22 | Hungover
Please, please let Kai just believe me and drop the subject. I still had no idea how he knew anything about my concussion, but apparently, I’d let it slip last night when I was drunk.
I wondered what else I’d let slip but pushed the thought away. I needed to focus on what I knew right now so Kai would leave me alone.
Kai crossed his arms over his chest and gave me a look. “That’s really the best story you could come up with?”
What was his problem? I clenched my jaw, trying to control my anger. I had gone to meet a boy, it just wasn’t a specific boy, and it was true that I’d lied about who I was with because Damen wouldn’t like any of the guys I was meeting. And the part about the concussion was one-hundred percent true!
Kai couldn’t say it was a lie because it wasn’t! It was as close to the whole truth as I could get without destroying myself.
I pushed down the urge to slap or punch him knowing that it would be useless… We’d already gone down that road once.
“Just get the hell out!” I yelled at Kai. “I’m not doing this right now!”
I didn’t want to give anything up to him, especially after what he’d just said. If he wasn’t going to believe the truth I gave him, then he didn’t need to know ANYTHING.
A flicker of recognition flashed in Kai’s eyes. “You’re still experiencing symptoms.” He stated softly.
I felt my face pale a little. Was he guessing or was it that obvious?
Kai tilted his head to the side a little, a sour look on his face. “And Damen doesn’t know.”
“You don’t know anything.” The look on Hayden’s face said it all. I’d sunk the ball into the back of the net.
I mentally kicked myself for being so blind. I knew what she was doing and I’d seen it before. She was in a sort of denial that anything was wrong. It happens because you’re afraid and you just want life to get back to normal, so hiding your symptoms seems to be the best solution. It should’ve been easy for me to recognize it because I’d done it with my first concussion.
But I’d learned since then how bad of an idea that was. Hayden couldn’t ignore or hide it or she could have serious damage.
A plan to keep her safe quickly formulated in my head and I grabbed the door handle. “Then you don’t mind me telling Damen.” I said, opening the door. Before she had time to react, I stuck my head out and called down the hall. “Damen! Could you come back here for a minute?”
Hayden grabbed my wrist like I’d figured she would and yanked me back into the room.
“What the hell?” She demanded.
“Damen needs to know you’re still experiencing symptoms.” I told her.
Her eyes widened slightly. I had her trapped and she knew it.
On my end, I saw only two outcomes:
One, Damen comes in here and I tell him everything I know, making Hayden pissed with me and probably ending our ‘relationship’.
“What do you want?” Hayden whispered furiously. “I’ll do whatever the hell you want me to, just don’t tell him.”
I had already guessed that was the option she’d choose, but the scared look in her eyes would’ve convinced me anyway.
She really didn’t want him to know…
I was desperate. I couldn’t tell if Kai was seriously going to tell Damen or if he was just messing with me, but either way I was pissed.
And if Kai did tell Damen anything, even just that I was having symptoms, my life would be ruined. Who knew what Damen would do to me, but there would be so many things that would blow up in my face.
I hadn’t even had time to react to Kai’s announcement, I’d been so shocked, but I hated that I’d resorted to begging. I’m sure that boosted Kai’s ego.
Was that what he’d wanted? For me to bend to him and beg? I stared at him, afraid of whatever was coming next.
Damen appeared in the doorway and gave us both quizzical looks. “What’s up?”
I raised my eyebrows at Kai in one last pleading look to keep my secret. I knew interrupting with some random line to throw him off would not work. He’d planned this deliberately; I just didn’t know why.
If he told Damen, I was calling everything off. I’d never speak to Kai again, not that he’d care. There was only so much bullshit I could take from him and the meter was already at full.
Kai held my gaze a moment before speaking. “Hayden wanted to tell you something.” He told Damen.
A small breath escaped my lips. I didn’t know if that meant he wouldn’t tell, but at least I had the moment to live.
I suddenly realized that they were both looking at me, waiting for me to say something, and I panicked a little.
My hungover brain couldn’t think of a single thing to say.
“Uhm.” I really wanted to make Kai’s plan backfire on him, and an idea popped into my head. It was ridiculous, but it might actually work. I smiled wickedly at Kai and then turned to Damen. “We were just about to head out to the mall if that’s okay with you.”
Damen’s eyebrows furrowed and he gave me a confused look. “Yeah.” He said slowly. “That’s fine.”
“And then I’m spending the night at his house.” I added with what I hoped was a pleading smile on my face.
Kai’s eyes widened slightly, and as much as I wanted to knee him in the gut, I had to hold back my laughter at his obvious surprise. There was no way he’d seen that coming.
“What for?” Damen asked, an odd look coming over his face. “It’s a school night.”
Amusement flashed across Kai’s face as he turned back to me. Well, he might think this was funny now, but I’d bet that it wouldn’t be too long before his amusement was gone.
I plastered on a pleading look for Damen. “We have a chemistry assignment due tomorrow and we haven’t worked on it at all because… You know…” I glanced at Kai solely for Damen’s benefit. “I’m not supposed to overwork myself because of my concussion.”
Damen’s face softened and to the side, I could see Kai rolling his eyes, the amused look still on his face. There was no chemistry assignment due tomorrow and I’m sure he’d figured out I was doing this just to annoy him.
“I was going to go early tomorrow too so that I could talk to Principal Wright about my transfer.” I added. “Kai is going to give me a ride and this is kind of out of the way from his house so that helps too.”
Kai gave me a look and I raised an eyebrow slightly. I had no idea where he lived now that I thought of it, but Damen didn’t either, so it was still a point in my favor.
I knew Hayden was just trying to get under my skin, so I gave her the satisfaction of thinking that she was succeeding when in reality, I was the one in control.
I’d put her on the spot when Damen came in the room not because I thought she’d tell him she was still having symptoms, but because I wanted to throw her off balance. She was very independent, and this was my way of keeping the upper hand.
It had played out similarly to how I thought it would until the part where she said she was staying at my house tonight. I didn’t understand that part at all. She’d already said we were going to the mall, so why would she add that part? I mean, I’m sure my house is the last place she’d want to spend the night, but telling Damen that’s what she was doing kind of forced her into it.
Was she just doing this because she thought I didn’t want her to? Because I didn’t care. In fact, I’d welcome an opportunity to keep a closer eye on her.
“I guess it’s okay.” Damen looked at me for a moment and then back at Hayden. “Have you told your mom about the two of you?”
“Shit.” I hadn’t realized I’d have to tell Mom about us, but how could I not? I told her that she’d be the first to know about any crush or boyfriend I had, and I meant it.
Kai was a fake boyfriend, but the only people who could know that were the two of us. No one else would understand, and for sure not Mom. But I couldn’t let her believe I actually liked him, either.
I bit my lip and shook my head. “I’ll… Tell her soon, I promise.”
I would, as soon as I could figure out what to tell her. I’d royally fucked this one up.
“Okay. Well, if that’s all, I’m gonna go.” Damen pointed to the door and I nodded.
Damen left the room and I went back to glaring at Kai. “I hate you.”
He nodded. “I know.”
I stalked over to my dresser and pulled out a pair of jeans. The truth was, as much as I wanted to hate him, I couldn’t deny the way my body, and even mind and heart were reacting to him. It certainly wasn’t with hate.
We drove to the mall in silence. It wasn’t that there was nothing to say, there was plenty to say on both sides, I think. But we were both stubborn and neither of us wanted to be the first to open up.
Since I didn’t want Kai thinking I was waiting for him to say something, I pulled out my phone and scrolled through my notifications. There were a whole bunch of Instagram notifications and half a dozen texts from random people.
I opened the one from Nadia and saw that she’d screenshotted an Instagram post and sent it to me. It was a picture of two girls I didn’t know, but they appeared to be at the party last night.
Nadia: I didn’t realize you were such a party girl
I reread it twice. What did she mean? She found out I went to the party? I didn’t owe her an explanation for that. And what the heck was the picture?
Hayden: What do you mean?
She replied within seconds. This time it was the same picture, with part of it circled in red.
Nadia: What’s this about?
What the heck? I zoomed in on the picture and almost gasped when I realized what it was.
In the background of the picture was me… Dancing… With Kai. Neither of us had a shirt on, and his hands were wrapped around my waist but that wasn’t even the worst part.
My hands were in his hair and from this angle it looked like… We were kissing!
I froze and shot a glance at Kai without turning my head. Oh. My. Gosh. Why wouldn’t he say something about this?!
But of course he would say anything! I’d been drunk and he took advantage of me! Oh my gosh! Everything was starting to make sense! Kai spending the night, me waking up in his shirt.
I didn’t know what I hated more: that I’d lost my virginity to Kai Rivers, or that I didn’t remember any of it.
Part of me wanted to turn and confront Kai right there, but I needed to think more; figure out just how mad I was.
Hayden: I don’t remember anything from last night
I was about to hit send when I realized that if I admitted that I didn’t remember what happened last night, no one would believe Kai and I were a couple on Monday.
I bit my lip and deleted what I’d typed out to Nadia. Instead, I lied.
Hayden: He’s actually a really nice guy and I had a lot of fun
I shot Kai a bitter glance. I’d known I would regret our arrangement at some point, but I hadn’t known how soon and how much it would be, and after last night, I wasn’t even sure I was going to continue it.
I pulled into a parking space at the mall and turned off the engine. Hayden reached for the door handle, but I stopped her.
She shot me a questioning glance. “What?”
“Uh.” I actually wasn’t sure what I was going to say. The drive over here had given me time to clear my mind and think, and what I’d realized was that attempting to force Hayden into talking would probably backfire and just make the next six weeks hell, but I hadn’t really planned what I was going to say.
Hayden raised her eyebrows and I realized that I’d just have to wing it.
“Look, I’m sorry I was being an ass earlier.” I leaned my head back against the headrest. “But I didn’t know what the protocol is for when someone’s drunk off their ass and they mention that they have a concussion.”
Hayden didn’t say anything, and her expression barely softened, but it was enough to keep me going.
“I know you’re not crazy about our deal, and believe me, I’m not either. But six weeks is a long time and I don’t want to be fighting every single second. We’re not just gonna have to put up with each other, we’re gonna have to make it look like we love each other. So can we just forget everything that’s happened and be friends?”
I don’t know what I expected Kai to say, but that was NOT it.
He was seriously asking if we could be friends? Or did he mean pretend to be friends?
Did I even want to be friends with him? Even if it was pretend? Ha. I guess I gave up the right to answer that one when I agreed to be his ‘girlfriend’.
“Fine.” I didn’t trust Kai Rivers as far as I could throw him, especially after last night, but I was curious what game he was playing. “No more fighting.”
A small, grateful smile tugged at his lips and he nodded. “Fresh start?”
I hesitated and bit my lip before slowly nodding. “Fresh start.”
I might be agreeing to try and forget everything Kai had done, but that didn’t mean I could forget. I mean, how was I supposed to forget that the guy took my virginity when I was drunk and then didn’t even say anything the next morning?
There needed to be rules for this ‘relationship’ but there was no way I could post boundaries without seeming like the prude virgin I was. Well, at least until last night.
I wasn’t ashamed of being a virgin, but it was far from the bad girl image I had here, and I didn’t need that getting out and causing me even more trouble than I already was. At least having this ‘relationship’ with Kai would keep people from assuming that.
“Okay.” Kai looked at me briefly as if trying to read what I was thinking. “Should we go?” He asked after a minute.
I plastered on a smile and nodded. “Yeah, let’s go.”
Being real friends with someone? That would never happen again. But pretending to be friends with someone? That I could do.