Risking It (Fake boyfriend Duet 2)

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|ā™  05: Curl me Crazy

"Honey, aren't you going to answer that?" Mom asks from the chair next to me as the hairdresser applies colour to her long brown hair.

We're at Curl Me Crazy, a beauty salon we've been frequenting for years. Well, Mom is a frequent customer. She usually just drags me along with her. But it didn't take a lot of convincing on her part this timeā€” not even a little bit. When she mentioned she was going out for a hair colour treatment, I instantly jumped up from the couch and bailed on the movie I was watching and told her I'd go with her.

I have two reasons. One: It's Saturday and I have nothing to do aside from a couple assignments. And Two: I feel like its time for something new.

And as I watch my hairdresser work with my hair through the mirror, I'm trying to pretend that my sudden need for change has nothing at all to do with the boy blowing up my phone for the last hour.

Rejecting the call for the umpteenth time, I turn my phone off and slide it back into my purse before telling Mom "Its nothing. Just an annoying classmate."

The thing is, I've been avoiding Rodney as much as I can ever since that incident in the bathroom with Paris. I still sit next to him during lunch and let him walk me to my classes to keep up pretenses, but I don't let him hold my hand anymore. I make it a point to keep a little distance between us so he won't be able to touch me. And? I don't allow myself to be alone with him.

I thought he wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Now, apparently, he's catching up. Yesterday, he asked if we could talk. And when I purposely evaded him until I got into my car and drove home, he started calling me. Not a single one of those calls have been answered.

I don't know what I'll tell him on Monday, but I'd like to worry about that later.

"There you go, pretty girl," Lillian, my hairdresser, announces and gently squeezes my shoulders. "You're all set."

Slowly, I lift my eyes up to the mirror and grin wide at what I'm seeing. For the first time ever, I'm sporting a short hairstyle. The ends of my new hair flirt around my shoulders, giving it a beautiful bounce. And since I've been feeling a little adventurous, I allowed Lilian to infuse barely. There are blonde streaks into my locks.

Staring at my reflection now, it tells me I made the right decision.

"Oh, honey, you look absolutely gorgeous!" Mom exclaims.

I give her a sheepish smile. "You think so?"

"I know so." She arches a perfectly shaped eyebrow at me. "Did Nikitta convince you to chop off your hair?"

I shake my head, loving the way my new locks bounce around. "It was all me."

Mom smiles approvingly. "Well, I'm glad you decided to be a little adventurous. Change is rather good, don't you think?" She says with a wink.

"It definitely is." I murmur, glancing back at my reflection with a small smile.

********

With earphones plugged in, I walk out of Curl Me Crazy and make my way home. Mom is still getting her hair done so she let me leave without any protests. Plus, our home isn't too far from the salon, just a few blocks away, I can use the exercise.

Gum body by Jorja Smith &Burnaboy fills my ears as I reach our driveway, but my steps slow to a stop when I catch sight of the boy sitting on the front steps. Oh, crap. Maybe its not too late to turn back? He still hasn't seen me anyway.

But as if hearing my thoughts, he lifts his head, his eyes connecting with mine.

Confusion flashes through his gaze before being replaced by awe...? But then its quickly gone, which makes me think I just imagined it.

Rodney rises from the steps and meets me halfway. "You got your hair done."

"Yeah," I chuckle awkwardly, smoothing my hair. "I thought it was due for a change."

"I loved your long hair," My stomach almost sinks at that, but then he quickly adds, "But this one looks better on you."

"That's what Mom said too," I say, his words making my cheeks burn and my heart flutter. Catching myself, I clear my throat to cover up my reaction. "So, um what are you doing here?" Please don't ask why I've been avoiding you. "Did you want to talk to Gun? I think he's with Nikitta right now. But maybe if you call himā€”"

"Actually I came to see you."

"Oh."

Yep. He wants to talk to me. He wants to know why I've been evading him and rejecting his calls. There's no escaping now.

"Why are you avoiding me?" Is it just me or is there a little hurt in his voice?

"Avoiding you?" I squeak out. "That's not true. You just walked me to my last period class yesterday, remember?"

"Yeah, but you've been acting off. When I tried to meet you when school ended, you disappeared. Snookie, what's going on? Are you mad at me? Did I do something wrong?"

Yes. You fell for the wrong girl.

I avert my eyes. "Nothing's wrong. You're just probably imagining things."

"I'm not dumb, Daph. Don't treat me like one."

"Sorry, I didn't mean it that way." Ughh. I walk over to the front steps and plop down. "Its just...things have been crazy. I wasn't going to tell you about this, but Paris confronted me in the girl's bathroom at school. Well, her and Gyna."

"I know. I heard about it." Rod rubs the back of his neck. "That's why I've been calling you, but you wouldn't answer."

"What can I say? I was traumatized." I said dryly.

"I'm sorry Snookie. Maybe Gun was right. I shouldn't have dragged you into my mess. Shit, I didn't even consider the possibility that Paris could go after you. Obviously I wasn't thinking."

I stare at my hands on my lap. "You didn't drag me into anything Rodney. I agreed to help you."

"Because I was being persistent. I wouldn't take no for an answer."

That has my eyes snapping back up. "That's not true. You would've backed off if I'd truly refused. I know you would." Which is why I find myself adding. "Maybe Paris going after me is good. It means the fake girlfriend thing is working. So, what's the next plan?"

His eyes widen in shock. "You still want to help me?"

"What? Did you expect me to chicken out because Paris is being a bitch to me? Come on, give me a little credit."

I made a promise, didn't I? Besides, pissing Paris Sydney off gives me a kind of satisfaction I didn't think I could get. She got the guy I always wanted. Getting into her nerves is somewhat of a payback for that. A small payback, but a payback nonetheless.

He shakes his head. "I don't want her to give you any more trouble."

"You can tell her to stop when the two of you are finally back into each other's arms," I joke, ignoring the sharpness in my chest. "I'm sure she'll listen to you then."

"Snookieā€”"

"Just promise you're going to make her sweat. That you won't take her back, right away. Its the least thing she can do after dumping you heartlessly."

He just stares at me, conflicting emotions crossing his features. I can tell he wants to end our charadeā€” he truly doesn't want me in the middle of his messā€” but his feelings for Paris are more powerful than his concern for me.

It hurts. But what can I really do?

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I rise from the steps. "I actually have a quiz to study for. So, um, see you on Monday?"

Still speechless, Rodney just nods.

I can still feel his eyes on me as I walk inside my house.

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