Author's Note: Hello, everyone!
For those of you who have been faithful readers from the beginning, please don't freak out about the lack of chapters. Everything is still all here, but I went through and put some shorter chapters together and did a lot of editing (I added some things, tweaked others). Let me put this into perspective for you guys: I started Just a Dare at the end of my freshman year. I'm a junior now. My writing style has changed since then and I wanted to get everything up to date. You beautiful people deserve the best for being awesome and following Trey as he makes his way through the tail-end of high school.
I hope you guys like the new changes!
And for all of you brand-spanking-new bright and shiny faces, hello! *excited wave* I hope you enjoy the roller coaster ahead. I know that I've enjoyed writing it for you. :)
"Excuse me, come again?" I said to my best friend, Jonathan Berkeley, nearly choking on the mouthful of water I had just swigged from my plastic water bottle.
We were sitting at one of the round tables in our school cafeteria, the other chairs presently vacant since the meat heads we called our friends were up in line to purchase a school lunch.
We were what every annoying Hollywood high school movie would call the "jocks" at school, the guys who were in athletics and were on nearly every sports team the school had to offer.
Jon smirked at me, flashing his perfectly straight white teeth, a malicious sort of humor glinting in his deep blue eyes. "You heard me," he replied coolly. He picked up his soda, took a long gulp from it, and gestured over to a table across the room from ours, drink still in hand, to a petite brunette with her back to us presently. Her long, dark brown hair was plaited down her back, shining softly underneath the obnoxiously bright florescent light bulbs. "I dare you to make Melody Scribner fall madly in love with you."
For as long as I could remember, I had always hated Melody Scribner.
Of course, I saw what everyone who looked at her saw; a bright-eyed girl with a matching smile and hunger for knowledge. Good, smart, kind; that was her. Always offering to linger after class to help a fellow student with their work, eager to talk to her teachers during and after class. She knew the answer to nearly every question but would wait to see if anyone else knew it before cautiously raising her hand.
She was so nice and pure and innocent - the epitome of "Little Miss Sunshine" - and that had always annoyed the living shit out of me.
I didn't even keep it to myself after a while, reminding her of my contempt for her every second I had the chance. She smiled a sad smile the first time, but my constant jabs at her eventually led to witty comebacks, scathing remarks, and furious glances over the years.
Despite the fact that the infuriating girl was the bane of my existence, however, I thoroughly enjoyed watching her get all riled up just to see how she'd react to what I'd say or do. So, like I said, I'd obviously never been interested in her in any regard besides the obvious one: mercilessly using her as a means of entertainment.
I glared at my friend, who wasn't feeling much like a friend presently, entertaining myself with many different colorful ways to murder him. He lazily placed the soda can back onto the table, his smirk widening. I hated him more than I had ever hated anyone at that moment as I watched him recline in his chair and wait for me to speak.
He was wearing his Letterman jacket, the large orange "B" emblazoned on the left chest side over the black material, and a patch with a football on it just below that with the year we made it to state with the Varsity team - our junior year. The back of the jacket bore his last name between his shoulder blades along with his jersey number (eleven) and the year we were going graduate. It was unbuttoned, revealing a blue V-neck T-shirt. His blonde hair was gelled as usual, the front spiked up.
"You know I can't do that." I ground out, irritated.
Jon arched a golden eyebrow. "What's that? Are you actually turning down a bet?"
"No," I snapped, "I just haven't agreed to it yet. It's impossible and you know it, so I really don't see why you're trying so hard to push me to do it."
He was being a prick about it. Was I really surprised, though? I knew the answer anyway. No, because Jonathan Berkeley was an immature asshole, simple as that.
"Whoa, whoa. Watch it with the temper there, Trey." He said jokingly, chuckling. "I just meant that you've never turned down a dare. Ever."
Unfortunately, it was true.
I always followed through with a dare, no matter how stupid it was, just to prove that I could. Some might say that it was a sign of arrogance or male dominance, but the truth of the matter was that I simply liked showing everybody up and claiming my reward afterward.
Okay, so maybe that might still come across as arrogance, but whatever. Like I said, it was the truth.
"I know." I sighed, taking a huge bite of my piece of pepperoni pizza.
"So," Jon prompted me, stuffing a handful of Lays potato chips into his mouth. He swallowed before continuing. "are you willing to break your perfect dare-winning record?"
I looked over Jon's shoulder at Melody, watching as her shoulders shook and her head fell back slightly as she laughed.
If I cocked my head to the side, closed one eye, and squinted the other just enough, I guess she really wasn't that terrible looking...
Maybe I could make it work after all. I mean, I already had breathtakingly rugged good looks and an undeniably great personality, so what could possibly go wrong?
She started talking (I could tell by the glimpse of animated hand gestures I could see; she made a better door than window, obviously) and I held in a groan of protest.
Damn it, who was I trying kid, here? The crazy woman hated me with a fiery passion that could rival the intensity of the innermost levels of Hell, for God's sakes!
My gaze traveled back to Jonathan's face, the superior expression upon it giving away his thoughts. And the more that I watched him, taking in the arrogant air about him and the fact that he acted as though he was my superior, the more pissed off I became.
So, that bastard thought he was going to win, did he? Well, then it was definitely time to put his cocky ass back in its place by reminding Jon that I was called the Dare Devil for a reason.
"Like hell I will."
His expression shattered, replaced by a look of pure shock, but he covered it up quickly with a mask of indifference.
"Care to hear the terms?" he asked, a slightly hopeful glimmer entering his eyes.
He still thought I was going to give. I rolled my eyes, barely holding back a snort of disbelief. What a fucking idiot. "Go ahead." I said before sinking my teeth back into my pizza.
One of the other guys, Robert Martin, walked up right then, pulling back his customary chair beside Jon and flopping down into it. His tray banged down onto the table. He was built like a rock; his muscles were solid as steel and just as strong. He had cropped light brown hair and gray eyes set into a square-shaped face, which was positioned on a thick neck between broad, brawny shoulders.
Oh, and speaking of rocks, he was just as dense.
Robert surveyed the scene before himself, taking in Jon's slightly desperate expression and my cocky one. "If I didn't know any better," he began slowly, "I'd say that you two are in the middle of coming up with a dare."
"You don't say." I drawled sarcastically.
Rob just shrugged and plunged his spork into the grey, mushy goop on his tray, scooping up a rather large bite. I grimaced in disgust at the way it jiggled on the plastic eating utensil (because only Jell-O and certain puddings jiggled like that, and I was positive that the lumpy shit on his tray was definitely not either of those) as he took a bite out of it before forcing myself to avert my eyes - and attention - back to the matter at hand.
The last thing I had to say on the whole mystery-goop issue was that I was glad I'd brought my own in my lunch.
"Here's the deal: you have until graduation to make it happen, no exceptions. If you back out before that, you owe me one hundred bucks."
My mind was reeling.
How the hell was I supposed to get her to fall in love with me by graduation if it was less than three months away?
I opened my mouth to voice this opinion, to tell him, "No thank you, deal's off," when I saw that same damn triumphant smirk from before on his face. And it was that face, the one that clearly said, "I won this round, dumb ass," that sent me over the line between reasoning and illogical thought processing, just to show him up.
Besides, if I let Jon win this one, he'd lord it over me like the narcissistic jerk he was.
"Make it two hundred and you've got yourself a deal." I said, extending my hand out across the table. Rob let out a low whistle and Jon's eyebrows rose nearly to his hairline.
"You're on." He said, firmly shaking my hand. When we let go, he looked over his shoulder in Melody's direction and let out a chuckle as he got back to his food. "I foresee myself being two hundred dollars richer in the near future."
I stared at Melody for a little while, too, after all the boys had been seated and had long since tucked into their meals.
I really hoped this would work.
The lunch bell rang and I watched Melody rise from her chair. I had been toying around with the idea of simply sticking to observation for the first couple of days just to get a good feel for what I was up against, but I soon decided against it. After all, every day I wasted was a day less that I had to get her to succumb to my boyish charm and good looks.
So, naturally, I followed her.
It wasn't hard; she was pretty easy to pick out of the crowd. She wore a white pair of skinny jeans that hugged her legs and slightly curved hips and a pair of turquoise Converse high-tops.
My eyes traveled back up her calves and settled on the curve of her butt, a smirk flirting on the edges of my lips.
Surprise, surprise, Scribner actually had a decent-looking ass, after all.
Her friends were flocked around her like bees to honey, apparently deeply engrossed in some kind of important conversation. There were five of them in all, including Melody. I was just behind her - a few swift strides would have closed the gap, I'm sure - but I stayed put. I knew that her friends would eventually leave and then I'd be home free.
Melody nodded at something one of the girls said, a stream of giggles erupting from her lips. I let out a sigh of exasperation.
Would they ever leave?
I was right on their heels through another hallway, and just as I was about to give up and go to my class, she waved to them. I distinctly heard her say, "See you later, girls. Bye!"
To say I was gleeful that they were saying their goodbyes was an understatement, grateful that I didn't have to listen to their irritating squealing any longer. Her four friends, whose names I didn't bother trying to remember, exchanged their goodbyes as well before they parted ways. I trailed behind her, watching her braid swing back and forth and the little bounce in her step as she walked.
Funny, I'd never noticed that before. Then again, I'd never really paid too close attention to her, either.
After the giggling gaggle of teenage girls had disappeared from my sight, I decided it was time to make my move. I closed the gap between us with three long strides, a suggestive smirk tugging at my lips. I ran a hand through my soft, chestnut colored hair, tousling it slightly in the process and letting it fall just into my steel grey eyes. Girls really loved it when I did that.
I fell into step with her easily. "Hey there, Melody." I said, allowing a subtle undertone of allurement enter my voice.
That tone was among the more favorable ones I used when hitting on hot girls; sexy and masculine all rolled into one. If the tousled hair made their hearts skip a beat, that voice caused cardiac arrest.
She turned and looked at me, her cheerful smile sliding right off of her face, only to be replaced by a dark scowl. Her emerald eyes lost their cheery glow and her dark brows drew together. I knew that look well, as I should: she was the only human being who would ever dare to give me that look of loathing - especially of the female species.
I'd always figured she was born defective. And she hardly ever wore makeup! According to everything I knew about girls, they thought that stuff was a gift from God. But honestly, looking at her face right then: full pink lips, slightly flushed cheeks, thick, dark eyelashes, high cheekbones, an oval shaped face with little pale freckles sprinkled sparsely over her nose and beneath her eyes, I decided she didn't necessarily need it.
Then I remembered the look she was giving me and decided that it made her face terribly ugly.
"What do you want, Williams?" Melody snarled.
If looks could kill, I would have been sent to the morgue a long time ago. Ouch.
"Call me Trey," I said smoothly, unaffected by her death glare after years of conditioning.
Melody rolled her eyes. "Look," she said tiredly, not even bothering to look at me anymore, "I really don't have time for you and your stupid games right now."
That was Scribner-talk for, "Piss off, asshole." Double ouch.
"That's okay, I'll make it quick."
"Then hurry up and get on with it. I don't want to be late to class." Melody said in that same bored tone.
I stopped right in the middle of the nearly deserted hall, smirking when I heard her huff in annoyance. She halted and backtracked a couple of steps, putting a safe distance of about two or three feet between us. "Melody..." I began, trailing off and peering down at her, trying to decide how best to approach the question at hand.
How did a guy ask his mortal enemy out on a date, anyways?
I saw her foot tapping impatiently the longer I dragged out the confrontation, so I made up my mind and said, in the most charming, convincing voice I could muster, "I've liked you for a long time, now. I can't stop thinking about you. Will you possibly entertain the thought of going out on a date with me this weekend?" I attempted to paste on a smile as if it would prove my point, silently praying that it didn't look like I was just baring my teeth at her to fend off her unnecessary bitchiness.
The next moment, had any historians been close by to witness it, probably would've gone down in the history books.
At first, Melody just stared. And stared. And stared some more.
And after she'd stared at me for a good couple of seconds, something that I could have sworn had been shock filling her expression, her eyes narrowed into the most evil, most hateful glare I had ever witnessed firsthand (which was really saying something, since it was coming from her) and she marched right up to me and ground her heel into my foot. Hard.
What. The. Fucking. Hell?
And then she started screaming at me, obviously not caring about the pain shooting up my left leg from my crushed foot. "You are such an inconsiderate, arrogant, insufferable human being!" She screeched furiously at me, her face red with anger. She stomped over to where she'd unceremoniously dumped her things, scooped them up into her arms, and stalked off. The bell rang just as she rounded the corner.
I guess I'll be late to class, then, I thought in some numb part of my brain.
That girl was not to be pissed off, or you'd most definitely regret it. My smarting toes were evidence of that.
Damn, this was going to be a lot harder than I thought it would be.