Chapter 1: Desperation
“I need your help.”
It’s funny how four words can change your life so drastically and completely. Just four words uttered in a moment of desperation and helplessness. Four words that can change your life into a whirlwind of lies, sabotage and concrete contracts.
Noah Fordman - the boy I had spoken to - turned around and stared at me dumbly, as if I had just proclaimed that grass was purple and clouds were made of marshmallows. His hazel eyes bored into mine, and he ran a slim, tanned hand through his already tousled brown hair. “What?”
I blew out a deep breath that I hadn’t even been aware I was holding. “I need your help,” I repeated.
Noah smirked evilly and leaned against the locker doors, crossing his arms over his chest. “Marley Adams needs my help? Well, I don’t believe you’ve talked to me since we were… what? Fourteen? What help could I possibly be to a young maiden like yourself?”
I rolled my eyes at his antics; he really hadn’t changed at all in the last four years since I’d last spoken to him. “Look, Noah, you’re the only person I can trust. Please.”
“What is it?” he sighed out, obviously sensing I was serious.
“Will you go out with me?” I asked before I could change my mind. I knew this was a bad idea, and that I should turn around and walk away, but I was completely out of options, and I hoped that I could trust Noah.
A bewildered expression crossed his handsome face before he shook his head ruefully. “You have a boyfriend for that.”
“Ex-boyfriend,” I muttered regretfully, downcasting my eyes to hide my heartbroken expression.
“What’s this? Trouble in couple’s paradise?” he sneered.
“Look, that’s why I need your help. I wanna make Logan jealous, and maybe going out with you will make him see I’m perfect for him. Not that stupid Daisy.”
“Wait, he’s with Daisy Hawthorne?” Noah asked now, looking shocked. No matter how masculine he was, teenagers still loved gossip, and Noah was no exception. Or maybe it was just because he enjoyed seeing me in pain.
I rolled my eyes. “Yeah.”
“But I’ve seen more personality in a rusty doorhandle.”
“Lemme guess. You want me to help you get back at Logan.”
“Fine,” he said simply. I was just thinking how easy it was when he said, “On one condition.”
I narrowed my eyes suspiciously at him. “What?”
“You have to apologise for what happened that night.”
I shook my head vehemently. “No. No way.”
He rolled his eyes, chuckling humorlessly. “Is it really that hard to swallow your pride and admit I was right?”
“You weren’t, though!” I argued, glaring at him.
I feel I should give you the background story, for those of you who don’t know the famous story of Noah Fordman & Marley Adams.
We had always been best friends and neighbors. Ever since we were seven, and he was the notorious bully who kicked my sandcastle over in the sandbox. I was the only girl who had the gall to stand up and kick his over in return.
Our mothers, Grace and Annie, were best friends, and they did everything together. They had this sick idea that him and I would get married someday - God forbid.
Turns out Noah was pretty cool. And for the next seven years we were inseparable. We went over to each other’s places everyday, we talked about everything, and I finally felt like I’d met someone who understood me. He and I would share secrets, make jokes, and I think one day we even promised we’d marry each other. Obviously I had a screw loose at the time, but whatever.
But then one night, as we sat in his tree house and my parents and his cooked steaks on a barbecue below us, we fought.
It was so stupid. This boy in class had asked me out, and Noah told me he was lying. That he didn’t like me and was just doing it for popularity.
We had a huge fight and I stopped talking to him. That was until the dude broke up with me because I was too pale or something. But I was embarrassed and hurt and argued incessantly with Noah about it, until in the end we just stopped talking altogether.
And now, almost four years later, here we were. But I refused to admit that Noah was, in fact, right. Because if I was one thing, it was stubborn.
He shrugged. “Fine.”
Then he turned to walk away. I felt a coil of desperation rise within me, and I felt like my perfect plan was beginning to slip down the drain.
Slowly, he turned to look at me. “Yes, Mar?”
I struggled to force the words out. “I’m… sorry.”
“Now get on your knees and beg.”
“Uh… what?” I asked, blindsided for a moment. This was definitely not expected.
“Beg me to help you, Marley. Maybe then I’ll consider.”
Feeling every shred of dignity I ever had slip, I fell to my knees in the crowded hallway filled with chattering teenagers, and clasped my hands in front of my chest. Looking deep into his warm, familiar hazel eyes, I said, “Noah Fordman, will you help me get back at Logan for what he did? Please?!”
He sighed, and rolled his eyes. “Alright, Mar. Ya know, all you had to do was ask.”