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Chapter 5

7 years ago

Tyler was the most beautiful guy in our school, with dark brown hair, deep blue eyes with long and thick lashes, chiseled cheekbones and full lips. He was a baseball player with a toned body and adding to this he was really smart. In the final year of high school, he became also one of the richest students, because his father’s business began to bring real profit. Obviously, with all this, you could expect from him to be a player, a womanizer and oh god, he was. He constantly dated Queen B, Cindy, who also happened to be a lead cheerleader. But the list of his hookups was as long as US-history if you know what I mean. Cindy was jealous as hell, but as she was so desperate with her position and power at school, so she never said a word.

Me? I was always been told that I am beautiful, but the thing is I never felt this way. Tasha, who was my best friend since pre-school, was furious with me because I always doubted myself. But I couldn’t help it, I looked in the mirror and saw an average girl with so many curves. So I was always on the diet and calculated every meal I got, it was my routine and I really liked it in the end.

In order to not to notice how Tyler was, you had to be blind, so of course, I had found him handsome. I was secretly in love with him when I was in middle school. While he never even looked at me twice. I was like a blind spot to him and eventually, I got used to it. My love for him faded away naturally as if it never was an issue. I believe till the final year of high school we didn’t say to each other more than 20 words.

I was dating my childhood friend, Brendon Murphy and we were like a typical couple of high school sweethearts. I really liked him and the idea of him being my first man. Brendon was a good guy, smart and kind, but he also was really shy. We kissed a lot, we had petting, but that’s all. All of my girls’ classmates weren’t virgins in our final year. But I, who had a loving boyfriend still was a fat big V. Now I know, it was really stupid of me, but back then I was a teenager with overwhelming feelings and hormones. I tried my best to seduce Brendon, but I had failed over and over again.

One day I was sitting with Tasha in our locker room after p.e classes and complained to her that Brendon ran away from me again. I felt frustration and irritation because of him. Didn’t he want me at all? Tasha, who lost her virginity at 16th birthday, was telling me, that he’s a good guy and just wanted to wait and it was a good thing. But I didn’t see it that way. Obviously, it was a huge mistake to talk about things like these in the locker room, but I needed to tell her right away so I couldn’t wait any longer.

A few days after this conversation there was a party at Tyler’s place and Tasha and I decided to come here. I convinced Brendon to come with us telling him that I didn’t want to feel lonely while Tasha will be flirting with her new crush from the baseball team. When the party was in a full swing I was cuddled at the bonfire with Brendon. At the same time by the pool not so far from us some cheerleaders and almost whole baseball team played “Truth or Dare”. Tyler also was there, in the center of attention.

After some time I saw that everyone from that circle was looking at me and Brendon, they were laughing about something. I started to feel anxiety almost immediately. Why these people were looking at us? But just then Tyler looked away and said something to his best friend Kith. In no time they were playing again and making fool of themselves.

After a while, Brendon’s mom called him and he got up to talk to her, walking away from loud music. I also got up and made my way to the house. I didn’t know where to go, so I stopped next to a large bookcase in one room and began to look at its content. After a minute I noticed my favorite book ”Tender Is the Night” by F.S.Fitzgerald so I took it and started flipping pages without thinking.

“You know, you have to ask permission before digging through other’s stuff, do you?” I almost dropped the book hearing a soft voice near my ear. I turned around and found myself right in front of Tyler. He was so serious, but his eyes gave him away. He was smiling with them.

“Oh... I couldn’t help it. I just love this book so much. But I guess it was rude of me, so here – take it.” I said and handed the book to him. While he took it our hands touched and it was like fire because I am in instant felt my cheeks going red.

“Hey, how come I hadn’t noticed such a beautiful girl before?” Tyler said grinning to me.

“Well, it’s nice to hear you calling me beautiful, but I’m not interested. Sorry, but not every girl in this house wants you.”

“Ahem, you also have an attitude, the night gets better and better. I honestly don’t like it when girls throwing themselves at me. When they are too easy.”

“You’re kidding, right?” I almost choked with laughter from his words. He seemed confused with his brows furrowed. “List of your “girlfriends” is bigger than Texas and now you’re telling me, you don’t like it when they are following you everywhere? It’s hard to believe, sorry.” I said smiling to him.

“You just don’t know me at all. All you can do is assume, so if I were you I wouldn’t believe everything that I heard.” He wasn’t longer smiling at me, cold expression invaded his beautiful blue eyes.

“Maybe you’re right, Tyler. But you don’t know me either. Hell, I don’t even sure you know my name or anything about me. While our whole school knows every little detail about you.” I didn’t understand this boy and it was confusing me. Just as I stared at him he took a step closer, forcing me to step back. Now I stuck between him and the bookcase behind my back. He leaned closer to me that I could feel his breath on my neck. My mind went blank and all I could feel was the presence of this devilishly handsome boy next to me.

“Believe it or not, but I do know some things about you, Vera. And now I am even more curious than before.”

Tyler whispered to me and I almost lost balance. I needed to get away from him and as soon as possible because I didn’t understand what was happening here. But I was totally familiar with this kind of reaction from my body. It was like an instinct. I wanted this guy and right now my body was craving for his touch.

“Vera? What’s going on here?” I heard Brendon’s voice like through some shield, I couldn’t even avert my eyes from Tyler’s face. At the same time, Tyler put the book, which he was still holding, on the shelf and stepped back from me.

“You need to teach your girlfriend not to touch things without permission, Murphy.” He said with a smile, while Brendon seemed very confused looking between Tyler and me.

“I will, Ty. Thank you for inviting us. It’s a really great party and your house... wow, it is just awesome!” Brendon said holding out his hand to me. I took it and he immediately pulled me to him, hugging me tight to his chest.

“Yeah, take care, Murphy!” Tyler said and without another word to me, he was gone.

“What was that? Between you and Tyler? I swear it looked like if I would have come a minute later you would be making out with him!” Brendon’s voice was full of anger. He didn’t let go of my hand, he was hurting me without even noticing it.

“Brendon, it hurts. Could you please let go of me?” I said to him wincing. He bored his eyes to mine and stayed like that for a few very painful seconds.

“Fine! But we’re going home! I don’t want to be there or at any other party again!” He finally released me from his grip and stormed off to the front door. I was following him, feeling dread in my head. Because I was totally aware that his words were true. If it wasn’t for Brendon’s appearance, I would have let Tyler kiss me, if he wanted to do it. I had no doubt about it.

Brendon was angry. He didn’t even notice that I wasn’t right behind him. And as I was lost in my thoughts that only the sound of a loud door slamming brought me back to reality. I started to go faster but I didn’t take a couple of steps towards the door when I felt that someone stopped me, taking my hand. I didn’t know it for sure, but I just had a feeling that it was Tyler. And of course, I was right.

“Hey, is everything okay? You seemed sad.” Tyler said looking at me with concern in his eyes.

“I’m fine. But what is wrong with you tonight?” I released my frustration from the events of this party on him.

“What do you mean?” He said letting go of my hand.

“Why all of sudden this attention? You haven’t been even bothering to say “Hi” to me! And now you came to me twice in one evening, starting conversations. Sorry for asking, but your behavior tonight confused me as fuck!”

“I am sorry if you feel that way because of me! I mean no harm. I just saw your boyfriend storming through my front door and you tailing him without any desire to do so in your eyes.”

“You don’t know me! So stop pretending as you care!” I even yelled at him making my way to the front door, trying to create so needed distance between me and this handsome asshole! Closing the door I turned around to look at Tyler. He was still here looking in my direction with an unreadable expression on his face.

I don’t remember now, how I’ve managed to calm down Brendon but after a few days, we were almost like before. The most important word was “almost”. He was acting weird around me and every time when he had noticed Tyler and his friends, he had been trying to hold me near him. He even bruised my arm because one of his grips, while he was watching Tyler in the hallway. Our relationship became grim and depressing.

A month had passed since this party and my relationship with Tyler was just like they were before, I didn’t exist for him. In all this time he never said a word to me or even acknowledged my presence. And honestly, I was sad about it. Tyler always was with Cindy and his fellas, I couldn’t remember the time when I saw him alone in school.

It was an ordinary day in February when I walked out of school to find myself under the heavy snowfall. What the fuck? I was in a sweater with a thin jacket and in my black skirt, tights and high boots. I immediately started to feel cold. Since Tasha was the one, who brought me to school that day and she already left home, I was having a hard time to think the way how to go home. I was trying to call Brendon to see maybe he could give me a lift when I noticed a black shiny SUV-car stopped near me.

“Are you trying to catch a cold?” I heard Tyler’s voice and stared blankly at him.

“Of course, not! I just...ugh... I guess for now I stuck here for the time being.” I was so stunned to hear his voice, so I just blurted everything to him.

“Well, lucky you, I am free and I can give you a ride home.” Tyler grinned at me.

“Thanks, but no thanks.” I couldn’t even imagine being in one car with him.

“Don’t be stupid. The weather is awful and you definitely will be stuck here for hours.” Tyler frowned at me.

“Don’t call me stupid! I just don’t think that it’s a good idea, to be in the car with you.”

“I don’t bite, Vera, unless you’ll ask me to do so.” His face lighted up with a handsome smile. This guy will be the death of me. But what choice do I have?

“Fine! You can give me a lift home.” I finally agreed to his proposal.

“Look at you! Who’s feisty now?” He smiled and gestured to me to hop in the car.

I was as nervous as hell. After that party at his house, I thought I won’t exist for Tyler again. And now I was sitting in the front seat of his car on my way home. In comparison to me, he was relaxed and totally in his element.

“Tell me, Vera. Is everything okay between you and your lover boy Murphy? He seemed tense to me, every time when I saw you two together.” Tyler asked me throwing glances in my direction.

“What does it have to do with you?”

“I am just curious, I guess. I saw that he was jealous back at my party when he caught us.”

“He wasn’t... Wait, what?”

“You know, I just had this feeling, at that moment you weren’t against the idea me kissing you.” He was teasing me and I shouldn’t react to his words, but it was impossible.

“Never in the million years, I wouldn’t want to kiss you! It’s just eww! Gross!” I said with disgust on my face. Two could play this game, Tyler. I mentally applauded to myself, way to go, Vera.

“Why are you so sure that kissing me will be disgusting?” His brows furrowed and he wasn’t smiling this time.

’Well, you know, I am not a fan of being kissed by someone, who was screwing up almost every good-looking girl from our school. It’s just like kiss a trashcan. Sorry, Tyler.”

“Vera, you’re stepping at the very dangerous line. I advise you not to go there.” His grip on the steering wheel intensified.

“Why is that, Tyler? You don’t like when a girl turns you down? Don’t be grumpy! I am definitely not your type of girl. So what if I don’t want to kiss you and consider it as a gross?” And the winner is Vera Davis, thank you for your support!

“Hmmm... Let me think about it, I guess you’re right, it will be gross!” He said not even looking at me.

“How so?” Now it was my turn to be grumpy, I guess I might not win this game after all.

“Well, you said it by yourself. I am only screwing up good-looking girls and as you’re totally not my type, so... I figured it out, that kissing you will be a total disaster.”

He didn’t say it? I.HATE.THIS.GUY. Period. I immediately wanted to get the hell out of his car. But as it seemed that we stuck in the traffic because of all this snow, I was in a trap. Tyler’s words were like a punch in the gut, all my insecurities about my features or my body came onto the surface. I won’t be crying, even if my eyes prickled with tears already. Just then my phone started to ring and I answered it.

“Hello?”

“Hey, Vera, it’s me. I was so caught up in the moment helping mom in the kitchen, so I even didn’t hear your call. Is everything okay?” Brendon’s soft voice was calming me down a little.

“Hey, Brendon, it’s okay. Tell your mom, I said hi.” I was trying hard to keep my tears because of Tyler’s harsh words.

“I will. Are you at home? That snow is kind of creepy.”

“Well... I am not at home yet.” Suddenly I realized I don’t know what to say to Brendon. Why was I even in the car with Tyler, who just minutes ago practically called me “ugly” and now was silent.

“You’re not? But I thought that Tasha will bring you home?” Brendon’s voice seemed worried.

“The thing is...” I didn’t have time to finish my sentence when Tyler finally decided to speak.

“Actually, Vera, you hopped into my car without even telling me your home address. So maybe you will tell me now?”

“Vera? Why are you with Tyler?” Brendon immediately had known Tyler’s voice and now he sounded angry. Just what I needed!

“He’s given me the ride home since Tasha left earlier than me and there was this snow... I will call you back as soon as I will be at home. Love you!” I said and ended the call. I didn’t give him any chance to tell me something more. I couldn’t deal with two pains in the ass at once. I glanced on to the road and realized that I could be home in 15 minutes if I will go from there by walk.

“Listen, Tyler. It was really nice of you to give me the ride home, but I’ll walk from there, it’s not so far away.” I said reaching out for the door, signalizing to him to stop the car.

“No way, I won’t let you walk in this weather! I said I will give you a lift and I will.” Tyler was now glaring at me.

“Thank you for your help again, but I’ll be okay from there. You don’t need to be seen with a girl like me.” And again my eyes filled with tears. Fuck!

“Girl like you? What does it even mean?” He looked confused.

“Right before Brendon’s call you practically called me “ugly”, so I just assumed that it won’t make any good to you if someone will see you with me.” Shit, I almost chocked with my tears as I was trying hard to not let them fall.

“You’re kidding me, right? Are you fucking serious?” Tyler said those words and turned the steering wheel to stop the car on the sidelines.

“Vera.” He turned to me and placed his hand on my cheek. I had no power to look away from his beautiful eyes.

“Sorry, Tyler. Your words were cruel, I guess.” I finally managed to look away from him, but he brought my face up again.

“Hell! I am sorry! It was wrong of me, but I wanted to repay you for your words. There is no truth in it. I told you at my party and I mean it, how could I not see such a gorgeous girl before? You’re really beautiful and your body is just the most flawless that I’ve seen before.”

All this time he was stroking my cheek with his hand. My mind was yelling at me that I must look away, but it was no use. I was already under his spell and I was drowning in his ocean blue eyes. As Tyler saw my reaction to his touch, he leaned closer to me and traced my bottom lip with his thumb, my mouth slightly opened to his touch. Never breaking our eye contact he leaned even closer to me and placed his lips on mine.

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