My life was perfect.
Everything about me and my life was perfect.
It was so perfect, in fact, that I didn’t have to lift a finger to get everything I wanted.
I was born into a rich family, and we lived in a mansion on the top of a hill that formed our beautiful, luxurious neighborhood. My own bedroom was bigger than most people’s houses, and I drove a nice Porsche I got for my sixteenth birthday last year. We had our own cooks, maids, the whole shebang.
But I did not get blessed only with riches. I was also very athletic, and as the hundreds of girls kept telling me, I was handsome as hell with my classic, manly features, and tall frame. I was the Prince Charming in their eyes, and they all lined up to me so I could easily pick and choose a different date every day.
I wasn’t so popular only because of my riches and looks, either. I was absolutely amazing at school without having to even bother with it. Straight-A student. Perfect scores. Teachers loved me, especially the principal. They were happy to have someone like me in their public school since I was easily outshining everyone else in the entire district.
And that was the reason I was heading toward the best colleges in the entire country. My senior year had begun a month ago, but I wasn’t too worried about the amount of work I still had ahead of me. I had set my eyes on Yale or Harvard years ago, so I knew what I was up against. Having a famous lawyer who had graduated from Yale as a father helped as well. I already had a job lined up in his firm. Maybe one day I’d be his partner and co-owner, too.
So yes. Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Clean, easy, safe. Stable.
Oh my God, this is so fucking boring...
I faked a smile as I politely stood with a group of well-dressed people in the middle of our garden. I wasn’t actually sure what they were talking about since I’d stopped listening when someone brought up a financial crisis a big local company was having. I did not care.
Mom and Dad were throwing yet another social gathering for no apparent reason. Everyone knew us, and everyone wanted to be our friend. Everybody wanted their piece of fame. The pointless gatherings we often had were really popular, and everyone who was linked to our family in any way had always been invited, so these gatherings usually got blown out of proportion.
On this fine Sunday, the backyard of our huge mansion was filled with people in suits and evening gowns. I was wearing black pants with my favorite pair of leather shoes, and because the weather was chilly, I had a simple white jersey on top of my blue shirt.
I smiled at the people I didn’t even know and excused myself. I’d spotted my brothers with their friends near the fountain we had in the orchard. I needed a break from the fancy people, so I headed towards my friends.
“Nic! over here,” Kenneth, my older brother, shouted and waved cheerily.
Kenneth was there with his girlfriend, while our youngest brother, Daniel, had invited a few of his friends. And thank fucking God, my best friend, Jessica, had decided to bless the party – and me – with her presence.
She and I had a history. We had tried dating a few years ago, but after six months, we’d decided to continue as friends. And she really was the best friend anyone could ask for. I could always tell her everything, so she also knew how much I disliked these gatherings.
“We were just talking about you,” Kenneth said when I stopped right next to him.
“We’re wondering why you didn’t bring your girlfriend today,” Jessica said, like she didn’t already know the answer.
“We broke up last night,” I told the rest of them.
“That sucks,” Daniel said with an apologetic look on his face.
I shrugged. “It’s not a big deal. We dated for like two weeks anyway. Besides, I can make anyone fall for me – I’ll have a new date for Dad’s annual celebration in no time.”
I didn’t know it at that moment, but I shouldn’t have said that.
“Anyone?” Jacob, a friend of Daniel’s, repeated with a smirk.
“Anyone,” I said, feeling pretty confident about myself.
I really should’ve kept my mouth shut.
“Sounds like a challenge to me,” Caleb, another friend of Daniel’s, said with an even wider smirk on his face. “You up for it?”
“What kind of challenge?” I asked out of curiosity.
I did love challenges. My life was so perfect it was boring the hell out of me, and I was feeling reckless. I felt like doing something stupid for once.
“We’ll choose someone,” Caleb said, pointing at himself and his friends, “and you have to make that person fall in love with you.”
“All right, that sounds simple,” I said with a nod. “How much do you want to bet on it?”
Caleb glanced at his buddies before returning his attention to me. His smirk had turned mischievous.
“One hundred thousand dollars.”
Shit, that’s a lot of money...
I was usually smart. I was the kind of person who always thought before they acted. I had to keep my reputation clean in order to get into Yale, after all. And one hundred grand was a shitload of money, and I should’ve backed away.
But I was feeling reckless.
They all turned to look at me with wide eyes. Jessica slapped my arm hard, and when I turned to look at her, she gave me an angry, questioning glare.
“What?” I asked with a frown, but she only shook her head in frustration.
It sure was a lot of money, even for me, but making someone fall for me wasn’t an actual challenge. Besides, I’d never liked Caleb, so I was fine with stealing his money. The guy was practically shoving one hundred grand to my face!
“So, who’s the target?” I asked and turned to look at Caleb, completely ignoring Jessica’s angry scoff.
“I’m sure we’ll think of something once I get back from my trip,” Caleb said with a smirk.
“Trip?” I repeated politely, even though I couldn’t care less.
“My parents are taking us to a shopping trip to Prague tomorrow,” Caleb said with a smug smile – he did not waste a chance to flaunt how rich he and his family were, that was for sure. “We’ll return on Thursday. We can choose your target on Friday when I come back to school.”
“Sounds great,” I only said.
I nearly forgot all about the bet during the next week. When I woke up on Friday morning, it was the last thing on my mind, but as I was halfway through my breakfast, I remembered it.
For a moment, I reconsidered the challenge. It was a lot of money, and I was pretty busy with studies. Dad was pretty obsessed with my grades and future, so on top of my high school work, he made me study law under his guidance. I didn’t really have time for social activities, but I did want to wipe that stupid smirk off Caleb’s face.
And I was interested to see who Caleb was going to pick for me to seduce.
I tried to guess who it could be when I left for school and drove to pick up Jessica, who also lived in our gated neighborhood. She’d been mad at me for considering the challenge, but she hadn’t brought it up in a few days, so I hoped she’d forgotten all about it.
But of course, she hadn’t.
“I still can’t believe you’re actually considering it,” she greeted me as she sat down next to me.
I glanced at her shortly.
“You know it’s an easy win for me,” I told her as I continued driving toward the gates.
“That’s not the issue here!” she snapped at me. “You’re going to play with someone’s emotions!”
“Come on! What if she ends up being my future wife?” I asked with a smirk. “And I can still say no, so chill.”
She huffed and glared at me shortly before she turned to stare out the window without speaking another word to me.
She still wasn’t speaking to me when we arrived at school. When we made our way to the entrance, I spotted Daniel, Caleb, and Jacob. They quickly noticed us and gestured for us to join them.
“There you are! I thought you decided to skip school today,” he continued, his smile turning evil.
“Because of the challenge? No chance. Have you already decided who my target is?”
Daniel wasn’t looking enthusiastic, but Caleb and Jacob were grinning from ear to ear.
“I think you might want to back out of this one,” my brother said and glared at his friends.
“He did say anyone,” Caleb said with a shrug.
“I did, and I meant it,” I said, but Daniel was shaking his head with a pleading look on his face.
“Alright! Your target is...” Caleb said and had a dramatic pause before he pointed at someone behind me and said, “Him.”
“Him?” I repeated and turned around.
I tried to see who Caleb was talking about, but I saw only one person behind me. It was Jax, the notorious troublemaker of the school. Caleb couldn’t possibly mean him, right?
“Him?!” Jessica squealed. “I mean him?! You could’ve chosen anyone – anyone at all – but you had to choose Jax!”
The fact that Jax was a guy made the challenge harder. I wasn’t gay, and I seriously didn’t want to do anything with another guy. But I knew the reason why Jessica got so wound up wasn’t the fact that Jax was a guy.
Jax was – how to put it nicely – an asshole. He was the biggest jerk in the entire school, and most likely in the whole damn city as well. He hated everyone. No, he loathed people around him. That made the challenge extremely difficult. I didn’t even know if he was into guys, though there had been rumors going around. My chances of winning this challenge had come down drastically.
And yet, I was still considering it.
I glanced at Caleb. He was smiling widely at his brilliant idea. He seemed so sure I wouldn’t accept the challenge. The truth was, I had expected something like this. Everyone knew how good I was with girls, so I’d assumed he would choose either a dedicated lesbian or another guy for me to seduce. I was, however, surprised he chose Jax, even though it should’ve been obvious.
I turned my attention back to Jax. He was leaning against an old oak just outside the school boundaries, smoking a cigarette. He was wearing a pair of black jeans, a white T-shirt, and a black vest. Pretty normal, but the rest of him was quite… interesting.
For one, the left side of his long hair was dyed black, and the rest was red. His massive bangs couldn’t quite hide his heavy makeup around his eyes. His fingernails were dyed black, and he was wearing fingerless gloves. He had chains and bracelets around his wrists and neck, and both of his ears were filled with piercings. To top it all off, he was wearing sleeves that seemed to be cut off from another jersey or something.
Quite glam rock without the sparkles.
Jax was definitely not my type. I liked my girls cute and cuddly, but he was like a vicious snake.
“This is ridiculous,” Daniel said. “My brother won’t accept it – right, Nic?”
I was still looking at Jax. I was actually considering it. God knew how bored I’d been lately. Maybe this was just what I needed to get my mind off the pressure at home. I had nothing against gay people, and at least Jax had a nice face. It had to be because of the makeup.
“All right,” I said and turned to look at Caleb. “So how is this going to work?”
“You accept the challenge?” Caleb said, looking shocked – they all did.
I raised my eyebrows in amusement. “You thought you could scare me away with Jax?” I asked, holding back a chuckle. “I will prove I can make anyone fall for me.”
“Nic, please don’t do it,” Jessica said with pleading eyes. “This is ridiculous!”
“Yeah, this is stupid!” my brother added. “You’re not even gay!”
“I accept your challenge,” I told Caleb, ignoring everyone else.
Caleb needed a moment to recover from his shock. He laughed lightly and shook his head.
“You are one crazy bastard, you know that?” he said. “All right then. You have one month to make him say he loves you.”
“One month?” Jessica snapped. “That’s not possible! Jax isn’t going to let him even close in a month!”
Jessica was right. We all turned to look at Jax, who was busy scaring a group of kids passing him by. As the kids ran away screaming, we turned to look at Caleb.
“Okay fine, two months,” Caleb said. “Of course, no one is allowed to speak about this to anyone, especially Jax. This bet stays in this circle. If I find out someone else has heard about it, the bet is off. And if by any chance you happen to win, and I later find out you told someone about it, I will take my money back with interest, understand?”
I nodded, and turned to stare at Jessica and Daniel, who both agreed to the terms with disbelieving looks on their faces. They both thought I was crazy. Maybe I was.
“Nic has two months to make Chase Jackson, aka Jax, tell him he loves him. And he has to be able to prove it,” Caleb spoke. “If Nic can do that, I will pay him one hundred thousand dollars, and if not, he pays me the same amount,” he said and grinned when he said the last part.
After that, I shook Caleb’s hand to seal the deal, and I smiled at him.
“You better start gathering your funds. I’m going to win this,” I told him.
“We will see about that,” Caleb said. “You have exactly sixty days to prove you can make anyone fall in love with you. Starting from Monday.”