15 | Complicated
So I know it’s unusual to start doing two different perspectives this late in the book, but I wanted y’all to be able to see both what Kai is really like, and how he comes across. So now you’ll have to be paying closer attention for the perspective changes. :)
I watched Kai with his friends at lunch, another girl sitting on his lap. He didn’t talk very much compared to everyone else, but when he did, they all listened.
I took a bit out of my apple. I still couldn’t believe that I’d agreed to fake date a guy I didn’t know a single good thing about.
“You’re quiet, Hayden.” Mckenna’s voice broke into my thoughts. “What’s up?”
I glanced at her and sighed. “I’ve just been trying to figure out Kai Rivers.”
Nadia and Mckenna both gave me a look.
“What?” I laughed. “I like analyzing complicated people and he is definitely complicated.”
Nadia glanced at Kai. “Complicated doesn’t even begin to describe him.”
“You mentioned the other day that he hasn’t always been this way.” I said to Mckenna. “What’s his story?”
She gave a sad smile. “He was nothing like he is now. He was that person that just brightened everyone’s day. He always had a smile on his face, and everyone was his best friend.” Her eyes had a faraway look.
I glanced at Kai. Mckenna was right that he was not at all the same. I hadn’t seen him smile once this week and he definitely wasn’t my best friend and he didn’t brighten my day.
“He had a girlfriend, Shaye.” Nadia said.
I gave her a look. “I thought you said he doesn’t date.”
“He doesn’t.” She said. “Not anymore. Shaye and Kai were friends with Mckenna and I in middle school. Kai was a grade ahead of us, but that never seemed to bother him.”
“They started dating the summer before Kai’s freshman year.” Mckenna said. “They’d always kind of liked each other, so we knew it would happen.”
“They were perfect for each other.” Nadia added. “All the girls liked Kai, but he only had eyes for Shaye and that made them a really cute couple.”
“But they fought a lot.” Mckenna took it up again. “Shaye was really possessive of Kai and so when he went to high school she freaked out because he was surrounded by pretty girls and she wasn’t even there.”
“But Kai adored Shaye, and my sister Lydia said that he never even gave those other girls a glance.” Nadia said. “Either way, it really changed Shaye. She started to resent Kai for spending extra time at school.”
“He wasn’t doing anything wrong.” Mckenna put in. “He was on the soccer team and he had to stay for practice.”
I swallowed. “Kai plays soccer?” Why hadn’t I known this?
“Yeah, he was really great.” Mckenna said. “Before he got kicked off the team.”
“Why?” I glanced at Kai again, my heart racing. Was this some kind of bad karma because of my lie?
“That’s the complicated part.” Nadia made a face. “When Mckenna, Shaye, and I started our freshman year, Shaye and Kai were still together, but they both changed a ton over that year. Shaye became a huge flirt and Kai became really quiet and mysterious.”
“Shaye said that he said he had family problems or something.” Mckenna said. “The only thing that was the same about him was that he adored Shaye.”
Nadia pursed her lips together and glanced at Kai. “But now Shaye resented the time he spent at home and how he wasn’t as social as he’d used to be. Like I said, she changed a lot, and during our second semester here, she started purposely hanging out with other guys just to get back at Kai for not spending as much time with her as he used to.”
“We hardly even knew her anymore.” Mckenna said. “She made new friends and pretty much quit hanging out with us.”
Nadia nodded. “But we still cared about both of them. We hoped summer would help make things better, but when summer came, we stopped seeing either of them. When school started again, they were still together, but you wouldn’t have known it from watching Shaye.”
“Kai still obviously loved her.” Mckenna said. “And when they were together, Shaye acted like she loved him. But she probably only did it because she knew she’d be popular as long as they were dating, because when they were apart, she acted like a slut.”
“We were shocked by her.” Nadia made a face. “Kai seemed to have no idea she was cheating on him. He’d gotten even more reserved over the summer and the only time he ever seemed to be happy was when he was with Shaye. But then homecoming came around.” Nadia glanced at Mckenna.
“Kai found Shaye and one of the football players, Jett King, having sex under the bleachers by the football field at the homecoming dance.” Mckenna said bluntly. “Kai blew up and smashed Jett’s face into one of the posts, knocking him unconscious.”
“Oh my gosh.” I swallowed, the blood draining from my face. That was seriously messed up.
“Yeah.” Mckenna made a face. “Kai claimed it was an accident and he only got suspended for two days. My dad felt bad for him about the whole Shaye-Jett thing.”
“Shaye’s parents made her transfer to a different school, but Kai never got over it.” Nadia said. “He just got worse and worse.”
“He was not at all the same guy we’d known in middle school.” Mckenna frowned. “He started sleeping around with any girl who’d let him and getting into fights with random guys around school. His grades dropped and that’s supposedly why he was kicked off the soccer team, but my dad said Coach Heath just didn’t want him around the other players anymore. In the end, his grades and attendance were so low my dad had to hold him back from going on to his senior year.”
I frowned. Kai had said he got into trouble with the police, but Nadia and Mckenna hadn’t said anything about that. “So, he’s a year older?” I asked. I couldn’t mention the police because then they’d want to know how I knew that.
“Yeah. He’s almost 18.” Mckenna glanced at him. “It’s so awful how we used to be such good friends with him and now he scares the crap out of me.”
“I saw him at the dojo.” I commented to Nadia. “Does he train there?”
She made a face. “Not really. He started training before I can even remember and he was is crazy good, but he quit training a few years ago. He started coming back after Shaye cheated on him, but he told my dad he just wanted to train on his own.” Nadia gave a sour laugh. “My dad was actually relieved. He was afraid that Kai might injure someone if he wanted to spar with one of us.” She sighed. “He usually comes later, when everyone is gone, but his reputation is so bad that my dad is thinking about asking him to stop training there. He’s got anger problems and he won’t let anyone help him, so my dad doesn’t want him hanging around the dojo. It gives us a bad reputation and scares people away.” She added, glancing at Mckenna.
I didn’t know what to think of Kai now. I could sort of relate to the betrayal, but his anger was something else. I glanced at him. Was it too late to back out?
I glanced at Hayden again. She’d already been sitting with Nadia and Mckenna when I came into the cafeteria. I was glad for that, I hadn’t been sure what I was going to do if she was waiting for me, but what pissed me off was that of all the girls in school, she had to be friends with the two girls that hated me most.
I wondered if Hayden had already told them about our fake relationship. Nadia and Mckenna had never said they hated me, but after Shaye, they’d never said a word to me. I could tell that Nadia didn’t want me around the dojo and Mckenna was terrified of me. I’m sure they had plenty to say about how fucked up I was.
Brynn, the girl sitting on my lap, leaned in to kiss me again and I welcomed her, hoping it would distract me.
That’s what girls do for me: they distract me from all my problems. At least most of the time they do. Today, it wasn’t working out so great.
Ever since Hayden had told me that she’d be my fake girlfriend, it was all I could think about. I knew I was fucking idiot for asking her, but I was willing to do whatever it took to stay out of military school.
“Are you trying out for football this afternoon?” Max’s question to Hunter caught my attention.
I broke off the kiss with Brynn and looked at Hunter. Things would get pretty interesting if he did tryout.
It wasn’t that he wasn’t athletic, Hunter was one of the most athletic guys I knew. But he was convinced that he was bad luck when it came to playing sports.
In middle school, Hunter had been on the football team and accidentally broken the leg of one of his teammates. Freshman year, he’d joined the swim team and two days later, another member of the swim team hit his head and fell, unconscious, into the pool, almost drowning. Then last year, he’d tried soccer, but Bryce tore his ACL going one-on-one with him in practice and I got kicked off the team.
Every one of those things was an accident and not really all Hunter’s fault, but he always quoted “Once is an accident, twice, a coincidence, and three makes a pattern”. He believed he was cursed and nothing we said could change that.
“Go for it, bro.” I nodded at him. All the cursed shit was just in his head and he needed to get past it.
Cam glanced at me and then at Hunter. “Yeah, you could take King’s spot at safety.” He suggested.
I stiffened a little at the mention of Jett King. He might’ve gotten away with only a smashed face after fucking with Shaye, but he’d gotten what was coming to him when he was suspended from the first four games of this season for taking drugs.
“I don’t know.” Hunter moaned. “Maybe I’ll just go to tryouts and just find out what happens.”
They kept talking and I looked over at Hayden again, my mind still stuck on what we’d just agreed to. Six weeks. That wasn’t very long, right?
She glanced at me and our eyes met. I hadn’t just picked her for the reasons I told her. Those were the main ones, but I’d been watching her all week and I was beginning to like her as a person.
I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad, but it was definitely unusual for me. I didn’t like very many people. I didn’t let myself like very many people.
Hayden looked away and I swallowed. Never mind. Six weeks was going to be an eternity.
“Hayden, you’re up.” Mr. Loftus, the algebra teacher nodded at me. “Problem 12.
I picked up my homework and headed up to the board.
He glanced at his sheet again. “And Staci, problem 13.”
I inwardly groaned. Staci had given me a death glare every time we’d run into each other since Monday, and when she found out Kai and I were “dating” it would only get worse.
I finished my problem first and was about to go back to my seat when I noticed that Staci had made a mistake on her problem. I glanced at Mr. Loftus, but he wasn’t paying attention.
“You forgot to factor.” I whispered to Staci. I only meant to help, but the look Staci gave me would’ve made anyone’s blood boil.
“Since when did you become the teacher?” She asked, glaring.
I rolled my eyes and set the marker on the ledge. “I just thought you’d rather I tell you than the whole class find out.” I turned to go but she grabbed my wrist.
“Did you get some guy’s number?” She asked, smirking.
“Girls, no talking.” Mr. Loftus called.
I yanked my arm out of her grip and pulled my sleeve down.
Staci sneered at me. “Well whoever the loser was, you probably deserve him.” She whispered.
I ignored her and went back to my seat. If only she knew.
Sometime soon after that, my head started to hurt again. It wasn’t helping that my mind was going crazy thinking about everything that could go wrong with fake dating Kai.
When the bell rang, it sounded so loud in my ears that I thought my head was going to explode. I got up, planning to head to my locker, but a wave of dizziness swept over me.
I grabbed the edge of my desk and closed my eyes, waiting for it to pass. It was the third time that had happened today. I knew I should probably tell Principal Wright, but I didn’t want to go home early.
I glanced around to see if anyone had noticed, but they were all on their way out of the room. Taking a deep breath, I followed them out and into the hall.
My head felt heavy as I walked down the hall. My vision was blurry, and I blinked, trying to see clearly again.
All the sudden, the hall started tipping and I felt like I was going to be sick. I found the wall and squatted down next to it, hoping the feeling would go away.
“Are you okay?” A guy’s voice asked from above me.
I glanced up and found a guy standing right next to me, a look of concern on his face. I’d seen him around a few times but didn’t know who he was. “Yeah.” I nodded. “Just a little dizzy.”
He squatted down next to me. “Can I help you get somewhere? The nurse’s office?”
“No.” I took a deep breath and stood up. “I’m okay.”
He stood up beside me. “Are you sure? You look a little sick.”
“Thanks.” I said, sarcastically. I rubbed my temples, trying to make the pounding in my head go away.
“Here, just let me help.” He said, moving to put his arm around me.
I understood that he was just trying to help, but I didn’t need his help and I definitely didn’t want his arm around me.
“No thanks. I’m fine.” I said again, stepping away and picking up my backpack. I knew if I started moving, I wouldn’t get very far, but this guy just wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“No, I’m just trying to help you.” He grabbed my wrist and put his arm around me, pulling my own arm around his shoulders.
Oh my gosh! What a dick! I dropped my backpack and turned toward him, shoving my knee into his groin. “Fuck off! I said I don’t need your help!”
He let go of me and jumped back. “What the hell is your problem? I’m just trying to help!”
“And I don’t want your help.” I glanced around. Thankfully, no one was really paying attention to us.
“Why?” He gave me a look. “Can a guy not help someone in trouble?”
I swallowed. I really didn’t have a response I just didn’t want him putting his arm around me. “I just don’t like it when people touch me, okay?”
“Fine.” He shrugged and grinned. “Can I at least carry your bag then?”
I looked at him. His face was adorably cute, and he had just been trying to help. I sighed. “Fine.”
He grinned again and picked up my bag. “Where are we going?”
I was standing at my locker when I saw Hayden walking down the hall with Jett King carrying her bag. My blood boiled and I stared at them in anger.
She’d been flipping off every guy that talked to her, except Wesley Knight, a relationship I still hadn’t figured out, but now she was walking happily down the hall with the one guy I couldn’t stand.
Hayden laughed at something Jett said and my hands balled into fists. I took a deep breath, reminding myself that she probably didn’t even know what kind of guy he was. She was new here.
I forced myself to look away. Why did I even care if she talked to him or not? The only thing between Hayden and I was an agreement to help each other out and we hadn’t even started that yet. Until that started, she could do whatever the hell she wanted. I didn’t care.
I saw Naomi, a girl I’d hooked up with a few times, walking towards me. “Hey.” I greeted her with a kiss. “Bathroom, five minutes?” I needed to forget about a lot.
She grinned up at me and slid her hand down my chest. “It’s free period. How about your car, two minutes?”
I kissed her again. “That works for me.”
The guy walked me out to the bleachers, where I was supposed to meet Nadia and Mckenna. He seemed like a really nice guy. He’d done most of the talking, but he was very funny and charming.
When we got to the bleachers, I took my bag back. “Thank you for walking me out here.” I said. “I’m sorry I reacted the way I did, I just get really uptight about some things.”
“No big deal.” He grinned at me. “Are you meeting someone out here?”
I nodded, glancing down at my phone to see if Nadia or Mckenna had texted me.
I glanced up at him. “What? No. Some friends.”
“Oh.” He smiled. “Do you have a boyfriend?”
I blinked. That was a little complicated. “Um, there’s this guy I’m talking to and I really like him, but we’re not official yet.” I forced a smile.
“Of course.” He grinned. “Pretty girls are always taken.”
Wow, he was smooth. I smiled. “I’m Hayden.”
“Oh, sorry.” He winced. “I know who you are I just forgot you probably don’t know who I am. I’m Jett.”
Jett? Like Jett King? The smile slowly faded from my face. How had I not known who he was? I forced the smile back. “It was nice to meet you, Jett. I hope helping me out didn’t take too much out of your time.”
“It was no problem.” Jett grinned. “I’ll help you out any time.”
“Well thanks again.” I smiled at him and turned around, taking a deep breath.
I climbed up in the bleachers carefully. The dizziness and nausea had mostly passed, but I still wanted to be careful. When I glanced back, Jett was gone.
I sat down and pulled out my phone and saw I had a text from Damen.
Damen: How you feeling?
Damen: Can he come?
I sighed. I could just tell Damen that Kai couldn’t come tomorrow, but they had to meet at some point so I might as well at least ask Kai.
Hayden: I’m great
Hayden: And he doesn’t know for sure yet
I pulled up my sleeve and looked at Kai’s number. Texting him sure would be a lot easier than talking to him.
I entered his number into my phone and then stared at the empty text box. I had no idea what to say. After a moment, I shook my head and just started typing:
Hayden: Can we talk? My uncle wants to meet you. -H
I hit send and dropped my phone in my backpack. At least now I didn’t have to lie when I told Damen I’d asked him.
Nadia and Mckenna appeared just then and joined me on the bleachers.
“Are you okay?” Mckenna asked, sitting down.
I gave her a look. “Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?”
“Staci put this on her Snapchat and Instagram stories a few minutes ago.” Nadia held her phone up for me to see. It was a boomerang of me shoving my knee into Jett’s balls.
“Fuck. I didn’t think anyone noticed that.” I groaned.
“What happened?” Mckenna asked.
I rolled my eyes and sighed. “I told him to leave me alone and he wouldn’t, so I got mad.”
“Ooh.” Nadia made a face. “You know who he was, right?”
I nodded slowly. “I didn’t at the time, but I do now.”