Chasing Elliott

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Chapter 10


Philocalist (n.)
someone who finds and appreciates
beauty in all things.

I sat in the union, waiting for Kingsley to come and meet me. She had class for at least another half an hour so I made the decision to do some online shopping. Turning the music up on my headphones, I tried to block out the noise of the obnoxious college students around me.

I don’t know much time had passed before I saw someone sit down on the couch across from me from my peripheral. Turning my head, I groaned as I saw not just Ryan but Laura there as well. Rolling my eyes, I turned my attention back to my laptop that rested on my lap until I saw Laura lean over and whisper something to Ryan.

“What the hell do you want?” I seethed as I ripped out my left earbud, not wanting to deal with them. Narrowing my eyes, I folded my arms over my chest.

“Oh, nothing,” Laura tried to say sweetly but instead it sounded like nails scratching a chalkboard. “Just talking about what a great time Cooper and I had after I got off work on Saturday.”

I laughed and shook my head as I held my left earbud between my fingers. “At least get your facts straight before you try and stir the pot.”

I put my earbud back in and grabbed my phone, turning the volume up even louder than before as I noticed Laura’s face turn a bright shade of red. Smiling to myself, I continued to scroll through Buzzfeed’s article of 20 Outfits You Need This Summer when my earbuds were roughly ripped from my ears.

Ryan leaned down so his lips were near my ear and his other hand started to run along my shoulder. I shuddered under his touch in disgust and roughly gripped his hand which caused him to curse in my ear as he tried to break out of my grip.

“You’d be smart to get out now,” Ryan hissed as he finally pulled his hand back. “You don’t want to mess with us.”

“Kiss my ass, Ryan,” I told him as I grabbed my earbuds back and brushed him off. I watched as he stormed off with Laura chasing after him and I couldn’t help but laugh quietly to myself.

A couple minutes passed before Kingsley came strolling into the union and I released a heavy, relieved sigh as I quickly closed my laptop.

“Thank god,” I breathed out as I slipped my laptop back in my large bag and hiked it over my shoulder. “Get me out of here.”

“I wanted coffee though, can’t we... never mind,” she said, cutting herself off when she noticed the expression on my face. Kingsley intertwined her hand through mine and we left the union to head to the bus stop.

I huffed in annoyance as I threw down my fourth outfit in disdain and stormed back into my walk-in closet. I never struggled this much with choosing an outfit before because I usually never cared what guys thought of me; all I had to do was show a little skin and I was set. Yet here I was, worried I wouldn’t look good which could result in Cooper losing interest in me.

“I can hear you huffing from the kitchen,” Kingsley informed me as she came strolling into my room. I poked my head out of my closet and glared at her before sighing loudly and walking over to my bed, falling down onto the plush striped comforter.

“Help me,” I groaned as I grabbed a pillow and covered my face with it. I heard Kingsley laugh followed by the sound of her shuffling around in my closet. A couple minutes later, she yanked the pillow away from me and I smiled as I grabbed the outfit from her.

Stripping out of my athletic shorts and tank, I slipped into the lace panel trim open back halter top and army green shorts before slipping my arms through the pink knitted cardigan. Walking over to the mirror, I smiled in content.

Deciding to keep my hair down in its naturally wavy state, I walked over to my makeup vanity and put on a simple nude eye shadow with a thin line of eyeliner before finishing off the look with a coat of mascara. Running back into my closet, I grabbed a pair of black chunky pleated heeled boots and slipped them on as I tried to run down the hall toward the front door.

I tripped and fell near the kitchen and groaned as my knee hit the hardwood floor when I suddenly heard a deep chuckle. My face instantly grew warm as I looked at a pair of white tennis shoes and slowly panned my eyes upward.

Cooper was wearing a pair of black jeans and a tight fitted white tee with a green, black and white flannel hanging open over the top. He held a hand out to me and I begrudgingly accepted his help as he pulled me to my feet and let me use his shoulder to lean on as I slipped on my other shoe.

“Sorry I didn’t catch you in time,” Cooper said with laughter in his voice. “I promise my reflexes will be better in the future.”

“I sure as hell hope so or else you’ll be paying my hospital bill when I break an ankle,” I teased as I hit his shoulder lightly with my left hand. Brushing past him, I made my way into the living room and grabbed my black fanny pack off the couch, clipping it around my waist.

“I didn’t take you as the fanny pack kind of girl,” Cooper note with a raised brow. Kingsley laughed from the kitchen where she was leaning against the counter with a bottle of water in her hand.

“Well, she sure as hell isn’t the purse wearing kind of girl,” she pointed out as she approached us, a sly grin on her face. “Now, I’m trusting you to take care of my baby for me so don’t make me regret not giving you two a curfew.”

I rolled my eyes as Kingsley wrapped an arm around my waist and pointed a threatening finger at Cooper. He chuckled softly, putting a hand on his heart and raising his other in the air with a bend in his elbow.

“I’ll take care of her, scouts honor.” I scoffed at his childishness but couldn’t stop the smile from tugging at my lips.

“Good. Now you two go have fun and I expect a couple pictures,” Kingsley commented as she now turned her attention back to me. I shook my head and slipped out from her grasp, grabbing Cooper’s hand and dragging him toward the door. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

I closed the door tightly behind me and released a sigh before him and I exchanged a glance. We suddenly burst into laughter before he gestured for me to walk ahead. I lead the way down the stairs and out the front door of the building, spotting his bright blue car in the parking lot immediately. I made my way over to the passenger side and opened the door, sliding in.

“Let me get that next time,” Cooper said as he climbed into the car and started up the engine.

“I can get my own car door, Coop,” I said stubbornly with scrunched brows even though I secretly liked that he wanted to do that for me.

“Never said you couldn’t, doesn’t mean I want you to.”

I laughed softly as he flipped on some country music before he pulled out of the lot and drove off.

I climbed out of the car and crossed my arms on the top of my open door as I took in the loud music, lights and the screaming.

“A carnival? What happened to dinner?” I asked as he approached me with a childlike smile on his face.

“You bet your ass it’s a carnival,” Cooper responded giddily. “Why pay for overpriced food when you can play games and enjoy a good ole fashioned corn dog?”

I refrained from rolling my eyes because his reaction warmed my heart. Closing my door, I bit my lip as he wrapped an arm around my shoulders.

“Does that mean you’re going to win me a giant stuffed teddy bear?” I questioned as we walked toward the large red and white ticket booth.

“And buy you cotton candy.”

“What a gentleman,” I commented as he suddenly dropped his arm from my shoulder and linked his hand through mine. I looked down at my boots so he wouldn’t see the smile that came to my face as we reached the line. Glancing back up at him, I noticed a small smile resting on his lips and it felt like my stomach was doing tiny flips.

I guess Kingsley was right: it’d be stupid of me to not give this man a chance.

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