Fake Love - Stardust Series**Book One

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16 | Chemistry



Naomi left my car and I reached up into the front seat for my phone.

Unknown number: Can we talk? My uncle wants to meet you. -H

Hayden, but what the hell? Her uncle wanted to meet me? I climbed out of the car and headed to chemistry. Why the hell did she tell her uncle about me?

When I got to chemistry, Hayden was already sitting in her spot. I glanced at her as I sat down. “Your uncle?”

She visibly tensed. “Yeah.”

“So?” I could see she didn’t like me very much, that was obvious, but I was okay with that. This was going to be hard enough as it was, and I didn’t need her falling for me. “What did you want to talk to me about?”

Hayden’s eyes narrowed. “Damen wants to meet you.” She said.

“Damen is…?”

“My uncle.”

Miss Strayer started class right then, but as soon as she had explained our lab, I turned to Hayden again. “So why–“

“Did I tell my uncle about you?” She finished my sentence for me.

I raised my eyebrows. “Yes.”

“I already told you, I got in a little trouble.”

“With your uncle?” I still didn’t get it.

She gave me a look. “I live with my uncle.”

“Oh.” What had happened to her parents? I hesitated. “What the hell did you do to get in trouble?” I couldn’t imagine why she’d say she had a boyfriend if she didn’t.

Hayden stared at me. “I’m pregnant.” She said after a moment.

“What the hell? Seriously?” She was going to pawn me off as the dad?

“Fuck no.” She gave me a look. “You didn’t tell me what your trouble with the cops was so why should I tell you my problem?”

She had a point. I lowered my voice. “It’s nothing. I was drunk, that’s it.”

“Oh.” She bit her lip.

It wasn’t a complete lie, I had been drunk. What I didn’t say was that I’d been arrested multiple times, and not just because I was drunk, I’d also beat the crap out of a few people.

Hayden POV

I didn’t know Kai very well, but I didn’t believe for a second that his dad sent him to see a psychologist because he got arrested for drinking. There was more, he just wasn’t saying what.

So I reciprocated the lie. “Well, I was caught sneaking out.”

Kai narrowed his eyes. “Then why the boyfriend? Wouldn’t that make it worse?”

“You don’t know what Damen is like.” I glared at Kai. “Speaking of which, he really wants to meet my boyfriend.”

“Fine.” Kai shrugged. “When?”

I blinked. That was easy. “Does tomorrow night work?”

Miss Strayer came by right then, returning some lab reports. She smiled at me as she handed me mine. “Nice work, Hayden.”

I glanced at it and saw I’d gotten 105%. I didn’t even remember there being any extra credit.

Miss Strayer handed Kai his. “You might want to go over the lesson again.” She said to him.

I didn’t mean to snoop, but I couldn’t help noticing that he’d gotten 71%, barely a passing grade. He put the paper in his bag, but before he did, my eye caught the name written across the top: Kaicen Rivers.

His full name was Kaicen. I don’t know why, but I thought that was kind of cute. Kaicen was such a nice name, but Kai didn’t seem to like it.

“What time tomorrow?” Kai asked, turning to me again.

Damn. This was really happening. I guess I’d been thinking that he’d say he was busy or something. “Uh, six-thirty?” I pursed my lips. “I’ll text you the address.”

He nodded and I put my paper in my backpack. This was not going to be fun.

The doctor at the hospital had said I should get my eyes checked out to see if the concussion had damaged my eyesight, so Damen took me to the eye doctor the next afternoon.

The eye doctor said my eyes looked fine, but he gave me a pair of glasses to wear for the next few weeks to help with the effects of the concussion.

I didn’t have a problem with wearing glasses. The square, black-rimmed ones the doctor gave me actually looked good on me. I just felt like a completely different person when I put them on.

We got back to the apartment around five and I changed into basketball shorts and one of my old soccer jerseys. I was on my way out to go train, but Damen stopped me.

“Where are you going?” He raised his eyebrows at me.

I stopped at the fridge and filled up my water bottle. “You know where.” He saw me go out to train every day.

“You can’t train right now.”

I rolled my eyes. “I feel fine, Damen. Great, in fact.” I really did feel fine. The only time I’d been dizzy today was when I first got up, and I wasn’t planning to train very hard.

“The doctor said not to exert yourself.” Damen crossed his arms over his chest.

I gave him a look again. “I do it every day, it’s not exerting. Besides, Kai will be here in an hour and a half so it’s not like I can stay out there forever.”

Damen sighed. “Fine. Just please don’t kill yourself.”

I grinned and headed for the door. “I won’t.”

I wasn’t out there very long before I discovered that I didn’t have my full balance, so I mostly just stuck to punches and basic kicks.

I wasn’t sure if I my concussion was affecting my body temperature, but it felt very hot out. So hot that I took off my shirt after only a few minutes.

It didn’t take me very long to realize that Damen was right. Training was pretty much an intense workout when I did my normal routines. I knew better than to attempt that, so I tried to keep it slow and simple.

I always swapped back and forth between using resistance bands and the punching bag, but today was really frustrating, not being able to do much with either one.

After I fell attempting a simple hook kick, I took a break from the bands and bag and moved on to the pullup bar. Over the summer, I’d worked on my upper body so much that now I could do a muscle-up and saying I was proud of myself was an understatement.

After three muscle-ups mixed in with a few pullups, I jumped down and grabbed my water bottle. I turned around to get my phone and froze.

Kai was leaning against the frame of the open garage door, watching me.

I was so startled I almost dropped my water bottle. “What the heck?” I pulled one of my air pods out. “What are you doing?” I hadn’t turned around in a long time, so I had no idea how long he’d been there.

Kai ignored me and walked over, checking out my equipment. Next to the pullup bar was a salmon ladder that Damen had made, and Kai reached up and grabbed the bar. “You use this?” He asked.

I nodded and grabbed my phone. It was 6:05, almost a half-hour earlier than I told him to be here. I wasn’t sure what that made me think. I mean, at least he wasn’t late.

Kai turned around, his hands still on the bar above his head. I hadn’t noticed how muscular he was until now, but the t-shirt he was wearing made his upper body and arms look a lot bigger than I would’ve thought.

“You workout often.” He said, his eyes glancing down at my abs.

I blushed a little, realizing I wasn’t wearing a shirt. I wasn’t shy about my body or anything, but for some reason, it bothered me that Kai saw me like this.

I moved to put my shirt back on, but panicked when I realized it was my old soccer jersey. It had my real last name and school name. Kai was sure to notice that if I put it back on.

I awkwardly picked it up, making sure it stayed in a ball. “I didn’t expect you to be here this early.”


Hayden held her shirt in her hand but didn’t put it on. I wished she would. Her body was flawless and sexy and being this close to her with her shirt off was driving me crazy.

The truth was, I’d been nervous about coming here and that’s why I was so early. I’d planned to just sit in the parking lot for a while, but when I saw Hayden training in here, I couldn’t help taking a closer look.

I’d never seen a girl do a muscle-up, but Hayden seemed to do it with ease. She was breathtaking. I rarely enjoyed watching other people train, but I’d never seen a girl her age so fit and intense and I could’ve watched her all day.

Hayden went outside and I followed her. She closed the garage door and turned to me. “Just, be cool. Don’t talk about me.” She glanced over at me as we walked toward the apartment building. “Damen knows far more about me than you ever will.”

We reached the apartment door and I held it open for her, smirking as soon as she was past. I’d only officially met her two days ago and had already seen several different sides of Hayden Wagner. I found myself becoming more and more drawn to her. She seemed so innocent, yet so badass and tough.

Her ass was displayed right in front of my face as I followed her up the stairs and my eyes couldn’t help checking her out. Even with her loose shorts on, she was sexy as hell.

When we reached her door, she paused and turned to me. “You’d better not fuck this up for me.” She said, giving me a look. “If you fuck this up, I’ll destroy you.”

I stared into her blue-gray eyes. “Is your uncle going to hate me?” I asked. I didn’t intend to fuck up, but she still had a scary look in her eyes, and I wanted to know what I was getting into.

She gave me a look. “He’s a psychologist.”

I stiffened. The first thought that crossed my mind was what if he was my psychologist? But I quickly pushed the thought away. My psychologist was too young to be her uncle, but either way, I hated psychologists in general.

Hayden’s breasts swelled as she took a deep breath and I swallowed, forcing myself to look away. I couldn’t be attracted to her. Saying we were boyfriend and girlfriend was bad enough, there was no way we could ever have sex too. Besides, she hated me.

Hayden opened the door to the apartment, and I followed her in. She went down the short hall and into the living room, where a guy (her brother?) was lying on the couch, watching TV. She hadn’t said anything about a brother, but then, she hadn’t said much about herself at all.

The guy sat up when he saw us and gave Hayden an odd look.

I realized how it must look since Hayden wasn’t wearing a shirt and was about to say something, but Hayden shrugged.

“It was hot.”

The guy rolled his eyes and stood up. “You must be Kai.”

“Oh, crap.” Hayden turned to me and smiled. “Yes, this is Kai. Kai, this is my uncle, Damen.”

Her uncle? What the hell! He was basically her own age! My mind was bursting with a million things that didn’t add up, but I quickly gathered my wits and stepped forward. ’Nice to meet you.” I said, offering my hand. “Hayden has talked a lot about you.”

Hayden POV

I didn’t really know what to do or what to talk about. I knew introducing Kai to Damen was a horrible idea because there was no way Damen would ever approve, but I didn’t have a choice after I named him. I didn’t think Damen would be mean about it, it was just that he was an extremely good judge of character and Kai’s character was definitely questionable.

At least he hadn’t dressed like a bad boy. I glanced at him. He actually looked good in his t-shirt and sweats.

Staring at Kai made me I realized I was still shirtless and I glanced at Damen. “Um, can you like show him around or something? I’m going to take a real quick shower.”

Damen nodded at Kai. “We can find something to do.”

I wasn’t sure how I felt about leaving them together. Kai new next to nothing about me and what if he said something wrong? I sighed. I would only be gone a few minutes, nothing horrible could happen, right?

I’d covered my bases with Damen, telling him I didn’t want Kai to know about my concussion. He’d reluctantly agreed not to mention it, and I didn’t think he would hand out any information about my past without my permission, even to my “boyfriend”.


As soon as Hayden left, Damen plopped back down on the couch and grinned at me. “She didn’t tell you I was only nine years older than you, did she?”

I smiled and shook my head, sitting down across the room from him. “No, she kind of failed to mention that.”

Damen laughed. “I saw it on your face the moment she introduced me. You’re not the first it’s happened to.”

I paused. I hadn’t thought about Hayden having other boyfriends, but now I wondered how many she’d had and what happened to them. “So, Hayden said you’re a psychologist?” I leaned back in the chair, hoping he’d take it from there.

“Well, I’m still in school, but I hope to graduate this year.” He nodded at me. “What about you? What do you want to do?”

I almost grinned. It was a typical question that would be asked by a girlfriend’s dad, but for some reason, coming from Damen, it seemed completely different.

“I’m still trying to figure it out.” I answered honestly. “Things haven’t been so great for me recently, but I’m working on getting back on track.” I figured there was no problem giving him the truth. It wasn’t like he’d go around and advertise it to everyone. If nothing else, he’d respect me a little more for being honest. “That’s one of the reasons I was initially drawn to Hayden.” I smiled. “She’s so smart and in control.” I didn’t know a lot about her, but I did know those two things.

A look of concern flashed across Damen’s face and I backtracked in my mind, trying to figure out if I’d said something wrong.

The look was gone as quickly as it appeared, but Damen’s face was still serious as he leaned forward. “I don’t know you, Kai. I want to believe that you’re a good guy, but you just confessed that things haven’t been too great for you recently. I don’t care what happened, as long as it is in the past.”

I nodded, but he continued. “Hayden’s life has turned upside down and crushed her. She doesn’t need anymore hurt, so if you’re ever going to break her heart, walk away now, because if you hurt her later on, I will destroy you.”

He and Hayden were definitely related. I gave Damen a serious look. “I can’t say I love her because we just met this week, but I like your niece very much and I don’t intend to hurt her.” I realized it was partially true. I did like Hayden, not as much as I was making it sound like, but more than I should.

Damen stared at me a moment longer and then relaxed. “Did you eat supper?”

“No.” I shook my head, surprised at the abrupt change of subject.

He grabbed his phone and stood up. “I guess I’m ordering pizza then.” He glanced at me. “If you ever want to know what’ll put Hayden in a good mood, it’s pizza.”

“Good to know.” I grinned, but my mind was still going over what Damen had said about Hayden’s life being turned upside down. She seemed so innocent, but there had been a few times when I’d seen a hardness in her eyes that made me think she’d been hurt by someone.

I wondered what had happened to her. She lived with her single uncle, so something had obviously happened to her parents.

Damen was in the kitchen, ordering pizza, so I pulled out my phone and found Hayden’s Instagram. There was only one post, and I frowned, realizing she’d created the account this week. I saw she only followed 54 people and clicked on the list. They were all names I recognized from school except Damen and a half a dozen others.

Damen came back into the room right then and I stuck my phone back in my pocket.

“Do you play soccer?” He asked, sitting back down.

My eyes widened a little. “Yeah. Well, I used to, why?”

“Did you quit?” Damen asked, ignoring the why.

“Not really.” I leaned forward and rested my elbows on my knees. “I got kicked off the team last year because of my grades.” Again, I wasn’t really sure why I was telling him this, he was just really easy to talk to.

“So you still play?”

My eyes narrowed. “I haven’t played very much since then, but yeah, I guess I still play.” I didn’t know why he was so interested in whether or not I played soccer. “Why?” I asked again.

Damen shrugged. “Your shirt says “soccer” on it.”

I glanced down and laughed. This guy was so unpredictable, but I actually kind of liked him. I might just be able to do this.

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