- Mopeds Come in Pink -
It started with the senior pranks.
As if the reigning class of West Ridge High had anything better to do than toy with nearby schools. The ideal target: Magnolia High - only three miles down the road with sluggish night custodians to boot.
And so the West Ridge football team arrived at school the next morning just after the deed had been done- arms full with empty Vaseline jars and mouths busy with the retelling of the prior night's mischief. Students gathered, underclassmen looked on adoringly, and for a moment, the world seemed to have stopped spinning to allow the school jocks to present a play by play of what was sure to be remembered as the crown jewel of all senior pranks.
Magnolia's floors, toilet seats, doorknobs –you name it- no open surface had been spared the onslaught of petroleum jelly slathered on by none other than West Ridge's finest athletes. They had created an unwelcome school-wide slip and slide.
Poor Magnolia; they never saw it coming.
So that was that. The pranksters basked in the glow of adoration for several days, and their constant recount of their bravado was enough to keep the rumor mill spinning for the next few weeks. Soon enough though, the football seniors' short-lived fame came to an eventual end, and they returned to ruling the school through their athletic superiority rather than their ability to apply Vaseline creatively. The world started turning again, and all was well.
That is…until Magnolia retaliated.
There was only one rule at West Ridge: You don't mess with Albert. Albert, placed smack dab in the middle of the school's front courtyard, was a radiant 12 foot statue of a ram, the beloved school mascot. So what if Albert was inanimate? Poke fun of the students' senseless devotion all you want. No animate object would ever hold such a firm place in the hearts of West Ridge's students. Albert was adored, he was revered, and he was the perfect target for Magnolia's revenge.
You can only imagine the rage experienced by the West Ridge High students when they pulled into school the following Monday only to discover that poor Albert had been recently "relocated".
To the school roof.
This new change in location was also accompanied by what could arguably be called a "makeover". Slathered over the gleaming white stone that was once Albert's fur coat was a sickening shade of maroon- Magnolia's school color.
After the fury, came the disbelief. Who could've predicted it? With a school name like Magnolia, how could they have expected the students to be anything other than dainty? Either way, the competition was on.
Throw in a couple more misplaced mascots, a few more bouts of tasteless graffiti and presto - a full-fledged school rivalry was born.
"No. Nope. I refuse! I'm not getting on that bus, and if you think you can— hey!" I grunted as I was rudely shoved up the stairs into the school bus. I glared at the boy behind me noting that chivalry really was dead. As I grudgingly made my way through the aisle, I secretly indulged in the fact that my fellow West Ridge classmates on the bus apparently shared my misery. Hah! Throwing the girl in front of me a sympathetic look, I ungracefully slid myself into an empty seat near the middle of the bus and waited.
Where were they? I did not get up at six o'clock in the morning on a Saturday to wait for the Magnolia students to drag their prep school butts up to the bus ramp on time.
I sighed as I slouched further into my seat. This is stupid. Stupid and unnecessary. Damn that Magnolia High. Damn this stupid rivalry! After four months of relentless pranks, the school staff from both schools had finally decided that they had enough of our "foolish shenanigans and desecration of school property!"
The solution? Naturally, of course, to pack all the West Ridge and Magnolia senior students together on a bus to San Antonio for an overnight field trip! Yeah, that would show us! Thanks, quality educators! Because we were bound to get along if we were forced to be in each other's company for long enough!
Two hours on a bus with the Magnolia kids? I only hoped no limbs would be lost in the process.
Impatiently, I glanced out the window actually somewhat pleased to notice that the Magnolia students had finally arrived. The sooner we got this dumb field trip started, the sooner it would end. My classmates, however, were not as pleased to see their rivals.
"HEY! Get out of here you Magnolia SCUM!"
"Yeah! You don't belong here! This is RAM TERRITORY!"
I groaned as the meat-head jock at the front of my bus began an obnoxious chant while enthusiastically pumping his fists in the air.
"WEST RIDGE! WEST RIDGE! WEST RIDGE!" It didn't take long before all twelve buses followed suit.
You know, because loudly repeating the name of the school we attended totally showed them who was boss.
Seemingly unfazed, the Magnolia kids ignored us. They were currently being assigned bus numbers, seeing as how the teachers wanted an equal distribution of Magnolia and West Ridge students on each bus. I guess they figured that if both sides got into a fight, the teams would be split evenly. Because a massacre would be unfair, you know.
Despite the rowdy cheers, I still managed to hear heavy breathing behind me. Wait, what? Heavy breathing? Oh, God. There was only one boy who could possibly inhale and exhale that loudly. It was a particularly useless talent. I tensed, cringing at the words that were sure to come. Oh, please no. If there is any merciful God up there, please don't let that be—
"Hello Addison. You are looking particularly tasty today", a voice drawled as he let his eyes slide down the length of my body. I inched away from the speaker, and frantically looked for an escape route. There was none in sight. I sighed.
"Uh okay, thanks Dexter."
"You look awfully lonely sitting there by yourself. I bet a little some of this spicy Dexter zest could do you some good." He waggled his eyebrows and I visibly blanched. Oh god, he probably thought that was sexy.
"Nah, I'm fine actually! Perfectly content!" I threw him a smile, dangerously high-wattaged to prove my point. "See? Just fine! Doing great!"
"My dear Addison, you just don't know what's best for you. I think you could use some company." He winked at me as he pushed his thick framed glasses further up the bridge of his nose.
"No company!" I let out a forced laugh, "I, uh, need the extra space for my leg. Terribly sprained, you know."
Dexter was quick to reply. "Well, that's too bad. You know, there's nothing one of my famous foot rubs won't fix. I'll even throw in a full-body message for free." My god, he was determined. You had to at least give him credit for that. I felt the bus shake slightly and noticed that the Magnolia students had finally started boarding the bus. About damn time. I turned my body towards Dexter in the row behind me, reminded of my mission to rid myself of his company without completely crushing his ego. Call me a saint.
"That's really okay Dexter; I swear! No rubbing of the feet is needed!"
"Oh Addison, I insist. Besides, once I get started, you'll be begging for more." What? Oh, no. Oh God. He's standing up. He's standing up and walking towards me. Standing up, walking towards me, and getting ready to sit down. The one foot buffer between us was closing. Fast. I panicked. Two hours with Dexter? Thanks, but no thanks. I would prefer to leave this bus with my sanity intact and my feet untouched, thank you. Scanning my surroundings furiously, I once again spotted the Magnolia students boarding the bus.
"You can't!" I nearly hollered, arms outstretched and waving wildly to distance myself from him. "Because, I promised uh, John that I would save him a seat!"
"John?" He looked skeptical.
"Duh, John! John Brown!" I clearly didn't have a creative bone in my body. John Brown? I rambled on, not exactly sure which direction I was headed in. "Don't you know him? He's only been my best friend since the beginning of time! Maybe even before then! We're sworn bosom buddies. So you know, he would probably be terribly offended if you took his seat. Since I promised him and all…" I trailed off lamely, mentally berating myself. Real convincing Addie.
"My little ladybug, I'm all the company you're going to need." Dexter took a step closer.
"No, wait!" I held a hand out to stop him. The Magnolia students were now making their way through the aisle, brushing past me as I stood. Should I? Well, I figure I can act now and apologize later. Go for it Addie- unless you really think you can handle two hours of skeezy pick-up lines. I acted on impulse. My arm reached out to grab the nearest male, and I dragged him over to my side. "Here he is!" I declared triumphantly towards Dexter. "This is John!"
Without even checking for the poor guy's approval, I roughly shoved him into my row. "Hey John Brown! Look! There's that seat I saved you!"
"He's a Magnolia kid?" Dexter didn't even bother to hide his disgust. I nodded vigorously, while Dexter gave a sigh of resignation, probably deciding that I wasn't worth the trouble. He turned to head towards the back of the bus, tucking in his shirt tail as he left.
Yes! Disaster averted! My disaster anyway. As I gave the bus a once over to make sure that Dexter was really gone, I noted that the rest of the bus was in shambles. Verbal riots had already bubbled up between the West Ridge and Magnolia students. The two rival groups were animatedly arguing, throwing in the occasional punch to emphasize their point. Yeah, I wasn't too fond of the Magnolia students myself, but I would never fight one of them. Probably because I was only 5'4 and about as intimidating as an abandoned puppy. Plus, I generally wasn't a fan of unnecessary pain.
Closing my eyes, I attempted to block out the noise of the surrounding fights- both verbal and physical.
I tiredly sat back down, letting myself sink into the gray imitation leather of the bus seat. Exhausted from Dexter's antics, I yawned, stretching my arms until I felt my hand come into contact with something warm. Oops. I glanced over.
God, the boy was gorgeous. His perfectly tousled hair fell across his perfectly sculpted jaw which framed his perfectly blue eyes, and oh God, I've lost the ability to form words. He watched me, clearly amused by my newly frazzled nerves. So this was "John Brown", huh? Not bad, Addie. Not bad at all. I studied him further. It was unfair, really, for the rest of the male population; I'm sure he could share a few of those genes and still have more than enough left over for himself. In typical teenage girl blabber- this guy was a grade-A hottie. Slap his face on a Calvin Klein underwear ad right now, and I swear, those boxers would sell.
"Uh, hi," I acknowledged the stranger weakly. What else was I supposed to say? He nodded at me.
"Thanks for the seat. That's pretty civilized for a West Ridge girl." he smirked. Not the smirk. Oh, joy. I had grabbed one of those. You know the type-tall, dark, handsome and fully equipped with an oversized ego. Lost in my thoughts, I almost forgot that he insulted me. Did he call West Ridge uncivilized? I suppressed my slight anger. So I didhave a sense of school pride somewhere in there! I brushed it off and answered coolly.
"Well, we are bosom buddies after all. It's only natural that I save you a seat."
He played along. "So I've heard. Isn't it strange that I don't even know the name of my bosom buddy?" No. It's not unusual mystery guy, because on normal terms, I would never associate with a Magnolia student. Not ever. Mostly because my classmates would never let me hear the end of it. I looked around. No one seemed to notice that I was being somewhat civil to our high school rival. They had other matters on their hands, or more appropriately, their fists. Not exactly sure why, I answered him anyway.
"It's Addison. Addie for short."
"Addie…Addie from West Ridge." He tried my name out. I raised an eyebrow at him. What was he doing? He needed to get out of here before I was caught associating with the likes of the Magnolia rivals. Regardless of my thoughts, I continued talking.
"So I'm guessing you're not really a John?" Way to question the obvious, Addie.
"Nope," He smiled, "Guess."
"Your name?" I asked him and he nodded. Guess his name? What kind of game was he playing at? I narrowed my eyes suspiciously but my curiosity prompted to answer him all the same.
"Jake?" I asked randomly, still doubtful towards his intentions.
"Dexter?" I asked, involuntarily shuddering from the thought.
"Nope, try again!" Oh, praise the lord.
"Um, David?" He shook his head.
"Tom? Bob? Austin? Joshua, Ryan, Timothy?" My frustration grew as he continued to shake his head at each of my suggestions, clearly amused by my attempts. Damn this Magnolia kid!
"Alfred, Vincent, Sheldon, Gregward?"
He scrunched his nose up. Did any expression not look good on him? "I look like a Gregward?" I was about to obnoxiously answer yes to his question when I felt the familiar jolt of the bus, indicating that we had finally started moving. I looked over at the boy next to me. What was he still doing here? I'm pretty sure we would both be charged with treason if the two schools finally decided to stop arguing and actually take note of their surroundings.
Fraternizing with the enemy? Unforgivable.
Plus, I wanted to take a nap, and that would be a lot easier if his butt wasn't resting where I was supposed to lay my head.
"Uh, you can go now." I tried to shoo him away from my side. "If you're real quick, they probably won't even notice!"
"Nah, I'm good here." He made his point by taking up more of the bus seat, his leg brushing against mine."What kind of bosom buddy would I be if I left you here alone?"
"The best kind! Now, shoo!" I climbed over him and tried to shove him out towards the aisle, but that was considerably difficult since he was probably well over six feet. He didn't budge an inch. Laughing at my frustration, he scooted towards the aisle, and patted the spot next to him. I sat down reluctantly. He wouldn't even tell me his name and he was going to endanger my (mostly nonexistent) social life by stupidly deciding to share my bus seat? I didn't think so.
I huffed. "Well if you're staying, the least you can do is tell me your lame name." I crossed my arms stubbornly to show him that I meant business. No Magnolia boy was about to get the best of me!
"So if I tell you, you promise to suffer through my company for the entire bus ride?"
I gave in. "Yeah, yeah-name, mister!"
He chuckled as he spoke, "It's Dylan."
I made a face. Dylan? Really, that's it? I tried to hide my disappointment, albeit unsuccessfully. He raised an eyebrow as to question my expression.
"What?" he asked.
I sighed, giving in. "Oh, it's nothing. Dylan is just so…," I made a face. "vanilla." He had wasted my precious minutes on the guessing game, and he didn't even have a cool name?
"Well, Miss Addison," He mocked offense while emphasizing my white-bread name, "You have a pretty exotic name yourself."
I stuck my tongue out at him. Because that obviously was the mature thing to do. Suddenly the bus lurched and although I threw my hands out in front of me to catch myself, I ended up sprawled across Dylan's lap anyway.
So I know it's been in all of the movies. When the female lead is thrown into the arms of some male, only to look up into his eyes and realize that they were meant for each other. Yeah, well, that didn't happen- and I didn't want it to. Sometime when I was busy trying to untangle my limbs from his though, I came to the realization that my hair had gotten caught on his jacket zipper. That definitely didn't happen in the movies. I pulled at it with fruitless effort, but it may as well have been super-glued there. I threw my hands up, exasperated.
"Is this my punishment for associating with a Magnolia student?" I threw an accusatory glare up towards Dylan.
"Hey!" He held his hands up. "You were the one that shoved me into your seat to get away from your poor admirer."
I couldn't argue with that. I shifted, trying to get used to the uncomfortable position. My head was involuntarily resting on Dylan's abdomen, and seeing as how my hair was caught, I really couldn't move much. This was tiring- I decided that I had enough of this Dylan guy, and the sooner I could get away from him, the better.
"Ow, ow, ow!" I felt a sharp pain in my scalp as I tried to free my hair from the confines of Dylan's dumb jacket zipper while still proceeding to stare fiercely at him. "I hate you for this." Dylan, apparently not taking me seriously, burst into fits of laughter.
"You're cute when you're angry."
What kind of sadistic masochist was he? I refuse to see any humor in this situation! His chuckles only grew in volume as my anger grew in extremity. Suddenly reminded of my surroundings, I quickly clamped a hand over his mouth.
"Stop laughing so loudly!" I whispered ferociously. "Do you want everyone to notice us?" Was he crazy? I prefer my head on my body, thanks. Glancing around the bus, I was relieved to notice that most students were still currently occupied with more pressing issues- like which school's mascot was could beat the other in a fist fight (an odd discussion, considering our school mascot had hooves). Thank God for high school students' pettiness. Feeling Dylan's warm breath against the palm of my hand, I hastily let my hand drop back down to my side.
Still smiling, Dylan began his attempt to gently free my hair from his zipper. He managed to ease a few strands from their entrapment before giving up. "Well Addie, unless you have a pair of scissors handy, you're stuck with me indefinitely."
I groaned, burying my face into his jacket. Why? What had I done to anger the gods?
Suddenly out of nowhere, I yawned. My yawn was promptly followed by another yawn. Through all of my panic, I hadn't even realized that I was sleepy. I shouldn't have been surprised; I never could avoid sleep in moving vehicles. I tried stubbornly to stay awake; there was no way I was falling asleep when my hair was still caught on his jacket zipper. What if the bus lurched again- can you say ouch? And what if the rest of the bus actually stopped arguing and noticed the two rivals consorting? I would prefer to be awake so I could at least attempt to avoid my social downfall, thank you very much.
Dylan seemed to have noticed. "Shh, just go to sleep. Worry about it later."
I would've protested but I was simply too exhausted. When it came down to a battle between my will to stay awake and my drowsiness, sleep nearly always won. I gave in. Easily. Using Dylan as a particularly uncomfortable pillow, I let the steady sound of his breathing to lull me to sleep.
The buses dropped us off at the Marriott Hotel. I doubted that they were thrilled with the idea of hosting 800 senior students from rival schools. The teachers had begun assigning the hotel rooms. Girls on the 7th floor and guys on the 6th. Of course, they made sure to state that no boys were allowed on the 7th floor and vice versa.
"If a student even so much as steps foot into a room belonging to the opposite sex, this is grounds for expulsion! You hear me? Expulsion!"
Every student in the room simultaneously rolled their eyes; we had heard this all before. After all the rules had been thoroughly explained, like the rest of my classmates, I quickly found my room, carelessly threw my overnight bag on the bed, and left to go explore the city. Since we were seniors and most of us were 18, no one bothered assigning chaperones. Can you say freedom?
Or not. The Magnolia principal was apparently a firm believer the buddy system. "I better not find anyone out in the city without a buddy! Think of this as an opportunity to make friends! Why don't you each pair off with someone from the other school? Get to know each other a bit?"
The collective groans of eight hundred students echoed throughout the room, and so the principal amended his request.
"Okay, I don't care if you guys don't partner up with someone from a different school, but I better not find anyone, I mean anyone, wandering alone by themselves. You will be faced with a lengthy suspension, students!"
I ignored them. Just this once. I wasn't too fond of breaking the rules actually. I mean, I always read those IKEA instruction manuals from cover to cover before I'd even touch anything else in the box. But today, I wanted to be by myself. My friends weren't equipped for the Texas heat. If I had gone with the girls, we'd have to stop every few minutes to take a break, and I just wasn't in the mood. All this hot and humid goodness. I could take it! Screw the buddy system!
Strolling along the sidewalk of San Antonio's mass-marketed Riverwalk, I began to think that maybe the school teachers weren't as delusional as I had first thought. It was noon so the acclaimed tourist trap wasn't as crowded as usual. There were paved walking pathways along both sides of the river, sometimes so close that a small slip of the feet could send you tumbling in. Both sides were adorned with restaurants and quaint stores while the occasional bridges and trees provided very much-needed shade. I was, dare I say it, enjoying myself. While walking, I occasionally saw students that I recognized, but I was sure most of them had headed straight for the city mall. Which was fine with me; that just meant more of the Riverwalk for myself!
I was making my way along the pathway, innocently enjoying the commercialized scenery by myself when I heard a voice behind me.
"Well, aren't you a rebel?"
I knew it was Dylan. So, apparently while I was taking my much-needed nap on the bus, he had managed to coax the rest of my hair out from the zipper without waking me. I guess that was nice of him- not that I would ever tell him that.
Squinting my eyes at him I noted that he didn't seem to be an avid follower of the buddy system either. "And where's your buddy? Hiding behind that tree?"
He shook his head and laughed. "Don't be silly Addie. She's standing right in front of me."I actually turned my head to look before I realized that he meant me. Nice try.
"What? No! I'm not going anywhere with you!" The city was crawling with Magnolia and West Ridge kids right now! And yes, I admit, the rivalry was somewhat stupid and blown out of proportion, but that fact didn't do anything to calm the rest of the student population. I was not going to get caught with a Magnolia student.
"Miss Addison doesn't want a buddy? I never took you as a rule breaker," he gently grabbed my hand and tugged a little. "Come on."
And go where exactly? I stayed put, determined not to give in. "No!"
"Addie, don't be stubborn. No one's looking, I swear." He just wouldn't give it a rest would he? Well, then he left me no choice.
I gave him a small smile, to lower his guard, and nodded. I prayed that he was gullible. Seemingly pleased by my response, he let go of my hand and started walking along the river pathway, expecting me to follow him. Not a very smart move on his part. I took off running in the other direction notifying him of my exit with a few parting words.
"Bye Dylan! See you never!" I snickered at my own cleverness. Turning my head back in his direction, I noticed he wore an expression not of shock, but of both amusement and determination. Shaking his head as if to express his disbelief at what he was about to do, he ran after me.
I disregarded the curious onlookers and let my legs carry me as fast as they possibly could, which, admittedly, was not that fast. What was I doing? A high speed chase in the middle of the Riverwalk? This was crazy. Well, I decided, crazy or not, I wasn't about to let him catch me. We ran for what seemed like hours to my poor exhausted legs. I dodged other pedestrians to the best of my ability and avoided sudden obstructions on the sidewalk. I'm not saying I didn't stumble every now and then, but so far, I hadn't once fallen-it was a massive feat on my part. My pace slowed as my already lacking stamina couldn't take much more. Still, I ran on. Passing countless restaurants, I suddenly noticed that he was intentionally keeping a steady distance.
I was damn near sprinting for my life, and he was only jogging to keep up. He was trying to tire me out! The jerk!
I was going to turn back and berate him for his jerk-like behavior when I realized that I didn't have to. My sudden stop had thrown him off balance and as he slowed his steps, his foot had caught on a protruding branch from the nearby tree.
And down he fell. Into the river.
I ran to the edge of the walkway and peered over, fairly pleased by the turn of events. That showed him! Karma was on my side. I waited for him to emerge so I could give him a piece of my mind. No sign of him. I waited a while longer. Creeping even closer to the edge, I called his name.
"Dylan?" No answer. Shoot! What if I had just drowned him? Would I get in trouble for that? I didn't even do it- it was a tree branch! Feeling the guilt wash over me, I leaned over the river to get a better look. "Dylan? This isn't funny!" I panicked while still inspecting the water. I leaned in even closer.
Before I even had time to react, a pair of strong arms reached out from the under the murky water, and circled around my waist. I should've seen this coming. This was too predictable, yet I had fallen for it just the same. His arms pulled me roughly into the river and I felt the water soak through my clothing as it made contact with my bare skin. The river water was cool, but the hands resting on my hips were warm. I came up for a breath and was instantly met with Dylan's laughter and shaking shoulders- he was practically convulsing. "You," he paused to take a breath, "Sorry Addie, I just," more laughing on his part, "It was just too easy!" He then prompted to burst into further fits of laughter. He waded around in the water- which was only 4 feet deep by the way- and splashed me a little. I turned down the notch on my glare just a smidge. For some reason, I wasn't that angry.
"Well, I guess the weather isn't really an issue anymore." I supplied. It was true. Even though the water was probably filthy, it felt refreshing. It was a welcome break from the ninety degree heat.
"That's a good girl," He patted my head. "Come on." He pulled himself gracefully out of the water and I grudgingly let him help me out as well- a lot less gracefully, mind you. We both stood on the pavement, dripping with the river's dirty water. I looked up at him.
"Now, you owe me." He smirked, "If you hadn't taken of running like that, neither of us would've gotten into this mess." I stared him down. He was the one that pulled me in! Even if it was my fault that he had fallen into the river, doesn't dragging me in along with him constitute sufficient revenge? I repeat: the jerk! Somehow though, I didn't have the energy to try and run away again. Who knows what disaster would result this time. I gave in.
"Okay, jerkface. What do I owe you?"
"Spend the day with me."
What? This guy wasn't anything if not unpredictable. I had wanted the day to myself to roam the city. What could I do to escape him though? Take off running again? I already knew that he was faster. Slightly questioning his sanity and his motive, I reluctantly agreed. After all, it would take too much effort on my part to disagree.
"Fine then." I replied. It couldn't be too horrible. I suppose there were worse things in the world than spending time with a hot stranger from a rival school. I repeat: a veryhot stranger from a rival school.
His face brightened. He started walking again, and this time I followed him. We headed to the stairs out of the Riverwalk, and though I pouted, he continued, glancing back every now and then to make sure I was still there. Now, on the sidewalk of a busy street, we were receiving more stares than even before. I jogged a bit to catch up to his side. That way if any random person were to start questioning our methods of hydration, I would let Dylan handle it. Strength in numbers! Maybe the buddy system wasn't as pointless as I had originally thought.
We were an odd pair. Both soaked to the core with buckets of water running down the length of our bodies. No one had confronted us, but we seemed to be attracting an unusual amount of stares from passing women-particularly teenage girls. How strange. I glanced over at Dylan, about to ask him if he noticed the strange stares as well. Oh. It hit me that they were probably just ogling Dylan in all of his wet and clingy clothing glory. I silently observed him. He looked even better when he was soaked. You know- if that were even possible.
"Where are you going?" I asked him impatiently.
"I figure we'll just walk around till we find something interesting." I rolled my eyes at his response. He expected me to spend the rest of my day with him and we were going to just wander around?
"Come on, Addie," he winked at me. "Live a little." With that, he took my hand and we sprinted through the nearby crosswalk before the timer hit zero. I felt his rough palms burn through mine, and once we reached the other side of the street I pulled away.
We had been walking for nearly an hour now, yet Dylan was as energetic as ever. This boy defied the laws of nature. Every time we passed by anything that looked remotely interesting, he had firmly insisted time and time again that "we could do better". What exactly was he looking for anyway? I just wanted to sit. Maybe on a nice bench somewhere in a park. Really, that's all I was asking for. Feeding ducks was really adventurous enough for me. I liked ducks. I looked at Dylan; his eyes focused on something ahead- something which would probably be, once again, not interesting enough to settle for.
"How are you not exhausted?" I was genuinely curious.
He chuckled. "Tired of walking already?" I nodded and he laughed, "Well, so long as you're not tired of me." He took my hand again and tugged it in the direction he was headed. He really needed to stop doing that. When he let go, I tried to knead away the funny sensation that his palm left on mine. He had pulled me over to a store front with questionable merchandise, and I immediately blanched.
Expecting that response, he grinned. Was this guy ever not happy? He gestured towards the display window. "You said you were tired of walking? Well, here's the solution."
"It would be the solution if I were suicidal!"
He mocked exasperation, "They're just motor scooters – Vespas- completely safe." Oh, I really doubted that. "I'll even let you pick the one you want."
That caught my attention a little. I legitimately couldn't walk another step anyway. Which was the better option? Oh, to hell with it. Maybe it was the rebel in me acting, but with a quick turn of direction, I found myself heading into the store ahead of Dylan to view the rest of the selection. He chuckled with approval and headed in after me.
I scanned the room packed with motor vehicles. They were lined up in neat little aisles. There were two-wheel vehicles of every type in this store. He did say I could pick whichever one I wanted right? I wandered in between the rows of rental vehicles before my eyes landed on a particular moped near the back of the store. I snickered.
Hot pink. Perfect.
I had never really cared for that color myself, but I'm betting that Dylan didn't either, and that's what made that hot pink Vespa irresistible I really doubt that he would be as thrilled about his brilliant motor scooter idea if he knew what I had in store for him.
"Yeah?" He had been talking to a store employee, and turned to smile at me.
"I think I found the one!"
"Atta girl! Told you you'd warm up to the idea!" He seemed excited to see me so enthusiastic. I almost felt guilty. Almost.
"Mhm, come over here and check it out!"
Walking towards me, he stopped when he came close. It was as if his feet had stopped functioning. His face paled as his eyes took in the undeniably feminine Vespa. He put a hand over his face and groaned, "Don't do this to me Addie."
I was unusually chipper. "Well, Dylan, you said-"
"I know what I said," he sounded defeated. "What about that one over there? Red is nice isn't it? And if you're into the whole girly thing, there's even a purple one!" Good try. A-plus for effort.
"Nope. I like this one."
"Addie, you're killing me," he sighed. I refused to give in this time. Seeming to have grudgingly accepted my choice now, he called a store employee over. "Yeah, we'll be taking this one."
"That's 25 bucks each hour, sir," the employee countered. Dylan forked over a small wad of cash from his back pocket, signed a release form and thanked the worker. The employee told us to wait out in front and he would bring the scooter out to us in a few minutes. A few minutes passed, and sure enough, there it was in all it's hot pink glory. Held upright by a kickstand, our hot pink Vespa gleamed beautifully in the sunlight. He should just be thankful that I didn't pick the one with ribbon streamers. I think that was pretty merciful of me.
"Remember, this was your idea!" I taunted him as I pulled him over to the scooter. Was that seat really supposed to fit two people? "Okay, so…how does this work?"
He climbed onto the scooter, kicking up the stand, and straddled the seat with his legs. God, that was sexy. "Come on," he insisted while patting the seat behind him. I made my way over and awkwardly swung my leg over the seat as an attempt to get on. On my second try, using Dylan's hand for leverage, I made it easily. The rumble of the engine sounded and I let out a squeak. Dylan turned his head towards me, and grinned roguishly, "Hold on!"
Before I even had the time to ask why, the motor scooter surged forward and I yelped. Acting on reflex, I threw my arms around Dylan's waist, bunching the fabric of his still damp t-shirt together. I would trade back walking for this torture in a heartbeat. At least he didn't make me drive the thing. I squeezed my eyes shut and buried my face in his shoulder.
He responded with another smirk. "You think this is fast? We're only going 25!" To prove his point, he accelerated and my grip on him tightened.
"Is this payback for choosing pink?" I yelled over the roar of the wind and engine.
"Why, Addison! I would never," he said in a tone that clearly indicated that he would. "Besides, speed limit is 45! What do you say we catch up to those other cars?" Without waiting for a response he accelerated once more and I squeezed him tighter. I couldn't take much more of this. How did I get myself into these situations?
"Where are we going?" He had better have an actual destination this time. I only prayed that we wouldn't be roaming around the city again looking for something "adventurous" enough to suit Dylan's taste.
"Don't worry, I've got a place in mind."
That definitely spiked my interest.
"This place of yours better not involve bungee cords."
"No promises," he teased.
I made a face at him- kind of pointless seeing as how he was facing away from me. After a while, I grew accustomed to the steady roar of the engine. I watched, somewhat excited, as we passed the cars next to us (while still going at the speed limit-mind you.) I loosened my grip on Dylan slightly, though I admit I held on a bit tighter than I probably needed to. The paved road allowed for us to coast smoothly past the other cars.
I forced myself to relax, and made a point to admire the Spanish architecture beside us rather than the pavement below us. Aside from the fact that my hair was painfully whipping my face, this was- dare I say it- fun. I laughed and let out an uncharacteristic whoop. Cruising the streets of San Antonio in our hot pink Vespa, we could hardly be defined as cool, but that didn't stop the adrenaline from flowing through my veins. I tugged on Dylan's shirt.
He beamed and went only a bit faster, "Already going at the speed limit, but if you're looking for more of a thrill, maybe you should reconsider that ban on bungee cords."
I snorted. (Attractive, I know.) Yes, I was enjoying this impromptu moped ride, but I hadn't gone insane. Bungee jumping was definitely not in the cards for me. We cruised along for a few more miles before Dylan pulled to a stop. He kicked the stand back down, and began to climb off the scooter when he suddenly stopped. I was still busy checking out the scenery.
"Addie, we're here," he stated.
"That means you can let go of me now." He grinned, "Unless of course… you don't want to."
I scowled, letting my hands drop to my sides, while I clambered off of the scooter seat. "Don't go getting a big head now!"
I took in my surroundings once again.
This was where he wanted to go? I stared blankly at the white historic building, its image cemented in every Texas history textbook. Yes, The Alamo. I swear, every Texan knew the story and 90 percent of Texans had visited the site, including me. It was the primary tourist trap of San Antonio after all. Even though it acted in the past as a battlefield, I admit that it was still pretty scenic. There were trees to provide shade and there was even a makeshift river nearby. But still, why here? I gave Dylan a questioning stare.
He shrugged, "We can't take a trip to San Antonio without dropping by the Alamo. It's un-Texan! Come on, Addie, show a little state pride!" I raised an eyebrow at his obviously manufactured response and he continued. "I also figured that no one from either West Ridge or Magnolia would be here. Wouldn't want you freaking out on me now." He ruffled my hair again.
Oh, right. The last place you'd expect to find teenage students would be at a historical site. I had actually forgotten about the rivalry. That was weird. Just because I had forgotten about the feud did not change the fact that I would be in for a lot of questioning if I were discovered with a Magnolia student. How did I forget? Spending time with Dylan did strange things to me. That boy was sure something. Even though I was only still in his company because he insisted that I "owed" him for the river incident, I confessed to myself that spending time with him wasn't all that horrible. I glanced up at him.
"You know what?" I asked him impulsively.
"What?" He smiled and raised an eyebrow.
"You're pretty cool for a Magnolia kid." I admitted.
His face brightened but he masked it with indifference. "Oh really? Well, you're not too bad yourself." He chuckled, "for a West Ridge girl."
Cue the sappy music.
We roamed both the Alamo and its surrounding buildings for a while. If it sounds boring to you, then you forget who I had in my company. Dylan flew from each historic cannon to the next and he never failed to keep me amused. He moved so fast though, that I sometimes had to jog to keep up. Seeing as how he was considerably taller than I was, one of his steps would equal two of mine. Life was unfair.
Sometimes when I was too tired to use my voice to tell him to slow down, I would reach out and tug at his shirt. Each time, he slowed only to forget and speed right back up within a few minutes. Eventually fed up with my sluggish pace, he forced me to take a rest on a patch of grass with a "Do not walk on grass" sign clearly displayed above the lawn. He was never one for following the rules anyway. Settling himself next to me, he yawned and lied down on the grass. So it was possible for him to tire after all. After a short moment of rest, he sat up and glanced in my direction.
"Had enough yet?" he asked.
"Are you kidding?" I smirked. It was nice to flip things around for a change. "Get your lazy ass up and finish the tour!"
We had been walking for a while now. As we followed the pathways throughout the historic site, I found myself noticing the strangest things about Dylan. Stupid things like the line of his jaw and the shape of his lips. I blamed it on my raging teenage hormones. I mean, no one could deny that Dylan was gorgeous. Occasionally girls would even attempt to sidle up to him and shamelessly try their hand at flirting. How he dismissed them without a care in the world, I would never know.
We had toured the whole site and more, but Dylan pressed to visit the gift shop. I walked through the endless aisles of cheap souvenirs and pointless knick-knacks when I realized he was actually paying for something at the store counter. What could he have possibly found here that was worth spending money on? I decided I wouldn't question it. Some things are better left unknown. We headed out of the store and made our way towards the moped. We didn't bother locking it; who would steal a hot pink Vespa anyway? Before we reached it however, Dylan shook the souvenir bag obnoxiously in front of my face.
"Wanna know what's in it?"
"No, not really," I lied.
"Really? You sure, Addie? It's for you," he taunted.
Before I could answer, he pulled the souvenir out from the bag. I went pale.
He presented it proudly: a hot pink fanny pack embroidered with black lettering that read, "I visited the Alamo!" Yes you heard me right. A fanny pack. It was beyond tacky, beyond tasteless and there was no way in hell that I would ever be caught dead wearing it. I didn't even know that fanny packs were still being made.
"It matches the moped," Dylan grinned. "You didn't think I forgot about the motor scooter incident, did you? You wanted hot pink? Well, here it is." He held up the fanny pack. "This is payback, baby."
I stood there terrified until I realized that there was really no way he could make me wear it much less keep it on me. How would he go about getting a fanny pack around my hips voluntarily? I scoffed. Good luck with that. I was a biter.
"Good try, Dylan. I'm not going anywhere near that thing."
"Well, I think you will in a couple of seconds."
"Yeah, and why's that?"
"Because if you don't, I'll let you drive back to the rental store. I'll be fine observing from the back seat." He smiled wolfishly.
"You're willing to risk your life for a stupid fanny pack?" I groaned. There was no argument here. I refused to drive the moped. Sure, the thing couldn't go over 50 miles per hour, but the prospect of driving a vehicle that was unprotected by the usual sheets of metal scared me more than anything. I wasn't even a good driver behind the wheel of a sedan! What would I be like driving a Vespa for the first time? I didn't want to find out. I groaned, realizing that he had me trapped.
"Fine, jerkface. Hand it over." He dangled the fanny pack over my head while I reached up to grab it. Angrily clasping it around my hips I spun around in a small circle to give Dylan a 360 degree view of his dumb souvenir. "Happy?"
"Very," he replied while trying to contain his laughter. "It suits you." Dylan helped me up onto the moped, which really did match my hot pink fanny pack, and true to his word, began driving us back to the rental store.
Once we reached the store and returned our hot pink beauty, we began our trek to the Marriott by foot. Somewhere along the way, though, it had started raining. And by raining, I actually mean pouring. Where had the rain even come from? The sky seemed perfectly clear earlier today. I paced alongside Dylan, both of us getting soaked for the second time that day. While we were jogging back to the hotel, anxious to get out of the rain, I took pleasure in the fact that this time, everyone else was drenched as well.
Spotting our hotel far off in the distance, I picked up my pace to reach it faster. Only a few more minutes until that nice warm bed. Grabbing Dylan's hand, I sprinted the last few hundred feet and didn't stop until we reached the Marriott. Standing a few yards away from the elaborate doorway in front of the hotel, I leaned against the wall. The few extra needed steps seemed like too much work. Breathing heavily, I released my hold on Dylan's hand. It had taken us another half hour to get to the hotel from the rental store, and I was exhausted as ever. Groaning, I leaned slightly against Dylan for support. He reached out to hold me upright.
I nodded. "Yeah, just tired."
"So you decided to take a breather out on the sidewalk when the comfort of air conditioning is only twenty feet away?"
"Shut up and let me rest." In an attempt to take the weight off of my feet, I let myself slide down the wall to sit uncomfortably on the pavement. Every inch of my clothing was already soaked through. There was really no reason to head inside. Besides, a little water never hurt anyone.
"Well, alright then Miss Addison," Dylan said as he slid down next to me. "No need to make a fuss." He sat so close that our shoulders touched. I ignored the strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. We must've looked like two roadside hobos. I'm actually surprised that not one person attempted to inform us that loitering was illegal. Side by side, we rested in front of the hotel for a while. Neither of us felt the need to talk- I just moped in silence, pitying my poor overworked legs; even Dylan seemed tired. It became exhausting to even hold my head up, so I rested it against Dylan's shoulder.
I watched the people on the sidewalk rush to their destination- some were smart enough to have carried an umbrella. Even though everyone was in a hurry, that didn't keep the passing women from regularly throwing a coy smile down at Dylan (who never seemed to notice). I rolled my eyes-I was used to this, but for some reason I found myself feeling slightly possessive. Why couldn't he be less attractive? Too tired to give it much thought, I decided that the warm bed I visioned earlier would be really nice about now. If only I could get myself there.
I elbowed Dylan. "Hey, let's head in."
Seeming to understand my fatigue, he stood up first and pulled me to my feet. We walked into the Marriott Hotel, and didn't bother to wipe our feet on the place mats. Leaving a trail of water behind us, we headed to the elevators. Dylan pressed the up button and we waited for what felt like hours. I was beginning to become incredibly aware of the boy next to me. My eyes secretly scanned every plane of his body.
Inconspicuously, I watched the way his dark wet hair dangled over his face. His hands reached up to casually brush the stray strands away from his eyes. He was too attractive for his own good.
"Like what you see?" He grinned good-naturedly.
I mentally slapped myself. I had been caught.
At a loss for words, I lamely retorted, "Like what you see?"
He replied without hesitation. "Yeah, I do." His dark blue eyes locked onto mine, and my breath hitched in my throat. I tried to tear my eyes away-but to no avail. What was wrong with me? Why couldn't I find any words to answer him? Why did he have to stand there looking so goddamn gorgeous? I had countless questions when Dylan was involved.
Sometime during my frantic inquiries, he had moved so he was standing directly in front of me. When did he get this close?
He spoke again in a breathy voice. "I had fun today." I looked down at my shoes, determined not to meet his eyes. Who knew what would happen if I did.
"Hey," he called me gently and reached out to tuck loose strands of hair behind my ear. His fingers left a trail of fire on my cheek and I felt a shiver run down my spine. What was this boy doing to me? I didn't like not being in control, and Dylan was making me react in ways that I couldn't predict. I shuffled my feet nervously, and he hesitantly moved even closer. I glanced at his lips.
The elevator had arrived. Dylan and I both snapped out of our prior…whatever it was and I hastily stepped away from him. Waiting for the people inside the elevator to enter the lobby, I walked inside once they were gone. Dylan followed close behind.
The doors closed and we were alone.
He pressed the button for the 6th floor while I pressed the button for the 7th. The silence was unbearable. What had just happened? All I knew was that I now had a strange attentiveness to the figure standing next to me. Staring at the elevator door, I tensely pulled at the bottom of my soaked top to distract myself from the irregular beating of my heart. I decided to take a quick peek at him, convinced that it would somehow cure me of my strange symptoms, only to discover that he had been observing me as well. I felt my pulse quicken. What is this? I didn't need this!
The elevator made the "ding" sound again, and I let out a huge sigh of relief. We had reached the Dylan's floor. I was sure that with him out of my sight my internal organs would return to operating normally. It would be a welcome change.
I heard him shift next to me, and without saying a word, he walked out the elevator doors. No goodbye? I watched him walk down the hallway and for some reason I felt disappointment. Would this be the last time I would ever see him? He turned the corner, and I felt my heart drop in my chest.
Walking up to the elevator button panel, I pressed the "close doors" button. As I watched them slowly begin to move back into their closed position, I heard the sound of heavy footsteps down the hallway - as if someone was running. I watched, speechless, as Dylan sprinted back towards the elevator and stopped the doors from closing with his arms. He raked his hand nervously through his hair.
Hands resting against both sides of the elevator entrance, he seemed out of breath. "Sorry Addie, I just…," he paused to take a breath, clearly flustered. "I didn't want to leave without…" he paused again, his words trailing off. "Not without…," He didn't seem so intent on verbalizing his intentions anymore. His hand reached out and rested on nape of my neck. My skin felt like it was on fire.
He leaned forward- leaned towards me. Was he going to kiss me? I felt our noses touch lightly, and his forehead rested against mine. His breath was hot on my face, and I leaned into him. He was about to close the one inch gap between our lips when I noticed a few figures heading towards the elevators. They were students-West Ridge students most likely. Acting on impulse, I pulled away from Dylan.
We couldn't be caught! Much less in a situation like this! I mumbled a quick "I have to go.", before I retreated to the back of the elevator.
I turned to find him still standing there- a clear expression of hurt flitted across his eyes. He turned to leave before the figures had even begun to arrive, not even taking the time to spare me a parting glance. I called his name, but he either didn't hear it or chose to ignore it. A pang of guilt washed over me followed by a feeling of longing.
There was no denying it- I had wanted Dylan to kiss me.
All of the students were to report to the Marriott Banquet hall at 7:30 sharp for the grand parting feast. Which really meant a serving of microwaved rotisserie chicken and a heaping pile of lukewarm mashed potatoes. The teachers, feeling particularly generous that day allowed for free seating. There was no surprise really, that West Ridge and Magnolia students sat on the opposite ends of the room from each other. Absentmindedly picking at my food, I blocked out the surrounding chatter. I just wanted to go back to my hotel room and mope.
So yes, I'll admit it. I liked Dylan. And for some reason, I think he may have liked me back. And I had gone ahead and blown it all for some stupid rivalry that I didn't even care about. Really, what was the worst that could've happened anyway? I'd be subjected to an unlawful amount of question and excessive prying, sure. But right now, that hardly seemed bad as I had been making it out to be. Addie, what have you done?
I spotted him at the far end of the last table. He was surrounded by a sea of jocks and an ocean of modelesque girls. I wasn't surprised by his company. I was surprised however, that he seemed perfectly content within this bubble of the aesthetically blessed. It's not as if I had been expecting to find him in desperate tears- but some indication that I mattered to him at all would have been nice.
Did our earlier mishap not faze him at all? Did I just imagine the hurt I thought I saw earlier at the elevator?
Suddenly, his eyes met mine from across the room, and I nearly stopped breathing. I held his gaze, expecting him to break out into a smile or make one of those stupid comments I was so used to hearing. He did neither though, and after a few seconds he dropped his gaze and continued his conversation with the beautiful blond to his left. What was I thinking? Well, obviously Addie, you were thinking that he liked you. Shut up. What would a guy like him want to do with someone as ordinary as me anyway? I had just been deluding myself.
He had obviously already forgotten about me.
I kicked the comforter off of my body, and checked the digital clock. It was midnight and I still wasn't able to sleep.
Trying to forget about Dylan wasn't as easy as I wanted it to be. My roommate had left about an hour ago, most likely to her boyfriend's room for a little unexpected romp session. I shuddered. Kicking the comforter off of my body, I got up to get a glass of water. It didn't seem as if I were getting any sleep tonight. Damn you, Dylan.
Making my way past the hotel television, I headed into the bathroom to wash my face. Hey, if I were going to be awake for the rest of the night, I might as well be clean and refreshed as I did it. As I reached the sink, I felt a crackle below my foot. It was an empty potato chip bag, most likely discarded carelessly by my roommate. Rolling my eyes, I went in search for a trashcan. Strange, there wasn't one in the bathroom. Wasn't that where they usually were? I shrugged and tossed it in the nearby toilet and flushed. That'll take care of it. Feeling a little proud of myself for being such a Good Samaritan, I left the bathroom to rest on the edge of my bed. I had just turned on the TV when I heard a deep gurgle. What was that?
Whatever it was, it was coming from the bathroom. Goodness, couldn't a girl mope in peace and quiet around here? Annoyed, I stomped off to the bathroom to check to see what exactly had made the noise.
It was the toilet.
What had I done? Who knew that a tiny potato chip bag could clog up a toilet pipe? The bag was fun-sized, goddamn it! Judging from the noises coming from the toilet though, there was nothing fun about it. The water hadn't spilled over the brim yet, but it looked dangerously close. I inched a bit closer. Cautiously reaching my hand out, I flushed the toilet, hoping that somehow with that one flush the whole problem would disappear.
The toilet made deeper gurgling noises this time- noises that almost sounded like growling. My god! This thing was a live monster! In a final attempt to tame the beast, I stupidly flushed the toilet once more. Wrong move, Addie. It began to protest and sporadically spew out water from the mouth. I suppose I should be thankful that no human waste was involved in the incident, but it was hard to remain optimistic when facing a wild raging beast. Water ran down the outside of the bowl and began to make a pool on the floor.
Oh my god. How do I fix this? Addie, stay calm girl. Stay calm. It's okay, just…head out of the bathroom…and…and...what? Drown in toilet water? I really didn't want to be mailed a bill for ruining the fancy hotel carpet that lay outside of the bathroom either. I needed to fix this, and I needed to fix it now. But I couldn't. Not by myself.
I needed help and there was only one person who could help. One person who I wanted to help.
Only five minutes later, I found myself knocking on the door of room 612. I remember Dylan mentioning that his room was right next to the Magnolia headmaster's room, and I knew that the principal's room was room number 613. The only reason I knew this obscure fact was because I overheard the rowdy West Ridge boys' plan to pull a prank on the Magnolia headmaster while he was sleeping. Poor guy. Okay, so the headmaster was in room 613. That meant Dylan had to be either in room 614 or 612. Fifty-fifty chance- not bad.
The door opened to reveal a tall blond guy who I recognized as one of the people who had been sitting with Dylan at lunch. He was attractive, but I knew I didn't want him- I wanted Dylan.
"Hey there," he drawled, obviously still half asleep. "What's a pretty thing like yourself doing out so late at night?" His eyes raked over my body, clearly checking me out. I looked down at my attire. Whoops. I was wearing my sleep clothes. Unfortunately for me, my sleep clothes consisted of only an over-sized t-shirt that barely skimmed the top of my thighs. I wasn't wearing any pants for goodness sakes! Tugging at the bottom of my t-shirt as a lame attempt to cover myself up, I stepped away from the boy standing in front of me.
He raised an eyebrow suggestively, a small smirk gracing his features. "Anything I can help you with?"
I hastily stepped back even further. "Uh, no! That's okay! Sorry for disturbing you! I'll be going now!" Darting off in the other direction, I let out a sigh when I heard the door close. Phew!
So, room 612 could be crossed off the list. Luck just wasn't on my side today. So there I stood. In front of room 614, building up the courage to knock. Meanwhile, the toilet monster had probably gone rogue and was most likely leaving the contents of the bathroom in a mess. It was now…or wake up drenched in dirty water. I didn't deny that I wanted to see him again. Just do it Addie.
I took a breath, and knocked. No answer. I knocked again-loud enough so that it would wake Dylan up, but quiet enough that it wouldn't wake the Magnolia principal as well. I heard a ruffling, and the door opened a few moments after.
He wasn't wearing a shirt.
Oh god, he wasn't wearing a shirt. A pair of low slung pajama bottoms rested on his hips. I tried not to stare too long at his perfect torso, tried to avert my eyes from his chest. He rubbed his eyes, still groggy from being woken up so suddenly.
"Addie?" I had partly been expecting him to slam the door in my face, so the acknowledgment was nice. He didn't make a comment about my attire, but I could tell that he had noticed. He looked pained as he tried to keep his eyes from wandering.
"Uh, hi," I greeted him lamely.
He seemed alert now. "Hey," he touched my shoulder. "Are you okay? What do you need?" He must've seen the panic in my eyes.
"The toilet! I need—"
He quirked an eyebrow, and gave that little laugh that I didn't even realize I missed. "You came to tell me that you needed to use the bathroom?"
"No you idiot!" I surprised even myself when I took hold of his arm and nearly dragged him into the elevator against his will. We arrived in front of my room seconds later. Wildly indicating towards the door, I informed him of my problem. "The toilet...it...it exploded!"
All this earned me was a wary stare, so I decided to bring the crazy down a couple notches.
"I threw a potato chip bag in it, and now it's going crazy!" That's when he proceeded to burst into fits of laughter. I didn't have time for this. "Dylan! Just help me!"
I opened the door to my room and headed inside. He took a single step into the room when I stared at him in shock and put my hands on his bare chest to push him just outside the door entrance.
"Hey! You're not allowed in here- it's against the rules!" What was he thinking? We would get expelled!
"Well, then how can I help you if I'm standing out here?" He seemed amused by my antics. Hm, he had a point. I really hadn't thought this through.
"Uh, can't you just, you know…stand there? And I'll open the bathroom door, and you can peek inside and tell me what to do?" It seemed like a good plan to me.
"And you're going to be the one to do the actual handiwork?" Oh. Maybe not such a good plan after all. I couldn't handle the likes of the toilet beast again.
I shook my head feeling defeated. "All I'm good for is flushing." I hung my head. "And that didn't go over too well either. But it's against the rules." What part of that didn't he understand?
He ran a hand through his hair- something that I realized he did when he was tense. "Addie, don't be ridiculous. Just let me in. Curfew was at ten. Right now it's…" his eyes found the clock at the back of the room, "almost one in the morning. We're already breaking rules."
He grinned that grin that I had grown to love, "Hey, if you're gonna break rules, might as well go big and break them all." What kind of stupid motto was that? I don't care what people say- rules are not made for breaking. They are made to sustain an organized society—to maintain order! But, we were arguing pretty loudly right now. And it would be so easy for someone to just crack open their door and clearly identify us as the disruptive rule-breakers we were. At least if he were inside, we would be less likely to be caught.
I stepped aside, and Dylan walked in with a lazy smile plastered on that gorgeous face of his- probably because he thought I bought all that rule breaking crap he fed me. Yeah, right. I just didn't want to be caught. Walking past me, he opened the door to the bathroom.
This thing, this toilet- if you could even call it that- was unreal. It wasn't as if I had never seen a toilet flood before but rather, I'd never seen a toilet flood so violentlybefore. No slow overflowing of the brim for this porcelain bowl! I guess it decided to opt for the more erratic spurts of water and the occasional crashing tidal wave over the edge.
Dylan strategically made his way into the bathroom, succeeding for the most part on avoiding the spurting water. I followed, using him as a human shield.
"What did you do to this thing Addie?" I did not appreciate that tone! Who knew such a small bag could evoke such a big reaction? I apologize, toilet bowl, for unintentionally antagonizing you! Please forgive me and stop this spurting!
"It was just an empty chip bag!"
Dylan walked around the bowl, inspecting the problem- getting splashed every now and then. Gross. "Hand me the plunger."
I searched the bathroom and found a toilet plunger underneath the sink cabinet. I handed it to him while still trying to keep a safe distance from the toilet. I watched, more interested than I should be, as the battle ensued- Dylan vs. Toilet. Round 1.
There was no method really. Just stick that sucker in there and hope it clears the clog. I watched for a while. Sometimes I was never sure who was in the lead. Dylan would get the toilet water level in the bowl to drop occasionally, but within a few seconds it would retaliate and surge right back up. I heard a few unmentionable expletives escape from Dylan's mouth. After five minutes of battle however, I finally heard a defeated gurgle from the toilet. The water in the bowl returned to normal levels and it seemed as if the toilet was back to it's usual inanimate self. And, yes! No seepage to the outside carpet!
Huzzah! The deed was done!
I was so excited, that I temporarily lost my sanity and threw my arms around Dylan. Oh god, I had forgotten he was shirtless. I felt his arms hesitantly come up and wrap around my waist. Trying hard not to let my hands roam, I resisted the urge to explore the tautness of his back. It hurt really, to know how much I wanted him only to know that he didn't want me back. Not anymore, anyway. I pulled away, taking in our attire.
Neither of us had completely dodged the fire of the porcelain monster, and loose wisps of our hair were plastered to our foreheads. Dylan's pants were almost completely drenched and my t-shirt was not much better off.
"We're a mess." I stated the obvious.
Now that the chaos from the toilet had worn off, Dylan seemed distant again.
"Uh, thanks, by the way." I didn't like this new cold version of him. I much preferred the vaguely annoying version that I had gotten to know in the city.
"Yeah, don't worry about it," he ran a hand through his damp hair. "Hey, I'm going to use your shower to clean up a bit."
Well, that was my cue to leave.
He looked at me with a puzzled expression. "Don't you need to wash off too?"
"Well, yes—but…" I began to answer him. He began laughing- guffawing more like it.
"Addie, I'm not going to undress. I'm just going to rinse off." Oh. I really did feel disgusting right now- a quick shower would be nice.
I headed back into the bathroom, turning on the bath faucet. Dylan followed close behind, both of us wanting to get the gross toilet water off of us as quickly as possible. Dylan gestured towards the shower, allowing me to go first. I pulled on the knob that would direct the water to the shower head. The water ran, and I stepped underneath it, clothes and all. Dylan sat on top of the sink counter less one foot away. He seemed so distant. I wanted so desperately to feel his hands on me again.
Would this be the last time I would ever see him? We did attend rival schools after all. I ached- realizing that I really would miss him. I suppose though, that I had nothing to lose this way. Observing his stony demeanor, I decided that the truth couldn't do any more damage than what had already been done.
"I wanted you to kiss me, you know."
He seemed taken aback by my abrupt remark. "What?"
"In the elevator." I sighed, deciding to come clean. "I saw some West Ridge kids heading towards us, and I...I didn't want to get caught. But I did. Want you to kiss me, I mean."
His gaze softened, and he hopped off the counter to stand in front of me. He raked his fingers through his hair once more, probably mulling over how to let a girl down gently.
"God Addie, I thought—". He seemed bewildered.
"Don't worry about it."
"Dylan, look, it's okay." I didn't want him to feel like he owed me anything. He still seemed intent of being heard however.
"Addie, would you just listen to me—"
" I just wanted you to know. I mean, I know that you're probably still mad and I don't know why you would like me anyway, but I—"
"God Addie! You're so stupid!"
Suddenly, his lips crashed onto mine and all semblance of thought was tossed out the window. I couldn't breathe- I was frozen. He moved his lips over mine urgently, his hand resting against my cheek. Slowly, my hands found their way around his neck and pulled him closer. I eased into his touch and kissed him back with everything I had. The shower was still running, but we both didn't notice. Slowly, I started to come back to my senses.
He pulled away reluctantly, and rested his forehead against mine. He whispered, his lips inches away from mine. "You're so stupid." Brushing my hair away from my face, he pressed his lips to my cheek. He was taking my confession well.
However, he still seemed to have doubts. I watched, confused, as his face clouded over, and he took a step away from me. He was probably remembering my "rejection" in the elevator. He narrowed his eyes at me, most likely wondering how my feelings seemed to have changed so quickly. His voice came out in a ragged whisper.
"Are you playing with me, Addie?" He sounded pained. Me play with him?
"If anybody were playing here, it would be you messing with me." I realized the truth in my statement. He seemed to believe me however, that I wasn't toying with him, and I saw a smile spread across his face. He stepped close to me once again and reached out to tuck unruly strands of hair behind my ear.
"What? How could I not like someone like you?," he smiled genuinely. "You're beautiful, kind of funny- in your own way, not to mention, you're a real daredevil." What kind of love profession was this? I did not appreciate his sarcasm. Wait.
Hold on. Did he just tell me that he liked me? I mean, I guess the kiss told me that and more, but still. Dylan liked me? Me? I felt a surge of happiness run through my body, but I was still hesitant. He was way out of my league. We just didn't fit together. I took a step back, taking a moment to let everything sink in.
"Addie," he cupped my face in his hands, seeming confused that I didn't buy his words. He leaned in and pressed a chaste but sweet kiss to my lips. My knees buckled, but his arms held me up. "I like you," he whispered in my ears once more. Even though his words sounded like they came straight from junior high, I doubted I would ever get tired of hearing them.
His eyes met mine, and I could tell he meant every word.
Resisting my urge to giggle like an idiot, I played it cool.
"Even if I'm from West Ridge?" The rivalry hardly mattered to me anymore, but I wanted to test his reaction. Laughing, he answered me.
"Come on baby, you know this forbidden love thing turns you on." He winked and I promptly rolled my eyes. Forbidden love? How cheesy.
"Shut up, we're not in a Shakespeare production." I still smiled as I spoke, deliriously content.
"What does it matter? Either way, you like me." He seemed as if that one fact had made him the happiest male to walk the planet. Arguing was tiring; I wanted to feel his lips on mine again. I took a step closer.
Pulling his body flush against me, I fervently pressed my lips against his. I felt him smile into the kiss, and tangle his fingers in my damp hair. I could get used to this. Still though, I couldn't believe that he had chosen to be with me. Pulling away, I questioned him once again.
He grinned. "What can I say? I like a girl who can pick out kick-ass mopeds."
I rolled my eyes, but quickly retorted, "Well, I like a guy who can pick out kick-ass souvenirs." Laughing, he leaned down for another kiss.
"I guess it's a perfect match then."
Member Challenge - Hotel California
-Must be a one-shot
-Must start with the line, "It started with the notes." or something to that extent.
-Must be at an inter-school event
-Must end with a kiss
-The line, "See you never!"
-A flooded toilet
-Multiple moments of awkwardness
-Two parties must not come from the same school/town
-Too much complication, especially with settings
-Long, meaningful moments (it's supposed to be fun!)
AN: Hey readers! If you're reading this, you have made it to the end! Congratulations on your perseverance, I know that was lengthy for a one-shot! (26 pages!) Reader, you are awesome. Truly.