(song you can sing by: Taylor Swift - The Story of Us)
A/N: This was the song that i played when i was busy... lying on my bed...
watching dust flying in the air, and down below...
and this story just... pooped out of my brain... I meant popped! *beg-pardon*
hope you enjoy and don't forget to review... Taylor rocks!
Terri Taylor arrived in her class, grumbling as she removed bits and pieces of twig and leaves from her long dark locks. She sighed as she sat down heavily on her chair, dreading the start of class.
"That was really deep," then seeing her raised brows, she caught on and exclaimed heartily. 'Oh, I know… your age-old feud with him…"
Aurora, her best friend stared at her, laughter glinting on her hazel eyes.
"What's he done this time that you just had to go and blend in with the jungle?"
"I intercepted him off on the pass as he was placing another prank note in my locker." She crumpled said note and shoved it inside her favorite Levis.
Aurora's lips tilted at one corner and Terri knew she was on the brink of bursting out.
"What's with you and nature then," she gestured her arms to the stray leaves on my hair and shirt, grass stains on my pants and mud on my favorite high tops.
Terri rolled her eyes at her. "I hid in the bushes outside the window."
"I guessed right then."
And she burst out laughing while Terri tried to lessen the mess she gave her self. She gave Aurora the hairy eyeball again before directing her attention at the front of the room, waiting for the spawn of Satan to enter those doors.
"I'm sorry, Terri. You looked like you jumped from a rolling bus instead of from the bushes. You look such a mess."
"You would too if you accidentally tripped Joseph Callum's hot girl and broke one axle. I had to be ready before he found out that it was me and extracted revenge… among other things he usually does."
Aurora sighed in feigned dismay. "That man loved his Ducati more than his girlfriends. Did you hear he dumped Polly? And right before the Valentine's Day Dance too."
Terri's eyes widened in surprise, "How come I didn't know that?"
Aurora blinked in return.
"You're neighbors and you didn't know that? Girl, you live under a rock."
"Or just plain nonentity… it's not like I hang out with the popular crowd like he does. And besides, we're just neighbors. It's not like I go over to his house to gossip."
Aurora chuckled. "I can't wait for the day that the two of you finally opened your eyes to what's really happening…"
"What? What do you mean by that?" Terri wasn't sure what she meant, but Aurora chose to ignore her as the bell rang for the start of class.
Terri swiveled back to face the front, just in time to see Joseph Callum, school favorite jock and drop-dead gorgeous bad boy, with the mesmerizing deep blue eyes and two cute identical dimples – such a killer arsenal - enter and instantly locked gazes with her.
Terri swallowed hard and pretended to be busy with her notebook. She didn't even look up when she felt him heading her way and came to stand beside her desk. She hummed aloud, still ignoring him.
Those two simple words sent the geek with the pocket-protector scurrying away to safety - then to her absolute horror, Joseph sat down in his place by the window, beside her.
Terri looked at him, mouth gaping as she dropped the pen she was holding.
"What do you think you're doing? Ian seats there."
"Mr. McMillan has a seating chart. He will force you to go back to your seat."
He only smirked at her. "We'll see."
At that moment, Mr. McMillan entered and instantly looked at them, eyebrows raised in question.
"Mr. McMi-…" she started but he cut her off.
"Ian has a skin allergy and he can't stand the sunlight. I'm doing him a favor."
Everyone looked at Ian as he sank deeper in Joseph's old place at the back of the room. He has a slightly fair tone which rivaled Joseph's incredible tan, but everyone was used to sun-kissed skin and they accepted the lie.
"Okay, Mr. Callum. But that's permanent now, alright?"
"More than alright, Mr. McMillan…"
But he wasn't looking at him… but at her. His expression was unreadable as he gazed at her with such scrutiny it made her feel exposed and naked. She shivered involuntarily at what he must be thinking.
Oh God, she was SO dead…
I keep thinking about you. I can't sleep anymore, knowing you are having troubles in school. Are you feeling fine? Do you want me to come and… get you?
Terri giggled and looked around consciously but no one seems to be looking at her, except for Ian sitting on a bench in front of her. He was holding his laptop to his lap and staring at her simultaneously. Terri didn't mind for Ian was much of a nobody like her.
For once in her life, she loved being invisible. No one would catch her smiling like a dork and laughing so suddenly.
She turned back to her phone and grinned while she mailed back.
You don't have to. I'm feeling more than fine now that you texted me. Oh, and I saw the small bear in my locker. Thanks by the way.
She hit send and looked around, spying Aurora giving her boyfriend a parting wave before joining her on the grass.
"I'm going home early today. Jason wanted to know what color my gown will be so we'll color coordinate."
"Uh-huh…" She answered absentmindedly as her phone beeped, signaling an incoming message.
I wanted to give you something bigger, but I don't think it'll fit in your locker.
Terri snorted and clamped a hand to her mouth.
You are such a sweetheart. But I appreciate the thought so much. No one ever did give me… anything.
"Oooh, is that Secret Admirer?" Aurora asked although already knowing the answer. Terri didn't answer as she looked back at the message.
If only I could finally let you see me… I would be replacing the place of that bear. Always there, beside you, hanging around you. I know IT is hanging on your backpack.
Terri furrowed her eyes and she looked around the quad grounds. No one seems to be looking at her and she returned to her phone.
That is so unfair! You know who I AM and yet I don't know who you are. For all I know you could be one of my teachers… or worse. Anyway, even if you come in place of the bear, I don't think you'll fit in my locker, either.
"Earth to Terri…" Aurora waved her hands in front of her face.
Terri looked back distractedly. "Oops, sorry Aurora, I missed that one."
Aurora sighed patiently.
"I was just asking what is between you and Valentine - your Secret Admirer."
Terri blushed and found herself sighing dreamily. Two months ago, Terri saw a note tucked in her homeroom notebook as she took it out from her locker. Thinking it was another one of Joseph's prank notes she read it and got surprised instead.
He says he has been noticing her for ages and now that he finally found the means, he introduced himself as Valentine, her secret admirer.
At first Terri wasn't sure if she should respond to him. He sure appears a bit psycho, if it did look as if he's been watching and admiring her from afar. Aurora even joked about him being extremely ugly for wanting to stay anonymous.
But Terri never thought of it that way. What she felt was extremely grateful and very flattered, that someone – even if it did turn out that he was diagnosed with hallucinations or even a face with warts growing on warts – fancied her and thought her to be admirable.
And so without any hesitation, Terri replied to the number written on the slip of paper and found a friend.
For two months and counting, they stayed in tune with one another. Valentine was very sweet and thoughtful, leaving her flowers and small gifts and notes on her locker, tucked between her books and on her table during homeroom. Terri knew that he's also a student of San Xavier High - which meant, he knew her… but she had zilch idea as to who he is.
But Terri didn't mind. She liked his anonymity.
He sounds so mysterious and hunky - never mind the acne!
But after a long time of corresponding, Terri felt something different towards him and she found herself waking up early to catch up with his good morning message, so she could reply instantly.
She turned back to her friend, who was looking at her seriously.
"I honestly don't know."
"I think you're a goner. You're totally falling for this guy and you never even met him yet? What if it turned out he was really Mr. McMillan, huh?
Terri snorted. "Don't be absurd. I would know if it's him. His messages would sound like fingernails running down the blackboard. This guy, however, sounds like someone crooning into the ears of his lover."
Terra sighed dreamily. Aurora laughed out loud and stood up brushing grass stains off of her pants.
"See you tomorrow. You and I had some serious shopping to do. The dance is this weekend, you know. Only three more days to go..."
Terri looked at her in confusion. "But I don't even have a date?"
"Not yet, you mean."
Before Terri could retort, she strode off with a backhanded salute.
She sighed and jerked back up again as she glanced at her phone.
Who could be worse than a teacher?
Terri grinned as she sank back against the tree she was leaning on and immediately replied.
I don't know… Joseph Callum maybe? You're positive you're not him, are you? I know for certain he doesn't like me… I mean, he positively hates me!
What's not to like?
I don't know… we've been enemies since second grade. He's been playing pranks on me and I do it to him too. It was our tradition.
Maybe he secretly likes you but is just scared to say so.
Possibly, because… he finds you intimidating or someone who could easily break his heart.
What, me? Break his heart? Joseph Callum has every girl on campus lining up to him. What would he, most famous hottie and ideal prince of every girl's fantasy dream, want from a nobody like me?
To get to know you more.
Terri's heart tightened. Then she looked back to see a catch up message.
I would if it was me.
Terri sighed in relief. It almost looked as if she was actually talking to Joseph Callum. They were always bantering and insulting one another, Terri didn't really know how Joseph really was as a person. But the feeling was there…
Every time she and Joseph were at each other's throats – not the kissing type, of course - Terri always felt different and somehow familiar with him. Intimate, was the word and not just because they were staring down each other - although in her case, staring up - daring one to back off but not giving up.
Terri had always enjoyed messing with him, teasing him and trying his patience. She just found it so adorable when he gets angry or turns serious, his nose scrunched up like a kid who wasn't given his candy bar.
I didn't mean to offend you or anything, Terri. But you should know that you can't judge a book by its cover. You never know a person if you don't get to know them better first. Maybe then you'll realize they have something innate in them that could be endearing…
Terri felt her heart constrict and unmistakably she smiled. Valentine really was the best thing that ever happened to her. He was so full of good-will and sensitivity, he was sweet and thoughtful – judging from the number of times he asks her about her day and small things like small gifts that remind her he was never far away. And he also made a point to make a better person out of her with his little quirks and reprimands.
Forget Joseph Callum - or candies - Valentine was the best and the sweetest. She could ignore his delusions, she could ignore his Quasimodo-like beauty… if he so much as asked her to be his girlfriend she was more than ready to scream 'Yes'.
But at that time, all she can do was to wait for him until he has the courage to finally meet her - face to face. For now, she was texting him back.
You're always right, Valentine. I will remember what you said. Don't worry I'll definitely try making friends with Joseph Callum. We never know… he might be a long lost relative of mine.
She meant it as a joke but for some reason, it took him longer to reply and his message was short and confusing.
That's not what I meant…
"Terri, don't look now, but hottie at three o'clock is giving you 'the look'."
Terri looked up from her book and stared at Aurora.
She turned to look at who Aurora meant but she grabbed her face in between her hands and held it in place.
"I said not to look! Oh God, he's coming over… act normal."
Terri only had a few seconds to wrap her thoughts around what Aurora was talking about before a voice spoke up from behind her.
"Hi. You're Terra Taylor, right?"
Terri turned around and gazed right into soulful brown eyes of no other than, the school's hottest linebacker. Her mouth gaped open and talking was proving to be a difficulty.
He grinned and Terri snapped back to her senses.
"I'm Donald Sims, by the way. Are you Terra?"
"I know… er I mean its Terri."
Mike smiled at her and she was glad she was seated for her knees weakened slightly.
"Um I know this may seem awkward and I'm not so sure if you already have one but I should try, right?"
Terri didn't answer for she had no idea what he meant but he continued nonetheless.
"I was wondering if you want to go to the dance with me."
Terri's mouth dropped down yet again as everything made more sense. Was this really happening? Has a guy finally asked her to the dance? It was a miracle!
She was about to respond when a hand deftly tipped her chin up.
"Careful. A fly almost went in, you know."
"Joseph! What are you doing here?"
But he ignored her and turned to pierce Donald with a look.
What was Joseph Callum trying to do, this time? Ruin her chances on getting a date for the prom?
"I heard you got back with Joey."
"What's that got to do with you?"
Terri fumed as she watched, unable to do anything as she didn't want a fight to ensue, and she was curious to know why Donald is asking her if he's with his girlfriend? The whole cafeteria was staring at their table now.
Joseph lifted his shoulders in indifference. "I don't know I just thought she might want to know what you're doing talking to other girls."
"We're just friends now."
"Oh," was everything he said as he continued to stare at him.
Donald flitted glances at her and back at Joseph, clenching and unclenching his fists at his sides. He was a good more muscled than Joseph, but the latter was taller and the look he gave him brooked no arguments. Donald turned to look at her with a confident smile, but Terri could sense his discomfort.
"Think of what I just said, alright Tessie?"
And with that he turned and went away.
Terri exhaled loudly and turned to glare at Joseph.
"Look what you did! I almost got a date for the dance and you just had to come and ruin everything. Why did you do it? Why?"
"With who? A guy who doesn't even remember your name?"
Terri sighed impatiently. "That's besides the point… why did you just do what you did?"
Joseph appeared as if thinking of something, but he looked back at her and shrugged uncaringly. He lifted a corner of his mouth and gave her a satisfied smirk.
And he went away.
"That sick, evil, twisted servant from hell!"
Terri turned to Aurora who was grinning broadly. "Can you believe what he just did? I almost got a date with Donald Sims! I don't understand that guy…"
"Oh, I do. I understand him perfectly well."
Terri blinked in confusion. "What do you mean by that?"
But as always, she left her questions go unanswered, letting her discover them for her self.
Later on, Terri got home with a heavy heart. The rest of the afternoon went well except for that slight with Donald. Terri found him giving her fleeting glances but daring to talk to her and Terri's ire was further piqued.
She slammed the door hard and the windows rattled threateningly.
Terri gritted her teeth and marched towards the kitchen, where the heavenly smell of baking pie lured her in.
"Hello, sweetie. I knew it was you. What's he done this time?" her mother gave her a sweet smile and turned to her best friend, Mrs. Callum – Joseph's mother. "You know that door only slams that hard whenever that adorable son of yours is involved?"
Mrs. Callum chuckled heartily and looked at Terri.
"What's he done this time?"
"He ruined my chances of getting a date for this Saturday's dance because I caught him before he could pull off a prank…," and clearly seeing as it was needed to be said, she went on. "Because I accidentally broke the axle of his beloved motorcycle…"
Terri pouted and took a bite of the pie that her mother slid across the table to where she sat.
Mrs. Callum giggled and sat opposite her.
"Are you sure that's the reason?"
"What else is the reason? He and I have been fighting ever since I could remember. I bet even at our past lives we've been warring like the French and the English."
Mrs. Callum smiled at her. "I don't think that's the case, my dear."
"What is it then?"
But just like Aurora, she didn't answer her. Instead she reached over and ruffled her hair. Terri frowned in confusion.
"Well, I bet that adorable son of mine is home too. He's been acting all sullen and distracted lately." Mrs. Callum sighed. "He never left a day without swimming and he only does that whenever something's bothering him."
"Maybe because Terri here broke his motorcycle."
But Mrs. Callum was laughing along her mother. She blew a kiss in Terri's direction before stepping out of the back porch leading to the backyard.
Terri sighed as she looked at her mother.
"What did Aunt Cynthia mean, mom?"
Her mother smiled at her. "It's for me to know and for you to find out."
"Why is everyone being so cryptic today? I don't understand what's going on anymore."
"Maybe you should slow down for a bit and think of everything around you."
Damn. Another cryptic answer.
Terri wasn't very good at solving puzzles, especially riddles. They not only screw her brains apart, they also test her patience. Well, life was the biggest puzzle of all and love was the riddle of all riddles.
She was a part of life and love and she must learn to cope with those if she wanted to live.
Terri went up and showered and made her homework, coming down much later for dinner that the sun has already set.
"Oh, there you are, Terri. I need you to do an errand for me."
Terri trudged the back porch past the small copse of trees to the Callum's residence. Of all the things her mother could've asked her, why this? Well, this was the pie that Mrs. Callum forgot to bring earlier and Terri was headed to the spawn of Satan's home to give the pie.
She went through the trees that separated the two houses and was about to emerge from the bushes when the splashing sound of water stopped her on her tracks.
Terri's eyes widened as she took in the beautiful sight before her.
It was Joseph… his wonderful body glinting silver in the moonlight as the water caressed his naked torso and arms. He swam strokes from one side of the pool to the other and back again. Terri stood rooted to the spot as she listened to her heart's increasing tempo, unable to move.
She can't believe it! She knew he was buff. Heck, she saw him topless and sweating from basketball practice. She's seen him wearing only his underwear when they were still young. But that boy was not anymore well… a boy.
He was a man. A gorgeous, gift of God to all womankind. He was every inch pure muscle with no flabs and all abs! Any girl would die to touch that glorious hot bod of his and Terri could feel her fingers tingling in anticipation.
Wonder how his skin would feel under her fingertips if she…
"Woof! Woof! Woof!"
Terri was jerked back to the present at the sound and she whirled around and got caught in the angry dark glare of the Callum's huge Labrador.
"Easy boy… easy… I don't want any trouble."
Feeling desperate, she swept the pie in front of her and used it as both bait and shield from the massive hulking monster.
"Here, you can have this! Please don't eat me."
Terri backed away slowly from the dog which was now growling menacingly at her. Then three things happened at once. Terri saw the dog leap towards her and she backed away instinctively, but there was nothing to step on and she found herself falling backwards into the pool, just as someone shouted, "Killer, no!"
Water rushed in from all sides as Terri lost her balance, plunging deep into the pool. She didn't know how to swim and she never did learn how. She was still conscious enough to know that she was bobbing in the water and for a while she thought she must be in the shallow depths of the large pool. But there was nothing underneath her and fear turned to panic as she sank like lead down deeper into the water.
She felt darkness pressing from all sides as her lungs sought for air that didn't come. She felt herself getting heavier and heavier as she let herself drift into the darkness. Then she just passed out.
She was dead.
She's dead… she's dead… she was so dead.
She died even before she got a chance to ask her parents if she could got to Princeton for college. Terri never did have a boyfriend and it's now too late because she's dead!
But she can't be dead, now, can she? Why was everything starting to come to and she could hear strange whining and lapping sounds? Not to mention the warmth that was pressing against her whole length, fighting the cold that was slowly leaving her system.
Terri liked the warmth. It was highly intoxicating and she didn't want to get away from it because she was wet and the water was extremely cold.
But now she realized that that something warm was… talking.
"Teresa, wake up! Geez, you're an idiot you know that. Why'd you have to go and pass out on me? Hey! Teresa!"
That something warm was now slapping her. She groaned and coughed out water, blinking the water off of her eyes. No one ever did call her Teresa anymore and she was going to tell that person about it when something warmer and definitely soft, pressed against her mouth.
Everything around her cleared and Terri felt her head swim.
Terri opened her eyes fully and found out that it was Joseph who fished her out of the pool, and was currently straddling her… and now kissing her. Terri tried to push him away. But her arms were having a mind of their own as they clung to wet and warm broad shoulders, her eyes closing shut on their own.
Nothing ever felt so good than how she felt at that moment. She felt tingles racing from their joined mouths, to the tips of her fingertips and toes.
To her unmistakably great dismay, Joseph pulled back and Terri looked straight into deep blue eyes, glazed over and so heated it sent chills running up her spine.
"Hey, are you alright? Damn it! Don't pass out so suddenly like that. You scared the shit out of me."
Terri was so stunned to even comprehend what Joseph was talking about for her mind was still reeling with what just happened.
He just kissed her.
Joseph Callum, the school's gorgeous bad guy and her best enemy, just kissed her. And she couldn't believe it. She liked it! He tasted so sweet and damn if she didn't just want the moment to freeze for a few more seconds… or minutes… or hours. And damn it again, if she didn't find him so attractive with his dark hair curling in its dampness, his body glinting under the light of the moon.
Everything looked like something out of a movie like Gone with the Wind… minus the beach to bed toss.
Terri looked down at her wet clothes and the way he was straddling her and felt heat rush up her face. He must have noticed where she was looking at, for he immediately stood up and dragged her up with him.
She looked up at him and watched as he ran a hand through his wet hair. Terri could feel her fingers tingling to feel its softness. Damn it!
"Are you okay?"
"What the hell were you doing in the bushes?"
Terri looked at something above his shoulder for she couldn't seem to look at his eyes.
"I was… I was bringing the pie that mom and Aunt Cynthia baked. She forgot it at home… And then that monster attacked me."
Joseph's brow lifted. "Who? Killer?"
They turned to the happy whining sound and found the dog, enjoying the pie she just brought. Sensing their attention, it looked up and gave them a doggy smile before turning back to the pie.
"There's goes your pie."
Terri snorted and covered her mouth, flushing in embarrassment. He was truly funny but she didn't want him to know that. They were enemies. But then she remembered what Valentine told her… You never know a person if you don't get to know them better first…
"It's too bad about the pie."
She glanced at him and Terri saw that he was looking at her with the same unreadable expression on his face, that same day she caught him by her locker. It was gone the next moment as the familiar smirk started creeping up the side of his mouth.
Terri couldn't help herself from following that mouth and she swallowed hard.
"What's the matter, Terri-er? Do you want another… CPR?"
That was CPR? So that means he didn't… it wasn't…
Terri flushed and her grim determination returned in full blast.
"Thanks for the effort. Now I must go for I still have to rinse my mouth with two bottles of mouthwash."
She turned to leave but a hand gripped her forearms and promptly stopped her.
He pulled her up to the house, flinging a towel around her as they passed by a pool bench. Terri was helpless as she let Joseph drag her inside his house.
Terri looked around at the emptiness and risked a glance at him.
"Where is everybody?"
Joseph turned to look at her and something evil glinted in his blue eyes.
"They're out. We're all… alone."
Terri swallowed the rising panic and started tugging her hand away. But Joseph didn't let go. Sensing her panic he gave a small smirk and promptly dragged her up the stairs.
"Where are you taking me? Hey, Joseph, let me go!"
He didn't turn and instead, he opened a door and unceremoniously dragged her to the bathroom.
"Go dry yourself while I get you some dry clothes."
Terri was left staring at his bare back – which was still wet, by the way – as he opened a walk-in closet and rummaged through his stuff.
What was he doing?
"You better get out of all those wet clothes before you catch a cold." Joseph returned and gave her a curious look. "Are you okay? Aren't you feeling cold?"
Terri was feeling warm. He was so near she could touch his naked chest by reaching out slightly. Terri shook her head, trying to clear all the racing thoughts clouding her mind and used the towel to dry her hair.
Joseph placed some clothes on the vanity table while bringing another towel to his hair, then flinging the door of his bathroom close.
Terri was once again left stunned staring at the closed door. She looked at herself in the mirror and exclaimed.
"Oh, my God!"
"What's the matter? Is something wrong?" Joseph called out from the other side.
"Yes… my hair! It's in a total mess!"
Terri heard him chuckle but didn't hear any reply. She hurriedly peeled her wet clothes off and changed into the huge gray shirt and sweatpants that Joseph got her. She found a pen lying on the table and used it to gather her wet hair.
Terri looked back at her reflection and found everything in order. Well, not exactly as she wasn't wearing any underwear – as it was soaked wet with her other clothes - for that matter. She felt her heart beat a crazy tempo at the awareness, but still found the courage to get out.
Joseph looked up as she emerged and Terri saw that he had thankfully changed into dry clothes as well. He was also looking at her with an unreadable expression on his face and Terri got self-conscious all of a sudden.
"Um… thanks for lending me your clothes by the way. I'll return them as soon as I could."
Terri watched him as he swallowed and turned away. Thinking she was blithely dismissed, she turned towards the door.
"Joseph thanks for saving me, by the way." Terri started opening the door but stopped and turned back to him. "Why?"
He turned to look at her, coolly leaning by his window and looking at her with piercingly intense eyes.
"Why did you save me?"
He frowned in confusion. "Why wouldn't I save you?"
Terri looked back and frowned as well.
"Well, I thought you hate me. You should be glad I'm going to be gone for good this time."
Terri was taken aback when he laughed. When Joseph laughed, his face was brought to stark relief and she couldn't help admiring the beautiful curve of his jaw and the sensual tilt of his lips as he grinned at her.
"If you die… my life would be boring."
Terri crossed her arms across her chest. "I take it today was some kind of truce?"
She smiled evilly.
Valentine was right. Her perception of Joseph improved ten-fold and she found herself walking towards him then tilting her head up invitingly as she stared at his deep blue eyes.
"I always knew you were a good person."
Joseph stood rooted to the spot and didn't even move or react when Terri moved her arms up around his neck, promptly dragging his head down.
Terri felt emboldened and she whispered seductively in his ears.
"But I much preferred it when you were a bad boy."
She hurriedly jumped away and waggled her fingers at him shutting the door as he called out, "Wait!"
Terri didn't turn back.
She didn't even stop to see whether he was following her.
All she had was to escape as fast as she can. She can't believe what she just did! Never in her life did she ever do something as daring as that, but she always wanted to try it with him.
His kiss - ahem, CPR - on her was highly intoxicating and she was almost tempted to taste him again.
But not yet. They were enemies and as Terri flung herself on the bed, she inhaled the sweet minty scent of him in her borrowed clothes and giggled like a little girl.