If it wasn't for the legendary scowl on her face, he wouldn't have recognized her. The hair she usually kept up in a ponytail was framing her face in a wave of sleek, brown hair. She had on light amounts of makeup that really accentuated her beautiful skin, large eyes, and M shaped mouth. He stared for a second, wondering how someone like her could look so different with just a couple of changes.
She caught him staring and her scowl deepened. He grinned, loving how angry he always seemed to make her. He decided to go see what she was doing at a party like this, looking like she did.
"If you say one word about how I look, Cooper, I will knee you in the balls," she said as soon as he was close enough to hear her. Because of the loud music, it was actually closer than she was obviously comfortable with. But he didn't mind being so close. Especially since she smelled so good.
"You look amazing," he said, ignoring her threat. He knew she wasn't a violent person, and who would knee someone for complimenting them?
Her glare deepened, however, and he almost took a step back. Apparently, she didn't like compliments. That didn't mean he was going to stop giving them to her, though. Especially since this was the perfect time to do it. He could pretend he was drunk if everything went the hell, even though he hadn't even picked up a beer. Yet.
"I said, don't say a word," she snarled, her face a little closer to him.
Cooper just grinned at her. "I am an honest man, Janie. What do you expect me to do about this?" He gave her a once over, trying to make it seem like he was just giving her a seductive glance, but he was really trying to gauge just how much Janie let her friends get away with. He found himself slightly relieved that she wasn't wearing anything too revealing. In fact, she looked slightly out of place with her jeans and blouse. Sure, they were a little more form fitting than what she usually wore, but they showed barely any skin.
He preferred it that way.
"What are you doing here?" she asked him rudely.
He gave her a look. "The real question is what are you doing here? I'm always at parties, but I don't ever recall you showing up. Especially looking like this."
She wrapped her arms around her body self-consciously. "What's wrong with the way I look?" she demanded.
"Nothing," he said quickly, trying to recover. "It's just different. You look really good." He lifted a finger to touch her cheek, but she pulled away and he let it drop. "Why are you so against wearing makeup? It adds to your beauty."
That glare was never going away, he realized. He decided that it was now up to him to get her to smile that night.
"It's uncomfortable," she said, not sounding very happy at all. "And it's just a mask."
"If you put on too much," he agreed. "But you have just the right amount on." He vaguely realized that he was sounding a little bit like a girl, examining her makeup like this, but he could see her glare soften and pressed on. "Instead of covering up your face, it's making the best things about it stand out even more."
She was quiet, staring at him for a minute. He could see the muscles in her face relax and he knew she was thinking about what he was saying. He let her. "Like what?" she finally asked.
He smiled a genuine smile and openly studied her face. He was glad for the excuse to memorize all the details of her face and he took full advantage of it. "You're eyes. They're more noticeable, especially the color. Brown suits you very well. Your skin looks cleaner, but I can still see each of your adorable freckles."
She was blushing and still glaring, but she was also leaning in a little closer. He knew he had her full attention now and a zing of pleasure went down his spine.
"And your lips," he said, staring at them. They glistened with some sort of lip gloss and he wondered if her lips were always so full. "Beautifully shaped, not too big and definitely not too thin. The lip gloss makes them look completely kissable."
She must have noticed how close they were standing and jerked back. He snapped out of the little daze he'd been in and remembered where they were: a party full of drunk teenagers. He was supposed to be acting drunk, as well, but he was sure that he wasn't doing a very good job of it. By the look on Janie's face, though, he wasn't sure he wanted to pretend anymore.
He opened his mouth to say something, but they were suddenly interrupted.
"Janie!" a girl screamed in his ear and grabbing his companion's arm. If her flinch was any indication, it was a tight grip. "I've been looking - Oh, hello Cooper."
"Hello," Cooper said disinterestedly, keeping his eyes on Janie, who was looking quite exasperated. "I see you finally convinced Janie to come to a party."
Janie's best friend Lacey laughed too loudly. She was drunk. "Oh, you have no idea how hard it was. And she's wasting the night away just standing around."
"I was talking to Cooper," she defended herself and he smiled a little.
Lacey looked between them. "I thought you hated him," she blurted out.
Janie looked a little embarrassed but steeled herself. "I do. That doesn't mean I can't talk to him."
Lacey looked suspicious, but she was too drunk to stick with the subject. "Come dance with me," she said, tugging on the arm she was still gripping tightly. "This is such a fun song to dance to."
Cooper stared at Janie, seeing how uncomfortable she was. He knew from the little bits he learned about her in school that she wasn't much of a dancer. But Lacey didn't look like she was going to let her go anytime soon.
"The song is almost over," he said to her, glancing at Janie to see if he was really saving her or just making things worse. But she looked relieved and he felt happy that he could help, even just a little bit. He may tease her a lot, but that didn't mean he didn't like her.
"It's alright,' Lacey said. "We can dance to the next song then."
"But Cooper and I were going to go do something," she blurted out. By the look on her face, Cooper could tell that she hadn't thought before spitting that out. Now she was regretting it. But he wasn't just going to let her hanging. And he was definitely going to take complete advantage of the situation.
So, when Lacey asked, "What?" he had an answer ready.
He grabbed Janie's other hand, loving the feel of it in his despite how sweaty it was and smiled apologetically at Lacey. "She's driving me home. I'm too drunk to drive myself."
"But I drove her," she said.
Cooper was glad that Lacey was dumb even on a good day and even dumber drunk. If she were sober, she would be able to plainly see that he was completely sober himself and definitely didn't need anyone's help getting home.
"That's why she's driving my car," he said smoothly, covering.
Lacey sighed. "Fine," she said. Then she turned to Cooper. "If you hurt her, I'm going to kill you. That's a promise."
Even drunk, Lacey was kind of scary when she threatened people. Cooper nodded and Lacey backed down, seemingly satisfied. She hugged Janie, said something that Cooper couldn't hear, and then with one more glare toward Cooper, disappeared in the crowd of their increasingly drunk classmates.
Janie looked at Cooper, but he just smiled and then used the hand he was holding to lead her out of the house. He pushed through the crowd, thinking about what he was going to do now that he had an excuse to spend time with her. And what he was going to do if she rejected him now that he'd already used the drunk excuse.
They finally got out of the house and the cool night air was a big relief to Cooper. It seemed to be as much as a relief to Janie if the look on her face was any indication. She pulled her hand out of his as soon as they were out of the house, though, and Cooper felt a pang. But he didn't let it show and instead smiled at Janie.
"Why did you do that?" she asked him. Now that they were out of the house, they didn't have to stand sound close to hear each other. "Why did you save me from her?"
Cooper shrugged and looked around. There were a couple of people milling around on the lawn, but nobody he immediately recognized. That would make this easier. "I know you don't like to dance and she didn't look like she was going to let go of your poor arm anytime soon."
Janie rubbed the part on her arm that Lacey had been holding and looked at it. "Yeah," she said. "Lacey can be pretty stubborn."
"Which is the reason you're here," Cooper guessed.
She looked at him again and Cooper got the feeling that there was more to Janie than he ever thought. And he wanted to know what it was. He wanted to know every inch of her. He just hoped that she would let him. So far, things were going pretty well, so hopefully she would be willing to open up just a little bit for him.
His heart beat at the possibility.
"Partly," she said and Cooper knew that he was getting through. Usually she would tell him to shut up and storm away. But this wasn't usually. Because usually, he would tease her and say something just to see her get angry. She was quite funny when she was angry.
Instead, he sat down on the empty bench on the porch they were standing on and patted the spot next to him. Janie hesitated, but she relented and sat down next to him. He fought hard to keep the smile from his face that he knew would just scare her away.
"Why do you come to these things all the time?" she asked, watching two girls on the front lawn splash each other with whatever was in their cups. Probably beer.
He looked at Janie and wondered how he hadn't ever seen how beautiful she was before. "I don't know," he answered honestly.
She looked at him and then blushed. He smiled a little, loving the red that spread across her cheeks. The same thing happened when she was angry.
"I suppose that I though it was fun," he said to answer her question more directly. "But now it's not really fun and I suppose I come out of habit."
She looked at him as if she were trying to figure him out. He continued to stare at her, trying to memorize as many details as he could while he still had the chance. His eyes flickered back to her lips when she slightly moved her head and the porch light glistened off of the gloss covering them. He had a strong urge to kiss her, but he knew that she wouldn't appreciate that very much. He may not know a lot about the girl sitting next to him, but he did know that she wasn't going to be as easy to win over as all of his previous girlfriends had been. He was going to have to be patient.
The door next to them opened and a boy stumbled out, nearly falling on Janie. He slurred out what sounded like an apology, but Cooper couldn't tell for sure. "I think I should go home," Janie said, standing up.
Cooper stood up and helped her away from the hysterical idiot now stumbling down the stairs toward the beer soaked girls. He nodded and pulled his keys out of his pocket. "Let me drive you," he said.
"No," she declined. "I can walk."
"I insist," Cooper said. "We told Lacey you were driving me home, so we might as well make it a partial truth. Besides, I can't imagine you live close enough for your dad to feel comfortable letting you walk home in the dark looking as beautiful as you do."
Once again she blushed a bright red and Cooper mentally patted himself on the back again. He was beginning to enjoy making her blush more than making her angry.
"Fine," she relented, starting down the stairs. "But I don't want to hear about it on Monday."
Cooper grinned and followed her down the stairs. "I can't promise that." She shot a glare over her shoulder, but this one was different. It was playful and Cooper loved it.
Perhaps he wouldn't have to be as patient as he'd originally thought.
I think it took me longer to come up with the title than it did to write this thing. And I'm still not satisfied.
I wrote this a year ago, and I could have sworn that I uploaded this before, but I looked and it's no where on this site. So I must have uploaded it to my dA or something. I have no idea how many writing accounts I have on different sites.
I decided to share this because it's been over a year since I updated and I'm not going to be finishing anything new any time soon. Also, I kind of like this story. It's short, sweet, and uncomplicated. It might also be the only thing I've managed to finish writing in who knows how long.
So review if you feel so inclined. I would love to hear what you have to say about pretty much the only thing I've ever written in a boy's 3rd person POV.