17 | Broken Glass
When I got out of the shower, I pulled on some cutoff shorts and a gray cami. I didn’t bother to dry my hair, I just put on my glasses and pulled on a pink tie dye sweatshirt before heading out to join Damen and Kai.
I didn’t know what I expected them to be doing, but the scene I walked into was beyond anything I could’ve hoped for.
Damen and Kai had set a glass cup on the coffee table and were attempting to flip coins into it from across the room. None of them were going in, but they were obviously enjoying themselves.
I smiled. They looked like they were best friends. One of Damen’s coins went into the glass and they both broke into cheering.
A huge grin spread across Kai’s face and I realized it was the first time I’d seen him smile. Neither of them had seen me yet, and I found myself watching Kai’s face. His smile was so fricking cute. He was already one of the hottest guys I knew, and to add that smile…
He glanced at me just then, the smile still on his face, and I grinned back, leaning my head against the wall. We stared at each other for a moment before Damen noticed me.
“I ordered pizza.” He said, getting ready to flip his next coin.
I tore my eyes away from Kai’s and looked at Damen. “Pizza Hut?”
“Yup.” He flipped me a quarter and I caught it. “Your turn.”
“No, you two are having fun. I’ll just watch.” I said, walking over and handing back the quarter.
I could feel Kai’s eyes still on me and I bit my lip, averting my eyes so I wouldn’t meet his gaze. It made me nervous when he watched me, and I didn’t like it.
Hayden bit her lip and then walked past me and plopped onto the couch. She curled her legs up stuck a pillow between them.
I knew she knew I was watching her, but she didn’t look at me. She looked so comfortable all curled up there, yet also uncomfortable and self-conscious at the same time.
It crossed my mind that it might be because I was watching her and I smirked, glad that I wasn’t the only one that was uncomfortable.
When I’d realized Hayden had come back from her shower and was watching us, I’d found myself reacting in a way that I didn’t like. I enjoyed looking at her a little too much and it was making me uncomfortable, so the fact that she was also uneasy gave me a little pleasure.
Damen and I went back to our game. I was surprised at how much I liked hanging out with him. I hadn’t even been here thirty minutes, but I already felt like I knew him pretty well and I’d been having the most fun I’d had in a long time.
When he’d started talking about psychology and why he liked it, I was ready to get the fuck out, but the way he explained it ended up being interesting and I found myself intrigued by what he was saying. He was super easy to talk to and a pretty cool dude. We’d carried on the conversation easily and I’d learned a bit about him.
One of Damen’s coins bounced off the edge of the cup and Hayden let out a small yell. “Oh gosh! You almost got it!” She exclaimed, leaning forward.
Damen made a face. “Are you two gonna hang out tomorrow?” He asked, heading to retrieve his coins.
“What?” Hayden’s eyes widened and she shot me a glance.
“Yeah.” I nodded. “She’s coming over to my place.” I hadn’t thought about it very much, but now I realized we couldn’t just show up at school on Monday and say we were dating. People would already be suspicious about me claiming to have a girlfriend and who the fuck would believe it if we’d never even hung out together?
Hayden glared at me, but I continued. “Actually, I was planning to ask if it was cool if we went to my friend’s house tonight.” I said to Damen. “He’s having a small party and I told him I might drop by with Hayden.”
It was only a half lie. Hunter was having a party, but I’d said nothing about Hayden. I just now realized that if we went to the party together, it would be a perfect cover story for when and how I fell for her.
I stared at Kai. What the hell was he doing? I wasn’t going anywhere with him! I’d agreed to pretend to date him, not go along with his every impulse.
At least I could count on Damen to veto the idea. He was still babying me because of my concussion, so there was no way he’d let me go to a party or stay up late.
“What time will you be back?” Damen asked.
I jerked my head to look at him. “What?” How the heck was he okay with this? He knew what high school parties were like. He wasn’t supposed to like Kai, let alone let me go to parties late at night and get drunk. “I have a headache.” I sputtered, trying to come up with any reason I shouldn’t go.
“We’ll leave early then.” Kai shot me a glance that I couldn’t really read.
Damen ignored my comment about the headache and sat down on the seat across from me. “You need to make some friends.” He said. “You spend to much time by yourself.”
So that was it. He was worried I was pushing people away. “I have lots of friends.” I sputtered. “And... Kai…” I added, glancing in his direction.
The doorbell rang and Damen stood up again. “That would be the pizza.” He headed towards the door. “Hold on a minute.”
As soon as he was gone, I turned to Kai. “What the hell? You can’t just decide that I’m going to a party with you!”
He gave a little laugh. “If you’d stop glaring at me long enough to think, you’d realize that we can’t just show up at school on Monday and say we’re dating. No one would ever believe that.”
“Well how the hell does going to a party help?” I knew he was right, but it didn’t change how I felt about going to a party, let alone with him. “And you still have no right to force me into doing something for your benefit.” I added, glaring at him.
Kai’s expression darkened. “Oh, fuck off. It’s for both of our benefits.”
“Me fuck off?” I couldn’t believe him! “You’re the one that ambushed me!”
“You told me not to fuck up.” He said, standing up. “But do you know how hard it is to pretend to like someone who hates your guts? Anyone within a fucking mile could sense how much you dislike me.” He clenched his jaw. “I have no idea how the hell Damen believes we’re together!” He was whisper yelling, most likely since Damen was withing hearing range.
“You literally have the worst reputation at school and you’re blaming me for not liking you?” I whispered furiously. I couldn’t believe he was trying to flip this around like it was my fault! “I can’t believe I’m trying to pass a damn fuckboy off as my fricking boyfriend!”
A flash of anger flickered in Kai’s eyes before he turned away, clenching his jaw. He didn’t say anything but that look in his eyes was enough to frighten me a little.
I knew I’d gone a little too far with the last part, but I realized Nadia and Mckenna were right. Kai Rivers was not a guy I wanted to mess with. I was about to apologize, but Damen reappeared right then.
“Can you grab some drinks, Hayden?” He asked, setting the pizza on the table.
I frowned. I’d been feeling a little sick to my stomach all day and pizza didn’t even sound very good right now.
I stood up and walked into the kitchen, making sure I didn’t look at Kai. My emotions were so confused when it came to him.
I knew I had to put up with him for a month, even be nice to him, but he made me angry so easily. The only thing that was attractive about him was his looks… His jawline, his eyes, his lips, his muscles. I found my eyes wandering in his direction and quickly shut them, reminding myself that he was b-a-d n-e-w-s.
It didn’t matter how hot he was because I could never, ever fall for him.
For a girl that supposedly loved pizza like it was her whole world, Hayden sure didn’t eat much of it. She sat across the table from me (her choice, not mine, although sitting within touching distance of her would’ve driven me crazy) and didn’t even finish her second piece of pizza. She didn’t look at me the entire time and only spoke when Damen asked her a question.
I felt bad for making her upset, but I didn’t regret my words. I honestly didn’t know why Damen seemed to believe that Hayden actually liked me. She literally treated me like her fucking enemy.
And how the hell was I supposed to know that she didn’t want to go to a party? I thought parties were high school girls’ thing.
As soon as Damen and I finished up the pizza, Hayden said she’d clean up and I offered to help. Actually, I told her I would help. It wasn’t an offer.
Damen settled onto the couch and turned on the TV while Hayden moved to wash the dishes, so I grabbed a towel off the counter and started drying the clean dishes.
She still didn’t say a word to me so finally I spoke up. “I’m sorry about earlier.” I said, drying a glass. “We don’t have to go to the party.”
She went right on washing without even glancing at me, and I thought she wasn’t going to say anything, but finally she glanced briefly at me. “It’s not the party.” She said quietly. “I just don’t feel well.”
“Are you sick?” She’d seemed a little out of it even earlier when she was working out, like she wasn’t well.
She gave me a look but didn’t say anything. Maybe it was her period or something? Girls are weird about that. They want you to just know how they feel without them having to tell you, but like, how the hell are we supposed to know?
“So no party.” I dried the last glass and folded the towel.
He’d said it, not me. I knew he thought I was mad at him, but at least that was better than pretending we were besties. And at least I didn’t have to go to the fricking party. I grabbed two of the glasses and put them away, leaving the cupboard open for the next ones.
“What’s our plan, then?” Kai asked, hopping on the counter and glancing at Damen.
I hesitated. He had to be talking about what we were going to tell everyone at school about how we ‘fell in love’. I grabbed two more glasses and put them in the cupboard. “You’re the one that people know, what will they believe?”
“That I got you pregnant so now I’m stuck with you.”
He said it so seriously and with so little emotion that I stared at him as I moved to put the last glass away.
His eyes widened at the last second. “Watch ou-“
It was too late.
I back right into the counter, the open cupboard door driving into the back of my head, in the exact spot I’d been hit the other night.
I let out a yelp of pain, instinctively dropping the glass and reaching for my head.
Kai leaped off the counter, obviously concerned. “Are you alright?” He asked, moving to my side.
“What happened?” Damen called.
Kai peered at me as the tears sprung into my eyes. “Hayden hit-“
“I dropped a glass!” I interrupted him, squatting down so that Damen couldn’t see me. “I’ll clean it up!”
Kai knelt next to me. “You’re bleeding.” He said softly as a trickle of blood ran down my bare foot where a piece of glass had scraped me.
“It’s fine.” I managed to whisper, swallowing a sob. But it wasn’t. Nothing was fine. My head was throbbing with pain and now my foot stung too. “The broom is over there.” I whispered, gesturing to the cupboard by the fridge. I didn’t dare lift my face or he would see the tears streaming down my cheeks.
Kai grabbed the broom and began sweeping while I put the bigger pieces in a paper bag.
As soon as we finished, I stuffed the bag in the garbage and practically ran to my room. I hadn’t even realized it until I was on the way to my room that hitting my head had set off another dizzy spell.
The moment my door was shut the sobs that I’d been holding in escaped. I buried my face in my hands and sat down on the edge of my bed.
I didn’t even what to do. For some reason, telling Damen freaked me out, but I didn’t know if hitting my already concussed head was really bad or something.
“Hayden?” Kai’s voice startled me and I snapped my head up to see him entering my room.
I stood up quickly and turned around so he couldn’t see my face. “Haven’t you heard of knocking?” I asked, wiping the tears from my cheeks and pretended to be doing something on my desk. I heard the door shut and bit my lip. Couldn’t he just leave me alone?
“You wouldn’t have let me in.” Kai replied.
I felt his hand wrap around my wrist and spun around, finding him less than a foot behind me. “Did you need something?” I tried to take a step back but ran into the desk.
“You cut your foot.” Kai stared down at me.
I looked down to where his hand was still wrapped around my wrist. “You’re holding on to me.”
“You’re letting me.”
I realized he was right and immediately yanked my wrist out of his hand and pushed past him. Why had I let him touch me? As soon as I moved, my head started spinning and I reached for the bedpost to steady myself.
I felt Kai’s hands grab my waist and before I could even blink, he’d picked me up and set me on the bed.
“What the heck?” I wasn’t sure if I was upset that he’d literally picked me up, or that he’d done it faster than I could respond.
“I said, you cut your foot.” Kai knelt on the floor by the bed and pulled a damp washcloth out of his pocket. He glanced at me and then grabbed my heel and started cleaning the blood off.
Everything about it set off warning signals in my head, but I did nothing. I just sat there and stared at him. It was the last thing I would’ve ever expected from him and I wasn’t really sure why I was letting him touch me, either.
“Damen asked about you.” I commented casually as I wiped the blood from Hayden’s foot.
She stiffened and her eyes widened. “What did you tell him?”
I glanced up at her. When I saw her crying in the kitchen after she dropped the glass, I’d made myself ignore it, tellying myself we didn’t need to get all emotionally connected. But then when I found her crying in her room, I’d lost it.
I didn’t know what it was about her that rubbed me differently than other girls, but something about seeing the tough girl I’d watched all week at school, now crying her eyes out when she thought no one was looking, made my heart want to break.
“Does it matter what I told him?” I asked. There was something fucked up going on with her and I intended to find out what it was.
Hayden’s eyes widened slightly and she swallowed. “Uh, no, it just wasn’t a big deal so there’s no sense in making it one.”
I watched her shift uncomfortably. I figured she had secrets, I mean, I’d watched her all week and a few things about her just seemed strange, but this was different, as if for some reason this secret was harder to hide.
I knew Kai was trying to get at something, but I wasn’t sure what exactly. Damen wouldn’t have told him about my concussion, right? Not unless Kai told him I hit my head, and if he did, then we’d probably be on the way to the hospital right now.
Kai finished cleaning the blood from my ankle but didn’t leave. Instead, he pulled my desk chair out and sat on it. “Is there anything I should know about you?” He asked, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees.
“What do you mean?” I was confused. What did he want to know?
“You’re supposed to be my girlfriend.” He shrugged. “But I don’t know anything about you.”
“Oh.” I hesitated. “Well, what do you want to know?” I didn’t want to offer anything more than I had to.
“Name of your favorite pet?”
I hesitated. My parents had gotten me a dog for my eighth birthday and I’d named her Striker because that was the position I was on the soccer team. But I couldn’t tell Kai that or he’d ask questions and that was a part of me that I wanted to keep hidden.
“I never had one.” I lied. “What about you? Favorite color?”
“I don’t have one.” He replied, rubbing his jaw.
I didn’t believe that, but I didn’t care, either, so I moved on. “Birthday?”
His birthday was in just two weeks. Crap. I’d have to get him something. “Favorite sport?”
He hesitated. “To watch? Or to play?”
“Uh, both?” I shrugged and traced the pattern on my bedspread.
“Play soccer, watch football, but I love all of them.” Before I could ask another question, he kept going. “Any brothers or sisters?”
My head snapped up and my eyes involuntarily shot to one of the pictures of Ashton and I on the wall before going back to Kai. “No.”
Kai looked at me for a moment before continuing. “What happened to your parents?”
My eyes widened. This was going south real fast. “I-“
“Sorry, I don’t need to know details.” He interrupted. “But someone is going to find out you’re living with your uncle and it would be weird if I didn’t know anything about why.”
“Uhm…” I picked at the black nail polish on my nails. What the hell was I supposed to tell him? I could just straight out lie and say they were on vacation or something, but somehow I didn’t think Kai would believe that.
My phone started ringing and I reached for it, relieved I didn’t have to answer the question right then.
It was Mom.
“Hey.” I answered it, giving Kai a half apologetic look.
“Hey sweetie.” Mom’s voice held little to no joy in it and I swallowed, wondering what the bad news was.
She sighed. “Your Dad’s trial ended yesterday.”
I stiffened and turned away from Kai. “Yeah.”
“It only took two days for-“
“I don’t want to know.” I interrupted, clenching my jaw. “Whatever happened is fine, I don’t care.”
“Hayden.” Mom’s voice was reprimanding.
“What?” It annoyed me that she actually wanted me to know. What happened to sheltering me from all the drama? “I don’t want to know!”
Henry might’ve been my dad at one point, but he wasn’t now. He’d made that perfectly clear when he cheated on Mom and had an affair with my best friend.