Jessica Thompson as That Girl

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XL. How Foolish

Jessica’s POV:

I turned around, “How long?”

Jax blew a light breath of relief. With a closer look, I can see the sweats lurking off his forehead. He shouldn’t be sweating, particularly on such a cold day. “Half a year?”

I turned around and walked away.

“Really? Have a heart!” Jax screams.

If I have an easily accessible heart, it’s only going to hurt me. I watch enough people having heartbreaks around me. “I don’t have time to be a maiden in waiting!”

Jax burst out laughing and jogged towards me. He paces backward, “Please?” I’m not too fond of that word coming out of his mouth. “Pretty please?”

I ground my molars, “You can’t look like that and say things like - pretty please!

Jax halted in front of me. He messed up my hair, and his grin only widened. “Thank you.”

I grip onto my backpack, “I haven’t said: yes.

“I don’t hear you saying: no.

“Are you really in a bad situation?”

Different people have different definitions of a bad situation. A person in a bad situation may be standing outside without an umbrella. Meanwhile, someone else in a bad situation may be not finding what they want to eat in the fridge. Then, there’s the bad situation of being abused at home—all bad situations, but not all equivalent.

“Yeah.” I knew I should have looked at him. That look. That’s the type of face that makes a girl weak. Tugged their heartstrings. Make them desire to embrace the guy in front of them in their arms.

“How bad?”

“I think in half a year, my life is going to change. I’m not sure for better or worse, but it’s going to change.”

I want to know. I want to know what’s going on in his life, but it feels like something I shouldn’t probe too much. “There’s another reason why I’m trying to keep my distance.” It’s best, to be honest.

“Why?”

“Jax. I don’t know you.”

Jax smiles, “You do know me.”

I frown, “No. I don’t.”

Jax tucked his hands inside his pockets, “You know I stay at Hotel del Grinch as much as possible.” My face starts heating up. “You know I like eavesdropping on a private conversation.”

“Well, ain’t that true,” I mumbled.

Jax grins only widen, “You know I like sleeping on your bed, and you know I like hogging the blanket while I sleep.”

“Were you awake?”

Jax’s eyes motion away from my face.

“You were awake! You purposely hogged all the blankets every night!” I grabbed his jacket and pulled him in. “You bastard! I was butt cold every time you sleepover!”

He scratches his cheek, “Well, your parents turn on the heater at night. So-”

“And if they didn’t?”

Jax rests his arms on my shoulders and leans down, “I would’ve shared.” I’m completely speechless. How can there be a guy like him? How can someone like him exist? “I’m not going to stop you,” he said.

“Hm?”

Jax smiles, “If you decide to stop waiting and move forward. I won’t stop you from dating other guys.”

I scoffed, “Of course you won’t. You can’t.”

Jax inches closer to me, and I lean away. He hugged me, “But, I’ll be sad.”

I back away. He inches closer. I’m getting a bit creeped out by this side of Jax Rocco.

“I’ll be really sad....sad...depressed. I may even lose sleep and weight over it. And-”

I push his face away, “You’re creeping me out. Stop this.”

His arms were still wrapped around me. “Come ride with me.”

I shouldn’t say yes because that would be the foolish thing to do. Right now, Jax seems like a nice guy. But, he still has a reputation. He’s still a guy that hides too many secrets. Even if what he claimed is true, how I saw a side of him no one else did. I know I still don’t know him.

The fact that he left the festival with Megan Miller and his refusal to tell me why is enough of a reason to refuse him, not to trust him.

A trustworthy man, a man I can lean on, shouldn’t be hiding so many secrets.

But, when I looked into his eyes, my urge to refuse turned into ashes.

Would it be okay?

That’s the sentence I continue to ask myself.

Would it be okay to blame youth?

The ignorance that’s paired with my age.

My lack of life experience led me to my current decision.

No one would blame, right?

They would blame my age.

Age shouldn’t be an excuse.

I should know better.

My parents raised me better than to skip school with a guy who holds such a reputation.

Jax smiles, “You don’t have to. I can take you back to school,” he said softly.

Steadily, Jax removes his arms from my body.

It was time.

Time to make a decision.

Uncontrollably, I grabbed his sleeve.

Maybe, just once.

Allow me to use my age as an excuse.

“If I get grounded. You’re going to have to pay.”

The wind brushes past his hair. It got longer. It used to be above his eyebrows, and now it’s barely touching his eyes. “Of course!”

I wrapped my arms around Jax’s waist. “Here,” Jax said. He grabbed the helmet and shoved it on my head. “Safety first.” He puts the other ones on.

I wonder.

How many girls did he do this with, for him to have two helmets on his motorcycles? I may not be an expert, but even I can see the differences in the helmet sizes. One of them, the one I’m wearing, is made for a girl’s head.

I swallow, as my arms tighten around his waist. The sound of the harsh engines ruffled through my ears.

Then, the questions arrive.

How many girls rode in the back of his motorcycle like I did?

How many girls wrapped his arms around his waist like I did?

How many girls watch this beautiful scene like I did?

Just how many girls?

How many girls’ hearts did he break?

I admit it, Jax had cast his spell on me - like he did with all the other girls. All the girls who wrapped their arms around his waist. All the girls who wore the same helmet on my head. All the girls whos stomach felt as if it’s erupting with butterflies. I didn’t want to accept that he did have feelings for me. I genuinely don’t.

Because after acceptance-

the delusions arrive.

The happily ever after for us.

I wouldn’t be able to bear to be like all the other girls Jax had thrown away.

Reputations have a root.

Then, ignorance arrives.

No. Stupidity.

I wanted all of Jax’s words to be the truth.

I wanted Jax to feel different about me.

Right now, inside of me, there is a battle. One portion pleads for me to back away while I can. Back away from the heartbreak. Because it understands it won’t be the same as bearing an unrequited love. It won’t hurt at the same level as knowing I won’t be together with Todd. Nowhere near it. The pain will be too much for my young heart to bear.

Indefinitely.

Then, there’s the other side. The side that wanted to hold tightly to Jax - to lean on his back. To sway with his charming and lovable nature. It’s telling me that it’s okay to go with it. It’s okay to experience the heartbreak. What matters is the journey, the growth I’ll gain on the other side because heartbreak is...

inevitable.

I close my eyes as the wind thrashes around the helmet. My arms tighten around his leather jacket when he tilts towards the freeway. And when I opened my eyes, past the tinted view, I could see the ocean. I shouldn’t be amazed by it. I see it every day. But, somehow, today - it’s a bit nicer.

I know why-

why the world suddenly looks so different compared to other days.

Hope.

There’s an uncontrollable amount of hope bursting inside of me.

The hope - the desire - that maybe, I am different from all the other girls.

Now, if I were to look back...

from the future to the past...

I can only say:

How foolish of you, Jessica Thompson.

To Be Continued...

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