I could not stop thinking about that kiss. It was on my mind when I went to bed, and the first thing that popped up when I woke up. My friends had noticed how absentminded I was, and they all kept teasing me about it. Because of the rumors and my fake confession, it wasn’t hard for them to figure out what I was thinking about.
But they got the reason why I was thinking about Jax all wrong. Everyone thought I actually had a crush on him, but I just wanted to get this whole bet over with.
I hadn’t told anyone that I’d kissed Jax, and I wasn’t going to, either. It was none of their business.
I snapped out of my thoughts and looked at Jessica, who was sitting next to me in my car.
“Sorry…” I mumbled.
“So you still don’t want to tell me what happened yesterday?” she asked for a thousandth time with a smirk on her face.
I hadn’t told even her about the kiss. I wasn’t sure if she could somehow tell I kissed Jax, but she knew something happened between us.
“Not really…” I told her.
She just hummed, that smirk staying on her face.
A moment later, we arrived at school. I tried not to look for Jax as we walked through the busy hallways, but that guy was so goddamn easy to spot. Especially when he had the same class as me. He was leaning against the wall further down the hallway, minding his own business.
For some reason, I felt reluctant. I had the perfect opportunity to steal his seat again and make him sit next to me so I could try talking to him. But my confidence from yesterday didn’t feel like helping me out today. I really needed to use this opportunity since it was Friday, and I wouldn’t see him again until Monday. I’d already used two weeks. I had six left.
Jax spotted me. He squinted his eyes at the sight of me, giving me the deadliest glare.
“You need a helmet?” Jessica snickered. “He looks like you’ve earned another hit to your head.”
“I’ll be fine,” I sighed, and the bell rang.
I gathered my composure when I stepped into the classroom and headed straight to the back to steal Jax’s seat. People were giving me curious looks, but this time they knew why I was doing this. I sat down and leaned down to grab my books from my bag.
“Jackson,” I said without looking up at Jax.
He snorted loudly and walked past me to get to the seat next to me. Out of instinct, I held my hand on my desk in hopes of protecting my head if he decided to slam me against it, but he didn’t. He took his seat and grabbed his books, not giving me a single look.
I opened my books and peered at him. He was ignoring me completely as he leafed through his book. We still had a few minutes before the class started…
“So. How are you?” I asked.
Slowly, he raised his head and, even slower, turned to glare at me. I moved my arm on top of my desk for my protection and turned to face him.
“Leave me the fuck alone,” he said in a deadly voice.
I held back my heavy sigh and just smiled at him.
“I’d like to hang out with you this weekend,” I continued.
His glare turned even more poisonous. “Why can’t you just fucking leave me alone?” he hissed.
“Because I like you,” I said very quietly. “You’re interesting.”
“The only thing I’m interested in is kicking your ass,” he muttered back.
This was not going anywhere. What was I supposed to do? I never had to do more than ask a person out and they said yes. How was I supposed to get through to him? I didn’t know anything about him! I knew he liked kicking my ass, and that he worked in a candy store. Bringing up the latter would definitely be signed off as the cause of my death, so what did I have left?
“Well, you can kick my ass any time,” I said, trying to look confident when I winked at him and turned my attention to my books.
I acted like I didn’t notice his angry stare. I tried to act like I wasn’t expecting getting my ass kicked right then and there. He ended up saying nothing, and the class started. When it ended, I still had no idea how to connect with him. He didn’t stay to give me another opportunity, but I honestly had no idea what to even say to him, so I let him walk out of the room.
“You’re alive,” Jessica noted when I joined her in the hallway.
“Indeed I am,” I said and sighed, not seeing Jax anywhere.
I hardly focused on the next class. I was torturing my brain to come up with another way to approach Jax, but I got nothing. A gift? A romantic note in his locker? A date in a boxing ring?
What? What was I supposed to do?
Lunch break came around and I didn’t care about the curious and worried looks I was receiving as I moped over my food. I’d wasted two weeks already. Two whole weeks. I had to come up with something. I was running out of time.
I spotted Caleb at another table, and he noticed me watching him. He gave me an ugly grin and rubbed his thumb against his index and middle finger as a sign of me owing him money. I snorted and looked away.
And I immediately saw a hint of a familiar bush of red and black hair passing by the doors.
“I got to go,” I told my friends, who started shouting questions after me, but I didn’t care.
I ran after Jax and saw him sneaking once again up to the roof. I followed him, and when I reached the rooftop, I saw him against the rail in front of me. He didn’t look at me when I stepped next to him. He was smoking again.
“You know, that didn’t taste too good yesterday,” I told him. “The cigarette.”
“Then don’t kiss me,” he simply said. “You know that counts as a sexual assault, right?”
“Yeah, I may have gotten a bit carried away yesterday…” I spoke apologetically.
“A bit?” he repeated with a snort. He was silent while he smoked, then glanced at me. “Well, I did assault you three times now.”
Was this… progress?
I immediately took my chance and stepped closer to him with my most charming smile on my face. “So does that mean I can still sexually assault you two more times so we’re even?”
I gave a second thought to what I just said.
“That… didn’t come out right,” I muttered.
“No, it did not,” he agreed, emphasizing the word no, and turned to look away from me with yikes written all over his face.
“I swear I’m not like that. I just got carried away yesterday,” I said and sighed. “Look… I just really like you and I’d like to get to know you better.”
“And what makes you think I want that? I’ve been trying to be very clear that I want you to stay the fuck away from me,” he said.
“But why? I mean, you’ve never said you’re not interested in guys, and I’ve done nothing wrong! Well… except for the… sexual assault part…”
He scoffed and rolled his eyes. “I don’t owe you an explanation. No is a no, you understand that?”
I suddenly realized I was going to lose the challenge. I’d already kissed him against his will, and he was right about calling it an assault. He didn’t want to have anything to do with me, and my only option left was to respect his wish, because everything else I did after this point would be considered harassment. A lot of what I’d already done was considered harassment.
It was over.
“I’m sorry,” I said quietly, taking a step back. “You’re right… I shouldn’t… I mean it sucks because I do find you interesting, but if you’re not interested, I should leave you alone.”
“Great! Thanks, have a nice life,” he said, acting cheerful when he turned his back on me.
I watched him for a moment, feeling… sad.
“Yeah, uh… you too,” I said and started walking back to the door.
I reached the door and grabbed the handle.
“Why would you find me interesting?” Jax suddenly asked, and I turned to look at him.
“Because… You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met,” I said, taking a careful step back to him. “And…” I trailed off to laugh a bit. “You know what’s the best part?”
“You’re not afraid to show how much you hate me,” I said, finding the courage to walk back to him. “If I can tell you a secret, I fucking hate it when people pretend to like me even when they don’t.”
“Rich people problems,” he snorted.
“Yeah, I suppose so. But that’s why I like you. You’re… different,” I said, speaking the truth. “And cute,” I added to stay in character.
“There is nothing cute about me,” he said, squinting his eyes at me.
“No, no, no… That pink outfit at the candy store…” I muttered with a wink. “That was cute.”
“Oh my fucking god…” he groaned quietly. “If you fucking tell anyone–”
“I won’t, don’t worry. I’d like to keep my head attached,” I said jokingly. “Why do you work there? It was the last place I expected to find you.”
He rolled his eyes again and groaned. I was sure he wasn’t going to answer me, but I was pleasantly surprised.
“It’s my aunt’s. That’s the only reason I’d ever work in a place like that. I’m just helping her out, that’s all,” he said.
“So you do have a nice side in you,” I said, but he shot a deadly glare at me. “Okay, okay, you have no nice sides at all,” I said, raising my hands.
“You better remember that,” he said.
I stared at him for a brief moment. I had to admit, this was an interesting encounter.
“Why do you hate people so much?” I asked.
“None of you goddamn business,” he said, but without a hostile tone.
“Do you have any friends?” I asked, but he gave me such a nasty glare that I decided to change the subject. “Do you have any siblings?”
“I’m a bit jealous. I have three and–”
“I know,” he said, his voice now something I’d never heard before, and it was clear I was better off changing the subject again.
I glanced at his outfit. A black vest on top of a white T-shirt, and black trousers with chains hanging off his hips, and heavy boots.
“I like the way you dress,” I said. “But why are you always wearing these?” I asked, trying to reach for the sleeves he’d cut off from a black jersey or something, but he stepped back.
“None of your fucking business,” he said angrily.
I could tell he did not like that question at all. He was really mad at me, and that did not help with my curiosity. I had never seen him without sleeves covering his arms, and the way he’d just reacted… He had to be hiding something. Scars maybe? I was dying to know the reason, but I was smart enough not to push him. He would not tell me anything.
“What about college?” I asked instead and turned to look at the city, hoping he’d still stay with me. “Do you have a place in mind?”
“You talk like everyone can afford that,” he said shortly.
“I didn’t mean to offend you,” I said apologetically, but he only rolled his eyes.
Sometimes I did forget not everyone was as privileged as me and my friends. I was choosing the wrong questions, and I could feel my slim chance growing even thinner. If this was an actual chance…
“Tell me…” I said, taking a careful step closer to him. “Are you just being curious, or have you changed your mind?”
“Changed my mind about what?” he asked.
“About wanting me to stay away from you?” I asked.
“Just curious,” he said with a shrug, and lit up another smoke. “I still want you to stay away from me.”
“Is that so…?” I asked, stopping right in front of him, and he didn’t move away. “Maybe you don’t know what you want?”
“Trust me, I do,” he said looking up at me with his big gray eyes. I ignored the smell when I carefully put my hand on his side, and he froze.
“You still owe me two kisses,” I noted quietly.
“I owe you nothing,” he said. “And you only have one. You kissed my cheek at the store, pervert.”
I raised my eyebrows at him in amusement. “Then I need to make you assault me so I can get one more chance back,” I said in a whisper.
“I will fucking kick your ass if you kiss me,” he told me quietly, but still, he didn’t move away.
I brought my lips closer to his and stopped to wait for his reaction. His eyes were still angry, but he took a quick look at my lips before he continued staring at me.
“I’m warning you…” he murmured.
I smiled at him, my lips now less than an inch away from him.
“I’m not kissing you,” I told him. “I’m just curious to see if you’d let me if I tried.”
“Fuck you,” he whispered.
“Maybe you liked it when I kissed you,” I said. “Maybe that is why you’re not walking away.”
“Nah, I’m just waiting to get a reason to fucking end you,” he said with a rare smile on his lips.
“You know what? You think you’re scary, but you’re not,” I whispered. “You’re just hot.”
“You don’t know anything about scary yet,” he replied smoothly.
“I’m dying to find out,” I told him.
“Go ahead, then. Kiss me,” he said, his poisonous lips almost brushing against mine.
Poisonous or not, I didn’t care. I kissed him, placing a hand under his chin, pulling him closer by his waist. I didn’t care if I ended up regretting it. I didn’t care if he murdered me right there on that spot. His lips were soft, full, and dangerous against my own.
Suddenly, I felt something burning my neck, and I jumped away from him in pain. When I looked back at him, placing a hand on the painful spot, he brought his cigarette to his lips. And he smiled.
“Don’t get carried away,” he said with amusement in his eyes.
I wanted to curse him to hell, but he did warn me. As I watched, he dumped his smoke and walked to the door. Without saying a word, he entered the building, leaving me alone on the rooftop.
That guy… fucking hell.