BY THE TIME the last school bell resounded, I was already waiting in the student parking lot for any of my three school partners to come strolling out of the main school doors.
For some reason, I was a bit excited and antsy at the same time. The thought of finally getting the assignment done used to seem like a fantasy but now, as I stood outside in the parking lot waiting-I couldn't be more eager to get it done and finished off and see what next life had install for me.
The first thing I noticed was Jake coming from the Art Studio which was located only a few feet away from the main school building with a canvas in hand and his bag slung over his other shoulder.
He walked towards me and pulled me in for a side hug whilst balancing the canvas in his other hand.
"Gosh I've missed you," he breathed as he pulled me even further into him.
I pushed away from him and looked him in his brown eyes, "you just saw me not more than two hours ago," I replied.
"Yeah, but it feels like a lifetime ago," he said grinning and pulled me in for another hug. "You should be happy and not whine about it."
"Are we going or are you too busy hugging the air out of the poor girl?" Kai asked from behind me. "I also want one then."
I pulled away from Jake and Kai pulled me in for a hug. "What's with all the hugs today?" I asked with a chuckle.
"Just feels right," Jake replied. "Where's Nick? He was supposed to meet us here ten minutes ago."
We all looked at each other before shrugging. Nick emerged from the main school door with Brianna and Jenna glued to both sides. He had a blank expression on and moved swiftly to where we stood.
"So this is what kept you busy, huh?" Kai asked with a crooked smirk.
Jake chuckled and Nick threw daggers at both of them but didn't say anything.
"Aren't you going to introduce us to your new friends?" Jake asked with a devious smile of his own.
"I'm Brianna and this is Jenna," the blonde-Brianna replied with a flirtatous smile. "Oh hey Alexis! Long time no see," she said throwing a smirk in my direction.
I remembered what Asher said and a shiver ran down my spine, "Hey Brianna, Jenna."
"Can we go now?" Nick spoke for the first time, irritation laced in each word he said.
"Sure," Kai replied and took out his keys from his pocket. "You've all got your own rides so let's bounce losers."
"I don't have a ride," I said timidly.
"You're with me little sis," Jake said grinning. "Can't have you with these two dumbbells over here."
"Hey!" Kai protested.
"Fine by me," Nick replied and literally peeled himself from Brianna and Jenna's clutches.
"We'll see you later," Jenna said and waved but not before her and Brianna planted a peck on his cheek and sashayed away.
We didn't go to Starbucks this time, rather we went to a small library about forty minutes away from the school.
I was sat next to Jake who kept sighing constantly for whatever reason while Nick wrote the remaining part of the assignment.
"Would you stop sighing so much," Kai said irritatedly.
"Oh I'm sorry, I didn't know my being distrust was annoying you," he snapped. "And I'm sure you'd be feeling the same way if you knew that Mr and Mrs. Miller just got back in town and they are hosting a dinner."
Kai's face went pale and Nick stopped writing to look at his friends. "You're lying, my dad would have called to tell me," Kai said.
"That's because my mum called me and told me, which means we need to leave early," Jake sighed once more as he roughly ran a hand down his face. "I hate those dinners."
"I'm not going," Kai protested, "I can't stand being around all those snobby rich people with their rich suits talking about boring arse stuff."
"Ha! Good luck with that one mate," Nick said patting him on the back. "Your dad will drag you there if need be."
"I know," he replied with a defected sigh. "When's it starting?"
"It starts at 7pm which means we should be there by 6:30pm. And that means we need to leave right now," Jake said as he looked at his phone.
"Your parents are back?" I asked Jake after quietly listening in.
He scoffed, "those are not my parents," he replied. "But as much as hanging out with you two would be amazing, Kai and I have to leave," he said as he grabbed his bag, stuffed his phone into his back pocket and swiped his car keys.
Kai followed suit but did not look happy about it. "Take care of her," he pointed a finger in Nick's direction.
"Yeah make sure to drop her off at home. I don't need anything happening to my little sister," Jake piped in.
"You're not even that older than me," I said fighting a smile.
"I'll take care of her," Nick replied rolling his eyes. "Don't you trust me again?"
"Nope!" Kai and Jake replied in unison.
Nick just rolled his eyes once more. "And here I thought we were the best of friends."
"We are, that's why we don't trust you," Kai replied. "Pray for us so we can come back alive and sane," he threw in as he and Jake made their way to the door.
Soon, it was only Nick and I who were left. I didn't know what to say, I couldn't talk about the assignment because we just completed it.
"So....." I began as I fidgeted with my fingers.
Nick quirked a perfect eyebrow at me as he leaned back in his seat. "You want to head home?" he asked when he noticed that I was not going to say anything further.
I nodded and we both stood up and walked out of the library side by side. His motorcycle was parked not far from the entrance of the library and soon we were standing by it.
He passed me his black helmet which had the same picture of a Phoenix on it and placed our bags into the compartment. His phone rang and he answered it with a frustrated sigh.
I couldn't hear what the other person was saying but the expression on Nick's face didn't look appeasing. He was quiet as he listened.
"Yes, fine I'll be on my way. No they're not here. Yes! okay. Bye"
He hung up and turned to face. "We have to stop at my place before I drop you off," he said, "I hope you don't mind?"
"No I don't mind."
"All right, hop on then."
The ride to Nick's place didn't take more than twenty minutes. He hopped off the motorcycle just as the front door swung open and a woman came strolling towards us.
She looked a lot like Leah but had the same green eyes as Nick and aurbun hair. When she saw him, she pulled him into a hug.
"Good you're here," she said. "I need you to watch Leah because I have to go for work soon."
I stood there awkwardly watching them. Her eyes trailed over her son's shoulder until they rested on me. "And who are you sweetie?" she asked.
"Mum this is Alexis, the girl I told you about," he introduced me to his mum.
A huge smile plastered on her face and she walked over to me and pulled me in for a hug. "It's so nice to finally meet you," she said pulling back but still kept her hands on my shoulders. "You're even more beautiful than what the guys said about you and believe me, they talk about you a lot."
I was stunned and didn't know what to say. "It's nice to meet you Mrs. Henderson," I replied, "I hope it's all been good things."
She laughed, "it's Williams actually," she corrected. "Hailee Williams. And of course it's all been good things," she said with an all too knowing smile.
"Sorry I just assumed," she waved me instead.
"Mum I have to drop her off first then I'll be back," Nick said and hopped back on the motorcycle. His mum hugged me once more before letting go.
"Be sure to visit again," she said to which I nodded. "And take good care of her Nick."
I hopped back behind Nick and wrapped my hands softly around his torso.
"Hold on tighter," he said and I complied.
We sped down the road as I continued to clutch onto him tighter. His cologne enveloped me and soon I found myself burying my head on his back as I sniffed in his smell.
I didn't realise that we had reached my house until Nick gently nudged me.
"You all right?" he asked.
I snapped out of whatever trance I was in and hurriedly peeled my hands from around his torso and hopped off.
"Yeah I'm... Umm fine," I replied as I took off the helmet and handed it to him. "Thanks for the ride."
"No need to thank me, I would have done it without those two telling me too," he said looking me directly in my eyes. "I'll see you at school yeah?"
"Yeah of course and thanks again."
I turned to leave but his voice stopped me.
"Would you like to hang out this Friday after school?" he asked.
I was perplexed and didn't know what to say or do as I stood there opening and closing my mouth.
"You don't have to say yes you know," he said as a smile graced his face.
"No! I mean yes," I replied quietly that I wasn't sure if he heard me.
"Good, I'll see you at school," he replied with a genuine smile then winked before he put on the helmet and drove off.