"He's all but sweet, hun'," said a girl to her friend sitting in front of her in the cafeteria.
"I know, Megs, but he is so HOT. I can't help it," she answered poking broccoli with her fork. She looked sad and nervous.
"Every girl in school has a crush on him, Amy. You're just another chick that fell for him. You have to pull your self together and start to be more hard-to-get! Haven't you noticed that Brian is playing with you just 'cause you look like an easy target?" Meghan was trying to help her friend but had a hard time.
"I thought he likes me," Amy wasn't far from crying now.
"Please, just don't cry, OK?" Amy nodded and Megs continued: "He just wants your body, hun'. You have to realise that almost every boy, apart from your brother, wants nothing but that. They're like animals..."
"What are you chattering about, my two lovely birds?" a boy's voice spoke behind Meghan.
"Speaking of the devil..." she muttered and turned to face him. "Good evening to you too, Nicholas the Aggravating. Your mum hasn't taught you that eavesdropping on people's conversations is tactless?"
"I had no inkling that you are able to speak like a thesaurus, Ms Burklight," answered boy in the same sarcastic way as Meghan. "And I was not eavesdropping, my dear ladies, I was just... How to say it? Inquisitive, maybe?"
"I guess that's enough. Stop playing these games, Nick, I know you want something, so spill the beans," Megs got sick of this charade.
"Me? Why would you think that?" asked Nick continuing with the act, driving Meghan more and more mad. He turned to Amy: "Tell me, Ms Simmons, why would your friend, Ms Burklight here, suppose that I want a favour from her?"
Amy looking like a ripe tomato only shrugged and looked away.
With a devilish grin, Nick turned back to Meghan. She had a furious look on her face. She was ready to explode, it needed just a little push for her to lose it.
She took a deep breath with her eyes closed, she could still feel his gaze. When she opened them he was looking at her just inches away from her nose.
"You have to be kiddin' me!" she snapped at him and jumped up from her seat. For the fortune of the bad luck, both their heads collided leaving them to fall to the ground.
You could hear "ouch" coming from the people standing nearby and then a huge burst of laugh all around the place. The ones who hadn't seen it were confused, looking around.
"Have you skull made of steel, or what?" asked Nick with a smirk. Standing up with a hand on his head he offered the other one to Megs. She just slapped it away and got up herself.
"You're the biggest jerk the world has made, you know that?" she said with her teeth clenched.
"Don't be a damper, Megs. Wrong foot today?"
"Give me a break, Nick..." she'd had enough. She was frustrated and wanted to get away from there. She took her things and strode out of the cafeteria.
"Meghan, wait!" Nick called after her but she hadn't stopped so he followed her. "M', wait, I just wanted to talk to you. What's up you never get annoyed so easily?"
"Walk away! You've humiliated me enough for today," she had tears in her eyes. She kept walking down the hall.
Nick grabbed her shoulder to stop her. She moved her arm to get away from his grip but stopped.
"What the hell do you want from me so badly?!" she said her voice trembling as she tried to stop herself from crying. "Hmm?"
He looked worried now. He looked in her red eyes not knowing how to put it. He opened his mouth to say something but Meghan lost her patience and walked away.
"My mum died, did you know about that?" he said looking to the ground hoping for her to react.
She stumbled but stayed with her back turned to him.
"She died when I was little, so no, she hasn't taught me how to behave. I don't even remember her."
Meghan frowned and bit her lip but he couldn't see it and she was grateful for that.
"But I do remember what my father has told me this morning. You could be eager to know that too."
She turned around slowly to find out he got closer to her.
"First he told me that he was dating someone for a while. Then it was the fact that it's serious and..."
"Then he's told you it's my mum..." Meghan had finished for him.
He nodded. They were looking at each other, standing in awkward silence.
"Sorry 'bout your father," Nick said finally breaking the quiet.
"Don't be," replied Megs looking up to the ceiling to draw her tears back, "he's an even bigger jerk than you are."
They both laughed a little. Interrupted by the bell they both headed different directions with Nick yelling after Meghan: "Talk to you later?"
She "said" yes without actually sying something and disappeared in the crowd.
After the class, Nicholas was putting his books in the locker when Meghan ran to him breathing heavily.
"You needed to see me so badly? Slow down, sis, we'll be family now, remember?" he said with that smirk of his again.
She just pierced him with her eyes trying to catch her breath. She raised her finger to show him she just needed a moment.
After a while, she pulled out her phone and shoved it in front of his face.
"And what? That's a message from Amy. I'm not gonna read it. I'm horrified of what I could find out," he said bored, looking away from the screen.
Meghan panicked and pulled the phone back to her as fast as she could. Then she was looking for something for a second while Nick was stuffing his last book in his chock-full locker.
Finally, Megs showed him the phone again. This time it was a message from her mum. Nick took the phone and started reading.
"Hey, Meggie! I have great news for you, sweetie,..."
"That has to be really bad when you allow me to read this. The way your mum call you. Are you sure you want me to read it?"
"Shut up and go on! You said it yourself, bro, gonna live together now, so there is no use to bother hiding it," said Meghan forcing him to read it all.
"...there is an exchange student going to live with us! She is your age and arriving this evening. I wanted it to be a surprise for you. I am so excited! You are talking only to that Simmons girl. She is so shy, poor kid. Anyway, this is not the only guest we are going to have now. Mr Wythe and his son are going to stay with us. We decided to move together with Raymond. That is a little surprise we have for both of you! Expect them also this evening.
See you at home, sugar bean.
Nick had returned the phone to Meghan.
"So?" she said eagerly.
"I think that your mum loves exclamation marks."
"Now for real!"
"Okay, don't get so grumpy so fast..." he said and she looked at him angrily.
Nick took his time before he answered: "First, looks like that you're some kind of candy from Harry Potter, second, that we're officially getting closer to the status of siblings, third, we're going to live with some chick in one house."
"In MY house! She agreed to take in a stranger to sleep under one roof with us before even asking me!"
"Wait, it looks like you knew about our parents all the time..." Nick frowned and Megs started to look like a beetroot.
"It's not my fault my mum doesn't keep that much secrets from me. At least she didn't until this whole 'everyone-is-moving-in-with-us' thing," she gave him a look like a puppy asking for forgiveness.
Nick wasn't so sure about all of that.
"Look," she said, "you're annoying, a lot, but I don't mind sharing a house with you. I need you on my side when this monster, my mum calls exchange student, arrives."
"Maybe it's not going to be that bad..." he replied running his hand through his jet black hair.
Meghan sighed: " 'Cause it's gonna be a gal. C'mon! Try to force your testosterone level go a little lower..."
"Funny, Bertie," Nick winked at her and she rolled her eyes.
"Grow up, Wythe, grow up!" she said turning on the heel and walking away from him tossed her hair over her shoulder with her head up high.
He could do nothing but smile.