Jessica Thompson as That Girl

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XXXII. Secrets

Jessica’s POV:

I leaned towards the door and reached for the handle. When I heard a click, I knew my escape plan was out. A low squeak left my mouth, “What do you want?”

“I want to know why Jax Rocco was in front of our house.”

“Didn’t you hear?” I should play ignorant. “He happened to pass by.”

Brody scoffed, “Do I look stupid to you?”

I smiled, “Depends on what we’re talkin-” I closed my mouth when Brody glared at me. “Look-” I said. “have you ever seen Jax and me talk to each other?”

“No, but I have caught you two looking at each other!” He shouldn’t sound so proud of his detective skill. It’s almost embarrassing.

I cringe, “Wow. We looked at each other,” I said. I placed a hand on my stomach and grunted in pain.

Brody reached for me, but his hands went all around. It looks like he didn’t know where to put it. “W-What’s wrong? Are you in pain again?”

“I-I-I think... I’m pregnant with Jax’s baby because I looked at him.”

His mouth parted slightly, almost speechless from my fantastic acting skills. He released a deep breath from his nostrils, “You think that was funny? I thought you were hurt!”

“You didn’t want me to get hurt? If you really didn’t want me to get hurt, why did you drive like a madman earlier?!” I wasn’t backing down.

“Well, who told you to interact with Jax Rocco? Do you know what type of guy he is?!” He doesn’t seem to be backing off either.

And now, the war starts. “Oh, I heard all about Jax Rocco.”

“Then, you should know to stay aw-”

“I even heard all about you,” I said with a smile. “Should I stay away from you too?”

“That’s different! I’m your brother!”

“Yes. My cocky, self-centered heartbreaking bully of a brother!”

“B-Bully? When have I ever bullied anyone?” I cannot believe he does not deny any of the other labels.

“That smirking face of yours is enough to bully others. Don’t you know? A lot of other guys hate you.”

Brody scoffed, “Of course, other guys would hate me. I don’t expect any less. I mean, look at me. I’m tall, handsome, athletic, and smart. I’m more than a triple threat.” He rushes a hand up to his hair.

I gagged.

I should’ve held it in, but I couldn’t.

“Also, you can’t compare us. That guy is nothing but a walking wad of trouble.” Brody rested an elbow against the armrest and leaned inward. “I heard he got a girl pregnant and forced her to get an abortion. His parents covered it all up.”

I glance at Brody and push his face back. “When did you get surgery?”

“What?”

“Isn’t that how you turned into a gossip girl?”

Brody rolled his eyes, “I’m just saying, do not interact with that type of guy.”

“I think I may have to talk to him during dinner this weekend.”

“After this weekend.”

“Okay.” I tucked back a strand of hair. “You’re saying between now and this weekend. I am free to talk to him?” I can’t help it. I have to mess with my brother.

“Don’t you test me.”

I push back his stern finger, “Calm down. There’s nothing between us. Now, drive us to school before we’re late. Mom is probably going to call the office to make sure we attended.”

Brody exhales lightly before he drives us back to school. “I have one more question.”

I fiddle with the radio. “What is it?”

“Do you like Jax Rocco?”

My fingers halt momentarily, and I laugh. “He’s a bad boy, who wouldn’t like a bad boy?”

Brody places a hand on top of mine, forcing my fingers to halt its movement. “That’s not an answer to my question.”

I glance upward to see Brody staring forward. “Why don’t you admit your feelings first?”

“This isn’t about me.”

“We can make it about you.”

He turned the car and parked. This time, inside an empty parking lot. “You just need to answer my question. Yes or no.”

“Who are you to tell me who I can or can’t like?”

“Are you admitting that you like him?”

“I’m not admitting anything.”

“You aren’t denying it either!”

“I don’t understand why this is such a big deal? So, let’s say I do like Jax Rocco. What’s the pro-”

The car horn honks harshly, “You can’t like him! Anyone, but him!”

That was the first time I’ve seen him so angry. Even while he broke up with Victoria, he didn’t look that mad. His muscles tense, looking as if he desires something to hold onto, to strangle.

But, he wasn’t the only one that’s upset.

“Anyone, but him?” I muttered. “Anyone including Todd Barrett?” I didn’t mean for it to slip out, but it did. I allowed my emotions to get the best of me. “Or are you going to push him away from me like you did with all the other guys.” I’m not stupid. I’ve always known that Brody had been pushing guys away from me.

“I’m... I’m just trying to keep you safe.”

“Safe? From what?”

Brody unclenched his fists and looked at me. There’s something in his eyes. Something sad. Brody exhales a deep breath, “Just stay away from Jax.”

“In the end, it’s all the same,” I said. “You’re still keeping secrets from me.”

“You act as if you don’t keep secrets from me.”

It’s true. I do keep secrets from him. We both have something we can’t tell each other. Something we can’t say to the world. It’s normal, isn’t it? To have something you can’t tell anyone.

“Your suspicion is right.” Our eyes met. Somehow, there’s this tension. This untamed atmosphere inside the car. “I’ve been talking to Jax.” There’s something important that Brody is keeping from me. I’ve had that odd feeling lately. Not just from Brody, but also my parents. As if all three of them are whispering behind my back. “I told you my secret.”

Brody didn’t respond. His hands hardened around the wheel, and his jaw clenched so firmly that I thought his teeth would break.

“Now, it’s time for you to tell me yours.”

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