Chapter #3

I attempted to hide the revelation as Leo brought out my hamburger. I wasn't so hungry anymore. Not because of my realization, because of the fact that I had even come to that point. Why was it simply so enthralling that I had nothing better to do than think myself into a corner? Looking up at Trace, a boyish expression filled his features as his chicken strips were brought out to him. Suddenly he didn't look so untouchable anymore. My conclusion was definitely a coincidence. Relaxing into a less rigid position, I gripped my burger and began dutifully eating. For some reason, his presence didn't bother me so much anymore. It was beyond strange that he decided to sit at my table, but hey, he seemed to be minding his own business, so what was I losing? Besides, it didn't hurt that I had a nice view. And I didn't even have to look out the window.

I had never been one to second guess myself, but the constant almost smirks at my thoughts concerning Trace or Leo was beginning to eat at me. I had this suspicion that they could somehow read my mind, but who was I kidding? At the moment, Trace didn't look anything like his reputation made him out to be. He was a boy, getting messy, eating greasy food in a very excited manner. Just like any other seventeen year old guy across the world. Nothing special about him. Smiling a bit triumphantly, I ate a bit more, my appetite picking up to a healthy level once more. I was strangely content, sitting here with practically a stranger, who enjoyed imposing on other people and taking advantage of his friends. With anyone else, every one of those details would've been a major turn off, but for some reason it didn't bug me so much with him. There was a strange part of me that thought he looked sweet, vulnerable even. And who could resist? I mean just look at the guy!

"You know what?" It must've been a good fifteen minutes, and like any normal person, Trace felt the need to break the perfectly comfortable silence. I fought the urge to groan as I realized I'd be forced into what would no doubt become an awkward conversation. I didn't have the greatest people skills in the world.

"Uh...what?" I asked, trying my best not to give him an accusatory look. I had been told my facial expressions came across harsher than I realized. I just thought, a lot, and that apparently read across my features.

"I think you're one of the rudest people I've ever met." He paused, a grin forming on his face. Before I could react, however, he finished. "Like, you know you're being rude, but you don't want to, you'd just rather stick to your old ways than stretch for other people. Kids at school feel sorry for you, think you're lonely and can't make friends, but I think you like it that way. Am I right?" He leaned back in his chair so he was balancing on the back two wooden legs, his arms crossed in front of his chest in a victorious manner. I stared at the chair for a long time, practically boring holes into it with my gaze, unfortunately his seat did not topple backwards like I had hoped, instead it stayed perfectly under his control.

"Well I think you're one of the rudest people I've ever met. You certainly have a lot of nerve telling me how I am and how I'm not. I'll have you know that I do like having friends." I retorted, but as I should have expected, he interjected.

"You just don't like people." He smiled triumphantly once more, arching a haughty eyebrow. It was that same smile that he had used upon breaking down Leo and getting the employee discount. I wasn't as soft as Leo though, he'd have to put a bit more work into it.

"Most people. I don't like most people. I was expecting a bit more coming from Mr. Ashcroft, you're supposed to be all smooth and classy, but you're just as daft as the next guy. If you'll excuse me, I best be on my way." I said quickly, reaching down to grab my purse, yanking out my wallet and setting down a twenty. Leo could keep the change. At least he wasn't as presumptuous as his friend over here. Ladies man indeed! Every word out of his mouth was as disastrous, frustrating, and intriguing as the last. The latter of the three was the most sickening part about it.

"You don't like most people, so where do I fit into that equation?" He stayed in his position, that amused expression still lighting up his face. The problem was, I actually found the situation more enjoyable than I would have hoped. Arguing was never something I liked to do, but under these circumstances it didn't seem so bad.

"As of now, I dislike you more than most people." And with that I stood, impressed that I managed to keep from smiling. He laughed a little, locking eyes with me for the briefest of moments.

"See you around, Eve." Stopping in place, I grimaced, displeasure with the nickname written all over my face. How dare he assume the right to give me a nickname? I was wrong. There was something special about him. In the mentally impaired kind of way.

"I sincerely hope not." I finally shot back, bitterness whipping off my tongue furiously as I stomped out of the restaurant, another one of his laughs following me as I made my way to the parking lot. Despite our exchange I was rather calm and composed. And happy. Along with irritated. He was far too intelligent for his own good, it seemed to give him some kind of complex, like it was his goal in life to annoy people to death. Or maybe he just did that with me? Snorting out loud at the thought, I shook my head at myself, backing out of the parking lot. How egocentric of me to think that he treated me different than everyone else he encountered. More likely than not, everyone else just viewed it as charming, whilst I saw the challenge in his words. He wanted to play games. And the only way to win someone's game is to not play at all. Of course, that's exactly what I intended to do. However, easier said than done.

The End

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