"Good morning Audrey," Maria greets me.
"Morning," I mumble as I search around the kitchen.
I hear her make an annoyed noise even over the sound of the news, "Audrey,"
"Look at me when I talk to you."
I roll my eyes so she can't see, "I'm running late, I don't really have time to chat."
"Maybe you should wake up earlier and stop sleeping so late then." She sips on her coffee.
I find my keys under the couch, "Well I have homework to do and sleep to get. I have to get to school.
As I throw both my backpack and dance bag in the back of my car I can hear my phone going off. Ignoring it I start the car and head off to pick up Henry.
Maria isn't exactly the evil stepmother, but when we're fighting things gets pretty ugly. Actually the whole house is just kind of ugly. My dad hates it when we fight and everyone is just in a bad mood around each other. It's probably worse when dad and Maria are fighting too.
"Henry," I frown. I look over to my right and notice that he's fully reclined and in the fetal position.
"Whaat," He whines.
"Because we're at school." I unbuckle my seatbelt and look at him.
"So? Can't I just stay in your car all day?"
"Nope. If I have to go then you do to."
"No one said you have to go. You can sleep too."
"Seriously! We can have a nap day. Come on we both need it."
I actually really could use it. All the homework and dance time has been killing me.
Henry pokes my arm, "Come on Aud."
"This isn't just to benefit me. You deserve a relaxing day."
I pout, "Why didn't we just stay home then?"
"Because I was heavily sleep deprived and couldn't think of suggesting such a thing."
I take time to mull the idea over, "Fine."
I shake my head and take the key out before climbing into the backseat. Henry requests one of the blankets and I toss him my least favorite one before covering myself with the other.
Henry prodded me awake sometime around noon. A bunch of students were heading off campus for lunch so we decided to take that opportunity to go back to Henry's. He drove, of course he complained about adjusting my seat and mirror the whole way, and parked in the drive way.
I yawned as we went inside.
"Hey Henry, Audrey," Mrs. Royston greets us as she mixes something in the kitchen.
"Hi Mrs. Royston,"
"Why so early?" She asks not too concerned.
"Tired," Henry mumbles as he falls into one of the couches. I plop down into the other. It feels like I'm asleep as soon as I hit the fabric.
Mrs. Royston is kind of a stay at home mom. She's a writer so uses most of the time for that. Two of her books are published while her husband owns one of the best restaurants in town. Henry has a very free spirited family so they're used to his antics.
While my dad is an attorney and my stepmom works in a lab.
I make it seem like I hate being at my house and with my family, but I don't.
Sometimes it's just good to get away.
"Hm?" I look up to see Elijah waving a hand in front of my face.
"Did you get number eight?"
"Uh," I look down even though I know I did, "yeah. Do you need help?"
"Yes oh wise one."
I chuckle and refocus myself. I remind Elijah of the Trig identities we learned last year then walk him through the problem. Elijah and I have been in the same math class for three years now, which is how he and Trisha got together.
Elijah scratches his head, "So I just totally did everything wrong." He affirms.
"Yeah pretty much."
"Wow story of my life."
"More like the story of Henry's life."
Elijah laughs, "It actually is though. So you and Declan are together?"
I choke on Henry's stupidity, "What?"
Elijah eyes me and puckers his lips, "You and Declan aren't together." He corrects himself.
"We're not together," I confirm, "What did that idiot say?"
"He just said you two are all over each other and blah blah blah. I think he said that it's only a matter of time, or something."
"We're not all over each other." I say defensively.
"Well I mean I didn't think so but he says it's a low key thing."
I rub my face, "I thought we all knew not to listen to Henry, ever."
"Sophia was kind of freaking out about it too." He adds apologetically.
"Well Declan and I aren't together. And if we ever do get together I'll be sure to let you know…before Henry and Sophia."
Elijah chuckles and thankfully changes the subject.
I let out a laugh that consumes my whole being. Nora is sitting on the other side of the couch and telling me how she got lost on her way here. After almost half a bottle of beer I decided to switch to water. Nora had arrived to the party late and decided to sip on my remaining beer.
Sophia, Trisha, and Elijah were off somewhere while Henry was busy at work.
A bunch of other people were here, kids we barely knew to kids we've known since grade school. Most of the time we didn't go to ragers and if anyone did it would be Henry.
On a scale of one to Project X this would be like a really chill New Year's party.
Nora decided to venture around with me attached to her arm.
Of course I knew exactly why she wanted to explore. She's had her eye on Riley Hough, another member of the unrightfully gorgeous swim team, for quite some time, and she knew he'd be here.
Hell, I knew he'd be here. So it didn't take long for us to spot him. He was standing around with another girl on the swim team, Maeve, and this guy in my AP Lit.
It was hard to detect but I could tell Nora was ever-so-slightly wary.
We approached them and conversation flowed easily. We were all at least acquainted with each other plus the alcohol had everyone loosened up a bit.
The guy in my Lit class was saying something about our class that made me laugh. I couldn't quite remember his name so I avoided having to say it all together.
Riley also has the same teacher as us so he jumped in with his own anecdote. Out of the blue he called Declan over. Well I'm sure Declan has something to do with the anecdote but I clearly wasn't paying well enough attention.
I guess I didn't notice him sitting at the kitchen table with some wrestlers.
He looked over at us and we made eye contact. He got up and made his way over to us. Declan's cheeks were his usual rosy color. His glasses were perched on his noise and his jeans hung perfectly low on his hips.
"Hey Declan," the guy from my Lit class nodded.
But Declan kind of brushed him off. He was staring at my lips and was awfully close to me.
At the same time he reached for me my hands started gravitating towards his shirt. Declan ran the tip of his nose along my check before kissing me.
Kissing Declan Kirkendall was almost euphoric. We knew exactly how and where to kiss me. He seemed to know my body better than I did.
I broke away first but Declan seemed to plead for more.
"Well, nice to see you too." Riley joked.
Declan moved his face away from me but kept an arm around me. He grinned apologetically.
"What's up?" he asked Riley.
"Nah it's not important."
I arrived at the dance studio early with Sophia. We both were working on our frozen yogurts and sat down right in the middle of the empty wooden floors. The mirror clad walls made me feel at home.
"See the people auction wasn't so bad." Sophia says cheerfully.
"I didn't think it would be bad, I just think that anything with Henry involved usually ends up iffy.
Sophia shook her head, "I told him I should've been the one to ask you. Speaking of Henry his dad is probably finishing up that cooking lesson."
"I hope it went well." I reply wistfully.
"Yeah Mr. Royston isn't the best at teaching," she shrugs, "But what can you do."
"Well I'm just glad break is coming up so you can stop being an anal bitch." I give Sophia a pointed look. She's not offended in the slightest.
When I finish my frozen yogurt she takes my empty cup and throws it away for me. I stand up and dust off my skirt.
Of course I see Declan at the door but he knocks with a small smile anyway.
Jokingly Sophia introduces us, "Declan Kirkendall this is your dance instructor, Audrey Carlton. She's a fabulous dancer and you'll be in good hands."
"Yeah I know." Declan says softly.
Sophia looks like she's just seen a puppy take its first steps, "Aw, well, have fun. But not too much fun…at least not until your session is done which is in an hour and a half. Toodles."
I try my best to disregard Declan's…well personality and try to teach him how to dance. I mean he did pay for it.
But he keeps whispering in my ear and his touches just linger in a way that makes me want to take his clothes off. And that's probably his point but I refuse to let him win whatever game we're playing.
By the time we're waltzing two hours have passed. I'm pretty sure Declan already knew how to dance though.
Through my eyelashes I could see Declan looking down at me.
"Declan," I said casually.
"Hm?" He hummed contently.
Somewhere along the way he started to lead.
"You already know how to dance."
"So…" I didn't really know how to finish my question so I didn't.
"I really like you Audrey," Declan said softly, "Like an unreasonable amount if you ask me."
Declan smirked, "Is that all you have to say?"
"I like you too." I say matter-of-factly.
Softly Declan touched my cheek and gave me a gentle kiss.
Liam's hand glided down the arch of my back with ease. He's just the right height, too short like my first boyfriend and not well over six-feet like Declan.
Liam is pretty much the dance partner of my dreams.
The amount of experience he has is absolutely brilliant and he moves like an angel. I would try to set him up with Sophia but I'm pretty sure Liam is gay. It's a subtle thing but considering how much time I've been spending with him I'd be an idiot to not notice.
For the third time my phone goes off and Liam gives me a look.
"Just answer it," He pleads.
"Sorry." I give him a look and pick up my phone.
"What?" I groan completely tired.
I hear a car engine turn on, "Audrey,"
"Um yeah you seriously need to talk to your damn boyfriend." I can see the frown that's probably on his face.
"I'm not talking to Declan."
"I'm going to pick him up for our swim meet that's half an hour away, and I physically cannot stand him right now."
"Well neither can I." I put a hand on my hip.
"He's in such a bad mood," Henry whines, "I can't stand his bitching when you guys fight Audrey."
"That's not my fault."
"Can't you just tell him it is your fault?"
"Over my dead body."
Henry sighs, "Then talk to him and I don't know. Just do something."
"I'm busy Henry. I have a performance tomorrow, and I honestly don't have time for this."
"No what ifs. Good luck with your swim meet Henry. I'll see you later."
I toss my phone into my duffle and exhale loudly.
Liam and I share a look before going back to what we were doing. Except our dancing doesn't go on for long because Henry bursts into the studio.
"Audrey your boyfriend is out in the car."
I gape at my idiot best friend, "Declan's your best friend too."
"Yes but you two have sex with each other." Henry fails to reason with me.
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"I don't know!"
"I'm just going to bring Declan in here because you can't ignore each other forever."
I let out an exasperated sigh and look at Liam. He shrugs without much concern because he doesn't have a stupid boyfriend to deal with. Except I think he actually might want a stupid boyfriend to deal with. Maybe Liam could take Declan's shit.
"I'm sorry Liam."
"Things happen, I get it."
"You're so great you know that?"
Liam smiles at me. Seriously why does he have to be gay?
Declan begrudgingly walks in with his hands in his sweatpants. Of course Henry is behind him making sure he doesn't run away.
I stand there with my hands on my hips. Neither of us would make the first move.
"You should probably get going." I direct my comment mostly to Henry and ignore Declan.
"Declan," Henry kicks my boyfriend whose beautiful face looks pissed off to a whole new degree. I couldn't tell what he was thinking. But then again when could I ever.
"Don't fucking kick me." Declan snaps at Henry.
"Well you're being a bitch so fucking talk to your girlfriend."
Declan gives him a look that causes Henry to visibly shrink.
"Seriously you are being a bitch, Declan." I say bitterly.
"Me? I'm a bitch?" Declan shakes his head disbelievingly, "Because the last time I checked when we were fucking you said you were my bitch."
"Oh don't bring that up."
"I'm pretty sure that the last time we had sex was also the reason why we're in this fight. So yeah, I will bring it up." Declan takes another step towards me.
"Fine, then I'd like to bring up the point that you left me, so if anything I should be mad at you." I take a step.
"Seriously Dec?" Henry interjects but we both disregard him.
"I tried to apologize. I tried to explain but then you started dodging me. You wouldn't give me the fucking time of day and instead you've been spending a shit ton of time with this guy."
"Right, because I'm definitely cheating on you by dancing with Liam."
"I told you I'm not jealous of him or worried. I trust you, but I'm angry and frustrated."
"And I'm hurt and tired, Declan." I take a step back but Declan makes his way closer to me.
"I was going to explain." He pleads.
"Yeah but you try to explain by being a complete asshole, so I kind of got tired or waiting."
"You did flip a desk when Owen tried to interrupt you two." Henry added.
"Owen was hitting on her," Declan defended, "And look okay I'm sorry. I'm a guy. We do stupid shit and I fuck things up. I get jealous and possessive and desperate, okay?"
"I'm well aware of that by now." I mutter.
Declan gets closer to me but we're still a good two feet away. And even when we fight I still want to kiss him senseless.
"Audrey," Declan sighs, "I didn't mean to leave you. I didn't consider that you'd be hurt and I'm sorry."
I stay quiet.
Declan puts his hands on my arms, "Okay?"
"Okay," I nod, "I'm not sorry for avoiding you though."
"I know you aren't."
Henry raises his hand like he's in class and speaks despite our lack of acknowledgment, "Where is this going? What kind of apology was that Audrey?"
Declan cups my face with one hand though and looks at me, "I love you."
I don't reply, not yet, and I don't think he expected me to.
"I left that morning because I realized that I was in love with you. It fucking scared me Audrey. I had no idea what to do. So I left and I went home. I had a meltdown for a little bit before running like ten miles. When I calmed down I went to your house but you weren't there."
"Before we fell asleep that night I realized that I was in love with you too," I admit, "But when I woke up you were gone. It was like I was falling and instead of you catching me I hit the ground. I wanted to strangle you for making me feel like that."
Pure, unadulterated sadness washed over Declan's face, "I am so sorry."
Our foreheads were touching and the tips of our noses grazed.
"You can strangle me now if you'd like." He offered.
I shook my head trying to push back my amusement.
"But do you love me? I mean, after I left did you stop-"
"No. I wanted to."
In the blink of an eye Declan's lips were on mine. All the air in my lungs was knocked out of me and my toes curled. My back arched closer to him because my body just ached to be closer. Our kisses alternated between gentle and barely there to passionate and hungry.
And when it felt like we kissed away all the bad feelings we stopped.
"Don't run away again or I will kill you." I threaten.
Declan chuckles, "Alright."
"Okay seriously though don't ignore me this time guys." Henry interjects, "Dec and I should probably get going now. This was lovely and all but we have a swim meet to dominate."
"I'll text you when it's done?"
I nod, "Good luck Declan."
"Thank you," he gives me one last kiss, "And I love you."
"Are you going to say that a lot now?" I tease.
"Will it get annoying?"
"Then I will definitely be saying it a lot now."
A/n: Wow I switch tenses so much it's ridiculous I'm sorry. That's always been a problem for me I need to work on it. Okay I'll probably write one more chapter to tie this all up and whatnot.
Write me a review and I will shower you with my love.