The Art of Stalking
Summary: "I was going to harass that boy like there was no tomorrow until I saw his adorable cheeks turn red." (ADoR Star Crossed Challenge Prompt)
I was on the hunt.
Wait—no, that doesn't sound right.
I was on the prowl—
No, now I sound even more like a cougar.
Let's try this again. I was on the lookout for a certain male specimen that would be perfect for my art assessment. There! Now doesn't that sound a bit more reasonable?
I sat right at the entrance to the university's food court, intently scanning the faces of those walking in.
Too blonde, too tall, too skinny, too perfect…
And then he walked in. I wouldn't have noticed him if I wasn't looking so hard. Don't get me wrong, he was good looking, but he just seemed to… fade into the background. Maybe it was the friends he was tailing behind – all perfect, all wearing expensive clothes, all supremely confident. If he strode around as cockily as the boy in front of him, maybe he would also be receiving admiring glances from various girls. Instead, with his head down and hands shoved into his pockets, he escaped notice.
One of his perfect friends in front turned around and said something to him, making him glance up.
I could feel myself begin to grin – he was perfect. I was beginning to salivate over the way I could manipulate the lighting so it would hit those amazing cheekbones just so. Just thinking about the way my camera would capture the hidden sparkle in those eyes almost had me sinking to the ground in a liquid mush.
Pull yourself together, Kate.
The group had just sat down at a table in, typically, the centre of the food court. My guy was more animated now, talking to the people around him. As much as I wanted to run over there and drag him off to the art studio, I knew that approaching him when he was with his friends wasn't the right way to go. So, instead, I sunk down into my seat and opened up my pack of sushi, eyes still on him.
Initiate stalker mode.
It was lucky I didn't have any classes that afternoon (thank god for a twelve hour week), as it ended up taking my guy two hours to ditch his friends. After the longest lunch in history, I trailed them to the other bloody side of campus as the group slowly dwindled in numbers, until there were only three of them. Finally, my guy split off and I raced up to him.
"Hey! Hey… guy!" I called out. Man he had long legs.
He turned around, his face filled with confusion.
"Are you talking to me?"
I rolled my eyes. "Well, obviously. Look, I was wondering if you wanted to be in my art assessment?"
He stared at me with wide eyes. "Do I know you?"
I huffed impatiently, shifting my bag on my shoulder.
"No, but you're perfect for what I want." When he still stared at me, I thrust out my hand. "I'm Kate."
His eyes flickered down to my hand and back up.
"…You're supposed to shake it."
Hesitantly, he did so, but still eyed it as if it were some dangerous animal. Frowning, I glanced down at myself – I didn't look too crazy, did I?
I decided that no, I didn't, he probably had a stick up his ass.
"So will you do it?"
"Do what?" he asked slowly.
"Be in my art assessment!"
"Look, Kate… I have a lecture to go to—"
I snorted and waved my hand in the air.
"Who the hell even goes to lectures? You'll be right, just get the lecture notes later."
"I can't really do—"
"Anyway, what's your answer?"
"I don't even know you!"
"So get to know me! Then let me take photos of you!"
He gave me a very weirded out look.
"What the heck is that?" he suddenly exclaimed, looking over my shoulder.
I, naturally, whipped around. "What is what?"
I turned my head around and almost screamed when I saw him running off into the closest building.
He might've been a coward, but I was not giving up.
It was hard stalking a person when you didn't know his name or even what course he took. So, despite my best efforts, it was a few days before I saw him again.
And, strangely, it was at the uni bar.
"My friend!" I cried, slinging an arm around his shoulders when I spotted him leaning on the bar by himself. "What're you doing here?"
He looked distinctly uncomfortable, shifting on his feet.
"I'm here with some friends."
"Oooh. Celebrating a special occasion?"
His eyes darted around the bar, but I was not letting go of him yet.
"I turned eighteen a few days ago," he mumbled.
I gasped. "What? No! You're only just eighteen?"
Great, now I really did feel like a cougar. Maybe I was on the prowl! Five months had never seemed larger. Maybe I should just start calling myself Demi.
He jerkily nodded his head.
"How are you not drunk yet, then? You're finally eighteen!"
"But it's Wednesday."
"Exactly! It's Wednesday night! You have to be the most sober person here."
"I don't really—"
"Don't say a word more!" I proclaimed. "Bartender, bring me four shots!"
By the number of times I'd been here, the bartender knew me and my crazy ways now. Rolling his eyes, he set four shot glasses on the bar and poured vodka into them. My guy was looking nervous now, shifting on his feet.
"I don't really do shots…"
He was just too damn cute. I shoved a shot glass in his hand, picked up mine and clinked them together.
"Don't I need a chaser for—"
"Oh, be a man and drink up!" I cried, downing my shot. I winced slightly and then grinned at him. He eventually downed it, then smacked his hand over his mouth as he attempted not to throw up.
I slapped him on the back.
"That's it buddy!"
"It tastes so bad," he moaned.
"You'll be right!" I said in true Aussie spirit. "The second one will be much better!"
For some strange reason, he believed me. A few seconds later, the last two shots were gone and he was spluttering even worse than before.
He really was just too cute for words.
"You said it would be better!" he cried before gulping down the water the sympathetic bartender had provided.
"I lied, my friend," I said, faux-sympathetically. "Welcome to the real world. Now let's dance!"
"What? But—I—I don't dance!"
Heedless to his weak arguments, I grabbed his hand and dragged him to the dance floor. I set about my usual dancing routine, flailing arms and all. He shifted awkwardly and I could see the beginnings of a blush on his face. Smiling mischievously, I began to mouth the words to him, accompanied by dramatic movements.
"Where have you been?" I wailed to him, clutching my heart. I flung my hand out, pointing at him. "All my life!"
He was definitely blushing now, and his entire face turned red when I began ruffling his hair. It started off as teasing but soon I had to drag my fingers away from its silkiness. Seriously, what guy had nice hair?
My guy, apparently.
I made him stay on the dance floor with me for a few more songs before I took pity on him and dragged him back to the bar.
"How're you feeling?"
"Uh… good," he replied, messing his hair up with his hand.
"Really? Obviously, you're not drunk enough. Bartender, four more!"
While he spluttered, the shots were made up and I forced three of them down his throat.
Ten minutes later, the alcohol began to hit and finally, as alcohol does, he began to lose some of those pesky inhibitions.
An hour later, our drunken antics and singing had us kicked out of the bar.
"I can't believe I got kicked out of a uni bar! Not even a legit bar!" he cried as he slung an arm around my shoulders.
I laughed and ruffled his hair.
"You haven't lived til you've been kicked out of there at least three times."
"How many times have you been kicked out?" he asked, peering down at me.
"Too many times to count, my friend. C'mon, let's go grab a kebab!"
Munching on our kebabs, we meandered our way towards his apartment. He was walking without aid, but that didn't mean he wasn't stumbling all over the place. I didn't trust him to make it back by himself, plus I didn't want the night to end just yet.
When we were walking across the oval, he managed to trip over his own feet and fall flat on his face.
"No," he moaned. "Not my kebab!"
I plopped down next to him, lying on my back and thrust mine into his face. "Here, have this you drunk skunk."
"I'm only drunk because you peer pressured me into it. That's called bullying."
I snorted. "You had fun, don't deny it."
He began chomping happily on the kebab. "I won't. And this is so good. I've never had one before, did you know that?"
I laughed. "I did, actually – you managed to tell me three times in the shop."
"Oh. I wonder what my friends would think of me now: drunk and eating a kebab with a hipster."
"Hey!" I cried. "I am not a hipster!"
He reached over and ruffled my hair. "First thing you can do is acknowledge you have a problem."
I swatted it away and huffed. "The only reason my hair is like this is because when I passed out one night, my roommate thought it'd be funny to shave part of my hair off. So I decided to shave the rest of that side off as well."
"No need to be angry," he said, again peering at me with those adorable brown eyes. "I think it's cute."
A slow smile spread across my face. "Thanks."
We sat there in silence for a while, looking up at the stars.
"Why do you want to photograph me?" he asked suddenly.
"Because," I said, rolling over onto my stomach so I could meet his eyes, "I like your face."
"Really?" he asked dubiously.
I snorted. "Now you're just fishing for compliments." I talked over his spluttered denials. "If you must know, I love your cheekbones and the way the light hits them." I gently traced them as his eyes grew serious. "And you're just so unassuming; not arrogant or a peacock like some of your friends."
His cheeks stained pink and I internally cheered. He was just so perfect with his sparkling eyes and floppy hair.
I patted his cheek. "I think it's time we get you to bed, mister."
I jumped up and, ignoring his whining, pulled him up as well. He stumbled around a bit before he regained his footing. The walk back to his apartment was fairly silent. When we arrived, he turned around.
"Do you want to come up?"
I shifted on my feet. I didn't trust myself alone with him and a bed, especially with alcohol still running through my veins.
"Nah, it's cool. Just when you get up there, give me a yell through your window so I know you haven't passed out on the stairs."
Suddenly, his arms were around me. "Thanks for an awesome night, Kate. I had awesome fun though it might not feel that way in the morning."
I laughed and stepped back when his grip loosened. "Just drink heaps of water before you go to bed."
"I'll see you in a few seconds."
Then, he was gone, stumbling up the stairs. I let out a short laugh before backing away so I could see the rest of the apartment building. Instead of appearing at a window, he stumbled out onto a balcony.
"Oh Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?" he declared dramatically, arms swinging.
I laughed. "Shall I hear more or shall I speak at this?" I called back. "I didn't take you to be a Shakespeare kinda guy."
"There's a lot about me you don't know," he said with a wink.
"That's true – like your name. What's your name?"
"Jacob… alright, get to bed! You probably have class in the morning!"
"Yes sir!" he said, saluting poorly. I made sure he made it in from the balcony before turning and heading back to my own flat with a smile on my face.
And I didn't even need to steal his wallet or something equally stalker-ish to find out.
The next time I saw Jacob was two days later and, luckily, his friends weren't around.
"Jacobean!" I called, running up to him. "How you feeling? Recovered from the other night?"
His cheeks coloured. "Uh… Yeah, feeling better."
"That's great! Did you get to your morning classes?"
He went even redder, making me grin. "I missed them all."
"Well, that's life. I'm sure you'll be able to catch up. Where you heading?"
"To a tutorial in the New Law Building."
"Awesome! I'll walk with you."
It was silent for a moment while Jacob kept shooting me shy glances, face still pink. "So, you still thinking of being my model?"
We both turned around and saw a boy and a girl, both beautiful and impeccably dressed, walking up to us. I recognised them from the food court the first time I'd spotted Jacob.
"How are you? Who's your… friend?" the girl asked, looking down her nose at my clothes. So I may have picked them up out of a cheap vintage shop and I loved them, but by the way this girl was looking at me, it was as if I'd just crawled out of a garbage bin. Though I guess I didn't look very good next to her pristinely ironed blue dress, stockings and heels. Who even wears heels to university?
I squished down my sudden lack of confidence and offered them a wave, saying, "My name's Kate."
"Cecilia. And this is Vance," she said, gesturing to the boy next to her who was looking at me with raised eyebrows.
"Well…" I said after a beat of awkward silence. "I'll see you later, Jacob. Nice to meet you Cecilia and Vance."
Not really. I secretly wanted to slap the smug, oh-so-superior smirks of their faces. And this is why I preferred Jacob, who put up no pretensions or airs.
The other two gave me quick smiles before turning their backs on me, but Jacob lingered for a bit, giving me a wave. His eyes were apologetic but I just waved back, grinning.
I would have to wait to corner him another time.
"So, what's the answer buddy?" I asked, sliding into the seat across from Jacob. He jolted, the cup of coffee in front of him spilling over.
"Kate! You scared me. You were so silent!"
I winked at him. "That's one of my many abilities. Hang around and you could find out a few more."
He blushed and I burst out laughing. "Jacob, you are the sweetest bundle of cuteness ever!"
I reached over and pinched his cheek before he swatted me away, looking annoyed.
"Are you here for a reason?"
"Of course I am! You never answered me – are you going to let me photograph you?"
He seemed to deflate. "Is that the only reason you keep pestering me?"
I blinked at him. "Sure." Well, that and the fact that I loved his cute blushes and slowly making him open up. He never would have snapped at me when we first met.
"Fine," he sighed. "I'll do it and then you don't have to go out of your way to hunt me down."
Once again, I blinked at him. Was he saying that after I finished photographing him, to stay away? I could almost feel my heart sink down.
Oh well. It was a good thing then that I didn't intend to leave this boy alone for a long time yet, no matter what he said.
That was what a good stalker was like, right?
The next day saw me ringing the buzzer to his apartment at seven in the morning. Eventually, he answered.
"Hello?" he said groggily.
"Jacob!" I said loudly, and I could almost hear his wince. "Are you free today?"
It was a Saturday, so he couldn't give me the class excuse.
He sighed. "I guess…"
"Great! Be down here in ten, it's time to get you photographed!" As an afterthought, I added, "And look super hot."
"What? Ten minutes? Kate, I just got out of bed—"
"Don't be a girl Jacobean. Ten minutes!"
I heard grumbling before the intercom cut off. Surprisingly, he rushed down the stairs ten minutes later, looking his usual adorable self. He wore plainer clothes than usual. Usually, he would be dressed neatly in designer clothing but now he was just wearing a plain white shirt with no logo whatsoever.
I grabbed his arm and pulled him along.
"Hey! Why in the world did you wake me up at seven, anyway?"
"Because when I photograph you, I want the lighting to be perfect. With the place I have in mind, the sun gets hidden by the afternoon."
This didn't stop his grumbling.
I thrust him into my old, beat-up, bomb of a car, ignoring his less than impressed face. I wonder what he'd think if I told him that I'd actually cleaned it for him. By cleaned, I mean I chucked all the random clothes and food wrappers into the backseat.
That was better treatment than most guests received!
"So where are we going?" he asked as I pulled out of the uni. "I thought you'd drag me to your art studio or something."
"We're going to the city. I love all the sandstone buildings there, so you better start practising your model face so you don't mess it up. You gotta smize."
He looked at me like I was crazy.
"You know, smize? Smile with your eyes?" He still looked blank. "Have you never seen 'Americas Next Top Model'?"
"I'm a guy, Kate."
"You disgust me. But don't worry, I'll introduce you to the wonders of 'Americas Next Top Model' later." He still looked uncomfortable, making me huff. "And I was joking about getting your model face on. Don't stress."
"Oh," he said in relief, his face relaxing.
There was silence before he said, "I'm sorry about Cecilia and Vance the other day. They're not usually like that."
I shrugged, not admitting that it hurt me. Only a little bit, though. I was more scared that they'd convince Jacob to view me the same way, and it was apparent that they hadn't done so.
"I'm serious. They're actually really nice—"
"Look, Jacob," I said, sighing and glancing at him. "I get it. Your friends seem to have a stick up their arse when they're around me because I like to buy my clothes from second hand shops. But you're not like that, so I couldn't care less about them."
When I glanced at him next, he had a big smile on his face.
I eventually found a park in the city and dragged him out of the car. Taking his hand in mine, I ignored his pink cheeks and the way my body warmed at his touch, and tugged him along the sidewalk. We entered the State Library and I quickly located the stairs before dragging him up to the roof, grabbing books out of my bag to prop open the door.
"See, isn't it beautiful up here?" I said, finally letting go of his hand reluctantly. The library was only three stories, but it was close enough to the harbour that if you stood in the right place, you could see the sparkling ocean. It was an overcast day, but that made the lighting perfect and there was just enough sunlight to make the sea a beautiful blue colour. Surrounding us were the sandstone buildings that I loved so much and the more modern buildings could be seen not too far away.
"Yeah," Jacob breathed, and when I glanced at him his eyes shot away from me and out to the harbour.
Disturbingly, I could feel the beginnings of a blush on my cheeks and ducked my head, scrambling through my bag for my camera. I fiddled with the settings for a while until I was sure the pink had left my cheeks.
"Alright! Jacob, I want you over there."
He stood awkwardly where I pointed him to. "Here?"
I huffed. "Look natural, you know? Not like there's something stuck up your bum."
He shifted around for a bit. "Like this?"
I rolled my eyes before stalking up to him. With my hands on his chest, I tried not to cop a feel as I pushed him backwards until he was leaning against the wall. I pushed his upper body back further and adjusted his hands. When I looked up, I realised only then how close I was. Surprisingly, neither of us moved as I stared up into his eyes. I reached a hand up to the side of his face and held it there for a moment, before pushing lightly so he tilted to the side.
"Perfect," I breathed. Shaking my head as I stepped back, I tried to make my breathing get back to normal.
Yeah, there was no way I was going to let this guy get away from me after this.
He kept his darkened eyes on me as I brought up the camera, taking a few test shots. When I had the settings perfect, I began to shift around him, taking photos in different places.
I swear, taking photos of him was almost as good as an orgasm. My camera seemed to love him – every photo came out perfectly, with the dim lighting caressing his amazing cheekbones.
"Alright, now look out at the harbour and don't start to look awkward."
He did as I said. I was surprised at how calm he kept his face, especially since I knew how uncomfortable he was feeling.
I kept this up for over an hour, taking close ups and long shots of him in different positions and he was the perfect model. Apart from the first time, he seemed to sink into his role well and didn't look uncomfortable at all.
"And we're done!" I cried, turning off my camera and carefully putting it back in its case. There was no way I was going to lose those photos.
Jacob breathed out a sigh of relief and grinned at me. "Do they look okay?"
"Okay? They look fantastic! Thanks so much for helping me out with this!" I ran up to him and hugged him tightly, not letting my hands wander too far, no matter how nice his bum had looked in those pants.
"Does that mean we're… done?"
He was looking at me strangely and I didn't like it.
"With the photographing, yeah! I can't wait to show them to my tutor!"
He was silent, but I was too caught up in my high that I didn't notice. The way back to university, I chattered excitedly the whole way about the different techniques I was going to use on them and how I was going to frame them. He hardly said a word.
When we pulled up in front of his apartment, I leaned over the gear stick and gave him one last hug.
"Thanks again for finally agreeing to help me out, Jacob! You were the best!"
"Yeah…" he mumbled. "Bye, Kate."
Frowning at his low tone, I watched as he walked to his apartment without glancing back.
The words had haunted me for the rest of the weekend.
All the other times we'd hung out, it hadn't sounded so final. It was usually something like 'see you later' or a wave, but 'bye' seemed so… definite. Like, that was the last time he intended to see me.
I'd only looked at my photos once and his last words kept repeating in my head, preventing me from gushing over the photos like I wanted to. They were amazing, but I suddenly wished he'd kept saying no a bit longer so I had a reason to stalk him. Now, if I followed him around, it really would be stalking since he didn't seem to want me bugging him anymore.
I glanced over at my phone but he hadn't sent me any messages or tried to call. I might not have been such a ball of female depression if he hadn't hinted so much that he didn't want me pestering him if he agreed to be my model.
Suddenly, I sat up in bed. Who cared if he wanted me bugging him or not? Who cared if he sounded so final yesterday? That was what stalking was all about – following someone around who didn't want you to.
Tomorrow, I was going to harass that boy like there was no tomorrow until I saw his adorable cheeks turn red.
The boy just about jumped out of his skin when I yelled and wrapped my arms around his waist. He then awkwardly patted my back.
"Why do you sound so surprised? Bugging you has become my favourite pastime."
"I just—I kinda thought that since… you know, the whole photography art thing was over…"
"That, what, I wouldn't want to hunt you down anymore?"
Looking shifty, he nodded.
I punched him in the shoulder, making him wince. "Don't be silly. We be friends now, right?"
He frowned, the sparkle disappearing from his eyes.
"Friends," I confirmed, nodding. Friends were allowed to let their hands wander from time to time, right? I mean, you couldn't expect me to keep them to myself when Jacob was just… so… cute.
I started walking, grabbing his hand and swinging it around until he stopped.
"Are we really friends though, Kate?"
I frowned. "What do you mean? We got drunk together, I'd say that'd classify us as pretty good friends. Plus, I discovered your secret love of 'Romeo and Juliet'."
He blushed and I grinned. "I don't have a secret love for that," he mumbled. "I was drunk and it just seemed appropriate."
"Whatever you say, sweet cheeks!" I sang. "I won't tell any of your snobby friends about our Shakespeare-esque balcony encounter." I gave him a salacious wink, just to top it off.
He turned red and muttered, "They're not that snobby… and stop trying to change the subject!"
"I didn't do it on purpose! What were you saying, anyway?"
He sighed in frustration. "I was saying that we're not really friends!"
Suddenly, everything I was feeling yesterday at my pity party came rushing back.
I dropped his hand.
"Well, I thought we were so I'm sorry if I'm bugging you."
"That's not what I meant!"
He was as frustrated as I'd ever seen him. He was thrusting his hand through his hair, making it a wild mess, and shifting on his feet.
"Well what do you mean? If you want, we can classify our relationship as stalker and stalkee."
He paused and gave me a strange look. "What? No. I meant, I don't want to be your friend."
"But, you just said—I am so confused!" I ended up wailing. "If you don't want to be my friend than at least be my stalkee! You don't even have to like it!"
"You are the most confusing girl I know!" he cried, grabbing onto my shoulders. "I don't want to be your friend or your stalkee, I just want—"
Suddenly his lips were on mine.
My hands stopped flailing in the air and automatically wrapped themselves around his shoulders, bringing me closer as I wholeheartedly threw myself into the kiss. He oomph-ed in surprise when I jumped on him, but he obligingly held my legs around his waist as I deepened the kiss.
When we pulled away from air, I found myself tracing his delicious cheekbones with one finger. His head tilted into my hand.
"You are the craziest girl I know," he murmured, his eyes half-hooded.
"Jacob, my darling little model. I can't believe you managed to surprise me. I'm supposed to be the one throwing myself at you."
He glanced down pointedly at my legs, which were still encircling his waist.
"Point taken," I mumbled.
He grinned suddenly. "Is that a blush I see?"
"What? No! It's just the lighting!" I cried, burying my head in his shoulder to hide my heated face.
"I think I see why you enjoy making me blush so much," he murmured into my ear, and I punched him on the back in retribution.
And that was how I progressed from the status of 'stalker' to 'not-friends' with Jacob.
A/N: Hey friends!
So this is my little one-shot for the A Drop of Romeo Star-Crossed competition. If you want to see the picture prompt, go check out the site. I'm not too sure if I like it, but I'd like to hear what everyone else thinks!