"I don't understand how this will help!" I whispered as loudly as I could without anyone noticing.
Cade just hushed me as we hid behind the bleachers watching Andy by the snack bar.
We were at the school Valentine's dance, and if all goes according to plan, Andy shouldn't be by himself in a few minutes.
Apparently, Cade had noticed a few weeks ago, a cute, albeit nerdy, guy who had a big crush on Andy. When I went to talk to this guy, I found out he's had a crush on Andy for about two years now, but never really had the courage to talk to him. I don't know why, but I never really noticed him before, even though he was my age and in my classes. His name was Luke. Or Lucas to be more precise, but I called him Luke.
He's actually quite adorable! He was all nervous stutters when I met him privately with Cade. His cute blonde locks piled all messily on his head with his cute chocolate brown eyes, and his cute glasses that made him look really cute! Yeah, well, if you met him for the first time and he was blushing like crazy, and you knew in that instant when he talked about Andy that he was completely in love with him, you'd think he was cute too!
Luke might've been a nerd, but he was definitely nerd chic. Well, sort of. Cade had suggested last week before I met him to get rid of the t-shirts and start wearing dress shirts. Cade reasoned that he was going to graduate soon any way, so Luke might as well invest in more sophisticated clothing. His thin rimmed glassed made him look intelligent and didn't at all hinder his good looks. I guess, because he was so shy and quiet, I never really noticed him, but if I had, I'm sure Andy and I would've been all over him.
Cade had explained to me that after talking with Luke a few times, he knew Andy would love him, except Andy was hung over on me, which I couldn't help but feel proud of. I know, selfish, but hey, at least I know he misses me, even though he hates…me. Meh. Any way, Cade said, since I knew Andy a whole lot more, he needed my help to set Luke up with Andy. Of course, from what I remembered last time, Andy's break up from Jack wasn't all that great, and I'm sure he wasn't in the mood in finding a new boyfriend.
So, here I am. With Cade. He had volunteered us both to collect the dance tickets, which I was furious about. Just because I was helping him, I reminded Cade, doesn't mean we're all buddy buddy. He rationalized it would give us time to talk about the plan, and be sure that Luke came and didn't chicken out, all the while without looking suspicious if we were looking for him all over the dance floor. I countered that we could've just told him where to meet us at a specific time.
Of course, Cade just smiled and told me it was too late since we were already volunteers for this shindig. Andy was a bit surprised by the suggestion, and so was everyone else in the class room, including me. Figures, Cade never really changed. He still tried to control everything.
"Trust me. I know you know all the details of what Andy likes, and all the romantic little things, but I know how he'll react when it comes to people, and when it comes to you, his attention is all over you," Cade whispered back. I couldn't help but blush. Ever since my little…uh, disagreement with Andy in the parking lot happened, I couldn't help but lose all hope and believe that he truly hated me. Except I couldn't lose all hope, because Cade kept inflating that hope. He kept reassuring me that Andy still cares for me. Psh. It didn't seem like it when Andy was glaring me down in the hallways.
"Okay, Luke is ready, now go!" Cade commanded. I couldn't help but want to laugh. He seem like when we were ten and on a mission. I couldn't help but notice all his mysterious, but 'fuck off' aura around him seem to disappear, and I couldn't help but be envious that his personality was getting better, but not mine.
I quickly brought my head back to the mission and started walking to the table as nonchalantly as I could. I got close to Andy without being suspicious and poured myself some punch.
"Uh, hey Sunflower," Luke came by on cue, but I noticed the nervousness coming out of his voice.
"Oh, uh, hi Luke," I replied. I know Cade told me not to look, but I couldn't help but give a quick glance. I saw all of Andy's attention on me. Okay, good, it's working.
"So, I've been waiting for the guy you told me about. You know…my date?" Luke's hand was bunched up as he looked nervously around.
I smiled, and then swung my arm around his waist, seeing how I seem to be short to everyone.
"Oh yeah…uh, about that. He kind of…flaked," I replied as guiltily as I could.
"Oh," Luke replied sadly and I couldn't help but for a split second feel sorry for him, when I realize he was acting. Damn he's good.
"Yeah, I'm so sorry about that!" I hugged him tightly as I apologized.
I felt his chest rumble as he chuckled. He patted my back gently.
"It's okay. It's not your fault that he ended up being a jerk," he replied kindly, and I couldn't help but keep thinking he'd be perfect for Andy.
"Thanks. It seems to me you're the only guy I know who I can rely on," I stated as loudly as I could without being suspicious. Then I heard Cade's voice behind us. Now it's his turn to get the ball rolling.
"Hey, what's up with you? You look like you ate something bad," Cade said offhandedly.
"I'm fine," Andy replied stiffly. "Who's the guy with his arms all over Sunflower?" He asked.
Cade paused for a moment, "Oh, that's Luke. He's in our classes."
"And you're not about to rip his hands off of Sunflower?" Andy asked in a low voice.
"No. Why should I? He's gay," Cade replied easily.
"Yeah, but, what if he's using-" Andy started, but Cade interrupted him.
"Why don't you go check him out yourself?" Cade suggested. I heard Andy sigh, and I'm hoping he'll take the bait.
"No. If Sunflower decides to get a new gay best friend, so be it," Andy replied in a defeated voice. I couldn't help but immediately turn around and watch him speed outside with his shoulders deflated.
"Oh," Luke said sadly behind me. I turn to see his face and Luke looked like he was in pain for putting Andy in pain. I couldn't help but growl and march up to Cade.
"Hey! You said this would work!" I poked him in the chest.
Cade sighed. "I said it might work. Geez, give me some credit. At least he knows Luke exists."
"Yeah, but you might've as well put a 'Please Hate Me' sign on Luke's back. Andy is completely upset that I might find a new gay best friend and replace him!" I couldn't help but be upset. It was never my intention to make Andy jealous! Just to make him curious of my new gay friend so that they would find out they're perfect for each other.
"Sunflower, did you honestly think Andy would notice him any other way? This was the best way we could approach it. Andy is going to go home and sulk in misery, thinking he lost you to another gay guy, and then all Andy will think about is Luke and what he has to offer you," Cade replied calmly.
"Well, why didn't you tell Luke and me about this plan!" I glared at him for holding out a valuable piece of information from me.
"Because I knew you wouldn't go along with it," Cade replied easily.
"Hey, are you sure Andy doesn't hate me?" Luke asked before I could blow up in Cade's face.
"Yeah, don't worry, he doesn't hate you. He'll think of you as competition, but he doesn't hate you," Cade reassured Luke. Luke didn't look completely convinced, but he relaxed a bit.
"I don't get it, how will this make Andy interested in Luke?" I asked, and Luke couldn't help but be relieved that I had voiced that question before him. I'm sure, even though Cade's helpfulness is appreciated, Luke still couldn't help but think of Cade as intimidating. I mean, he only kept threatening guys away from me for the past three years.
"Andy is going to want to size him up. See why Luke's got your attention all of a sudden, this will make him approach Luke and get to know him better. Like I said, when it comes to you Sunflower, he'll pay attention," Cade said with a proud smile on his face.
Sigh, I forget that he can be such a kid sometimes.
"Oh, okay," Luke replied, though he didn't sound so convinced. I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. He was placing all his hopes into the hands of two people he didn't really know. All he knew was I was Andy's ex-best friend, and Cade was Andy's other best friend.
Cade turned his attention on Luke and gave him a reassuring smile, but I noticed the serious expression in his eyes.
"Luke. I would never screw you over. I know what it feels like to have a crush on someone for a really long time and not wanting to mess it up. Don't worry, I won't." Cade gave him a small smile of encouragement. It seems Cade said all the right words, because Luke looked like he was comforted and decided to go home, since he didn't have any other reason to stay at the dance since Andy left.
So, I found myself alone with Cade. At a Valentine's dance. Well, isn't this awkward.
"So, I'm just gonna go check on the rest of the council members and see how they're doing," I started to walk away when I felt Cade's hand gently holding onto my wrist.
"Wait-" Cade started, but suddenly a flash of blonde hair and a mini skirt came all over Cade.
"Cade!" The girl gave him a flirty smile. "Come dance with me!" She tried to urge him onto the dance floor.
"Uh…" Cade looked a bit put off and I smiled and motioned for him to go on the dance floor. He looked like he didn't want to, but he shouldn't count on me saving him. It's not like I really like him any way.
"Ugh. Is that Tracy all over him?" I heard Kate's voice right next to me as she took a sip of her punch. As always, she looked stunning in a strapless black dress that ended in the middle of her thighs. I noticed the guys staring at her.
"Uh…" was all I could reply.
"She's such a slut," Kate continued without listening to me. I wasn't sure who she was talking to, seeing as I was the only person next to her.
"Um. Yeah, I don't really know her, so I can't really say anything," I replied.
Kate turn to me and gave a blank look.
"Was I talking to you?" She asked.
I turn to glare at her. Oooo…she can get on my nerves like no other!
"Obviously not," I replied in a snippy tone.
"Gosh, Sunflower, you're no fun," Kate replied as she sighed. I was about to ask her what that was all about, but her date whisked her away to the dance floor, and I couldn't help but notice how more carefree she seem to be, and I'm sure most of the guys in the room knew that too. Her laughters sounded prettier, and her blue eyes sparkled. That only made her most enticing.
I took my drink and sat on the bleachers. I hated volunteering for a dance. It meant that I had to stay for the entire dance. Before I could go for another refill for my drink, as if by some magic, Cade brought me another cup of punch.
"Here." Cade handed me the drink and took it slowly out of his hands.
"Uh, thanks," I replied.
We sat there, just watching everyone dance. I glanced at my cell phone.
Two hours. Two hours before all this ended. I took a quick glance at Cade. Oh, man, it's going to be a long two hours.
"Wanna play?" I heard Cade asked and I glanced down at his hands. A deck of cards.
"Uh…I don't think it's a good idea." I turned away from him.
"Suit yourself," he replied as I heard him shuffling.
Five minutes later, I couldn't tear myself from his game of solitaire. Oh my goodness! Can't he see that he kept skipping the three of hearts! He was flipping the cards so fast, I'm not surprised he overlooked that one.
I quickly reached for the three of hearts and placed it on top of a pile. I glanced up at Cade's face. He raised an eyebrow and just gave me a questioning look.
"What?" I asked in a defensive manner.
"Did you want to play?" He asked in a sarcastic manner.
Cade raised both his eyebrows towards me.
"I said no!" I huffed in my seat. Man, this guy could really get to me.
"Fine," Cade muttered and took all the cards in his hands and started shuffling.
I looked at my cell again. Seriously! Only ten minutes have gone by? This dance is taking forever to end.
"Fine, I'll play, but I get to choose the game." I conceded and took the deck out of his hands. I might as well try and pass the time, even if it's with a guy I despise.
"What are we playing?" Cade asked.
"Speed." I grinned. If you must know, I'm really good at speed. I'm the undefeated champion of the world! Well, at least to my family and my friends. No one can beat me.
So, we played speed the rest of the dance. Who would've thought playing cards at a dance would be so much fun?
It's been two weeks since the dance, and I couldn't help but think Cade's plan was failing. Not once has Andy approach Luke, and Luke was getting worried too.
To tell you the truth, Luke is a really awesome guy. He's sweet, and caring, and his awkwardness only made him more adorable. He started hanging out with Robert and me, and the more I hung out with him, the more I really appreciated him as a friend.
"It's working," Cade said as he came to sit next to me in journalism class. Robert and I were talking and then started to type on our computers, doing the research paper we were assigned in AP English.
"Really?" I tried to keep my voice down as I squealed.
Robert turn to look at us and gave us a weird look. I explained to him what we were doing and he said that it all just sounded weird to him. He couldn't help but give Cade a suspicious look.
"Yeah, Andy says he just might start talking to Luke. You know, to size him up and all. See why you're really into Luke," Cade replied.
"This is so exciting! I want to bring a camera and record everything!" I squealed. It's times like these that I forget that Andy and I aren't friends anymore, but I couldn't help but hold onto some shred of hope that he still cared for me. I mean, he's getting jealous that Luke might be my new best friend. Of course, this isn't the approach I was hoping to get our friendship back on track, but even if we aren't friends, I want to make sure he at least ends up with the right guy, and I know Luke is that right guy.
"Yeah, well, I don't think you should. You're stalking skills are pretty bad," Cade said, and not even in a playful way. He said it with the utmost serious expression.
"Well, sorry, if I don't have experience like you," I replied with a sarcastic tone. Cade rolled his eyes. "Yeah, if I had spy gadgets like you, I'd probably be a better stalker," I continued sarcastically.
"You know about them?" Cade asked me with a surprised look on his face.
"Wait. You really have spy gadgets that you used?" I asked with equal surprise.
"Yes," he replied.
"What? That is so cool! Can I borrow them?" I asked quickly.
"Sunflower." Robert's voice filtered in, and I turn to him to see a deadpan expression on his face. "He's just kidding."
I quickly turn to Cade only to see a big smile on his face.
"Cade!" I whined. I can't believe I'm that gullible.
"Sunflower!" He mimicked my whiny voice. I pouted in my seat as I heard both Robert and Cade chuckle.
"Your car still in the shop?" Cade asked as he finished laughing at me at my expense. I nodded.
Unfortunately, my car has been in the shop for over a week, and I can't help but lose hope that it might never be fixed again. Sigh.
"Who's taking you to work?" Cade asked. I glanced at Andy, who was looking at Cade and me, but once he saw my eyes, he quickly looked away. I bit my lip to stop myself from smiling.
"Ace," I replied once I knew I would stop smiling.
I waited for a reaction to come from him. Hopefully, negative, so I could summon the anger I usually have on him. Lately, he's been completely opposite of the Cade I knew the past three years. I would say he was like the boy before we started high school, but even I knew that was a wrong description. Cade was somewhat like before high school, except, he seem more at ease. I guess…it's really hard to describe. It's like he got more confident about his place in the world, like he finally understands his mistakes and the consequences and he's not going to blame it on everyone else anymore. He's finally taking responsibility for what he's done.
"What?" Cade asked as Robert and I kept staring at him expectantly.
"You're not mad about Ace and me hanging out?" I asked.
Cade didn't say anything.
Robert smirked. "He's mad."
We noticed Cade's eye twitching.
"I knew it!" I exclaimed happily as if all was right with the world.
Cade glared at the both of us.
"Well, you can't expect me not to hate the idea of you hanging out with a guy I hate. I still don't like him, but…I'm not going to do anything about it. He's your…friend…I guess. You can hang out with whomever you want to," Cade said dejectedly.
The fist pump I just did totally deflated. I gave Robert a sad look to let him know that all was not right with the world, but I only saw disbelief and confusion on his face.
"You're so complicated Cade," I commented with the same tone as Cade's, "you're such a girl."
Cade scoffed and got out of his seat next to me to help with all the other students.
I turn to Robert, who was laughing, and I could only shrug in response.
Life was weird when Cade was understanding.
"So, your telling me that Cade is being nice to you?" Ace asked as he took me to work. I nodded slowly.
"Wow! That's good right?" Rammy popped in from the back seat to give her input.
I sighed. "I don't know. It's weird if you ask me."
"Well, I think it's good," Rammy said happily in her seat. I turn to Ace to see his reaction and all he did was roll his eyes.
"It all seems too good to be true," Ace commented.
I jumped in my seat with glee.
"Exactly what I was thinking!" I replied. I'm happy to know that another person agrees with me. Robert agreed whole heartedly and now Ace. I turn to glance at Rammy. If only I could convince her.
"Wait, does that mean you two are over the whole fake relationship thing?" Rammy asked quickly.
Ace and I looked at each other, and he gave me a nod.
"Um, we've been over for a while," I replied quietly.
"Wait what?" Rammy screeched so loud that Ace almost missed the turn.
I couldn't help but look sorry at her for not telling her earlier.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Rammy asked.
"Um…we forgot?" I replied meekly.
Ace sighed. "Hey sis, will you put on your seatbelt please? I don't want mom to think I want to kill you."
"Ace!" Rammy whined.
"Honestly, we did forget to tell you. To tell you the truth, the whole fake relationship thing between Sunflower and me was weird from the start. We just felt like friends who had to hug each other more and kiss each other. So, we forgot. Big deal. You knew it was fake to begin with," Ace replied carelessly, and I could only watch Rammy huff in the backseat.
Silence filled the car for a few seconds.
"So, I want you to meet Luke." I couldn't help but change the subject.
"I want to meet him too!" Rammy replied enthusiastically. Ace's mouth tilted upwards into a smile at his A.D.D sister.
"Yeah, you'll really like him!" I gushed.
"I'm sure I will. I really want him and Andy to get together. I haven't seen Andy at all lately, and I really miss him, and-" Rammy shut her mouth when she noticed my dejected face and Ace's glare in the rearview mirror.
"Sorry," Rammy said meekly.
I gave her a small reassuring smile. Really, I don't blame her. I miss Andy too.
Once, I got to the restaurant, Ace got out of the driver's seat to walk me to the front doors.
"Hey, this whole setting Andy up with Luke thing is all cool and everything, but I want you to be careful around Cade. It just seems all too suspicious to me," Ace said, "Just keep your guard up around him. Okay?"
I nodded to reassure him. Ace smiled and quickly got back in his car to drive home.
I quickly went into the diner and got to working.
It was nearing the end of my shift and Luke was going to be here in five minutes to pick me up. We agreed to do our AP Calculus homework together at my house after work. I couldn't help but look forward to it. I really liked hanging out with him, but sometimes…sometimes, I look at him and wish he was Andy. I miss him so much. Sometimes, I think everything will be alright, and we'll be friends again once Luke and Andy get together, but sometimes…sometimes I think, Luke and Andy will get together, and they'll all leave me behind. Cade, Luke, and Andy.
I don't blame Andy if he decides not to be my friend anymore. I did say 'I hate you' to him, and if I were him, I'd take it to heart.
I snapped out of my thoughts when I noticed a guy standing in front of me.
At that moment, Cade's smile didn't throw me off at all, I guess I was getting use to it. It was his eyes. Well, I'm use to how pretty they look too, but it was how his eyes were looking at me. He held me in my spot and I feel as if I could just drown in them.
"Sunflower?" Cade waved a hand in front of me and I blinked.
"Oh, uh, how can I help you?" I asked lamely as I tried my best not to blush.
"Oh, um, well, I'm not really here to order. Luke said he was running late from an after school meeting so he asked me to pick you up," Cade said.
"Oh. Well, I'm about to end soon, so you can just wait outside," I replied. He nodded and walked back to his car.
I finished with the last table of the day and said bye to everybody.
When I stepped outside, I couldn't help but just stare at Cade inside his car. His windows were rolled down and his eyes scanned the pages of a book he held in front of him. He's always been into reading, and I remember one of his few quirks was that he always read when he was waiting. I always thought it was adorable when we were younger, and then in high school I thought it was one of the few of the qualities I liked about him. He wasn't glaring, or threatening, or annoyed. He was quiet, and deep in thought that he'd sometimes forget where he was. It was the only time I could get a good look at him and he wouldn't look back.
I climbed into the passenger seat and shut the door. He seem to be finishing the last sentence and then bookmarked the book and placed it to his side. He started the car and pulled out of the diner's parking lot.
"So, how was work?" Cade asked.
"Same old same old," I replied.
The silence engulfed the car and I would've welcomed it, since I don't really want to talk to Cade, but it also made me uncomfortable. Everything in the car intensified, because it was so silent, which is why I jumped in my seat when my phone started ringing. I gave Cade a sheepish smile as I picked up my phone.
"Sunflower! Andy wants to hang out with me right now!" Luke's excited voice rang out from the phone.
"Yay!" I was doing a victory dance in my head.
"Yeah, but that means I can't do our homework together. I'm so so so sorry!" His excited voice quickly switched to a remorseful tone.
"No, no, that's okay. Don't worry about it. Just do your thing with Andy okay?" I reassured him. We quickly said our goodbyes and hung up.
"Andy finally took the bait?" Cade asked.
"Did you want to get some ice cream before I drop you off at home?" Cade asked.
I had been fiddling with my fingers the entire time, and I froze the moment he opened his mouth. I hesitated with my reply.
"I, uh…I don't think that's such a great idea Cade," I replied softly.
I nervously glanced at Cade when he didn't say anything to my answer.
"Yeah, okay, I understand," he said.
I couldn't help but let a hugh sigh of relief.
"Geez, am I that scary to you?" Cade asked with a smile, but I could hear a hard edge to his voice.
"No! No…" my voice dying off with the last word.
"Then?" Cade asked.
I bit my lip as I tried to formulate a response to his question.
"I just…I really haven't forgiven you Cade, and I don't want you to think that I have," I said as I tried my best to keep my eyes on him.
He never responded to that. He just kept on driving.
It was another fifteen minutes of painful awkward silence in the car when I finally got home. That's a very long fifteen minutes.
"Well, thanks for the ride home," I said as I opened the door. I was too busy getting my stuff out of the car to notice Cade walking out of his seat.
"Here, let me help." Cade offered, and he took my stuff before I could actually reply. I followed him to my door and I quickly dug out my keys from my bag. Cade handed me my stuff and walked down my porch. I watched him walk away from me, and in some ways, I felt bad with what I said in the car, but I knew it was better for us this way.
I turn back to the door, and readjusted my bag that was falling off my shoulder.
"Sunflower." I heard a deep voice behind me and I quickly turn to meet Cade's chest.
I just stared at him in surprise.
"You forgot this." Cade help up my Calculus book.
"Oh my goodness! I can't believe I forgot this!" I exclaimed as I quickly took it out of his hands. "Thanks so much!" I smiled at him, and I watched as a small smile appeared on his face.
"Yeah, no problem," he replied. He was about to leave when all of a sudden the door opened behind us.
"Sunflower? Cade?" My Mom's voice filtered in.
"Mom?" I quickly turned around.
I watched my Mom's eyes take in the scene before her.
"What are you doing here Cade?" My Mom asked.
"I'm just dropping Sunflower off since her car is in the shop," he replied.
"Oh," my Mom replied. We stood there for about three seconds in silence.
"Would you like to have dinner with us?" My Mom asked.
"Um…well, I don't know if Sunflower will mind," Cade carefully replied.
"Oh, nonsense. I haven't seen you in this house in forever! Please, join us!" My Mom flashed her million dollar smile. The one she knew that no one could resist. No, Mom! No!
"Uh…sure, I guess-" Cade was quickly cutoff with my Mom dragging both of us in the house.
"Great! Just make yourself comfortable. I'm sure you remember where everything is, though I have done a bit of redecorating." Mom's voice disappeared into the kitchen.
"The house looks great Mrs. Berry," Cade said as he looked around the place.
"Thanks!" Mom yelled from the kitchen.
I was completely thrown off and overwhelmed with my Mother's antics that I didn't notice the sounds of hurried footsteps from upstairs and suddenly, my brothers were in front of us.
"Cade?" Josh looked up at us with a confused look in his eyes.
"What's he doing here?" Jake asked as he glared at Cade.
"Uh…" I started, but was interrupted by the sound of the door opening behind us.
"Why is everyone standing in front of the door? I know you kids miss me but-Cade?" My Father gave Cade a once over. His confusion would've been adorable, if it wasn't for the fact that Cade and me were trapped between my brothers and my Father.
It was silent for a moment.
"Why are you-" my Father took a menacing step towards Cade, except for the fact that I was in front of Cade, so I guess he took a menacing step towards me also, which is why it was only natural for me to take a step back from Daddy dearest. Only, I walked back into Cade who help me steady on my arms.
"Oh, good! Everyone's here. Dinner's ready!" Mom said and quickly took my Dad's hand and led him into the dining room. I watched as Daddy followed my Mommy in confusion. I swear, sometimes, that woman really knows how to control men. "C'mon boys!" Mom' shouted for my brothers. Josh quickly ran into the dining room and Jake grudgingly took slow steps towards it all the while glaring at Cade.
Cade and I just stood there.
"Uh, you can let go now," I said and I felt Cade's hand disappear. "Well…this is gonna be interesting," I said. Of course, my subtext was, 'This is going to be horrible! Like ice cream is forever banned horrible!'
I turn to Cade, expecting to see fear in his eyes, all the while trying to seem like a man by putting up a front. What I didn't expect was to see his eyes twinkle and a smile on his lips.
"Yeah, it's definitely going to be interesting," he replied and he took my hand and quickly yanked me towards my dining room.
Oh my goodness! Does he not know the meaning of subtext?
Author's Note: So, Cade's gonna meet the family! Again. lol. I felt that it was needed, considering how close Sunflower's family is. I really couldn't just leave them out.
Let me know what you think of this chapter. I'm really trying to work on Cade and Sunflower's interaction, and hopefully it comes off as realistic. Next chapter will definitely have a bit more action. Hopefully you guys can handle it!
Thanks for everyone who reviewed the previous chapters!