Authors: Amy Sparling
After I’ve agreed to go home with Jett, the entire atmosphere in this McDonald’s seems to warp into an uncomfortable silence. Jett seems happy with my decision, he stops asking me a million questions, and although I’m glad to be off the interrogation chair, the silence is still weird. I guess I can’t win when it comes to these kinds of situations. If I had a home to go back to, then I wouldn’t be in this predicament. For the first time in a long time, resentment towards Dawn grows to a level that I can’t exactly ignore.
“You ready?” Jett says when the fries are gone. He shrugs his head to get the dirty blonde hair out of his eyes. That’s what makes him look different tonight.
“You normally have your hair gelled up,” I say as we clear out of the booth.
“I went swimming tonight so it got all messed up,” he says, running a hand through it.
“In your awesome pool?” I recall the massive and elaborate backyard paradise from when I ate breakfast over there. It had a slide, a diving board, and an entire rock waterfall on one end. Had that really only been a day ago?
“Nope, at the lake,” he says, pushing open the door and holding it so I can go first. “Lake party, remember?”
“Did you have fun?” I ask.
His face warps as he bites the inside of his cheek. “Not really. I didn’t feel like getting drunk and that kind of stuff isn’t fun when you’re sober. Plus, some jackass broke my friend’s heart and she wouldn’t tell me who, so it’s been bothering me all night.”
“You’re a good friend,” I say, hating myself for the confession. I’m trying to uphold this emotionless bitch vibe, if only to protect my own real emotions. I hate that he’s seeing me like this, knowing that I’m homeless and pathetic. God, I hate this so much.
We reach his truck, this massive four door Chevy that’s taller than usual thanks to the huge tires. Jett beeps his keys and then rushes to open the passenger door for me. Either he’s being chivalrous or he thinks I’m going to scratch the door trying to get inside this thing.
“Not rich, huh?” I say with a snort as I climb into the truck, using the handle inside the door to lift myself up into the black leather seat. The interior smells like a brand new car, something I haven’t smelled in a long time.
Jett stands there, a little shorter than me now that he’s on the ground and I’m sitting up in the truck. His arm holds the door open and I try not to look at the way his bicep flexes beneath his shirt. Motocross guys must work out a lot.
“It was a gift,” he says with a smirk. “For my sixteenth birthday.”
“I got an ice cream cake for mine,” I say, thinking back to the day Dawn brought it home from the ice cream shop she’d taken a part time job at since craft fair sales were slow. I’m pretty sure she stole it.
Jett studies me and I lift an eyebrow. “You gonna close the door?” I say, but it doesn’t have as much venom as I’d like. He’s really, really cute. Ugh.
Finally, he closes it and I watch him shake his head as he walks around the front of the truck to the driver’s side. It’s as if he can’t figure me out. I grin. Good. No one needs to figure me out, because once they do, they’ll realize there’s nothing special about me at all. It’s like my existence on this earth was all by accident. My biggest fear is that people will figure that out.
Jett cuts the lights as he turns into his long driveway, then he pulls over to the far right of their three car garage and parks outside of it. “Garage door is too loud,” he says. “Might wake them up.”
“Do you normally get home this late?” I ask, glancing the digital clock on the dashboard. It’s nearly two in the morning.
He shrugs. “Yeah. They don’t care, they just don’t like getting woken up. Dad always says there’s no real trouble to get into in a town this small. Mom just makes me swear to her like once a week that I won’t get a girl pregnant.”
He laughs and I nod. “That’s probably a good idea. I was an unexpected surprise for my mom and that didn’t really work out so well.”
“Yeah?” Jett says, his face shadowed from the glow of the motion light on the corner of their garage. “So was I, but think it turned out okay.”
I lift an eyebrow. “Are those your real parents?”
“Yep. They got married right before I was born and they’re still happy to this day.”
“Hmm,” I say, gazing at his beautiful face. “I guess some people really do have fairy tale endings.”
He shrugs and his gaze darkens a little bit . . . or maybe I’m just imagining it. “Ready?” he says.
I swallow down the tidal wave of nervous butterflies that erupt in my stomach and follow him to the back door.
He punches a passcode into the door’s keypad and it opens up, and then he immediately turns to the house alarm panel on the wall inside of the kitchen and shuts that off as well.
House alarms are definitely things rich people have. I’ve never seen one in my life until now.
Jett smiles mischievously and then puts a finger to his lips, motioning for me to be quiet. Then he takes my hand and pulls me into the house.
All I can think about is the fact that he’s
holding my hand
as he meanders through the mansion in the dark. He takes me up a flight of stairs that are off to the side of the house, not the main ones that I’d seen when I was over here. I guess these stairs are further away from his parent’s room, wherever that is.
I’m still watching our hands in the dark as we walk down a carpeted hallway that smells like fresh lavender. Even though I don’t want my brain to think these things, it starts flashing back to the last time someone held my hand. I guess it was a year ago—James. He was just a hookup who hung out in our low-income apartments and he was old enough to buy beer. He always smelled like cigarettes and I didn’t even like him. Why did I let myself get into those situations?
I shudder and then realize we’ve stopped in front of a door with a massive plastic sign on it. It’s white with rounded corners and the number thirty in a big black letters is in the middle.
“Here we are,” Jett whispers, opening the door. “I apologize in advance for any dirty clothes on the floor.”
“As long as I don’t step on a used condom, I’ll be fine,” I whisper back.
He flips on the light when we’re inside and puts a hand to his chest. “I am appalled,” he says, eyes wide like he’s been scandalized. “I can’t believe that’s what you think of me.”
I put a hand on my hip and give him this look like he’s not fooling anyone. He laughs quietly. “Okay okay. But you already know I do all of my hooking up in the Track’s back building, not here.”
“Really?” I say, narrowing my eyes at him. “Never in your room? I don’t believe you.”
He nods. “I swear. I don’t bring girls here. Then they start thinking they’re getting close to me and they’re like my girlfriend or something.” He shorts and shakes his head. “Not happening.”
Of course someone as gorgeous as Jett Adams would be a massive player. “I guess that’s a good game plan,” I say, wondering how many girls go to bed at night wishing they were the one who could pin him down in a relationship.
“I have to pee,” Jett says, heading toward a door across the room. “Make yourself at home.”
I gaze around Jett’s bedroom. It’s bigger than the last few apartments we lived in, and that’s not even including the attached bathroom or the closet. Jett’s room is tidy, with only an overflowing laundry hamper inside the closet that shows he even lives here on a regular basis. His bed must be a king size judging by how impossibly huge it is and it’s made up with a black comforter and a few pillows.
There’s a flat TV on the wall in the part of the room that’s set up like a living room. It has a coffee table, a futon and an armchair, all black. He has a long dresser with a mirror attached, and dirt bike trophies scattered around various places. They’re all taller than I am, with golden number one emblems blazing in the center.
He doesn’t have any photos in his room, besides a few motocross posters. His nightstand has an alarm clock and a phone charger. He’s a simple guy.
“I’m hardly ever in here,” he says when he walks out of the bathroom.
“I can tell,” I say. I push open the closet door and gasp. The closet is as big as a normal person’s bedroom. He has a row of clothes in there, some shoes and tons of dirt bike gear. But the rest of the room is empty.
Jett appears behind me in the doorway. The sudden closeness of him, mixed with his cologne, makes my toes tingle. I stiffen, not wanting to move and have him back away from me.
“Yeah so,” he says, gesturing to the empty part of the closet. “There’s a ton of room. I was thinking you could hide your stuff in here and no one would even know.”
I’d left my suitcase and duffel bag in the back of his truck, but that’s something I hadn’t thought of. It can’t stay back there forever. Especially if it’s going to rain any time soon.
“So you’re just gonna let me hide out like some kind of hobo?”
I’m regretting this already. This is stupid. Embarrassing. Ugh.
Jett shakes his head and steps back into his bedroom, leaving my body feeling cold without his closeness.
“No, I’m just being a friend, you dork. You can stay as long as you want, until you hear from your mom or whatever, and no one will know.”
“Thanks,” I say, staring at the carpet, which is gray and feels like a cloud under my flip-flops. “I really appreciate it. Hey do you have a phone? I’d like to call my mom again even though it’s two in the morning.”
He gives me his cell and I try calling her but I’m met with the stupid voice mail again. I sigh and hand it back, noticing that his phone’s wallpaper is a picture of his dirt bike, not some hot celebrity model like most of the guys I know.
“Here,” he says, opening his dresser drawers. He pulls out a dirt bike T-shirt and a pair of American Eagle boxers and holds them out to me. “Towels are in the bathroom. Go get that shower you wanted.”
I stare at his clothes, at his freaking
, and then hesitantly take them. “Thanks.”
I lean back against the plush futon mattress and try like hell to focus on whatever show I’d selected on Netflix. Just a few feet away, under the hot water of my shower, was a girl I was going crazy trying to get to know. She’d lightened up a little at the McDonald’s, and even more once we got here. Maybe soon she’ll be able to have a normal conversation with me. One that’s not filled with layers of sarcasm and snide remarks.
Maybe then I can peel back the layers that make up this mysterious girl and see what she’s really like underneath the massive wall she keeps up.
A little while later, the shower cuts off and I wait like some kind of nervous idiot for her to emerge. I’m ready to see her again, to hang out and spend time together. Even though, yeah, it’s early as hell in the morning and we should probably go to sleep. I’m just not ready for this day to be over. And this might be the first time in my life that I want to talk with a girl and not just get her clothes off so we can make out. I sneak back outside and take her suitcases back up to my room, storing them in the closet just like I’d promised.
When the bathroom door opens, I keep my eyes on the TV, acting like it’s not a big deal at all.
“You have good-smelling shampoo,” Keanna says. As if to make its point, I immediately smell the citrusy fragrance as she walks up to me and takes a seat on the other end of the futon. She’s as far away as she can get, but she’s still sitting near me, so I’ll take it.
“Yeah, it’s green apple something,” I say, casually looking over at her. “My mom buys the stuff.”
I hadn’t thought it were possible, but this girl is even more beautiful in my baggy shirt and boxers. Her dark hair hangs loose and wet around her shoulders and she works a towel through it as she watches the TV.
“Why are my boxers so short on you?” I ask, hoping that that’s not how they look when I wear them. I’m way taller than her after all.
She lifts up the bottom of my shirt. “I had to roll them up a few times at the waist so they wouldn’t fall off.” She smiles and my breath catches in my throat.
She should not have done that. I can see her hip and belly button. The smooth skin of her stomach that makes me want to slide my hands over it. But I just nod and try to regain my composure and she drops the shirt like it’s nothing.
I let out a slow breath. I will not get a hard on while sitting next to this girl.
“You gonna shower, too?” she says a little while later.
I’m covered in dried lake water, so yeah, I need to. But I’m not ready to leave. Keanna nods toward the bathroom. “The hot water should be back by now.”
“The water I used for my shower,” she explains, like she doesn’t understand why I don’t understand. “It takes a while for a hot water heater to refill? Why are you looking at me like that?”
I chuckle. “Our water isn’t like that. You can take hot showers in every bathroom all at the same time and it won’t matter.”
She looks impressed. “Nice. Mom and I usually fight over who gets to shower first because the second person never gets any hot water.”
“Not here,” I say, figuring I better hurry and get it over with.
I shower quickly. Having Keanna in the other room is like Christmas morning, and I can’t wait to get back to her. After toweling off my hair and using what’s probably too much deodorant, I try to shrug off my nervousness and head back out into my room.
Keanna has fallen asleep and the sight of it makes my heart hurt. She’s curled up on the futon, my supercross throw blanket covering her body. She’s using her hands as a pillow and although it doesn’t seem very comfortable, she looks serene.
I bite my lip. I could go to bed and leave her here but I’d really wanted to be the gentleman and let her sleep in my bed tonight. I sit on the middle of the futon and lightly touch her arm.
“Keanna?” I say softly as I shake her arm. “Wake up.”
Her eyes burst open and she throws my arm off her with enough force that I wince in pain. She sits straight up, her chest heaving, but her eyes widen when she sees me and then she relaxes a little. “Oh my god you scared me,” she breathes, putting a hand to her chest.
“I’m sorry,” I say, standing up. I offer her a kind smile. “You just fell asleep without a pillow and . . . well I was going to give you my bed . . .”
She looks back toward my bed and then looks at me. “That thing is way too big for just me. You take it.”
I shake my head. “I’ll sleep on the futon. You’re my guest, you get the bed.”
She chews on her thumbnail and then sighs. “Why don’t we both sleep on the bed. It’s so big we won’t even know the other one is there.”
Yeah tell that to my penis
, I think. But I certainly don’t say it out loud. I can be a decent guy for one freaking night. “Sure, sounds good.”
We climb into bed, me on my side with my nightstand and her on the side that’s always been empty until this very moment.
My heart thumps like a jackhammer as I plug in my cell phone and set the alarm for one p.m. The lock-in doesn’t start until around four so I’ll have time to get food for Keanna and me and then leave her here until I get back from work.
When I lie back in bed and turn around, Keanna is already asleep. Her chest rises and falls steadily and a few strands of her damp hair fall in her face. She is so beautiful when she’s not scowling at me.
I slide over a little, reach out my hand and push the hair out of her eyes. She stirs, but stays asleep. And then her hand reaches up and grabs mine. I let my fingers lace in between hers and then I close my eyes and fall asleep.
Sunlight streams across my room when I wake up in the morning. I look over and find Keanna facing me, sleeping all curled up with my hand still laced in hers. She’s brought it up her chest, and I am so wound up in her arms that I couldn’t escape if I wanted to.
Carefully, I slide my other arm out and pat around for my phone. When I grab it, I turn the screen on. Dammit. It’s three in the afternoon. How the hell had I slept so late? What happened to my alarm?
And then I hear it, the sound that probably woke me up a minute ago. Dad’s calling my name.
“You awake?” he calls out, just a few feet away from by door.
“Yeah, be there in a minute,” I shout.
But it’s too late.
The door flies open, my dad looking annoyed as hell that I’ve overslept on a work day. I hold my breath as his eyes land straight on the sleeping girl in my bed.
“It’s not what it looks like,” I say, feeling Keanna stirring next to me.
Dad puts a hand to his forehead and shakes his head. “It never is.”