Pause (Book 1)

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Chapter 7: Sweet Ride

“You are not going.”

“Yes, I am.”

“No way, Aqueela! Last time you went to a party you ended up asleep in the alley with a bunch of cats. No one knew where you were. You were almost arrested for vandalism,” Bell reminds me of my previous encounters with teenage parties and cops.

I still don’t know how that happened.

“Good times,” I smile to myself nostalgically as I reminisce on the good ol’ days. “But yes, I will be attending,” I clarify in determination.

“No, you will not!”

“Yes, I will,” I reply back in a sing-song voice, annoying her.

“You get all double double-u on me - weird and wild. I am putting my foot down. You are not going to that party,” Bell commands bossily.

“I am.”

“Are not!”

“Are too!” I insist, batting my eyelashes at her innocently with the double p’s intact - pouting and puppy-eyed. Both are effective when it comes to Bells.

“Are not!” she continues on, adamant.

“Watch me,” I challenge.

Aren’t friends supposed to be the bad influence on you? They’re supposed to force you to go, not force you to stay away. My world is flipped upside down.

“I forbid you.”

“Excuse me?” I laugh aloud in disbelief. “You forbid me? What are you? My mother?”

“Don’t make me bring up the ‘Bequeela Code’,” she warns.

“You either allow me to go and ‘unforbid’ me, or you can hold your arms up wide open, ready to embrace and welcome another week of my rainbow hat worn in public,” I threaten, crossing the limits.

Her eyes widen as she gasps and places a hand over her mouth, “You would not dare! That was the worst week of my entire life!”

I cock my head to the side daringly, “Try me.”

“Fine!” she yells, exasperated. “You can go, but first we need some ground rules. ‘Party hard’ and ‘yolo’ are sayings that are not directed at you…at all…ever…never ever…in fact never in a bill-“

“Get to the point!” I interrupt, impatient.

“Cautious and careful, double c’s, are all directed at you, m’kay?” she raises her eyebrows at me, placing her hands on her hips.

I nod to confirm that I agreed with her request.

A loud sigh is heard from behind us as a result of our ongoing debate.

Mason throws his head back on the couch and stares up at the ceiling, hopelessly muttering curses under his breath.

“What’s wrong, Babe?” Bells voices her concern.

“What are double c’s, p’s, and w’s? You guys are so strange,” he sighs, frustrated.

“Says you!” I stick my tongue out at him.

“And everybody else on the planet,” he rolls his eyes at me, expressing his irritation. He then addresses his girlfriend, “Why don’t you just let the loser do whatever the hell she wants? She isn’t a kid, even though she acts like one.”

“Even though she acts like one,” I mimic Mason’s voice in a high-pitched tone before losing my temper. “Shut up, Demon! I almost forgot you were here for the past hour.”

“Yeah, well, I sure as hell didn’t forget where I was,” he mutters, annoyed at our little female rants.

I laugh at his expense. He’s always around to hear our debates - from girl stuff to boys to family to even him.

“Aww, Mas. I do enjoy tormenting you,” I ruffle his hair with both my hands.

“I think I’ve heard enough girl issues to last me a whole lifetime,” he groans, exasperated with the both of us and our arguing.

I ignore him and turn to Bells, “I better head home and get ready.”

Bell shakes her head at me teasingly, “Great. Now I have to babysit you at the party.”

I huff, “Pshaw! I don’t need no babysitter. I am a mature adult.”

Mason laughs aloud at my words as if what I said is unbelievable.

I shoot him a harsh glare in turn. He quickly shuts up before bursting out into laughter yet again.

“Oh, and Maggot, just a heads up, someday I’m going to successfully kill you and get away with it,” I threaten him for the fun of it.

He pulls a face and mutters to himself, “I am spending way too much time around chicks.”

Bell and I fall into hysterical fits of giggles as a result.

He shoots me daggers with his eyes, “You’re so evil.”

“But you so love it,” I wink, before hugging Bells goodbye.

“I am your mother, Aqueela, and I am telling you that you’re not attending that party. Do I make myself clear?” my stepmother asks with a slur, smoking intently on her cigarette.

She’s been drinking…

I breathe in sharply, afraid.

I take in the kitchen’s plain white walls and the mess scattered about. The tiles are so filthy that it seems as if the empty room hasn’t been cleaned in years. There are stains all over the wooden counters and the sight is sickening.

I hate being home.

“Besides, Aqueela, you have chores to still do. This house is a pigsty,” she reprimands me as if she has the right.

I clean after her every day.

“Then you should get cleaning,” I say impulsively, ”mom,” I end bitterly.

I can tolerate her when she’s sober, but not when she’s like this - not when she’s wasted and high.


My head turns to the side on impact.

I wince and reach up to touch my cheek.

I shake my head at her, hurt.

“Don’t you dare talk to me like that ever again! I am your mother! You are ungrateful,” she shouts and steps forward.

My fear comes crawling in as I flinch back on instinct, trembling.

I’ve done it now.

“I-I’m sorry,” I stutter, my words stumbling out of me in waves of panic.

“You damn right you are,” she says scornfully as she grabs me by my wrist and slowly takes the cigarette out of her mouth. “No wonder your father left us.”

I try to move back, but her nails dig deep into my forearm to keep me in place.

“Backchatting gets you punishment. You should know that by now,” she warns, a fire behind her eyes.

No need to warn me.

The cigarette hovers just above my arm as I begin to struggle against her.

“Wait! Wait! Wait!” I yell out in desperation, tears pooling in my eyes at the thought of reliving the pain. “I’m so sorry. I was out of line. Please, please!” I say incoherently, begging her to stop, to listen to reason.

“I must,” she slurs, out of it. “I have to be a good mother.”

“Please. You’re drunk and high. You’re not thinking straight,” I plead when I see that her stone expression has yet to alter or soften.

“Begging is pitiful,” she says maliciously before the hot cigarette is forced down onto my wrist, igniting an agonizing pain within me.

I try to pull back, keeping my screams at bay.

I squeeze my eyes shut, biting my tongue to feel something, anything else than the current pain that I am being forced to undergo.

I think about something else to block to try and block out the agony, but it doesn’t seem to fade, not by a long shot.

“Please. Please. Enough,” I manage to whisper weakly.

She lifts the cigarette off of my skin, leaving behind yet another scar that I have to hide from Bells and Mason.

I breathe in relief as once she releases me entirely, “That should teach you to cheek me, your own damn mother.”

I wince. She’s not my mom.

“It won’t happen again,” I reply back in a hoarse voice, knowing that she’s never going to stop.

“I don’t want to punish you again. You know I hate doing it. I am just teaching you a lesson the way a good mother does,” she tells me and I nod obediently.

“I know,” I murmur, terrified.

She gives me a sympathetic look before opening up her arms to me, “Oh, baby, come here,” she coos and wraps me up in an unearthly hug, one that I would gladly break free from if I was not so afraid of what she’d do if I did.

Over time, the drinking and the drugs have affected her mood and her brain.

“I love you.”

When I don’t answer - can’t answer - she squeezes me against her tighter, indicating that I better say something in return or else.

“I love you too,” I force out.

She lets go of me and smiles, “If this house is spotless by the time I wake up I will allow you to go to that party, just because I am such a great mother. You’re a spoilt girl,” she laughs, “you’re lucky to have me.”

“I know.”

I observe her intently as she heads to her room to sleep. I don’t take my eyes off of her until I see the door shut after her. There have been times when her rage would come flaring back and she’d march right over, after she’d just turned her back on me, only to hurt me again.

I let out a breath that I hadn’t realized I’d been holding.

I turn around and run to the bathroom. I turn the tap on and place my injured wrist under the cool water. I bite my lip as the burn singe turns red under the water and the pain comes back to life.

The word ’mother’ is not foreign to me, but the actual mother figure is most definitely foreign to me.

I turn off the tap and dab lightly at the wound. I glance down at both my wrists and touch the scars left behind, a reminder that it will never end. I’ll be enslaved to this forever.

A traitorous tear escapes and runs slowly down my cheek. I lift up my finger and wipe it away, putting on a smile as I answer my phone, the phone that had been ringing nonstop for the past five minutes straight.

“Hey, Bells,” I answer softly, not wanting to wake her up.

“Aqueela, are you okay? You don’t sound like yourself,” she immediately notices.

“I’m okay,” I say quietly. “Just have to speak softly because my mom is sleeping. Don’t want her to wake up. Just getting ready for our party.”

I have been lying to Bells for a long time. She has always wanted to meet my mom, but I have always had an excuse - a lie. She has always wanted to visit. Eventually, her nagging stopped. She gave up, not on me, just on visiting me.

I hear her blissful laugh from the other side, “Dresses?” she asks.

No dresses for me.

She doesn’t wait for my answer, assuming that I’ll wear a dress anyway, “I’ll pick you up?”

I grin, “Nice try, Bells. I’ll meet you there.”

“See you then,” she says before hanging up.

My cheerful tone drops as I heave out a sigh and walk toward my bedroom. I glance longingly at my blue dress, but move past it and grab a long sleeve shirt instead.

When my mother had a meltdown because she was fired from her job, she took it out on me. The next day it was Mason who noticed and questioned the bruises he’d seen on my arm. I was quick to lie and tell them that I fell.

I put on the white long sleeve shirt and make sure to pull the sleeves down. I don’t feel like going anymore, but Bells is amped and I have to get out this house before I smother in it.

I place a black beret on my head as I begin to clean the house to perfection before she wakes up. Once I am done, she happens to come walking into the kitchen, her timing impeccably accurate. She is always in a better mood after having caught up on her sleep, after having sobered up.

In the end, she allows me to go. In my eyes, it is a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card or an escape from purgatory.

It feels as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders as I exit the house.

As I round the corner, my treacherous eyes stray toward the ice cream store, but I resist it because I am completely broke.

I pass by as quick as possible until a voice stops me:

“Hey, Aqueela! Wait up! It’s been ages.”

I turn around to face sexy hot manage dude.

I feign a smile, “Hi.”

I don’t feel up to talking. I can’t help but wonder if Jay feels this way all the time.

“You’ve been avoiding me. I was expecting a phone call, one that never came. You sure don’t let a guy down easy, do you?” he teases playfully.

I grin and shake my head, “I’m sorry. I’ve just been…” I trail off, unsure, “preoccupied with other matters.”

“Are you doing okay?” he asks gently.

I nod absentmindedly at his question, one that I’ve heard all too many times, one that I’ve developed a mental block against.

He reaches forward and I flinch back, thinking the worst. It takes me a second to recover before I send him an apologetic stare in return. He smiles warmly as he brushes away a tear off my cheek, a tear that I did not know was there.

“You’ve been crying?” he states more than asks.

“Me, crying? What? No! It’s just the wind and I was walking really fast and the weather and blowing into my eyes and the tear and…” I falter when I see the disbelief sprawled across his features.

I cave under his gaze, “Yes. Yes, I may or may not have been crying - just a tad. So I am not made of steel, sue me!”

He laughs, a melody to my ears - I could use more laughter in my life.

“Well even if it was just a tad…” he mimics, “you shouldn’t have to cry at all. Want to tell me what happened?” he offers.

I shake my head, “Nope. Not at all. Anyway, goodbye. Take care,” I say all too quickly, panicked, as I sprint away from him, leaving him absolutely clueless as to what is going on with me.

Heck, most days, I barely know myself.

“So you just sprinted away from him, just like that?” Bell repeats, seemingly amused in the fact that I just humiliated myself in front of ‘Nameless’ yet again.

“Just like that,” I nod as we both stand in front of the paradise bar that Melinda’s parents own. “Ran away faster than the chicken who crossed the road, and that is saying something.”

“Yeah, it’s saying that you really like this guy,” she grins eagerly.

I have no idea how she got to that conclusion.

I smile and shake my head, “His affection is one-sided.”

Bell’s eyes widen in disbelief, “I cannot believe you’re letting a guy like that slip right through your fingers.” She suddenly pauses in thought, “Is this because of Jay?”

I shake my head again, “Not at all. I am happy as I am.”

I don’t want to be just another person’s burden.

Bell opens her mouth to reply, but Mason interrupts, grabbing her from the back to wraps his arms around her slender waist.

“Babe, dance with me?” he says into her ear.

“Hold on a sec’,” she shushes him, “I am in the middle of-“

“Just go already, Bells,” I cut her off and push the both of them in the direction of the dance floor, not wanting to stand in their way.

Mason leads her to the dance floor, but not before giving me a thumbs up in thanks.

I glance around the bustling party, no longer feeling like a party animal tonight. Everyone is laughing and having a good time. Everything seems to move in slow motion as they dance ’round and ’round the dance floor whilst I am stuck in my own world.

I glance around but go unnoticed. I am invisible, and somehow, I prefer it that way.

“Something to drink, Milady?” a voice calls me away from my thoughts.

“Huh?” I say, quickly spinning around on the bar chair, almost toppling over onto the floor as a result. I come to register his words, “Oh. Um, no thanks.”

“You sure?” he asks with a dazzling grin before placing his elbows on the bar counter, leaning in toward me, “Because for you, it’s on the house,” he winks flirtatiously.

I contemplate the pros and cons involved.

Con: Bell might potentially kill me. Scratch that, she will kill me. I’m underage.

Pro: I’ll forget what happened today for a little while.

Seems as if the pros are outweighing the cons here.

I shrug, “What the hell, hit me!” I grin as he hands me a shot to down.

I don’t question it and drown the liquid, wanting to forget. I am no better than her.

“Hit me again!” I demand.

He laughs and does exactly that.

I drown the liquid again, feeling slightly dizzy. I am a lightweight when it comes to alcohol. I can’t hold it down to save my life.

Maybe Bells was right. Maybe I do need her to babysit me.

“Again!” I yell, raising my glass, feeling light-headed and possibly drunk. I am definitely tipsy, no doubt about that.

“Slow down,” a voice whispers in my ear.


“What are you? My father?” I ask and then turn back to the bartender expectantly. I read his name tag - Benjamin. “Benjy, be a doll and surprise me with another shot,” I smile lazily up at him.

“Is it really a surprise if you know about it?” Mason asks me, shaking his head in disapproval. “Go easy,” he advises before turning to Benjy, “Brian, she’s had enough for the night.”

I squint at the name tag again and discover that his name is actually Brian and not Benjamin. Wow! Everything is really blurry - knew I should have worn night vision goggles to this party.

“Ignore him, Brain. Gives me whats I want,” I slur as my neck goes limp, my head suddenly collapsing onto the counter. “Guys,” I pause, uncomfortable, as I try to sit upright again, “don’t freak out, but my neck stopped working.”

“It can’t support your big head anymore,” Mason jokes, laughing at my expense.

“First off, it’s Brian. Second, your boyfriend is right. You’ve had enough. I have never seen someone so terrible at holding their alcohol,” Brain tells me, his dark chocolate eyes telling me a story.

I eventually lift my head and do a small curtsy with my hands, “Thanks.”

“It wasn’t a compliment,” he laughs, finding this to be all very entertaining.

“And neither is your face, but am I whining?” I retort back wittily.

Mason falls into splutters of laughter as Brain’s smirk falls off his face.

“Oh, and just to clarify, I am not her boyfriend - in fact, I’d rather drive off a cliff before even considering her as a possible choice. My girl is around here somewhere…” Mason pauses to glance around, not seeing Bells anywhere in sight. He shrugs and then points straight at me again, “This creature before you is none other than her spastic friend.”

“Spastic, huh? That explains a lot,” Brain smirks as he takes in my current appearance.

“I am not, I repeat, not…” I trail off and slouch back in the chair, forgetting the itsy bitsy fact - there is no backrest to support me. I end up leaning too far back and slip right off the chair only to fall flat on my back. I look up at the two of them from my position on the ground as I finish belting out my sentence, “Spastic.”

Talk about contradicting myself.

Mason gestures down to me, “My point proven. Her mother must have dropped her on the head as a baby.”

Despite my drunkenness, I still cringe at his words.

Before I can protest, Mason is already on his knees helping me back up to my feet. I appreciate him at times. At least with him, I will always know where we stand - mortal enemies, childhood feuders and arch nemesis’. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Ah, Mason, always helping the disabled and mentally challenged. Such a good man,” Melinda smirks down at us as she passes by, guessing what happened.

I reach up to grab her heels and hopefully trip her, but Mason pulls me to my feet before I get the chance. He knows me all too well.

“I just wanted to stab her with her stilettos,” I frown up at Mason, unimpressed with his interference.

He wraps a loose arm around my waist, supporting me in order to prevent me from fainting and getting stitches like the previous time I blacked out at a party.

I back out of his grip and begin to walk after Melinda, ready to give her a piece of my fist, but Mason just tugs me back again - it just so happens to be on my injured wrist. I hiss in pain and flinch, cradling my arm against my body protectively.

“Don’t be such a baby! I barely touched you.” he snaps at me. He grabs my wrist again, more gently this time, after putting the pieces of the puzzle together, “What happened? Did someone hurt-“

“It’s nothing,” I cut him off, sobering up. “I am fine.”

It’s obvious he doesn’t believe me because he makes a move to lift up my sleeve again. Caught off guard, he succeeds and holds my wrist to his face. Thankfully, he can’t see anything in the dim room.

I let out a sigh of relief, but it is in vain because he begins dragging me after him into the brightly lit kitchen.

He takes another observation without my consent. His mouth falls agape and his eyes widen when he notices my fresh wound and the fading scars.

I inhale a sharp breath and turn my face away from him, ashamed, unable to look at him in the eye.

“Aqueela…” he begins slowly, “what the hell is going on? Who did this to you?”

I pull my wrist forcefully out of his grip and turn my entire body away from him, completely humiliated. “Why do you care? You used to hurt me all the time.”

“Yeah…” he admits, “but not to this extent. Does Bell know about this?”

I shake my head, “No, and I intend on keeping it that way.”

“Would you at least face me?”

I shake my head at his request.

He places his hands on my shoulders and forces me to turn around. “I just need to know who did this to you. Please,” he whispers, almost desperately, and I am taken aback by the concern laced in his voice.

I finally open my eyes to look at him only to see his true concern. I sigh as I confide in him, “My stepmother.”

Two words yet one hell of a shock.

“You’re kidding, right? You can’t be serious. How have you made it for so long? You live with the women and you never complain or think to say anything. You are always smiling. That’s all a front?” he bombards me with questions rising out of his own state of shock.

I am about to reply when Bells drops in to save me from her overprotective, mindless boyfriend, “There you two are! I’ve been searching for you guys everywhere.” She only then notices our sour expressions, “Is everything okay?”

He will tell Bells, he always tells her everything.

Mason glances at me from the corner of his eye. I give him a pleading expression. His focus is brought back to Bells. He sighs, “Yup. Everything is just perfect. Your friend is just annoying me again. Nothing new.”

He turns back to me for a split second. I send him a grateful smile to which he rolls his eyes and mouths that our discussion is far from over.

“Oh, well I almost thought that you two were getting along for a second. My wish never comes true,” Bell replies with a sad yet hopeful smile.

“Far from it,” I answer bluntly. “Anyway, I should be going.”

“No, stay,” Mason insists, his way of telling me that we need to discuss this openly with Bell and include her - except, it isn’t his decision to make.

“No, I think I will go,” I feign a smile at him and then only glare at him when Bell looks away.

“I insist, stay,” he says through clenched teeth.

“No,” I shake my head, “I really should go. In fact, I insist on leaving,” I say in a clipped tone.

“I insist that you stay put and I insist that you don’t freaken insist on moving.”

“I insist that you shut your face!”

“I insist that you get a face!”

“I am insisting leaving insisting!” I yell at him. Before he can stop me again I am already grabbing a bottle of alcohol and leaving the party, “Adios muchachos!” I call over my shoulder carelessly.

I walk down the driveway, no lift back home, passed a group of delinquents.

“Hey, Aqueela, want some tequila?” one of them asks me.

I roll my eyes at his dry joke, “Ha ha. Oh stop, you’re making my sides hurt,” I retort sarcastically.

His friends laugh at his expense. I don’t stay around long enough to care.

I keep walking until I finally decide to just sit on the curb. I raise my head and glance up at the sky filled with stars. I breathe in the sweet air and grin to myself, relishing in ‘me’ time.

I jump up in anticipation when I see him, by chance, strolling passed me as if on a mission of his own. Overeager, I end up stumbling down again. It doesn’t stop me from calling out to him with the name he specifically ordered me not to call him by, “JT!”

“Klutz? That you?” he turns to find me on the floor looking up at him with an enthusiastic grin.

“Exqueeze me?” I ask all too quickly, slurring slightly. “I mean, excuse me?” I correct myself and then clap in pride at my achievement.

He takes a seat beside me, inspecting me carefully. “You are wasted.”

“And you are correct,” I smile sheepishly.

He shakes his head, surveying the lonesome area, “Do you need a ride home or something? It’s dangerous to be out on the streets at night.”

I shake my head, not looking at him, “Why? So you can find out where I live and thus plot my murder?”

He moves position so that he is kneeling before me, facing me directly, “I am not joking. You need to leave.”

I stubbornly shake my head, “Nah-uh.”

Not taking ‘no’ for an answer, he grabs my forearm and hauls me up with him. “C’mon,” he orders as he drags me along behind him until we reach a red Gallardo.

If I thought Mason was rough then I was sadly mistaken.

He unlocks the car door and then gets in, not bothering to open the passenger door for me like a gentleman would, not that I expected him to. I am getting used to his rude customs.

“Oh please, by all means, take your damn time,” he retorts sarcastically, opening the passenger door for me from inside before leaning his head against the steering wheel, impatiently waiting for me to get in.

I roll my eyes at him and climb in slowly for emphasis. “Sweet ride, JT. How did you land a car like this?” I ask, gazing around, feeling up the comfy leather seats.

He grins, choosing to be vague, ”What can I say? I am a guy of many talents.”

“Yeah, apparently so,” I mutter beneath my breath.

It doesn’t take me long to notice that Jay prefers not to follow the law as he goes over the speed limit. I quickly buckle myself in before I die. “You’re awfully rebellious, aren’t ya?”

“You haven’t seen anything yet,” he says seriously, glancing my way and not focusing on the road as he should be doing.

“Keep your eyes on the road, Mister,” I order, afraid of being in another accident.

He doesn’t listen and merely pushes me a step further as he removes both hands from the wheel tauntingly. “Ooooh look at the outlaw being rebellious,” he mocks, testing my patience.

Don’t get me wrong, I love speed, but it has to go hand-in-hand with safety. Jay Taylor doesn’t exactly scream ‘safety’ to me. He’s reckless.

I glare at him and then glance back at the road to see an oncoming car. “Jay!” I shout in warning, fearing we’ll collide on impact.

Jay, at ease, grins victoriously and swerves past the other car effortlessly, despite him still not even looking at the road.

“Calm down. I am not a klutz like you. I only screw up when I want to,” he says, his eyes straying back to the road ahead of him.

What is that supposed to mean?

“H-how did you do that?” I question in shock, my heart racing faster than what we are driving - which is very fast by the way.

“You wanted to know how I landed this car, well now you know,” he says quietly.

“I know nothing,” I state, annoyed at him for beating around the bush.

“True that,” he chuckles to himself.

“Just tell me already!” I raise my voice, exasperated, frustrated and exhausted all at the same time.

“I am a street racer. I race for pink slips.” I give him a befuddled expression to which he rolls his eyes at my confusion and clarifies, “Cars. I race for cars.”

How am I supposed to know what pink slips are? The only pink slips I get are detention slips.

I play it cool, “Totally knew that.”

“Yeah I bet you did,” he says sarcastically, humoring me.

I watch him carefully as he stops the car on the side of the road. I gaze at him curiously. I barely know him and for some reason beyond me, I got into his car. Now he’s stopping said car on a lonely road…

Fudge nuggets!

Once the car has stopped, he turns in his seat to face me. Before he can say anything, I speak right over him, “You’re not going to lock me in the car with you, right?”

He cocks his head, a small grin intact, “And why would I do that? You have any ideas?” he asks suggestively.

My eyes widen, “Who? Me?” I begin to shake my head, “No! Pshaw no! I never have ideas. I am dumb, so mind-numbingly dumb, but not that dumb so as to take advantage of me. I am smarter than that but still really dumb.” I nod, trying to convince him otherwise that I am not onto him even though I really am.

If he feels threatened, he’ll kill me, and believe me, I know how threatening I tend to come off as. I am a very threatening person - I just can’t control all of my powers.

He blinks slowly with those dark eyelashes of his before asking me the inevitable, “Thank you for pointing out the obvious, but do you really think I would try something?”

I talk on impulse, “Well would you?”

His facial expression turns to stone and his eyes harden at my question as if taking offense to it, “I’m not into you like that.”

“Phew! What a relief! Thank goodness,” I exclaim, taking no offense much to Jay’s initial surprise. He was anticipating an entirely different reaction from me.

“Take it personally, we have no chemistry,” he points out.

“Your face has no chemistry,” I retort back lamely, now on the defense.

“Not with yours it doesn’t,” he says smoothly, unfazed. “Where do you live? I can’t drop you off if I don’t know where you live. That’s why I stopped the car, genius.”

I panic at his question, “No! Um, just drop me off here. I can walk the rest of the way, that’s if you tell me where ‘here’ is.”

He sighs, “Just tell me. Don’t be difficult.” He leans over his seat and toward me with a frown etched on his perfect lips, “Why won’t you say?” he asks calculatingly, almost as if reading into my expression.

“Why won’t you shut it?” I narrow my eyes, hoping to intimidate him.

He gives me an accusing stare in turn. “Where do you stay?” he repeats firmly, refusing to let up on this.

I sigh as I look up into his cobalt blue eyes, the hue of blue depicting his mood, “I can’t go home right now, Jay. Okay? So please just take me anywhere else. Please,” I beg, not wanting to be in her presence.

Thankfully, Jay is different from most and doesn’t bother to question my motives. He shrugs in obedience before starting the car and driving off in the opposite direction of home, and in a better direction altogether - away.

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