Chapter 1: Destructive
How To Be A Writer-
Step 1: Hate everything you ever write.
Step 2: Keep writing.
It doesn’t take long for Chloe Carlin to realize she has a problem on her hands, and that problem bears the name of Asher Freed. In the time it takes to walk across one street, Chloe’s life is unwillingly invaded by the guy with the dizzying appeal and chaos-causing nature.
With a rocky start in life, Chloe needs stability — and to stay away from the walking, talking, and breathing catastrophe on her campus. But he’s a powerful force she can’t ignore, especially when he yanks her into his life with a less-than-simple bet. The more she gets to know him, the harder it is to come to terms with the fact that, though she wants him, he may be the last thing she needs.
For Asher Freed, Chloe Carlin is the kind of girl he has no business feigning after — beautiful, funny, hard-headed, and his polar opposite. While knowing he’s better off wanting nothing to do with her, he understands she has invaded his every thought, knocking him off his game when he believes he’s at his strongest.
Stubbornness is a trait the two share and, while Chloe wants to ignore how she feels, Asher will stop at nothing to be near her.
He glanced over at me as I groaned, “You really know how to make a girl feel special.”
He scoffed, sending a glimpse in my direction before settling his eyes back onto the road. “You should feel special. You’re beautiful, smart and you get to hang out with someone as hot as me.”
His thumb drew mindless circles on my skin and slowly, without meaning to, he slid his hand farther up my inner thigh. Something unfamiliar inside me pulsated, and I had the intrusive thought to take his hand and move it closer to where I needed it. That thought only lasted a second, and it was followed by a God, Chloe! in my own head.
“You think I’m beautiful?” My smile wide, I looked over at him with broad eyes. My once-normal legs turned to jelly as he continued those delectable circles on my thigh.
Asher looked over at me in disbelief, my statement seemingly more important than the freeway in front of us, before removing his hand from me and regripping the wheel. I forced a neutral expression from the instant lack of contact.
“Did you miss the part where I called myself hot?” He frowned.
“You’re always cocky, it’s nothing new. You think I’m beautiful?” I repeated.
He glimpsed at me, a smirk catching the corner of his kissable lips. “Very. You think I’m cocky?”
This story contains violent scenes, strong language, scenes of questionable appropriateness, and will make you angry, sad, happy, in love, irritated, along with numerous other emotions that I take no account for <3.
I spent eighty-seven years and looked through around twelve other stories for inspiration on what to write for my author’s note only to come out with nothing, so this is me ad-libbing. When I initially published this story some years ago, it was actual trash and I was surprised my computer had yet to catch on fire because of how embarrassingly terrible it was. Since then, I’ve vamped and revamped (and revamped. and revamped again) the story until it fit my growing standards. This is the (hopefully) improved version of this story. If you’ve already read this story, even recently, you may want to shoot it a re-read seeing:
One — It’s been a minute since it was initially posted and if your memory is anything like mine, you probably forgot the storyline.
Two — Words cannot describe how terrible I am at leaving this story alone. Each time I read it, there’s something to fix, change, or redescribe. I apologize for that. The story is my baby. Every now and then, I may change/add minor story details/scenes that you might want to know.
Regardless, I hope you enjoy the story, and thanks for clicking on it. Enjoy my hot-trash-can-on-fire-story!
© 2018 Wriiter
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publisher. For permission requests, write to the publisher.
Destructively Oblivious — Chapter 1
1. causing extreme harm and damage to objects and/or people around you.
When she was a little girl, bedtime was a fairytale. Each night was a different adventure to partake in. The words on the page would transform her wonderous imagination into new worlds, and the scenarios she’d fantasize about were always much more magical than her actual life.
Sometimes she was clad in a beautiful yellow dress, dancing the night away with the beast as the ballroom music played her into oblivion. On other nights, she was hurrying down a grand staircase, losing her glass slipper, later to have it returned by Prince Charming. Once in a while, she was eating a poisonous red apple, ready to be awakened by her savior with a True Loves Kiss.
Despite her young age — and her indisputable joy for each book her mother read her — she knew the stories weren’t real. She was aware girls could do more than sit back and wait for their one true love. Fairytales were outdated, but she still listened to them every night.
In stories, boys were princes in the bodies of dragons. They were perfect men disguised as beasts. They were knights in shining armor who would travel the world and back to be with the woman they loved. And then everyone lived Happily Ever After. In real life, boys were... more disappointing than that.
The men that she would come across would yell and drink and gamble away their earnings. They would scramble her versions of a fairytale ending with their disruptive flaws and unbreakable bad habits. Or, at least, that was what she saw at home.
At seventeen, her opinions on boys shifted. Her boy seemed different. He didn’t yell or drink or gamble away any necessities, and he always appeared guilty on the occasions when his own destructiveness would hurt her.
It was only when he was on her porch, begging for her forgiveness, telling her that the girl she’d caught him with was merely a mistake, that she realized she’d never be the type of girl who could turn beasts into princes.
That year, she packed up all her old fairytales from under her bed, filling up two boxes in the process of ridding them all. She carried them up to the tiny attic above the house that held ratty baby clothes and her brother’s old baseball equipment. She tossed the boxes onto the ground and flipped off the light switch, closing the door on a decade of memories.
It had been nearly a year since she’d stuffed them all away. She didn’t read, nor think of, fairytales anymore. Because dragons stayed dragons and beasts stayed beasts. Because her father was the first boy to break her heart and an eighteen-year-old cheater was the second. Because stories were stories, and this was real life. She didn’t have it in her to fix someone who was broken when she felt she was already far past destroyed.
*Chloe’s Point of View*
Monday, December 3rd.
Some say money is the root of all evil. I’ve never come across a reason to disagree. Though its uses can be very beneficial — things like feeding the poor, building schools, and donating to charities all come to mind — it’s regularly probed as a downright destructive entity that encourages people to do absolutely anything to obtain it, including gambling, fraud, blackmail, and shipping parents away on four-month-long trips to maintain their careers. All of which I’d seen, and lived through, firsthand.
I’d learned two weeks ago that my mother would be heading out of the state of California, taking an extensive trip to Utah to prepare the corporate office, and being paid very generously to do so. Normally, she wouldn’t have batted an eyelash before declining the request, but she was easily convinced when they showed her the large check she’d be receiving when her plane landed.
Though weeks had passed since I’d heard the news, the majority of my mother and my conversations still sounded a lot like
“Mom, it’s irrational.” And insane. And stupid. And absurd. And one million other adjectives that were all cracking against the inside of my skull, begging to be freed.
My mom had been patient with me throughout the weeks, which I appreciated while I went through verbal meltdown after meltdown about her approaching absence.
Her tone was soft, gentle as always when she countered back against my ongoing complaints. “Sweetie, you’re only making it harder for me to leave.”
“Good, then my plan is working ceaselessly.” I dropped overdramatically onto her bed, a bed that would be unslept in for four months, legs crossed and brain battered. With a jittery exhale, my mom took a seat beside me, smoothly pressing her hand against my leg.
“Chloe,” she mumbled my name softly. “You understand this trip is going to be hard on me.” As if she needed my spoken confirmation before she could continue, she uttered hesitantly, “Right?”
“It doesn’t seem hard on you,” I grumbled.
I couldn’t look her in the eye as I spoke. Instead, I took in the sight of her half-packed suitcase, one she pulled out of storage a little too fast for my liking.
It wasn’t that I wanted to spend our last few days together saturating my mother with guilt, but I couldn’t seem to stop the comments. My remarks didn’t give me any of the satisfaction I’d hoped for and I hugged my knees to my chest, resting my chin atop them.
“I’m going to miss you, that’s all,” I finally muttered, the first positive thing I’d said all morning. Or possibly all week.
I’d never been away from my mom for so long. Though we weren’t exactly strangers to excessive travel, we hadn’t picked up and moved in years. And even when we did, we were never apart.
“I’m going to miss you too.” She drew my face to hers, placing her eyes elsewhere when she caught my gaze. “You know how much we need the money.”
I frowned. That was what this was all about. It was what it would always be about.
“I told you I’d pick up more shifts at the diner.” My frown depleted, shifting to a scowl. “I’ll get a second job if I have to.”
My mom’s lips tilted downwards with exasperation. “And I told you that wasn’t an option,” she snapped. A breath escaped from my lungs in the form of a wavering sigh and once more, my mother’s patience revived itself. “It’s only a few months, and then everything will be taken care of. It's what we've always wanted, baby. A clean financial slate.”
I nodded, contrived. I wanted to argue about it. I wanted to beg her to take me with her or not to go at all. Sadly, all I could do was nod and look away as I quickly wiped the tear that was spilling from my eye. Reflecting on how she and I would spend the last week we had together, an invasive thought pierced my already-popped reality bubble.
“By any means, I don’t need to stay with your random co-worker. I’m an adult.” I winced, feeling physical pain from the thought of being housed by a nearly complete stranger.
I would be turning 19 soon and certainly didn’t need a guardian to keep an eye on me. It wasn’t like I did enough to warrant a supervisor anyway. I’d graduated high school the year before and attended a community college nearby. Between that and my cramped work schedule, I didn’t have the free time to do much else. Still, my mom felt anxious about me staying alone and was set on housing me with her friend, despite my arguments.
With a playfully offended chuckle, she tore her eyes from her empty dresser and settled them on me. “Amy is not random. You’ve met her plenty of times.”
I’d met Amy at my mom’s work parties and on certain special occasions, nothing significant. She was nice from what I’d deciphered, but staying for four whole months with a partial stranger seemed more than a little strange to me.
My mom had always flown by the seat of her pants, never following a predetermined plan when deciding her courses of action, which was why she had very few qualms about her four-month trip. She’d never had trouble adjusting in anywhere. Unlike her excessive amount of brown hair and obnoxious laugh, her risky psyche was not a trait she’d passed down to me.
She followed her giggle with a sigh, her cheery, hazel eyes reverting back to gloomy. Her eye color was another thing I hadn’t inherited from her. Unfortunately, I had gotten my dad’s intensely blue eyes, which was funnily enough one of the few things he’d left me.
“I could probably stay with Jamie, if it’s that big of a deal,” I offered. While I still didn’t feel it was necessary, at least she’d feel more at ease knowing my best friend’s mother would be looking after me.
“I’d have to speak with Jessica about it.” She paused, contemplating over one of her many thoughts, and probably mentally planning out what she’d say when she spoke to Jamie’s mom. After another moment, her cheeks dimpled and she leaned in, puckering her lips against my head. “I know you’d prefer to stay alone. It’s just...”
I frowned. “Everything would be fine. If anything happened, I would call Tate.”
“Your brother is in LA. If you were to have a nightmare-” she tried, urging me to feel anxious about the possibility.
I cut her off with a head shake. “Mom.”
Understanding my discomfort, she lifted her shoulders, tilting her head kindly. “We can discuss the possibility of you staying alone. I know I sprung this trip on you. It’s inconvenient, I get it. But you understand why I have to take this opportunity. I don’t want to be states away, worrying about you.”
I said nothing in response and she lifted her wrist, peering at her watch. “Your class is starting soon. I’ll take you on my way to the office, okay?”
As ready as ever to distract myself with the school day, I shuffled out of the room. I grabbed an apple out of the fruit bowl, a fruit bowl I’d miss for four months if I was forced out of my own home, and made my way to the car.
Sitting in the passenger seat and gnawing on the piece of fruit, I listened as my mom explained the suitcase and boxes I should start packing in case I potentially moved in with Jamie, or anyone else, at the end of the week. The boxes that I’d been ignoring in my room for a week. The ones I didn’t fill in the hopes my mom would change her mind about leaving. Lucky me; I hated packing.
I tugged anxiously at the strings of the little dolphin keychain hanging from my backpack and listened to her drone on. My fiddling fingers tightened and loosened the attached threads while I nodded at her commands until my neck began to strain.
After a significant pause, my mother spoke again, her tone far more hesitant than when she was discussing the empty suitcase on my bed.
“And Tate called this morning. He doesn’t know if he’ll be home for Christmas in a few weeks.” My head instantly snapped in her direction and she peeked a glance at me, her words slowing. “Class is taking up a lot of his time down there. I think he’s trying to get a head start on all his projects for spring. Not to mention work. I have to call and tell him he should take time off, but you know your brother. He’s incessant about sending money every month. He overworks himself. You both do.”
I ignored all her extra comments and avoided reminding her that she too strained herself when it came to work, and I frowned instead.
“You’re both going to be gone for Christmas..?” My question came out as a comment, and her silence confirmed the inquiry. With my mom and my brother out of the city for the holidays, a new surge of sadness came over me.
I’d never been so grateful to see my campus when my mom pulled up against the curb. Sending her a small smile, I got out of the car, shutting the door behind me. She waved as I passed in front of it, watching me glance down at my phone and study the time.
“You’re going to be late,” I called through the windshield.
She glanced down at her own clock along the dashboard and a look of panic passed over her expression. Blowing me a quick kiss, she pulled out of the spot and promptly sped away from the curb. I chuckled, rolling my eyes at her before I crossed the street.
Or attempted to anyway.
Too focused on the breakfast I had yet to finish, I failed to notice the black Chevelle that was speeding down the road, which had apparently also failed to notice me. Making no effort to move out of the way of the car, I screamed, covering my eyes with a hand to hide from the painful death I’d soon experience. After dropping my breakfast on the cement, I stuck my other hand out in front of me as if the flimsy limb would stop a vehicle from plowing me over.
A beat went by before I heard the loud screeching noise of a car halting. Slowly, metal grazed my fingertips. I peeked up from my makeshift shield, glancing down at my hand on the hood of the incredibly nice car, before staring into a vehicle packed with giggling boys, all of which entertained at my expense. Four guys took up the seats, but the only one who caught my attention was the driver of the muscle car: Asher Freed.
The guy whose car I was almost splattered across flashed me a heart-stopping smile, lifting the sunglasses plastered on his face to reveal big brown eyes. Warm, big brown eyes. Those eyes were filled with one thing: amusement. Unadulterated amusement. His hair, dark and lustrous, had a shine to it like hardwood.
I thought about that for a fleeting moment. That comparison wasn’t accurate. Hardwood didn’t sway gently as his hair did. It was a thick, wild mess and he sent his hand back through it, leaving me wondering if it was as soft as it looked.
As his friends continued to laugh at his mistake that almost cost me my life, his chiseled jaw raised as those same warm, big brown eyes slowly, carefully looked me up and down before dropping the sunglasses back into place.
Asher Freed was disarmingly attractive. His good looks were fascinating and I was almost sure that he was the inspiration behind the appearance of each knight in shining armor in every storybook across the nation. In high school, he was unquestionably one of the more desired boys and that much hadn’t changed. Even on a new campus, admittedly in the same city, he was at the top of whatever social food chain there was. The worst part was that he knew it, and that he sure used it to his advantage.
Though positively opposite, he and I had somehow ended up at the same community college after graduating. From what I’d heard, his reasoning for attending had something to do with drinking away his senior year into oblivion. My reasoning was meticulous and planned out. This route was more affordable, and if I was going to transfer to UCLA at the end of next summer, cheaper was where my mind was at.
Suddenly, the air was stricken by the sound of a horn. I realized Asher, with a smirk and a hearty dose of rebellion, had honked at me to signal me out of the street. Instantly, I was startled, not to mention humiliated at the amount of time it took me to disconnect from Asher’s hair, face, and social status.
Hijacked with the mortification that came with being a human roadblock, I trotted my way across the rest of the street and towards the school building, shaking the thoughts of him from my conscious mind.
Heading straight for my locker, I wasn’t surprised to find my best friend in front of it. Jamie watched me with mossy green eyes as I approached her, and I was sure she was shaking with anticipation to tell me all about her lively weekend, as she was every Monday.
A smile stilling in place, she yanked me into a hug when I got close. I barely had time to react before I was suffocated in her hair. I was practically choking on the blond strands by the time she pulled away and frowned.
“We might need to have a little chat about your communication skills. You didn’t text me once this weekend.” She sighed, melodramatically. “Not even when I texted you about the hot barista with the tongue piercing. Talk about dropping off the face of the earth.”
I sent her a cheesy smile as I put the combination into my locker. “Sorry, Jame. I was spending time with my mom before she leaves on her forever-long trip.”
“I’m going to miss Janette,” she told me with another overdramatic sigh. “It’ll be tough not to use your house as an excuse to not hang around my asshole parents.”
A smirk pinning itself to my face, I took out the necessary binders I needed for the day, all while opening my mouth to comment. Jamie cut me off with a handshake. “And do not chastise me for saying asshole, Mom. Not everyone’s mouth can be squeaky clean like yours.”
I chuckled at her intuitiveness against my complaints. “Well, we all know your mouth is anything but clean.” She laughed and I banged my locker shut, turning to her once again. “Speaking of the trip, I was talking to my mom about staying with you until she comes back...”
Jamie cringed and soon, my expression mirrored hers as she rambled, “C, that would be so much fun, and I’m sure my mom would be down. But you know my parents. They’re terrible to each other. They’ll make your stay less than pleasant. You already know I debate going home at night.” She watched my shoulders plummet and sent me a small smile, adding, “It would be fun to be roommates, though. Just don’t blame me in four months for the trauma of watching a loveless marriage.”
I sighed, then nodded, trying to cover up my disappointment. Jamie’s parents always seemed to be in some state of arguing with each other. Staying at her house suddenly seemed as appealing as staying with a stranger. I shook the thought out of my head and forced a grin to change my expression.
“Guess who almost died this morning.” I pointed both thumbs back toward myself. Jamie signaled at the time on her phone, noting our class was about to begin before grabbing my forearm to drag me forward.
“This atta’ be good,” she pressed. “Tell me on the way to class.”
He had wanted to be a writer when he grew up; that was one thing he knew for sure. He strived to change the world with literature. As a young child, he never imagined he’d become such a careless, absentminded man... if he could even call himself a man. Age-wise, nineteen was the supposed number that made one an adult. He certainly didn’t feel like an adult. Similarly, as a presumably, full-grown human, his main goal was no longer to be a writer but, instead, to be seen.
Regardless of life goals and future career paths, he still wrote whenever he could. He still jotted down notes whenever he felt some sort of mindless joy or hopeless sadness. Still wrote stories about the first time he’d witnessed heartbreak in person, watching his parent’s marriage fall apart. He was young then. The court hearing ruled in favor of his mother and he never saw much of his dad, not that he minded.
As the years passed him by, his house felt like a foreign place and he, the misguided kid whose life was a continuous loop of the same heedless actions, was an outsider. His days seemed to blend together after a while.
In the years to come, he became a man who felt invisible and did everything in his power to ensure he wasn’t. Though it wasn’t always obvious, courage had never been his best attribute. He taught himself how to turn disastrous behavior into his loudest instrument.
But that was the way life had worked out for him, and he didn’t think much of it. Until the day he’d come face to face with her.
Until the blue tint in her eyes was all he could see and the softness of her voice kept him up at night. Until his name escaping from her perfect lips was all he ever wanted to hear. The moment he saw her, his heart became claustrophobic. He couldn’t deny his growing feelings for someone who taught him that even the most destructive instruments could still produce a sound worth listening to.
*Asher’s Point Of View*
Monday, December 3rd.
“Andy! I swear to fucking God. I’ve told you this. Eat your breakfast before you get in my car.”
Hand on the wheel, my concentration was not on the road like it should have been. The crumbs of Andy’s muffin spilling on the seats of my Chevelle had caught my attention.
“I didn’t mean to eat it! I was trying to save it for Mae,” he mumbled through a full mouth.
Mae was some chick from Andy’s Comm class who he’d been pursuing for a few days now. She seemed into him, which wasn’t surprising, despite his apparent lack of self-control. Andy was a thin guy, who had a mom from Los Angeles and a dad from Uganda, which lead him to an olive skin tone that he had time and time again described as perfect. That, alongside his green eyes, gave him an annoying amount of confidence and a fair amount of women at his side.
I gestured for him to clean his mess, deadpanning, “Eating her food will definitely get you in her pants.”
His solution to the crumbs on the perfect leather was to dust it off onto the car mats on the floor. Instantly pissed at that decision, I shifted towards my jackass of a best friend.
“You’re a fucking idiot,” I groused, about three seconds away from slapping the muffin out of his hand and through the window, tearing off his curly head and tossing it out too. “Clean it up,” I emphasized.
He chuckled and took another bite of the crumbling meal. “Make me,” he joked.
“Asher! Watch out!”
My one was delayed by my best friend Danny’s booming voice and his finger hovering over my shoulder from the backseat, pointing out towards the road. Thankfully, out of habit, his panicked shout forced my foot to the brake before I’d even spotted what had caught his attention.
Snagging my focus, the girl on the road diverted any anger I’d had towards Andy and his messy ass breakfast, replacing it with worry that I’d freaked her out with my three-thousand-pound car.
She had concealed her eyes from my Chevelle and me, and I couldn’t help but crack a grin. The girl I’d almost hit had a series of options in her situation: move, or stand there and cover her eyes. Process of elimination would have told her which was most efficient. Lucky for her, I wasn’t trying to go to prison for vehicular homicide.
Suddenly, all I could hear was my friends laughing around me, chuckling at the girl I’d probably scared the hell out of. My eyes traveled from the jeans that hugged her ass quite notably towards the cat sweater she was wearing, stopping on her face as she slowly removed her hand shield.
With the face of my victim revealed, I lifted my sunglasses to take her in. Her eyes were the most striking blue I’d ever seen. The reflection of the sun caught them for a single second, shimmering them like crystals. Those expressive eyes rolled in irritation towards my friends, who were still finding massive amounts of humor in my incident.
Chestnut brown hair bounced along her shoulders and the sunlight played with certain strands, creating a tint of color similar to honey.
She seemed to be admiring me as much as I was her, those eyes flickering over each of my features. I felt... seen, which was rare.
Attention was something I always seemed to have, usually for something infamous I’d done, but there was a thin line between being perceived and truly being seen. As she regarded me, I’d never felt so visible.
Her side of our mutual gawking paused as she delivered me another hot, fucking eye roll. Her lean body was hidden under that ugly sweater and my mind cart-wheeled over what else was concealed underneath the thick layer. The baggy material made it difficult to gauge what kind of tits she was sporting. Damn.
Knowing it had been far too long since I could function properly, and apparent that I was clogging the street of cars behind me, I gave the stranger one more scan, dropping my sunglasses.
Pressing my palm against the steering wheel, I honked the horn, hoping to startle both her and myself from the joint staring. Finally torn from her ogling, her eyes rolled one last time before she and her red-hot face scurried across the street and up the entrance stairs.
I saw and interacted with many different people throughout my usual day, none of which ever managed to get that type of reaction from me. Almost embarrassed over the trippy state I had been in, I shook my head as if that would help rid any lingering stages of whatever disposition I’d managed my way through.
“Who the hell was that?” I asked anyone who would answer, pressing the gas as I watched the annoyed girl shimmy her way up to class through my window.
Danny, using one hand to scratch through his blonde hair, applied the other to the back of my seat, tapping away in thought. With slim features, sky-blue eyes, and skin as pale as paper, Danny was what we referred to as the “parent” of our friend group. He was more like a mother than he’d ever care to admit.
“What’s her name? She’s in our English,” he thought aloud. He smiled as the answer came to him, giving the back of my seat a slap. “Chloe. Her name’s Chloe, I think.”
Andy, with blueberry muffin-covered fingers, pointed towards my usual parking spot as I heard my best friend Blake chuckle from the backseat.
“Not gonna lie, she was hot as hell,” he admitted. “I’m glad you didn’t murder her with your car.”
Blake, who had hair and eyes as dark as a night sky, was the crudest guy I’d ever met, which made me laugh a lot of the time. Sometimes though, I wished he’d just shut the fuck up.
Although yes, she was hot, that wasn’t the word that came to my mind. I tip-toed over the memory of her. She was wearing the most horrendous sweater I’d ever seen and between watching her shocked expression and her three eye rolls, the word that came to mind was beautiful.
I slid into the parking spot, feeling almost nauseous over the word I’d used to describe her and wondering how I had pulled it out of my personal dictionary filled with words far too crass. I agreed with my midnight-haired friend.
“Yeah, she was hot.” I extended to look at Danny. “She’s in our second class?”
He nodded, opening his door. “How do you not notice someone in your own class, genius?”
Shifting to click my own door open, I tilted my head back towards him. “It’s Professor. Lawson. I sleep my way through half that class.” I faked a snore for the full effect.
“And you still ace every exam. I hate you,” Andy grumbled, finishing off the muffin that was the complete fucking bane of my car’s existence. Then, he chuckled at my previous lame excuse for not noticing the beautiful classmate. “And even if that’s true, she’s also in our humanities class.”
Blake laughed, adding on with, “And I think she’s in our Psych. Sits in the back with that chick Jamie.”
Andy smiled at what Blake had shared, nodding. “Yeah, I see her with Jamie often.”
Blake sneered. “And what are you doing checking out Jamie often?”
“I, well...” Frowning, Andy shook his head. “I don’t know. We went to high school together, that’s all.” He drew his eyes to me. “Chloe too.”
“She went to our high school?” I startled over what he’d shared, trying to configure how someone as good-looking as her could fail to enter my field of view, even recently. I could have sworn I had a radar for attractive girls. Maybe I did need to pay more attention — I was clearly missing out.
“Really? Are you sure?” I frowned, trying to match Chloe’s face to anyone in my recollection. Her name sounded familiar, but it wasn’t the most complicated name anyway.
Danny shrugged at my expression. “She’s quiet. Doesn’t really make her presence known.”
When Andy agreed, I nodded, still not understanding how neither one of us had ever approached one another. Upon that note, I hopped from my car, yelling something at Andy about cleaning his crumbs.
We lingered around the car until he’d done what I asked and when my car mats were once again clean, I mumbled, “Don’t expect a ride home.” I looked to Danny and Blake. “None of you. This was a one-off.”
Andy laughed at my dramatics as we left the car side. “I have football practice after school. Don’t worry about it.”
Crossing the street, I was stopped in my tracks, dipping my brow at the concrete. Leaning down, I plucked the gem-covered keychain from the ground, surprised by the coolness of the plastic and admiring the worn, baby blue dolphin on the end of it. I couldn’t contain my grin, but I did manage to minimize the size of it.
“This is Chloe’s,” I heard myself say.
Suddenly, I was convinced there was a God, and that he loved me.
My friends, who had assumed we were finished talking about the mystifying girl, squinted at it. Blake tilted his head. “Are you going to give it back to her?”
I wrapped the blue chain around my finger, shoving it into my pocket, for the first time anxious for my second class to begin. “Fuck yeah, I’m giving it back to her.”
I spun to trudge towards the stairs but Danny’s hand on my shoulder anchored me in my spot. His tone was hesitant when he countered, “I don’t know if you should go for this girl, man. From what I’ve seen, you’re not exactly her type.”
“Pft,” I sounded, stepping towards school, and Chloe. “I’m everyone’s type.”
*Chloe’s Point Of View*
Sitting inside our first-period lecture hall, I explained the car/Asher Freed/humiliatingly-life-crippling incident that could have ended poorly for me to my best friend and listened as her voice hit octaves I didn’t realize were manageable.
“He looked you UP AND DOWN! Are you kidding? That’s hot!” she screeched.
I hurriedly shushed her, looking around for anyone who might have heard what I considered an outburst.
I answered her excited question, happy when the professor began talking and I was yanked into the lesson. Trying my hardest to take notes, I could barely focus on them with Jamie yell-whispering at me every two seconds, “Oh my God, Asher Freed wants to have sex with my best friend.”
I couldn’t even count the number of times I rolled my eyes. Naturally, I’d lost track after twenty-five.
As class dwindled to an end, so did my patience. It took all my energy not to yell at Jamie as I heard the phrase, “He could look me up and down any day,” for what felt like the three-hundredth time. Class ended and I essentially bolted from it before I could hear one more crude statement from my dramatic best friend.
She hastily caught up to me on my way to my second class and dragged me to her locker with another comment on her lips, eliciting a sigh from my mouth.
“Jamie, he does not want anything to do with me. He honked his horn until I got out of the street,” I squeaked, mortified enough by that fact without having to relive it. “To me, that doesn’t scream attraction.”
She had already opened her locker, digging through it. I stood next to her, holding my binder in my arms, shifting nervously from foot to foot as I watched the students release themselves in and out of classrooms. She turned to lecture me again on the God that was Asher Freed, but before she could say anything, she glanced to my right and let out a startled sound.
Eyes wide, she stared straight over my shoulder, and I turned to see what had snagged her attention. Shifting suddenly, I almost ran face-first into someone else’s shoulder. I peered at that leather-covered shoulder for what felt like an eternity before gradually looking upwards. My eyes first landed on a smirk, then a nose, and then two warm, big brown eyes.
The guy who’d almost killed me was standing right in front of me. And, though I was taken back by the honed planes of his face and captured by the way he wore a smirk as perfectly as he’d wear anything else, I made an effort to make sure my mouth was closed and my breathing was even as I stared into the eyes of the insatiable beast.
Authors note: I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of the story! There is a lot more to come :) I absolutely love everyone’s comments on the story, they really make my day, so please keep them coming! <3 Don’t forget to follow, like the chapter, and review it! Thanks!