Billionaire's Childhood Love

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L. Ski Trip Part II

Hailey’s POV:

“Spaghetti?”

“Yeah.”

“No.”

I tilt my upper body forward to look at her in the eyes, “Really?”

“Yeah. Why would you think something is going on between us?”

I scratch my head, “I don’t know.”

She pats my back, “HayHay. I’m going to say it now. One of your worst habits is overthinking things. Think simpler.”

Once we stepped into the lobby, I took some more photos for my family to see. Alvin will definitely be jealous. On the other side of the room, I saw Josh with a few of his friends. I raise my hand only to have it fall back on its side.

Beside him stood Jasmine. They were close. He looked at her and smiled. Then he said something. She bursts out laughing while smacking his arm.

“I’m so jealous of that bitch,” a girl whispered.

“Well, she is the captain of the girl’s soccer team. You know, captains are always alone together.”

“But isn’t he with some other girl?”

“Who?”

“Kailyn or something?”

“Well, if I were Kailyn, I would keep my eyes on Jasmine.”

“Hailey,” Crystal pulls my arm. “Let’s go.”

We shuffle towards Josh until he spots us. He said some words to everyone around him before making his way towards us. Josh stops in front of me and rests his hands on his waist. He tilts his head and smiles, “You look like a penguin.”

I narrow my eyes and punch his arm, “Shut up.”

Smoothly, Josh rests his arm around my shoulders. “Cute penguin.”

“Enough flirting. HayHay and I are going skiing.”

I look at Josh, “Coming?”

“Nah. I’m going to go snowboarding with the guys.” He messes up my hair, “Have fun.”

I smiled and went to the equipment section with Crystal. My smile drops when Josh goes back to Jasmine and everyone else. Jasmine hands him a snowboard before grabbing another one. They’re snowboarding together.

The cold wind brushes against my cheeks. I pull the scarf up, and when it’s my turn, I slide down. Swerve left. Go right. There’s a tree. Another tree. Stop. I made a little pile of snow.

I exhaled softly and made my way towards the bench. Even skiing didn’t help distract me from the annoying sensation. I look towards the mountain on my right. The place where Josh and Jasmine are standing right now. The dangerous mountain.

On top of the world.

Together.

“Oh, Joshie, it’s so romantic up here. Let’s kiss.”

“Sure. We are both captains of the same sport. So why not?”

“What about Hailey?”

“Who cares. She’s just a friend.”

“Let’s get married and have lots of babies like your mom!”

“Deal!”

I got to stop making up scenarios inside my head.

I took off the ski and dug it deep into the snow. I’m in no mood to ski. Instead, I head towards the table beside the outside fireplace. I huffed a deep breath and looked to my right.

Ricardo.

He’s studying.

Lately, all he does is study.

He notices my presence.

Immediately, I look away.

When I peered over, his head was facing the book. I lean in closer to see what he’s reading.

Chemistry.

Boring.

“What do you want?” He asks.

“I’m curious about what you’re reading,” I mumbled.

He exhales and turns the page. “Bored?”

Ricardo has been a bit nicer nowadays. Probably because he’s used to my existence like Taniyah. My body slides down, “Yeah.” The snow covers my boots.

“Where’s your little boyfriend?”

“Boyfriend?”

“Greyson.”

“He’s not my boyfriend.”

“Hm.”

“He’s up there-” I turn towards the mountain. “With his friends...and Jasmine.” I know it’s not just them, but it still bothers me.

“Jealousy is not an attractive feature.” I look at Ricardo with pouty lips. “It’s ugly and, frankly, a turnoff.”

“I’m not jealous.”

“Denial is unattractive too.”

My hands curl, “I’m not!”

“Whatever.”

I bit my lower lip and exhale a warm breath. When I noticed Josh from a distance, I got up from my seat and sat next to Ricardo. He looks up, “What are you doing?”

I tried my best not to look at Josh. “I don’t know.” I really have no idea why I would get up and sit beside the guy who always bickers with my best friend.

Okay, maybe I do have a bit of an idea.

Ricardo nudges a brow, “You-”

I can hear Josh scream: “Hay Bug!”

Ricardo halts his sentence and lifts a brow. Then, steadily, a prolonged motion; a smirk made across his lip. He rests his chin against the ungloved hand and leans in closer. He whispers: “Crafty diavoletto, aren’t you?”

My face blew up into a deep shade of red. I have no idea what he said, but somehow it sounds good. I hope he didn’t insult me. “W-Wha-”

I stopped talking when Josh came to view. His eyes cast towards Ricardo before it went towards me. He smiles, “There you are. I’ve been trying to find you.”

I swallow while my fingers play against one another underneath the table. “Here, I am.”

Jasmine and the others walk towards us. “Ready to go again?” Jasmine asks.

“Nah. I think I’m going to take a break.” Josh sat down across from us. “Maybe, later.”

Jasmine looks at me before she smiles slightly. “Alright.” They all head towards the mountain again.

Silence.

“So, what are you guys talk-”

Before Josh could finish, Ricardo closed his book and stood up. I thought he was going to walk away, but he didn’t. Instead, he leans down beside my ear and whispers: “I’m not particularly fond of being used bionda. I’ll return for my payments.”

That whole two-sentence sends shivers down my spine. Maybe Ricardo is a part of some gang.

“What did he say?” Josh asks.

My attention reverts to Josh. “What?”

“What did he just tell you?”

“Oh. Nothing.” How could I ever tell Josh that I somehow purposely used Ricardo to make him jealous because I am jealous.

Josh leans back and smiles grimly, “I see.” The cool air blew past us. Everyone was bustling around the snow while we continued to sit there. “You and Ricardo are getting pretty close.”

“Are we?” I question. I guess it does seem that way since I’m one of the few people who talks to Ricardo. I mean, I kind of have to since we are in the same class and we’re roommates. “I guess.” I suck on my cheeks.

“I heard him farting in his sleep.”

“What?” Did I hear him correctly?

Josh stared at him in a completely serious manner. There’s a brief pause before he said: “Yeah. I heard him farting in his sleep. It stinks.”

“Oh,” I responded. “That’s disgusting.”

“I also heard him talking to someone over the phone late at night too.”

“Oh, really?” I’m not that interested in the topic, but I’ll pretend I am.

“I think it’s his girlfriend.”

My eyes slightly widen at the statement. “I don’t think he has a girlfriend.” As far as I know. That or he could be extremely good at hiding it. Then again, I barely know anything about Ricardo.

“No. I’m certain it’s his girlfriend.”

“Oh.” My body slides down the chair.

“Are you...disappointed?”

I glance at him, “Why should I be?”

“I mean, I heard a few girls are into him.”

I don’t understand why I would be disappointed if Ricardo has a girlfriend. It’s not a surprise if he does since he is attractive. Not my type of guy, but I can’t deny that he is considered good-looking by many countries’ standards. “Oh, I guess they would be disappointed.”

I fidget in my seat when Josh wouldn’t respond. Slowly, I stood up. “I’m going to go get a cup of cocoa...inside.”

Josh stood up, “I’ll go with you.”

I was hoping to get some alone time. Mope in the bathroom or my room until I feel better. Josh took the first step, and I could only follow. Recently, it felt weird talking to Josh. He would say some stuff that’s out of the blue.

Inside the building, we ordered some hot cocoa. My numb fingers grew warm, and I sank into the sofa. I took off the heavy snow boots and gears. I love snow, but I don’t think I can live in it.

Some children rush past us and get warm up beside the roaring fire. They sip on the hot chocolates with whip cream and talk about random subjects.

“So-” Josh said. “Had fun skiing?”

I nod, “Yeah. You?”

“Yeah.”

Silence.

Why is it so awkward?

It’s because you’re making it awkward.

Say something that makes things less awkward.

“You and Jasmine look good together.”

Not that!

He looks at me - no - stares at me.

The fire cracks, and his features twisted into something unsightly. Josh is attractive, but somehow he looks ugly right now. I didn’t even know that was possible.

“What?” He questioned.

“I said-” I swallow, “You look good.”

“No, that’s not what you said.”

I stood up and walked around the room. “What did I say?”

“You said Jasmine and I look good together.”

I tilt my head. “Did I say that?”

“Yeah. You did.” He laughs slowly, “What? Are you becoming one of those people who ship us together or something,” he jokes.

I laugh along with him. “I mean, I’m not saying that. I-I-” I spilled cocoa on my hand. I squeal in surprise.

Immediately, Josh took the cup and rushed us towards the bathroom. He turns on the water and places my hand underneath it. I force myself not to swallow when his chest presses against my back. It’s not like I’ve never felt Josh’s bare chest before, but it’s usually when I’m half-asleep.

“Don’t say that again,” he said.

“Huh?”

“I don’t like anybody out there.”

I bit my lower lip and when my eyes cast towards the mirror. I realize he was staring at my red face. Quickly, I averted my sight.

He’s staring.

He’s staring!

“Oh,” I responded. “That’s good to know.”

“Hm.”

After he treated my wound, we walked around the lobby again. It’s nighttime by now. Jasmine and the others came back to ask if Josh wants to join them at a small party. Since I was with him, they invited me too.

He declined for us.

“Did you want to go?” Josh asks.

I shook my head, “Not really. I just want to walk around. But if you want to-”

“No. I’m fine,” he said. “I just want to look around too.”

I fought the smile.

Exhaling a deep breath, I walk towards another wall to see some photos of people. One, in particular, caught my attention.

My eyes squint, and I move closer to the picture.

Why does he look familiar?

“What are you looking at?” Josh’s voice came out of nowhere. My heart skips a beat at his sudden closeness.

I turned my head, my nose hit him, “The picture.”

Josh turns his head, and I exhale. His eyes squint, and he moves closer. “That’s-” he tilted his head, “Uncle Emerson?”

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