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The Play Pretend


Until the day I die, I would never forget this madness unraveling in front of me.

“Please tell me that’s not what I think it is...” I said cautiously, slowly moving towards him.

“Don’t come near me!” he hissed.


“Uh, think baseball... breakfast burritos... this morning’s Vine videos...” he muttered to himself under his breath.

I stifled a laugh, and seconds later, I broke out into full-blown laughter. It was probably a mean thing to do, but the situation was just out of control. Literally.

“I just need a smoke,” he said in annoyance, disregarding my maniacal laugh.

He got up slowly and walked to the door, carefully and skillfully not showing his front side to me. This had to be one of the funniest sights I had ever seen.

I had to put a throw pillow over my face because I couldn’t contain it anymore. I was reduced to a snorting and giggling mess as I watched him walked out the door.

A few moments later, I heard the front door clicked open. Judah strutted back in with a shameless grin on his face.

“What the hell happened to you?” I greeted him.

"It happens,” he said coolly, taking the seat next to mine. “But don’t worry, it’s all taken care of. Let’s go back to practicing,”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” I pushed him away quickly. He also smelled like he just took a bath in tobacco.

“What do you mean it happens?” I scooted back to make sure there was enough distance between us.

“Well you know, a small accident happened. But it’s fine, no big deal,”

“No big deal?”

“Stop freaking out. It’s just a natural reaction,”

A natural reaction—how could he be so unfazed by that?

“I didn’t know what to expect and I just got a little carried away for a second. It’s nothing, really,” he said again.

“You never take anything seriously, do you?” I narrowed my eyes at him.

"Dude, what happened back there was normal, alright? I’m a guy. These things happen. But I got my shit together now. I know what to expect. So don’t sweat it,”

“Still, how could you be so... calm about this? Aren’t you like, embarrassed, at all?”

“Aren’t you embarrassed that the first time we met, you kissed me and then you puked your guts out all over the grass?”

“No, no, that was different, I was sick, I got alcohol poisoning. But this—”

“—Is pretty much the same thing,” he cut me off. “The only difference is: your reaction to kissing me was puking, and my reaction to kissing you was... well, I got hard,” he just shrugged. Shamelessly too. Absolutely unconcerned and undisturbed.

“What... are... you?” my jaw had fallen to the floor.

Clearly I had never met a character like him before in my life.

“Come on, let’s get back to rehearsing. I gotta go soon, got places to be. Chop, chop,”

“Are you sure we should be doing this?” I eyed him suspiciously but he just flashed me a full smile with them dimples coming out.

“It’s only gonna be a big deal if you let it be a big deal. Remember, we’re just eating cake,” he was so full of confidence as he said it.

I could only shake my head in disbelief. Letting out a deep, long sigh, I finally said, “Fine, let’s try this again, from the top. Page 70,”

Despite the accident that took place an hour ago, we continued rehearsing our scene, and I must admit: it went over pretty well. There were no more accidents and we managed to fully rehearse the rest of our scenes together without a hitch.

“That’s it. That’s the last of our scene,” I announced proudly as I closed the last page of the script.

“Great practice today, Blondie,” he said as he pulled himself up. “You know, I think I’m starting to really get this Jack character,”

“Yeah, I think we did great. Hallee would be proud,” I paused for a second before saying, “I never thought I’d say this, but this might actually work out after all,”

“Told ya,” giving me his signature smirk, he made his way over to the door. “So we’re doing this again, right?”

“Sure,” I shrugged, following him towards the door.

“Great. ’Cause I got some ideas. We could try some improv next,”

“Are you sure you’re gonna be okay with that?” my eyes motioned to his Jeans area, slightly taunting him.

“I’m handling it, no worries,” he said, his body was leaning casually against the front door. “Unless you wanna handle it for me?”

“Get out,” I shoved him and my hand reached for the doorknob.

He was laughing away as I swung the door open quickly. I was about to push Judah out too, when my eyes caught the sight of someone who was standing right in front of us. His fist was lifted up as if he was about to knock.

“Blake?” I gasped.

He looked at me, then at Judah, then back to me. His gaze turned dark and serious, and his jaw was clenched.

“Taya, can we please talk?” Blake said lowly.

I bit my lip and nodded. Judah was still standing there in the middle, looking at me and then glancing over to Blake. The biggest grin played on Judah’s cocky face as he was about to introduce himself.

“Hey man, I’m Ju—”

“Just leaving!” I shouted over Judah and I pushed him out swiftly.

Judah rolled his eyes at me, but I ignored him.

“Come on in,” I said to Blake and I pulled him in.

“See ya Blondie,” Judah yelled just as I slammed the door shut.

Blake’s eyebrows were furrowed as if he was thinking really hard about something.

“Who was that?” he started.

“That’s just Judah. He just moved here. And we’re, uh, theater buddies. You know, I told you about the play. We were just rehearsing,” I didn’t know why I was stammering with my words.

“At your house?” Blake stopped to take a look around. “And just the two of you? I saw you two at the game, you know,” he said again.

“I told you we had to do a kissing scene for the play. What you saw was just us practicing. Is that what you’re here to talk about, Blake?”

“No,” he sighed, but he looked relieved to hear my explanation.

“Then what are you here to talk about?”

“You’re not picking up my calls or answering my texts,”

“Because I’m tired Blake. I don’t wanna be your dirty little secret anymore,”

“You were never that to me, so don’t say that,” he hissed, and there was a pained expression in his eyes.

“Look, I never thought I would feel this way about anyone, let alone my best friend’s little sister. This is a lot for me to take in, okay?” I had never seen the cool and confident Blake Harrison this nervous before.

But after everything that I had been through, I wasn’t going to let him off so easily. Inexperienced as I may be, a girl could learn that much.

“So, is that all?” I replied shortly.

“You’re driving me crazy Taya. I can’t stop thinking about you. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep!”

It seemed like Blake was the kind of guy that needed a little motivation. With just the right amount of push, I could see a different side of him. The true side of him.

“So what do you want, Blake?” I pressed on.

“I want us to go back to the way we were. I had the best time with you,” he paused for a second, thinking hard before he finally said, “I want to make this work between us. Please, just tell me what to do and I’ll do it,”

I took in everything that he just said. The butterflies in my stomach were doing somersaults, but I kept a straight face as to not let it show.

“Are you serious about me at all, Blake?”

“Of course,”

“Then tell Ryder. Tell your best friend that you’re serious about me,” I figured if Ryder was the problem, then he was also the solution.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Blake responded almost instantly and my heart sunk to my feet.

He noticed it too, so he took a step closer to me and gripped my hand in his.

“Look, I like you and you like me, why can’t we just let it be? I was never very good at relationships, alright? Ask RJ or any of my friends and they can vouch for that. So, telling RJ about us is really not gonna make things any better,”

“But if you can’t even admit to your best friend about how serious you are with me, how can I even believe you?”

“Okay, alright. You have a point,” he let out a deep sigh.

“So you’ll do it?” I asked cautiously.

He was quiet for a bit, but then he finally nodded his head.

“I’ll do it. Just give me some time, but I’m doing it,”

The biggest smile appeared on my face, and it made him smile too. He cupped my cheeks with his hands and pressed his lips to mine, kissing me with warmth and hunger.

Using the new trick I learned today, I kissed him back, slowly and gently as I took my time—savoring each and every moment. Finally, I sucked on his lower lip gently before I pulled away, leaving him high and wanting.

His eyes jerked open and he just stared at me for a second. The small smile that curved up his face let me know how much he had enjoyed that.

“We’ll continue that... after you talk to Ryder,” it was me who was smirking this time.

“But, you do realize that you’re sending me out on a suicide mission, right?” he said, biting on his lower lip.

“RJ’s so gonna kill me,” he added.

“Oh he won’t, you’re being too dramatic,”

“Oh he will. He so will,”

I shook my head and pursed my lips to stop myself from laughing too much. Leaning up on my tiptoes, I went to give him a short sweet kiss on his cheek.

“Don’t worry, I’ll bring you back to life,” I murmured against his skin.

Smiling, he leaned closer and wrapped me in his strong arms. My arms flew up and circled around his neck, hugging him right back.

He smelled exquisite. I could feel the tingles running up my thighs.

* DING *

My phone’s sudden vibration in my back pocket caused me to flinch. I peeled myself away from Blake as I took my phone out and checked the screen.

Unknown Number: Monday after school. My place.

Unknown Number: 😘

“Who’s that?”

“It’s just Judah,” I rolled my eyes and shoved the phone back in my pocket.

“You guys seemed pretty close. Should I be worried about this Judah guy?” Blake narrowed his eyes at me.

“Pft, no! Not at all,” I snorted.

“You sure?”

“Yes!” I stated reassuringly. “We’re just... theater friends,”

Blake’s face remained serious as he studied mine.

“Theater friends, huh?” he cocked his head to the side and said, “The kid’s probably gay anyway,”

I wanted to laugh at his comment, but I restrained myself.

Judah was the new kid, which meant Blake knew absolutely nothing about him. Come to think of it, no one at school really knew anything about Judah.

Judah Hudson was a guy of many things: a chain-smoking, prescription drug using, bad boy with no filter for a mouth and a somewhat-okay sense of humor. But if I learned anything about Judah today, it was that he was anything but gay.

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