© hotcheri



I OWN NOTHING YOU RECOGNISE (AND SOME THINGS YOU DON'T.) If you steal my work I will take legal action against you. I mean it. I worked really hard on this story and I don't want to read the exact same story on another site with the names changed. Not cool.

© hotcheri.

A/N: Sorry about the delay in posting this chapter. I wanted to make it perfect and long since it's the last one :)

Chapter Ten- Lay it on the Line

"For what it's worth,
it was worth all the while.
It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life."

Time of your life- Greenday

Stopping dead in her tracks, Nala yanked the hat off of her head, staring at it in total astonishment. How the hell had she managed to walk out of the mall, get into her car, drive home and let herself into the house without realizing that Chase's hat was still on her head? Or had it been Chase's doing? Had he deliberately made her forget that she was wearing his treasured fitted cap and let her walk off with it on purpose? Maybe it had been her intention to just walk off with the hat on, just to score another meeting with Chase. Her legs turned to jelly and she managed to make it to a nearby bar stool before they gave out.

Right on cue, her phone rang.

Hands shaking, Nala drew her phone out of her pocket and stared at it. The number was totally unfamiliar, but she knew exactly who it was. Her fingers itched to press the answer button but she forced herself to play it cool. No point in acting too desperate, even though she was already revving herself up to spar with Chase verbally.

One ring... two rings... three rings...

Finally, her heart thudding with a twisted kind of excitement, Nala pressed talk.

"Hey, Chase."

There was a short silence on the other end of the line, then a male voice that was definitely not Chase's said "Uh, no. Hey, Nala." As Nala frowned at the sound of that familiar yet alien voice, he continued. "It's me, Aaron."


In complete and utter disbelief, Nala rested her head against the cool granite countertop, her heart racing.

"Yeah." He let out a bashful sounding laugh. "Kinda surprising, huh?"

Letting out a breath, Nala nodded. "Um... yeah. Kinda." Trying to sound calm and casual, as opposed to confused as all get out, which was how she truly felt, she continued. "So, what's uh- what's going on?"

Pretty much the most courteous way to ask why the hell he was calling her for.

"I was just calling to say hey. Haven't talked to you in a bit so I just wanted to check up on you, see how you've been."

Shrugging, Nala said "I've been good, thanks." As an afterthought, she added "How's Peru?"

"Awesome. We're coming back tomorrow."

Nala wasn't quite sure how to feel about that little nugget of information. Was she ready to see Aaron and Janelle walking around town, flaunting their coupledom for everyone to see and for her to gag at? Hell, she didn't even know how she felt about Aaron calling her up to have this mindless chat! "That's good."

"Yeah, Janelle's gonna call you and tell you what time our plane is landing, just in case you want to meet us at the airport."

Yeah, Nala didn't think that was going to happen. Sure, Janelle was her best friend, but Nala didn't really feel like going to the airport just to see Aaron all over Janelle. PDA was their thing. Santana was forever telling Nala that Janelle only made out with Aaron in front of Nala to make her jealous. Sometimes, Nala thought that Santana was right.

"Cool, cool," Aaron said. He cleared his throat. "So, I called you a few days ago."

This conversation was like pulling teeth. Letting out a long-suffering sigh, Nala said "Oh, yeah?"

"A guy answered. He said he stole your phone but- you got it back now?"

Nala bit back a laugh. Good old Chase. "He was just joking."

"Sounded pretty serious to me. He asked who I was and when I told him, he said he heard that I was a douchebag." Aaron's voice took on a vaguely accusing tone as he continued. "You've been telling people about me?"

Her lips tightening, Nala replied "Nope. Maybe he just thinks that what you did to me was a douchebag move."

"What?" Aaron's voice came out as a squeak. "I said sorry!"

Raising her eyebrows in disbelief, Nala exclaimed "Sorry doesn't even begin to- you know what, whatever." She sucked in a deep breath, trying to calm herself down and distance herself from the hotchpotch of emotions surging through her.

"Why are you still so bitter?" Aaron asked abruptly, making Nala's hand freeze on its way to grab an apple out of the fruit bowl. Say what? "It wasn't like I told you we were dating; you just assumed that we were." As Nala's brows rose in disbelief, Aaron continued. "I mean, I was the new guy! Scoping and having fun was my M.O. and I thought you knew that. It's high school, Nala. Nothing serious, you know."

Nala gritted her teeth as she listened to Aaron's self-righteous voice. He definitely wasn't the same guy she had fallen for, that was for sure. "Does Janelle know about your- ahem- M.O.?"

And as she asked that question, she found that she didn't really care. Janelle could find out about how Aaron operated when she walked in on him kissing another girl. It was only a matter of time.

"Don't try to fuck things up for us, Nala."

Tossing her head, Nala sneered to herself. "Wouldn't dream of it. I hope you two have a good life and you're together for a long time."

She stopped short of saying 'you deserve each other' but her sarcastic tone didn't leave much to the imagination. If he called her bitter, then she was going to act bitter!

"Thanks." Nala rolled her eyes grudgingly as Aaron spoke. "Well, I'll probably see you soon. Later."


She hung up and stared at the counter, her lips compressing into a thin line. All of the happy thoughts that being with Chase had provided were gone thanks to Aaron. His words had left a bitter taste in her mouth and even as she shook her head, trying to get rid of their sting, they echoed in her head. How dare Aaron even insinuate that she was bitter enough to try mess up his relationship with Janelle by telling her that he was down to have flings with anyone who asked? Did she honestly come across as that vindictive? And how could she have known what Aaron's game plan had been from the get go? He came up to her with all that game- there was no way she could have even guessed that he didn't want to be a couple! And now he was subtly putting the blame on her, like she had hand-delivered him to Janelle's lips. Jerk. Shoulders slumped in dejection; Nala ran a hand through her braids. She was better off without him. After all, she had this ongoing prank war with Chase, right? What did she need from a cheating dirty dog like Aaron? Now all she had to do was wait for Chase to call her and everything would be peachy and she could forget about Aaron's accusations.

Chase didn't call.

Two days later. Janelle's house.

"And oh, my God, Nala, the beach house was beautiful! The sand was so white and the water was so blue- we went swimming and we could see the fish in the water, it was so clear!"

The scene was just like old times. Janelle sat at her mirror, touching up her flawless makeup. Nala was sprawled on the carpeted floor, staring up at the blue sky through the skylight. There was only one marked difference- she wasn't hanging on to Janelle's every word like she used to do. Nope, instead she was wondering why Chase hadn't called her yet. Had he been lying when he said the cap held sentimental value to him? Was he sick? Or had he simply forgotten to save her phone number? Whatever the case was, not knowing was driving her crazy. What was she supposed to do- take out an ad in craigslist under the 'missed connections' section? Because that's what she was close to doing!

"-on my birthday, because we had to go to his cousins house, but that was by the beach too. So at night, we went for a walk on the beach and he had laid out a little picnic dinner by the ocean. Isn't that the most romantic thing you've ever heard?" Janelle looked expectantly over her shoulder at Nala, waiting for her response.

Actually, Nala thought it sounded pretty damn corny, but Janelle didn't have to know that.

Smiling up at her sweetly, Nala nodded in agreement. "Oh, yes."

Sighing happily, Janelle stared at her pretty reflection in the mirror. "It was a wonderful night. He-," she started.

Nala jerked as her cellphone chose that moment to start vibrating in the pocket of her denim romper. "Just- hang on a second," she interrupted Janelle, who stared at her with wide eyes as she fished her phone out of her pocket. "I'll be right back, okay? I gotta take this."

She got to her feet, ignoring Janelle's curious look as she pressed talk, not even bothering to check the number. Sheesh, Janelle was acting like she had never seen her get a phone call in her life!

"Hello?" she said, stepping out of Janelle's airy bedroom and onto the landing.

And her heart beat raced as she heard Chase's familiar voice in her ear. "I knew I was smart to keep this number, princess."

"Hey, Chase."

He chuckled. "You so walked off with my hat. Did you do it on purpose?"

"No!" Nala shook her head vehemently, sitting at the top of the staircase. "I didn't even know I had it on till I got home that day!"

She grinned to herself, waiting for Chase's response. He didn't disappoint.

In a sing song voice, Chase chanted "You took my hat on purpose; you want to see me again."

Nala couldn't deny that she wanted to see Chase again, but that didn't mean that he needed to know quite just yet, did it? But she definitely didn't take the hat on purpose, no matter what Chase said.

"Puh-lease," she scoffed derisively. "You probably let me walk out of the mall with your hat on, knowing that you had my number so that you could call me up and accuse me of stealing your signed hat to wrangle another meeting with you."

Sucking in a deep breath at the end of her little speech, Nala smirked, waiting for Chase to counter with something he was no doubt cooking up right now, if that silence on the other end was anything to go by. Ah, it was fun sparring with Chase.

"First off, props on the use of the word 'wrangle'." Nala rolled her eyes to the ceiling at Chase's teasing drawl. "I love smart girls. Secondly, you're 100 percent right."

Dead silence.

Nala's mouth fell open in astonishment. "Wha- what?" she managed to splutter.

"I walked out knowing that you still had my hat because I wanted to see you again."

Chase's voice resounded with frankness and Nala knew that, for whatever reason, he was being honest.

She whispered "Really?" into the mouthpiece, her hands trembling.

"Don't you find it weird that our paths crossed that random day and we had that crazy attraction?" he asked patiently, the tone in his voice plainly wondering why she hadn't figured this out now. "I've lived in Hazelwood for two years, Nala. How come we never ran into each other before this summer?"

Throwing back her head, Nala stared unseeingly at the ceiling. "I don't know," she replied finally, running a hand through her hair.

"I know it's a corny thing to say, but I think we were supposed to meet like this. I can feel it." He paused, drawing in a breath. "I like you, Nala. A lot. If I didn't like you, you think I would have been calling you all the time? You think I would have had so much fun kissing you and enjoyed every second of our conversations? I know it's hard, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow or your life will be filled with what ifs."

Despite herself, Nala let out a loud snicker. What Chase was telling her was one of the cutest reveals she'd ever heard, but the first thing that popped into her head when Chase spoke was "You sound like a motivational speaker."

"But I'm just being honest," Chase replied earnestly. "I just want a shot, Nala, that's it. A shot at making you smile, a shot at making you happy, a shot at being a part of your life. That's all I'm asking for. That's what I've been trying to say ever since I left my cousin's phone at the kissing booth."

The sudden rush of information was making Nala's head spin. She needed some time to process it. Grasping blindly at the one piece of information that stuck, she said "You did that on purpose?" A grudging smile slid on her face. "I knew it!"

"I had to break the ice somehow," Chase protested, laughing. "You thought I was a freak who kissed random girls, so I had to get creative!"

"Well, you pretty much shattered it with the phone sex," Nala smirked.

She could practically see Chase's cheeks reddening as he replied "Uh, yeah. About that." He chuckled again. "I'm kinky like that sometimes."

"I don't doubt it," Nala said, her lips turning up in a smile as a sudden thought flew into her mind. "Do you think that we're still going to be doing this in twenty years?" She giggled. "Just stealing random things from each other so that we can keep running into each other?"

Chase laughed. "Probably," he said. His voice turned serious. "But I don't mind if you don't. Pardon my French, but shit just got personal."

It wasn't a barb directed to her, Nala knew as much. Chase wasn't vindictive like that. Their encounters in the past week had put their connection way past the casual encounters stage. But the question that she kept coming back to was why? Why was Chase, this attractive guy, so into her? She wasn't delusional; anybody could tell that she probably wasn't his type. Before she committed to anything, before she put herself out there again, just to get shot down, Nala decided to find out what the real deal was.

"Chase." Her voice came out in a breathless whisper. "All this attention you're giving me- is it for a bet?"

Hey, she had seen 10 Things I Hate About You, okay? Nala knew that high school kids played dirty. Maybe one of his friends had spotted her at the kissing booth and set this whole thing in motion. It wasn't a farfetched idea at all. Was it?

Sounding puzzled, Chase replied "What? No."

"Do you feel sorry for me?" Nala continued doggedly, searching for flaws because if something seemed too good to be true, it usually was.

"No. Nala- what-?"

Okay, he was really starting to confuse her with his candid sounding answers.

Cradling her head in her hands, she whispered "Why are you giving me so much attention? Why are you so into me when you don't even know me?"

"Well- I like talking to you, I guess. I like looking at you. Your body is sick." He chuckled, the sound sending tingles up and down Nala's spine. "We have mad, crazy chemistry and I love the fact that you can get down and dirty in a baby changing room. You- you intrigue me, Nala. I don't get it. Do I have to know you to know that I like you?" His voice softened. "You second guess yourself because of what happened with Aaron, but to me, you're perfect."

Gulping, Nala blinked the sudden tears from her eyes. "Thank you, Chase."

"I just- I want to get to know you better, princess. It would suck if we were just a onetime thing." He sighed. "Seriously, I hope you'll make an exception and let me in. I wasn't joking when I said I want to be a part of your life."

"I have trouble letting my guard down," Nala admitted softly, squeezing her eyes shut against the memories that made her that way. But Chase was baring his soul here and although Nala wasn't quite sure what was going on between them, she knew that it was about that time for her to stop hiding behind her bruised ego and start telling Chase some of the things he wanted to know. "Chase, I'm scared. I thought we had a connection so I put myself out there- emotionally- which is something I never do."

When her dad had died, her entire life changed. Friends couldn't handle her sudden mood swings; her classmates avoided her as much as possible and even Janelle hadn't known quite what to say. The only person who had been through something like that was Santana but since Janelle didn't want anything to do with her, Nala hadn't really been able to talk to her about how she was feeling and what she was going through. Fear of rejection had made her keep her mouth shut and when anyone asked how she was, the automatic answer was 'fine'. Even when she felt like she couldn't make it out of bed, let alone through the day without seeing or hearing something that reminded her of her dad, she had been 'fine'. Inside, she was dying, but to the world she was able to project a normal front. Emotional walls had been built. She had started to keep people at arm's length. Nobody knew about the torment she went through, crying herself to sleep. Nobody cared after a while. And her emotional walls grew stronger.

A sigh. "I know, Nala."

"Is it that obvious?" Nala asked, a wry smile turning up her lips. "I guess- I just built up walls and now I can't remove them."

"That makes two of us," Chase murmured into the phone.

Frowning, Nala scratched her head. Why the hell would chase build walls to protect himself? Apart from his susceptibility for PDA, he seemed to be a normal, well-adjusted guy. "Why did you need to build walls?" Her voice came out as vaguely teasing. "Your life seems to be perfect!"

"You first."

Exhaling noisily, Nala reopened her eyes. "My dad died a few years ago and I- I guess I never really got over it. And people treated me like I was made out of precious glass or something. I just wanted to deal with it, but I never could." She gazed at the wall, her mind faraway. "It was like they thought that if they kept me busy, I wouldn't have enough time to think about him. I guess it worked, but I found myself lying whenever people asked me how I was doing. Because if I would have told them how bad I was hurting, they wouldn't have understood. So I just learnt to keep things to myself."

"Shit. I'm sorry about your dad, Nala. I guess it makes sense to me now." He was silent for a few seconds before he went on, his voice subdued and very contemplative. "My dad- he's serving 25 to life at Florida State Prison."

A chill went through Nala's body as he told her this, the slight tremor in his voice making her heart constrict. "Oh my God," she whispered, not knowing what else to say. How did one respond to something like that anyway?

"Yeah, it was a hit and run. He was drunk; never saw the guy on his skateboard. I can't make excuses for him, he knew he had a drinking problem but he didn't do anything about it." He let out a sad sigh. "Karma is a bitch. When I was living in Bradford County, all the kids bullied the hell out of me because of the- accident. Everyone knew about it. Called me the murderer's son. I had to build up some kind of barrier, coz if I didn't, I would have ended up depressed and maybe suicidal. So- yeah. We have something in common."

They were both silent for a while, lost in their own thoughts without hanging up, needing each other's company.

Suddenly, Janelle's bedroom door opened and she stuck her head out, making Nala jump.

"You're still on the phone? I thought you were here to visit me!" she pouted.

Waving her away, Nala covered the mouthpiece with her hand and whispered "I'll be right with you."

Why did it always have to be all about Janelle, all the time?

Rolling her cocoa brown eyes, Janelle flounced back into her room, slamming her door.

"Uh oh. Someone sounded pissed," Chase whistled astutely.

Shrugging, Nala said "It's just Janelle."

Given a choice to go back into the room and listen to Janelle's boring monologue about what she and Aaron got up to on their vacation and staying on the phone with Chase, talking about nothing, Nala knew she would go with the Chase option.

"Shit, and here I was, hoping that you defriended her and unfollowed her as soon as she played you out like that."

"She's my best friend," Nala said simply, her shoulders slumping.

"Really? But she stole your man from under your nose?" Chase's voice filled with passion. "Reality check, princess. Some friends aren't true friends. Sometimes it isn't actually butter. That's life."

Shaking her braids out of her eyes, Nala said "She was drinking."

In retrospect, that was a lousy excuse, but Nala didn't really have anything to say that could defend Janelle right now. It had definitely been more than a lapse of judgment on Janelle's part.

"Look, I've been under the influence countless times. I was in a position where I could have banged all my girls' friends if I wanted to. But I didn't. Know why? Because I have integrity, I'm loyal and I don't enjoy karma unless it happens to other people." Nala sighed deeply, knowing deep in her heart that Chase was right. "Would you steal your friend's man?"

Nala shook her head. "No," she muttered.

"So why should it be any different for her?"

Sighing, Nala said "She apologized. They both did."

"And you forgave them and now you're defending them."

Running a hand over her face, Nala said "This is turning into a sucky conversation."

"No, it's not," Chase whispered. "You're just mad because I'm pointing out things that you're too scared to look at." His voice softened. "Your friend did you wrong. You have no cause to defend her. You have the right to be as mad as hell with her, especially since she claimed to be your best friend, you know?"

He was so right, but what Chase didn't realize was that Nala was scared. Scared to get really, righteously angry at Janelle, scared to cuss her out, because when it came down to it, Janelle had been her friend for her entire life. She had showcased her disloyal nature but Nala had forgiven her because she didn't know what else to do.

"Yeah," she whispered, her mind going a mile a minute.

"I'm just saying this coz I care," Chase continued, explaining his opinionated (and true) outlook of the Janelle/ Aaron situation. "I'm not gonna let the memory of what he did to you keep you from experiencing the Chase side of life."

Despite herself, Nala giggled. "The Chase side of life, huh? Sounds fascinating."

"It is," Chase agreed, not a single shred of arrogance in his voice. "And I swear, princess, if you give me a shot, you'll find out what I mean. We don't have to reveal any more private issues, you don't even have to tell me your last name or where you live until you feel comfortable, like this is going somewhere. I just want to hang out with you and figure out what makes you tick." He laughed. "And for once, I'm not talking about anything sex-related."


Slowly, Chase asked "You're down?"

"Yes, I'm down, Chase. Let's do it." Realizing how that might sound, especially to a kinky guy like Chase, Nala hastily amended her statement. "Get to know each other, I mean."

Chase snickered. "I liked 'let's do it' better, but oh well. Do you like lumpia?"

"What is lumpia?" Nala asked, her eyes narrowed.

Excitedly, Chase explained to her. "So good. It's like spring rolls. Dip 'em in sweet and sour sauce and bam! Orgy in your mouth."

"What is it with you trying to get me to eat?"

"Like I said, you're too skinny," Chase protested, a laugh in his voice. "And you should have seen my personalized horoscope today, Nala."

Giggling, Nala asked "What did it say?"

"You will have a steamy encounter with a princess. An exotic meal will be eaten. Fun will be had all around."

Laughing harder, Nala managed to splutter "Liar!"

"So we can't let that not happen. I'm not one to tempt fate. Meet me at the mall at around 4 and we'll eat? Please?" Chase wheedled.

And just like that, Nala was sold. It was like she was getting another chance at Chase, and she intended to at least give it a fair shot this time.

Nodding, even though she knew he couldn't see her, she said "Okay." The imp in her made her tack on a careless "So, is this a date?"

She clapped a hand over her mouth as soon as she said that. Oops. Talk about open mouth insert foot!

"Yeah. Yeah, it's a date, princess." He chuckled softly.

Almost floating, Nala traipsed back into Janelle's room, slipping her phone back into her pocket. She felt like she was on cloud 9. Chase had pretty much negated all of her fears about their relationship and a great weight had been rolled off her shoulders after telling him about her dad. Life was good.

Janelle was still sitting at her mirror, brushing her shoulder length black hair this time, when Nala walked back into the room. She twisted to face her, curiosity all over her face. "Who were you on the phone with?"

"A guy."

Janelle's eyes brightened as Nala realized that she was in for a couple hundred questions. "Did you meet someone, you secret keeper, you?"

"Well, I- it's too soon to tell," Nala replied. She didn't want to jinx anything.

Clapping her hands together with delight, Janelle said "You did meet somebody! That's awesome! Who is he? Maybe we can double date." Her eyes glazed over. "I've got the perfect outfit to wear."

"I don't think that's a good idea, Janelle."

"Why? I'm pretty sure he'll get along fine with Aaron. Don't you think? Aaron is very friendly. Very, very friendly. Nala! C'mon. Do this for me? Please?" Janelle pooched out her bottom lip and fluttered her eyelashes at Nala.

"No offence, but I don't think I would want to bring a guy who's into me around you two. I mean- isn't it obvious?"

Sneaking one last look in the mirror at herself, Janelle focused her full attention on Nala, her face serious. "Nala, things have changed between us. I don't want it to be this way- it's so awkward! I think you, me and Aaron should meet and talk."

"Talk about what, exactly?"

Running her fingers over her hair, Janelle said "Just let out all our feelings about everything. We haven't really had a chance to clear the air, y'know?" She cocked her head towards Nala, who still had a quizzical look on her face. "I know you think I'm pulling an Alicia Keys, so a talk will give me and Aaron a chance to explain." Without giving Nala a chance to make her opinion heard, Janelle went on. "Let's meet at the mall this afternoon."

"Alright," Nala shrugged reluctantly. She didn't really want to see Aaron at all and she wanted to hear their side of the story uncut even less, but at least she had an encounter with Chase to look forward to later. "I have to meet this guy at the mall anyways." She stood up, slipping her feet into her flip-flops. "But for now, I have to go."

Mall. Food court.

"I feel like there's a huge elephant in the room."

Janelle was, of course presiding over the meeting while Aaron nodded in agreement at everything she said. His hand rested on her shoulder and as Nala sat opposite them in the food court booth, it was all she could do to keep from barfing as he constantly squeezed her shoulder and shot Nala 'she's mine' looks.

Biting her lip, Nala said "Okay..."

"Look, Nala, I know you were hurt when Aaron and I started dating, but we think you're being slightly oversensitive," Janelle said delicately, resting her elbows on the table.

Feeling mildly resentful, Nala stared at the duo. "I'm being oversensitive? How? By feeling hurt because he told me we had something special, took me to a party as his date then made out with my best friend when I turned my head for a second?"

Maybe they were on completely different wavelengths. Nala didn't get how she was being oversensitive at all.

"Okay, you have the right to be upset, Nala, I get that," Janelle said soothingly. "But why can't you be happy for us? For me? I've found the guy I was looking for!"

Aaron nodded in agreement (what else was new?). "And I've found the girl of my dreams," he simpered.

Nala couldn't keep her eyes from rolling as they stared soppily into each other's eyes. Where was the violinist to serenade them? Jeeze!

"Isn't that sweet." The sarcasm was thickly laced into her voice. "What happens when you dream about another girl tomorrow night?"

Janelle pouted. "Nala-," she started, crossing her arms over her chest.

"I'm sorry," Nala cut in, not feeling or sounding sorry at all. In fact, she was glad she could make Janelle squirm with discomfort and Aaron's cheeks redden. Now that was a good time. "Look, I hope you guys are happy and I hope-."


An all too familiar voice behind her made her jump, her voice trailing off. She turned her head to confirm it was who she thought it was. Her heart thudded in her chest as she looked up into Chase's happy hazel eyes.


Grinning all over his face, Chase exclaimed "I thought I recognized you! But I wasn't too sure." He smirked. "Don't worry, I'm not stalking you. I'm just hanging out at the music store before our date." Before Nala knew what he was planning to do, Chase leaned over her and their lips met in a soft, sweet kiss. Nala gasped with pleasure as his tongue grazed her lips gently, before lazily entering her mouth. He rubbed his hot slippery tongue against hers and Nala's stomach fluttered as she got lost in the decadent taste of Chase's mouth, forgetting that Aaron and Janelle were watching. He pulled back, lips brushing over Nala's as he whispered "Can't wait, by the way."

"Me too," Nala said honestly, smiling up at him as he straightened.

"What are you doing here, anyway?" Chase asked curiously, his eyes and attention on her.

Shrugging, Nala gestured towards Janelle and Aaron. This wasn't the way she wanted them to meet- actually, she didn't want them to meet at all, but if this was how it had to be, who was she to say otherwise? "I'm having a little heart-to-heart with these guys."

Chase finally looked at Janelle and Aaron. Chirpily, Janelle beamed "Hi, I'm Janelle! Nala's best friend. Nice to meet you- uh... what was your name again?"

"Chase." Without missing a beat, he grinned back at Janelle as Aaron gave him a watchful glare. "Hey. I've heard about you."

Janelle tittered, glancing at Nala before looking at Chase again. "Good things, I hope!"

"No comment," Chase said, shrugging.

Janelle's smile faltered but she placed her hand on Aaron's muscular bicep. "Well, this is my boyfriend, Aaron."

"Hey, man," Aaron said tonelessly, still glaring.

Taking it all in his stride, Chase said "Hey. I've heard about you too."

Nala bit her lip nervously as Janelle cocked her head towards her. "Nala! Do you talk about us all the time?"

"No, just in passing," Nala lied, beaming when Chase nodded in agreement.

"Yeah, trust me, when we're together, we have better things to talk about. And do. Mostly do." He shot Nala a smoldering look which had the effect of making her want to jump him right there. "Right, princess?"

She nodded, her tongue flicking out to lick her lips. Damn, he was making her feel hot again. "Right."

Nala almost purred when he kissed her again, sucking her bottom lip. The things she wanted him to do to her...

"I gotta get back," he whispered as he broke the kiss. "Meet me at the store when you're done here, okay?"

Nala nodded wistfully, hoping that she could cut this little meeting short and have some of what Chase was offering. "Alright."

He turned to Aaron and Janelle, who were still gazing curiously at him. "Nice to meet you guys. See you soon, Nala."

"Bye, Chance!" Janelle called as he took off.

Nala decided not to correct her as she quickly became the focus of their twin stares. Her cheeks flushed. "What?"

"So." Janelle steepled her fingers. "How much did you pay him for that piece of impromptu acting?"

Nala frowned, perplexed. "Huh?"

"Janelle means how much did you pay that kid to pretend that you two have a little something going on?" Aaron rephrased Janelle's question, managing to insert a little of his smugness into it.

Eyes narrowing to slits, Nala asked "Are you implying that I'm not capable of pulling a guy like Chase on my own merit?" She snorted, stung by the accusations. Janelle was right. Things had changed. She didn't need Janelle's little barbs poking holes in her self-confidence. Janelle always managed to make her feel small, but Nala was sick of it. What kind of best friend dragged you so much? The answer was as painful as it was honest- not a true one. "Do I look desperate enough to pay a guy to pretend that he likes me to make a crazy in love couple like you jealous?"

"Nala! That's not what I was saying!" Janelle had the look of a wounded deer, all big hurt eyes. "It was a joke! I didn't mean-."

Gazing shrewdly at Janelle, Nala shook her head. Enough was enough. "You know what, Janelle? You never mean anything. Everything just happens in your little world, doesn't it? Nothing is ever your fault; it always was never your intention." She snorted as Janelle started, apparently amazed at the controlled fury emanating from Nala. "When are you going to grow up and be responsible for your own actions?"

"I don't know what you're talking about, Nala! I just-," Janelle started, her voice almost a squeak.

Interrupting, Nala said "It's always you coming in between me and something you don't want me to have! You never want to let me have my time in the limelight. If I do, you're always plotting on how to take away my shine!" She ran a hand over her face, staring at Janelle with pure mystification playing across her features. "Why do you bother? Aren't we supposed to be best friends? Why do you constantly feel the need to drag me down?"

"I don't do that!" A panicky air surrounded her as she turned to Aaron, tugging on his t-shirt. "Aaron, do I do that?"

Almost immediately, Aaron shook his head. "Don't bring me into this. It's between you and Nala."

The covert look he shot Nala screamed 'she totally does that'.

"Janelle, you do it all the time! It's like you feel threatened by me when I have attention so you want to make sure that you turn it back onto you somehow." Leaning forward, Nala propped her elbows on the table. "I don't care about attention; I know I'm not as pretty as you. But you kind of seem to live for it and it-."

Nostrils flaring, Janelle cut in, her voice biting. "Oh, cut the whole innocent act, Nala. You know full well how pretty you are and you're always trying to use that to your advantage."

"What are you talking about?" Nala asked, taken aback by Janelle's claims.

"All the boys want you, Nala. They lust after your body! They're always talking about how mysterious you are and you don't even notice!" As Nala's mouth fell open with shock, Janelle continued, her voice dripping with scorn. "It's like you do it on purpose, just to see how far you can take it. All of the boyfriends I've ever had used me to get to you!" She thumped her fist on the table. "How do you think I felt?"

Her voice level, Nala looked Janelle in the eye and said "I never stole a single one of your boyfriends, Janelle."

"Okay, fine, but they only wanted to be around me so that they could be close to you and check you out." Janelle smirked. "But that all changed thanks to your dad dying. You turned into a Sad Sally and all the guys flocked to me coz I was more fun. So, thanks for that."

Nala's blood boiled as Janelle spoke in that breathy little girl voice of hers. Her chest tightened till she could barely breathe and all she wanted to do was punch her for even having the nerve to say something that insensitive.

Even Aaron let out a sharp noise as Janelle jutted her chin out, a defiant 'yeah, I said it' expression on her face. "That was cold," he muttered, meeting eyes with Nala. He knew how deeply her dad's death had affected her so he understood.

"Thanks for showing me your true colors, Janelle," Nala said quietly, blinking back sudden tears. "You know what? Santana's been telling me for years what a twofaced bitch you are. I defended me because I thought we were friends." She shrugged casually, standing up. "I guess we're not. Not anymore."

That was it. There was no feeling of relief, no jubilation, and no fear. It was just done, as it should be.

Gesturing wildly, Janelle exclaimed "Wait, Nala- I'm sorry! It came out wrong! I didn't mean-."

"I don't have time to listen to your meaningless apologies, Janelle," Nala said, looking down at her drama queen ex friend. She was still amazed by the calm she felt in giving up an almost lifelong friendship. This was definitely a sign. "You know that saying 'you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family'? Well, thank goodness I can choose my friends, because that means I can unchoose them too. And I'm unchoosing you."

On that note, Nala spun on her heel and sauntered to the music store, her lips set resolutely. She knew what she had to do. The scene with Janelle had infused her with a certain kind of bravado and she intended to act on it before it disappeared.

Chase was leaning against the counter, laughing as he chatted to Bored Blonde Boy, who noticed Nala first.

"Oh, hey, it's the damsel in distress," he exclaimed, scratching his head and eyeing Nala with interest as she put her hands on Chase's shoulders and forcibly spun him around.

His eyes amused, Chase looked into her face. "What's up?" he asked.

"My name is Nala Washington, I live on Cedar Drive and I think we should head somewhere private right now," Nala whispered, slipping her arms around his neck as she sensuously rubbed her body against his.

Eyes widening, Chase let out a startled chuckle. "Well, fuck, Nala Washington. My name's Chase Mason and I know the perfect place to go."

Loving that Chase didn't even hesitate to take control; Nala slipped her hand in his and let him lead her out.

"Can I watch?" Bored Blond Boy asked hopefully as they walked out of the store.

Chase led Nala to the baby changing room by the food court in silence, her heart thudding. She wanted Chase, wanted him badly. Memories of their last encounter floated through her mind and as soon as he shut the door behind them, she backed him up against the wall, kissing him urgently.

He kissed her back, hands sliding down to her hips, kneading her plump ass. "What happened?" he whispered against her lips.

"I dumped Janelle as my best friend," Nala explained, slipping her hands under his t-shirt and caressing his hard abs.

Chase's eyes flashed with concern. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah." Nala nodded, pressing her lithe body against him. "But you're not supposed to be asking that. You're supposed to be taking off clothes and getting hard."

Chase gulped at the passion in her eyes. "Fuck, princess. I think I just got hard hearing you say that. C'mere."

He lifted Nala's chin with his finger as he leaned down to kiss her full lips. His tongue slipped gently into her warm wet mouth, brushed against her tongue, then pulled back as he sucked on Nala's bottom lip. His hands cupped the sides of her face as he kissed her deeper, their lips sliding against each other, tongues exploring, as Nala's hands slid back his hair. Tilting Nala's head back, Chase nibbled at Nala's bottom lip. She moaned against his mouth, sucking his lip into her mouth as she rocked her hips against his growing shaft. "Ungh..." she moaned again, pulling back to drag Chase's t-shirt over his head. She tweaked at his nipples, making him close his eyes and let out a small gasp.

"Nala- what the fuck's gotten into you?" he asked heavily, breathing unevenly as she rubbed against him and reached down, massaging the bulge that was now straining against his zipper. "Oh, shit..." he murmured as his hips began to rock, grinding against her small hand.

Leaning back to gaze into his eyes, she whispered "Your kiss at the food court made me horny," before licking her lips sexily. She didn't know why she felt this way. All she knew was that she wanted Chase to touch her, kiss her and make her feel good. That wasn't asking for too much, especially after the day she was having. "Touch my nipples. That makes me so hot."

"Fuck," Chase murmured again, reaching up to pluck at Nala's rock hard nipples through the soft terry romper she was wearing. She arched her back into his touch, grinding her heat against his erection, the combined pleasures making her moan deeply in the back of her throat. "That feel good, babe?" Chase asked, his tongue flicking out to taste her neck as she threw her head back.

"Take it off, Chase," she pleaded, leaning in to kiss him. Their tongues intertwined lazily as Chase continued to pinch her aching nubs through the fabric. She wanted to feel his fingers on her bare breasts like the last time.

Quickly, Chase dragged Nala towards the toilet. He put the seat down, sat down and pulled Nala on to his lap, her legs on either side of him. She leaned in till her nose was bumping his and rocked her hips against the bulge in his shorts, staring into his eyes.

He fumbled with the zipper on the front of her romper, finally yanking it down and pulling the article of clothing down to her waist. Nala murmured with bliss as Chase gripped her by the waist and leaned her back slightly, flicking her nipple with his rough tongue.

"Uhhh," she purred, feeling the familiar enjoyable sensation flow through her body. Alternating between each one, his tongue rolled around each nipple, teasing each to a peak, then lightly taking one at a time between his teeth and gently pulling and tugging, switching between licks, kisses and nibbles - working Nala into a small frenzy.

Rolling her hips over his, she reached down and stroked his pulsating erection through his shorts. His hips jerked and she cried out as he rolled his tongue around her nub while pinching the other one to a stiff peak between his thumb and forefinger. Her hand twisted around Chase's erection and he leaned back, staring at her through half-lidded eyes as she continued to stroke his hardness through his shorts.

"We can't have sex," he suddenly murmured, stifling a moan as she tightened her hand around him, slowly stroking up and down.

Nala kissed him, their lips moving in perfect accord as he jerked his hips against her in time to her stroking. "Why?" she asked, wanting nothing more than for Chase to strip her of her clothes right then and there and just have his way with her.

"Because I've decided that I'm gonna court you first. Old school." He winked at her before he kissed and licked his way down her neck. "I think I'm gonna make you my girl," he mumbled, his voice muffled against the hollow of her throat.

Whimpering as she relentlessly humped against Chase's erection, the friction sending tingles of heat to her groin, Nala managed to pant out "How gallant of you." Chase leaned in to kiss her, stifling the needful moan she let out against his lips. "I think I want to be your girl."

Because if it meant that she could look forward to scenes like this, she was so in.

"Good," Chase whispered, nibbling on her neck as he pulled and pinched Nala's distended buds, smirking with every moan or gasp she let out. One hand slid down her abdomen, skating past her ribs to her waist.

She bucked her hips almost violently as he slowly brushed his fingers over her panties. "Chase..."

Arching her back as Chase's fingers ran over the elastic waistband of her underwear, Nala felt her legs spread of their own accord. The new sensation sent shockwaves all around her body and she moaned again as Chase's lips closed around a bare nipple, sucking it into his mouth as he brushed his fingers over her mound. Anticipation and desire swept through her body, leaving her breathless as she pressed her hips forward against his hand, almost frantic in her need for him to touch her in that spot.

Knock, knock!

"The fuck?" Chase muttered, raising his head from Nala's pleasantly aching breasts. Slipping her hands around his neck, she guided his head back to her erect waiting nipple. "Uh, don't stop, Chase," she hissed.

"Excuse me! I just saw two teens with no baby come in here," a loud, abrasive female voice at the door yelled. "I have a baby that needs to be changed so I trump you. Please get out."

Chase groaned, lifting his head to kiss Nala. She moaned as he sucked her tongue into his mouth. "It's always something," he whispered against her lips, making her tremble as he rubbed the pads of his thumbs over her nipples. "Rain check, I guess."

"Do I look okay?" Nala asked, pulling the top of her romper back up past her chest and zipping it up. She patted her hair as Chase pulled his t-shirt back on and stared at her, an inscrutable look in his gorgeous eyes.

"You look as sexy as fuck, Nala Washington. You look like I just kissed you senseless," he smirked.

Nala snickered. "Funny you should say that. So do you."

Hand in hand they walked out of the baby changing room, past the angry looking young blonde mother with a crying baby in her arms. "How considerate of you," she called after them as they casually strolled through the food court, heads held high and oblivious to all the stares they were getting. "Next time, get a room!"

"We intend to," Chase called over his shoulder as Nala burst out laughing; wondering what had taken over her. Was it the Chase influence? With anyone else she knew she wouldn't even be able to look at the guy after such an intense experience, but with Chase... He was definitely one in a million.

A voice behind them suddenly called out "Hey! Nala!"

Turning around, Nala spotted Santana marching purposefully up to them, her hefty body sheathed in a blue mini dress.

"Hey, Santana," Nala said, spotting a nervous Janelle and Aaron lurking behind Santana.

"So, I heard what happened," Santana started, her hands on her hips. "I would ask if you were okay but I can see that you are." Her eyes flicked curiously to Chase and she bared her teeth in a smile. "Who are you?"

Wrapping his arm around my waist, Chase smiled back at Santana and said "I'm Chase."

"Well, Chase, I'm Santana. I'm taking over the newly vacated role of Nala's best friend. Right, Nala?"

Giggling, Nala nodded. Only Santana would appoint herself someone's best friend without any qualms, but in this case, Nala felt it was long overdue. "Hell yeah," she replied, still not feeling like herself and loving every moment of it.

"Nala, I need to talk to you," Janelle whined.

Almost immediately, Santana stationed herself between Nala and Janelle stolidly. "And I'm offering my services as her bodyguard too! Nala doesn't want to talk to you." She turned to look at Nala, her eyes questioning. "Right?"

"Right," Nala nodded.

Maybe when the anger cooled off a little bit she would want to talk to Janelle but right now, all she wanted to do was-

"Did I just see you two walk out of the baby changing room, though?" Santana asked nosily, her head tilted to the side. She scrutinized Chase and Nala's appearance, taking in the mussed hair, rumpled clothes and glazed eyes all in a glance. Her eyes widened excitedly. "Ya'll look- did you just get laid?"


A/N: Sorry about the delay in updating, guys! I'm just a lifelong procrastinator, so bear with me :)

I hope you like how I ended this story. It was a hard chapter to write because I wanted to give Chase and Nala one last fun encounter, let Janelle and Aaron have their say and just end it on a light note. I'm pretty happy about this chapter, it took a lot of work and that's why it took a while for me to post it. Hope you enjoy this long ass chapter.

I would like to say thanks to everyone who read (16,916 hits and counting), reviewed (260 reviews), favorited (118) and alerted (170) Kissing Booth Princess. You guys are truly the reason I write. Your reviews encourage and inspire me and make me want to write better, just so that I can please you. I'm so glad you read this story and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

It's been an awesome ride and I now know that I can update a chapter a week if I put my mind to it :). Hooray for discipline (and a few PM's from people telling me it was Thursday and still no update ;))

Oh, and by the way, Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup finals and we had riots in downtown Vancouver! I'm talking burning cop cars in the streets, stabbings, tear gas, and riot police... smdh. People really need to do better. I know it sucks that we lost but it's just hockey...not really worth going to jail for. I couldn't take my eyes off the TV screen – frigging dumb people rioting and looting in the city they live in made me tsk.

Review thanks for Chapter Nine

Thanks to the following for taking time out to review: ScissorsPaperStone, EmptySh3ll, Wowsers In Muh Pantz, I-am-happy (X2), butterfly-kisses92, mad4life, lalaland22 (x2) em-gurl25, LILy. flower, Jevanminx, Bubbyl Hirl, AbbeyXD, kell369, fzb (I hope you like what I did in this chapter with the whole Janelle and Aaron thing. Thanks for reviewing! Lol, sorry, no sequel) DodD, Midnight113, noname (lol, thanks for reviewing) freebird1490, EmmaWoodhouse88, Freak Of Music, U rock (Hope you enjoy this update! Thanks for reviewing) miraclez22, beverlyamethyst, poohbear512862, Toni (thank you, thank you very much! Hope you enjoy this chappie. Thanks for reviewing!), XDXP.

This marks my third finished FP story. And since TPOD will be finished soon, I'll get restarted on GGGCUE and finish that- I'm on a roll! Don't question it; let's just see how it goes. Lol.

Thanks for coming along with me on this amazing ride. You guys made it amazing! I hope you enjoy the rest of my stories. More to come too, just keep a look out. I'll probably do something like this (a chapter a week kinda story) again. It was mad fun. And my first third person story was a success, no?

And OMG, am I the only person dying to know what Pottermore is gonna be? Gahhhh!