Popular but shy Maddison reluctantly agrees to go to a party where she emerges from her shell by sharing a passionate kiss with a certain someone. What follows is a rollercoaster ride of love, friendship and high school high jinks.
Age Rating: 18+ (Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault/Abuse)
Are You Mine? by Em Jay is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.
Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!
I’m already regretting this decision.
I stand in the middle of what can best be described as a warzone that, for the most part, resembles a bedroom.
Makeup, hair products, and clothes are scattered all around as a result of my best friend, Sydney’s, self-assigned mission to find me the ‘perfect outfit’ to wear tonight.
“Do we really have to go?” I complain, dramatically hanging upside-down over the edge of my bed. I’m the farthest I can possibly be from being in a party mood.
“Come on, it will be fun! Plus, I got word Mason is gonna be there,” She taunts, raising her eyebrows suggestively and sending a devilish smile my way.
Mason Foster. Where to begin with him?
To my dismay, I’ve had the most ridiculous crush on Mason Foster for years. You’d think I would’ve grown out of it by now, but I haven’t had such luck.
We go to school together, we share classes, we sit together, and all of that combined, makes it that much more difficult to get him out of my head.
A few months ago, I decided to take my shot and I texted him to see if anything would come of it. We talk occasionally, and he’s a big flirt over text but it’s never gone farther than that.
Most of the time I’m the one trying to keep the conversation going and at this point it’s clear he’s just having fun and not really that interested in me.
Our exchanges in person, however, are a whole different story, meaning they’re practically nonexistent.
He clearly notices that I like him, since I can’t help but make it painfully obvious every time I talk to him.
So I try to avoid him as much as I can to save myself the embarrassment.
If he was even remotely interested in me, I’m sure I would know by now.
Mason thrives off of the attention that he gets from the girls he leads on. I mean what straight guy wouldn’t want a legion of girls wrapped around their finger?
He’s not exactly the kind of guy you just glance over casually and move on.
With his chiseled features and fairly muscular build, he has beautiful auburn curls that shine like a flame when the sun hits them and he…
“Mads!” Syd snaps her fingers in my face.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“I said you’re daydreaming again. Got a little bit of drool right there too,” she taunts, pointing at her chin.
“Ha ha. Very funny.” I scowl at her.
I’ve got to give it to her, the girl knows how to convince me for anything. She’s charming, persuasive, and very determined. She won’t stop until she gets what she wants.
Plus, Syd knows me inside and out. She knew that she only needed to mention his name to immediately get me interested in whatever plans she has for tonight.
“Stop teasing, Syd.” Tyler, my other best friend, comes into the room cradling a bowl of chips, tossing one into his mouth, and plopping down next to me on my bed.
“Where did you find those?” I ask sitting upright so I can dig in.
“I know where your mom stashes the good snacks.” He winks, displaying a mischievous smile.
“You two haven’t even started getting ready yet.” He points at us accusingly with his chip. “I figured if you’re going to make me sit here for an eternity, you at least owe me some food.”
I wrap my arm around his neck, bringing his head down to my chest and I ruffle his hair.
He escapes my headlock with ease and we tussle playfully until he unavoidably overpowers me, pushing me back into the mattress and pinning my hands over my head.
“Damn Ty! Fine, you win, I give up.”
“Thought so,” he said, letting go.
I blow my hair out of my face.
“Okay,” I sigh, standing and walking over to Sydney who currently has her whole body inside my closet.“What’s the plan?”
“Party at Noah Reed’s house. We’re supposed to be there by ten,” Tyler says, lazily pushing his platinum blonde hair back as his tired blue eyes meet mine.
He looks even less excited about tonight than I am, but these kinds of events come as a part of duty to football players such as himself, so I guess by now he’s used to being dragged to them.
And of course, following that rule, it’s only logical for the guy at the top of the food chain to be the one who throws all the parties around here.
Noah Reed is Westpoint High’s most notorious player, jock, and rich kid.
Being captain of the football team and the star athlete of the school, he’s exactly what you’d imagine him to be.
Abnormally tall and muscular for an eighteen-year-old with sandy blonde hair, lightly tanned skin, and the greenest eyes you’ve ever seen.
He’s got a charming personality. He’s the kind of person that captivates you and can be sure he’s the only person in the room that’ll capture your attention with just a few words.
On the flip side, you most certainly do not want to test his temper. I’ve been witness to his not-so-mild case of anger issues.
He usually takes out his anger on the football field. But sometimes there’s an unlucky soul who gets in his bad graces and meets a bad conclusion.
Like two years ago when he found out his last girlfriend was cheating on him. Let’s just say you wouldn’t have wanted to be the guy she was cheating with.
Noah is the kind of guy that’s so attractive that you don’t even bother taking a shot at him to preserve your dignity.
The kind of guy you just stare at from a distance and hope he approaches you, as you wonder how someone like him can be real.
All he needs is a flash of his megawatt smile and that’s it, you’re done for.
Tyler, Sydney, Mason, Noah, and I all share a few classes. Ty and Mason are fairly close to him because of football, so naturally, he’s on my radar but I’m absolutely sure I’m not on his.
I don’t think I’ve ever exchanged a single word with him actually. But I don’t need to know what he’s like personally. His reputation precedes him. And quite a reputation that is.
Some of the rumors surrounding Noah include sleeping with the entire cheerleading squad (except for Syd of course), the girl’s volleyball team, and his best friend’s sister.
Basically, saying that he’s been around is an understatement, and on top of that, being captain of the football team makes him unapproachable and unattainable to most.
“Found it!” Sydney shouts from inside the closet, snapping me out of my thoughts.
She comes out holding a little black dress that she bought for me on my birthday last year and a pair of matching black heels.
“It’s perfect!” she says holding the outfit out to me.
I give her a disapproving look. “Really?”
“Oh don’t give me that, it’s not even that revealing,” she says, shifting her weight to one side.
“I guess it’s not. If you don’t plan on wearing it in front of people. That have eyes.”
She rolls her eyes at me.
“Do you have to be so condescending all the time?
“Can’t you just indulge your best friend who just wants you to look and feel as beautiful on the outside as she knows you are on the inside?” She bats her lashes with a smile.
“You know your sweet talk doesn’t work on me.”
“Ugh, you’re right, I forgot who I was dealing with for a second,” she huffs, dropping her sweet girl act.
“Come on, will you just wear it? I spent so much time looking for it and you haven’t worn it once since I gave it to you.
“I know you’ll look gorgeous in it, I will even do your hair and makeup to complete the look,” she pleads.
“You don’t have to wear it if you don’t want to,” Tyler chimes in. “Don’t be so pushy, Syd. If she doesn’t want to wear it, she doesn’t want to.”
Syd holds Tyler’s gaze for a second before he looks away.
“Fine,” she sighs.
“It’s a shame though, I think Mason would have loved to see you in it,” she says, holding out the dress in front of her and heading back towards the closet to put it away.
Asif I don’t know what she’s doing.
“All right, give it,” I huff, taking the dress from her hands, knowing she won’t drop it till she convinces me. She giggles and claps her hands in excitement.
“Yay! This is going to be so fun!”
“Yeah, woohoo.” Tyler and I say in monotone at the same time.
“You guys are no fun.” Syd crosses her arms. “You,” she points at me, “go get dressed. I’ll do my makeup really quickly so I can focus on yours.”
After I get dressed, Syd gets to work on the rest of my look.
When she’s done, I look over at our reflection in the mirror. She did a great job, both on herself and me.
She’s effortlessly beautiful, with her long, auburn waves and blue eyes. She’s lean and toned due to cheerleading and her red satin dress hugs her curves perfectly.
Me on the other hand, I feel ordinary standing next to her with my brown hair and matching brown eyes.
But tonight, Syd has managed to bring out the best in me, accentuating my features with a brown and gold smokey eye and dark red lipstick, leaving my hair down to lay naturally straight against my back.
Seeing the completed look, I am feeling particularly confident tonight.
“Ready to go?” Tyler asks, leaning on the door frame, twirling his car keys on his finger.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” I say, taking a deep breath and standing up straighter, trying to calm my nerves.
It’s just a party after all, what’s the worst that can happen?
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When Tyler parks his car outside of Noah’s place, the party is already in full swing.
Music is blasting from the inside and a few red solo cups are scattered over the front lawn as a result of wandering drunks.
I get out of the car as a cold breeze brushes past me sending shivers all through my body. I regret not considering bringing a jacket.
Tyler comes up from behind me, sliding the letterman jacket that he keeps in the trunk for situations just like this, over my shoulders and I smile at him gratefully.
He stands by my side and wraps one arm around me keeping me warm.
“Come on, it won’t be as bad as you think.” He smiles. “Probably,” he adds under his breath, making me stiffen at the thought of everything that could go wrong.
“I’m kidding!” he adds quickly, standing in front of me and squeezing my shoulders reassuringly. “We’ll have fun, I’ll make sure of it.”
“You guys ready to party or are we just gonna stand here waiting to get tan by the moonlight?” Syd says coming between us and sliding her arms over our shoulders.
“Okay fine, let’s go inside. I’m freezing anyway,” I say reluctantly.
“That’s the spirit.” Syd pats my back as she starts dragging us towards the house.
As soon as we step through the door, a group of visibly tipsy girls in shiny outfits swarm around us to greet Syd.
I recognize some of them as her friends from the cheer squad, but others I’ve never seen before in my life. Regardless, it’s only natural for anyone to be drawn to Sydney.
On top of being stunning, she’s also the friendliest, kindest and funniest person you’ll ever meet.
Though that doesn’t take away the fact that she’s not afraid to snap at anyone who tries to mess with her or any of her loved ones.
She’s the caring momma bear, the protective papa bear, and the cute little cuddly baby bear, all in one petite package. She gives me an apologetic look and mouths ‘sorry’ before being taken away by the crowd of girls.
I smile at her letting her know it’s all right and not to worry about me.
“Guess it’s just you and me then,” Tyler says, sliding his arm over my shoulders and I lace my fingers with his.
“Let’s go get a drink,” he proposes. And before I can refuse, he is already leading us toward the kitchen.
I sit on the countertop to be at eye level with Tyler as he looks around at the assortment of alcohol.
“What do you want?” He grabs a bottle of water for himself.
“You’re not drinking?” I ask.
“I’m the designated driver, someone has to get you girls home safe, and tonight is all about you enjoying yourself. Besides, I don’t need alcohol to have fun when I have my bestie right here.” He squeezes my shoulder.
“You, on the other hand, look like you could use some liquid courage.” He pops open a beer bottle, hands it to me, and I start taking slow sips as we make small talk.
Suddenly, he glances over to the side and whispers to me, “Be cool.”
I’m about to ask him what he’s talking about when I look in the same direction and see Mason walking towards us.
“Hey man, what’s up?” Mason says, smiling as he greets Ty with a pat on the back.
I start to feel the heat rising to my cheeks as Mason looks at me, still with a perfect smile on his face.
He says, “Hey Maddison, I didn’t expect to see you here, glad you could make it.”
He catches me mid-sip. “H-Hi Mason.” I choke and cough before I can say anything else. Because why wouldn’t I?
“Oh-kay…” He claps his hands together. “I’ll see you guys around, enjoy the party,” Mason says, walking away awkwardly.
I bury my head in my hands in embarrassment while Tyler laughs and says, “You might’ve not heard me right. I said ‘be cool’, not cough in his face?”
I lift my head in anger and punch his arm. “It’s not funny, douchebag,” I say and he laughs even harder, obviously not hurt in the slightest.
“I’m joking! It wasn’t that bad.” He laughs. “You are such a drama queen sometimes,” he says, grabbing my waist, lifting me off the counter, and setting me down on the floor.
“Come on, we’re going dancing.”
Hand-in-hand Ty leads me to the makeshift dance floor in the backyard, pushing through the crowd until we find a spot big enough for both of us.
Music is booming from the speakers and strobe lights flash over us as I start awkwardly moving to the rhythm. Man, they really go all out for these parties.
I take a few swigs of my beer and am not dancing as much dancing as barely swaying from side to side.
Quickly noticing my awkwardness, Tyler grabs my hands and shakes me a little while jumping up and down in an attempt to help me loosen up. It makes me laugh and actually helps a bit.
I know I don’t have to feel awkward around Tyler. We’ve been neighbors since we were kids and the closest of friends for years.
He knows everything there is to know about me and I know everything about him. We never keep secrets from each other and we’re always honest, that’s why we work.
He’s probably the only guy I don’t feel uncomfortable around. So with his encouragement, I start slowly relaxing and committing to having fun.
By the time my beer is empty Tyler and I are dancing freely without a care in the world, and I’m actually starting to have a good time.
“I want another drink!” I yell loud enough for Ty to hear me over the music. He raises his eyebrows in surprise but smiles showing his approval.
We move away from the crowd heading towards the house when a voice stops us from going in.
“Mads!” I look around to see Syd standing at a table surrounded by a few other people.
“You guys wanna play?” she asks, holding a ping pong ball and I notice she’s talking about a game of beer pong.
I look up at Tyler waiting for him to answer.
“I’m DD, remember? But you go ahead if you want to.”
I hesitate, looking at Syd as she waves me over but Ty gives me a little nudge in the back pushing me to do what he knows I want to.
I go stand across the table from Syd who’s paired up with Ashley, the head cheerleader of the squad. Since Tyler is watching from the sidelines, I have to pair up with a guy named Jackson.
“I’ve never played before, so if I suck, I’m sorry in advance,” I tell him and he laughs it off.
“Here, you can take the first shot, newbie,” he says, handing me the ball.
Each team has ten cups filled halfway in front of them and I aim for the middle one, thinking it’ll be the easiest but I’m sadly mistaken since I miss and the ball bounces off the cup.
It’s the girls’ turn and Ashley gets the ball into one of our cups in the back row.
“You missed the last one,” Jackson says, picking up the cup with the ball still inside it and handing it to me. “Drink up.”
I steal a glance at Ty and he shrugs his shoulders as if saying ‘rules are rules’. I sigh and reluctantly chug the contents of the cup.
The game goes on for a while, and out of the ten cups I end up having to drink seven. Jackson missed only a few of his shots but I missed all of mine, making the girls the winning team.
Apparently, I’m a lightweight because I’m quickly starting to feel more than just a little bit tipsy. I stumble as I make my way towards the house and Tyler comes behind me to steady my walk.
“Easy there, where are you going?”
“I reeally need to pee.” I notice I’m starting to slur.
“You want me to come with you?”
“No, no that’s okay. I just need a minute to be away from all the noise. I’ll be right back.” I brush him off.
“Okay.” He hesitates. “I’ll be on the dancefloor with Syd, come find me when you’re ready. Cool?”
“Okayy.” I smile and wave as he walks away from me.
I stagger around the empty house, lost, holding on to the walls as I look for the bathroom. I decided to head down to the door at the end of a long hallway guessing that must be it.
As the door swings open and my eyes adjust to the darkness of the room I manage to make out two people laying on a bed, the one on top is Mason, and the other one is a girl I don’t recognize.
They both turn to look at me and I freeze, but before they can say anything I mumble a quick ‘sorry’ before I shut the door and run in the opposite direction.
I spot an open door on the opposite side of the hall, and finally realizing that it is the bathroom, I go in slamming the door behind me.
Leaning against it looking up at the ceiling, I try to keep the tears at bay. But before I can stop them two escape through the outer corners of my eyes and make their way down my cheeks.
I hurriedly wipe them away not wanting to mess up my makeup and coming out of here looking like an even bigger mess than I already am.
I stare at my reflection in the mirror in front of me.
Don’t let them see you like this. Keep it in control. Get it together. Keep it in. I keep repeating in my head, taking deep breaths with my hand over my chest to try to compose myself.
Once I’ve calmed down a bit, I blow my nose, shake my head to snap out of it, and fix my hair in the mirror before I come out.
I steal a glance at the room they were in and the door is wide open, which means they’re probably outside by now.
I head to the kitchen to pour myself another drink before walking to the empty living room and taking a seat on the couch. I need a few more minutes before I can go back out there.
With one hand, I take long swigs of my drink, I run the other one through my hair and rest my head on it while I look down at the ground. Suddenly I feel the weight shift on the couch.
“Tough night?” The person sitting next to me asks. I half-heartedly laugh and shake my head while taking another drink.
“You have no idea.”
When I finally look up I’m met with a pair of piercing green eyes rimmed by the darkest and thickest lashes I have ever seen.
“What about you?” I ask, turning my head towards him. “Shouldn’t you be out there doing host things…or something?”
“Meh.” He shrugs. “Being the host is overrated, you don’t even get to enjoy your own party.
“It’s mostly just going around making sure nothing gets broken, stolen, or that no one passes out on my front lawn. And a whole lot of cleaning up other people’s puke.”
“Don’t even mention it. I’m feeling sick to my stomach as is,” I say, looking out the window behind Noah, spotting Mason not too far away from us still with that girl who I now recognize as Brianna.
Noah looks in the same direction and then back at me.
“Is this about a guy?” he asks.
I take a long sip. “Is it that obvious?” I ask, my eyes heavy.
“At our age, most problems revolve around guys, girls, or both. Just taking a wild guess.”
“Good point.” I nod before downing what’s left of my drink. I sigh in exasperation.
“Ugh, I’m just so sick and tired of being invisible.” I don’t know why I’m ranting to him right now, but I’m drunk, I’m sad, I’m pissed, and he’s the only one here, so what the hell.
I stand up and start unloading my frustration onto him. “I hate getting so nervous, and being so awkward!
“I am so tired of chasing after a fucking asshole who doesn’t notice me and making a fucking fool out of myself all the fucking time.
“I just want to be seen, you know? For once,” I start pacing back and forth while Noah stays seated, “even if it’s just for a moment, that’s all I want.
“Just for one moment, I want to feel like the pretty one, like I’m hot and like I’m worth something! Is that too much to ask?!”
I turn to him as he stands up, I’m guessing to leave because I look crazy right now.
“You are pretty though, you know?” he says casually, as he stands opposite to me facing the window.
“Thank you!” I say a little too forcefully. I’m still riled up.
He looks out behind me and tucks a strand of loose hair behind my ear. “You want to get his attention?” He’s speaking very calmly.
“Yes!” I exclaim “But I just don’t know wha-”
He cuts me off before I can finish my sentence. Tilting my chin up, he presses his lips to mine.
As soon as they collide the air around us is still, as am I, and all the noise from the party seems to be drowned out.
His hands cup my face as he kisses me slowly, and when I finally snap out of my shock, mine get tangled in his soft hair.
The world seems to stop, as if to allow me to bask in the pleasure of his touch. My skin burns in the places that it meets with his and he pulls me closer as he, ever so gently, bites my lower lip.
I open my mouth slightly to grant him passage and his tongue starts massaging mine. I tug at his hair and he sighs deeply through his nose before he picks me up and starts towards the couch.
I instinctively wrap my legs around him as he sits down, and I find myself straddling his lap. I push him so that his back lays against the couch and I deepen the kiss, feeling like I can’t get him close enough.
His hands mess up my hair before sliding down to rest on my hips, making me shiver as he chuckles lowly.
I’m lost in him when I suddenly realize we’re right next to a window, in full view of everyone outside, so I slowly and reluctantly pull away from him.
We stay in place, heavy breathing with our faces inches apart from each other as he strokes my cheek with his thumb.
“Feel hot now?” he rasps, and I chuckle. He holds my gaze for a beat, before turning towards the window and saying, “You’re welcome by the way” when he notices Mason staring at us.
I open my mouth to reply but before I can, I hear the sliding door that leads to the backyard open. Getting off Noah’s lap, I turn just in time to see Sydney stumbling into the house in a fit of giggles.
“Maddieeee!” she slurs. “There you are, I’ve been looking everywhere for you! I was just going to the bathroom but I’m so glad I finally found you.”
She glances between Noah and me who are still sitting close to each other and her eyes widen. “Ohhhh, I see what’s going on here.”
And with that, I stand up and rush to her to drag her away before this gets even more awkward.
“Good for you girl, he’s HOT!” She thinks she’s whispering but I can hear Noah laughing behind us.
I push her towards the bathroom. And before I go in, I steal one last glance at him still sitting in place with a smirk plastered on his face.
While Syd does her thing I rant about the night’s events and despite being highly intoxicated she listens attentively. After washing her hands she grabs me by the shoulders and looks me dead in the eyes.
“Listen to me Mads, and pay very close attention because I’m only going to say this once, okay?”
She seems to have quickly sobered up because she has her serious face on and is speaking with long pauses, which means she’s in lecture mode.
I nod my head and she goes on, “Mason is not worth it. I know you can’t see it because you really like him, but from what I’ve gathered over the years, he doesn’t seem like a good guy to me.
“He’s cocky, attention-seeking, and all he seems to really care about is being seen as the top dog and getting into as many girls’ pants as he can.
“If he can’t see how amazing and ridiculously beautiful you are, then it’s his loss, because there are many other guys out there who will.
“Don’t let him get you down or make you doubt your worth, that guy does not deserve your tears.”
I nod slowly as she speaks and when she’s done I sigh, shaking my head.
“You’re totally right.” I hug her. “Thank you girl, I love you.”
“I love you too, Mads.” She nuzzles her head into my shoulder and rubs my back.
We pull away from each other and come out of the bathroom.
“Okay, I think I’ve had about enough partying for one night, can we go home? You guys can stay at my place”
“Sure, I’ll go get Ty,” she says, starting towards the back door.
“Cool, I just have to get his jacket, I think I left it in the kitchen.”
“Okay!” she replies, as she heads out.
I shuffle through empty bottles, tossed around cups and questionable stains on the kitchen counter searching for Ty’s jacket but I can’t find it anywhere.
“Looking for something?” I hear someone say from behind me.
“Yeah, I can’t find my jacket. I swear I left it right here!” I say exasperatedly, as I turn around coming face to face with Mason.
“Let me help you then.”
His eyes are heavy and bloodshot, and his speech is slow and dragged. He’s clearly wasted.
“That’s okay, I think I might’ve just left it in the living room. Let me just-”
I try to get away from him but he grabs my wrist and pulls me back, caging me against the counter with his arms at my sides. He closes his eyes and starts leaning into me.
“What the fuck are you doing, Mason?!” I yell, pushing him away from me and he staggers backward.
“Sorry princess”—he raises his hands in surrender—“I just thought-”
“Hey, Mads?” I look past Mason to see Noah heading towards me with Tyler’s jacket in hand.
Mason backs away but doesn’t leave the kitchen as Noah comes up to me and hands me the jacket.
“I put it in my room so it wouldn’t get all dirty in here,” he says with a crooked smile.
“Oh, thank you.” I reply, surprised. “That was…oddly considerate of you.”
“Like I said, host duties.” He shrugs. “Anyway, hope you had fun.” He bends down to kiss my cheek and as he’s pulling back he stops at my ear to whisper, “Told you it would work.”
His voice that sends shivers down my spine. I can feel my cheeks heating up as he starts backing away.
“I’ll see you on Monday.” He winks, smirking at me with his perfect white teeth. “You too, man.” He directs that to Mason.
“Yeah, see you.” Mason says, while glaring at Noah.
Sydney comes into the kitchen with Tyler trailing behind her. “Ready?”
“Yeah,” I put the jacket on and push past Mason, ever so lightly bumping against his shoulder. “Later Mason.”
I look back at him with a smile and wave my fingers, feeling pretty pleased with myself. I’m still holding my smile as I plop down into the passenger’s seat of Ty’s car.
“So? Did you girls have fun?” he asks, looking back as he pulls out of the driveway.
“The most,” Syd replies.
“Yeah, strangely, me too,” I say, surprising even myself.
“See? I told you. Who was right?” He holds his hand up to his right ear leaning towards me.
I roll my eyes. “You.”
I sigh. “Tyler, the best guy on the planet, who is always right and whom I love the most in the entire world.”
“That’s right.” He brags.
“You happy now?” I laugh at his antics.
He turns to me with a smile, looking me up and down. “Very.”
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