No Rules In Bad Ideas

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Bad Idea Ten

Chapter Ten

Malia Hernadez

The sound of a thump wakes me up.

Holy shit, someone’s in my room.

I usually keep my door locked since I’m paranoid. It’s from all the horror movies I’ve watched. So, the only explanation for someone being in my room would be that they came in from the window.

Thump.

Shit, shit.

Let’s calm down. Mal, grab the baseball under your bed that you kept for safety measures and just beat the guy until he’s unconscious.

Okay, I got this! I’m a Hernandez! We’re practically brave lions.

I slowly reach under my bed and grab ahold of the baseball bat. My fingers tighten around it and I count to three before jumping out of bed. I’m about to swing when they suddenly start yelling and their voice sounds familiar.

“Fucking shit don’t kill me!”

I quickly turn on the lights and see Mauricio standing there with his guitar in hand. He also has a look of horror on his face and I almost laughed at it. I didn’t though because I’m pissed that Mauricio thought it was a great idea to come into my room at such hours.

“Shit, I didn’t think you were this psychotic. Why the fuck you have a baseball bat under your bed?” Mauricio puts the guitar on my bed, still backing away as if he’s afraid I’ll try to beat him with it.

I am debating on doing it.

It doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. But then I remember I’ll have to sing on stage alone tomorrow—well technically today if I did beat him up. I’ll save the beating for the future.

“What the hell dude. You scared the butterflies out of me. I thought someone was robbing me or worst.” I say putting a hand over my stomach feeling a bit nauseous. I shouldn’t have jumped like that on a full stomach.

We ended up getting Jack in the Box last night. It was delicious but it left me full with both food and beer in me.

He laughs, “I told you I was going to pick up my guitar later.” I stare at him with a ‘seriously’ face and debate once again on beating him with my bat.

I look over to the window calling him crazy for both coming so late at night and coming in through the window.

“How the hell did you even get up here?”

“Used my Papa’s ladder then climbed myself up a bit. It was a fun experience. I hope to do it more often.”

Never again am I leaving the window open.

“Now who’s looking crazy?” I ask him but he raises an eyebrow, looking up and down at me.

He then says, “You. Most definitely you.”

I check myself in the mirror to see my crazy hair and groggy eyes.

Shit, I do look crazy.

I end up turning back to him, showing him my middle finger which makes him laugh.

“Get out of here before I decide to use that bat on you,” I walk over to him and he playfully rolls his eyes grabbing his guitar.

While on his way out the window he asks for the autograph. I quickly give it to him and he even thanks me.

I watched as he slowly went down onto the ladder, down the ladder, and back into his house.

I’m closing the window when I see him finally in his room. He sends me a salute and I close the curtains on him.

“Asshole,” I mumble going back to bed.


How many times am I going to be woken up by people?

Lilybeth is knocking on my door aggressively, telling me it’s almost ten pm and I need to be at the charity at twelve. She knows me so well to know I take long showers and take forever to get ready. I’m not surprised she’s waking me up early.

Yet, her yelling and knocking are enough to make my head pound like crazy.

I end up throwing a pillow at the door and yell at her to go away.

My whole face is on fire, I feel groggy as shit, and I regret drinking at all. I’m also angry at Mauricio for waking me up in the middle of the night. He scared the butterflies out of me when he came in here last night.

The asshole was speaking the truth when he said he would come “later” for it.

I hear Vikki call out my name and I groan once again putting a pillow over my head.

Nobody in this house ever leaves me alone.

I do end up getting up from bed feeling completely like shit. My mild hangover is hitting me at once, but I’m glad to not be throwing up.

When I go downstairs, my dad is sitting on the couch reading on his Kindle tablet. I’m about to tell him good morning until he bursts out laughing, telling me I look like a crazy person.

Yeah well, fuck the good morning now.

I tell him “Don’t start.” which makes him laugh even more.

“How was last night? Anything exciting happened?”

“It was fun and yeah, Mark ended up singing with them on stage. He tried to bring me up there but I wasn’t that drunk.” I sit down on the couch next to him and he chuckles along with me.

“I also ended up getting Mauricio an autograph from the band. He couldn’t make it so he asked me if I could get it for him.”

My dad gives me a weird look. He even asks why Mauricio wasn’t there but I shrugged at it. It’s not my business to tell and nor do I know why he didn’t show up.

“Hey, did Easton come over?” He asks raising an eyebrow at me.

I shake my head and gape at him, “No, why?”

“I was so sure I heard a male voice in your room last night.”

I roll my eyes hating whoever built this house. They made these walls way too damn thin.

I explain how Mauricio thought it was okay to climb up the window in the middle of the night, while I was sleeping, to retrieve his guitar.

“And they call me crazy,” I let out a pfft noise and my dad raises his eyebrows at this.

“Hey, I’m perfectly normal. And if I’m not it’s because of you. I may have mom’s looks but I do act as you did as a teenager. I didn’t forget all the war stories of teenage Samuel. Ma’ and Pa’ were very specific too.”

He laughs saying, “That’s true. Your personality is just like mine was. That’s why I’m afraid of you half of the time. I was unpredictable too.” I grin at him making sure he knows he never has to doubt my choices.

Vikki walks into the living room and says, “Speaking of mom.” and I mumbled back, “I said one thing about her looks. There’s no ‘speaking of mom’ here.” Vikki waves me off and my dad is quick to exclude himself from the conversation. He knows mom is a touchy subject.

“Mom, wants you and Lilybeth to visit her. She said you guys can go—” I cut her off when I get up and start to walk away.

I don’t want to argue especially with the headache I have at the moment. So, I chose to walk away and not speak about this anymore.

“Malia Sarai. Stop.” Vikki says in a hard tone.

I stop my tracks knowing I’ve officially pissed off Vikki.

I turn around with my arms crossed and say, “I’m not going. I’ll drive Lilybeth there with Easton like the other times but I won’t see her.”

Vikki sighs to this, standing up and coming over to me.

She says, “I know it’s hard seeing her after everything that happened last year. I understand the things she said were awful but she’s our mom. She just wants to talk, that’s all.”

I look over at my dad who’s back reading on his kindle. I start to think about all the time’s dad came home late, poured himself a drink, and cried in his room every night after mom left.

It angers me to think of this and so I shake my head.

“I said no. I’m not ready to forgive her. Let me do this on my own time.” I move past her into the kitchen but Vikki is persistent.

“You need to stop acting like a child and go face your problems.”

“She’s not a problem. But apparently, I was hers. You were there, Vikki. You heard what she said. She made it very clear how she saw me.”

Vikki sighs and I turn away from her.

I plant my hands on the sinking staring down at it. The memory of the fallout makes me shake my head once again. The awful things mom said and the look in her eyes when she said them.

“If it were up to me? I would’ve stopped calling her my mother a long time ago.”


Mauricio Reyes

“You should’ve left Papa drunk on the floor. It’s his bar anyway.”

I purse my lips at mama and she shrugs drinking her tea.

“Danny called me and was afraid that something was going to happen to him. I wasn’t going to blow off Danny and leave her with papa drunk on the floor of his bar.”

Mama mumbles back, “Well Danny, should’ve left him there too.”

“Mama. Come on. I know Papa and you hate each other but you don’t wish death upon the guy.” Mama sighs to this and says “I don’t wish that. And nor do I not love your Papa. I love him deeply but I’m afraid the love your Papa has for himself died along with your grandpa. No one can love someone truly if they don’t love themselves.”

I get up from my chair and quickly hug her as she tears up. Mama has been through so much with Papa and I know she loves him. She’s just tired and needs Papa to put in the effort to fix himself.

You can’t fix someone who doesn’t want to be fixed. All you can truly do is watch as they fall and fall, taking your heart with them. How heartbreaking must that be?

That is one of the reasons I rather not be in a relationship. I’m afraid I’ll be like Papa, I’ll be the one to fall and take my lover’s heart with me. No one deserves such a fate.

The kids come down and Mama wipes her tears away. She tells the kids she made pancakes and to grab themselves some.

Reuben sits down at the table along with Angelina. They’re both staring at mama suspiciously.

“Is everything okay, mama?” Reuben asks with a worried expression. Mama nods and tells him to eat his pancakes.

He looks over at me even more worried but I grin at him with a curt nod that eases him.

“Mauricio, are you coming with mama, Benny, and me to the charity?” Angelina speaks up from the table and I shake my head, ” I won’t be going with you guys but I’ll be there.”

I sit down at the table across from the kids and start poking my pancakes. I’m wondering if I should say anything about the singing. Well, I mean they’re going to find out either way so might as well.

“I’m also going to be playing the guitar as Malia sings. Jianna asked us if we could sing and we agreed. Easton and Josie practically sold us out,” I laugh and mama’s eyes lit up.

I know how much she loves it when I play the guitar. She’s also always been pursuing the whole Malia and me being together since we met. It was funny watching her face fall when I told her Malia was with Easton.

“Oh, how wonderful. We’ll be sure to be there. My baby boy is going to show the world his guitar skills.” Mama pinches my cheeks as a joke and the kids laugh mocking her calling me “baby boy”. I playfully glare at the kids before bursting out with laughter along with them.

We all start hearing yelling and it’s coming from Hernandez’s house.

Mama and I go over to the window and sneak a look. We see both Malia and Vikki arguing. They’re arguing about Malia going to see her mom.

“I don’t care. I am not going.”

“She wants to see you. You haven’t seen or talked to her in over a year, Mal.”

“I don’t care. You know why I won’t go.”

Vikki shakes her head and walks away. Malia is leaning against the sink but quickly leaves when her doorbell rings.

From what I can see it’s Mark. He’s there to hang out with the family. He did tell me the other day he was going over to her house. He also said it’s been too long since he’s seen his surrogate family.

The doorbell rings which makes mama and me jump. We both chuckle, closing the curtains realizing we overdid our snooping.

I end up getting the door and see it’s Maddie.

She practically jumps on me and tells me how much she missed me.

“I hate you still for blowing me off this whole week,” She rolls her eyes smacking me on the arm.

“Must I remind you every time? I had a project to do.”

She mimics me, in her supposedly Mauricio’s voice, and walks past me to go greet my family. They all are excited to see her and she explains how I’ve been keeping her from them.

What else is new?

Maddie has been apart of the family since we met. The minute we became best friends, it was meant to be. She was the “twin sister” I needed by my side when everything was going down. The one who knew what it’s like to have toxic parents. It’s always been her.

She and I met when my mom invited everyone in the neighborhood to my twelve birthday party. Maddie and her grandparents just moved in a few houses across from us when the party was being organized. Mama didn’t want them to feel left out so she quickly invited them. Every day I’m grateful she did because Maddie wouldn’t be my best friend if she didn’t.

Maddie is the kind of girl who doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. The clothes she wears are always dresses or boyfriend jeans. The amount of makeup she wears is to a minimum and her hair is always curled. Her personality is like no one I ever met, it’s hyper and sarcastic. She will make sure you know everything about her just in case we are ever wondering what she wants for her birthday.

When I first met her at the party she was in my bedroom for god knows what reason. She was looking for the bathroom and got lost. I was walking into my bedroom when I saw her standing there holding the picture frame of Malia and me.

The picture our parents made us take when it was Malia’s tenth birthday. In the picture, both of us are smiling at the camera with our arms wrapped around each other. Malia’s tongue was sticking out and since I suck at smiling, my smile is crooked with my two front teeth showing.

Maddie had asked why I had it framed and I made up some story about my mom framing it. Which was a lie considering I paid for the print of the picture and the frame myself.

After that, Maddie would not leave me alone. She was determined to also get a picture of her and me framed. She claimed it was only fair to have both of us framed since she was now my best friend. For weeks she would beg and beg me to let my parents take a picture of us. I gave in and now she has the framed photo up on her wall.

She was my best friend ever since.

It was against my will and I never agreed to be best friends with her at first. I had a feeling if I said ‘no’ to being her best friend she’d probably make it her life’s mission to make me say ‘yes’. I saved both of us from both being embarrassed and annoyed.

The sound of someone closing the window from next door is heard. I see Malia closing her window, but when I look around the kitchen, everyone is in their little worlds.

So, what now? I have superhearing?

I start to think about how Vikki and Malia were probably arguing about their mom. Malia has always been iffy whenever it came to her mother. And the only reason I know this is because mama sucks at keeping secrets. I overheard her once talking to Easton’s mom about Malia’s mom.

Malia’s mom was cheating with one of the doctors at the hospital. Malia was the one who caught them together when she saw them together on a date during her first day working at the restaurant.

Malia works at a restaurant across town that many doctors, lawyers, and rich people go to. It pays good money and the good thing is it works with her schedule. She starts working again during winter break until the summer. Mark’s dad helped make this schedule considering he owns the restaurant.

Needless to say, Malia told her dad and her sisters. Her parents fought for hours until her mom left. Last I’d heard, Malia’s mom got remarried last year to that same doctor and lives now in Sacramento.

I raise my eyebrows thinking about how Malia started acting after her mom left. The way everything about her changed and how more aggressive she got.

My thoughts are cut off when I remember something.

I check the time to see I’m going to be late.

The teams need to be early to help prepare everything for their booths at the charity.

“I have to go guys. Maddie, I’ll see you later and everyone else too. Bye!” I take out my keys from the inside of my pockets and quickly leave the house.

On my way to the car, I see Mark in his. He’s playing some music and bobbing his head to it.

I go up to Mark’s car and say hello.

“You leaving already for the charity?” Mark asks and I nod my head, “Yeah. You picking up Malia?” He nods his head too.

Right on cue, we hear a door being slammed shut.

I turn around to see Malia walking towards us. She’s fixing the top of her dress, moving it side to side in frustration. She also hasn’t realized I’m standing right here watching her. And damn is it one good view.

The beautiful red, tight dress and what seems like six-inch heels are enough to drive any guy insane. This girl and her curves are perfections. She makes me want to go insane.

“Fuck sakes they want me to go see her—“ Malia cuts herself off when she sees me standing in front of her. Her vibrant eyes are wide and I end up giving her a small wave which she grins at me for.

“I should get going,” I say when it starts getting awkward.

Mark tells me he’ll see them in a bit and I give them a curt wave. I walk back to my motorcycle feeling way too unsatisfied.

On the way to my motorcycle, I overhear their conversation about what just happened.

“What was that about?”

“I ask myself that every time.”

I wonder what she means by that. I mean, I know how we’ve been suddenly acting towards each other. Ever since we’ve been doing the project, things have been different. But I know it won’t last.

I also know things between us have been—there’s been some tension between us. It started growing more when we started the project.

But god, I can’t help myself when I start thinking about her in that dress.

I start picturing Malia in her red dress, sitting on my lap, on my motorcycle. My hands roaming all over her body and our mouths moving against each other.

Fucking shit, here we go again.

My phone vibrates in my pocket and I take it out to see Josie texted me.

Josie: Where are you? Jianna is driving me crazy and I need my partner in crime to hold me back.

Mauricio: Lmao. going. be there in 5.

I put on my helmet and take off to the park.

When I get there I see all the tents and booths already being set up. The jumpers are all placed, the stage where I’m going to sing with Malia is already done, and everyone is bringing things in.

I go over to help everyone finish up the decorations at my team’s booth.

“Hey, everyone.”

“Hey, captain Reyes,” They all say in unison. It’s a joke between us teammates, we came up with it two years ago when our coach would call me that during games.

“Yo, Reyes, you ready for practices to start up?” Elliot, our sweeper, comes up to me with a box full of cupcakes. I help him put them on the small decorated plates Jianna gave us.

I end up speaking up for all the boys to hear, “We need to give it our all this year. It’s my last year and I want to leave it as four-year champions.”

All the boys holler out “Hell yeah” or “Champions” over and over.

Armando, our mid-fielder, says, “When don’t me, man? Have you ever doubted us?” I shake my head saying, “Of course not. I trust you all. You’re my family.”

The boys start to tease me for getting sentimental. I laugh making sure to give them the finger.

We all get back to work after that. The boys seemed pretty pumped to be doing this. I’m pretty sure they’re just excited to eat all the leftovers when this is done.

They’re going to be more pumped when they find out I’m playing the guitar tonight. Jianna made sure it was kept secret until today. Nobody, except our friend group, knows we are singing today.

I look around to see everything so organized and just like Jianna envisioned. Easton told me all about how she planned this out for weeks. It would sometimes it would stress her out to the point she wanted more than hardcore make-outs.

Easton says he and Jianna never had sex before though. She plans to wait till marriage and of course, Easton gets laid with Malia so he doesn’t mind. I like to think my best friend wouldn’t be having sex with Jianna but sometimes certain clues make me think they did have sex. Just little observations that we don’t need to get into.

I look over at the lacrosse girls to see Malia sitting down at the booth rubbing her arms. I do realize it’s a bit windy so I go over to her team’s booth.

Malia looks up at me and says “What’s up?”

I don’t say anything, I just pull off my sweater and hand it to her. She stares at me for a few seconds before grabbing it and thanking me. I watched as she puts it on and grinned at me.

The sweater, of course, does fit her big but she seems to not mind.

“Don’t get soft on me now, Reyes.” She says in a teasing voice and pushes me back slightly.

“Oh no, see if you were to freeze to death that means I’ll have to go on that stage alone and that’s not something I’m down for. I gave you the sweater to benefit me.”

She rolls her eyes and tells me I’m an asshole.

“Tell me something I don’t know,” I tell her before going back to my booth where Jianna is walking up to.

She explains what’s happening and what they’re supposed to be doing at the booth. We all nod our heads and agree on everything she says. When she’s done explaining she checks our booth and even compliments us on our organization. The boys, of course, got big heads now.

My phone goes off and I check it to see it’s Maddie.

Maddie: Quick come to the bouncy house

Mauricio: on my way

I quickly leave to meet her and see Maddie already jumping inside the bouncy house. I take off my shoes and join her inside.

We’re jumping around, laughing. It seems so long ago we were doing this in our pre-teen days. We would stay inside the bouncy houses all day until we had to leave the parties.

“I’ve missed you all week and wish we could be hanging out more.” She sighs still jumping up and down. I shrug my shoulders, “Once this project is done I’m all yours.” She smiles at this before pushing me, making me fall.

I tell her, “You’re dead” before running around, trying to catch her in the bouncy house.

Oh, how much I missed my best friend too.


Almost 99% of Morhills residents are here, at the charity event. Jianna pulled some strings at the Morhills newspaper and made sure it was on today’s morning issue. So that’s how everyone knows about this charity event. That and she made half of the cross country team pass out fliers.

A little girl and her mom come up to the booth. She asks for a vanilla cupcake. I end up giving her two saying the other cupcake is on me. The mom pays me the dollar before thanking me. The little girl happily eats her two cupcakes and thanks me before they both walk away.

Josie comes up from the side and says, “Aw, it’s true then. Mauricio Reyes does have a heart.”

I playfully roll my eyes before we give each other a quick hug.

“How’s everything going?”

“Well, Jianna seems to have lost her mind. The swim team lost some of the clipboards that had signatures. They’re looking for them everywhere.”

This time my eye roll is real. I remember one of the swim team members left theirs here.

I hand it to her and say, “Tell her you found one. Joseph left his here.”

Josie grabs it before giving me a salute. I give her one back and another customer comes up to the booth.

About six kids come up to the booth with dollar bills.

What in the world?

I look around for their parents but instead see the little girl I gave the free cupcake to earlier, whispering and pointing to the booth.

“Well, this should be fun,” I laugh.


Malia Hernandez

I’m putting all the blankets and donations of clothes into boxes. I can barely see back here since the sun is already coming down. Nightfall seems to be coming soon.

My teammates are passing me the donations while I also load them into the small U-Haul truck Jianna got for all the boxes.

While putting the blankets into a box Leilani comes up to me.

“Hey, Mal?”

“Yeah what’s up?”

“I know this probably will sound weird but is that Mauricio’s jacket?”

I look down at Mauricio’s jacket and nods my head. It seems fair Leilani would know this is his jacket, he wears it everywhere he goes. Well, whenever he decides to bring on. We all know Mauricio hates wearing shirts or anything to be exact.

Leilani practically sneers at me, “I knew it was his. He let me borrow it the night we...” She doesn’t finish her sentence but does have a smug look on her face.

Oh?

Is she serious right now?

I raise an eyebrow at her before leaning forward. My hands plant themselves onto the table and I say in a low voice, “Listen, Leilani, whatever idea you have in your head? Let it go. Mauricio is my English project partner, sadly my neighbor, and against my better judgment part of the friend group. I’m not sleeping with him nor will I be ever.”

Leilani swallows down whatever comeback she had next. All she does is grunt before turning around. But before she leaves, I say, “Oh, and forget about being with Mauricio. We both know he doesn’t plan on being with you again.”

She looks over her shoulder to give me a fake smile and goes back to doing her collections.

One of my other teammates, Daphne, comes up to me. She’s looking over at Leilani with a weird look.

“I always knew she was obsessed with him. Nobody likes a bragger,” Daphne laughs and of course, I laugh along with her.

We all go back to doing our own thing. The team seems to be having an amazing time from all the laughter and smiles coming from them. Everything seems to be going very well.

Jianna comes into my vision and I realized I spoke too soon.

“Hey, Mal! Just came by to let you know it’s time. Mauricio has already been informed and is preparing on the stage,” She says with a cheerful smile which I try to return.

I don’t though.

I’m far beyond cheerful. Every part of my body is close to shivering and I’m a nervous wreck. It’s been a while since I’ve sung in front of a crowd.

“Give me two minutes to prepare myself. I’ll be there in a bit,” I said with a fake smile which she mistook for a real one. She excitedly tells me everything is going to be perfect before leaving to the stage where she will introduce us.

Great, now I’m sweating.

I rub my palms on Mauricio’s jacket and feel my heart beating fast against my chest. Thoughts about being the laughing stock of Morhills, California surrounds my mind.

I’m sure nothing bad will be the outcome. Everything is going to be okay.

“Okay, I got this.” I nod my head and start walking over to where the stage is located. It’s not far from the booth and I can see the people gathering around it.

My eyes spot Mauricio. He’s sitting down on a chair playing the guitar. The sound system isn’t plugged in so he must be practicing.

I go over to the stage and the minute I step onto it, those brown eyes of his meet my green ones.

My eyebrows are brought together and a sudden urge to light up the fire between us comes alive inside my body.

This is it. We’re going to sing.

“Hey, you ready?” Mauricio speaks up and I nod my head, “Yeah, Reyes. When am I not?” He snorts to this, finding it funny. But I don’t find it funny at all since I’m lying. I am most definitely not ready.

I pull off his jacket and place it on the back of his chair. He doesn’t notice since he’s too focused on practicing.

Why doesn’t he seem fazed or a nervous wreck?

I’m freaking out over here.

Some of the guys come up to the stage and fix up the mics. They put one in front of Mauricio and the other in front of me.

More people are coming around the stage and it makes me anxious even more. I can see our group of friends in the middle of the crowd, they’re all giving us a thumbs up which I almost flick them off for. I can also see both my family and Mauricio’s family in the crowd next to our friends. They’re cheering us on with big smiles on their faces. Even our teammates are cheering us on with signs they probably just made when they found out we’re singing.

They’re amazing. I’m so glad they’re all here to support us.

I slowly put my hands behind my back and hope to god I look presentable. I wasn’t sure the red dress would do me justice. But when I saw the look on Easton’s face when he saw me in it, I knew I had to keep it.

My eyes cannot stay off Mauricio. I’m trying to match his calm energy but it’s not working. It’s sort of pissing me off.

How is he not freaking out right now?

As if he senses my eyes on him, he looks up at me and I see it. I see the fear in his eyes whenever he looks between myself and the crowd.

The knowledge that he is also freaking out as much as I am, sends a bit of confidence and it overthrows the anxious feeling. It feels better to know that he feels the same way about this. He’s in this with me.

“Hey, guys! You both ready?” Jianna comes up on stage and the both of us nod our heads. She claps her hands before wishing us luck.

She walks over to the mic and says, “Hello everyone! Thank you all for coming tonight. It’s been such a pleasure seeing you all support the women of the world who are fighting breast cancer. Now, two of Morhills Academy seniors have decided to sing for you all tonight—” She motions over to us. Mauricio and I both now standing side by side with a guitar in his hand, “—and for the women who fight breast cancer and have overcome it. Ladies and gentlemen Malia Hernandez and Mauricio Reyes!”

The whole crowd claps their hands and some of them even cheer us on.

I take a deep breath walking over to the mic. Jianna steps away from it and lets me stand in front of it.

“Hey everyone, as Jianna said Mauricio and I decided to play a song for this special night. We would like to thank all of you for coming out here tonight and supporting all the breast cancer organizations out there. This is “That Way” by Tate Mcrae.”

The smile on my face does not leave. But I do take a deep breath in and feel my hands shake when they take the mic out of the stand.

I glance over to Mauricio who’s sitting down on his chair already.

He informed me a while back that he won’t be doing any talking. He tends to hate making speeches and rather just stay quiet the whole time. At first, it seemed weird considering he has to make speeches for his team and does presentations. But this is Mauricio we’re talking about. The guy is unpredictable.

Mauricio gives me a curt nod and mouths, “We got this.” I nod my head feeling butterflies surround my stomach. The feeling of flutters overpowers the fear and that’s when I know I’m ready.

I hope to god this comes out good. I’m afraid it’ll suck, I’ll suck.

Mauricio starts playing the intro and I tighten my hands on the mic.

I’m letting the music consume me and let me only see it. Nobody else is around me, only me and the music.

The first verse comes and just like that, the words, the lyrics sing out of my mouth beautifully. Every word is being sung with such melody and high notes. Mauricio’s guitar makes everything so much better by the time the chorus part comes.

But something happens. Something that has never happened between Mauricio and me. The lyrics are still spilling out but I’m no longer looking at the crowd, my green eyes are on his brown eyes. I have found myself in this situation too many times and yet this one feels completely different.

It feels as if I know these lyrics aren’t just part of a song. These lyrics were chosen to be sung by us because of their meaning. They mean everything we have been feeling these past weeks. And yet, even though we should look away...we don’t.

We say we’re friends, but I’m catching you across the room

Green to brown eyes.

It makes no sense ’cause were fighting over what we do

Our countless arguments and teasing.

And there’s no way that I’ll end up being with you

I’m with Easton. He’s not the relationship type.

But friends don’t look at friends that way

The feelings I get whenever our eyes meet. Whenever we are close to each other.

Friends don’t look at friends that way

Neither of us turns away from each other.

The rest of the song is sung like this. Our eyes glued on each other.

I don’t even realize that when we finish, the crowd erupts in cheers and clapping. The sound is not loud or strong enough to tear me away from his eyes. And he seems to believe the same.

It’s when Jianna grabs the mic from my hold, I break our intense eye contact.

She tells everyone to give us a round of applause and they do.

I look around at the crowd to see many of them giving both Mauricio and me knowing looks. They’ve all that just happened. They know exactly what happened just now on stage.

My eyes meet my boyfriend’s and from the look on his face, he seemed to notice it too. It makes my stomach drop and heartache.

I feel the lump in my throat rise and my eyes become filled with tears. I’m so overwhelmed and afraid about everything that I’m seriously about to breakdown in front of the whole town.

“Myers, you okay?” The warmth of Mauricio’s hand fills my sense when he grabs ahold of my arm. He makes me turn to him and I can see the worrisome in his eyes.

Oh, now he wants to show emotion?

“I’m fine. Just thirsty, I need water.” I pull my arm away from his hold, walking past him and over to the back of the stage to catch my breath. I didn’t even know I was holding it in.

I lean against the back of the stage. My hands in my hair and my eyes sealed shut. Everything in me is built upon both overwhelming and overthinking.

Did we just sing the whole time looking at each other?

Did we sing in front of everyone like that?

What must Easton or our friends think? Shit, what does the whole town think?

I shouldn’t care for people’s opinions or judgments but this is all too much. The whole town just saw Mauricio and I stare into each other’s eyes while we sang a love song about friends becoming lovers.

Yes, we’re not friends and we will never become lovers. But the lyrics spoke out to us. They defined us.

“Malia?”

I snap my eyes open to see Easton standing in front of me. He has his hands in his front pockets and the look on his face isn’t pleasing to see.

Of course, he should be confused and upset. He just saw his girlfriend and his best friend sing a love song to each other with full-on eye contact.

More like eye-fucking, but okay.

Don’t you start the little voice in my head?

I quickly run into his arms and press my lips against his. He doesn’t respond at first, probably processing everything that is happening. But he does respond a few seconds later by kissing me back.

“What is this all about?” He mumbles into my lips and I let out a breathy laugh, “I’m running on adrenaline.” I pull him closer to me and now we’re kissing with tongue.

It sucks to lie about how I’m feeling but right now I need a distraction. I’m growing tired of my overthinking and I don’t need Easton thinking anything but that I am his. Only his.

Someone, anyone such as Jianna can come back here any moment and catch us. I’m not sticking around for that.

I pull away from him slowly, “Let’s get out of here. I’m feeling way too energetic and worked up for just a small make-out session. I need you...I need you inside me.” He bites my lower lip and I hook my fingers on the loops of his jeans, pulling him against me so I feel his erection on my belly.

“Whatever my baby Malia wants? She must get,” He chuckles with one last kiss and we quickly pace walk over to the parking lot where he left his car.

I do hope he doesn’t rip this red dress. I’ve grown to love it.


Mauricio Reyes

She’s nowhere to be found.

I’ve been looking for Malia for the past five minutes.

“You and Malia were amazing!” Mama comes up to me with the kids by her side. The three of them hug me and tell me how good we sounded together.

“Mauricio, hey! Can we do a duet next time?” Josie says when her and the group also come up to me.

Great, I’m trying to find Malia and they’re occupying me.

She seemed like she was about to breakdown when she made up that “I’m thirsty” bullshit excuse. I saw the way she rushed off stage and didn’t even look back.

Fuck sakes, what has gotten into me?

First, I’m feeling all this sexual shit towards her. Second, I’m comforting her over the fact my best friend canceled on her. Thirdly, I play the guitar to a love song while staring into those fiery green eyes of hers. And lastly, now I’m worried the fuck about her.

The old me would laugh in my face and punch some sense into me.

I’ve been spending way too much time with her and I’m getting too comfortable. This can’t be done anymore. Soccer and lacrosse practices are starting up anyway so we won’t be spending as much time anymore.

“You and Malia did an amazing job, I guess,” Maddie playfully rolls her eyes and I almost snort at it if I wasn’t so worried about my enemy from next door.

“Speaking of Myers...do any of you know where she went?” I ask them all but they shake her heads.

Shit.

“Malia?” Samuel Hernandez says from behind me.

I whip around to see him and the girls by his side. They’re all wearing shirts with Malia’s face on it.

Now, this makes me laugh.

“Love the shirts,” I said with laughter and everyone else burst out laughing with me.

“I can’t wait for Malia to see them,” Lilybeth laughs with the clap of her hands. Vikki nods her head but she seems distracted. She’s looking at me with a smug look as if she’s thinking something she shouldn’t.

“Oh right, we saw Malia head to the parking lot. Is something wrong?” Samuel brings his eyebrows together but I wave my hands around.

“No, no. I just need to talk to her. I’ll see you guys later,” I said quickly leaving to the parking lot.

There’s a ton of cars and I sport my motorcycle right next to Josie’s car.

I’m looking around for Mark’s car but when I do spot it, I also spot something or more like someone(s) next to it.

My jaw clenches to the million scenarios of how this will turn out. Either that’s Easton’s car with two people having sex in it or someone has the same car as him and they’re having sex with some random in it.

I get closer and see the fogged-up windows. Someone’s hand is pressed against the window and they’re wiping away the fog.

The closer I get, the closer I see who the two people are. What they’re doing and how much I regret coming to look for her.

Malia is on Easton’s lap, her mouth in the shape of an ‘O’. My only view is her face and Easton’s who seems to have his mouth all over her neck.

My skin and face feel on fire. Even my insides are boiling up and my nails are digging into the skin of my hands.

I worried for fucking nothing.

While I’m off looking for her, worried the fuck off, she’s fucking my best friend in his car.

They’re being reckless by even thinking it’s okay to fuck in the parking lot. Anyone can come by and see them. But from the looks of it, they could care less.

Fuck this.

I turn back around and quickly go back to the charity event.

I’m done. I’m done worrying, feeling all this complicated shit, and I am certainly done being nice.

I should’ve kept hating her as I’ve always had.

When I get back to the booth, all the guys stare at me with wide eyes. I’m sure my anger is very noticeable.

“Someone give me a fucking cupcake before I start throwing shit.”


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