With my heart thundering, I studied Luke sitting on the foot of my bed. He looked utterly lost. Jesus, men were stupid. What was I supposed to do now? Maybe I should just give up. He obviously wasn't going to kiss me. Who was I even fooling? He hated me, for God's sake.
I gave a little sigh as I gathered my robe and pulled it on before easing down beside Luke. We were both silent, before finally I said, "Sorry."
"I don't...understand." He was staring at the floor with a flabbergasted look on his face.
I lifted a shoulder, let if fall. After another minute of silence, I stood up, walked to the window and pulled back the curtain. The full moon bathed my bedroom in a silvery glow. "Sometimes..." I began slowly. "I do stupid things." I turned to face Luke, who was watching me warily. "I have...Laurel and the girls tell me that I have a 'rebellious streak' in me. Celeste-Laurel's mother-told me that I get it from my mom. I just do stupid things sometimes," I repeated, folding my arms beneath my breasts. I felt a little cold, suddenly. "Things like partying and staying out past curfew. Being late to school on purpose. Spending more money than I should. Picking fights." I shrugged. "I don't know why I do it. I just do."
"Have you ever thought that maybe it's because of your dad?" Luke said quietly.
I turned, looked out the window again. "Yeah." Luke didn't press me, so I guess he knew that's all I could say. Instead, he said, "Well...if it helps at all...I don't talk to my dad either. I mean I'm not saying our dads are the same or anything, because I don't know your dad, and my dad is just a waste of space who cares about his own life more than his three kids'."
I angled my head, curious. "You have siblings?"
He nodded. "A little brother and sister."
"Why aren't they here?"
"Peeper is only eight, and Maggie is six. My uncle says the minumum age to work out here is ten. Brice is the youngest."
"So what do...Peeper and Maggie?" When he nodded, I went on, "Do since you're gone?"
I sat down beside him on the food of the bed as he spoke, "They stay with my mom, back home. They go to daycare a lot, because Mom works two jobs. But after working here, my uncle sends the check to her. It's worth a little over a thousand."
A thousand dollars is all he got for working out here all summer? A thousand dollars is like my weekly allowance. Feeling sympathetic, I changed the subject. "So, any girlfriends waiting for you back home?"
"I don't hate you." he suddenly said.
"I don't." he repeated. "Sure you bug the hell out of me, but Tommy and Danny bug the hell out of me too, and I like them. I'm just saying," he went on before I could interrupt. "I don't hate you. I think we should try being friends."
I considered this in my head. I narrowed my eyes when a thought occured to me. "If I agree...will you call off the demons?" When he merely look blank, I said, "The twins. I know all about the deal you made with them. That's why I stuck it out. But you should call them off now."
He grinned sheepishly. "Alright. Sorry, about...hey wait! You put that tack in my bed. Look!"
I was exasperated when he twisted, pulling his shirt up so he could show me the tiny cut on his mid-back. I felt a little stirring in my stomach as I ran my eyes over the lean muscles. He lowered his shirt and faced me again.
"So friends then? White flag on the war?" He held out a hand.
I nodded, feeling relieved that the twins would leave me alone now. "Truce. Friends." I shook his hand.
He plopped his head down on my bed, lying there smiling at the ceiling. "That's kind of a relief, to know I won't have to deal with all your mean comments anymore."
"What makes you think they'll stop?" I said in amusement.
He closed his eyes. "I'm physicic. I know these things."
"Speaking of knowing things. You avoided the girlfriend question."
He puffed his cheeks out in a long breath. "I don't have a girlfriend."
Comprehensioned dawned. "Bad-break up huh?" I guessed. When he nodded, I urged on, "What happened?"
"Same old song and dance. She had sex with my best friend."
Oh wow. How sad. Bracingly, I rubbed his arm. "I'm sorry. You want me to kick her ass for you?"
That dragged a chuckle out of him. "She's captain of the basketball team, and she's almost as tall as I am. I think she would win."
"Oh, what, you don't think I can fight? I can fight." Rising onto my knees, I balled my hands into fists, held them at the ready. "I used to be captain of the soccer team until I got kicked off for skipping games. Soccer's more brutal than basketball. And besides, brains over brawn. I could take her."
Smiling in amusement, Luke sat up, gripped my fists and lowered them. "She makes A's in all her classes, and why would you skip games when you're a captain?"
"Used to be, " I corrected. "And I make all A's too, buddy, got news for you. I rule in math class. Numbers are my thing. And I would skip because I didn't want to go run around kicking a ball for ninety minutes when my hangover was so bad that I could barely walk."
He arched a brow. "Hangover? You really were a wild child, weren't you."
I tried to suppress a smile as I sat up straighter, placed my hand over my heart. "I quit. I am now a good kid."
He snorted. "When pigs fly."
"Really!" I persisted. "I am. Mostly."
"Mostly?" he laughed. "What does that mean?"
I tilted my head, the corners of my lips curving upward. "Well it's a constant fight you see. I've discovered that I have a bad personality. It's hard to be a good kid when you have a bad personality, you know."
"I bet. Just how do you have a bad personality, Princess?"
I leaned toward him, dropping my voice to a whisper. "I like things that I shouldn't." I watched as those brown eyes of his darkened. My stomach fluttered even as it became a little harder to breathe. Hm. Maybe I could get him to kiss me after all. Slowly, I touched a fingertip to his wrist, slid it to his shoulder and back down again. "You want to know what?"
Mutely, he nodded.
I couldn't keep the smile off my face as I inched closer to him. "There are a lot of things. Partying, that's one. Sometimes I take really long showers, just to run the water bill. Sometimes I leave all the lights on in the house to run the electricity bill higher." I jerked my head in response to Luke's questioning expression. "It bugs my dad."
He forced a smile and made to slide away from me, but I only followed. "Is that all then?"
I shook my head. "Uh uh. Sometimes, I borrow Laurel's clothes. Without permission." I felt his the muscles in his shoulder quiver beneath my very, very light touch. "Sometimes, when Dayton is in a business meeting, I call him and start talking dirty. Just for the satisfaction of knowing I made him squirm in a roomful of people."
"Sometimes, you kiss other guys at your best friend's party even though you have a boyfriend." Luke's eyes were narrowed. Okay, maybe I couldn't get him to kiss me.
"If you count Dayton as a real boyfriend. Which I don't."
"Really. Why's that." Luke stared at me flatly.
I shrugged. "He's boring."
"Boring? How is he boring? You're probably just too restless."
I inched closer. "I am a restless person."
I watched his throat move as he swallowed. His eyes flickered as though he were arguing with himself. He must've lost, because after a beat he asked, "How?"
I sank my teeth down on my lower lip so I wouldn't kiss him. He had to kiss me. "I could tell you. But it would be better if I showed you."
He was quiet as he observed me. "We're friends, remember?"
I drew back a little. "Yes. Yeah. I remember. Friends."
We both nodded and exchanged a quick smile before he fixed his gaze on the floor and I fixed mine on my hands in my lap. I felt itchy everywhere. My stomach felt like it was being sucked in. I bit my lip harder. I glanced up at him, saw him watching me. Oh, FML.
I dipped my head down and up to press my lips to his. The moment was suspended for hardly ten seconds. Then I withdrew, and felt blood burn my cheeks as I looked unseeing at my lap. God, I'd kissed him. Laurel totally won. And if that wasn't embarressing enough, now Luke wasn't even talking to me. What the hell was my problem? Why did I have to go and-
My thoughts were interrupted when Luke jerked me half into his lap and smashed our lips together. I didn't think this time. I reacted instinctively.
I basically did my best to climb my way up his body as his mouth ravished mine. Though I wasn't quite sure how we got there, suddenly he was on his back and I was atop him, kissing him avidly while my knees straddled his waist. Then he gripped me by the shoulders, rolled so that I was beneath him, and all at once, his hands were everywhere. Suddenly my robe was open-somewhere along the way I'd managed to remove one of my arms from it, and one of his hands was sliding from the side of my thigh upward while the other-well, the other was busy elsewhere. My own hands were tugging at his shirt, desperate to feel flesh, my nails scraping against his jeans and the skin of his stomach, when abruptly, he froze over me, which gave me enough time to screw my head back on straight and resume concious thought, consequently freezing beneath him.
At once, we both turned and sat up, taking in deep drags of breath.
"So yeah, just friends." he said in a ragged tone.
"Yep." I gasped.
My chest was heaving with the effort to gulp down oxygen. As Luke literally fled out of my house, I managed to think one thing: Sadie Charlington, what had you managed to get yourself into now?