Chapter 21: Telepathic sorry vibes
We are all broken. That’s how the light gets in.
“So tomorrow is the Cobain wedding,” Mom announced as she placed a bowl of tiramisu in front of me.
I slowly dipped my fork in it and messed its perfect shape before shoveling it inside my mouth.
“Crystal? Where are you? You haven’t responded all through the dinner.” Brad asked me worriedly as he stopped to stare at me.
I jerked my head to him and then turned to mom. Both of them were looking at me in concern. I sighed.
It was true; there was barely anything that could hold my interest today. The fight with max just kept playing on my mind on replay.
I should not have poked my nose in his personal matters.
“Crystal? Brad asked you something.” Mom told me and I caught the hint of her unspoken sentence -Remember your manners.
I suppressed my sigh and smiled brilliantly, “I am alright. Just some school stuff.”
“What school stuff exactly, crystal?” Brad asked while nonchalantly picking his spoon up and scooping a bit of ice cream before purposefully making a scraping noise with the cutlery. He knew something.
I slowly raised my head to meet his eyes. He watched me with his brown eyes as if he was scanning the deepest secrets tucked away in the vaults of my soul.
“I know what you are doing!” I gasped as I pointed an accusing fork toward him.
Mom scolded me to keep the fork down. He coolly raised an eyebrow at me.
“You are doing your lawyer-thingy on me.” I accused him and continued when he did not even twitch a muscle, “you are doing that…that thing…which makes the criminals blurt everything. But I am not falling for your tricks!”
He was still watching me and mom was watching both of us as if it was the most interesting tennis match in the world.
Frustrated I grabbed my fork again and scooped the now melted tiramisu, “I got detention for three months till the winter break.”
“For what,” Brad asked calmly.
I pouted and mumbled, “I cheated on my history exam.” Mom was super confused.
I knew what she was going to say, I could not cheat.
“No you didn’t.” brad said confidently while I gave him a wary glance.
He placed a hand on the table and leaned towards me, “you are covering up for someone.”
He let the declaration settle in before adding with narrowed eyes, “but for whom?”
“Would you two stop this?” mom bellowed. Both of us turned towards her in surprise.
She glared at brad before scolding him, “this is not your courtroom. This is my house!” Brad gave her a sheepish grin while I just ducked my head down.
“Now tell me why did you take the blame for cheating?” mom asked me while cleaning the dishes away.
“Don’t you even deny that?” Mom warned as if she sensed the retort forming on my lips.
I threw an evil glance at brad and answered, “It was some girl - Ms. Vela.”
“So you didn’t even know her name. Which means she was not your friend.” Mom said and raised her voice when she saw me retorting, “Stop sacrificing yourself for strangers. Now you were lucky that they just gave you detention. Do that again and I will make sure you regret it. Understand?”
I stared at her for 30 seconds before numbly nodding.
“You are grounded crystal. Go to your room.” Mom said.
“What! Why?” I whined.
She gave me a cool glance. Right for fake cheating on my exams.
I sulked off to my room. Brad murmured a sorry but I just turned my head and went to my room. I started arranging and rearranging everything in my room.
However, even though my room was huge it did not have many things to clean.
Therefore, by 12 at midnight I was still restless and still not sleepy. I had already texted max seven times, apologizing to him on various degrees but he hadn’t even checked the messages.
I would meet him on Monday at school and apologize to him thoroughly. Okay, that is a plan.
Finally, I decided to read the most boring book on my bookshelf, ‘The Planet Earth: Volume 4’, and settled on my bench seat.
I hated geography and I never understood sedimentation, hence I picked up the column on sedimentary rocks and started reading hoping to fall asleep. ‘Sedimentary rocks were all formed in the same way- by the deposition, compression, and cementing together of numerous particles of animal, or plant origin.’
An hour later, I knew everything about sedimentary rocks but sleep was miles away from me. Unlocking my mobile I checked the time displayed, 1:15 am. If I did not sleep now I would look like a panda tomorrow.
I was about to lock my mobile when all of a sudden it started ringing, the caller ID said pookie bear.
Holy flying canisters of goat milk! Pookie bear! Max was finally calling me…at 1:15? I got a little scared at that…what if it was an emergency?
“Hello?” I asked tentatively.
“Hey…hi…did I wake you up?” max asked.
His familiar deep voice calmed me and abruptly a smile crawled its way over my face.
“No. no I was awake. Hey, is something wrong?”
“Yeah. I mean no. everything is fine, it’s just…can you come out of your house?” he asked.
“Like now? Why?” I asked him incredulously. He was not making sense.
“I am standing outside of your house. Can’t you see?” he asked nervously.
I peeped at the street below. There was no one except a wandering street tabby cat.
“My room faces the back of the house.” I told him as I stood up abruptly and quickly ran downstairs with ninja skills.
“oh.” Max murmured and then silence reigned.
I stuffed my feet into my vans before switching the porch light on and opening the front door. And there he was, leaning against his black BMW in gray sweatpants and a navy blue hoodie.
The moment he saw me he lowered his mobile and smiled at me. I raced down the few steps and slowed the moment I reached him.
He did not once look at my attire. I was wearing a white silk camisole with no bra and green booty shorts that barely covered my butt.
“So...That’s not your room?” he asked while pointing towards mom and brad’s bedroom.
“No. That’s my mom and stepdad’s room.” I whispered. My voice echoing in the silent street.
“You mean to say I have been sending my telepathic sorry vibes to your mom and stepdad?” he asked while wildly gesturing with his hands.
“yes.” I smiled at him.
“oh.” That is all he said before silence captured us again.
The porch light faintly illuminated his features. His cheekbones looked prominent and his eyelashes cast shadows across them.
Finally, he turned to me, “I am sorry for yelling at you. Please don’t hate me.,” he pleaded with a slight hint of desperation.
I froze in my place on hearing his words. Max was apologizing. Moreover, he asked me not to hate him? Was this max?
“Pookie bear?” I called out to him tentatively.
He sighed in frustration, “I have a perfectly good and easy name. So stop calling me such stupid things.”
Definitely max. Then how come…
“Why are you apologizing? I should not have poked my nose into your personal matter. I am sorry.” I told him softly while kicking the gravel near my shoes.
His hands took hold of my own.
My hands looked tiny and delicate in his warm slender fingers, “no. hey, look at me” he cupped my chin to face him, “you had every right to ask me. You are my…” he seemed to search for some word.
And my heart quickened its pace; his hands were burning me up in the most pleasant way.
“…friend.” He finished as if convincing himself more than stating the fact to me. My whole body deflated at that. What is wrong with me?
“I was never angry at you max.” I told him while smiling up at him.
Relief flooded his eyes and he gave me a smile that warmed my insides even while a chilly gust of wind blew my open hair all over my face.
“You were the one who didn’t even let me explain myself. You told me to plaster myself on Damon.” I told him with a frown.
Guilt spread across his beautiful face and he released my chin to rub the back of his neck. I went and settled down on the porch steps stretching my legs.
When I looked up at him patting the place beside me, I caught him staring intently at my legs. Granted that they were all the way bare and sparkling like polished gold in the dim light.
“Like what you see?” I asked him as I bent my leg slightly at an angle to show-off my calves and thighs. That brought him out of his trance.
Well not so much as he answered me while running his eyes at my thighs, “yeah…no. no.” he shook his head and folded his magnificently tall frame gracefully on the spot beside me.
“What was I saying?” he asked me.
A gust of cold wind swept past us raising goosebumps on my skin and well-raising something else underneath my thin camisole.
“Nothing. I was saying that you told me to … max you have got to pay attention to what I am saying.” I told him sternly and his eyes snapped up like a horny teenager caught staring.
His ears turned red and he pulled on one of his earlobes while looking out at the street. I pushed my hair ahead so that it fell in front of my chest.
“Uhm...Sorry but you are hardly wearing anything and…I uh...am sorry,” He tried to explain as he started blushing.
I glared at him. He sheepishly grinned at me. I rolled my eyes at that.
“it’s just that I didn’t like seeing you with Damon…” he spoke.
I turned to him and asked curiously, “what do you mean?”
Max stayed silent for a minute before singing, “When you nod your head, yes but you wanna say no….” he trailed off as he glanced at me.
I continued staring at him and he fidgeted with his hoodie before finally groaning in frustration,” you know that Damon placed a bet on you right?”
I nodded my head.
Max struggled a little more, “the bet’s that he will make you fall for him within a month. And well, so he is just using you and you are flirting with him.”
I again nodded my head. I knew this all, I was not a naive damsel.
At my lack of any desired response, max growled, “Well I don’t like him using you.”
“Why not?” I asked him as I folded my knees against my chest and wrapped my hands around them.
He looked at me in shock, “you want him to use you?”
“No” I shook my head and leaned my head on my knees turning to face max, “it’s just a game. He is giving me attention so I am basking in it. People do not ask me on dates and girls do not try to attack me thinking I am just another plaything to him. Basic high school newbie survival tricks.”
Max looked at me as if I just conjured a bolt of lightning from the sky and buried it in his chest. I shrugged as he frowned at me.
“It still doesn’t excuse your statement. You told me to plaster myself on Damon. That was mean max. I am not an attention-seeking whore.” I whispered softly with a pout. He looked as if I was trying to kill him.
“No. you are definitely not that. It’s just I…” max seemed to search for words again.
I stroked a finger across his hand manipulatively and looked at him from underneath my eyelashes. Try and resist the charm, max.
He watched me as if in a daze, “…jealous.”
“You were jealous?” I tilted my head slightly.
He was about to argue but he caught himself and ran a hand through his hair. I clenched my fingers into a fist to curb the urge to run my hand through his silken strands.
“I was jealous that you were hugging Damon. I mean he has ulterior motives! He doesn’t actually like you.”
“But why were you jealous?” I asked him and then smiled at him slyly, “do you like me?”
“Yes. No. I mean yes but as a friend. Stop twisting my words, crystal.” Max groaned.
“Well stop twisting your thoughts. Be clear, okay?”
“Here is a piece of truth. Amber was my childhood best friend.” I told him solemnly.
He looked at me, “was?”
“Who is Yasmine?” I asked him, totally ignoring his question.
I will not reveal a bit if he won’t.
He looked conflicted but then he gulped dryly, his Adam’s apple bobbing, “she was my…best friend.”
He sighed and looked at the empty street and that was it. He did not elaborate and I relaxed in the silence.
My eyes became heavy. I shivered as another gust of wind whipped my hair. A strong broad arm settled around my shoulder and pulled me towards max’s hard chest. I leaned against his chest.
“I am sorry crystal. I swear I will never yell at you” max murmured against my temple eliciting tingles to run through my spine.
I felt a blush warming its way through the center of my chest and spreading to my face.
“Are you sure?” I asked him with a smile with my eyes still closed.
“yeah.” He murmured as he leaned his nose against the top of my head and breathed in deeply.
Did he just …smell my hair? Every coherent thought fled from my brain and my body heated up to 100 degrees. The night suddenly turned stifling hot.
“You should go home and sleep. It's late.” He whispered his lips brushing slightly on my temple.
If he wanted to convince me to go, he was certainly not doing a good job. I felt content in his arms. I felt safe.
I felt…at home. My eyes popped open at that thought. I stood up abruptly leaving a confused max sitting on the steps.
Forcing a smile on my face, I said, “yeah. It's late and I am a little sleepy.”
Chuckling, max stood up and gazed down at me, ”you are definitely sleepy. You can barely keep your eyes open.”
I nodded at him with a genuine smile. We stood at the stair for another minute in complete comfortable silence.
Max stepped forward and cupped my jaw, tracing his thumb on my lower lip. Fire and hot lava coursed through my body and I found myself slowly leaning to his touch, rising to meet him.
He came closer, his lips just a centimeter away. I closed my eyes and his warm breath fanned my face.
And my mobile started ringing obnoxiously.
Taylor Swift started screaming ‘Look what you made me do’ as I scrambled to silence her.
The lyrics reverberated in the silent street even after I rejected the call. My heart was beating loudly. Max was glaring at my mobile.
“Max…” I started.
He snapped his eyes back at me and his arm snaked around my waist pulling me closer. He leaned in to kiss me.
Damn it! He was so close and Taylor swift again interrupted
“Ohhh look what you made me do. Look what you made me do...”
I glanced at the caller ID; Melissa Sallow was calling me. Max glared at my mobile with extreme loathing. I gave him an uneasy glance before answering the call.
I heard max mutter, "I hate that mobile.”
I covered my face with one hand to hide the blush on my cheeks.
“Crystal! Are you there?” Melissa cried. Melissa was a hyperactive girl who was my friend back in Missouri.
I frowned at her distressed voice, “what’s wrong?”
“Crystal you have to come here to kick Brett’s ass.” She cried out. So, it was not a matter of immediate emergency.
“I will call you back in five minutes, okay? I am with someone right now.” I told her while looking at max with an uneasy smile. He frowned at me.
“Wait you are with someone at this time? Naughty crystal.” I could practically hear the grin in her voice.
“Oh, so you are aware of the time.” I asked her sarcastically.
However, she was completely unaware of it “tell me all the saucy details! Does he have abs? Oh, oh, how big is he?”
“What?” I asked her in confusion as max twisted his lips.
“You didn’t measure him when he put his thing inside you?” Melissa asked with genuine curiosity.
I blushed violently and smacked a palm to my face. Who would even measure like that?
“I will call you later.” I told her firmly and cut the call before she could say anything else.
“Definitely goodnight now.” Max said with a forced smile.
I grimaced at him. He smiled and shook his head. Then he came closer to me and swiftly placed a soft kiss on my jaw just near my ear. He lingered there for a second as his citrus cologne invaded my senses.
“Sweet dreams.” He murmured into my ear.
I just wanted to purr like a cat when his breath warmed my ear.
“Good night muffin.” I told him just to relieve the sensuality of the situation.
He moved back with a frown, “muffin? Seriously?”
I grinned at him as I walked back to my door.
“I could call you sprinkles if you like that more.” I teased as I opened the door to my house.
He just smiled and opened his car door. I smiled at him one last time and entered my house.
Walking to the front side window, I peeked through the blinds at max. He was standing there watching my house. I switched the lights off. Max slowly opened his car and sat inside. He took his mobile out and fiddled with it. My mobile beeped and I checked the message.
Pookie bear: did you sleep yet?
He sat inside his car for a minute or so before shaking his head and driving away. The faint blue light from the dashboard illuminated his face, and I thought I saw him smile.
I saw him leaving the street and felt a bittersweet pang in my heart.
He waited to make sure I was back in my room before leaving as if something would happen to me on my way to my own room.
I wanted to be back with him. He was literally gone for a few minutes and I missed him.
Suddenly the fact that I was going to see him back on Monday just left me unsatisfied.
What is wrong with me?
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