Piercing Chill

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Chapter 8

I woke up disoriented and feeling cold. I shivered and tried to pull the covers over me but I didn’t feel my duvet anywhere. I kept on patting my surrounding until I hit something next to me. It groaned in response. Panic settled into me. I slowly ran my hand down the mould next to me scared to turn around. The mould felt like it had skin and finally fingers. They were ice cold. I slowly opened my eyes before turning my head to my left. A boy was sleeping next to me, his back to me. I scurried away from the body. That’s when I remembered. Last night I had brought Jason home with me because he was drunk. I glanced at the clock, it was six am. Mum was probably back from work.

Curious, I stood up from my side of the bed and walked to the other side to face Jason. His eyelids were closed, blue veins prominent in them against the dim light of dawn that sipped through the curtains. All the muscles in his face and body were totally at peace. His hair fell in front of his face. I resisted the urge to move the hair from his face. I crouched down to get a better view of his face. My hand didn’t listen to my body because it reached up and slowly moved the hair from his face. He was incredibly pale. I had never seen skin as pale as his, but he was still human, he mustn’t have gotten a lot of sun from where he was from. I inspected every inch of his body, taking in all his beauty, he was so different. He fascinated me. His body moved under my hand. I stiffened as he sighed before turning his back towards me.

I sighed before eyeing Jason again. I remembered how cold his hand was earlier. I rushed to my closet and grabbed a small wool blanket. I draped it over Jason, hoping that it would warm him up a bit.

A cold chill went through me. Time for a warm shower, I thought. I grabbed my towel and some clothes before heading to the bathroom. I took a quick shower, fully aware of Jason’s presence in the next room. I searched my pile of clothing for a pair of underwear but it was no where to be found. I swore before wrapping my bathrobe tightly around my body. I walked towards the bathroom door and peaked through the door. Jason was still fast asleep on my bed.

I slowly opened the door and tiptoed towards my closet. Which was dangerously close to where Jason lay on the bed. I breathed out before eyeing Jason, then back at the drawer. I slowly opened the drawer containing my underwear, making sure not to make any noise. I picked underwear with pink strawberries on it.

“Mhmm, strawberries. Me like.” I heard a voice behind me.

Shocked, I whirled around and faced Jason sitting on my bed with a smirk on his face. I scrambled in attempt to hide the underwear behind me. He stood up, still wearing the smirk on his face. I tried to back away from him, unsure of what to do, but I bumped into the open drawer behind me. Feeling trapped, I stood in place watching Jason warily. Regret flooded in my veins. Why had I thought bringing Jason here was a good idea? I should’ve just stayed with Craig, at least he wouldn’t have tried to corner me like this.

Jason was only an arms length away now, his gaze exceptionally hot. I could feel my palms begin to sweat behind me. I had to look away from him. I did but I saw his left arm trapping me followed by his right arm. A small smile tugged on Jason’s lips. He lifted his hand and traced my jaw until it rested on my chin. I could feel my breath increasing. My feet suddenly felt jelly below me. He held my chin and lifted my head towards his. I dared to gaze at his eyes. They watched me curiously as if trying to analyse my soul.

“I could get used to this. Waking up in the morning and finding a beautiful angel standing before me.” Jason teased, his breath hitting my face. A chill shimmered down my body.

My breath got caught in my throat at his words. It suddenly felt hot in the room. He gave me a dark and inviting smile and the thoughts I have tried so hard to forget wriggled into my mind. At this rightful moment I wanted to kiss Jason.

He chuckled, killing the mood. “Why am I here?” He asked moving away from me, leaving me feeling naked.

A wave of coldness overwhelmed me, bringing the cold chill that had temporarily been banished. For a moment I stood there trying to catch my breath. I clutched the drawer behind me to keep myself upright.

“You don’t remember?” I breathed.

He shook his head, a serious expression covering his face.

“Well, I received a call from your phone. You were at the bar located at corner of Ross and Murry Street. Apparently you refused to leave and were throwing a tantrum. I picked you up, well actually I drove your car here. I don’t know your address so I had no choice.”

“Wow, you’re one brave girl. I didn’t expect that from you.” He replied, “Won’t your parents be concerned to see me here and my car outside.”

“My mom will be sleeping right now. She works nightshifts, so when I brought you in she wasn’t here. As for your car. I parked it in the street, in front of our house. If my mother saw it, she would’ve just assumed it was someone else’s.”

I don’t know why but the words tumbled out before I could stop them.

“Right. Weren’t you scared I was going to do anything to you?” He inquired tracing his finger’s along my book shelf.

I shook my head. “You were drunk and seemed to be in dreamland.” I laughed.

“You know that when people are drunk, their true colours show right?” He warned, a dark shake flooding his eyes as he cornered me again. I tried to scramble away from him but I couldn’t. “What were you going to do after rescuing me? Did you ever stop and think of what I could do to you?”

“But you didn’t do anything.” I interjected.

“Yet.” He replied, causing a cold chill to fuse into my bones. A dark cloud covered his eyes.

“I’m not scared of you.” I stammered holding his gaze, my pretentious bravery coming back again.

“You’re lying.” Jason chuckled before leaning towards my ear. “Your palms, your face and your whole body are glistening in sweat. There is no better sign than that to prove how scared you’re right now.”

I swallowed at his words. I was scared but had to be strong. I felt Jason clasp his hand on my waist pulling me towards him. I gasped when I hit his chest.

“What do you think I’m going to do now?” He whispered before placing a kiss on my shoulder. I shivered. He continued north leaving a trail of kisses. My brain was flooded and I couldn’t think properly. I felt my legs buckling under me. Jason hung to my waist.

“Stop. You need to leave now.” I whimpered, I had wanted my voice to come out more strongly but I just sounded like a dying cat. Jason released me, a mischievous smile tugging on his lips.

“Fine, but we will have to continue later.” He winked before grabbing his belongings from the side table, “By the way, you look beautiful with your hair like that.”

I watched him in disbelief. There wasn’t going to be any continuation.

Did he also mean that my usual unruly hair made me look ugly? He disappeared behind my bedroom door before I could question him. Then realisation struck me. What if mum was awake? I raced towards the door. I opened it and ran straight into Jason’s back.

“Couldn’t wait that long, angel.” He smirked before turning to face me.

“Shut up.” I quickly whispered, glancing around us furiously. “Come with me.” I took his hand and tiptoed down the stairs dodging all of the creaky places.

We made it downstairs successfully. I continued to drag Jason towards the door. I opened it and motioned for him to leave. He glanced at our hands. I quickly removed my hand from his and cleared my throat.

Jason chuckled before asking, “What are you doing next Saturday?”

“I don’t know yet.” I replied quickly glancing around me, scared mum will suddenly pop up.

“Good. I’ll come and pick you up at five.” Jason smiled before exiting the door.

I didn’t even get to answer him. A sizzling blush made its way up my cheeks. I sighed again before making my way back up the stairs.

***

“What?!” Tina’s voice sounded from the other side, “Jason interrupted your date with Craig? That son of a…”

“I know.” I replied cutting her off before she swore.

“But, you don’t sound disappointed.” Tina observed.

“What? Of course I am.” I sighed, “Craig has been nothing but nice to me and I betrayed him.”

“I think you should stay clear of both guys for a while.”

“You think so?” I questioned.

“Yes. Next Saturday there is the Food Festival downtown. We should go together and have some girl time.”

“But Jason said he wanted to take me somewhere.” I informed Tina, kind of disappointed.

“Cancel it. We can’t manage having boys tearing our brains.”

“Ok T, sounds like a plan.” I finished.

The plan didn’t go as planned. Everywhere I was, Jason was there. On the other hand, Craig wasn’t visible anywhere at school. Was he still angry at what happened?

Thursday night I decided to stay at the school library to finish my homework. I didn’t want to spend the night pulling my hair and shouting at the computer due to our slow dial up connection. I had Japanese homework to finish and I needed the internet for google translate. I know, very lazy of me. I chose the desk in the corner of the library, far away from the entrance. I was just getting into my homework when I heard someone clear their throat. I looked up and it was Jason. He smiled genuinely.

“Is there anyone sitting here.” He asked gesturing to the empty chair in front of me. I glanced around me. I was surprised to witness that every single table in the library was occupied.

I shook my head. I wasn’t going to stop him from sitting down. He grinned before taking the seat in front of me.

“Since when do you come to the library?” I asked curious.

“I come here all the time.” He replied casually opening his exercise book. “I usually choose the other side but as you can see it is occupied today.”

“Right,” I turned my gaze towards my notes.

“What are you doing?” Jason spoke making me whirl my gaze at him.

“Japanese.” I spat the word, trying to focus.

“Amazing. Kon’nichiwa.” Jason replied bowing his head, hands clasped together. I stifled a laugh at his horrible accent. “I’m good, aren’t I?” Jason winked before turning to his books.

I smiled and took this as a cue to turn towards my own books. I wondered however, how was I going to concentrate with Jason only a few feet away from me? In close proximity to Jason, I experienced a perplexing polarity of emotions. I shook my head at the thought and tried my best to ignore his presence. However, I couldn’t. An hour passed and no word was exchanged between us but I couldn’t stop fidgeting. I only managed to translate ten words. I could feel Jason’s gaze on me from time to time and this only made it worse. I crossed and uncrossed my legs. I bobbed my right leg up and down until the table shook. I couldn’t handle this anymore. Maybe my sugar was low. After all, the last time I ate was at lunch time. I had to find something to eat.

I saw Jason frowning in the corner of my eyes. I ignored it and continued scribbling Japanese characters in my book.

"Hey Mary-Kate. Are you ok?” Jason spoke, reviving me from my trance.

“Yes, sh. You’re distracting me.” I scolded, my leg still bobbing up and down below the table.

“You’re shaking the table. Are you sure you’re ok?”

I glanced up at him. Eyes warm and worried. I stopped the bobbing before speaking, “I think I’m having low blood sugar. The last time I ate was at lunch time and it was only a muesli bar.”

“That’s not good at all. You have to eat.” Jason argued. “Then how about we go and get something to eat. My treat!" Jason suggested looking at me waiting for an answer. Dinner with Jason? again? I possibly couldn’t. I was going to leave him penniless by the end of the term.

“Well, if you’re scared that I am going to do something, I promise, I won’t.” Jason said searching for my eyes.

“No, I can’t.” I said jumping to my feet.

“If you’re worried about money its fine. I told you I can pay for it” Jason said standing up as well. I just looked at him without an answer. It had been almost three weeks since he attacked me and I still had no idea what he wanted from me. I still couldn’t trust him. I mean, he tried to attack me, how was I to trust someone like that.

“Look, I know you still do not trust me. But just this once? Just think of it as a thank you for saving my ass that night at the bar.” Jason pleaded.

I looked at his beautiful and entrancing blue eyes. I caught myself in a conflict of emotion. Tina very well told me to stay clear of both guys this week. I wasn’t succeeding. On the other hand, I couldn’t deny Jason his thank you.

“Fine.” I heard myself reply. I packed my books into my backpack. “But you’re going to pay because I don’t have any money.”

"Awesome! C'mon, I know the best place to have dinner." Jason said picking up his books from the table as well.

"Here, let me carry that for you." Jason said taking my backpack from me before I could answer. For a moment I was shocked but then a small smile formed on my lips.

I should give him a chance! Right?

Jason opened the library door for me. "Thank you." I returned the gesture smiling. He was trying to flatter my heart but that was not going to work!

"You're welcome." Jason said behind me. His warm breath hit the back of my neck, making me shiver.

"Are you cold?" Jason asked looking at me worried, but didn't wait for me to answer. He took my hand and said. "Don't worry we will be in the car soon and it will be much warmer.

I looked down at our hands and then back at Jason. He was smiling. He dragged me with him towards his car.

When we reached his car, he opened the passenger door for me, I got in and he closed it after I was safely tucked in. The car smelt like Jason. I took in a deep breath, breathing in the beautiful smell that I had grown to love. I know what you’re thinking. I should have been disliking everything about him, but I just couldn’t help it.

I heard Jason opening the door on the driver's side and taking the seat right after. He turned on the engine and turned the heat high. I could feel it burning my cheeks. They were already warm from all the crazy thoughts I always had anyways.

"Is that better?" Jason asked. I nodded in reply and we drove off.

"Here we are." Jason said parking in a parking lot of a restaurant. I heard Jason opening his door. I put my hand on the door to open it, but Jason beat me to it.

I walked out of the car and was greeted by the cold wind. We were in front of Cibo Incredibile. Shocked I glanced at Jason.

“Isn’t this your uncle’s restaurant?” I asked bewildered. Why would he bring me here when Craig could possibly be here?

“It is. I get free food that’s why I come here.” Jason informed, “And don’t worry about Craig. He won’t be here.”

I was about to protest when Jason wrapped his left arm around my shoulders and said, "Come on, before you freeze to death."

Somehow I didn’t feel the need to get out of his embrace. It was surprisingly warm and comfortable. My cheeks started heating up again. This time I didn’t try to stop them from doing their thing.

When we got inside, we were greeted by a petite young woman with her hair tied into a high ponytail, wearing a short black pencil skirt, a black blouse and a name tag that said 'Carla'. I gasped at the sight. She didn’t seem to recognize me.

"Hello Mr Brudney, how are you today?" Carla purred smiling at Jason.

"I'm good thank you." Jason replied smiling before looking at me as if to say, "say hello".

"Hi." I said to Carla. She turned towards me and I could see in her eyes she recognized me. “How are you? It’s good to see you again.”

“I’m fine. Same to you.” She replied, smiling, however it didn’t reach her eyes.

“Wait, you guys know each other?” Jason, surprised, choked.

I nodded my head, “Yes. We met at Craig’s get together.”

“Right.” Jason replied not very impressed.

I turned towards Carla with a big smile on my face. She glowered at me, her face moulded into an expression I couldn’t comprehend. She looked as if she was angry, jealous and furious. Was she only pretending to be happy to see me again? She replaced the expression with a fake smile. She turned her attention back to Jason before saying, "Follow me Mr Brudney."

Jason started following her, but I just stood there in disbelief. Why was she being all nice to Jason and not me? We were both customers after all.

"Are you coming, Kate?" Jason questioned, eyeing me questionably.

I nodded and jogged a little to catch up with him.

The more I took in my surroundings, the more I noticed that most of the people dining were wearing expensive looking suits and dresses. This was enough to support my suspicions about this restaurant being an expensive restaurant. When Jason said he was going to take me for dinner, I thought it was going to be at a fast food restaurant or something not as expensive looking as this.

I looked down at my black jeans and pink long sleeved t-shirt. Not very classy. Jason didn’t pass for classy either. He was wearing black jeans and a blue and white raglan shirt.

"Here is your table." Carla motioned to Jason.

I was hundred and twenty per cent sure that she was flirting with Jason.

I was about to pull my chair to sit, when I felt Jason's hand brush mine as he pulled out the chair for me. I smiled at him and took my seat. I looked at Carla with a smirk on my lips, but she looked away, annoyance written all over her fleck free face.

Yes, one point for Mary-Kate.

Wait - what?

Was I getting into a competition with this girl I didn’t even know, for a boy I didn’t really know either?

"So what drink would you like, while you decide on what you want to eat?" Carla bit her lower lip as she watched Jason scanning the menu in front of him.

"Can I please have lemonade?" I requested. When she didn’t reply, I turned my gaze towards her. She didn’t seem to notice or hear me.

"What would you like sir?" She asked Jason, totally ignoring me.

"You know, the usual" Jason said and she quickly wrote it down.

"Of course sir, your drink is coming right up." Carla turned around and walked away, swaying her hips from left to right.

I watched her as she disappeared behind a door with a signage saying “staff only”. I turned my head towards Jason and he was still looking where Carla has just vanished, a small smirk on his lips. I let out an angry sigh. Jason quickly turned his head towards me, still smiling.

"Did you tell her what you wanted?" Jason inquired when he noticed my face. I'm sure it had angry written all over it.

"What does it look like?" I asked sighing again. Jason looked at me confused. "That girl was flirting with you. Didn't you notice? She didn't even listen to me when I told her what I wanted."

A smile formed on Jason's lips. "Are we allowed to change who takes orders for us?" I asked not to anyone in particular.

Jason's smile grew bigger. "What's wrong with you?" I paused, waiting for an answer, but he kept on smiling while looking at me. "What's so funny?"

He chuckled.

"Here is your drink sir." Carla said placing a glass full of red liquid on the table.

"Where is my drink?" I asked looking at her in disbelief.

"Oh, sorry. What did you want again?" Carla said batting her eyelashes innocently.

"I wanted lemonade." I said at her annoyed.

"Ok, won't be a moment." She said turning her head towards Jason and winking at him, he smiled in return. I looked at him in disbelief.

"What?" Jason asked looking at me still smiling.

I groaned in annoyance and took the menu and browsed through. If I wasn’t hungry I would have bailed already. All of the food on the menu looked expensive. How was I going to pay for this?

Oh wait, Jason said it was his treat!

"Choose whatever you want." Jason said as if to reassure me of his promise.

I smiled at him and went back to looking at the menu. After a few minutes I was debating on whether I should get chicken parmesan or chicken marsala.

"Do you know what you would like to order?" Carla's annoying voice interrupted me, making me more confused of my decisions.

"I will have the usual." Jason said. How many times had he been here?

"Sure."

"What about you Kate?" Jason asked.

"I'm not sure yet. Can you give me a little bit more time?" I asked bitting my lip.

"Whatever," Carla replied uninterested.

"Excuse me; she still hasn't gotten her drink." Jason reminded Carla.

"Oh, I'm so sorry I forgot. I will get it for you straight away." She retorted in a high pitched voice that made me want to rip my ears off and throw them far away from her annoying voice.

I know I sounded like a drama queen but she was starting to get on my nerves. Jason as well. The least he could do was respect the fact that I was here with him and not Carla.

"Do you want me to help you?" Jason asked.

"Sure." I said. "I'm deciding on whether I should get chicken parmesan or chicken marsala."

"That's simple. Get the chicken parmesan." Jason suggested confidently.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Trust me. You will enjoy it." Jason hinted before winking.

I tried to ignore the fact that his wink had an effect on me. I look towards the “staff only” door, where Carla just emerged from.

"Oh, by the way you are going to have to tell your crush over there my order, since she listens to you only." I acknowledged, watching Carla as she walked towards us holding a glass containing what looked like lemonade.

"Here you go." Carla said placing the glass in front of me.

"Thank you." I sure hope she did not spit or do something much more disgusting to the drink. I hesitantly took a sip.

Thank goodness it tasted like lemonade.

"She will have chicken parmesan." Jason informed Carla.

"Of course." Carla replied. "Anything else?"

Jason shook his head. "Thank you Carla."

"Anytime." she said and then walked away.

"So, do you come here all the time?" I asked Jason, making him turn his head away from Carla to me.

"I come here most of the time. I’m too lazy to cook. Besides, my uncle promised me that I can have whatever I want for free.”

“Wow! That’s very kind of your uncle.” I retorted.

I watched him as he watched me. I then realised that I still didn’t know why he ambushed me that night.

“Jason,” I hesitated. He hummed in response taking a sip of his drink. “You still haven’t told me why you did what you did that night.”

Jason slowly lowered his glass onto the table. I could see he was trying to formulate his answer. “I have an impulsive behaviour that makes me do things without any thought. I didn’t mean to scare you that night. I was a little drunk and I had just had a fight with my uncle. I wanted to take the anger out on someone else. However, I saw you and you were stupid enough to walk alone at night. When I saw you close though, I couldn’t hurt you.”

“Right. But how did you make all the sound effects? How come you were very fast at your actions?”

Jason chuckled, “I’m not fast. You must have been scared that your unconscious mind made it up.” I glanced at him, not believing him. He was hiding something. “Well you could say I’m a bit fast. I used to be on the track team in Romania.”

“Mhmm ok.” I replied, taking a sip of my lemonade.

“I usually don’t do this but I’m really sorry Mary-Kate, for all the things I’ve said or done to scare you. I promise, I won’t do it again.” Jason pleaded leaning over the table.

Puzzled by his apology and sincerity in his brittle voice, I sat there dumb folded. He placed his hand on top of mine before pleading again. Shots of wild electricity blasted up my arm. I watched our hands for a few seconds before glancing towards his pleading face. I could see sincerity in his blue eyes and I had no choice but to forgive him. Therefore, I came to a conclusion.

“I don’t know. I guess, it will depend on how well you behave tonight.” I teased him before releasing my hand from his.

I saw a smirk forming on his lips in my peripheral vision as I sipped my lemonade. I then remembered what was happening before we got into the strange conversation.

"Are there any other waitresses here?" I asked after a moment of silence.

"Yes there are." Jason notified. "Why do you ask?"

"Because I don't like our waitress." I informed him folding my arms.

"What? There is nothing wrong with Carla." Jason chuckled. I wanted to wipe that smile right off his face.

"Yeah because you are busy flirting with her that you don't even notice how evil she is." I muttered to myself. “How do you even know her anyways?”

“She’s my friend. We go long way back.”

I lifted my eyebrow. “How far long are we talking about and what kind of relationship?”

“I used to hang out with her and Craig when they were dating. About a year ago.”

“Really? Was that in Canada?” I asked suddenly interested in the topic. Jason nodded at my question. “Are they still together?”

“The last time I spoke to Craig. They were still together.” Jason lazily spoke.

“How long ago was that?”

“Why are you suddenly so interested?” Jason smirked.

“Nothing. But if you want me to trust you, you have to answer my question.” I replied, mirroring his smirk.

“Fine. A month ago.”

“Do you think they are still together?”

“Its possible. I mean, she followed him all the way here. Must be a sign.”

I scoffed at his words. Why had Craig asked me on a date when he was still dating Carla? Why did he have to make me feel like the bad person here when he was the one cheating? That two-timing jerk.

“Do you like Carla?” I blurted. Jason nearly choked on his drink.

“Me?” He scoffed, “No and I never will.”

“Funny, it looks like she likes you.” I said as a matter of fact.

Jason involuntarily turned where Carla had just disappeared from before turning towards me with a small smile on his face. "Kate? Are you jealous?”

"Jealous? I'm not jealous." I scoffed taking another sip of my drink.

"Whatever you say." Jason mocked, a small smile tagging on his lips. “Just to clear the air, I don’t like Carla and don’t wish to associate with her in conditions that are out of the friendship bubble.”

“Right, What about Brittany?” I redirected.

“As I told you the other night, I don’t like Brittany. She threw herself at me and I couldn’t just chuck her out. I wasn’t raised like that. I promise you, nothing is going on between me and Brittany. Haven’t you noticed that I have stayed clear of her the whole week.”

I did notice but I thought maybe they were still meeting outside of school.

“Even outside of school, I haven’t been conversing with her.” Jason added as if he read my mind.

“Do you have a girlfriend?” I blurted before I could stop myself. Jason smirked at this making me look down in embarrassment of my question.

“No, Mary-Kate. I do not have a girlfriend, yet.” He added the last bit before sipping his drink.

I covered a smile that tried to pry my mouth open. I took a sip of my drink to rid of the smile. I felt my insides getting hot all of a sudden. Why was I happy? Did some part of me feel fond of Jason? I glanced at Jason. He was reading something on the menu. He was really good looking, smart and sweet. I shook my head. My teenage hormones were making me have these wild thoughts again.

I mentally face palm. It had only been three weeks and I was already hooked on a boy. Not to forget a boy who tried to attack me once. This must have been a new record.

"Here is your food." A girl, probably not that much older than us, said placing plates with our food on the table.

"Thank you." Jason and I chorused.

What happened to Carla?

Who cares?

Not me.

I looked down at the plate with spaghetti and golden brown chicken parmesan. I breathed in the delicious aroma and smiled to myself. I could feel my mouth watering already. I cut a small cube of the chicken and placed it in my mouth and then a fork full of spaghetti. I felt Jason looking at me. I looked up and sure enough, Jason was looking at me smiling.

"What?" I said half covering my full mouth.

"Nothing. I’m glad you took my advice on eating" He smirked turning his gaze down at his own food. I didn’t know what to say to this. I turned my attention towards what he ordered.

He ordered a rare steak with potatoes on the side. I didn’t even know that they sold steak in Italian restaurants. Anyway, I watched him as he cut a piece of the steak and placed it in his mouth. I wondered if it tasted good. I had never eaten a rare steak before.

"Ah, I'm so full." I rubbed my stomach.

"Are you kidding me? I believed in you.” Jason asked looking at me shocked. “I’m so sad now. You haven't even finished the meat or the spaghetti."

I looked at the plate. There was still a small chunk of chicken and spaghetti left.

"It's because I'm full." I said to Jason a little bit annoyed.

"You have to finish. I finished mine." Jason said pointing at his plate which was left with some juice from the meat. “Think of hungry kids in different parts of the world Mary-Kate.” He scared me with his serious tone.

"Ugh. Fine." I sighed taking my fork.

I took a fork full of spaghetti and when I was about to put it in my mouth

I heard Jason say "I'm just kidding."

I glanced at him, annoyed.

“Son of a –.” I cut myself off before throwing the folk back into the plate.

"Well, do you think you can fit dessert?" Jason asked. I shook my head. "Ok then, are you ready to go?" I nodded.

"Too full to talk aye?" Jason asked. I nodded in reply while smiling.

I followed Jason towards the exit. A cold and heart stopping awareness that someone was watching me sipped into my bones. I whirled to my right and sure enough Carla's eyes were throwing daggers at me. She looked like she was about to murder someone. I swear I saw her mouthing "I'm going to kill you."

I quickly looked away, scared for my life. I scooted closer to Jason and grabbed his arm. In an absurd way, having Jason in close proximity made me feel safe.

"Are you ok?" Jason asked glancing at my arm in his.

"Yeah, I'm fine." I lied, not releasing his arm.

"Ok, then let's go." He finished, not questioning my sudden action. It felt oddly comfortable and natural to link my arm around his.

By the time we got home, it was already eight. I thanked Jason when he opened the car door for me. I waited for him as he closed it behind me. We walked side by side on the pavement towards the porch. The porch sensor light illuminated when we got closer to the porch.

"Thank you for tonight." I said turning towards Jason, “Once again, I’ve been fed and don’t need to cook dinner.”

"Anytime.” He didn't move and I wasn’t sure of what to do.

Wait! In movies, this was when the boy and girl share their first kiss and then the girl shyly wave as the boy retreat back to his car. I shook my head. No, this wasn’t a movie and the dinner wasn’t a date. It was just a “thank you” thing.

"Kate?" Jason said, making me snap my attention to him. He was smiling. He handed me my backpack. "Good night."

I took the backpack from his hand and smiled back. He turned around heading towards his car. That’s when I remembered Tina’s words.

“Wait.” I yelled causing Jason to whirl around with a confused expression on his face. “About Saturday night.” I saw Jason’s eyes light up at this. “I can’t come.”

“Why not?” Jason asked, disappointment radiating in his voice.

“Tina thought we could have a girl’s night and stay clear of boys for a bit.”

“Well, I cannot interpose that. Girl’s nights are totally important.” He paused before a smirk formed on his lips. “Tell me, will there be pillow fights and skimpy PJs?”

A smirk formed on my lips as well. I winked teasingly, “Maybe.”

Wait. Did I just flirt with Jason? Shocked at my actions I quickly said, “Good night Jason."

I opened the door and closed it without looking back. I leaned my back to the door and sighed heavily. What was Jason doing to me?


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