send the two of them curious looks throughout the day, but to Annabel the Oblivious, she took every opportunity to greet and converse with her new found friend.
There wasn't much Jake could do other than endure it. It was either that or order her to please fuck off, but the longer he was around her, the harder that became. Telling her to fuck off would be like dropping a puppy in a shark tank – just plain mean.
The guy who was so well known for being such a ruthless asshole was finding it impossible to stare the ditzy blonde in the eyes and tell her to go away. He didn't even play nice to the girls he wanted to fuck, which ironically, attracted them more, so why was he being so tolerant to a girl that could offer him nothing? Because even if her mouth could elicit such dirty fantasies, it didn't mean he wanted to get into her pants. She acted like a little kid, for Christ sake, wouldn't that make him some sort of sick pervert?
So the only option he was left with was to ignore her as best as he could.
But even that became harder. Each of her discussions was always something completely senseless that he wondered if he were losing brain cells by just listening to her. And then she'd say something totally out of the blue and he'd be laughing because it was either that or swear, very loudly. And since the last time he swore out loud made her react in a way that made his cock hard, he had to refrain from ever doing that again.
By the end of that week, he could have sworn he knew everything about her – from the first pet she ever had to the first flavour of ice cream she ever ate. Hell, he even knew of her parent's accident and how she had been the only survivor and how that had made her want to live each day as if it were her last because it very well could be, but her desire was stifled by a strict, God-fearing grandmother and the entrapments of home schooling - or something to that effect. She told him everything and when there was nothing left to tell she'd start in on him.
She asked him how he got his black eye, and if it still hurt. She asked him if he liked school and what he wanted to be when he left. She asked him his favourite meal and if he had any pets. She asked him why he always dressed in black and what smoking tasted like. She even asked him about his parents.
And what was even stranger was the fact that he would answer her with the truth.
She seemed so harmless, despite her ability to talk and talk until he felt his head were about to explode. But other than that, there was nothing dangerous about her. She wasn't a girl who was out to play the mind-fucking games. She wasn't using him to make some other guy jealous. She wasn't using him to prove how brave and rebellious she could be. She wasn't using him to advance her social status within school. She wasn't using him at all.
And therefore, she was no threat to him. It was the first time anybody had ever asked about him out of sheer curiosity or ever listened with genuine interest and he found the idea oddly… welcomed. Even if he did tell her his deepest darkest fear or his best-kept secret, whom was she going to tell? She didn't appear to have any other friends and other people didn't seem to have such a hard time telling her to piss off. So what about her could ever harm him?
That reasoning alone was what allowed him to endure her presence so easily. The next time she asked to sit beside him at lunch, he let her. His other friends or rather, acquaintances at his table didn't dare question him and permitted this odd girl into their circle. Since it was so plainly obvious that he didn't see anything in her other than strained tolerance, they stopped sending him beseeching glances and just let it be. And funnily enough, it didn't take her long to charm them.
Her general dopiness and beguiling innocence had his table in fits. They started calling her Tinkerbell because she dressed like a fairy without the wings and because of her name and because she was so prone to offering out bubblegum like pixie dust and she was just generally… fluttery.
Like today for example, after a few weeks of having her hang around him, instead of guiding him to their lunch table, she asked him to sit just with her instead, under the shade of the big oak tree in the yard overlooking the rest of the lunch area so she could eat her lunch and blow bubbles at the same time.
Blowing bubbles from a plastic tube that hung around her neck. If that wasn't enough evidence to suggest she may have the mentality of a kid, he didn't know what was. He hadn't seen a person blowing bubbles since pre-school. He hadn't seen someone enjoy such a mundane activity, outside of sex, for years.
And for some reason, he indulged her. It could have been because since the first day she'd met him she'd been bringing lunch for him too. Or it could have been that, despite her endless chatter, being around her made him feel light. He didn't have to deal with mind games or the effortless ruse of popularity. He didn't need to maintain his cool or his aloof façade. He didn't need to talk up his conquests and encourage praise from his peers. He was just able to be. She was kind of like the little sister he never had, or never knew he wanted and she was just… relaxing.
But even though, after every few bites, she'd take out the bubble wand and blow, and then smile as the bubbles floated up into the air, he managed to notice that she wasn't her usual bubbly self. Sure, she still giggled inanely at absolutely nothing, but she wasn't as talkative or as bouncy and for him to notice, that was enough to prove his point.
"You're relatively quiet today."
Her grass green eyes glanced up at him and she quirked her lips into a smile. "I am?"
"More so than usual, yes."
She shrugged and took another bite of her sandwich, staring absently into the distance as she chewed, then having swallowed that mouthful she replied, "Sometimes I like the quiet."
He snorted into his can of drink. "You could've fooled me."
She nudged her shoulder against his in reprimand. "What's that suppose to mean?"
"Sometimes it seems like you're talking just to avoid the silence."
She giggled and shook her head. "I'm quite sure everything I say is completely relevant."
He rolled his eyes. "Yeah, because I really needed to know what colour you pissed when you ate asparagus."
Her eyes widened in protest. "Not just me. Everybody." He chuckled and she looked away from him and back into the distance before saying, "Plus, I didn't see you at lunch the last two days and I missed you."
Well, he certainly hoped she hadn't seen him, since the last two lunch hours he'd spent fucking Rachel Wallingham in the janitor's closet. She was another cheerleader trying to get back at her cheating boyfriend by, of course, cheating on him in return. And why not do it with the one guy that nobody could ever hope to commit?
He'd forgotten that Annabel might be waiting for him with his lunch in his own, newly acquired lunchbox, sitting at his table amongst his friends. When a girl was willing to give him head while her boyfriend had basketball practice, he wasn't about to turn her down. It was a sure way to keep him relatively comfortable for the rest of the day. But he hadn't thought that his presence would be missed. Apparently he was wrong.
"Yeah," He cleared his throat. "Sorry about that."
She turned sad eyes in his direction. "What were you doing?"
He raised an amused eyebrow. Like he was really going to tell her. "None of your business."
She got a determined set to her eyes, as if she was going to try and pry the information from him. He probably would've enjoyed it if she'd tried, but the motion was put to a stop when her eyes widened as she stared over his shoulder and a dark shadow fell across her face, and he might have questioned what had made her so suddenly distressed right then, if he hadn't been interrupted.
"Hey Jake. Too cool to sit with us anymore?"
Jake stared up at Trevor Mackey, a regular drop kick, just like him and the resident drug dealer of Hamilton High. It wasn't like they were best buddies or anything, but they both knew the score. They both knew how their lives were going to turn out so they both took advantage of whatever came their way. And what came Trevor's way was his ability to dish out poor quality drugs and earn money from it. He was also, no doubt, prospecting for some gang, so that made Trevor lower than himself in the food chain, but it also classed him as someone not to be crossed.
He felt Annabel shift closer to him, sidling up to his side to press her chin into the back of his shoulder, but before he could frown down at her and ask what was wrong, he saw Trevor's eyes slide to her and watched as a creepy smile crawled across his face.
"Well, hello little Tink." Trevor said in a slow drawl. "I didn't see you there."
"Hello Trevor." She mumbled, and Jake felt her hand clutching the back of his shirt.
"You look nice today." He said with a possible hint of mocking.
"You didn't want to sit with me at lunch?" Trevor asked in a curious lilt, a smug gleam in his eyes.
Jake felt her hand clench tighter as she answered, "Not today."
Trevor licked his lips. "Maybe tomorrow then?"
"Maybe." She replied softly.
Jake might have questioned her uncharacteristic, brief answers if he didn't catch Trevor's eyes as they took a slow journey down her body and he felt said body curl closer into his in response. It was then Jake realised that Trevor was actually checking her out. He was doing the symbolic manoeuvre of a guy who was looking at something he liked, something he wanted, something he intended to have and Jake felt the overwhelming urge to kick his ass for even thinking something like that about his Annabel.
But before he could act on his initial instinct, before he could actually question when this new development had begun and why he was getting so aggressive over it, Trevor met his eyes and smirked.
"Well, as much as I'd like to stay and…" His eyes shifted to Annabel again. "Have lunch. I've got some business to take care of." He turned back to Jake. "Might catch you later?"
Jake stared at him with an indifferent expression even though he was feeling anything but indifferent and nodded. "Later."
Trevor looked at Annabel again and smiled. "See you later, Tinkerbell. Save me a seat tomorrow."
Jake felt her chin bump against his shoulder in a tentative nod. "Bye Trevor."
And with one last perverted glance down the length of her body, Trevor threw them a mock salute and walked away.
Jake felt Annabel deflate with a heavy sigh and he turned to stare at her, which was a hard task to do since today her hair was piled on top of her head and all he could see was the blonde curls with her regular multi-coloured flowers and feathers scattered amongst the mass. So he leaned back and put his arm around her so he could try and gain her attention.
Almost immediately, once she realised the opening, she shifted so she could snuggle closer into his side, her knees tucked into him so that she was practically sitting on his lap. His brow wrinkled at the sudden repositioning, but all he did was move his head so that he didn't have a mouthful of hair.
"What was that all about?"
She was silent a moment before replying, "What do you mean?"
"Do you know Trevor very well?"
She hesitated and started fiddling with the bottom of his t-shirt, her head down, watching the play of her fingers. "Not really."
He tried another route since her answers didn't seem too forthcoming. "Have you been sitting with him at lunch?"
She shrugged. "You weren't there and he sat in your seat."
He frowned – maybe at the idea of her reluctance to talk, maybe at the idea of someone taking his place - whatever it was, it didn't particularly make him happy. So very hesitantly, he asked, "Do you like Trevor?"
She shrugged and shook her head at the same time, a very ambiguous answer for a very unambiguous person. And then she said, very quietly into his chest, "He makes me feel strange."
His jaw clenched and he realised it was because he was gritting his teeth and he couldn't understand why. He only did that when he was angry and never, in Annabel's presence, had he ever been angry. But those five words didn't sit well with him. "What do you mean, he makes you feel strange?"
She stared up at him then, her green eyes wide and almost anxious. ""He's your friend, isn't he?"
His eyes narrowed, wondering what it was he saw in her gaze. "No. He's really just an acquaintance."
Her brow creased. "But you like him?"
His mouth quirked and he told her the truth. "Not necessarily."
Her head dropped back to his shoulder again and she sighed. "I don't think I like him either."
His eyebrows rose in surprise. "You? I thought you liked everybody."
She started fiddling with his shirt again. "He does bad things."
His face cleared with understanding. That's what this was about. She knew he dealt drugs and her little golden pixie heart and her little golden good girl morals was having a hard time dealing with the fact that she was hanging around with people who so proudly broke the law. Maybe it had been a bad idea bringing her into his world, but since she wasn't exactly the easiest person to say 'no' to, she should probably consider this situation as half her fault. He would hate to think what she thought about the things he got up to in his spare time. If she knew the truth of his whereabouts during lunch the passed two days, her lovely little head might pop, just like her bubblegum.
He sighed into her hair and refrained the urge to chuckle. The poor kid, he thought with amusement, she'd fallen down the rabbit hole when she wanted to get to know him better, and now she was desperately wishing for a ladder.
But despite the fact that he should probably lie a little, if only to keep her rose-tinted world just the way it was, he instead answered honestly, "Yes. He does bad things. But so does everybody in some way. Its just human nature."
She nodded slowly. "Yeah, but not everybody touches me the way he does."
He thought he might have misheard her. She mumbled the sentence into his chest, as if she was deeply ashamed, so he could have possibly mistaken her words. But that wouldn't have explained why he felt a burning ball in the back of his throat, or why he felt the sudden desire to rip Trevor in two.
"What do you mean, he touches you?" He said finally, his voice deceptively calm.
But as if she didn't hear him, she started on her own rant. "And he shouldn't touch me like that because he has a girlfriend and if she knew he touched me like that, she would definitely cut my face open with her nose ring. But he does. And he even looks at me while he's kissing her and I know I shouldn't look back because it's not the nicest thing I've ever seen, but I can't seem to help myself." She stared up at him then, her eyes deeply troubled. "I don't like it, Jake."
He had to look away from her so she wouldn't see the fury written across his face. He had to look away from her plaintive eyes and her trembling lips. He had to look away because if he didn't, he might do something he would regret when what he really should be doing was hunting Trevor down to punch a hole through his chest. And he most definitely had to look away from her because he didn't want to risk glimpsing a faint trace of returned desire for someone that was in no way, shape or form deserving of her. He didn't want to think that she might be so confused because she might want Trevor back, and he definitely didn't want to see the answer break dawn in her eyes.
So, without looking at her he asked, "How does he touch you? Does he hurt you?"
He felt her shake her head in denial. "He doesn't hurt me. But," She sighed, as if she dreaded the recollection, "At first he started by playing with my hair. And then he sort of turned it into stroking, which I didn't really mind because it kind of felt nice. But then he'd start doing it to my neck and then my back and then his hand would drift down and sort of touch my-" she stopped, took a deep breath and continued, "Well, you know. And then the other day he kind of came up behind me in P.E and he sort of…"
She broke off then and he stared at her, uncaring to whether or not his eyes were burning with rage. "He sort of what?"
She swallowed and answered in a very meek voice, "Kissed my neck. And then he said I tasted delicious." Her eyes lowered while she stared intently at nothing. "It made me feel funny."
Funny? There was nothing funny about this situation. "So does that mean you like him?"
She shook her head. "He shouldn't do it. Not when he has a girlfriend."
He noticed she blatantly didn't answer his question. He needed an answer. Even if it was the wrong one. "What if I told you Kate wasn't his girlfriend? What if I told you they were just friends with… benefits?"
Her eyes glanced up at him with surprise. "They are? So that's just his way of being friendly?"
"Yes." He stopped abruptly, shook his head and started again. "I mean, no. No, they're not together. And no, I think he wants to be a little bit more than friends with you."
Her eyes dropped to his chest. "He does?"
He took a deep breath before asking, "Would you want that?"
Her brow crinkled in thought and he almost despaired knowing her answer. He definitely knew he didn't want it to be yes. That much he knew for sure. But she surprised him by saying, "I don't want my first kiss to belong to him."
The very idea that something that seemed so pointless and yet so precious to her could be given with such detrimental consequences and concentrated purpose, almost gave the notion of a first kiss more power. He never really gave thought to a person's first times being coveted – not their virginity and certainly not a kiss. But that it was so important to her made him feel almost humbled and cemented the fact that no one, not Trevor, not him, was deserving of her.
And even as he knew he shouldn't ask it. Even as he probably already knew how she would reply, he asked it anyway. "Who do you want to kiss then?"
Her contemplating eyes landed on his lips and he had to swallow the sudden catch of breath in his throat. "Is Rachel Wallingham your girlfriend?"
He frowned, completely gobsmacked by the question. "Who told you that?"
"Of course he did." He grumbled under his breath – another reason to rip into him.
"No. She's just…" He sighed, unsure how to explain it. "She's just a friend."
"A friend with benefits?"
Strike the friend and put heavy emphasis on the 'benefits'. "Yeah. Something like that."
"What do you do with her?"
And since he was always honest with her, he replied, "We have sex."
"Even though she's not your girlfriend?"
He sighed, frustrated now. "You don't have to be in a relationship to have sex with a person, you know?"
And now he probably just officially cracked those rose-tinted glasses she wore. It wasn't right that a person her age could be so innocent. Surely she at least had television to put a bit of sense into that ditzy head. Surely she'd read a magazine or a smutty book sometime in her existence. She was in a public high school, for fuck sake, how was it she was so bloody dense? Even if she had been home schooled by a bible bashing granny for the first fifteen years of her life, surely she'd been in the real world long enough to know what it was about.
But instead of going off on a preaching spiel about monogamy and virtue, she surprised him by saying, "I suppose." And then she shrugged. "Well, that's good then."
His eyes narrowed, surprised by her answer. "It is? Why?"
"Because then I can do this and not feel guilty."
And before he could ask what the hell she was on about now, she lifted her head and kissed him.
It was close lipped. It was sweet. It was soft. It was very chaste. And it just about made him pass out.
But before he could respond, before he could teach her how to kiss properly, before he could open his mouth and dive in whole-heartedly, she pulled back, opened her eyes, smiled and said, "I want you to have it."
"Have it?" He asked stupidly.
"My first kiss." She stated simply. "I don't want to give it to Trevor. At least, now that it's yours, nobody else can get it."
This moment shouldn't have meant so much to him. That small little peck, that innocent little meeting of the lips shouldn't have touched him so. But with her kiss and her disclaimer he almost felt a burden crash down upon him. That burden being the need, the want, the will to try and be a better person for her. The extremely heavy burden to be a deserving person of her. And he didn't want it, but he couldn't let it go, because letting it go would mean letting her go and that he couldn't do.
After an insurmountable length of time, his shock and horror wore off enough to let him respond. "You shouldn't have done that."
His words made her shoulders drop in despair. "Didn't you want it?"
He sighed and licked his lips and said cautiously, "That's the problem. I do. But I'm not good enough for you."
Her head shot up in astonishment. "Why would you say that?"
"Because it's true." His voice was rough and he couldn't look at her. "I'm only going to end up hurting you."
She shook her head in quick, emphatic jerks. "I don't believe that. Not at all. And even if or when you don't want to be friends anymore at least I can walk away knowing that you'll always be my first kiss and that I'd never take it back. Not for the world." Her hand lifted to cup his cheek so he would meet her eyes. "I'll always be happy that you have it. Always."
She was just too undeniably sweet. Even when he knew for certain that, maybe not purposely, but in some way or another he was going to end up hurting her, of ruining her, of possibly breaking her heart. When he knew that there was too much darkness in him to ever be given reassurance, she managed to force a light through and give him hope. If she could find it in herself to face the demon head on, then he could do nothing less but stand by her side. She made him want to be a better person. Well, she made him at least want to try.
He placed his hand on top of the one that held his cheek, entwining their fingers and asked, "Promise?"
She nodded. "Cross my heart and hope to die, poke a needle in my eye and if that mockingbird won't…" She stopped and frowned. "No wait, that's not right." She shrugged. "Oh well, I promise. I promise that no matter what, I'll always want to be your friend and I'll always want you to keep my kiss."
He smiled – a full-hearted, genuinely happy smile – one that he only ever did around her. "Well, in that case, we should probably make it a good one."
And this time, he kissed her like he wanted to. He kissed her and thought that perhaps this was something she could keep forever too. She could take this away and store it in her dreams and her memories and know he meant it. And besides, he'd always been told he was a good kisser. If she were ever to replace him, he was going to give her something to remember – something to hold for comparison and hopefully, always find any other lacking.
So he opened his mouth and nibbled at her bubblegum flavoured lips and felt them open on a gasp and he plunged in and taught her how to do it right. He grasped the back of her neck, his hand lost amongst the mass of her hair, he pulled her by the waist onto his lap, and he kissed her and kissed her and kissed her until they ran out of breath.
By the time he pulled back, her eyes were wide, her mouth was open and her chest was heaving and when she gained enough bearings to form words, she said, "Show me more."
He chuckled helplessly and kissed her on the nose. "One thing at a time, honey, one thing at a time."
Even if he did end up disappointing her in someway in the long run, even if he accidentally broke her heart and made her cry, at least they had this. At least, for the moment, they could confidently say they'd found a friend and she'd given him her kiss and he'd given her his heart and they could walk into the sunshine and be content in their happiness.
Even if it was cliché, the too good girl finally tamed the too bad boy. It had taken a bubblegum chewing fairy to find his heart and all he wanted to do now was be worthy. And all she wanted to do was be his.
And in that, they lived… happily.
A/N: So there you go...my first attempt at a challenge. I don't know WHAT it was about but it certainly was ssssappy! Right? Seriously. And can anybody see the point where I realise I've actually rambled on a bit too long and I had better end it already? Yeah. I need to learn when to actually get to the damn point. But anyway, hope you enjoyed it. Whatever IT was. I'm sure there was a moral of the story in there somewhere. If you find one, let me know!! XD
Do I need to do a disclaimer thingy over the 'Tinkerbell' name and that it doesn't belong to me? And do I need to credit Teilse for the Challenge Idea?? Well, if so, then I do. And I thank you!! I hope I met the challenge's requirements.
Thanks for reading!