"And you're not to come out until all those shelves are stacked!"
Rolling her eyes, Cassie listened as the library door slammed and locked with an echoing bang. "Great," she muttered to herself. "Absolutely fantastic."
She had never wanted to get detention. She hadn't! But Biology was a pain, and she had really wanted to try out her new tennis racket. It's not like she would attract any attention when everyone else was in class. Right?
But, of course, she forgot one little thing. It there was anything Cassie Riddle attracted, it was trouble.
Cursing the groundskeeper who turned her in, she dragged her feet to the library counter, groaning when she saw six towering piles of books. Sure, St Helen's Academy had a huge library, but seriously?
"You have got to be kidding me."
After staring at the looming skyscapers for another few minutes, Cassie heaved what had to be the loudest sigh ever heard, and took hold of a small stack.
"Dickens, C," she mumbled to herself, walking briskly through the narrow aisles, a large and dusty copy of 'Oliver Twist' hanging limping from her hand. Two hours she had been slaving away in here.
God, she hated boarding school.
She slipped the surprisingly heavy book in between two others, leaning up against the wood of the bookcase to reach. She was quite short, so standing on her tiptoes wasn't anything unusual. Unfortunately, even that wasn't going to work in her favour.
"Ow!" she yelped, rubbing her head. She had been forced to stack shelves - she hadn't been warned about flying books. Or, should she say falling.
She glanced down at the said book, seeing that it had fallen open when it hit the floor. A picture of a ship had been printed on the two pages, floating in front of a beautiful, tropical island. She stared at the picture, entranced. It looked so peaceful, so wonderful, so -
"You alright there?"
She jumped, grabbing the book and holding it up as a weapon.
"I hardly think that'll protect you, love," a boy appeared from the shadows, with piercing green eyes and wild blond hair. His tie was loose, his shirt collar askew, blazer tossed almost artifully over his shoulder and no, that was not her heart racing, it was something else. Definitely, completely something else.
"Who are you? How did you get in here?"
"I'm a guy who knows how to pick locks," he replied simply, winking at her. His long fingers skimmed the shelves as he walked closer, eyes hooded.
Goodness sake. Was he flirting with her?
Even she knew that was a pathetic attempt.
Her burning cheeks said otherwise.
"Your real name," she pressed, raising an eyebrow.
"Call me Alex," he said smoothly, smirking a little.
Yep. Definitely flirting with her. She didn't know what to make of that. She had never really attracted a guy's attention before.
"What's your name, beautiful?"
Legs aching and slightly wobbly, Cassie shot a glance at her watch. 18:13. Detention ended at six, and the shelves were stacked. She could go.
"I'm the girl who's about to leave," she shot back, leaving as quickly as possible, trying not to make it obvious that she was running away.
He made her feel nervous.
He made her feel weak.
She didn't like that.
He cornered her in the same aisle a week later, while she was looking at that same picture in that same book. Déjà vu, anyone?
"Tierra Del Fuego," he murmured in his deep voice, making her gasp.
"Excuse me?" she hissed at him, angry at him for making her feel weird. She hated it. A lot.
"The island. It's called Tierra Del Fuego." He leaned closer, his chest against her back, the contact jump-starting her heart. This shouldn't be happening. This shouldn't - no, no, no.
"Oh," she said, her voice a thiny squeak. She winced almost immediately. Just to make it worse. Way to go, Cassie.
He chuckled darkly in her ear. "Nervous, sweetheart?"
She swallowed, nerves eating at her insides. God, why did she always, always attract trouble? Why?
Why couldn't he leave her alone?
"Of course not," she growled defensively, shoving him away from her and stalking off, book tight in her grasp.
"You can't run forever, love!"
"I can try," she muttered.
Soon, she started to see him everywhere - across the dining hall at lunch, in class for English, three seats back; outside, pencil flowing over card while she wacked tennis balls over the net. He was lurking, green eyes following her every move, and it was driving her insane.
Finally, she decided to corner him. She got him, ironically, in that same narrow aisle, holding that same book and prodding his back.
"Still hoping for a piece of paradise, love?"
"No, I'm looking for creep repellent. Any idea where I can find some?"
He turned. "Who would you like to repel?" He had the biggest smirk on his face.
She didn't beat around the bush. "You!"
"Well," he began, "if you really want to... all you have to do is go on a date with me."
Her jaw dropped. "A date?"
"Yes! You know, a candlelit dinner, some talking, a bit of fun..."
God. He was asking her on a date? This, she definitely did not expect, at all. A date with him could be fun, but it could also be really weird and awkward for her.
"You can't set up a date in school."
"I can arrange something," he walked closer, making her swallow. "Is that a yes?"
She tilted her head sceptically. "You promise to leave me alone after this?"
"Cross my heart."
She studied him for a second, then huffed a sigh and nodded. "Fine. Deal."
He gave her a devilish grin. "It's a date."
Well, she reasoned, as she headed back to the dorms, at least after this, he wouldn't bother her again. He'd leave her alone.
He never did leave her alone. And after that first kiss, neither did she.