After the major lecture I received from Matt, he stormed off to the cafeteria and I followed him like a puppy that got whacked in the nose, with my tail between my legs and my head hung low.
Matt ran off to talk to his jock buddies, so I shuffled to the food line to get my lunch because there was no use trying to talk to Matt when his team was nearby. I was so immersed in my problems that I totally forgot about everyone else around me, until I heard Jesse’s voice behind my back, whispering close to my ear. “I’ve heard you had some hot action in the hallway today, lover boy.”
“Jesse!” I jumped, startled. “Didn’t we talk about that bell you need to put around your neck, so I can know when you’re sneaking up on me? If I ever have a heart attack, the blood is in your hands, you hear?”
“I didn’t sneak up on you, you were the one with the head on the clouds. Thinking about a hot steamy kiss with a hot steamy boy, are we?” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.
“Oh God, you’ve seen the videos, haven’t you?” I mumbled awkwardly.
“Oh, yeah. There are shots of you two tongue-battling each other in almost every possible angle, sweetheart. Now I understand why your tutoring lessons were so much fun. Why didn’t you tell me you were shoving face with the Worthington boy?” she asked, walking by my side as I picked up my food and placed them on my tray.
“I wasn’t doing anything like that, Jess.” I grumbled as I took my tray and walked down the cafeteria.
“Oh, I’m sure it was all just an accident. You must have tripped and fell into his mouth. For ten minutes straight. It happens all the time,” she said full of sarcasm, while we walked to our usual place. There were a lot of giggling and hushed whispered conversations as we passed by the tables.
“So, are you two together now?” she asked, sitting across from me in our table.
“Because you know you can’t be. Not until I approve.” Jesse cut in.
“I don’t know how this is any of your busine-”
“Oh, it so is, my best gay friend, and you know it.” she cut in again. “I must approve all your boyfriends, just as you must approve mine. That’s the deal we made. We pinky-promised and everything.”
“Jesse, you can’t be serious-”
She shushed me, looking at my back with an urgent expression. “Look! It’s him! He’s coming this way. Act normal. Well, in your case Taylor, the most normal you can fake, at least.”
I made a face at her and glanced back to see who was coming. Vincent was strolling through the cafeteria with that self-assured, confident stride that was his trademark. He reached our table quickly and sat by my side with that winning smile of his.
“There you are, Holmes. I’ve been looking for you.” he greeted, full of cheer.
Matt was watching us from a long distance, but I could see clearly the disapproval plastered all over his face, even from far away.
“I don’t come here often, not much of a fan of the cafeteria cuisine, you know? But I thought that perhaps today would be a good day to visit. The area around this table certainly has the best view,” he said, giving me a flirty wink.
Oh no. Here comes the blush creeping up my face.
Jesse cleared her throat quite loudly to catch his attention. “Hey! Hi there. Mr. Worthington, may I inquire about your intentions over my dear friend Taylor? I’m not a fan of the way you manhandled him in that hallway. That could be considered sexual assault, you know.” She accused him without any preambles.
“Oh, don’t worry, Taylor can relax, I’m not pressing charges. I quite enjoyed his assault.” He replied smoothly.
My face became a crimson red. “Yeah, I kind of got carried away there, Jess. It wasn’t his fault.” I confessed embarrassedly.
“You’re such a slut, Holmes…” she muttered under her breath, rolling her eyes.
“That’s all right. There’s nothing wrong with being slutty. People use the word in a completely wrong way. It’s actually a good thing, if you want to spice things up.” Vince kipped. “You must be Jesse. Nice to meet you, I’m Vincent.” He extended his hand for her to shake.
She made no motion to shake his hand. “Did Taylor also tell you that he doesn’t date guys I don’t approve of, by any chance?” She asked snippily.
“No, he didn’t, but then again, I don’t really care.” he jabbed back.
“Well, Vincent, you should. You really should,” she said coldly.
“Okay you two, stop talking about me like I’m not even here.” I intervened, trying to stop the growing animosity between the two. “Stop acting like children too.”
“You know what? You don’t look honorable to me, Worthington,” Jesse said, narrowing her eyes at him. “I’m not sure if I approve this relationship, Taylor. He seems fishy to me. I don’t trust him.”
I grunted, annoyed. “Can you please back off, Jess? I can decide whom I should date or not.”
“Fine, you do whatever you want then.” She huffed. “But you can’t make me like him.”
“Ah, but you will, in time.” Vincent told her. “I know you don’t feel like it right now, but I’m more of an acquired taste.”
“I doubt it, but since anyone here care what I think, I think it’s time for me to leave.” She glared indignantly at me and stood up. “Don’t come crying to me when this guy is done crushing you, Holmes.”
“Jesse, come on! Could you please not do this?” I pleaded, but she was already walking away from our table.
I risked a peek at Matt on the other side of the room. He was looking intently at me; those big, round, beautiful blue eyes glinting with hurt and betrayal.
“Boy, is she a spitfire or what?” Vincent mused with a hearty chuckle. “Don’t worry, Taylor. She’ll warm up to me soon, I promise,” he said, trying to appease me. “Hey, I guess my plan is working, don’t you think? Mathew looks like he’s about to blow a gasket over there.”
“Yeah, but… I don’t think it’s because of jealousy, Vincent. He’s only worried about me, he thinks you’re playing me and that I’ll end up getting hurt. And… I want to talk to you about your plan. I’m not sure if I want to go through with it. I think I want to quit.”
“I think you’re mistaken, Matt only sees me as his friend, okay? He’s not going to get jealous of me, he doesn’t see me that way. He never will. We’re wasting our time here with this.”
Vincent watched me in silence for a moment, before reaching a conclusion. “Okay, if that’s what you want to do, Taylor. If you want my advice, I’d think this over before deciding anything. Think about how much you really want him. If you think he’s not worth the trouble, then we end this deal, no problem.”
“That’s not what I mean... it’s not like he’s not worth it-”
“Hey, if you don’t want to fight for him, fine,” he said with a shrug and stood up. “But I don’t think he’s being overzealous, I think he’s jealous, Taylor. He’s jealous because he likes you.”
I tried to believe his words, but I wasn’t convinced.
“Think it over, Taylor. Then let me know. I’ll be waiting for your answer after school. But before I go, let me give you some food for thought,” he said and hunched over me, until his face was inches from mine. “Watch his reaction to this.”
Then he kissed me, right in the middle of the cafeteria, for everyone to see. I could hear people chanting “Second round of make out!” and wolf whistling at us.
He broke the kiss and leaned away. “Watch him and decide.” Were his last words before he turned away and walked out of the cafeteria.
I looked up and saw Matt. He seemed livid, fist clenched at his sides and jaw ticking in anger. He looked jealous. Very jealous. Could Vincent really be right about this? Blast his devious mind games and how he keeps making my heart fill with hope.
I turned around and hunched on my seat, grunting quietly to myself because Vincent’s last move had made me indeed given up on quitting this bet. Then I caught Kyle’s curious eyes.
Kyle, my ex-boyfriend, was sitting at table nearby, with a group of friends. Kyle was beautiful inside and out, fun, intelligent, kind and playful, he was poster boy for perfect boyfriend. There was just this one thing wrong about him. He wasn’t Matt.
Kyle looked in my direction and smiled his usual friendly smile. It has been a long time since I last spoke to Kyle. I missed talking to him, he was always very sweet and caring.
“Hey, Kyle!” I greeted and motioned for him to come sit with me.
“How’s everything going, Taylor?” He greeted back, sitting beside me.
“Okay, I guess.” I mumbled and he tilted his head, not quite believing me. “I mean, it’s…complicated.”
He nodded. “Matt issues?”
He knew Matt was a constant problem in all my relationships. It sure had been one when we were together, but it was wiser if I steered away from that particular can of worms right now.
“It’s nothing important,” I said, trying to divert the conversation to something else.
Another one of Vincent’s blasted rules was to keep our plan a secret and not tell anyone, AKA, rule number five, so I couldn’t really explain to Kyle why my life was so complicated at the moment.
“You should tell him, Taylor. It would save you so much heartache.” Kyle advised. Or cause me the biggest heartache I will ever have.
“And how are you, Kyle?” I asked, changing the topic completely. “What are you up to? I miss talking to you, you know?”
I really did. Kyle always had a way to make me feel better. He could be a shrink after he graduates, he would do great in that profession.
He laughed that cheerful laugh that I loved so much. Kyle could warm up any heart with that laugh. “I’m always around, Taylor. We broke up, but we can still talk. We’re still friends.”
“I know,” I said with a grateful smile. “Hey, did you hear about the party for the new student this weekend?”
“Yeah, are you going, too?”
“Of course, when did I ever refuse a party?” I grabbed my tray of food and stood up. “I haven’t seen the guy yet though. The girls are swooning over him nonstop, he must be quite a sight.” I turned to clear my tray into the trash and tripped into someone. We stumbled over each other, crashing on the floor. The entire content of my tray flew out, landing all over the guy.
“Oh, God. Dude, I’m so sorry!” I apologized when I saw the state of his clothes.
He grimaced at the filth covering him from head to toe, but then he shrugged it off, as if it wasn’t a big deal, and stood up. When he was fully up, my eyes widened in awe.
The guy was huge! And strong, tall and all buffed up... Fucking gorgeous came to mind as well, with black inky hair, deep blue eyes, a body sent from heaven.
He extended his hand to help me stand up, which surprised me the most. I thought he was going to want to beat me up for sure, after what I’d done to him.
“I’m sorry too. I wasn’t looking where I was going,” he apologized.
Good looking and polite? Perfect much?
I took his hand awkwardly and he hoisted me up, while Kyle gawked at the guy. I was gawking too, but that was beside the point.
“Sorry about the shirt...” I mumbled when I saw the state of his stained shirt.
“Meh, it’s okay. Accidents happen. It’s just a shirt, no biggie,” he said, tossing a few bits of food off himself.
I didn’t remember seeing this guy around though, I thought to myself, while giving him a good once over. Believe you me, this was a guy not easily forgotten. He was too good looking to be missed in any crowd. Then realization dawned on me.
“You’re the new guy!” I exclaimed, excited. Quite a sight indeed, sir!
“Yep, that’s me. ’New guy’,” he said, rolling his eyes. “I try to tell people my name, but nobody listens!” he complained to Kyle who tried to hide a chuckle.
“We’re going to your welcome party this Saturday, dude!”
“A party, really? Nobody told me anything.” He replied, seeming amused.
“I can give you the address, if you want.” Kyle promptly offered, always ready to offer a helping hand.
“Cool. Let me give you my number and you can text me all the details later.” He quickly punched his number on Kyle’s phone and handed it back to him. “Well, I guess I’ll see you two at my party then. I’d better go to the bathroom take care of this mess,” New guy said, waving a hand at us before he left.
We both stood there, watching his retreating back. Okay, fine, we were mostly staring at his ass. That was some firm heavenly ass he had.
“Kyle?” I asked, turning to him.
“Do you realize you have just scored the phone number of the currently most coveted guy in school? With great power comes great responsibility, man, remember that.”
“Okay, Taylor,” he said with a chuckle.
“Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to go drive the girls crazy and tell them you have his number. What? You have to be responsible. I can be as evil as I want!” I cackled, pulling him along with me.