My eyes lurked upward as the pencil slipped from my hand. The mouth was slightly gaped open by his sudden declaration, unable to reply correctly. Todd sat there, shuffling back and forth, shaky fingers rushing through his hair.
He puffed his cheeks, eyes wandering from the book towards me and back to the book. Once again, there was this weird thump thump inside my chest.
I didn’t respond to his sudden weird declaration. Instead, I released a fake cough and read the first question to our assigned homework. Todd followed my lead and didn’t continue the strange topic any longer.
The whole evening consisted of merely talking about the homework and nothing else. Once in a while, Todd’s phone would give off a buzzing sound. He would take a quick glimpse on the screen, either shake his head or sigh heavily before ending the call and going back to his homework. There was a moment where his phone would continuously buzz annoyingly the frick out of me.
“Answer it,” I said, clearly pissed off at the constant shaking of the glass table.
He picked up the phone and went to the other room, wanting privacy. There was some grumble sound on the other end, and the volume started increasing more with each minute.
When Todd returned, there was a sour expression on his face, indicating he was upset with the phone call. He sat down, and his phone started buzzing again, but this time, he turned it completely off.
He grabbed his pencil and re-focused on his home, but his mind was not present as he continued tapping the top of his pencil on the book.
I released a low sigh then glanced at the clock to see that roughly two hours have passed. Grabbing the corner of the book, I closed it—confusion strolled all over Todd’s face.
My mouth opened to tell him that I’m leaving, but his face was desperate for companionship. “Are you leaving?” He clearly took the words out of my mouth.
His tone was filled with desperation as his incredibly messed up hair covered his gorgeous blue eyes. When I did not respond, his eyes lurked in a downward manner, shoulder slumping.
“I wanted a break,” I mumbled.
Instantly, he perks up.
“A break! Yes!” He spoke in a happy tone while I grabbed my phone for a so call break. Todd decided to go to the kitchen to grab some snacks and beverages, assuming I’m going to stay here longer.
I scratched my head, mind wondering what in the world is happening. Todd and I haven’t spoken for years, and here we are studying together as if everything is normal.
I wasn’t mad at Todd for our sudden drift, of course not. After all, separation happens all the time without justification.
Sitting in the living room, I tapped my pencil, gazing around the unchanging place. There was a feeling of nostalgic roaming stirring inside of me. Resting my chin on my palm, elbow on the coffee table, I released a deep breath.
A smile appeared when I remembered the first time I met Todd. My parents and Todd’s parents met at a meat market and hit it off to find out that they live not too far away from each other. They decided to have dinner over at Todd’s place, and then I met him.
I remember seeing a slightly taller than me, a dirty blonde boy with sparkly blue eyes holding a soccer ball walking in the front door. I was wearing a pretty light pink dress with my favorite ballet shoes. I was into ballet at the time for some odd reason, even though I can’t dance.
Todd would give me a grand smile showing off the gap between his teeth then wiped his dirty hands on his mud-filled shirt. “Nice to meet ya, I’m Todd!” He sneezed on his hand, then placed it out.
I looked at my mom who gave me a slight smile while I continued hiding behind her leg, “That’s disgusting,” I told him, looking at the saliva in his palm.
His brows furrowed together while he lowered his hand. “And you’re rude!”
I glanced at my mom once more with horror in my face then back at Todd. “You sneeze on your hand!” I shrieked.
“It’s just saliva, you girly girl! Geez!” He rolled his eyes, and our parents hid the chuckles.
My eyes narrowed at him then I spit on my hand. “I’m Jessica,” I placed out my palm, daring him to touch it.
Todd narrowed his eyes at me, then instantly grabbed my hand, and I could feel our saliva mixing, causing me to shiver in disgust. “Ewww.” I retracted my hand, wiping it on his dirty shirt while he grinned at me in triumph.
I looked down at my hand to see mud all over it. “Mom!” I shouted, looking at everyone once again in horror.
Soon, Todd came back with a few break snacks. We resumed our session without any conflict because we made sure we stayed on track.
Gathering my stuff, I threw my backpack over my shoulder and headed out the door. “Need a ride?” he asked.
I stared at him, then twisted my head towards the car parking in front of his house. “Yeah. Let me drive home then walk back here so you can drive me back.” My voice was dulled, as usual, attempting to joke, but Todd merely stared at me.
He crossed his arms then leaned against the door. “You still suck at joking,” he said.
“At least I’m not ugly.”
Todd lifted a brow, “I’m gorgeous as fuck.”
He threw a single hand in front of his face and waved it around. “Says nearly every female whoever had the privilege to see my handsome face.”
I rolled my eyes, “Still as conceited as ever I see.”
“You didn’t deny it.”
My brows furrowed. I grabbed my shoes and put on my shoes. “Deny what?”
He smirked, “That I’m handsome.”
“I just called you ugly less than five minutes ago.”
“You only say that to catch my attention.”
I tilted my head, hopping on one leg, attempting to tug on tug on the shoes. “Explain how calling you ugly means me trying to catch your attention?”
Todd took a step closer to me. “It’s obvious when you call me ugly it makes me want to prove you wrong. So, I will do whatever it takes to capture your heart; hence you caught my attention.”
I scoffed, “I’ve never heard a more absurd theory.”
Todd tilted down, “And yet, you still didn’t deny it.”
My cheeks heated at his proximity, and I bit my lips lightly, reminding myself that he has a girlfriend. I stepped back. “Bye,” I said quickly, and continued speed walking until I reached the car.
Tilting my head, Todd was still leaning against the door eyes piercing at me. Inhaling a deep breath, I drove far away from him. Gripping tightly onto the wheel, I focused on the road, telling myself that a guy with a girlfriend spells nothing but trouble. Plus, Todd is Brody’s friend, and I’m not in a book where I fall for my brother’s best friend.
Stopping at a red light, I tilted my head to see a store and decided to drop by to buy some milk since Brody drank it all. When I arrived at the milk section, I opened it to grab one until a hand reached out and took it before I did. “Hey!” I shouted and turned my body to meet a guy holding a smirk. “Panty Dropper,” I said, grabbing another bottle of milk.
“Grinch,” he replied. He tilts his head ever so slightly as he bit his lower lips.
That is such a turn-off. I turned around and began my steady speed towards the cashier. “Why are you stalking me?”
“Because I think you’re cute,” he responded.
I stopped walking. The milk in my hand almost drops to the ground. “Don’t call me that,” I said, and continued my pace towards the cashier.
“Because I know what you’re doing.”
He began walking backward, planting a single hand into his black hoodie. “And tell me exactly what I’m doing, Grinch.”
“You’re starting some sick game trying to capture my heart for revenge because I tripped you when we were escaping from the annoying teacher who was doing his job,” I said, standing behind a lady with a screaming child.
He chuckles, “Well, don’t you get my plans all figure out.” He sniffs light before he continues chewing the gum in his mouth.
“Look.” I turned toward him. “I was trying to survive, okay? I got enough strikes from my parents. I can’t afford to get into any more trouble, so-” I placed my hand on my chest, “It hurt, but I had to make a sacrifice.” I pretended to pout.
Finally, I was next, so I placed my milk down, seeing him doing the same thing. I turned towards him. “Milk on me,” he spoke in his usual teasing tone.
I placed a hand on my chest and exaggerated a gasp causing the cashier to chuckle in amusement. “What did you put in the milk?”
Jax scoffed, paying for the milk then grabbed both of them while I hurried behind him. I won’t deny free stuff. “Wait! Where are you going with my milk?”
He stopped walking and twisted his head towards me while leaning down ever slightly, causing me to stumble a bit. “My revenge plan wasn’t to seduce you,” he whispered, eyes deviously narrowing in a naughty way. “It was to...steal your milk.”
I pointed at one of the cartons of milk in his hand. “But, it wouldn’t be stealing if you pay for it.”
There was a long pause between us.
“You’re not the brightest light bulb in the room are you,” I said.
“What are you talking about? We’re outside...and I’m not a lightbulb?” he responded.
Another long pause.
I tilted my head, hearing a car passing by us. “That was a metaphor.”
Jax stood up straighter. “Maybe this is why I failed English,” he whispered to himself and chuckled unevenly while shaking his head. “So, where did you park?”
I pointed at the car. “Over there...why?”
He began walking towards it. “So, you can take us home,” he responded.
My eyes widened, and I knew there was a crazy look on my face. I rush towards my car and spread my arms as if I can protect it from him. “Why do I have to take you home?” I asked.
He lifted one carton in the air. “Because I brought you milk.” He waved it back and forth, causing his biceps to flex. Jax grinned, knowing I was staring at his muscles, and I quickly coughed to settle back the embarrassment. “Well. Well. It looks like my not-a-plan is working,” he sang.
I glared at him and pinched his stomach despite the fact of how there’s barely any fat. He leaped back as if I really hurt him when, in reality, we both know it didn’t. “Ow!” He shouted then leaned against the pole behind us dramatically. “How can you hurt me like that?” He frowned and began sniffing like he was a victim.
“What are you doing?” I whispered, noticing how some people were staring at us.
Jax placed down the milk on the parking lot then covered his face when I reached out for him. “I’m sorry I brought the wrong kind of milk, babe! I’ll go back and repurchase it! Please, don’t hurt me!” he shouted, capturing more attention. Everyone whispers to each other as they pass us.
“Oh, gosh! Stop this madness!”
“Don’t be mad, babe! I’m sorry!” He crouched down and pretended to shake, but I can see the smile on his lips.
I tugged at his shirt. “Get up! I’ll take you home! Just stop this insanity!”
Jax stood up and shot me his famous wide grinned. “Oh, you will? Great!” He grabbed the milk and walked to the passenger side.
I groaned, and opened the driver’s side, then hopped inside, seeing him still outside. I placed out a leg. “Why are you standing there? Get in.”
He glanced down at the two milk then looked back at me. “Why aren’t you opening the door for me?”
My brows narrowed. “You got hands! Open them up yourself!” I said.
He shook his head and lifted both cartons of milk in the air.
Inhaling a deep breath, I stomped towards the other side and flung the door open. He slid inside and placed the milk down while I slammed it shut and went towards my side.
He slides the seatbelt over his chest. “It is so hard to find a good lady nowadays,” he said.
I started driving, but then I realized I didn’t know where he lives. “Hey, where do you live?”
He grinned, “Where do you live?”
“Why does it matter where I live?”
He twisted his neck, a mysterious yet mischievous twinkle dripping on the edge of his eyes. “Babe,” he spoke in an almost severe tone that got me shivering with fear.
“Whatever it is, babe. No.”
“Grinch.” I had half a mind to throw both him and the milk out of the car. “Let me stay in your bedroom tonight.”