10. Expectations Hurt
One of the hardest thing to do in the world is trying not to smile when you actually feel like you’re a living comedy.
I gritted my teeth, pursed my lips, trying my best not to laugh out loud because sitting right next to me in the car was my Mongrel, squirming in her seat uneasily due to the embarrassment.
I wouldn’t lie. It felt so damn good to know she actually thought I had a charming smile but, right now she needed some mercy from my humor.
“Where did you go, Mongrel?” I asked, looking ahead at the road and shifting my thoughts from how she thought my smile was charming.
“What do you mean?”
“You left Carlos for six years. Where did you go?”
“Oh. East Port.”
What the fuck?
East Port wasn’t even that far. It would take maximum of four hours if you actually drive at a snail’s speed and to think how six years had passed as though we were living in two different planets . . .
Life really is a pain in the ass sometimes.
Feeling somewhat irritated at that six years and how close East Port was from Carlos, I mumbled under my breath almost like a complain, “What took you so long to come back?”
Yeah. That was a little weird.
I bit down on my lip.
It wasn’t really like I was waiting for her to come back but thinking about it now, things would’ve been so much better if she was around. I couldn’t help but feel what I’d been missing in my life all these time and I didn’t even know what it was. But having her around now, it seemed as though my life was finally getting back its missing pieces.
I cleared my throat and decided to change the topic since I could feel the air between us grow awkward, “Now that I have your number, expect my call anytime.”
“Who gave you my number?”
“I have my way, Mongrel. Learn it.” I grinned at her.
“Don’t come to pick me again.”
“Oh. I should’ve known that you were the Doctor’s daughter. How’d that slip my mind.” I said, looking ahead at the road.
“You know my father?!” She literally freaked out.
“Yup. We’d even talked like best friends few days back.” I grinned again and flicked my eyebrows proudly for more effect.
“Wh . . . When? Where?”
“The hospital. He tended Matt’s broken nose.”
She winced. “That means he knows you were in a fight?”
“Yeah. But don’t worry. We’re basically best friends.” I joked.
She scoffed and eventually smile.
One point for Arquette!
The remaining of the drive until we reached school was our usual squabbling; me teasing her and she getting all embarrassed and defensive, and just being unknowingly adorable.
I parked at my usual spot in the east wing of the front yard.
“Thanks,” she said, slinging her bag on her shoulder.
“Uh huh. Anything for you, Mongrel,” I answered, looking out for my boys as usual.
Hunt’s truck was there but no sign of Matt and Scott’s. Before I’d moved out of the car, Alana had gotten out and she was striding ahead up the pathway towards the main entrance steps with her head down, embarrassed by all the people staring because she came with me.
I quickly grabbed my backpack and followed her. She wouldn’t even look back. If anything, her footsteps kept speeding, trying to get inside the building as fast as possible. With a roguish smirk on my lips, I grabbed her backpack and pulled her back to me. She reeled back easily as though she was weightless and I circled an arm around her shoulders, keeping her close to me.
“Where do you think you’re going without me, darling?” I whispered in her ear as I pulled her closer to my side.
She reached up and lightly slapped me on my lips, making me chuckle, and then pulling on my arm, she said, “Please, don’t choke me.”
With a light laugh I loosened my hold a bit but I kept it tight enough for her to stay with me. I needed to show the world I was into her and that she was off limits.
For the first class of the day we had biology and when we entered the classroom together, Hunt whistled from the corner where he was with other guys and declared for the world to hear, “LOVE IS IN THE AIR.”
While I chuckled in response, Alana quickly wriggled out of my hold and went over to the place right in front of Brittany so I had to settle for the seat on her right.
Mr. Grant came in fumbling with all his papers as usual. Before anything, he announced that we would be starting our assignments so he told us to pair up. I immediately pushed my desk towards my Mongrel and voilà! Stuck together for a whole year.
The sound of desks and chairs moving filled the room and I looked back to see who my guys paired with. I found Hunt right behind me, sitting next to Brittany and literally shooing off another guy with his hands.
Good for him. Brittany was beauty with brains.
I looked back front and met Alana’s gaze wistfully looking at me.
“Why? Brad Pitt sitting here bothers you?” I leaned in and whispered.
“I’ve told you that you’re ugly,” she snarled back.
I shifted my position on the chair so that I was directly facing her and staring straight into her eyes with a cocky smile, I said, “I don’t think so, Sweetheart. You mentioned only this morning that I have a charming smile.”
She frowned, crossed her arms over her chest and looked away. With the way she was being all stubborn and defensive, I just wanted to hug her tight until she screamed for breath and maybe even give her a deep kiss on her . . . cheek?
Yeah. Cheek for starters.
During lunch break, me and my boys joined Alana’s table. Of course, I sat right next to her. My Mongrel didn’t talk much but she did laugh at all our stories and the jokes we cracked. She seemed to like my bros which was great because . . . If you like my bros, I like you even more.
While Hunt told them stories about all the crazy things we do, I watched her laugh and enjoy the time. I liked watching her a lot and especially when she wasn’t bothered about anything but when she was just enjoying the moment. And I couldn’t help but fall for her more and more as she smiled and laughed with everyone else.
With the way she was being so adorable and how I’d lost her for six years, I couldn’t hold back myself from asking her to spend time with me. I was kinda desperate. I was too late in elementary. Now I didn’t want to waste my time beating around the bush lest I should be too late again.
I quietly leaned in and said, “Hang out with me Saturday night.”
Hunt stupidly stopped talking and all of them looked our way. I shot him a look and getting my signal, he instantly resumed the story wherever he left off.
Blinking rapidly and seeming staggered, she said, “I’m . . . I’m busy.”
“Really? On a Saturday night.”
I was ready to throw a grand party at the beach, the best one in all of Los Carlos’s history, just for her to have a great time with me. If only she’d agree to my asking-her-out. For her, I was ready to do anything.
“Kendra and I are planning to study together. You know, I’m lacking behind in Math,” she said, discreetly glancing towards Kendra like . . . help me out.
That little sign was enough for me to figure out she didn’t want to hang out with me so I didn’t press her with it. If she didn’t want to, I wasn’t going to force her.
Instead, I smiled, “I should buy you a guide book on how to lie.” And she instantly laughed too.
My friends wouldn’t stop burning me with what happened during lunch break. In the afternoon, while walking to another class during the five minutes break we had, we saw Alana at her locker. She saw us too but she instantly looked away, pretending as if she didn’t see us.
“Ayeee!” Scott grinned naughtily and whistled to me lowly.
“Give it a rest,” I said, already fed up of their teasing.
She looked kinda uneasy and to be honest, I was feeling the same way too so I decided to just pass by without any nonsense but just as we reached her, Hunt pushed me towards her like . . . What the fuck!
Just at that moment, Alana had closed her locker and was turning around to leave. She widened her eyes when she saw me reeling in towards her uncontrollably. She stepped back immediately and the back of her head hit the locker just as my palms landed on the metal, caging her in between my arms.
With a gasp, she stared backed at me. Out of words and pretty unnerved by what just happened and, of course, the proximity, I swallowed. If this was with some other girl I knew I wouldn’t be this nervous but with Alana, every single thing was a challenge. And also I wasn’t prepared for this.
Matt, Hunt, Scott; all three of them intentionally cleared their throats and I moved back at once, biting down on my lip and scratching the back of my head embarrassedly.
“Sorry,” I said.
“Umm . . . That’s okay,” she replied rather surprised and strode off with pink shades glowing on her cheeks.
Hearing my friends snicker, I grabbed Hunt by his nape and consistently punched his arm. “Why the fuck did you do that?!”
He kept laughing like a maniac, totally enjoying how embarrassed I was for a moment there.
The following classes I had with Alana was pretty awkward and funny. Both of us couldn’t get over what had happened. We didn’t talk much. Our gazes just kept meeting time and again which meant she was stealing glances my way for some reason just as I was.
Should I take that as another point for Arquette or . . . ?
No. Expectations hurt.
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