“Oh my God!” I panicked as I searched my locker for the letter I wrote to Brad.
Where the hell was it?
Anxiety rushed through me as I horrifically dug through the waste papers and unnecessary objects I had developed an unhealthy habit of stashing inside the metal space provided for us.
I pushed my hair back in exhaustion.
I couldn’t lose it; it would be too embarrassing.
I stiffened when a voice began reciting the first lines of my letter.
“Dear Brad Pinsley, been watching you since the first year…”
I turned my face in terror to see Nathan holding my letter in his hand with a smile.
Oh no, he did not just read my stuff.
Wasn’t the invasion of personal space this morning enough?
I narrowed my eyes at him. A small hint of embarrassment and a large hint of anger.
“Love letter, Princess? That’s seventh grade.”
I snatched it from his grip. “Where did you get this?!”
“It just fell from your locker a second ago. Isn’t it great that I saw it before someone else?” He lifted his eyebrow like a brother who had just read his sister’s diary and found out her darkest secret.
Which he had. And I knew he would tease me or use it against me in the future. I would not have been surprised. It was a very Nathan-y thing to do.
I rolled my eyes at him. “Well, thank you, really, for reading a female’s private stuff.”
I was about to stalk past him when he gripped my arm.
I looked back at him. “What?”
He sighed and released me before he casually jammed his hands in his pockets with that bored look all over his handsome face.
Wait. Handsome? Did I just say handsome? Hella weird to say, Chelsy Holmes!
“Are you planning on giving that to Brad Pinsley?”
“Yeah, so what?”
This was none of his business.
“So…” He rocked back and forth. “You’re setting yourself up to get sexed, then not texted back the next day.”
I made a face. “What?”
“You look easy. Giving a letter like that will only make him want to take advantage of you.”
I folded my arms, interested to hear more about his conclusive hypothesis. “Okay, do shed some light on your little ‘advice.’”
“You’re complimenting him too much, Princess. It might get to his head, and he might end up just using you to satisfy his sexual and selfish desires, then the whole school will hear about it tomorrow. Word of advice? Tuck that letter in a page of your diary and save yourself the utter humiliation.”
He leaned in and placed a small kiss on my forehead. “See you after school.”
So maybe if it were another member of the female population, they would have shot hearts from their eyes.
Nathan and I had kissed on the cheeks several times as kids growing up. We even accidentally kissed on the lips once, and it ended with us wiping our mouths frantically and crying as if our faces got shoved in a pile of shit.
He smirked at me before moving past me.
As if him walking in on me in just my bra was not bothering me enough, he had just read the most immature and corniest love letter ever. Not to mention the blush on my cheeks when he touched me that morning.
I thought that was enough humiliation for one day.
I took a deep breath and turned to face his back. “I will be taking the bus.”
He turned to me swiftly upon hearing my disagreement while stepping back. “Okay, suit yourself, Princess.”
He smiled as he turned away again and trotted down the crowded hallway.
I swallowed as he disappeared around the corner.
That was hella embarrassing and a needed moment of truth.
Nathan was right.
Giving this letter to Brad would be quite humiliating, and I may come off as needy.
I sighed as I slammed my locker shut.
It was best I didn’t do this, right?
After school, I texted Vicky as I walked to the bus stop.
She had to stay back for violin lessons, and I was too tired to wait. She would finish late anyway, and I was falling behind on my chemistry assignments.
Plus, I just needed to get home and hide under my covers after all of the day’s proceedings.
She texted back in no time.
I sighed and began to type my response
I hadn’t even finished typing the text when I bumped into someone, and my phone fell to the concrete of the school’s entrance gate.
“Oh, sorry!” a male voice spoke. The person bent to pick my phone up before I could.
As they stood up and glanced at my screen to see if it was broken, a gasp escaped my lips.
He grinned and looked up at me, whipping a lock of brown hair from his hazel eyes. “It’s not broken.”
My mouth parted to speak, but no words came.
Shit. Talk, Chels, talk~!~
Oh my God. Did I just say “Fanks”?
Nervously I took the phone from his grip. “Thanks, I meant thanks.”
He smiled and folded his arms, looking down at me. “You’re welcome.”
What he said next made my heart almost stop.
“And you really should tell that Brad Pinsley that you like him.”
I opened my eyes wide. “H-huh?”
“Sorry, I caught your text accidentally. I didn’t mean to…”
Talk about awkward.
I stood staring at him in frozen awe.
And if I thought Nathan reading my letter was embarrassing, this certainly topped the list. I felt like disappearing right there and then.
However, the look in Brad’s eyes wasn’t like he was laughing or jeering me. It was more like admiration.
The sound of a horn snapped me from the trance I was in, and I turned my head to see Nathan in his van a few feet away from where we stood. Elizabeth was in the front seat beside him.
“Coming, Princess?” he asked, looking from me to Brad.
I spotted the nasty glare Elizabeth was giving me and decided I wasn’t in for the drama. She always hated me talking with Nathan.
Why couldn’t she just understand that, unlike all the girls here, I didn’t want her man? He was like a brother or cousin or something. The guy I liked was Brad.
Oh my God, yes, Brad!
I looked at him to see him eyeing Nathan questioningly.
What if he thought we were dating? I mean Nathan had just called me Princess, and although he had called me that ever since we were little, Brad had no idea that that was a nickname.
Nathan had decided to call me Princess when we were six. We were playing a game where he was the superman and I was the princess and he should rescue me. You know how kids are.
Ever since then, I cried whenever he didn’t call me Princess. Why? Because I wanted to be a princess. I think I took the game rather too seriously. And now it was haunting me.
“Uh, I’m good actually,” I told him, hoping that response was enough to send him on his way.
He is interrupting my glory moment, for Christ’s sake!
“Sure? Your brother would kill me if I left you out here.”
I knew he wouldn’t leave so easily. Nathan was a stubborn person.
I fanned him away. “No, go ahead. I am good. Bye…”
“Will you be taking the bus?” he pressed, his eyes shifting to Brad again, then back to me.
“Yeah. I’ll just take the bus, go ahead.”
“Fine,” he said. “But be home on time, you know Max won’t like it if you are out so late.”
Oh God, Nathan could you quit embarrassing me. I’m not a kid who’s working with a curfew!
“Okay, okay, see you,” I hurriedly said.
Nathan looked from me to Brad again, and I swore he looked displeased as he stepped on his gas and drove away with great speed.
I turned my attention back to Brad.
“Is Nathan Sharles your boyfriend?” he asked, a brow raised.
For some reason, he looked a bit displeased, but maybe I was thinking too much.
I shook my head quickly, the palms of my hands lifting to do the same gesture. “No, no way. He’s just a family friend. Do you know my brother, Max Holmes? Yeah, he’s his best friend. There is nothing to it.”
He smiled and nodded, then his body exhaled in what appeared to be relief as though he’d been holding his breath the entire time. “Oh, I see. Well, I got some soccer thing to get to. So I will see you around…um…?”
“Chelsy.” I grinned.
He nodded. “Yeah. Chelsy. See you.”
He looked me up and down and bit his lower lip before walking away.
I smiled to myself as soon as he vanished out of sight.
Had this just happened? Had Brad just talked to me?
I threw my hands in the air in victory.
“Yes!!!!!” I squealed. “I really should tell Vicky about this!”
“Yes, and he was like ‘See you,’ then he bit his lower lip and walked away,” I gushed with deeply scarlet cheeks as I grabbed an apple from the kitchen counter and bit into it, my mind replaying the evening’s events as I gushed like the schoolgirl I was.
I was finally home and talking with Vicky on the phone, filling her in on the events that took place after school with Brad, and she was just as alarmed as I was.
“So did he ask for your number?” she asked excitedly.
I knew Vee; she probably had one of those wide grins across her small face.
I frowned. “No. Not yet. I am just waiting for the right time. Although it is quite embarrassing that he saw that text.”
She let out a small giggle. “Serves you right. I told you you should have just given the letter to him. See? He found out anyway. It was destiny.”
I laughed as I moved off to my room, walking up the steps with the phone still tucked to my ear. “What if he thinks it’s another Brad Pinsley?”
“He doesn’t, he is the only Brad Pinsley in the entire Gilmore High, Chels.”
“Mm-hmm, you’re right.” I pushed my room door open and waltzed in before crashing on my bed, letting out a tired groan as I did.
“Sigh. If only that could happen to Max and me.”
I had to say I felt for Vicky. Max was a harder target than Brad.
He was my brother, and I knew him very well. He always had this one rule about dating girls his age group or older, so Vicky was in a far stickier situation than I was.
But I decided to be optimistic because maybe Max could secretly have liked her all this time and was very good at hiding it.
Too good at hiding it.
Well, who knows?
“Mmm. The time will come,” I said as I bit into my apple again.
Vicky let out a deep breath. “Okay, I need to go. Practice break is up. Call me later, eh?”
“Okay, buttercup. See you.”
I hung up with a smile, pushing my phone to the side. I jumped off my bed, feeling pleased with the evening’s proceedings.
Although the day had started quite frustrating, at least I got acknowledged by my crush, so everything felt quite worth it after all.
Feeling motivated to study and start my chemistry assignments, I pushed my window open and inhaled fresh air.
I closed my eyes and basked in the glory of the cool October breeze.
This was life!
I opened my eyes with a smile and bit into my apple with great tranquility but choked everything out when I saw Nathan shirtless in his room, standing and kissing a girl.
And she was certainly not Elizabeth.
Sigh. The trouble I faced every day with a walking sex machine as a neighbor.
Couldn’t he just let me enjoy my moment of peaceful happiness without his constant eye pollution?
Their lips left each other, and the girl began kissing at his neck while she ran her fingers down his bare chest.
I scrunched my face up in disgust.
I knew I shouldn’t be watching their little private moment, but if he didn’t want me seeing, why didn’t he just close his blinds?
The girl was now grabbing him by his crotch, and I knew where this was headed as she pulled at his belt.
I really shouldn’t be watching this.
Not only was it private stuff, but I was not about to witness real-time pornography.
As I was about to close my blinds, Nathan’s eyes shifted to me in an instant, all so sudden, and I froze, staring at him from my room on the other side.
I had seen him unintentionally from my window several times, but this time it felt awkward being caught.
The girl was still all over him, pushing her hands in his jeans and grabbing lord knows what, but his eyes were focused on me. It was weird and uncomfortable, and why the hell was he not looking away? Maybe I should first.
Feeling quite agitated, I gripped the blinds to pull them closed when he did the unexpected.
The corner of his lips quirked up in the most seductive smile, then, as if that didn’t make me feel weird enough, he winked an eye.
My cheeks grew red at the action, and the flirtatious stare he was giving me had my heart racing out of control.
I quickly closed my window and pulled my blinds together before I turned away and pushed my back against the window. A little too hard though; I thought my spine might have been broken.
But it wasn’t. What was broken was probably my sense of intellect and cognitive ability. How could I have been blushing over Nathan?
I brought my hands up to slap my cheeks that were red on fire!
Shit. Shit. Shit. Why had my heart and cheeks kept doing weird stuff since the morning? It’s Nathan!
Nathan I’ve known all my life!
Nathan who almost burst a firecracker in my eyes ten Christmases ago.
Come on, girl, get a grip.
I quickly crashed onto my bed and pulled my chemistry book out.
Study. I need to study.
I must be going crazy.
I flipped to the front page of my assignment.
Okay, focus. Focus time, woman.
The sound of the door downstairs made me freeze, and my heart raced up, thinking it could be him.
There was no way he could have reached over here that soon, right?
I doubted it.
The knock came again.
I got up and made my way downstairs to the door. I pulled it open, then immediately stiffened when I saw who was standing there.
He was now wearing a white tee with a black leather jacket draped over it. Did he send that girl in his bedroom home so soon? Couldn’t he have given her a ride? Talk about heartless.
He smiled. “Hi, Princess.”
Trying to act like his intense gestures a moment ago at the window hadn’t given me a weird thrill and chill, I flashed a strand of loose hair from my ponytail away from my eyes.
“Can I help you, Nathan Sharles?”
He rested a hand on the doorframe, then gestured a thumb to his side of the block. “Got a weird fetish with watching your neighbors make out in their rooms?”
I rolled my eyes. “Well then, maybe if my neighbor knew how to close his windows and not damage the eyes of his fellow citizen, then there wouldn’t be an issue.”
Nathan nibbled on his lower lip with a smile, then pointed his head in the direction behind me. “Can I come in?”
I narrowed my eyes. “Why?”
He chuckled. “Let me in, and I’ll tell you.”
With that up-to-no-good look on his face and that awkward flirtatious look he was giving me earlier, I was quite reluctant.
I stepped aside hesitantly, and he walked past me with a gracious smile.
“Okay, so to what do I owe this humble visit?” I questioned, closing my door and facing him. “Is it because I was watching you make out with someone who was not Elizabeth Jane?”
“Actually, no, Princess.” He began taking his leather jacket off. “I have a more serious agenda.”
“Mmm. What’s that?”
“Babysit the chick with a training bra.”
I had no idea why he kept bringing up that utterly embarrassing predicament.
I made a face. “Babysit who? Me?”
He nodded with a wide smile.
“Oh hell no, do I look like I’m five?”
He laughed and crashed onto my living room couch. “No. But you sure dress like one. How do you expect to seduce Brad looking like a middle-school student? You should bring your style up a bit.”
I quickly scanned my attire. I was wearing a pair of faded pink shorts with a white tank top. Didn’t look out of the ordinary to me.
“Wow. Thanks for the fashion tips,” I sarcastically stated. “If you don’t mind, I was studying, so see yourself out?”
He got up with a smile and walked over to me with an intense gaze.
I took a step back nervously.
“Does studying involve watching me from your window?”
I do not watch him from my window… Okay, maybe sometimes, but it’s not intentional. I have eyes, for Christ’s sake!
His lips quirked up into a smug half smile. “I catch you doing that pretty often…Princess.”
The way he whispered what was supposed to be my usual nickname made me feel tingly in my stomach, and I looked away from his hypnotizing gaze. “Uh, I don’t need a babysitter.”
He sighed and stepped back. “Noted. But Max specifically asked me to stop by and keep your company until he gets home. Your mom has night shift tonight, remember?”
I sighed. “I do not need this; I kind of like my alone time.”
“As I said, I was told to. There has been a lot of breaking in in the neighborhood recently. Just want to ensure you’re safe.”
“Okay, fine, do what you want. I will be studying though.”
He smiled. “Knock yourself out. I’ll be watching some football on TV, don’t mind me.”
“Okay.” I raised a finger. “And if you ever do anything odd or disrupting, the only football you will be watching is my foot to your balls.”
Nathan chuckled. “Woah. Sassy.”
I rolled my eyes as I spun around and made my way up to my room without any further words.
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