Delicate Hearts

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Chapter 16: Betrayal

A groan left Jasmine's lips as she tossed and turned for the umpteenth time that night. She couldn't seem to find sleep, no matter how tired she felt. Every time her eyes fell closed all she could see was Lucas' handsome face, the dark gleam in his eyes when he kissed her and the knowing smirk that appeared when he realized how much he affected her.

Lucas was a very troubled guy, but Jasmine couldn't deny he had a good heart underneath it all. Her attraction towards him only seemed to intensify with every day that passed. She desperately tried to fight her feelings, but soon realized it was impossible. Lucas found a way around her neatly built walls. She cared deeply about him, no reason to deny it.

The more she thought about it, the more she wondered if Hank might have been right. In the end, she decided Hank was wrong. Jasmine couldn't be in love with someone – it was impossible. Not after she lost everyone and everything she ever cared about. She was afraid to love, scared shitless that she would lose another person close to her heart.

Lucas meant a whole lot to her, but Jasmine refused to let herself fall for him. She needed to stay strong, needed to keep her heart locked safely away from all the hurt. One fluttering moment of weakness could end her perfectly in control life and the plans she contrived. One moment could harm her irrevocably. She had been torn to pieces before, and another setback would shatter her completely.

This is why she hated these sleepless nights. It gave her too much time to think. Curling into a ball, Jasmine hugged her pillow to her chest and shut her eyes closed. She wanted to be strong. God, how she wanted that. So many tragedies happened in life, yet most people easily overcame them. Desperately she had tried to do the same, but Jasmine didn't seem to find a way out of the mess that became her life. She wanted to be the person that said 'fuck it' and went on with life, wanted to be fearless and strong. Sadly, she wasn't that kind of person.

The sudden noise of a car driving up the driveway startled Jasmine. Letting go of the pillow she'd been holding on to for dear life, she sat up and looked through the window. Nathan's sleek silver Lamborghini came into view. As the engine was turned off, Jasmine heard the door shutting with a loud thud before everything turned eerily quiet.

Confused, Jasmine kept her eyes focused on Nathan as he ran inside the house. It was already past midnight. Why on earth would Nathan be out that late? As far as she knew, Lucy hadn't said anything about seeing him tonight. Maybe he wanted to surprise her? Then again, Nathan seemed to be in a bad mood just now. He never shut his doors closed that wildly. The guy cared too much about his precious vehicle.

Alarm bells rang inside Jasmine's head, but she refused to let her pessimism overrule. She didn't want to look like a fool when it turned out that nothing bad was going on. It wouldn't be the first time she judged too quickly. Sighing, she curled back underneath the sheets and closed her eyes. Ignoring her gut feeling that told her something was seriously wrong, she let herself tumble into a dreamless sleep.

The following morning, Jasmine walked into school with a burning headache and feeling exhausted from a serious lack of sleep. For some reason she kept waking up the previous night, the bad feeling in the pit of her stomach growing stronger. Something bad was about to happen, she could feel it. Last time her gut told her something was up, her grandmother passed away.

Sighing, she opened her locker and looked for her math book. When she finally located the blue book in the back, she wrapped her fingers around the side before slamming her locker shut. Just when she wanted to turn around, Lucy jumped on her back. "Oomph," Jasmine gasped, nearly tumbling over.

"Good morning," Lucy chirped happily as she slowly let herself fall backward, landing gracefully on both feet. Jasmine grunted and rolled her eyes. She hated how joyful Lucy could be in the morning. The girl was clearly a morning person.

"I think I've got a hernia," Jasmine whined, rubbing her sore back.

"You baby," Lucy grinned as she put her handbag down, watching Jasmine with an amused expression across her features.

"So, how was last night?" Jasmine asked, wiggling her eyebrows suggestively.

Lucy frowned, clearly not understanding what Jasmine was talking about. "Last night? Why should something have happened last night?" the girl asked, confused.

"Oh," Jasmine mumbled, her suspicion growing with the minute. "I just thought since Nathan didn't arrive home before midnight the two of you had some fun."

Lucy gave her a strange look as she bit on her bottom lip, a clear sign the girl was worried. "Honestly Jas, I've no idea why Nathan arrived home late last night. He didn't tell me he had plans."

Jasmine nodded, her stomach doing flips flops in a bad way. Please, don't let her gut feeling be right. Lucy didn't need another misfortune in her life. Jasmine prayed Nathan hadn't done anything wrong. He'd been acting weird lately and Jasmine didn't like his behavior one bit.

"I'll ask him during lunch break," Lucy murmured, her good mood long gone. It was clear Jasmine wasn't the only one who felt bad about the situation. "Did you…did you notice anything weird about him?" the redhead questioned, nibbling at her bottom lip. "I mean…He's…I don't know."

"Luce," Jasmine said, taking the girl's hand in hers. She wanted to comfort her by telling Lucy she had nothing to worry about, but the bad feeling knew that would be a lie. "No matter what happens, I'm here for you. You can count on me, girl. I promise you." Lucy nodded, but the frown of worry and glint of sadness in her eyes didn't disappear.

Lunch break started ten minutes ago and Lucy still hadn't arrived in the cafeteria. Jasmine started to worry. Her eyes turned to her watch for the umpteenth time before she pushed her chair back and stood up. Her patience ran out. She needed to find her friend and she needed to find her fast. Something was up. She could feel it.

Dumping her untouched food in a container, Jasmine made her way through the cafeteria. After she pushed the heavy metal door open, she walked into a deserted hallway. Sighing loudly, Jasmine walked past numerous classrooms, only to find every single one of them vacant. Except for a few students lingering in the hallways, everyone was eating lunch in the cafeteria.

Jasmine was about to stop looking when she suddenly heard strangled noises coming from the girls' bathroom. Cautiously, Jasmine pushed the door open, careful not to make a sound. What she saw made her stomach churn. Sitting in the corner against the sink was Lucy, her face tear streaked and her eyes puffy. She was mindlessly playing with the end of her sleeve, unaware that someone just walked into the room.

"Fuck," Jasmine cursed, kneeling down in front of her friend. Lucy looked up in surprise, her eyes softened a little when she recognized Jasmine before she looked back down. Jasmine's heart broke at the sight. She'd never seen Lucy this sad. The bubbly ginger girl was far gone. In her place appeared a heartbroken, small and lost girl.

"Luce?" Jasmine said, trying to get her friend's attention. "What happened?" she asked worriedly when Lucy finally looked up.

"N…Na-te…He," she hiccupped before a loud sob erupted from deep within her and another endless stream of tears surfaced. Jasmine cursed under her breath before pulling Lucy into her arms and soothingly rubbing the girl's back. She could feel wetness against her chest, the clear evidence Lucy was still crying her eyes out.

"Shh, it's okay. I'm here," Jasmine whispered, running her fingers through Lucy's hair as she held her like a small child. She was going to kill Nathan. Jasmine had no idea what he did to make Lucy this upset, but she was going to strangle him anyway. He deserved it after making his girlfriend this sad.

"You…You were…right," Lucy uttered between ugly sobs. "Nate went…he…went out…last n-night." Jasmine held her breath, bracing herself for what was about to come. She had a pretty good idea what Lucy was going to say next. "He…that fucking jerk…he cheated on me!" Lucy suddenly cried out, her eyes filled with anger before another loud sob left her shaking body.

"Shit," Jasmine cursed, calling Nathan a bunch of dirty names in her mind while she soothingly kept rubbing Lucy's back. Calming her friend down turned out to be useless, the stream of tears seemed to be endless. Lucy wasn't just crying a river, but a goddamned ocean!

"H-how could h-he betray m-me l-like that?" Lucy sobbed, her maroon locks sticking to her tearstained cheeks. Jasmine lifted her shoulders, not knowing what to say as she stood up and dipped some paper towel in the sink. After moistening the piece of paper, she dropped back to her knees and wiped the smudged mascara from Lucy's face.

"I don't know, sweetheart. Everyone makes mistakes, some worse than others," Jasmine said, trying to stay rational and put her anger aside. "Which doesn't mean I excuse Nate being' a complete moron slash fucking asshole for doing this to you." Okay, maybe she couldn't exactly contain her anger. At least she had attempted to stay rational. Can't blame a girl for feeling protective of her friends.

"I-I never want to see h-him again!" Lucy yelled, her voice high-pitched. Jasmine had to refrain from wincing at the screeching sound. Damn. Maybe it was a good thing Lucy released some of her pain by being furious. Everything was better than seeing the girl cry her eyes out because of that fucking loser.

"Don't worry. I'll ask his brother to talk some sense into Nate," Jasmine reassured, knowing full well that would mean Lucas would beat the shit out of him. For once, Jasmine didn't mind Lucas talked with his fists instead of using words. Nathan deserved to be taught a lesson after what he did.

"Don't bother," Lucy mumbled after inhaling deeply, her tears finally coming to an end. "I don't want anyone to waste another damn second on that piece of scum." Jasmine gasped, shocked Lucy would ever dare to say something like that. Damn. The girl must be seriously ticked off to get that hostile. Jasmine expected Lucy would be the kind of girl to wallow in self-pity after someone cheated on her, not suck it up and fight back.

To say Lucy kept surprising her was an understatement. "We'll see," Jasmine replied, not sure she could stay out of this. Usually she wasn't one to meddle, but she didn't think she could let Nathan get away with this without putting him in his place first.

"I think I'm going home for the day. I don't exactly feel like sitting in the same classroom as Nate this afternoon," Lucy murmured as she stood up and looked at her reflection in the mirror. She groaned and ran her fingers through her hair in frustration, only making the mess worse.

"Are you sure you want to be alone today?" Jasmine asked worriedly, already thinking about going as well. Lucy needed her. She couldn't just let her go home and cry her eyes out some more.

"Yes, Jas, I want to be alone. Don't bother skipping class. I won't let you in if you come to my house. My mom's working late. She won't be able to let you in either if that's what you're hoping for," Lucy said, already thinking ahead. Damn.

"Luce, I'm not sure that's a good idea," Jasmine protested, resting her hand on top of Lucy's shoulder as she caught her eyes in the mirror.

"I know you mean well, Jas, but I need some time to process all of this. It's too much. I might be strong, but I'm not invincible. Tomorrow we'll talk and I'll let you cheer me up. Today I need to process everything, let my heart get used to the pain and brood. I understand why you don't think it's a good idea, but it's what I want. You'll have to accept that," Lucy stated, cool as a cucumber.

"I still think that's the shitiest idea I've ever heard, but I'll grant your wish. You get one day. One day, Luce. Tomorrow morning I'll pick you up for school – with force if necessary," Jasmine agreed, making a deal. She could understand Lucy needed some time to deal with the shit that happened today, but one day was all she would get. Jasmine wasn't going to let her friend fall into a depression. Jasmine knew too well that was a rabbit hole you didn't want to fall into.

"Glad we compromised," Lucy nodded as she picked her bag up from the floor and walked out of the bathroom. Jasmine stayed behind, looking in the mirror. Guess she should follow her gut feeling next time. She certainly hadn't been wrong when she thought something bad was about to happen.

Jasmine was looking for her car keys in her school bag when her eyes suddenly caught sight of Nathan Wood. Not able to contain her anger, she zipped her bag closed - her keys long forgotten - and ran towards Nathan. As she got closer she noticed his posture tense, his eyes widen and his hands were shaking. He deserved every ounce of fear he felt. Jasmine would gladly rip him a new one, in front of witnesses if necessary, after what he did.

"You deceiving little bastard!" Jasmine cried out as she halted in front of him, pointing her finger at his chest. "How dare you betray Lucy like that? Have you completely lost your mind? You fucking jerk!" she kept on shouting, gaining the attention of a few bystanders.

"Calm the fuck down, Jasmine!" Nathan retorted, his eyes scanning the crowd, embarrassment clear in his eyes. "You don't know the first thing of what happened."

"Then explain! Right this second!" she yelled back, her voice still loud.

Nathan groaned and looked down at his feet. The guy couldn't even handle looking her in the eye anymore. Little shit. "I fucked up, okay? Before I knew what was happening Kelsey's hands were in my pants. I tried to stop her – believe me, I fucking tried. I just…I'm a guy, okay?"

"Really, that's your excuse? You're a guy?" Jasmine repeated, shaking her head. "Unbelievable. You cheat on Lucy with Kelsey out of all people and your excuse is that 'you're a guy'? You fucking asshole!"

"No, dammit," Nathan cursed. "I know it's no excuse. There simply is no excuse for how bad I fucked up. Kelsey asked me to drive her home from school after my football practice ended and, seeing there were no other guys available, I caved. I didn't like the thought of sending her home on her own. No girl should walk alone after dark. When we were driving she suddenly started feeling me up. I knew I made a mistake right that second. I tried to push her away, but she wouldn't have any of it. Before I knew what was happening we were in the backseat of my car."

"God, you're such a fucking loser, you know that? I can't believe you, Nathan. You've got the most perfect girlfriend in the world, yet you betray her that easily? For what? A good lay? You don't deserve her. You never did. Lucy is so much better off without you," Jasmine cried out, forcefully pushing him aside as she headed to her car, not giving him the chance to explain any further.

"I love her, Jasmine. I do. Please tell her I love her!" Nathan shouted, suddenly not caring whether someone was listening in on their conversation.

"Screw you!" Jasmine replied, flipping him her middle finger, without so much as a backward glance. He could go to hell for all she cared. No sane guy cheated on a girl like Lucy, someone so pure and kind. Nathan didn't know what he was going to miss until Lucy was officially gone from his life.

Slamming the door shut with a loud bang, Jasmine walked into her room and let herself fall backward on the bed. The mattress dipped as her weight hit the cushion. Fucking Nathan. He screwed her friend over and for what reason? To get laid? What a scumbag. Mister Almighty who always badmouthed his older brother, cheated on a freaking angel. If that wasn't Karma, Jasmine didn't know what was.

As she released a frustrated groan, her door suddenly flew wide open, hitting the wall with a boom. Her eyes flew to the doorway and a grin made its way across her lips when she noticed Lucas leaning casually against the door jam. Patting the spot beside her on the bed, she silently requested him to come closer while she stared back up at the ceiling and waited for Lucas to do as he was told. Surprisingly, he complied without a word.

Seeming to understand she was in no mood to talk, he simply laid down beside her and pulled her flush against his side, her head resting against his shoulder. Jasmine sighed deeply and curled her arm around Lucas' middle. He was getting pretty good at this silent communication thing. In that moment, she couldn't have been more grateful he wasn't a talker. He gave her the time to come to her senses and waited until she was ready to reveal some of the thoughts that haunted her mind.

"Relax," Lucas told her shortly as he started to massage her neck and shoulder with his strong hands. The tension immediately seeped out of her, a warm feeling erupting in her belly as she closed her eyes and relaxed. A low throaty moan left her lips as Lucas loosened the knot between her shoulder blades. Damn, he was actually good at giving massages. She would have to remember that!

"No matter how much I love to hear that sound, princess, you should try to keep quiet or my hands aren't going to stay where they are," Lucas mumbled, his voice low and husky. At his tone, Jasmine's eyes immediately fluttered wide open. Lucas was watching her in amusement, his pupils slightly dilated and his lips parted. How she wanted to bite his bottom lip, push her tongue between his lips and claim his mouth with hers.

Jasmine cursed under her breath, squeezing her thighs closed as her body awakened, her senses aware of how close they were lying together. For Christ's sake, how was it possible for her hormones to keep spiraling out of control like that? She never, ever felt the urge to rip someone's clothes off before.

"Don't look at me like you want me to fuck you senseless, princess. I'm trying real hard over here to be good," Lucas warned, his teeth clenched as he looked her in the eye. Jasmine's heart skipped a beat as she stared at him, her mouth hanging wide open at Lucas' exclamation.

"Don't look so surprised, you naïve soul. Most guys would've taken advantage of your willingness a long time ago," Lucas smirked as he ran his left hand up and down her back, halting a few seconds too long at her backside.

Jasmine gasped, her eyes widened. "I would never let you fuck me," she exclaimed, hitting Lucas' chest with her free hand.

"Maybe not, but you'd be surprised by how far you'd let me go, princess. You can't exactly deny that you're attracted to me. We've had that discussing before and I'm sure you remember how that ended," Lucas retorted with a knowing grin.

Jasmine wanted to call him on his lies, but they both knew he wasn't wrong. If Lucas kissed her, she wouldn't hesitate to kiss him back. Honestly, she would probably crawl on top of his chest and rub herself against him. Yes, that's how horny she had become over the past weeks. Lucas knew how to get her riled up.

Lucas took Jasmine's silence as his victory and smiled, dimples full on. It was the first time Jasmine noticed he had the same dimples as his brother. It was too damn cute. "God, why do you have to be so adorable?" Lucas groaned as he hid his face in the crook of her neck. "It would be so much easier to stay away from you if you were a bitch." My, my, he was being honest today.

Jasmine smiled softly as she ran her fingers through Lucas' messy onyx hair. Done hiding, Lucas looked up, his eyes meeting Jasmine's. "Now tell me why you were so frustrated that you threw your door shut with a loud bang," he pressed, his curiosity getting the best of him.

Groaning, the playfulness left Jasmine's eyes as she laid back down and stared at the ceiling. "It must be pretty bad to get you all wound up like that," Lucas mumbled as he softly started to nibble at the skin in the crook of her throat. It effectively distracted Jasmine.

Sighing softly, she shuffled a little closer to Lucas until he was practically lying on top of her, his lips still attached to the skin at her throat. "Nathan screwed Lucy over," Jasmine explained as she ran her hands over Lucas' back.

"What?" Lucas asked surprised, his head coming up as he looked her in the eye, clearly confused. Jasmine immediately missed his love bites. It had been a good distraction while she gained the courage to talk.

"Keep doing what you were doing before," Jasmine groaned, pointing at her neck. Lucas chuckled and shook his head before nuzzling his nose against her throat and slowly restarting his assault on her sensitive skin. "Nathan had sex with Kelsey in the backseat of his car. Lucy found out and all hell broke loose. The poor girl is devastated. Your brother is a fool. Who cheats on a girl like Lucy? He's never going to find a better girlfriend," Jasmine went on, annoyance clear in her voice.

Halting his nibbling for a few seconds, Lucas said, "That's pretty fucked up. I'm an asshole, but at least the girls I'm with know they're not the only ones I fuck." Jasmine felt like she was sucker punched in the stomach for a second. She did know Lucas fucked around, yet it hurt to actually hear him say it out loud. "I mean I don't sugarcoat it. Neither should they expect cuddling afterward. When I'm done they leave my bed and go home."

For some reason, that eased Jasmine's mind. Lucas did cuddle with her and they'd once fallen asleep together. It shouldn't, but it made her feel special. She was the only girl Lucas hugged and kissed without it ending with sex.

"Nathan is a moron. He fucked up the one healthy relationship he had going on. Why is it so difficult for guys to keep it in their pants?" Jasmine questioned with a frustrated groan.

Lucas chuckled, but didn't answer. Instead he rolled fully on top of her and brought his mouth down on hers. At first Jasmine stayed frozen in place, before her body started to relax and she kissed him back with equal fervor. Her fingers tangled in his hair while Lucas peppered her mouth with kisses, never kissing her long enough to let her tongue seek out his.

Growing frustrated with his teasing, Jasmine pushed Lucas on his back, knowing the only reason he went was because he wanted to and she attacked his lips. Jasmine forcefully pulled at his hair while her tongue snaked out and searched entrance to his wet cavern. With a groan Lucas granted her access and let her tongue enter his mouth. They kissed for what seemed like hours, their limbs entangled and their bodies rubbing against each other.

When Jasmine finally came up for air she was breathing heavily, as if all the oxygen had been sucked out of her lungs. Lucas grinned at her, his chest heaving with every breath he took. Unable to speak, Jasmine rested her head against his chest and wrapped her legs around his hips. It was an extremely intimate pose, but she honestly didn't give a rat's ass.

Lucas was always there for her when she needed him. They might not have a healthy relationship and he might break her heart someday, but she wasn't going to let the future rule the present day. In that moment she wanted to be close to him and she was going to do what she damn well pleased. Fuck the consequences. She could worry about them tomorrow when her mind was clear.


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