Dimples and Sarcasm
It started with goodbye. It always starts with goodbye. Goodbye Jack. Goodbye love. Goodbye former Anna-Jo, all spun sugar and lace. I was done with romance and that whole ridiculous dating game. Then something amazing happened.
"Hello." He said.
I turned around slowly, my eyes already rolling in derision. Of course, it just had to be him. Because life hates me and all that jazz.
"Oh great; it's you," I griped, typical "bored now" look on my face. The one reserved just for this smug, egotistical asshole.
"Hello to you too, Anna-Jo," Liam said, trademark smirk stretched across his lightly tanned yet still completely irritating face. "Nice to know that you missed me."
"Yeah, like one misses syphilis," I murmured, turning away from him and fixing my eyes upon the concession stand menu. I knew that I really shouldn't eat any of this crap since Lord knows what actually goes into the making of these "confectionary treats," but I was sweaty, stranded at this crap-chute of a county fair and completely irritated.
A figure stepped into my periphery and I grit my teeth. Liam stood there, looking for all intents and purposes like he was just perusing the menu like myself, but I knew better. I could see the little glances he shot my way and that damned dimpled smile flickering on and off of his face. I refused to let him win, however. I just stood there, fists slowly clenching, watching the cotton candy spin round and round in the little plastic machine. I could feel my ire rising, unfortunately, no matter how much I tried to ignore it. I really did not need Liam's smart ass remarks today.
Finally I could take it no longer. He was infuriating without even needing to do anything. At least, he was to me.
"Seriously, Liam," I said, whipping around to face him, arms coming up to cross over my chest. "What do you want from me?!"
He turned toward me, smirk deepening as he leaned against the counter.
I groaned. Would I never get a straight answer out of this guy?
"Besides a dollar."
He looked me dead in the eyes before replying.
"Ugh, you are impossible!" I exclaimed, throwing my hands up in the air. "I swear, you live just to annoy me."
"Perhaps I do." Liam leaned forward, a hand catching a lock of my auburn hair. "Perhaps you've captivated me and I have no other reason for being on this Earth than just to see your beautiful face and do whatever I can to get you to acknowledge little old me, even if it means pissing you off, love."
"Don't call me that," I muttered, pulling away from him. God I hated it when he did that. He could pull these sweet and charming words out of the air and every fricken time he did I could feel my knees weakening just that little bit. I hated that feeling; I had sworn that I would never let myself feel that way again. I only ever ended up in the ever lovely Broken Heartsville.
And Liam Chambers was the last person I needed to break my heart. All charm and danger, sharp wit and smooth edges. He could cut a person with just a sentence, sometimes not even a full one. He was Georgie Porgie, kissing the girls and making them cry, all in one fell swoop. His lips were poison, his mouth a cavern of sharp stalactites waiting to descend upon an unsuspecting victim, impaling them. I knew his game; I had known a lot of guys like him, dated a lot of guys like him. I was so over the whole bad boy thing and if there was one thing Liam Chambers was, it was a bad boy. A really bad boy.
I turned my back on him, choosing to watch the sun set in a breathtaking medley of reds, pinks, and oranges. Maybe it was something the sugar-sweet Anna-Jo would have done, but anything was better than facing the intensity that had come into Liam's eyes when he had uttered his pretty little speech. The look in his eyes was something I did not even want to begin analyzing. Cause if I did, he might just win this war between us. The war for my heart. And I was nowhere near ready to surrender. Not to him. Not to anyone.
I could hear Liam talking quietly behind me, but I kept my eyes focused on the sky before me, taking in deep, calming breaths. Liam had to be just about the only person who took my unending supply of snark as a form of encouragement.
The next thing I knew, a fluffy pink wad of cotton candy was blocking my view of the sunset, a tan hand contrasting against the white stick the confection sat upon. I blinked before turning my head to look up at Liam.
"What are you doing?" I half-whispered, my voice not as strong as it should have been.
His blue eyes met mine and he sighed, no trace of a smirk or dimpled smile on his visage.
"You look like you need one of these," he said simply, taking my pale hand and wrapping it about the cardboard cone. My hand looked so tiny and delicate clasped in his and I stared for a moment, forgetting exactly whose hand held my own.
A warm breath hit my ear and I jumped slightly as a somewhat rough voice whispered, "You okay there, love? You look a bit dreamy. Or maybe you are finally falling for me? Personally, I prefer the latter."
I grit my teeth and pushed him away with my non-cotton candy toting hand. I can't believe I let my guard down for a single moment. Especially with this douchebag around.
"Oh come on, love," he laughed, spreading his arms out at his side. "You can't blame a guy for trying. Nor can you blame him for nearly succeeding either."
There it was; that damned smile with those thrice-damned dimples. He knew what he was doing, that was for sure. My face fell back into its favoured expression for when he was around.
"You weren't 'nearly succeeding,'" I scoffed, a small flip of my hair emphasizing my words. "You weren't even close, you big peacock."
"'Big peacock,' huh?" He smirked. Asshole. "I can always count on you for some rather creative insults. But back to the subject at hand, if I wasn't succeeding, which I'm pretty sure I was, tell me then, Anna-Jo: what were you thinking as you stared at our joined hands?"
Crap. Of course he would ask. And if I avoided the question, that amused little smirk would only grow larger. Admitting that maybe he had been getting to me was completely off the table. Good thing I had experience coming up with plausible lies.
"Not that it is any of your business," I said, poker face coming out for defense purposes. "But I happened to be wondering when exactly you would be leaving me the hell alone."
Apparently that was the wrong thing to say, because he chuckled before bringing his face closer to mine. My breath caught as I stared into his cobalt eyes. The colour seemed to get darker the closer you got to the pupil. It was beautiful.
"How can you tell that someone's a compulsive liar? I mean, assuming that their pants aren't actually lighting on fire?"
Dammit. I was going to kill him. I didn't care if I had to jump to do so, the tall bastard. First he distracts me with his hands, and then he lures me in with his pretty eyes. I needed to get out of here; he was having an effect on me, one I wasn't ready to admit to.
"Look, I've gotta go," I said, pulling back and beginning to turn around. A hand caught my wrist, rotating me back toward him. "Let me go, Liam. Seriously, I need to get home."
"Why?" he asked still smirking. The dimples seemed to deepen, a feat which should have been impossible. "Trying to escape the inevitable, love?"
I grit my teeth. Lord he delighted in trying my patience, didn't he?
"Liam, let me go or I will hit you so hard, your ears will starting ringing like the bells at Church on Sunday."
"Don't threaten me with a good time, sweetheart," he grinned, moving his hand from my wrist to lightly caress my forearm. "I might end up taking you up on the offer." He waggled his eyebrows.
I yanked my arm away, throwing another trademark glare at him. Seriously, didn't this guy ever quit? I mean, come on, take a hint!
"Are you crazy?" I hissed.
"I wouldn't say crazy. More like an eccentric who looks good in dark wash jeans."
"Oh my god!" My voice rose with my agitation. "You are the most frustrating, stubborn psychopath I have ever met!"
"That explains it then." He said, dimples never lessening in the slightest.
"Explains what?" I asked, suddenly confused. Honestly, Liam could mood swing faster than a bitchy cheerleader with PMS.
"Why you're head over heels in love with me."
I spluttered for a moment as the words hit me. You have got to be kidding me; he really was crazy!
"Liam, you're so full of it."
"I prefer the term 'confident.'" He winked and there it was. The look of a man who knew that he would forever and always get what he wanted. Well not today Buster Brown. You set your sights on the wrong girl.
"You would, you lunatic."
"Aww… I didn't know that you were so sweet, AnnaJo." He placed his hand dramatically over his chest. "Why I think you might just make little ol' me faint dead way right here and now, my dear Miss Hawkings."
Alright that was it. It was one thing to piss me off with his usual accent. It was another for him to try and piss me off using some exaggerated version of my own accent. That was worse attempt than Ace Ventura's during "Nature Calls."
"Liam, enough is enough. Take a hint. I'm sick of dancing around with you like this. What will take for you to just leave me alone?"
"Just three little words." He said, serious face forward. "I think you know the ones."
I paused for a moment as if thinking it over. Then I snapped my fingers as if figuring it out.
"I hate you?" I asked sweetly, my face falling into the old sugar spun and lace AnnaJo from a year ago.
His face dropped for a moment, disappointment in his eyes. Then he shrugged.
"Eh, I'll take it. After all, that practically means 'I am completely in love with you" in AnnaJo speak."
He took my hand and bent down to press a kiss to my knuckles. My traitorous heart decided that that particular moment was perfect for it to skip a beat.
"Until we meet again, dearest AnnaJo."
I rolled my eyes and waved half-heartedly as he walked away. He turned around one last time in my direction before tossing the remnants of his cotton candy away.
"By the way," he flipped his shades down over his eyes. "I love you too."
And with that he walked away, leaving me standing by the concession stand, barely touched cotton candy of my own in hand. I felt shaky all of the sudden and my stupid heart was pounding a million miles a minute. Damn him. Damn him to hell and beyond.
The bastard was right. I didn't hate him as much as I tried to. I felt something different for him, something deep. Something dangerous. Something that I began to fear was the beginnings of love. Crap.