THREE

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Chapter 9

Josie's POV

The drive to my place was awkward with neither of us altering a word. My eyes remain focused on the road, driving us to my apartment with his car. It feels so good to drive again, if only I could get my own car. Dave, my old neighbor when I was still in foster home, taught me how to drive and Owen helped perfect my skills.

Driving, for me, was like an escape from all my worries and anxiety. It made me feel like I had the whole world at the tip of my fingers, like I could control anything at all. Anytime I felt really troubled, Owen would let me take his car for a spin.

Well, that was until his Dad took his keys because he kept sneaking out to parties every night and then. But still, there's no longer time to escape my problems through driving, when I have school, work and my grades to maintain. And now boy issues? What if we had kissed though? Would it have been more awkward than it is in here already? Sigh..

We finally arrive at my apartment, still not breaking the silence between us. I come down quickly and run over to the passenger's side to get the door for him.

"You do know I got shot in my arm right? I can still get the door with this guy here." He says to me for the first time in what seem like years, while waving his hand in my face.

"Oh, yeah. I see that now." I say with a straight face, slamming the door shut again.

Why was I even trying to help in the first place? Ugh!

"That was rude." I hear him say from behind me.
"Whatever."

I get my keys out from by back pocket to open the door, but a cute little sound stops me half way. The sound was really faint but any true lover of such, could definitely recognize it. I search through the nearby bushes, trying to find the little creature.

"Josie? Is everything okay? Did you lose your keys?" Jake yells from behind.

Oh, yeah. He's still there. I almost forgot for a second there. The thought of these cuties usually gets the best of me.

"No, just hold on a minute." I said yelling back at him.

"Aww, don't run little guy. I just wanna help you." Just one more step.

"Yes, I finally got you. No collar? You're probably lonely and hungry huh?" I whisper to it in my arms, walking back to my door.

"Josie, what the hell are you.... is that a cat?" He says, pointing at the little guy.

"It's a kitten, like the baby of a cat? Ever heard of them?"

"Oh shut up, I know. Why do you have a..." He pauses, before continuing his statement, "...you're not planning on taking it inside, are you?"

"Yes I am. It's probably homeless and this is MY house, incase it slipped your mind." I say with extra emphasis on the my.

"Probably? What if it has an owner?" He asks, touching his injured arm a bit. I'm sure he's really hurting. Sigh.

"I don't see a collar and they'll put up missing fliers or something. Let's just go in." I turn to unlock the door, ignoring any other thing he has to say.

"Come on Star, let's get you inside."
"Seriously! Star? You've given it a name already?"
"Why wait?" I say with a soft chuckle as we walk in.

I head straight to the kitchen to give Star some milk.

"Josie." Jake calls from the living room.
"What?" I reply uninterestedly.

"You're not gonna ask if I need anything?"

"If you do, well you can get it yourself. I'll manage to tell you where it is and you can do the rest since it's just your arm that got hurt not your hands, right?" I reply, before turning to the fridge to get the milk. Maybe I'll heat it up a little.

"Josie!" He called again.

I switch off the microwave, only to turn around to Jake standing right behind me. Way too close, if I may add. How did he even walk here so fast?

"What... have you seen a ghost?" He leans closer, whispering into my ear.

I place my hand on his chest out of reflex, to prevent him from moving any closer.

"Jake..." I manage to say.

"Yeah?" He whispers again into my ear, sending a shiver down my spine. My heart starts to race even faster.

Isn't he suppose to be in pain? Rather than giving me goosebumps all over, geez.

The sound of Star's meows bring me back to my senses. This needs to stop ugh.

"Get... away...are you...trying...trying to kill me or something?" I fake small coughs in between my words, to put up my act.

"Your..your cologne is... really choking me here. Geez." I say, pushing him away from me as hard I can.

"Ouch! What'd you do that for?" He says, holding his injured arm tightly.

Oh my. I forgot about his arm for a moment there. Did I hurt him even more? He shouldn't know I actually care that much though.

"Sorry, you're the one intruding on my breathing space."

"Well that was rude and painful. I just wanted to say thank you." He says staring at me with his gorgeous eyes.

"I'm sure that can be done without invading my personal space." I say, avoiding his eyes.

"And... where's the fun in that?" He asks with a smirk, moving closer again.
"Hey, move. I'm not your girlfriend or booty call please." I say, pushing him away.

"Never said anything about that, but if you're up for it though, why not Allen?"

"I rather sleep in a dumpster, slut." I say with a smirk on my face before turning away.

I grab Star and his bowl of milk before heading to the living room, leaving Jake standing there. I guess some people aren't used to rejection. Heh.

After few minutes, he comes back into the living room with a long face. He takes a sit on the couch opposite me without saying a word or even sparing me a glance.

"Wanna watch a movie?" I decide to ask. But unfortunately, I get snubbed.

"I guess I'll just watch some random Netflix movie with Star then."

I get up from the couch, turn on the TV from the switch and grab the remote.

Finally making a choice, I settle down on the couch to continue my series on Netflix, Pretty little liars, as Star gets on my lap to join me. Turns out he really loves to cuddle.

"You're not gonna hate me right?"

That voice definitely wasn't from the movie. I turn towards Jake who still has both eyes on the TV screen.

"You're not gonna hate me for being involved in some shit right?" He repeated his question, this time being more specific.

"Um, no. I don't really judge people without knowing their reason for doing something. I've been there, so, I get it..."

"Promise?" He asks looking straight into my eyes.

"I...I don't... I don't really like making promises." I said breaking eye contact with him.

"But, I'll be here for you. By your side anytime, like you were for me. Oh that's as long as your cologne doesn't choke me." I add the last part to lighten his mood.

He lets out a little laugh, "You'll have to get used to that."

Yeah, I definitely will. Am I really giving him this hoodie back though?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It's been a week and five days since the incident at the restaurant.

Everything's been going smoothly, no more gunshots, no texts from Damian which I still don't know if I should feel worried about or not. His words are threatening but his silence is frightening.

My friends have been trying to get answers from Jake but he always brushes them off saying there's no problem and there's nothing to worry about.

I mean come on dude! It's not everyday we see someone get shot in front of us. Well, he'll tell us whenever he wants to I guess.

Oh and Vivian, Emilia and I have been building our little girls circle. It's so nice to have female friends now. I had Melissa from Winners but she barely had time to hang out. So I'm grateful for them both.

But not really thankful about the little extra, Skylar. She's been trying to join our group because of Jake. Desperate bitch. Even though her and Jake have a history, he still finds her annoying most times.

Oh yeah that reminds me, I'm jobless now. Yep. Been living on my last salary and a few savings.

But yeah, things have been very peaceful I guess.

So that brings me here. Under a tree at a secluded part of the park with my new best friend Star, studying and taking pictures with my little portable camera I got sometime last year.

Yeah, I'm multitasking. Can't let this beautiful sights go without capturing them.

While explaining some organic chemistry to Star who's about ten meters away, I notice a drop of water fall on my text book, then another and then the third. Oh no, it's drizzling.

"Star, we need to leave now."
He runs over to me, climbing my left leg.

After packing up my things, I start to jog away but suddenly fall as something hits the back of my leg really hard. A ball?

I hear a loud laughter coming from the opposite direction and then a very familiar face towers over me. Josh?!

"A little ball knocked the plastic bitch down huh?" He says with his irritating voice.
I guess I now know why Owen beat the thing up.

I stand up, grab my things and walk away with Star, not ready to waste my words on a guy with a dense brain or probably even an empty skull.

Hm, looks like the drizzling is gonna stop soon anyway.

"I'm sure you're a good toy, that's why Jake still keeps you around." He says, earning a laugh from his silly friends, I presume.

I came to a halt on hearing that. What the hell did he just say? A part of me wanted to ignore, like the cool and calm person that I really am, but that drew the line.

I look around and find the exact ball he shot at me just a few meters away from my right foot. Hm, for the first time, Owen's lessons are actually gonna pay off.

I shoot the ball straight at his face without missing. A smirk finds its way to my face as he curses out loud.

"Not only one can play this game."

"Oh, you wanna play? Then let's play." He says, after regaining his balance.

He shoots the ball at me again, but this time I catch it and shoot it right back at him. I guess the aim was to knock your opponent down.

His so called friends just stand there watching the show while some took their phones to record.

We kept on hitting the ball against each other but no one got knocked down yet.

"Josie!"
I hear my name being called, distracting me and giving Josh an opportunity to knock me down, causing me to fall flat on my face.

"Ughh!" I groan out in frustration.
"Thanks bro." He says to the silly guy that called my name.

"What a cheat, you had your friend distract me because you just couldn't lose to a girl huh?"

"It's called being smart baby doll." He says, squatting down beside me.

"Get away from me right now."

"Aww, baby doll we both know deep down you want me." He says with a smirk.

Disgusting little thing.

"I just have one piece of advice for you doll." He adds, leaning down to whisper to my ear.

Can't people keep their distance? This disgusting perv...

"Stay away from Jake." He says, interrupting my thoughts.

"What does Jake have to do with this right now?" I ask him.

"It's your choice to listen babe. See you around." And with that he starts to walk away, leaving me on the ground to process what he just said.

But something gets my full attention.

A tiny scorpion tattoo on the back of his neck.

Why does he have a tattoo exactly like the one on Jake's hoodie?

Are they in some squad or what? Is that why he's so protective of the hoodie?

I definitely have to find out.

***
A/N
Choco: Sorry for the really late update guys. Vanille hasn't really been in the mood for writing but luckily I finally got her to.
Vanille: Yeah, yeah. Go on!
Choco: Well, we just hit 500reads💃. I'm so happy!
Thank you so much for giving this book a chance and also reading to this point. I hope we keep our vibes up and make it to the end, where the biggest secret is revealed🤫.
Vanille: Yeah, thank you to all our readers, even the silent ones. Let's go now Choco. Sorry she talks so much guys😂.
Choco: Wait, one more thing. Please kindly drop comments about the character, a scene, a statement or anything related to the book. Let's make the comment section interactive. It breaks my heart to wake up and not see any comments from my readers😭💔. Thanks again. Love you all. Stay safe❤️
Vanille: And with that said, bye guys!
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