Jessica Thompson as That Girl

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XIX. Who Likes a Grinch

Jessica’s POV:

“And then, you fell in love at first sight?”

Jax’s face twisted into the ugliest form I ever witnessed. I didn’t imagine such an attractive guy could look so stomach wrenching. “Did you hit your head while I was staring at the ceiling? Love at first sight? You mean, you fall in love with me, right?”

“What?”

“Love at first sight is merely a physical attraction. Look at me.”

I rub my chin, “I mean, I guess I did fall for you good looks...for like two seconds.”

“So, what happened?”

“You open your mouth.”

Then, it arrives, his burst of laughter. Too bad, he didn’t have the chance to laugh. I dashed across the room and covered his mouth.

“You better not laugh,” I warned him. Underneath my palm, I can feel his lips curving upward. My eyes widened when I felt a warm hand rest on my lower back.

Then, I heard it. The sound of a beating heart. I hope it’s not mine. There are only two people in this room, and I doubt I can hear his heart with the distance between my ears and his chest. I also don’t want it to be mine.

Up close, I noticed how long Jax’s lashes are. It’s perfectly curved upward. I’m jealous.

I know I shouldn’t be so close to a guy. It’s dangerous. I swallow when his hot breath scatters through the gaps of my fingers. I should have moved, but I couldn’t. My body froze, unable to accurately grasp the demands delivered from my mind.

I took a few blinks when Jax held my wrist and removed it from his mouth. The smile didn’t present itself. It would’ve been so much easier to be mad or upset if I saw his grimy grin. That reaction would show that he’s only teasing me. Instead of seeing the mockery, I saw the serious looks in his eyes. One I haven’t witnessed from the young boys around me.

One that only a man should be expressing.

“Mind getting off?” He asks.

Like a robot, I listened to his command.

After I removed myself, Jax stood up, and without another word, he headed towards the window.

“Where are you going?” I question. Then, the realization arrives. It was a mistake on my part to ask him where he was going. I shouldn’t. Whatever he does is his choice. But, the words escaped my mouth before I had the chance to stop it.

Jax’s body halts momentarily. While I was up close and in his personal space, I finally noticed his height. He’s a tall person, but not as tall as I thought. Maybe, my fear of him made him bigger than he seems. He’s not as tall as Brody or Todd. His height is the perfect size because of that. His height is right just for him.

Amid the silence, there is a small chortle. Jax turned around with a smug grin. The irritation inside of me returns. He rests against the edge of the window and allows the weight to hang on his palms. “Why? Curious?” Jax tilts his head to the side, his usual teasing method.

Am I curious? A little bit. Who wouldn’t be? Jax came to my bedroom, gave me a twenty to stay for the night, and after the weird incident we had earlier; he wants to pack up and leave. Who wouldn’t be curious about the reason why he reacted the way he did?

“A bit,” I respond.

Jax chuckles, “At times like this, you’re supposed to say you don’t care.”

“Why should I lie? I kind of care about what’s going on.”

“Why do you care?” Jax bounces a question back at me.

“You should answer the question I gave first before expecting one from me.”

“I was going to leave.”

“Why?” He gave me money to stay in the bedroom for the night, so why would he choose to leave after arriving less than an hour ago? That doesn’t make sense.

“You haven’t answered my question.”

I know I couldn’t get anything past him. I scratch my nose. Why do I care? “I cared because it doesn’t make sense. You came here. You gave me a twenty and asked to stay for the night. Then, after what happened, you just got up and said you’re-”

Then, the realization occurred. Everything happened after that incident. I look at Jax’s face longer than necessary for a reaction. In return, he stares at me.

I wonder if he felt uncomfortable with what happened. Now, he thinks I’m a hungry animal, waiting for her prey, who happens to be him.

For the past few weeks, I realized something about Jax. Like me, his reputation is misguided. He’s a regular guy once you get to know him. Then again, do I really know him? We only spent a few times together. That doesn’t give me the right to say I know him better than everyone else. Because I may not. Jax is maintaining the distance between us.

Nonetheless, I conclude that Jax isn’t a bad guy. Keeping a secret or two doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human. And I like Jax Rocco as a human.

Wait.

Could it be possible?

Does he think I like him?

That’s the reason why he’s leaving?

He feels uncomfortable staying inside a bedroom with someone that likes him.

I may not know Jax on a profoundly personal level, but I do know that the rumors about him playing around girls are false. A guy like him is too nice to do that.

“Hey-” I said, making my way towards him. I should clear up the situation. “If you’re leaving because you think I like-” before I finish my sentence, my toes decided to trip on each other.

I dropped right into Jax’s body, and he stumbled a bit on edge. Immediately, Jax’s arms spread around my body. I couldn’t believe what happened. I told him that I didn’t have romantic emotions for him, and here I am, throwing myself at the guy.

I groan slightly and look up. Then, I saw it, the amount of redness on his face. It was much too red to be normal.

I saw this look before in one of the guys I used to date. This guy liked me, and I agreed to date him to see how things go. Things didn’t work out since our personalities didn’t align.

He likes working out in the morning with his potential girlfriend. Potential because we weren’t an actual couple.

I didn’t.

“Are you leaving because you liked me?” It was a brave question, and even I know it.

Jax’s face got even redder than before. He grabbed the side of my arms and forced me to stand upright. “Who likes a Grinch like you?” He said before he leaps out the window. I walk towards it and watch as he leaps from tree branch to branch before making it to the ground.

Jax took a few steps, cautious of the increasing amount of potted plants my parents decided to purchase, then stopped. He shoved his hands inside his jacket and turned his head. His face was no longer red, but he had this look—this look of disbelief.

I rested my elbows against the frames and leaned out. I didn’t expect him to give me such a huge reaction. I thought he was going to laugh again. The longer I look at him, the cuter he got.

Then, it happened again; his face turned back red.

I smiled at the reaction.

He didn’t say anything, possibly to avoid attracting any attention. Instead, he stuck out his tongue at me.

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t give him back the mockery he gave me. I gave something much worse. My smile only widens.

If someone were to say that, in the future, Jax Rocco would somehow collect some emotions for me. I would say they’re lying. That type of guy would not like someone as dull as me. But here we are.

With Jax outside my bedroom window, attempting to gather up whatever composure he has left. And me, being entertained with his every movement.

When Jax left, I closed my window. I threw myself back on my bed and stared at it. I hate it, but there was a small part of me that kind of wanted him to jump back inside.

I wondered if I like him. I’m not surprised if I did. He’s terribly attractive.

“Jess?” First mom and now dad. I wonder if I should expect Brody next.

“Coming!” I screamed. I forced myself away from my comfort zone and headed towards the door. When I opened it, I saw my dad with a bag of stuff. “What’s that?”

“I got you something on my way back from work.” I’m not surprised. Dad does spoil me. I opened the door so that he could come in. My eyes continuously dragged towards the window. “Is there something wrong?”

“No. Why would you say that?”

“Because you keep-” Dad settles the bags on my bed and makes his way towards the window. He spreads it open and looks outside. He won’t find anything since Jax is gone.

“What’s wrong?”

He smells the air, “Nothing.” His eyes scanned the room. He threw himself down on the carpet and searched under the bed. Then, he went towards the closet and opened the door. “Nothing.”

“Well, now that you’re done investigating my life. Mind handing over whatever it is that you got for me?”

“Oh, yes.” He sat down on the bed, and I settled beside him. “Remember when you told me you wanted that new pair of high heels?”

My eyes widened, “Yes?” When I went to the mall with my parents two months ago, I saw these gorgeous red heels. I wanted to get it, but dad was highly against it.

“Well-” He hands me the bag with a proud smile.

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