Chapter 1

The engine revved, feeding my anger and hurt as I pressed on the gas. The car jerked to the right without warning, fishtailing. My heart slammed against my chest. The tires screeched as I tried to brake. I had barely gotten control when my headlights caught the glint of yellow-green eyes. I swerved. My last thought before the impact was I wouldn’t be able to save Rylee from him. Forever, by Papa Roach blared in the background as darkness engulfed me.

Three Months Earlier

A light breeze tickled my skin, sending chills down my arms, as I walked to my Mustang. My strides quickened at the prospect of seeing Rylee’s radiant face light up. The car was warm as I slid across the hood to the driver side and jumped in. She sauntered down the steps when I pulled up to her two-story Victorian-style house. She wore a low cut, white and green button up shirt with a matching skirt that barely covered anything.

My heart pounded like a bass drum as she walked towards me. Her shoulder length brown hair lightly bounced while her emerald green eyes pierced my heart. There was no calming my heart, as soon as she smiled it soared, taking me with it.

“Hi,” she said as she opened the car door and slid in, “so I hear that you are going on a date with Kali.”

I groaned to myself. It was another chink in my armor at the way she said it. Why did it have to be the first thing she said? Couldn’t we have a nice chat without mentioning the date I regretted ever agreeing to?

“Yeah,” I said. But I wish it was you instead.

I mean sure Kali was pretty, hell she’s hot, with her long golden blonde hair and crystal blue eyes.

Rylee was the only girl who had actually captured my heart though. Awkward silence hung in the air. Any other day she would be talking non-stop. I enjoyed those times. It gave me the chance to watch her. She had a habit of talking with her hands, but today was different.

I glanced over at her and in an instant I was captivated by the different hues of green in her beautiful eyes. Rylee turned away. I took two deep breaths. Today wasn’t going to be a good day.

As soon as we pulled up to my parking spot, Rylee jumped out and bolted to the school. I just sat there, my mouth hanging open as I turned off my car. Well that was weird, I thought as I got out and started toward O’Neil High School, home of the Asses, oops I meant Donkeys. I walked up the steps with my hands in my pockets and saw an ass, literally. In front of the school entrance there was a crude drawing of an ass on the side of the building with a signature that read, “Signora He honk.”

I laughed and kept on walking, my spirit lifted for the moment until I ran into Kali.

“Hey,” I mumbled as I kept on walking.

She kept pace with me draping her arm across my shoulders.

“I so can’t wait until our date tonight,” she purred, running her hand down my back, under my book bag, then around to my chest.

  1. I gulped and tried to calm my thrashing heart as I walked to my locker. Goosebumps rose on my skin.

“ I-I’ll see you at lunch, okay,” I said.

My breath hitched as I turned away from her to open my locker. She pressed against my back. I was thankful I couldn’t feel her chest. Where our skin met, it burned.

“Okay,” she whispered against my ear, nibbling on my earlobe.

I grabbed my books quickly and bolted to English. My heart was still racing as I walked into Mrs. Diggs’s classroom. I ambled to my desk in the back of the room next to Rylee, who ignored me. Two could play that game. I angled my chair away from her, hoping she would notice. She didn’t even acknowledge me.

I tapped my pencil on the desk. Why was I getting the silent treatment? Had I somehow insulted her? My grip tightened on my pencil until an audible snap echoed through the room. Eyes stared back at me. It’s not like they hadn’t heard it before, pencils broke all the time. I scrambled for another as my cheeks heated. A pen was the only thing I found. The hair on the back of my neck tingled.

I turned my head and met Rylee’s glare.

What,” I mouthed.

She just shook her head. Her hand flew across the page as she wrote. Rylee thrust it toward me with such force that I received a paper cut. I opened it up reading, WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THAT YOU AND KALI ARE DATING!?

I flew out of my seat. My chair sailed backwards. Mrs. Diggs and the rest of the class jumped, turning to look at me. Mrs. Diggs had stopped her lecture in mid-sentence, giving me a disapproving look.

“Um, I.., ugh, excuse me,” I mumbled, walking out of the classroom.

My feet pounded against the tiled floor as I ran. Soon I came upon the side doors. A gust of wind slammed into me as I opened the doors. I closed my eyes, letting the cool air wash over me. Why was she mad? Was it because I didn’t tell her first? Was she jealous? My heart sped up at the thought.

I took a deep breath, shaking my head and walked back inside. When I strolled back to class, I noticed that my seat had been taken.

“Excuse me, but that’s my seat.” I said, walking over to him.

He looked up at me, smiled, and went back to talking with Rylee.

I clenched my fists but went to the empty seat beside him and tried to control my anger. Rylee giggled at something he had said. My stomach churned. I needed to play nice. I needed to gain her attention again.

“Hi, I’m guessing you’re new here, I’m Max.” I held out my right hand. He turned, looked at me then my outstretched hand and smiled.

“I’m Calib, it’s nice to meet you,” he replied, fitting his hand into mine, shaking it.

I smiled back on the outside, but on the inside my body was on fire. I took my hand away quickly.

“I see you’ve already met Rylee.”

I looked over at Rylee hoping to catch her eye. She didn’t even glance my way. Her eyes were focused on Calib’s hazel ones.

I looked away. I didn’t want to see how close they were or hear her tinkling laughter. Pain seized my chest. I was glad when the bell finally rang for second period. Calculus went by quickly, along with the rest of the day. Lunch was just as boring, but I was glad Calib wasn’t sitting with us. I finally had my chance to talk and laugh like old times. Of course it didn’t last long once Kali opened her mouth.

“Where are you taking me: movies, dinner, bowling?” Kali asked leaning towards me.

Her boobs were pressed against the table, almost popping out of her dress.

“It’s a surprise,” I said trying to look her in the face, but my eyes kept straying to her huge chest.

She leaned even closer, stretching out her fingers to touch my hand, and purred, “I love surprises!”

I smiled weakly and looked over at Rylee to see her reaction, but she wasn’t sitting by me anymore. She was across the room, talking to Calib. My heart sunk. Why now? Why did someone have to come along, I was so close. Red hot anger pulsed through me.  I was just about to get up and leave when I felt hands brush against my clenched fists. They were cool against my burning skin.  I looked up into Kali’s sparkling eyes as she looked me over, a small smile playing across her lush lips. I didn’t think, just acted.  I leapt at the chance to escape, grabbing the only option I saw. If Rylee thought I was dating Kali then so be it; I had officially made up my mind that I would play it off.

“Come on, Kali, let’s get out of here and find a private place,” I said.

My voice echoed off the walls. I grabbed Kali’s hand and slowly led her away from the table and through the cafeteria doors. Students stared, whistled, and shouted. I played it off as best as I could. Cool in the face of danger, that’s what I wanted to be. I wasn’t sure if it worked, but I never looked back. My heart pounded in my ears with each step. As soon as we were through the doors, Kali pushed me up against the wall and smiled a grin so devious and scary it was like a predator that just caught its helpless prey. She was going in for the kill, the kiss of death, but I wasn’t ready for it, not yet at least.

“Whoa, um, Kali, this is a little fast for me, we haven’t even gotten the chance to go on our date yet, how about we save this for tonight.”

“Awe, but didn’t you say you wanted to find a private place?”

“Y-Yeah, but now that I think about it, it would be better if we wait for tonight when we can really be alone.”

She giggled flipping her blonde hair back and nodded.

She kissed me gently on the cheek and whispered in my ear, “I’m all yours tonight,” and walked away.

I gulped feeling the blood rush to my cheeks and other areas as I imagined what she would have in store for me tonight. Why the hell didn’t I take it then? Was I such a dork that I couldn’t even make out with her? I lowered myself down on the floor. Maybe tonight I wouldn’t be the geeky nerd anymore. Maybe tonight I could forget about Rylee’s bright green eyes and heart-stopping smile.

I wasn’t going to be the nerd, not this time. My acne was gone and I had finally gotten contacts. Rylee might not notice me, but at least someone did. The only real thing I had going for me now was the fact that I might actually get a girlfriend, maybe not the one I wanted but a girlfriend none the less. She may not be the girl I loved but lust could do a hell of a job for me. Love wasn’t everything right? She was my only option; I was sick and tired of the lonely feeling that kept creeping up on me unprovoked just because I couldn’t get the girl I wanted. I pushed hair out of my face and shoved myself off the wall, walking with a purpose to my locker. I shoved all thoughts from my mind as I concentrated on walking to History and not on the fact that I would probably never date the girl of my dreams.

As soon as I ambled into History, I was glad that Rylee and I didn’t have the same class. I didn’t think I could handle seeing her and knowing it would never work. History was never my favorite subject, but now I was kind of glad for the distraction of listening to Mr. Noel drone on about Alexander the Great and his many conquests across Europe and the Middle East. I faintly heard a bell go off yet I was too far gone in my mind to even acknowledge it. It wasn’t until someone tapped me on my shoulder that I came out of my zone coma. I looked around the room to find that everyone had left except Mr. Noel who was glowering at me from across his desk and a student scurrying out the room.

I bolted from the classroom, so I wouldn’t have to endure anymore of Mr. Noel’s glowering glares, to my car. As I was about to drive away, I remembered that I had taken Rylee to school, crap. I looked around the parking lot trying to find her white and green mini skirt in a crowd of denim skirts and jeans. Maybe she had gotten a ride with another friend, but I wasn’t willing to feel her wrath. I had felt it on more than one occasion since knowing her. I did the only thing I could think of, I called her. When she didn’t pick up, I grew anxious thinking the worse, but that soon passed. I texted her instead.

I sighed, knowing I couldn’t stall any longer. I backed up slowly and almost ran over Rylee, but she wasn’t alone. I bristled when I saw him already knowing where they were going. Calib was taking her home and she didn’t even tell me! It was like he knew I was staring as he put his arm around her waist. Hot acid coursed through my veins; I couldn’t watch this any longer.  I floored it as soon as they were out of the way. I booked it to my house not caring that I was going over the speed limit; all I cared about was taking out my anger on something. I peeled into my driveway slamming on the brakes. I got out of my car slamming the door behind me as I walked up my driveway.

My family really wasn’t that rich compared to all of the other old families around the town; my family has lived on this land for thousands of years, making the money they could. It wasn’t until my Mom met my Dad that our family’s wealth blossomed into what it is today yet it didn’t beat the Preston’s fortune, Rylee’s inheritance. The Ashworth and Preston families were the richest families in the small town of Hickory Falls. My family could never compete with them, who would, yet money was never really a big thing to my grandmother who lived on the land like her people used to. Native Americans thrived on the land, understanding nature like no one else could. I walked into my moderate sized home with its bleach white walls and pale green shutters.

“Mom, I’m home!” I called out as I removed my black sneakers.

My mom sauntered into the room, her long raven black hair swaying against her back as she rushed over to me. She bent down and kissed me on my cheek.

“How was your day, sweetie?” she asked mushing up my hair like she used to when I was younger.

I shook my hair out of my face. “It was fine, kind of boring, but I’m kind of beat so I’m going to just go lay down, okay,” I said hugging her and scampered up the stairs to my room.

I pushed open the door to my bedroom barely getting it open all of the way. My clothes were spread across the room in different piles.

“Ugh, I guess that means I should probably clean it,” I muttered to myself kicking over the pile of clothes beside my door.

It was a mess; clothes scattered all over the floor and bed, papers thrown across the room, missing the trashcan by my desk by a mile, video games strewn across the floor as piles toppled over from being stacked too high. It was a sight to behold and not the good kind. I brushed it off telling myself I would clean it later knowing full well that I probably wouldn’t. I could barely see the red carpet underneath the different assortment of items dispersed around the room. The walls weren’t any better; the once ivory walls were covered in posters from Iron Maiden and Metallica to Einstein sticking out his tongue. There was even a periodic table of elements right above the headboard.

I flopped onto my bed resting my head on my hands as I stared up at the ceiling thinking about all that had happened today. Ugh I can’t believe she let him take her home. It was all I could think about; my mind was plagued by thoughts of what could be happening. Were they holding hands, kissing? While my thoughts were being dogged my phone went off with a little beep letting me know that I had a text message. I was afraid to look at it; I didn’t really feel up to talking to Rylee just yet. Stop being a coward, be a man you can do it, it’s just a text message. I took a deep breath and flipped open my phone to find a text message, but not from Rylee. The text was from Kali.

Hey, pick me up at 8 ok can’t wait to c u!

It was the last thing I needed to be reminded of, my date with Kali. I still didn’t know where the heck I was going to take her. I looked at the clock on my phone trying to figure out how much time I had left to spare. It seemed I had been staring at the ceiling for a while because it was almost six o’clock and I had gotten home at four, a two hour lapse of time. I had two hours to figure out where the hell I was taking Kali. Places ran through my mind as I tried to figure out which place she would like to go and how much money it would cost me. Movie theatre, bowling, dinner, all of these possibilities entered my thoughts but I figured the movies would be the safest bet. I just had to figure out what was playing tonight. I rolled off my bed, my navy blue comforter falling with me wrapping around my body.

I untangled myself from my comforter and went to my piece of crap computer, which I rarely ever used since my internet connection was dial up making everything drag and slow. It was a pain in the ass since everyone else had Wi-Fi. It took me half an hour to connect to the internet then almost fifteen minutes to bring up the Theatre’s website. I looked through the list of movies trying to figure out which one Kali would like more. I figured a comedy would be the safest thing to go see so that I didn’t give the wrong impression, oh god I really didn’t want to give the wrong impression. The only comedy playing was, “50/50”, so I reckoned that was going to be the movie we were going to see I hoped it was a good choice.

I shut down my computer, pushing away from my desk, and walked to the adjoined bathroom across the room. I checked the time on my phone to find that I only had an hour left to get ready and find Kali’s home. I checked myself out in the mirror looking from my misty gray eyes to my black hair and bronze skin. I ran my fingers through my hair brushing it out of my face while contemplating if I should really be going on this date ,it wasn’t even my idea, damn you Kali. It was she who had forced me into the date.

She had made me so flustered when she showed up at my house in a tight blue shirt with straps tied around the neck and a tight black mini skirt. Her hair had framed her face, giving her a kind of halo with her white blonde hair. It didn’t help that her shirt had been cut so low that I could see the curves of her boobs. What guy would say no to a busty girl, especially a desperate one? I had looked down, already knowing what I would find and she knew it too by the devilish grin that had spread across her red lips. I had known before she had even asked that I would inevitably say yes because I could never say no even if I wanted to, sometimes I hated being a nice guy. Someday I would say no.

“Um, Max, I’m sorry to intrude on your home, but I was wondering if you would go out with me,” she asked her big blue eyes staring up at me with a small pout to her lips.

“I, ugh, um, sure I guess,” I replied shifting uneasily from foot to foot.

“Really, you mean it? Yay, I can’t believe you said yes,” she said excitedly, jumping up and down, and all I could see were her boobs bouncing up and down. Oh god I need to stop this train of thought.

“Oh I can’t wait for our first date!” she gushed.

I should have known then that I had fallen into a trap, but I was too captivated by their bounce that I didn’t even pay attention to her wording, which I should have. Damn her bouncing boobs. If only I hadn’t been distracted maybe I could have gotten out of the mess that I was in now.

I took care of all of my personal hygiene; I brushed my teeth, put on deodorant, washed out my mouth with mouth wash, and sprayed an extra dose of body spray in an X. Once all of that was taken care of I walked down the stairs not even thinking about what I was wearing until I mentioned my date to my mother.

“Is that what you are going to wear? Honey, really now, you need to at least look presentable.” I looked down at what I was wearing, fitted dark jeans and a simple black shirt.

“What’s wrong with what I have on?” I asked her still looking myself over.

“It’s just this Kali girl seems kind of sophisticated what with her family having stacks of money; I just think you should look classier.”

“Mom, weren’t you the one who said looks shouldn’t matter?” I asked scrutinizing her.

She brushed it off, swatting her hand in the air. “This is a completely different matter, now go back upstairs and change.”

I gawked at her; I couldn’t believe she was making me change my clothes. I sighed and shuffled back upstairs. I gave the room a once over then looked at the many different piles of clothes and went diving. I searched through every pile until I found what I was looking for, a dark blue polo. I picked it up and gave it a once over making sure there were no stains on it then I put it against my nose taking in a good whiff. Once I was satisfied that it was clean, I took off my shirt revealing my somewhat muscular chest and put on the shirt I had found. As I left my room and went down the stairs, I considered not showing up at her house, but that would make me a jerk. I knew by then that there was no way out. I would just have to deal with the consequences of my actions.

When I reached the last step, I stopped and called out to my mom, “Mom, I’m leaving!”

“Have fun, Honey, don’t be out too late you still have a curfew,” she said as she bustled around the kitchen probably making herself dinner.

I took my navy blue jacket off the coat hanger and left. I got into my mustang and was about to start the engine when I checked my wallet just to make sure I had enough money. I opened it up and found two twenties. Whew, thank god hopefully it doesn’t cost more than forty bucks. I turned the car on and sped off hoping I remembered where she lived. I drove around the block passing Rylee’s house into a blocked off area with a big black fence with a grand A on it. I presumed this was the Ashworth house, more like a mansion.

My jaw dropped; I knew that Kali was rich but so was Rylee the only difference was that Rylee’s family didn’t flaunt it. The house was enormous; it was two stories high, with as many windows as there were rooms, and it even had a roundabout driveway with an angel fountain in the middle. I saw all of this from between the bars I had no clue what it would actually look like on the inside. I looked around me and found a small black intercom button. I pressed it lightly not really knowing what to do. A little beep went off and I heard someone say, “Ashworth residence how may I help you?”

“Um, I’m here to pick up Kali for our date tonight,” I replied nervously.

“One moment please,” he said as the gate creaked open allowing me to enter. I drove in cautiously pulling up beside the mansion and just waited not knowing if I should knock or just wait. I didn’t have to wait long for my answer. Kali came sauntering out in a tight white sleeveless shirt that barely covered her chest much less her flat stomach. The skirt was even worse; it was pure white, barely reached mid-thigh, and I guessed it probably barely covered her bottom. My pulse sped up a bit as I gawked at her; she was basically wearing nothing. Oh God, please don’t let it rain tonight I don’t think I could control myself if it did. This wasn’t going to end well I kept on thinking as she got closer and closer until she was at the passenger’s side door.

I gulped while reaching across the passenger’s seat to open up the door for her. As she got into the car, her skirt slipped up further revealing more thigh than I really wanted to see. Keep your cool, Max, you can do this without doing something you will regret. I tried to tell myself that I was in control but I was sorely mistaken as my eyes kept on drifting to her thighs.

“Um, Max, hello?” My head snapped up at the mention of my name. I looked up into crystal blue eyes looking at me innocently.

I gulped. “Hmm?”

“I asked where we are going,” she said studying me with a tilt of her head causing her blonde hair to shift so that it looked like a waterfall of light.

“Oh, um, it’s a surprise,” I replied looking away so that I could start the car. An awkward silence seemed to hang over us just like this morning with Rylee. I didn’t want to have to go through that again so I just picked something off the top of my head and went for it.

“So, what kind of music do you like?” I asked as I flipped through the stations.

“Oh, all kinds really but mostly hip hop, it gives me something to dance to,” Kali answered as she flipped her hair to one side showing off her bare shoulder.

I kept my eyes on the road as I flipped the dial to a popular hip hop station. Kali hummed along to the song twirling a strand of her hair around her index finger. I focused all of my attention on the yellow and white lines on the road until we had finally reached the only movie theater in town. I parked a few blocks away since the sides of the road beside and in front of the theater were already taken. The theater was a historical place in the town like most things around here. The building was made of brick; I was surprised it had lasted this long most of the old buildings were falling apart.

I looked across the street making sure there was no oncoming traffic before I got out of my car. I straightened my shirt and grabbed my jacket before I went around to the passenger’s side to open the door for Kali.

“Thank you,” she said as she got out of the car with some help from me since her shoes really weren’t meant for stepping up on a curb. Her skin was like ice as I helped her up on the curb.

“Um, are you cold? If you want you can wear my jacket,” I said shifting my jacket to my right so I could hand it to her.

“Oh, there is no need for-,” I stopped her mid-sentence as I helped her into my jacket.

“There, isn’t that better?” I asked.

She nodded vigorously and beamed at me, her smile lighting up her face like I had just given her a diamond or something. She pulled my jacket closer to her covering herself up. I held out an arm to her like I’ve seen in movies, waiting for her to take it. When she did, chills went through my body like I had just gotten doused in ice, cold, water. When I looked over at her, her whole body seemed to be giving off a faint light then in an instant it was gone. Kali tilted her head studying me as I stared at her dumbfounded.

“Is something wrong?” she asked.

“Oh, yeah, it’s nothing I just thought I saw something. I probably just imagined it,” I said.

“Um, two for 50/50, please,” I said to the guy at the ticket booth.

He seemed familiar somehow, but I knew that I had never seen the guy before with his red hair cut in a buzz and deep, intense, green eyes. I brushed off the feeling thinking I was just imagining things again and reached for our tickets. My hand brushed his fingertips as he gave me our tickets and I got that feeling again like ice, cold, water was being dumped on me. I snatched my hand away quickly while saying thank you to the guy and shuffled into the crowded movie theater.

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