Chapter 19: Saving a Damsel in Distress
The party was going to be a life changing event, the night everyone had been waiting for. At least that's what Nathan's slogan said on the many flyers spread across school that week. Supposedly it was going to be the party of the year which made Jasmine roll her eyes. Everyone was looking forward to it and everyone desperately wanted to be invited. Lucky for most kids, Nathan wasn't picky and just told everyone to come. Usually The Wood parties were exclusive and people could only enter if their name was on the list so the open invite was the talk of the school.
"Luce, the first people will arrive any moment. We should go down stairs," Jasmine told her friend as she finished putting her strappy heels on. Music was already blaring through the house, making the floor quake with the loud bass. The party would be in full swing in no time. Most of the kids at school usually arrived in large groups.
"Just finishing my make-up," Lucy pointed out as she put some mascara on. At first Jasmine had been afraid to ask Lucy if she wanted to come, seeing things between Nathan and her were still…tense. To her surprise, it was Lucy who decided the party was a great idea and happily agreed to join them, which was very weird. Lucy wasn't the kind of person that liked parties. She'd rather stay at home and watch a movie or read a book.
"Are you sure you don't mind hanging around Nathan?" Jasmine asked for the billionth time that day. It was no secret Lucy had been avoiding Nathan and ignoring his calls and text messages for days. Jasmine didn't understand why Lucy would suddenly change her mind. It made her feel wary. Something was up with her friend and Jasmine wanted to know what it was.
"Yes, Jas, I'm sure. Like I told you the past twenty times you asked me that same question," Lucy replied with an eye roll as she finished her make-up. Another surprise, Lucy had gone all out with her outfit tonight. Her untamed curls were now a good-looking mess, her make-up was spot on and she wore a skimpy lime colored dress that went beautifully with her maroon locks. Jasmine honestly had never seen Lucy looking more beautiful and sexy. The girl was going to be an eye catcher tonight.
"We should go," Lucy smiled, fake optimism shining in her green orbs as she walked to the door. Jasmine wished she knew what was going on. She was worried about Lucy.
As they arrived downstairs, the first people were walking into the house. Jasmine noted Lucy wasn't the only one who'd chosen her outfit carefully. All the girls looked like they could've been models, some of them classy, others tawdry.
"Lucy," a bulky blond guy said with a smile, his eyes focused on Lucy's boobs as he walked closer. Jasmine immediately felt a bad vibe being around him. The guy practically screamed trouble.
"Hi Cedric," Lucy smiled, a soft blush touching her cheeks. Jasmine frowned, not understanding how the two of them were even on speaking terms. As far as Jasmine knew, she was Lucy's only friend at school.
"You're looking good, babe," Cedric said, looking Lucy up and down in appreciation. "Want to join me and my friends?" he asked, his voice slightly husky as he leaned forward, totally invading Lucy's personal space.
Being the cute girl Lucy was, she blushed ten different shades of red and shyly nodded. Cedric grinned, clearly satisfied with her answer and intertwined their fingers. "I'll see you around, Jas," Lucy quickly uttered before Cedric lead her through a large group of people that were walking inside the house to his friends in the center of the room. Jasmine stayed behind shocked, her mouth hanging slightly agape as she watched her friend disappear in the crowd. What just happened?
"What's Lucy doing with that guy?" Lucas asked curiously, appearing out of nowhere, halting beside Jasmine and sliding an arm around her waist.
Jasmine's eyes quickly scanned the crowd, seeing that no one was watching them. Sighing in relief she turned her attention to Lucas. "I've no idea. I don't even know him," Jasmine replied, still frowning. Was that guy the reason Lucy went all out with her make-up and clothes? Was Ms. Shy and Innocent really trying to impress a guy? Jasmine felt like she'd arrived on another planet. Lucy's behavior was beyond strange.
"That's Cedric McCarthy, popular jock and womanizer. It's uncertain how many cherries that guy has popped, but I can tell you it's a long list. He loves the chase, but dumps the girls afterward," Lucas explained, only intensifying Jasmine's worries. She did not like it one bit that Lucy would hang out with a guy like that. How did the girl even know him?
"I'd keep Lucy away from him if I were you," Lucas warned. "That guy is probably only interested in her because she dumped my brother. Nathan and Cedric are rivals."
Jasmine nodded, her heart racing in her chest. She didn't want anything bad to happen to Lucy. It was clear the girl was looking for a rebound after the way her relationship with Nathan ended. She wanted to hurt him back for hurting her and was going at it in the wrong way. She'd only end up getting even more hurt if she succeeded in whatever twisted plan she'd concocted.
"I think she's trying to get back at Nathan," Jasmine shared, resting her head against Lucas' shoulder. Everyone around them was too busy starting the party to notice the two of them in the corner of the room.
"Yeah, that's what I suspected. She shouldn't mess with McCarthy though. He's bad news. He might not be a scary biker like me, but he can do some serious damage to good girls like Lucy," Lucas stated, his grip tightening on Jasmine's waist.
"I'm afraid, Luke. What if he hurts her?" Jasmine mumbled, her eyes scanning the crowd to find Lucy. Seconds ago she was mingling with Cedric and his friends right in front of her, now she suddenly disappeared from the earth. Large groups of people kept walking in, hindering Jasmine's view.
"It'll be fine," Lucas reassured her, pressing a quick peck against her temple before letting his arm drop from around her waist and taking a step back.
"What the fuck?!" they suddenly heard Nathan scream through the room. Alarmed, Lucas immediately shot to action and started to push through the crowd of partying people towards the end of the room where the sound came from.
Jasmine followed suit behind him, her heart hammering in her chest as she tried to get to Nathan as fast as she could. When the crowd finally started to thin, Jasmine saw Lucy standing in the middle of a group of people, Cedric's arm draped around her waist as he pulled her close to his side. Nathan was standing in front of them, pointing fingers and screaming.
"Calm down, man," Cedric smirked, his fingers digging into Lucy's side as he watched Nathan. The satisfied glint in the guy's eyes made Jasmine's stomach churn. Cedric was clearly enjoying taunting Nathan.
"Step back," Nathan ordered, his eyes focused on Lucy. His body was shaking with anger, his posture tense.
"Shut up, Wood. She's no longer your girl," Cedric fired back, loosening his grip on Lucy's middle to let his fingers slide to her backside.
"You bastard!" Nathan shouted, his face beet red, before he closed the space between them and his hands shot around Cedric's throat. Lucas immediately reacted and held his brother back, holding a tight grip on Nathan as the guy kicked and screamed.
Cedric chuckled as he rubbed his neck and stepped out of Nathan's reach. "See what kind of guy he is, baby?" he asked Lucy, smiling a bittersweet smile. "You're much better off without him."
"Lucy," Jasmine stated, pleading with her friend to step away from Cedric. Lucy just shook her head and turned around. Cedric followed suit behind her, but not before throwing another smirk at Nathan. Jasmine groaned. This night was quickly turning into a disaster.
"Nathan, calm down," Jasmine ordered as she stepped in front of Nathan. Making sure Nathan didn't run off on a murderous rampage seemed more important than following Lucy at the moment. Lucas was still holding his brother back, afraid he'd go after Cedric for a second time.
"Fuck you," Nathan retorted, his body still shaking with anger.
"Nate, I know you're mad and I understand why, but you've got to calm down. You'll only push Lucy away by acting like a lunatic," Jasmine explained, her eyes piercing his. She wanted Nathan to see reason, but he was too angry to think rationally. He seemed to be consumed with rage.
"I'll take him outside, princess. You keep an eye out for Lucy, okay?" Lucas interrupted, still fighting his brother.
"Are you going to be okay?" Jasmine asked worriedly, her eyes focused on a still kicking and trashing Nathan. It was a good thing Lucas was muscled and strong enough to keep his brother under control.
"We'll be fine," Lucas assured before turning in the direction of the front door, both of his arms wrapped around Nathan's middle as he hauled him outside.
Jasmine watched them go, her heart beating rapidly in her chest. She sincerely hoped that would be the end of the drama tonight. Little did she know, it was only the beginning.
Jasmine was talking to a girl from her class when her cell phone suddenly started ringing. Since Lucy didn't seem to want to leave Cedric' side, Jasmine had been hanging around with people from her class. After numerous of attempts to get Lucy away from Cedric, Jasmine lost patience and decided to back off. It was clear her friend was not going to listen to her. Lucy had made that blatantly clear when she told Jasmine to mind her own business.
The girl was hurting and lashing out at the wrong people. Jasmine should've known Lucy wasn't ready for a party like that. She'd seen how her friend crawled back in her shell after the breakup, but thought it'd be a good idea for Lucy to finally move on and be surrounded by people. Obviously, it was still too soon. Now Lucy was hanging around bad people in order to keep the charade going that she was over Nathan. Damn it. Jasmine felt guilty for not being able to see Lucy was still far from ready to move on. Rationally, she knew it wasn't her fault, but still…
"Hi," Jasmine greeted as she picked up her phone without looking at the caller ID.
"Jasmine," Lucas said, his voice sounding strained. No pet names or smartass remarks, just her name coming from his lips, his tone dead serious.
Alarmed, Jasmine's posture immediately tensed. "What's wrong?" she asked worriedly, suspecting something happened to Nathan.
"Come to the backyard, right now," Lucas ordered shortly before the line went dead. Worried beyond measure, Jasmine turned around and headed to the backdoor, not even sparing her classmates a second glance as she pushed through the mass of bodies. She heard her name being called a few times, but ignored the voices as she walked at a fast pace, wanting to be in the backyard as soon as possible.
Her hands were shaking, her heart beating too fast as she finally pushed the backdoor open and stepped into the yard. Jasmine halted for a moment, letting her eyes adjust to the darkness before she continued her rapid movements. A wave of relief washed over her when she saw Lucas standing a few feet away from her before her breath hitched.
Lucy was sitting on the ground in the fetal position, her arms hugging her knees as she slowly rocked herself back and forth. An endless stream of tears was rolling down her cheeks while Lucas softly rubbed her back. "Oh god," Jasmine gasped, swallowing thickly as she kneeled down in front of Lucy. Her left hand shook as she carefully touched Lucy's cheek, pushing away the girl's maroon locks that were stuck to her face.
"What happened?" Jasmine asked softly, her voice wavering as she focused her gaze on her friend.
"Cedric McCarthy happened. He had her pressed against a tree, his hands roaming her body while she tried to push him off. I intervened, but by the time I had him off of her, Lucy had already sunk down to her knees. I tried to calm her, but she keeps shaking. She's going into shock. I didn't know what to do so I called you," Lucas explained, his voice shaking with both anger and helplessness.
"Oh god," Jasmine repeated, her heart breaking a little as she watched Lucy rock herself back and forth.
"I can pick her up and bring her to your room. She's probably too far gone to notice I'm carrying her," Lucas proposed, looking uncertain.
"That's actually a good idea," Jasmine nodded, glad to know at least one of them was thinking rationally. All she could think of was ways to kill that bastard. How dare he? Lucy was a good girl. She deserved to be treated like a princess, not a slut.
As Jasmine stepped back, Lucas knelt down in front of Lucy and cautiously lifted her in his arms. Lucy didn't utter a word, her eyes blank as she kept uncontrollably shaking. "Should I call Nate? He deserves to know what happened," Lucas said as he carried Lucy back to the house.
"I don't know," Jasmine honestly replied. After everything that happened, she still resented the younger Wood brother. He carelessly broke Lucy's heart. Tonight probably wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been for Nathan. Then again, Jasmine realized she couldn't blame Nathan for everything. He wasn't the one that had Lucy pressed against a freaking tree against her will.
"I know that if I was Nathan, whatever happened in the past wouldn't matter, I'd just want to see my girl and make sure she's okay," Lucas stated, sounding deadly serious.
Sighing, Jasmine nodded. He was probably right. She knew Nathan worried about Lucy. He'd want to know what happened to her. The thing was, she had no idea whether Lucy would want him there after what occurred in the backyard. If only the girl could be lucid enough to tell her whether she wanted Nathan close or not.
"To get Lucy upstairs we'll have to walk down the hall," Lucas mentioned as they walked closer to the living room where the party was in full swing.
Jasmine nodded in affirmation. It meant half the school would see Lucy. After the little incident earlier that evening, everyone was already talking about her. It would only get worse once they saw the state she was in.
"I could call a few of my friends, let them make a big hassle in front of the house to distract the crowd and get Lucy upstairs without anyone noticing," Lucas proposed as he carefully set Lucy down on a chair. They were currently in the kitchen, the only party-free zone downstairs.
"Um, sure?" Jasmine answered a little uncertain.
Lucas grinned. "Princess, if my friends make a hassle in front of the mansion, that would mean the police arrive here ten minutes later and the party gets shut down. My parents will be called and our neighbors will be very unhappy," he explained.
Jasmine's eyes went wide, her mouth forming a silent 'oh'. Lucas grin stretched a little wider. "Your naivety shouldn't be cute, but it is," he said, shaking his head.
Refraining from rolling her eyes, Jasmine sighed deeply. "Are your parents going to be mad?" she asked, already knowing the answer to her question.
Lucas chuckled. "It'll be hell on earth," he replied, clearly amused by her question. "Don't worry though, it'll be mainly me who gets the blame. Nathan and you are safe."
"You know that's not what I want," Jasmine said, frowning.
"I know it's not what you want, but it's what will happen. I'm just warning you upfront. Don't bother to defend me in front of my parents, it'll only make matters worse. Keep your mouth shut and things will blow over," Lucas advised as he dug his phone out of the back pocket of his jeans and dialed a number.
"Hank, it's me." Jasmine tried to eavesdrop on the conversation, but she couldn't hear what Hank was saying. Damn.
"Yes, I know."
"We have a situation."
"I know I already owe you."
"Man, are you done wasting my time? I need you at the house."
"No. It'll be fun, promise."
"Just to create some fuss. Do what you're best at."
"Yeah. Okay. Be here soon, will ya?"
After Lucas ended the call he grinned. "They'll arrive here shortly."
"They're going to turn the front yard into a war zone, won't they?" Jasmine sighed, raising an eyebrow.
"Probably," Lucas grinned, a mischievous smile playing at his lips.
"Remind me again why I agreed to this shitty plan?" she asked, her palm resting against her head as she nervously paced up and down the room.
"Because you want to help out your best friend," Lucas replied as Jasmine stopped to crouch down in front of Lucy and looked worriedly at her friend. The girl was staring blankly ahead of her, lips quivering. She was so far gone Jasmine wasn't sure Lucy knew where she was.
"What happened to Cedric?" Jasmine asked cautiously, not sure she wanted to know the answer.
"After I pulled him off Lucy and hit him square in the face, he ran to his car like a scared little baby. Seeing the state Lucy was in, I decided to let him get away and take care of your friend instead. He'll probably get a visit from Hank in a few days. Don't worry, he won't be a problem anymore. Hank is very good at getting messages through to spoiled brats," Lucas replied with a grin.
For once, Jasmine decided not to comment. Normally, she'd scold Lucas for hitting someone and tell him to keep his friends away from Cedric. However, the guy went too far. Jasmine would probably kill him with her own hands if she ever saw him again. He deserved to be taught a lesson.
A few minutes later, which seemed like an endless time in Jasmine's opinion, the loud roar of motorcycle engines could be heard. Excited squeals echoed through the house as people pushed open the front door to watch what was happening. "Why are people such disaster tourists?" Jasmine rhetorically asked, shaking her head.
"Humans are a curious species," Lucas said with a shrug as he carefully cradled Lucy back into his arms. "We'll wait a few extra minutes until most of the people are outside before I carry Lucy upstairs," he explained, nodding at Jasmine.
"Great," Jasmine replied, cautiously pushing the door to the hallway open to see people storming outside like possessed lunatics. When the coast was clear, she ushered Lucas out of the room and quickly ran upstairs. He followed suit behind her, holding Lucy protectively against his chest.
"Lock your door while I go look for Nathan," Lucas ordered as he carefully laid Lucy down on the bed once they arrived in Jasmine's room. "When she finally stops shaking, she'll probably fall asleep from exhaustion. Don't be worried," he added as he straightened his back and sighed deeply.
"Be careful," Jasmine said softly, concern lacing her voice as she touched Lucas' shoulder. "I won't bail you out of prison tonight," she added with a grin, trying to lighten the mood.
"Don't worry, princess. I might be badass, but I steer clear of prison cells," he smirked before pressing a soft peck against her temple and walking out of the room. Jasmine watched him go, her hands balled into fists as she heard the first police sirens resounding in the distance.
Jasmine held the phone a few inches away from her ear as Gabriella kept screaming on the other side of the line, beyond unhappy about the situation they got themselves in. After the police arrived at the mansion and arrested a few troublemakers – aka Lucas' friends – they closed down the party and called the parents. It was safe to say, Gabriella was furious.
"You're lucky I'm across the country or I would've strangled the three of you," Gabriella threatened. "Frank and I will be home tomorrow afternoon. You'd better make sure the house looks just the same as we left it or there will be consequences, Jazzy. I expected more of you. I warned you to keep my boys in control," the woman sighed before she promptly hung up and the line went dead.
Jasmine sighed deeply, rubbing her head as she felt a headache coming on. Turning to the side, she watched Lucy. Her friend was curled up in a ball, her eyes tightly closed. Jasmine hadn't seen either Lucas or Nathan after the party ended and sincerely hoped neither of them were in trouble. Since Gabriella didn't mention anything about them being arrested, she hoped that meant they were both okay.
As she sat down on the end of the bed, the door suddenly burst open and Nathan came storming inside, his eyes wide with rage. When his eyes locked on Lucy's sleeping form, his posture relaxed a little and his eyes turned soft. Jasmine stood up as he walked closer. "Nathan," she stated, her voice holding a clear warning.
"Now is not the time to start this bullshit, Jas. I know you're still mad as hell at me, but this isn't about you. Luce needs me," Nathan gritted through clenched teeth as he made his way to his ex-girlfriend and crouched down next to her, pain visible across his features.
Jasmine frowned, a mix of conflicted emotions coursing through her body. She wanted to protect her friend, but at the moment she didn't know how. Should she get Nathan as far away from Lucy as possible or did her friend truly need him by her side?
She got the answer she was looking for when Lucy softly mumbled Nathan's name and curled her body into his as he cradled her into his arms. "Shh, it's okay, baby. You're safe. No one's going to hurt you," Nathan softly uttered as he picked Lucy up from the bed.
"What do you think you're doing?" Jasmine questioned as she looked at Nathan in confusion.
"Bringing Lucy to where she belongs, in my bed, safely in my arms," he replied as he carefully pushed a loosened curl out of Lucy's eyes.
Jasmine watched them in confusion. Lucy unconsciously nestled closer to Nathan, her posture relaxed for the first time in hours. As much as she still wanted to strangle Nathan for what he did to her friend, it seemed like he was the only person that could calm Lucy down.
"I still don't think it's a good idea to remove her from my room, but seeing as she seems to relax when you're around, I'll let you take her. I warn you though, if anything happens to her, I won't hesitate to kill you." Nathan nodded, his lips twitching slightly at her threat, but he otherwise stayed unmoved.
"I won't let anything happen to her," Nathan promised as he walked to the door, carrying Lucy in his arms.
"You better not," Jasmine mumbled under her breath as she watched them go before closing the door. She sincerely hoped Lucy wasn't going to kill her in the morning when she came back to her senses and realized she was in Nathan's bed.
Sunlight was piercing through the curtains when Jasmine opened her eyes the next morning. Feeling lonely in her big bed, she slowly pushed back the sheets and slipped out from underneath them. Barefooted, she tiptoed across the hall to Lucas' room and carefully pushed the door open. A smile played at her lips as her eyes focused on his frame. He was lying in the middle of his queen-sized bed, the sheets tossed at his feet as he hugged his pillow close to his body.
Grinning, Jasmine stepped into his room, closed the door and made her way to his bed. Careful not to wake him, she sat down on the bed, the mattress dipping softly as her weight touched the linen. She scooted closer to Lucas, gripped the sheets at her feet and pulled them over the both of them.
Smiling contently, she cuddled close to Lucas and closed her eyes. Lucas' amused chuckle made her blink her eyes open a second later. "You're awake," she accused, her gaze focusing on his still tightly shut eyelids.
"Good morning to you, too, princess," Lucas grinned as his eyes shot open and he wrapped his arm around her middle to pull her closer.
"You can be so annoying sometimes," Jasmine mumbled as she rested her cheek against his shoulder and threw a leg over his, practically lying on top of him.
Lucas grinned at her accusation as he let his arm rest across her back, his hand only inches away from her rear. "You're the one who decided to crawl in my bed at six in the morning," he retorted after a quick glance at his alarm clock.
"Just shut up and pretend to sleep," Jasmine told him with a sigh, her fingers playing with the fabric of his shirt.
After a long silence, Jasmine was the first to speak. "Thank you for saving Lucy yesterday. If you hadn't been there… I don't even want to know what would've happened," Jasmine said, her voice stammering a little.
"Just doing what anyone would've done, princess," Lucas replied evenly, his hold on her body tightening slightly.
"We both know most people would've just turned their head in the other direction and would've walked away. You didn't do what everyone would do, you decided to be brave and end a cruel incident from happening. You stepped up when not just anyone would have and saved my best friend. So thank you, Luke. Don't sell yourself short," Jasmine retorted, pressing a light kiss against Lucas' throat.
"I'm not a hero because I did what every man in his right mind should do, princess," Lucas insisted.
"Like you said should do, not would do," Jasmine stated, catching Lucas' eyes.
Lucas sighed and shook his head. "It's time for you to shut up and pretend to be asleep," he said, throwing her own words back in her face. Jasmine grinned. He was so bad at accepting compliments. It shouldn't be funny, but it was.
"Luke…," she started, but before she could say anything else Lucas' lips crashed down on hers, effectively silencing her. Well, maybe next time they could continue their conversation, but for now Jasmine would happily stay quiet. Lucas was too much of a great kisser to deny herself the pleasure.