“Do you wanna watch another one?” Layton asked me after the movie was over.
He was stretching his arms over his head. It was the first time he let go of me since we started watching the movie.
“Don’t you have to leave?”
“Do you want me to leave?” He asked defensively.
“No, I’m asking if you have to leave,” I answered, making my way to the kitchen.
I wasn’t really hungry, but I wanted to munch on something.
“It sounds like you want me to leave,” Layton mumbled.
He took a seat in front of me, in the booth we have in the kitchen area.
“Is he coming, is that it?” He looked serious and I wanted to laugh at him, but it would have probably annoyed him.
“Yes Layton, that’s the reason I asked you to watch a movie with me, just to bring Zev over later,” I sarcastically replied.
“Did you?” He asked, his temper quickly rising.
I was tempted to slap him. Getting things through his thick skull was impossible.
“I didn’t ask Zev to come over. Now you’re making me feel like I should have. Zev wouldn’t be acting like a jerk.”
“Of course he wouldn’t,” he said. “He would behave like your lap dog, doing everything you say. It’s his plan to get on my nerves.”
“Since it’s all about you…”
I didn’t understand why he thought everything Zev did was just to piss him off.
“Cassidy, that’s not what I mean.”
“What exactly do you mean, because I have been trying to figure it out?”
“Have you wondered why Zeverus is a dickhead with everyone but you?”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about him getting cozy with you every chance he gets.”
“You only say that because you’re jealous. Of what, I’m not sure.”
“I’m not jealous,” he said defensively.
“Why do you even get so possessive?”
That shut him up.
He was quiet, opening and closing his mouth. The face he was making, trying to come up with an answer, was priceless.
“I, well, I, I know how Zeverus is.”
I had to laugh at how much he stuttered when he spoke. At least all of his jealousy was humoring me.
“So? What do you care how he is? You said it yourself; he’s mean with everyone but me.”
“He’s only your friend because he’s trying to get to me!” Layton yelled.
“Why would it bother you that Zev and I are friends?” I asked, leaning toward his body and pinning him with my best intimidating stare.
“That doesn’t matter. You’re missing the point,” he said, crossing his arms, trying to act nonchalant.
“What’s the point?” I questioned, not stopping my ’intimidating’ look.
“You have to stay away from him.”
“Zeverus is just using you.”
“He’s trying to get to me.”
“Zeverus knows something and he’s using it against me.”
“What?” I asked.
Layton was getting frustrated with my line of questioning, and I was hoping he would crack and finally tell me what all the mystery was about.
“He has something that can hurt me if he plays his cards well.”
“What does that mean?”
“You two are still talking, Zeverus obviously played his cards well enough. You apparently think he’s some kind of saint.”
“I wouldn’t go as far as calling him a saint, but Zev’s not so bad. He’s awesome. You keep changing the subject you know. Why is it important whether we talk or not?”
“I’ll explain everything later,” he replied, looking torn.
I wanted to ask more, but the insecurity in his eyes stopped me.
“Okay,” I whispered.
I got up to serve us some grape juice and a slice of cheese cake.
“That’s it?” Layton asked, cocking an eyebrow.
“Yup, do you want some cheese cake?”
“After all those questions and you’re just going to say ‘okay’?” He got up and followed me around the kitchen.
“Will you explain later?”
“I will,” he quickly replied.
“I’m fine with that.”
I was quiet while cutting the slices of pie.
“You’re really just going to leave it like that?” He asked.
I handed him a plate, and he stared at it suspiciously.
“You don’t like cheese cake?” I asked.
He took the plate from my hand instead of answering.
“Layton, this morning I was happy it was Friday. Things were peaceful lately and I was hoping for a quiet fun Friday. Instead, I got whatever the hell today was.”
“That was mainly our fault,” he shyly said.
“No, it was mainly your fault. Some of it was Nick’s fault too,” I shrugged. “I really want to take a break from all the nonsense. So yes, you can explain everything later.”
“You’re right,” he nodded.
We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out. Layton behaved for the most part. I quickly noticed that I couldn’t mention Zev’s name around him. Layton threw a fit each time I brought Zev up.
“Who’s texting you?” Layton asked after my phone beeped.
We were sitting in the TV room, watching another movie.
“It’s my mom. She’s saying her and dad are almost home.”
It was ten till eight. I had been wondering when they would get home. Even though it was Friday, they hadn’t arrived yet.
“Maybe you should be on your way,” I told him.
“Why?” He asked.
His forehead was creasing, giving way to a frown.
“If you’re here when my parents get home, they will think things that… aren’t,” I replied, unsure of how to phrase what my parents would be assuming.
“Is that bad?” I wondered for a second if he wanted to meet my parents. I couldn’t exactly tell them about Layton.
Was he my friend? Was he more?
My parents weren’t thrilled with having anyone too close to me. I had restrictions, even with my friends from back home. We had a secret, I could afford to become vulnerable and be left exposed.
“I can get in trouble,” I said, not exactly lying.
“We weren’t doing anything bad. We just watched a movie.”
“It’s more complicated than that. You would make my life easier if you just leave.”
“What if I want to complicate your life?” He asked, leaning his face closer to mine.
We stared at each other for some moments. He was clouding my thoughts once again.
“You already complicate my life,” I replied.
He smiled at me and brushed his lips against my cheek.
“I’m serious Layton, you should go.”
My words made him pull away from me.
“Fine,” he sharply said, getting up from the couch.
“I had fun today, you know, being here with you and all,” he said, sounding very uncomfortable. One of his hands was in his jean pocket and the other on the nape of his neck.
He behaved different while we were hanging out, not so narcissistic. It was a strange sight, but one I could easily get used to.
“I had fun too,” I reiterated.
I was hoping my parents would not make an appearance yet. He walked a few steps out, before turning back to me.
His eyes softened and the corners of his lips tugged up in a smile. I stayed still when he leaned down and planted a small kiss on my cheek. The tingling sensation on my cheeks made me smile.
My dad’s car pulled in five minutes later. I heaved a sigh and thought about how close I had been to getting caught alone with Layton.
“Cass, where’s your car?” My dad asked after walking into my room.
He was looking at me worriedly, probably expecting something bad.
I had completely forgotten about my car. It was still in the school’s parking lot. I blamed the stupid boys and their macho man attitudes.
“I went to the mall with some friends from school. We drove in one car, so I left it parked in their garage. Don’t worry dad, it’s safe. I’ll just pick it up tomorrow.”
I almost high-fived myself for the brilliant lie I came up with on the spot.
“Why did you leave the car at someone else’s house?”
“Shouldn’t you be happy I made friends?” I asked, crossing my arms on my chest.
“You know that I am. I know you didn’t want to move from the city,” my dad said with guiltily coating his voice.
“It’s fine. I’ll get the car tomorrow.”
I felt bad for lying to him. I missed my friends from back home but I was settling in well. I hadn’t been excited about moving to a new place, but it was going a lot better than I expected.
“Alright, then I’ll let you sleep,” my dad said.
His expression wasn’t as cheery as it usually was. I had caused that, but I didn’t want him to know exactly what had happened.
If my dad found out that I missed school and everything that went down with Layton and Zev, he would make us move again.
The next morning arrived faster than I would have liked. I was jerked away from my sleep by a hard knock on my door that was too early for my liking.
It was Saturday and I had been hoping to catch up on some sleep.
“Hun, there’s a boy asking for you,” my mom said with a bright smile.
“Huh?” I asked, wiping the sleep away from my eyes.
“Cassidy, there’s a young boy in the living room asking for you. You didn’t tell me you met such a handsome boy at school,” my mom squealed like an excited little girl.
She walked towards me and sat at the edge of my bed.
“Who is he?” My mom prodded.
I rolled my eyes at her. It was never a good sign when she started her questioning. Although she didn’t want me too close to anyone, I felt like she would make an exception for boys.
I was sixteen years old, but dating was not in my line of sight. I blushed after that thought crossed my mind because I had been thinking about Layton.
“You’re blushing! You like him don’t you,” my mom teased.
“Mom, keep your voice down,” I whisper-yelled.
“Oh Cassidy, you don’t have to act like that with me. You know I want you to be very careful, especially when it comes to showing too much of yourself. But I don’t want you closing yourself up,” she said.
Her eyes were tearing up, and I felt a heart to heart starting if I didn’t do anything to stop it.
“Okay, I won’t. I’ll be careful. Now go downstairs and tell him I’ll be there in a few minutes,” I told her.
“Young love,” she sighed, getting up from the bed.
I rolled my eyes at her, but gave her small shoves to hurry up her exit.
“Hun, and please fix that hair. It’s like a bird’s nest up there,” she scolded me, pointing at my hair disapprovingly.
My mouth dropped open in shock, but her words gave me the push to close the door in her face.
Once the door was between us, I smoothed out my hair. I had just woken up; she couldn’t exactly expect my hair to be perfect.
I brushed my teeth, picked up my hair, and changed into jeans and a tank top in record time.
It was eleven thirty when I made it downstairs. I laughed after checking the time because I had assumed it would be about three or four hours earlier than it really was. I was still smiling like an idiot when I reached the living room.
Instead of finding Layton, Zev was standing there, with a brown bag in his hands.
“I brought you breakfast,” he said, holding up the bag.
“How did you know I was starving?”
“Good guess,” he replied, grinning at me.
My mom made a disappearing act and I couldn’t feel my dad anywhere in the house.
“I wanted to make sure you were alright,” Zev said, looking shy.
A blush was creeping onto his neck and cheeks.
“That is really sweet,” I cooed.
Zev slapped my hand away when I began to pinch his cheeks, but he still smiled at me.
“I’m being serious Cass. Layton’s very temperamental. I know he wouldn’t hurt you, but I had to see for myself.
“I’m okay,” I told him with a smile.
I took the bag from his hands and started walking towards the booth in the kitchen.
“How are the bruises?” He asked, taking a seat opposite of me.
“They’re fading away.”
“You look good.”
“Can I ask you a favor, well, two to be exact?” I asked him.
“Yeah, what’s up?”
Zev didn’t ask me what I wanted, he accepted without questions. I beamed at his trust.
“I didn’t tell my parents what happened or that I skipped school. I kind of need that to stay between us.”
“I won’t say a word,” he assured.
“The other thing is…”
“Is?” Zev asked, cocking an eyebrow and smiling at me teasingly.
“I left my car at school. Do you think you can give me a ride to pick it up?” I asked, giving him my best puppy eyes.
“I don’t think I can say no to you with those cute eyes you’re giving me right now,” he grinned.
“That is a very good thing,” I replied, with a grin of my own.