Facade

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Itchy pants and surprises

THEA’S POV

"Dylan.” I try to feign a smile but it forms more of a grimace. “What are you doing here?”

His face lights up with a smile. “I stayed back for soccer practice. School ended long ago, what are you still doing here?”

“I, um, was waiting for someone.”

His smile falters a little. “They don’t seem to be here though.”

Disappointment seeps through me at that. “Yeah,” I croak out.

“You wanna hang out wi—”

“Thea!” My head whips to the person calling my name and I spot my favorite ginger-head waving his hand at me.

Xavier, Cole, and Jason are also walking alongside him making me smile in delight.

“Sorry for being so late. Mr. Smith held us back,” he frowns. “Anyway, we’re here.” His gaze settles on Dylan. “Who’s this?”

“Dylan Reed, I’m—”

Flynn walks past him and towards me before whispering in my ear. “Do you need him gone so you can talk to Mr. Itchy Pants alone?”

I grin up at him, grateful for his help. “Please?”

“You got it,” he ruffles my chestnut-brown hair before turning to Dylan. “Dicklan, is it?”

Dylan frowns. “No, it’s Dylan—”

Flynn waves a hand in the air, brushing his statement off. “Yes, yes, Disney Land.” He moves towards Dylan and slings an arm around him, digging his fingers into his biceps causing a wince to escape his lips. “Come on, I’d like to hear more about you.”

“But—”

“Yeah, me too.” We all glance at the usually quiet boy. His Asian eyes appear disinterested but I notice the slight quiver of his lips as he tries to hide a smile.

Jason Lee gives me the slightest nod that goes unnoticed by everyone else but me as he captures Dylan’s sleeve as if picking up an insect and helps Flynn drag him away.

Cole stays back for a few seconds, eyeing me with a guarded expression but leaves when Jason calls for him.

My heart flutters at the simple gestures and a smile plays on my lips as I turn to Xavier only to find his eyes already on mine.

His piercing gaze does nothing to calm my beating heart and suddenly, I find myself lost in his stormy eyes.

A minute passes by with neither of us saying anything.

“You had something to give me? It better be important,” he says after a while.

“Of course it is. Very, very important.”

His eyes narrow as if he doesn’t believe me so I hold out the black portfolio for him to take.

“Beth requested you to hand it over to Elijah.”

It’s technically not a lie considering she did ask me to pass it to Xavier so he can give it to Elijah. But only because I had practically begged her to.

I needed an excuse to get Xavier alone and when I saw the chance, I grabbed it. Beth trusts me but not enough to let me make unofficial errands for her work. If it were important, I wouldn’t have been given this chance.

“The portfolio contains information for the fashion show. Please, pass it to Elijah.”

He nods. “If that’s all then I’ll be going.”

He turns around and in a panic, I blurt out hastily, “Wait!”

Xavier stops but doesn’t turn around so I decide to place myself in front of him. “Are you free right now?”

He doesn’t answer and instead stares at me, right into my hazel orbs. I hold his stare.

Then, hesitantly, he gives a very subtle nod which I almost miss. Almost.

I blink up at him. I was expecting him to ignore me and walk away or maybe just give me a resounding negative answer.

Unable to form any words, I simply grab his wrist and tug. He doesn’t move.

I tug again. Not even a budge. What the hell is this guy made of?

“What...are you doing?”

“Pulling at your mountain physique which I now realize is a waste.”

A crease appears between his brows. “Why?”

I contemplate telling him then decide against it. “I want to take you somewhere.”

I don’t think he was expecting that direct of an answer because I notice his lips part just a little. “Where?”

I put a finger on my lips. “You’ll see when we get there. Now, come on!”

I tug on his wrist again and this time, much to my surprise, the human statue moves and actually lets me hijack him for an Uber ride.

*****

“What the fuck are we doing here?”

The cool sea breeze causes my hair to flutter around me and I inhale deeply. Waves crash on the shore and I’m tempted to dip my feet in the rolling foam but we’re here for something else.

I turn to face Xavier and suck in a deep breath when my eyes land on his face.

The setting sun casts a soft, warm glow on his chiseled face. His rich, black hair is messy from the wind, long eyelashes framing his burning eyes, and his eyes...oh God, his eyes...the orange ray of the sun lights up like a flame in his stormy grey eyes.

“You’re beautiful,” a soft whisper escapes my lips before I can even comprehend it.

He stills, eyes widening, not expecting my reaction. I hear him suck in a sharp breath as I simply watch him, unable to take my eyes off.

The sudden, loud music cuts through the silent atmosphere and he looks away first, clearing his throat and I notice the clench in his jaw.

Reluctantly, I tear my gaze away from him and spot the growing crowd by a small beachside restaurant. A smile lights up on my face.

“We,” I point towards the dancing individuals, “are here for that.”

“What is that?”

I don’t answer. Instead, grabbing him by the wrist, I pull him along until we’re both standing in front of the bar.

Multi-colored lights hang from the bamboo ceiling illuminating the small space in the dark. People around us are downing shots, getting drunk.

“What are we doing here?” Xavier grits out.

“Having fun, of course.”

“We’re underage. We can’t drink.”

I give him a pointed look.

He opens his mouth again but a booming voice cuts him off. Everyone turns to look at the middle-aged man wearing a bright floral shirt with shorts and flip-flops.

“The shots are served! Let’s get the party started!” That’s all it takes for the crowd to go wild.

Once in a while, he hosts these parties where he gives out free shots to whoever can down them resulting in a big crowd every time. It’s like a beach club except with free alcohol shots.

I tell Xavier about it.

“No! Nope. They’ll kick us out unless you have fake IDs.”

I pout slightly. “Not if I have anything to do with it!”

“What are you planning on doing?” he voices steadily, afraid to know the answer. His worried expression makes me smile.

“Don’t worry, you won’t have to do much.”

“That means I will have to do something.”

I innocently bat my eyelashes knowing it’s anything but.

“Well...”

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Any idea what she might be up to?

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