Pause (Book 1)

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Chapter 36: 100% Screwed

“You’re so stupid Aqueela.” Bell remarks from her seat as her usual french hairdresser, Ramos, trims her brunette locks.

“I know.” I sigh.

I told Bells the entire story of where I asked Jay for space. I also told her how I didn’t give him time to finish what he wanted to say. It sucks because I’ve spent the past week trying to figure it out, even tried to apologize to Jay, but he’s not having it. What he wanted to say haunts me. I’m dying to know. What was he going to say?!

“He even told you that space is not what he wants and you still shun him?” Bells scolds me.

“Zie Aqueela is stupido. For once she had zie boy and she chase zim away in snap of zie finger.” Ramos comments as he twirls a lock of Bell’s hair beneath his fingertips in awe of her.

I roll my eyes at Ramos. He adores Bells because she has ‘glorious hair’, his words. But he hates me because I have split ends etcetera. He also finds me childish just because I request to sit on a kiddies chair when he styles my hair. He goes out of his way to insult me. But I’m use to it. He’s only been Bell’s personal hairdresser since forever.

“Shut up Ramos!” I snap at him.

Ramos ignores me and goes back to speaking to Bells, “I don’t know how zie flawless Miss Bensten friend with zie hideous creature.” Ramos points to me with his scissors, almost stabbing me in the process. He’d love that. “Miss Bell such zie lady and Aqueela uh such zie…not.”

“I think you should talk to him Aqueela.” Bells suggests, “You messed up and now fix up. That’s how we do.”

It feels good to spend time with my best friend again. I’ve missed our bonding sessions where I’m always lectured.

I raise an eyebrow at Bells, taken aback, “Since when do you stick up for Jay? You’re the one always telling me that I deserve better.”

Ramos scoffs at this, “Nah uh. Zie Jay boy deserve better than likes of zie ‘split end creature’.” He points the hair straightener at me this time. The hot iron just grazes my skin. I yelp and jump back, glaring at Ramos. He so did that on purpose. “Ooopzie.” He remarks with a cunning smile.

“I was wrong.” Bells admits to me, “Jay is good for you. Perfect even. I see that now.”

Ramos lets out a wistful sigh as he looks up to the heavens, “Zat poor boy. He stuck with ‘split ends’ for the rest of zie life. My prayers be with zim.”

Apparently my new nickname is ‘Split Ends.’

I’m going to strangle Ramos with the wire of his stupid hair straightener.

“I hate this place.” I mutter out loud, peeved.

“You and me both sister.” Max retorts from behind us, still lazing about on the couch with his head back, his arms crossed. He’s been in that same position for two hours now. Poor guy. Bells, as his girlfriend, forced him to tag along just like how she use to force Mason to attend girly things with us. Max has taken his place in that department.

I narrow my eyes at him, “This is all your fault. You’re the one who told me to give Jay space and now he’s mad at me and refusing to talk to me. I’m going to kill you for this!”

“Please do.” Max begs with a pleading pout.

I’ll take it easy on him seeing as he finally started tutoring me in maths.

“It would be so easy to. I’d make it look like an accident.” I threaten Max. “It would be like stealing babies from candy stores.”

Max frowns, perplexed, “You do realize that you just stuffed up that entire saying? It’s stealing candy from babies.” Max corrects like the smarticle particle he is.

I shrug, “Apples and oranges. The way I say it would be the oranges FYI. Your boring unoriginal saying would be team apples. Still, we’re one in the same. Oranges and apples, a package deal.”

“Yeah, only if apples are way better than oranges which they totally are.” Max retorts back rudely. That comment earns him a scowl.

Ramos watches the exchanged bickering between Max and I as he cocks his head to the side in wonder, both eyebrows raised, “Miss Bell what are zay speaking of? I do not quite understand zem nor follow zem.”

Bells shakes her head, clueless as always, “Hell if I’d know. My boyfriend and my best friend speak in a language that only they can understand. Those two really are one in the same.”

“No we’re not!” Max and I snap at Bells simultaneously.

Bells giggles, “Seems a little forced guys.” She replies sarcastically seeing as it had come naturally to both Max and I, proving her theory that we’re the same. I’m the female version of Max and vice verse.

I turn back to Max just as he turns to me, “Shut up!” We both say at the same time to each other.

I try to keep a straight face, but when Max starts to laugh, I too break out into fits of laughter. Max high fives me. “Max, have I ever told you how awesome you are?” He shakes his head, still laughing and unable to form words. “Well I’m seriously considering it.”

That shuts him up quickly as he glares at me now.

“Zie idiots.” Ramos whispers loudly in Bells ear as he motions to Max and I. Ramos is on Max’s case too. He believes Bells can do a lot better than Max. The only people Ramos approves of is Bells and her brother Troy. Him and Troy are more girly together than Bells and him. It’s ridiculous. But I guess that’s Troy for you.

I would’ve insulted the Loon back had my phone not started to ring in that instant.

I answer having seen the caller I.D, “Yellow Uncle.”

“Hello my favourite niece. Just saying goodbye. Tomorrow I head back out for work again.” He informs me.

I sigh, “Awe man. That sucks. I will miss you. Until we meet again.”

Fortunately, I had made some time to spend with my Uncle recently.

He laughs from the other side of the line, “Until we meet again Kiddo. Take care of your bonker grandparent’s in the meantime. Don’t hate me but I told them you’d visit them sometime later today. They’re expecting you.”

“I hate you.” I joke, a little miffed that I have to see those crazy people.

“Love you too, later Kiddo.” Uncle Jeffrey replies before hanging up.

I put my phone back into the pocket of my jeggings. I turn back to my friends, “So which of you are attending the visit to my grandparent’s with me?”

Max points to Bells just as Bells points to Max. Ramos points at Max too.

“I still have nightmares about that place.” Bells shivers at the thought when she and Mason had visited a few months ago.

“Don’t be so dramatic. They’re not that bad.” I lie blatantly through my teeth. They are that bad. My grandmother felt up Troy for goodness sake.

“I’ve heard the stories. Count me out.” Max holds his ground on this one.

“Me too.” Ramos speaks up.

“You were never an option Ramos. You’re out of the running.” I tell him, bursting his ego in the process as he gasps and places a hand over his heart, genuinely offended. We’re not even remotely friends.

I grab Max by the arm and Bells by her wrist, dragging them both after me, “You two make it into the next round. Congratulations. Whoop whoop!”

“Shoot me now.” Bells says just under her breath.

“Nah you shoot me first.” Max argues, the two of them debating the entire two hour drive before we reach my grandparent’s house.

I even have to drag them right up to the front door. I force Max to ring the buzzer. No answer. I force Max to keep ringing it. It’s a few minutes later before my Grandmother opens the door. The first thing she does is whack Max upside the head. “Don’t ring the bell for so long you bloody twat!”

Max rubs the back of his head with a rejected look, “Sorry Mam.”

She ushers us all in before she takes one look at Bells, “I remember you. You’re that skanky tramp that came with last time. If I recall correctly, you flirted with my husband.”

Bells mouth falls agape at this, her turquoise eyes parting in fear as she begins to shake her head, “What?!” She blurts, “I never-“

“Save it for the Queen, skank.” My grandmother cuts her off.

“We’re in America. There is no Queen.” Max comments.

I slap my hand over his mouth before my Grams hears, “Shush!” I hiss at him, “Grams thinks she’s been living in England for the past three years.”

Max nods, pretending to seal his lips closed and for his sake he most definitely should.

The theme song of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles starts playing from somewhere in the lounge. Then we hear my Gramps start singing to the tune, “Leonardo! He’s the leader in blue, does anything it takes to get his ninjas through. Donatello…”

We follow his voice only to see that Gramps is watching reruns of his favourite show again, TMNT. He’s so into the theme song that he doesn’t even notice us. I have to stifle my giggles when he begins to bob his head back and forth like a young teenager.

“Howard!” Grams swats him on the arm, “I told you that I’m watching Dragon Ball Zee now!” She hisses at him.

Why can’t they be normal and watch soapies instead?

Gramps shakes his head, “No Lillian. I’m watching. I never get a turn in front of the TV. You always hog it like the hog you are.”

They’re like little children.

“I will Kamehame-Ha you!” Gran Gran threatens him with an attack from Dragon Ball Zee.

You’d be surprised how many times they argue about this.

“You can try Honey. I will Cowabunga Booyahkasha your ass!”

“That’s not even attack! You’re just shouting words Howard!”

“Leo can take your little cartoon characters.” Gramps states as if convinced of the fact, “He’s an animation!” Gramps boasts proudly.

As they continue to shout at each other, I slowly back away, heading for the exit. Bells and Max follow me outside. “This was a mistake.” I confess, “Let’s get out of here before they remember that we were here to begin with.”

“For once, I agree with you.” Bells says as we hop in Bell’s car and leave in a speedy rush.

Seeing as it’s Sunday, we head back to Bell’s house for a visit. I’m trying to avoid Jay as much as possible. Fortunately, he’s working at the bar today. He’s been real infuriated with me lately and I can’t really blame him. I should have heard him out. But when I did apologize and beg him to tell me what he was going to say, he refused and backed out. I hate how stubborn we both are. I piss myself off.

“Pillow fight!” Max exclaims just as we enter Bell’s bedroom.

The pillow hits me square in the face. “This means war!” I shout at Max, picking up the pillow, readying myself to throw it back at him twice as hard.

Bells steps in between us, “We have school tomorrow. We don’t have time for pillow fights.”

Joy Kill…

“Bite your tongue!” Max raises his tone rather dramatically as he gasps aloud at Bell’s words. “We have feelings Bells.”

I roll my eyes at him, “Tut tut…” I wave my finger at him, “Leave me out of it. You’re speaking for yourself here. I’m made of stone.” I remind him.

“That’s always your go2 saying. It should be your catch phrase.” Bells teases me with a smile.

Max continues on with his rants, “Well unlike Aqueela, I’m not a piece of meat with no feelings. If you poke me, do I not giggle?” Max asks in a girly squeak.

I pull a face at him in response, “I really don’t want to know the answer to that.”

“Oh my soul, you’re such a girl. I’m dating a girl.” Bells kids around with him much to his displeasure at being more in touch with his feminine side than Mason ever was.

I chuckle at this, “Says Miss Prima Donna herself.” I lift the loose strands of her newly trimmed hair and twirl it around my finger, “Zie hair, zie dress, zie pink everything, zie girly girl.” I pretend to be a stylist slash hairdresser, putting up a Ramos accent.

Max joins the teasing as he also begins to play with Bell’s hair. He looks at me for advice, “As a fellow stylist, what zink we should do about zie girl’s hair and zie girl’s zylish outfits and zie split ends?”

Bells slaps our hands away from her hair, “How dare you?” She plays along and points an accusing finger at Max, “I’ll have you know that I have perfect luscious goddess like hair.”

“Oooh sorry ey!” I say, backing up with my hands raised, “Someone has a big ego.” I joke, “I’ll give you back your limelight Miss too school for cool.”

“I could jump off her ego and die.” Max teases her too.

She narrows her eyes at us, “I will hit you both.” She gives us a fair heads up.

“You can try.” Max pushes. Bells reaches out to grab him, but he steps out of her line of reach. “This is all an illusion. I’m not really here. Aqueela is the one you want to slap, not your precious Max. It’s all an illuuuuuuusion. When I snap my fingers you will hit Aqueela and kiss me…even though it’s all an illllluuuuuusion and I’m not really here.” Max chimes, waving his hands in the air like a genie, hoping it would actually work and he’d hypnotize her.

“Saying illusion like illlluuuuuusion is not going to make it any more believable Max.” Bells points out before smiling and planting a kiss on his lips. “You’re so adorable.”

I cover my eyes, blocking my view, “Gah! My virgin eyes! I’m blind! Blind I tell you!”

Max pulls my hands away with a devious grin, “As if you haven’t done the same thing with Jay.” He reminds me.

I blush at the memory.

Max leaves briefly to get himself a drink from the kitchen.

I keep myself preoccupied and distracted from thinking of Jay. My eyes land on two plastic swords lying on the floor of Bell’s room. I pick up one and toss the other to Bells. I know that one is Troy’s, the one from Star Wars that lights up blue. Obviously Bell’s one is the one that lights up red. When the two of them argued over something, they’d have a plastic duel with swords. Who ever won got to make the final decision. Most of the time Bells whipped Troy by far. He’s always been a wimp, a pretty boy sap. Bell’s mom often had to break their duels up because Bells would bruise her brother’s face. They’ve always been so childish, hence why I love them both so much.

I take Troy’s sword and poke it into Bell’s ribcage, “Hunger!”

Bells swings her red sword at me, “It’s Hung Ga, not hunger, you absolute moron. It’s is associated with southern Chinese martial art-“

I cut her off from rambling when I take another jab at her with the blue sword. “Bequeela Wars is on yo!”

“Like Star Wars, but Bequeela Wars. Nice.” Bells approves.

“Yeah, we could even have Bequeela Of The Rings.” I say as we start battling it out with our swords.

Max steps in, takes in both of our stances and the swords in our hands before he steps out again with a sigh as if we’re both insane.

But then he comes sprinting back in, having finished his drink, “I wannna join. Me next!”

Knew he was just as insane…

Max tries to grab the swords from me but ends up hitting Bells over the head with it. His eyes widen at her as she pouts, feigning pain. He takes her face in his hands, “Awe Baby I’m so sorry. I never meant to-“

I hit Max with the sword. I wink at Bells, “Got your back Sis.” Then I turn to Max. “Get a room lovebird.”

Max gestures to the room, “I got one. You’re just invading in it.”

I roll my eyes at him playfully, taking it as my cue to get back home and give the new couple some privacy, but not before having my own say, “Just remember, you get Bells pregnant and I will end you. Also, I want to be the godmother and the child shall be named ‘Aqueela The Great The Second’.”

Bells and Max both end up blushing at this.

I smirk in delight giving the two a wave of my fingers , “Toodles.”

Max shoves me out the door, “Just go already! You’ve had your dramatic exit! How are you not satisfied yet?”

And with that said, I leave and make my way back to Jay’s place, more than satisfied with their reactions.

“You’re home early.” I remark when I step through the front door to see Jay already home. He usually works until the early hours of the morning unless he’s racing. Sometimes I pity him, I really do. He has a maximum of four hours sleep on a daily basis before he has to go to school. It’s crazy and I can see how exhausted he is almost all the time.

“Yup.” He answers, moving past me and flopping down onto the couch, switching on the TV. I watch his casual tired movements as he places his feet up top the coffee table, lounging back with his arms behind his head. I don’t miss the flexing of the muscles in his arms at his action. I have to shake the thought and focus. No distractions!

“How come?” I ask, trying to make conversation with him.

“Quiet today. Sent home early.” He answers, being vague like he use to be when we first met.

“Oh.” I state dryly, not knowing what else to say. He’s not making it any easier for me either. I guess I deserve it for my attitude when he tried to tell me something heartfelt and important to him. I take a seat on the couch opposite him. “So, I assume you had a good day then?”

“Mhmm.” He answers, keeping those cobalt blue eyes on the TV.

“Want to tell me about it?” I ask, hoping we could go back to normal where he’d insult me on a daily basis. It’s way better than being ignored or being answered in one word syllabals.

“Nope.” he answers blandly, popping the ‘p’.

“Why?” I blurt out, frowning at him for his rather apparent rudeness. Then again, I know I did ask for it.

“Because,” is his answer.

“Jay!” I whine, pleading for his attention.

“Aqueela.” Jay retorts back without a care in the world.

“Please talk to me.” I beg, leaving my pride and dignity far behind.

“Now you want me to talk to you?” he asks, switching off the TV as he turns in his seat to face me, finally paying me some attention. “You’re never happy, are you?” He snaps at me rudely. “You just asked me to give you space and when I do, then I’m suddenly being a jerk. Now you suddenly want me to talk to you again?”

I sigh aloud, “I’ve apologized for that about a million times now. If you had something to say back then, then say it now.” I suggest to him sweetly, “I’m listening.”

Jay moves his eyes off the blank TV screen and onto me, his blue gaze intense as if he’s actually considering it, contemplating on telling me what he wanted to say. But sadly, he closes his mouth and shakes his head instead. He gives up. “I had nothing to say.”

“You did!” I raise my tone at him, exasperated by his ongoing stubbornness. I’m trying to meet him halfway here. He can help me out just a little.

He scowls at me, giving me the cold shoulder just as he’d been doing for the past two weeks since I blew him off, “So maybe I had something to say to you, but now, now I don’t have anything to say to you.”

In other words, he’s given up. He doesn’t care anymore. He’s still mad at me and that’s probably never going to change. I have to work myself all the way back up onto his good side again like in the beginning.

“Don’t be like this Jay.” I say softly, offended by his distant behaviour. “I didn’t mean it, okay? I tried space and space from you is not what I want. I made a mistake. Why can’t you just forgive me for it? We can go back to normal. You don’t have to-“

“I’m going to bed.” He cuts me off completely as he stands up from the couch and heads up stairs to his room.

I sigh internally, wistfully, my eyes lingering on him as he leaves.

I know he’s just leaving the room, but why does it feel like the room is not the only thing he’s leaving?

Jay’s always been an aloof character and strangely enough I’ve always liked that about him. But this time his aloofness is different. It’s forced, not natural. He’s choosing to detach himself from specifically me and it’s my fault. I’m the one who pushed him away.

I wish I could go back in time and shut myself up. I wish I had just listened to what Jay was about to say. Now I’ll never know. I’ll always be in the dark about it. I’ll always be left to wonder.

I snap the fourth pencil in aggravation to stop me from reaching over and killing her.

Stupid blonde airheaded bimbo!

“Would you stop glaring already?” Mason whispers from beside me. “You’re burning holes through her head.”

I wish!

Coming out of my trance like state, I turn back to Mason with a frown, “I can’t help it. She’s ticking me off.”

We’re in chemistry class right now. The teacher had put us in pairs for an assignment. I was purposely placed with Mason because the teacher knows that Mason has been helping me in science. Mr Brown likes placing weak partners with strong partners, hoping the strong can boost the weak up. In my case, Mason is obviously the strong partner.

Anyways, Jay was placed with the well known cheerleader, Ashley, the weaker partner. She’s rather daft and flirtatious, but incredibly popular. Everyone likes her, everyone being the male gender seeing as she is just drop dead gorgeous with her long blonde curls and baby blue eyes.

I’ve never hated the girl, but I’ve never been a fan either. She, some other cheerleaders, Melinda, half the football squad and Mason have gone out of their way to torment me over the years.

I let it go seeing as I can’t hold a grudge to save my life.

But it’s when Ashley begins flirting with Jay that she crosses the line. Jay Taylor is mine. Great, now I sound demented, deranged, jealous and way too possessive. It’s not even her flirting that bugs me. She can’t help herself. It’s the fact that Jay is smiling at her and paying her his full attention. It’s the fact that Jay is looking at her in a way that he never looked at me.

It stings!

“She’s not doing anything.” Mason points out as he leans over me to look, clearly not seeing what I’m seeing. He inclines his head close to me as he whispers in my ear, “I’m not following.”

How can he not see Ashley all over my Jay?

What’s worse is that Jay actually seems to be enjoying her company and presence altogether where as in the past he’d keep to himself. Something in his character has shifted and it’s the result of my actions, of me shunning him.

He’s getting even. He wants me to feel what I made him feel when I didn’t let him finish his sentence. That or I’m looking too much into all of this. I have a tendency to over analyze things.

“Miss Lawson and Mr Montry, stop flirting and get working.” Our chemistry teacher, Mr Brown, scolds us in front of the entire class.

Mason quickly moves away from me, realizing that he’d been way too close to me. I see his cheeks glow pink as he tries to clear his throat from his embarrassment. He doesn’t even bother to correct the teacher.

I sink down in my seat, my own cheeks flushed, as the entire class begin to snicker and gossip about Mason and I.

I hear all their comments:

“Mason looks at her like she’s his world. I heard that they’re a thing now.”

“Mason so has the hots for that weirdo. I don’t understand why though.”

“Mason had Bella Bensten. Why the hell would he fall for Aqueela Lawson of all people?”

“Didn’t Mason use to bully her?”

Their laughter and gossip make the situation all the more humiliating. I can’t even face Mason right now.

I try to get over it, clear my head, and focus on the chemistry task. I fail to do so because I can feel his blue gaze on me, piercing right through my soul.

I happen to look up in that instant to catch Jay staring at me with those hypnotizing blue eyes.

I raise my eyebrows at him in confusion, wondering why he’s now suddenly interested.

He’s frowning. That’s when I realize that he’s gaze has shifted onto Mason. I can tell that he’s not impressed at all. He must actually believe that Mason and I had been flirting when really I was oogling him the entire time and Mason was nothing but an obstacle in my line of vision.

No doubt Jay has heard all the classmates’ remarks too.

When Jay realizes that I’ve caught him staring, he immediately turns back to Ashley and pretends to listen to her. But I can see through him. I can see that he’s not listening to her anymore, that he’s thinking deeply about something else. He’s miles away from here and her. He’s gone to ‘Jay World’.

I study him closely, wanting to understand him better. He’s just so complex, it’s infuriating, but at least it keeps me on my toes.

“Aqueela! Stop drooling over Mr Taylor and get back to work!” Mr Brown scolds me for the second time seeing as Mason had practically been doing all the work on our project.

I feel my cheeks warm all over again as the class erupts in laughter. They love seeing me humiliated. I don’t understand why people in this school are so against me. I never did anything to them. So why? Why? I stopped caring a long time ago. I’d rather not fit in at all if it means I have to act like them. I’d rather be an outcast. I’d rather be shunned by my peers. I’d rather endure school alone. Hence why I was first drawn to Jay. I can relate to him in some sense. But now he knows I had been watching him and the thought has me flushing a darker shade of red.

Sure, Mr Brown sees me staring at Jay but somehow fails to see that Jay had been staring at me first.

I either have terrible timing or the world just hates me.

One of the other cheerleaders openly mocks me in front of the class and teacher, “Lawson, give up. Jay Taylor is way out of your league Hon. Guys like him, well guys in general, will never be into you.”

I can’t recall her name. I don’t bother with names anymore. They’re not worth it.

One of the jocks contributes, “No sane guy will ever be interested in Weirdo Lawson. She’s too damn crazy. You need to be a ‘full hands on’ kind of guy to even look her way. If you get with a whackjob like Lawson, there’s no doubt that you’re one hundred percent screwed up in the head.” He even adds a fake disgusted shiver for emphasis.

I repulse him. I get it. He needs to work on being less discreet, please note my sarcasm.

Mason remains quiet, saying nothing, but I know he hears it all as well seeing as his posture visibly stiffens. I don’t expect him to stand up for me. I know how much he values his reputation among his fellow jocks.

Mr Brown doesn’t even bother giving a lecture to the jock and cheerleader. He knows that either way, they won’t listen. So he simply allows it and only scolds kids he knows will obey him.

The comments continue as more people add their own insult, throw in their own input and disses meant just for me and me alone.

I don’t bother reacting. What’s the point? I’d rather stay invisible. Not that I am. I’d like to be sometimes.

From the corner of my eye I catch Jay’s gaze. He sees me looking back his way. He raises an eyebrow at me in question. He doesn’t have to speak for me to realize what he wants to know. He wants to know why I just sit here and take all their crap. Jay knows me as the type that never backs down. But when it comes to my classmates, that’s where I draw the line and let them get away with it, simply because I’m done caring about their degrading opinions.

I’m better than all of them. That’s all they need to know. They don’t deserve a reaction from me. They’re not worth it.

I shrug at Jay, no answer for him.

There’s a sudden yet loud screeching sound from within the classroom. Everyone turns to see Jay scraping his chair back against the tiles purposely as he stands up. He wants to create a scene for some reason.

Every single pair of eyes are on him, including Mr Brown’s. We’re all wondering the same thing. What the hell is he doing? Jay usually rocks up on time for class and sits quietly and keeps to himself the entire lesson. He doesn’t speak, make noise or cause disruptions. Never. It’s just not him. He’s the introvert type that only speaks when spoken too. So of course we’re all shocked that he’s purposely drawing attention to himself.

Everyone’s eyes follow him as he walks straight up to the desk of the jock who had just insulted me. I notice his eyes darken, rage in them like wild seas. His hands are clenched into fists. His breathing is rapid. He’s mad. That much is obvious.

The jock opens his mouth to ask Jay something, but before he can get a word out, Jay’s fist meet his face in one single yet powerful blow. The jock lets out a groan of pain as his hands move to his nose, blood dripping between his fingers.

The class is now silenced except for the panicked murmurs and hushed gasps of shock.

Me, I smile because I know Jay did that for me.

Jay points an accusing finger in his face, “You know what that was for! I’m trying really hard to see your perspective on how no guy will ever be interested in Aqueela, but I just can’t get my head that far up my ass.” He says to the jock just loud enough for the rest of us to hear. “Say something like that to her again and you’ll be one hundred percent screwed up in the head. You’ll see just how sane I can be. It’s not a warning Laiken, it’s a threat.”

The jock, named Laiken apparently, nods obediently, not daring to defy Jay of all people. Even Grey doesn’t have the guts to turn on Jay. People are genuinely terrified of him. You gotta be bat-shit crazy to cheek Jay…

My heart skips a beat when I process Jay’s words. He’d said that he’s not sane to Laiken, implying that he’s interested in me if you reference back to Laiken’s insult on how no sane guy would ever be interested in me.

Mason shoots a dark glare at Jay as if too realizing what Jay had implied to Laiken. I shake Mason’s unwavering stare off. He’s not the one who just stood up for me. He sat back and watched and all for the sake of his reputation. It’s why I’m convinced that he’s delusional when he says that he loves me because love wouldn’t allow you to sit back and do nothing.

Mr Brown allows to Jay to get away with it, aware that Laiken deserved it. Laiken was out of line.

However, Jay’s not quite done. He goes to the cheerleader next, “Fiona, Hon…” He emphasizes the last word seeing as she referred to me as that, “Aqueela is the one that is out of my league, but hell I kissed her anyways because I couldn’t resist her and to say it was mind blowing would be the understatement of the century. So sit back, shut your mouth and stop making it so obvious that you stuff your bra. It’s not doing anyone any favours. And some advice, get some face with that make up. I don’t know if you heard, but guys ‘like me’ as you say, are into seeing faces these days. If I wanted a doll, I would have went to Toys R Us.”

Fiona’s jaw drops as the class fall into snickers at her expense.

With that said, Jay takes his seat again and goes back to working on his task as if none of this just happened.

Again, I blush under all the penetrating gazes from the class. Did Jay have to mention the fact that he kissed me in front of the entire class, even if it was in my defence?

I’ve been dying to speak about that kiss we shared. He never wants to talk about it. Then now of all times he just has to choose to share his thoughts and in front of the whole class too. But then again, I am satisfied that he’d said the kiss was mind blowing. I feel the same way. I’m also grateful that he’d told Fiona and Laiken off. He may be acting cold toward me right now, but this is proof enough that he still cares.

“He kissed you?!” Mason all but shouts, taken back by this new information. I nod at him, still too tongue tied to utter actual words, “And you let him?”

Of course I let him!

“Yes.” I opt with instead.

“So you kissed him back?” Mason asks, his expression turning to a dejected one when I nod again. I’m just being honest. I don’t want to lead Mason on. “You have feelings for him, don’t you?”

Of course I do!

“Yes.” I repeat. It shouldn’t come across as a surprise to Mason. It’s no secret that I like Jay. Everyone knows, including Jay himself.

Despite Mason’s hurt and rejection, he still goes and encourages the relationship, “Well Jay just made it explicitly clear that he’s into you, so why aren’t the two of you happening?”

I shrug, “Ask him.”

But I suppose that it is my fault.

After class, I catch up with Jay, at least try to. He walks like the earth is about to end. Eventually I give in and just do a full on sprint as I chase after him, tugging him to one side as the other students pass by in the narrow hallways.

He spins around to face me, his backpack slung over his right shoulder and his right hand holding the strap firmly, his left hand in the pocket of his jeans. “Space. Remember?” He reminds me every chance he gets.

I want to hit him right now! I’ve taken that back like a billion times. When will he get over it? I miss interacting with him.

“I just wanted to say thank you for standing up for me back there. No one except Bells has ever done that for me.” I open up to him, truly grateful and appreciative that I had him to count on when needed.

“I didn’t do it for you.”

Then for who?

I roll my eyes at him, “Mhmm. Sure. Kay.” I give it to him just this once. I won’t wound his pride right now. “Still, thank you, even if it wasn’t for me.” I conclude as I take a bold step forward and place a small kiss on his cheek.

I smile when I feel him tense and hear his breathing hitch. It’s good to know that I have some kind of an effect on him because he and I both know that he can compel me into doing anything for him.

I pull away after that lingering kiss on his cheek to see his eyes closed. I hold back a giggle at this as I click my fingers in front of his face.

Just as predicted, his eyes flutter open, revealing that beautiful electric blue I’ve grown so accustomed to over the past couple months.

He doesn’t say anything, not that I expected him too. He seems at a loss for words right now. I think I caught him way off guard.

He’s so cute and hot at the same time. Only he can pull it off.

I offer him a cheesy grin before passing him by and heading to my next class.

In this past week of being completely ignored by Jay on my own request, I’ve come to realize something:

Without Jay, I’m 100% completely and utterly screwed!

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