A/N: This chapter is dedicated to my boyfriend who hates when I don't update quickly enough (he reads these chapters on the way to work). So, to him and the rest of my lovely readers: sorry for the wait for this chapter! It was a difficult chapter to write as it's sort of a filler and whenever I get home from uni I'm just shattered… Anyway, I digress. Here you go: Chapter 13!
As soon as Luke had left, Daniel turned around to face me. "What happened?" he demanded.
"Nothing," I mumbled, looking down and shrugging my shoulders.
"Seriously? Ayla, look, I need to know." He put his hands on my shoulders and crouched a little to force me to look him in the eyes.
"Daniel…nothing happened, just leave it." I knew heknew something had happened but I didn't have the energy to deal with it at that moment. "You trust me, right?" His eyebrows scrunched together and he nodded slowly. "Then believe me when I say nothing happened. I wouldn't let it."
Crap, I shouldn't have said that.
His eyes narrowed. "What do you mean, you 'wouldn't let it'? Did that idiot try something?" He didn't wait for an answer, he began marching towards the front door. "I'm gonna kick his ass!"
I ran after him and tugged on him arm, stopping him mid-rampage. "Daniel, don't. It's not worth it. He's not worth it. I'm with you." He turned back to look at me and I leaned in and pecked him on the lips. I felt him relax a little but his body was still tense, all of his muscles twitching, preparing for a fight. It was weird seeing him like this, he was always so cool and collected. He slowly relaxed into the kiss, his lips curling up against mine, smiling.
"Alright, alright. You're right, I'm sorry," he murmured against my lips. He pulled me into a hug and brushed my hair over my shoulder. "I guess I'd be a lot happier knowing you weren't around him so much."
I pulled away from him, leaning back and gave him a questioning look. "What do you mean? I live with Katie and he's her brother…I kind of have to be around him."
He sighed. "I know. I'd just prefer if you didn't...interact with him." I gave him an incredulous look.
He was telling me who I couldn't talk to?
"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked angrily.
He gave me a look. "Ayla, I know it sounds ridiculous but I've seen the way he looks at you…I don't trust him around you, I-"
"Daniel, stop right there," I cut him off. He winced slightly at my sharp tone. "You just said you trust me. Were you just saying that or did you mean it?"
"Of course I trust you!" he yelled exasperatedly, "I wouldn't have let you go on this stupid 'tour' with him in the first place if I didn't!"
"'Let me go'? What do you mean by 'let me go'? You can't decide what I can and can't do!" I shot back angrily.
"Ayla, you know this isn't easy for me. I don't like being the bad guy but you two clearly have some sort of history," he bit back. I laughed bitterly. What history? More like one very stupid mistake. "I don't know if anything happened between you two in the past but I don't want you around him."
"Daniel, you may be my boyfriend but that does not give you the right to control me or my life!" I blinked back tears. I hated how I'd start tearing up whenever I got angry.
"Ayla, I…that's not what I meant…I-I wasn't try to…," he stammered, shaking his head furiously. He stepped closer to me and put a hand on my shoulder. "I trust you. I just don't trust him." Was he trying to convince me or himself? "Can you blame me for worrying about you?"
I could understand where he was coming from but it didn't feel like he fully trusted me, despite him saying he did and it hurt. I had never once given him a reason not to. I shrugged his hand off my shoulder but I didn't miss the hurt look he gave me. "Look," I sighed, "We're both tired, it's been a long day. Let's just drop this." I turned away from him and started climbing the stairs to the front porch. "I'll see you tomorrow," I called over my shoulder.
"Ayla…I…I'm sorry." His voice was low and sad. I didn't turn around to face him as he left; I couldn't. I listened to the faint crunch of his feet on the gravelly drive and the car door slam. I could feel his eyes on me as he drove off but I didn't dare look.
I trudged up the staircase to my room and flopped onto my bed.
When did life get so difficult?
This had been our first fight and it was over something so stupid. Over someone so stupid.
This is all Luke's fault…that idiot.
You can't put all of this on him, Daniel was being equally as stupid.
You know…this is the first time we've agreed on something.
I snorted and rolled over onto my back. I could agree with the voice in my head, that's got to be some improvement, right?
I woke up the next morning feeling groggy. I had fallen asleep in the clothes I'd worn last night and it made me feel…grungy. I looked at the alarm-clock. 7:30 am. Shit! I didn't set an alarm. I had 30 minutes before I needed to leave for school.
I stumbled into the bathroom for a quick shower and got ready as quickly as possible. I ran down the stairs and straight into Luke. He put his hands out to steady me and then backed away quickly.
This is going to be awkward.
I met his gaze and saw he was looking at me strangely. Sadly. It was only then that I noticed the dark circles under his eyes. Looking closer I saw how bloodshot his eyes looked and how his hair stuck up everywhere, like he'd been tugging at it. He looked miserable.
"Ayla, I wanted to…I need to apologise for…I'm sorry about…" He stumbled over his words clumsily.
O-okay we do not need to relive what happened yesterday.
I cut him off, desperately trying to make this less uncomfortable than it already was. "Luke it's okay, let's forget about it. It was just a mistake, right? Let's move on and pretend it never happened," I rambled. I flashed him an awkward smile, well aware of how ridiculous I probably looked.
His frown deepened and he shook his head. "Ayla I'm not…I mean I am sorry for what happened yesterday but I wasn't talking about yesterday..."
My smile faded and a look of confusion swept over my face. "Huh?"
He took a deep breath and began to explain when Katie ran over to us and cut him off.
"Ayla, there you are! We're going to be late, come on!" she yelled, grabbing my hand, pulling me out of the house and into the car.
"Sorry," I mouthed at him over my shoulder, jerking my head in Katie's direction.
He nodded grimly. "Later?" He mouthed back. I nodded slowly, still very confused.
As we drove away I looked out the window and saw Luke watching us. He looked so sad and it made me feel terrible. Daniel's words popped into my head: "I've seen the way he looks at you…"
I shook my head. There was no way Luke saw me that way. Anyway, I'd learnt from my past mistakes.
"Ayla, are you alright? You seem a bit off this morning." Katie's voice jolted me out of my reverie.
I plastered a smile on my face. "Of course. I just overslept." Katie looked unconvinced.
"Did you speak to Luke this morning?"
Huh? "Uh...yeah, sort of...why?" I shrugged.
She opened her mouth to say something but closed it again deciding against whatever she planned to say. She's up to something. What did she do? I narrowed my eyes at her. "Never mind," she said flapping her hand casually.
She was acting strangely but I chose not to push her on it. I decided to change the subject. "How's Kyle by the way?" I smirked as Katie's cheeks reddened.
"Good," she squeaked.
"Speak of the devil," I murmured as we reached the school's main entrance. Kyle stood by the front doors, hands shoved deep into his pockets. His face lit up like the Christmas tree outside Rockefeller Centre the second he noticed Katie getting out of the car. I looked over at her and saw that she was glowing.
Good Lord, they're both whipped.
"I'll see you later?" I grinned. Katie smiled and nodded before rushing over to Kyle who put his arm around her and kissed her temple.
I grabbed my bag and got out of the car. As I waved bye to Dave, I could feel someone's eyes on me. Turning around, I saw Daniel gazing at me intensely across the courtyard. I wanted so badly to run over to him and pretend like nothing had happened but everything felt off. I kept my eyes on the ground, avoiding his gaze and walked over to the front doors. I felt someone grab my hand from behind. I turned and stood face to face with Daniel.
"Ayla, I'm sorry, I really am. Will you forgive me?" His eyes looked so sad and all of a sudden, Luke's face this morning popped into my head.
Jeeze, I seem to be upsetting everyone.
"Um, Ayla?" Daniel waved his hand in front of my face, looking slightly concerned.
I took a deep breath. "Daniel, I do forgive you but this relationship isn't going to work if you don't trust me." He opened his mouth to retort but I held a hand up, stopping him. "I know you say you do but your actions tell me otherwise."
He sighed. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean what I said last night. Give me a chance to explain?" I nodded and he smiled a little. "Great! Can I take you out for lunch?"
I smiled up at him. "Sounds great." He broke into a grin and pulled me into a tight hug, kissing the top of my head and holding me close. The school bell rang making us jump apart. He grabbed my hand and together we ran to class, our laughs echoing down the halls.
I can't believe I was such an ass to her.
You were an ass to all girls back then, douchebag. And for what? A social status that doesn't even matter anymore.
What bothered me even more was what she said to me this morning. It was just a mistake, right? Let's move on and pretend it never happened. It wasn't a mistake though. I really had wanted to kiss her.
I sat in the lecture theatre with my head in my hands. My head was pounding from the lack of sleep.
"Dude, are you hungover?" I looked up and saw Jake grinning down at me.
I laughed weakly. "Nah, I just didn't sleep very well."
He peered closer at me. "Holy shit man, you look like the dead walking!"
I made a face. "Thanks," I replied dryly.
"Seriously dude, what's up? I've barely seen you this past week and you come in looking like crap." He leaned closer. "You're not on drugs or some shit like that, are you?"
"Who's on drugs?" Charlie stuck his head between us, making us jump. Jake jerked his head in my direction. Charlie took one look at me and nodded grimly.
"I'M NOT ON DRUGS GUYS!" I yelled, probably a little too loudly.
"That's nice to hear Mr Crawford," our professor remarked sarcastically. "Now if you and your friends wouldn't mind, I'd like to start my class." I slid down into my seat as the rest of the students in the seminar snickered at my outburst.
"Ah I see. I know what this is about," Charlie nodded, smirking. Jake and I looked at each other and then at him.
"Go on then," Jake said, rolling his eyes.
"This is about a girl, isn't it?" Charlie announced loudly.
"That's it," the professor yelled. "You three," he said pointing to each one of us individually, "Out. Clearly this class is interrupting your conversation, so why don't you take it elsewhere!" He was fuming. "Out. Now." He walked over to the door and held it open, signalling for us to leave.
I smacked Charlie upside the head and grabbed my things. As soon as the three of us were out of the room, the door slammed shut behind us.
"Nice going, idiot. We're gonna have to make this up with some extra credit or some shit," I growled at Charlie.
He stood there grinning, oblivious to my tone. "I'm right though, aren't I?"
I rolled my eyes. "What are you talking about?"
"All of this," he swept a hand up and down, gesturing to my rumpled appearance, "it's all over a girl, isn't it? Is the Luke Crawford," he mock-gasped, "sprung?" He and Jake burst out laughing.
"You're both pricks," I muttered, turning on my heel, walking away while flipping them off.
Jake ran to catch up with me. "Hey man, chill. We were just messing with you." Seeing the serious expression on my face he stopped short. "Oh shit, you are whipped, aren't you?"
I punched his shoulder. "No, nothing like that. It is about a girl though." He motioned for me to carry on. "Let's just say I seriously fucked up back when I used to live in England."
"So? Why does it matter so much?" He raised an eyebrow.
I sighed. "Because this girl lives with me."
"Woah. Hold up. What?"
"Remember I told you Katie's friend moved in with us?" He nodded. "Her."
"Well...do you like her?"
"Maybe...I don't know. She's with someone. I just know that I messed up any chances I ever had of being with her."
"What exactly did you do?"
I told him the story from the beginning. How we'd known each other for so long and constantly bickered as kids. How I'd had a small crush on her when I'd been younger but never really accepted my feelings. How I'd messed everything up that fateful night and again yesterday. His eyes steadily grew to the size of plates.
"Shit," he breathed.
"Yeah. My sentiments exactly."
He let out a low whistle. "Never thought I'd see the day Luke Crawford would try so hard to get a girl."
I smiled sadly. "Yeah, well, this is one girl I'm never gonna get."
His eyebrows scrunched together. "Not with that attitude. First, you've gotta apologise properly and show her you mean it. Then, you've gotta show her you've changed."
"And how am I supposed to do that?" I asked, raising my eyebrows slightly.
Jake gave me a determined look and I laughed. Once that guy had his mind set on something, he'd sure as hell achieve it.
"Luckily for you, you're friends with me." I rolled my eyes as he clapped my back. "And I," he said, pointing at himself, "I have a plan."
A/N: What will happen on Ayla and Daniel's lunch date? How will Luke apologise? What does Jake's plan involve?
Find out in the next chapter of This Means War!