"Thought you were supposed to be at Applebee's with the guys," a layer of sarcasm coated my words as Jayden made his way towards me, the sound of dad's study door closing in the distance. That man never stops working!
"Do I sense a heavy bout of sarcasm underlaying those words?" He raised a brow, a small smile pulling his lips up as he set his bag down and then plopped on the sofa beside me.
"Nah, just a pinch of it." I smiled innocently, watching his Adam's apple bob up and down in reverberating laughter.
"Those motherfuckers have their prices higher than the freaking Eiffel tower. You wouldn't believe a plate of freaking boneless wings now costs $18.99!!" His eyes went round as he complained and I chuckled, hiding a triumphant smile. "Stop smiling, will you! I can't afford a freaking fajita now for an entire term!" He whined and I laughed even louder, pinching his cheeks just to annoy him even more.
"You know, I knew the prices went higher over the winter. I just decided not to tell you because that's what you get for not checking your mails." My triumphant smile was still in place and I gave him a smug look to which he frowned.
"What does checking my mails have to do with this?" His face scrunched up adorably, his piercing doing nothing to take his innocent baby features away.
"To check new deals and offers, duh!" I rolled my eyes like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "You subscribed to Applebee's newsletters but you never check your mails and therefore miss all the promo's and deals they do every month."
His mouth hung open at the end of my words and my smug look was back in place, enjoying every bit of my triumph.
"And you didn't tell me!" He screeched after finally getting over the initial shock my words put him in and I was about to mouth off another reply when a voice interrupted.
"My daughter isn't your mail man or your informant either. Check your mails, dunderhead! And now, both of you go upstairs. I'm having a visitor over soon." Dad glanced at his watch at the end of his sentence and I wanted to ask who the visitor was but then decided against it. It was probably one of his coworkers coming over to drop off more paperwork and fill him in on work-related details.
"Sure," I answered and got up, holding a hand out for Jayden to take as he broke off the glare-fest between him and my dad. I shook my head at the two, wondering why they acted like kids when it was so obvious they didn't actually despise each other like they let on.
"And leave the door open." Dad added as I jogged up the stairs, Jayden behind me.
"Yes, sir. I always make it a point to make sure nothing like privacy exists between Kheeana and I." Jayden grinned and dad narrowed his eyes, slowly inching towards us on the staircase.
With an exasperated sigh, I pulled Jayden by the collar and dragged him the rest of the way up to my room.
"Y'all need to stop acting like kids," I closed the door behind me, despite dad's warning. I knew he'd just said that to get a jab at Jay.
"What? Its your old man who needs to stop." Jayden raised his hands up in mock surrender and then jumped on my bed with a loud whoop. I shook my head again.
"Stop calling him an old man and you know its obvious you guys are actually fond of each-other right? Stop acting like you always want to disagree with each-other.' I rolled my eyes and pulled my hoodie over my head, moving to start unbuttoning my shirt unconsciously.
"Whatever," Jayden muttered, seemingly distracted and I turned to raise a brow at him.
"That just shows how correct I am," I grinned and he face palmed, definitely hiding a smile. "Anyways, what do you want to do all day? Do you have homework?" I ran a hand through my hair, then pulled it up into a messy bun with a rubber band hanging idly around my wrist.
"How bout Netflix and chill?" I caught the smirk on his face and my cheeks reddened in a furious blush. Was he crazy?! What if dad was eavesdropping! Okay, that's highly unlikely for a goody two shoes like him but I'm his daughter, and if he thinks he should be eavesdropping to keep me out of danger, he would!
"Hey! I was only kidding! Look at you all reddened up!" Jayden laughed, making me even more embarrassed and I covered my face with a loud groan that only made him laugh more.
I heard some shuffling and a few seconds later, his familiar hands were pulling mine from my face. I stared at a spot on his worn blue T-shirt, unable to meet his amused gaze.
"What did I ever do to deserve an angel like you," he muttered under his breath like he was talking to himself and a finger came up to lift my chin. I met his gaze, still embarrassed but now held in place by those deep brown orbs.
"I'm not an angel," I muttered stupidly and he smiled again, his face suddenly hovering over mine with mere inches keeping our lips apart.
"Hmmn, and yet the insinuation of sex still makes you blush," his fingers were flitting over my cheeks in soft strokes and I leaned into his palm instinctively, inhaling all of him as his breath fanned my cheeks.
I couldn't stand the torture anymore. My hands snaked around his neck and brought his lips down on mine before any protest could ensue. Like he would actually protest. But he smirked. The idiot smirked through the kiss, his hands encircling my frame as his tongue took control and I was lost. In the entirety of everything that was Jayden Wallace, I Kheeana Johnson was lost and I wasn't even scared. I loved him and nothing could prove otherwise.
Minutes after the kiss, both of our lips still swollen and bright pink, we remained in each others arms, revelling in an embrace that promised love and protection.
"Do you want to go for a drive?" Jayden suddenly spoke, his voice vibrating against my shoulder.
"I don't know, its getting dark out." I muttered, wanting to remain that way forever. Safe and loved.
"Yeah, we won't stay long. Please?"
"Okay, let me put on my hoodie," I agreed, still resting my head against his chest, the thud of his steady heartbeat filling my ears contentedly.
With a sigh, I pushed away to grab my discarded hoodie and then put it on.
Voices came from the sitting room as we bounded down the staircase and I suggested we use the back door in order to not disturb whatever conversation dad and his visitor were having.
The drive went smoothly, night slowly falling around us in a dark blanket as the street lights came on and we drove on, windows rolled down to let the wind take the reigns.
I had long pulled the rubber-band from my hair, uncaring about how tangled it would get as we laughed and screamed into the night, speeding along as fast as we could--without getting a ticket of course.
"Let's go get some ice cream, all this screaming has made me hungry!" I yelled over the blaring beat from the car radio. TT the artist's Bass drop Bigger was playing and we screamed along to the beat, Jayden dancing as best as he could without getting us into an accident, and me wiggling in my seat like a jiggling jelly-fish. I seriously can't save my own life with my dance moves.
"Okay! But we're getting at Walmart!" He yelled back and I nodded in agreement, pushing my hair out of my face as we now headed for the store. I didn't have enough cash for Connie's anyway, so Walmart's would have to do.
He slowed down, pulling off the highway into a connecting road that led to the local store and soon enough, we were driving around the corner, the huge Walmart sign welcoming us into a wonderful struggle for parking space. We drove around for a little while, Jayden getting more pissed by the second, before finally finding an empty space close to a light post.
An officer hung there, eyeing us with boredom splayed across his pale face as he chewed from a bag of cheetos hanging from his other hand--I hated those things!
"I wonder if Walmart is full like this 24-hours round, like what the hell?!" Jayden grumbled, slightly upset by the wasted minutes spent looking for a parking space. There would most likely be traffic on our way back and it was getting late.
"A lot of people get off work at this hour and they would want to drop by for groceries they couldn't pick up in the morning before work." I explained, hoping to work out his irritation as we made our way across the parking lot, towards the store entrance.
"Hey! Stop right there!" A voice yelled from behind but we continued walking, not really paying mind to whoever it was because it couldn't be us they were yelling for.
"Hey kids! You deaf?!" They yelled again and now we stopped, Jayden turning an annoyed glance backwards. I turned too and the officer from earlier was walking towards us, a gun pointed our way with a steely glare on his face.
Okay...what's going on?
"Put your hands up above your head!" He yelled and a small bout of fear clicked in my brain as I registered he didn't seem to be joking--at all.
"What? Why?" Jayden called back as the officer stopped about 3 feet in front of us. He clicked the safety off his gun and my eyes widened, sirens going off in my head at how quickly dangerous the whole thing was getting. Somebody hol' up!
"I said shut the fuck up and put your hands up above your heads!" The officer yelled again and now I was trembling, my hands quickly shooting up as I looked to Jayden in fear. His hands were still down, his annoyance more evident with confusion mixed in.
"You can't just hold two teenagers who did nothing wrong at gunpoint and demand they put their hands above their heads like criminals! That's just wrong!" Jayden yelled back and I shook my head as if that would make him stop and look my way.
"I can do whatever the hell I bloody want and I'm asking you to put your fucking hands up right now or I'll shoot you down!" The officer's face was beet red now, an after effect of so much yelling and I tried whispering to Jayden to do as he said but he didn't even look my way.
"You won't. Because my girlfriend and I have done nothing wrong. We're regulars here at Walmart and we're here to get some ice cream. I can even show you my Walmart car--" his hand went to his back pocket to bring out what I presumed to be a Walmart card but time stopped, his hand froze inside his back pocket, and my ears died from the sound that followed.
A thump. I looked down and Jayden was laying on the pavement beside me, a large red stain quickly spreading at his chest and soaking up the front of his blue shirt.
My arms were frozen, a bone-chilling silence turning the atmosphere icy as my eyes grew wide. Moments...then a scream pierced through the icy air--loud and gut wrenching like that of a mother going through childbirth. And I realized that scream came from me. From the very depths of my being, a sound so wronged and inhuman that I could feel the fleshy bumps rising on my arms as my body trembled violently from its echoing aftermath.
"Why did you shoot him!" I screamed at the officer whose face had gone sheet white, tears quickly collecting in my eyes as I dropped down on my knees. My hands moved frantically, pushing at Jay's chest in a bid to stop the steady flow of scarlet blood gushing out at an alarming rate. "Do something!" I screamed again, watching the officer slowly fall out of his daze, realizing what he had done.
"S-step away from the criminal, now! Put your hands above your head and slowly walk towards me...n-now!" He stammered and I cried out helplessly, my hands slipping from the hole in Jayden's chest. The coppery blood covering my hands became slippery, slipping straight through my finger gaps.
"Jay!" I slapped a hand on his cheek lightly, inciting a soft groan from lips that had gone thin and white. "Jay stay with me! Please! I'm going to get help!" I shook him as his eyes fluttered closed and then open again.
A print of my bloody fingers rested against his cheek and I watched my tears join the party, doing nothing to wash the mark of death away.
"Khee..." An inaudible whisper left his lips and I nodded, holding his hands in mine with a desperate squeeze.
"Yes, I'm here. I'm going to get help, okay? Stay awake please," tears blurred my vision, but just as the words left my lips, I felt it; that moment. I felt it when a last groan fell through his lips and dark blood came spurting through.
His hands went limp in mine and his eyes fluttered closed, lips forever parted in a silent cry of my name.