The Runaway Baby
T A Y A
“I hate high school!” Hallee whined as she threw herself on the bleachers, causing Judah to look up.
“Tell me about it, I can’t be bothered to do anything,” I added, taking the seat next to Hallee.
“Getting the case of senioritis are we?” Gabe followed suit.
Judah looked at the three of us in confusion.
A few minutes ago, Judah was just lounging casually by himself at the bleachers, having his usual smoke. He looked tired and bored. Hallee, Gabe, and I saw him on our way to the cafeteria and we decided to keep him company—whether he liked it or not.
“Uh, these seats are taken,” he spoke coldly, but we ignored him completely.
“Have you done your college essay yet?” Hallee said to me as she took out her lunch bag and started rummaging it.
“No! I still got nothing to write. I’m so dead aren’t I?” I groaned, also taking out my lunch bag and juice bottle.
“Y’all better get outta here,” Judah said with a threatening tone, but none of us paid any mind to it.
“You need to get your shit together Blondie, those colleges aren’t gonna be waiting around forever,” Hallee snapped her fingers at me.
“Hey!” Judah and I shouted in unison.
“Don’t call me that!” I hissed.
“Only I get to call her that,” he added.
Hallee and Gabe cackled and laughed. I narrowed my eyes at Judah and he just smirked. As I got a better look at his face, I noticed how Judah’s eyes were red, with bags underneath them. I wondered if maybe he didn’t get enough sleep last night.
“So, did you get into a lot of trouble for what happened with Cameron?” Gabe said to Judah.
“Nah, Blondie and her brother sorted it out,”
This morning I made Kai report yesterday’s incident to Principal Finn, before any other false rumors started to spread. Principal Finn wasn’t too happy to hear that Judah’s been in a fight, but we begged him to give Judah another chance.
“Principal Finn’s gonna keep a close watch on you. You can’t get yourself into anymore trouble,” I pointed my finger at him.
“What’s that?” Ignoring me, Judah gestured to the food on my lap.
"Onigiri... they’re rice balls. It’s got salmon in them—” before I could even finish explaining, he had snatched my lunch and stuffed it down his throat.
“Hey!” I yelled. “That was my lunch!”
“Not anymore, apparently,” Hallee commented as Judah struggled to swallow the whole thing all at once.
“Ugh, this is like kindergarten all over again,” I rolled my eyes at my dumb luck.
Seriously, what was it with bullies taking my lunch from me?
“I hope you choked to death,” I muttered and he glared at me, still struggling to swallow. Gabe ended up giving him some water and his life was spared.
“That was a choking hazard,” he commented. “But it was hella good, can you bring more tomorrow?”
He was grinning happily and I just let out a long, dramatic sigh.
Aside from the part where Judah stole my rice ball, lunch went pretty great. Hallee and Gabe talked about the music for the play, then Hallee started poking fun at Gabe for his hopeless crush on Maddie, and Judah followed suit. We couldn’t stop laughing as Hallee shared stories after stories revolving around Gabe and his helpless-romantic antics.
That was the first time I noticed Judah’s laughing, and I meant really laughing without a care in the world. That was sort of nice to see.
“So, what’s your next class?” I asked him when we heard the bell rang.
“Something... unimportant,” he shrugged nonchalantly.
We all got up and I followed behind him.
“I think I’m just gonna head out. I don’t feel so great,” he paused for a beat and said, “You wanna come with me? I could use a good distraction,”
“Come with you? Where?”
“I know a good place, it’s about twenty-minute south from here,”
“Wait, you’re leaving school? But Principal Finn—” I was about to make an argument about how he should stay out of trouble, but he cut me off quickly.
“Blondie, I haven’t been using in a while, okay? Withdrawal’s a real bitch. I can’t handle school right now,”
I guess that explained his teary eyes, runny nose, and overall tiredness. I stood frozen for a few seconds as he walked on. When I regained myself again, I quickly ran to follow after him.
“Hey, wait!” Leaving Hallee and Gabe behind, I started chasing Judah down the halls.
“Unless you wanna come with, I suggest you just leave me alone,” Judah waved me off and kept on walking.
I stopped my tracks and watched him walk away, thinking that maybe I shouldn’t meddle into his affairs. A part of me wanted to do that, but the other part of me didn’t.
I was in the middle of thinking of ways to stop him, when suddenly he stopped his tracks on his own accord. I looked up to see what he was seeing; Blake, Cameron, and a few of their friends were walking towards our direction. Blake’s eyes lit up as soon as he saw me, while Cameron’s jaw clenched as soon as he saw Judah.
“Taya, hey, can we talk?” Blake spoke first.
“No,” I said curtly and he sighed in frustration. There was a sorry look on his face, but I wasn’t having it. I was still hurt over what he had said before.
“Your friends are here, they might notice something,” I spat bitterly and he looked taken aback.
“Taya, please,” Blake took a step closer to me, blocking me from moving away. “We need to talk,” his voice was soft as he said it.
“I have nothing to say to you. So, no,” I was about to shove past him when he grabbed my arm suddenly.
“Where are you going?” he searched my eyes.
“It’s none of your business, Blake,”
“Please, just hear me out,” I was squirming around, trying to free my arm from Blake’s, but his grip was too strong.
“Dude, the girl said no,” a strong stern voice intercepted suddenly. I looked up and saw Judah had grabbed Blake’s hand that was holding onto mine. “No means no,”
“Don’t touch me,” Blake hissed.
“Or what?” Judah taunted and Blake was seething.
Uh-oh, not another fight.
“Judah, no! Blake, stop this!” I pulled my hand away successfully, ending the standoff.
“You shouldn’t be hanging around this kid Taya, he’s bad news,” Blake kept his gaze straight on Judah.
“Yeah, I’m trash,” Judah said with a playful smirk.
Blake’s intimidation didn’t faze him one bit, causing Blake to get even angrier. There was so much testosterone in the air, you could cut through the tension with a knife.
“What? You think she hadn’t figured that out by now?” Judah said sarcastically.
Blake shot Judah a deadly glare and Judah just winked at him, menacingly. A freaking wink.
That did it for Blake. Suddenly Blake’s hands flew up around Judah’s neck, crashing him back against the lockers, and choking him.
“You know I could just end you right now?” Blake growled through gritted teeth. “I could get you kicked out of this school—hell, this island,”
“No! Don’t!” I yelled, but Blake’s friends moved swiftly. They stood tall in front of me, covering my vision and movement.
Other kids that were passing by started to form a circle around us, waiting in anticipation. Cameron was also somewhere on the side, smiling viciously.
“You still wanna do this?” Blake threatened with a low voice.
I shook my head frantically over to Judah, hoping that he wouldn’t do what I knew he would. Judah saw the look on my face and he just smirked. I held my breath and waited in anticipation. I was so sure I would be a witness to yet another fight.
But to my absolute shock, Judah’s next move was something I never saw coming. Judah cocked his head slightly and started licking his lip with his tongue.
"Aye daddy,” his voice came out in a mock-whimper as he batted his eyes at Blake.
The whole room went silent. Blake’s face stiffened and his hands immediately dropped to his side. Judah slumped down against the lockers and Blake took a big step back.
I had to bit my lip real hard in order to stop myself from laughing, while that devilish smirk appeared again on Judah’s face. He looked over to me and gave me his trademark wink.
What a crazy-ass... dude.
“Move!” I shoved past the guys in front of me and bent down to meet Judah. I grabbed him by his right arm, pulling him up with my whole body.
“Taya—” Blake was about to say something, but I cut him off.
“Come on Judah, let’s get outta here. I want to practice for our scene,” I made sure Blake heard me loud and clear when I said it.
“Wow. That’s the best thing I’ve heard all day,” Judah chuckled.
He gave me his hand and I took it in a heartbeat. He flashed me a smile and I smiled back. And just like that, we dashed out of there with all those eyes watching us. Some kids even had the audacity to clap and whistle at us as we went.
And I swore, I heard Blake calling out my name a few more times. There was even a glint of desperation in his voice.
Truth be told, I never felt more exhilarated.
I was reduced to a laughing mess as soon as we reached the parking lot. Judah had parked his motorcycle along these red brick walls. When we finally reached his bike, he let go of my hand and sauntered casually towards it.
“Wow, that was crazy back there. Blake’s gonna go so nuts!” I breathed through my laughs.
I could already imagine Blake calling my phone nonstop. Heck, perhaps he’d even apologize and try to win me back. I can’t wait.
“So, where are we going?” I said to Judah, throwing a few glances back at the school, making sure Principal Finn wasn’t around.
Judah gave me a look... of uncertainty. Then his leg swung over and he positioned himself on his bike, perfectly and effortlessly.
“You can drop the act now Blondie, your boy’s not here. You don’t actually have to come with me,” he said, and I was taken aback at his sudden sharp remark.
“Well yeah... but I wanna go anyway,” I replied.
Taya 2.0 say what now?
He looked at me as if he didn’t believe a word I said.
“I never cut class in my life before. Being a senior now, it’s kinda my last chance to give it a try,” I said again.
He studied my face intently, cocking his head to the side, while I tried to remain confident.
“No,” he decided suddenly.
“What do you mean ‘no’?”
“Blondie...” his trailed as if he was thinking real hard about something.
“I’m giving you an out,” he said finally.
“You don’t need to do this with me. This whole... practice-kissing thing, too. You should just back out now, while you can. Because this isn’t gonna end well for you,”
“What the hell are you talking about?” I scoffed and my voice was seriously high-pitched.
“I told you, you girls always have to attach emotions to everything. I can already feel it coming. So I’m telling you, you better run now or you’re gonna end up falling for me, fast and hard,”
I snorted a real loud laugh instantly. It was a reflex.
“Judah, are you high or something? Look, I can assure you, you don’t have to worry about that—I’m not even attracted to you in the slightest,” my laughter was maniacal and somewhat insulting.
He crossed his arms and let out an irritated laugh. Clearly, he took my words as a challenge as he raised an eyebrow and his lips twitched into a smirk. He stepped off of his bike and moved closer to me. I stepped back in response, hitting the brick walls behind me. My laughter died down instantly as he put both arms next to my face so that I was completely trapped between him and the walls.
“Alright Blondie, if that’s how you wanna play it,” he said lowly. “Game on,”
I looked up to see his dark amber eyes boring into mine, a predatory glint in his eyes. I suddenly felt weak and helpless, as if I was a little rabbit about to be swallowed whole by a lion. I gulped instinctively as he leaned closer to me.
“Tell your heart I’m gonna steal it,” he murmured to my ears.
Then his lips moved to hover over mine, just barely touching it.
“And don’t say you’ve never been warned,”
My eyes fluttered in anticipation as I swallowed hard at his words. Meanwhile, he had this smug winning smile plastered on his face.
Well, two can play at this game.
Not wanting to show I was absolutely intimidated, I smiled and stood up straighter. My hand reached out and rested on his chest, before slowly making its way down south.
“Careful there, big boy. Last time I check, I wasn’t the one that fell fast and hard,” my hand was now lightly brushing him over his jeans.
“As soon as we’re done with this stupid play, I promise you this game will end. So don’t you worry about me, I’ll keep my end of the deal, as long as you keep yours,”
Inching my face just on the nook of his neck, I inhaled his scent seductively. And in my best sultry voice, I whispered to his ear, “Game on,”
The wildest grin appeared on his face. He bit his bottom lip and watched me in total amusement. Then, suddenly and without warning, he grabbed his helmet from the bike and put it over my head, securing it tightly. Once he was done, he sat back on his bike and gave his hand out to me as if it was an invitation.
“Are you ready to play, Blondie?”
My mind went blank for a few seconds as my body moved on its own accord. I took his hand for support and pushed myself up and over the bike.
“Still game if you are,” I whispered to his ears as I linked my hands around his waist.
The motorcycle engine began to roar, drowning out the sound of Judah’s low chuckle. And the next thing I knew, we had speeded past the school gates and out of sight.
Out of control and out of my mind.