Going Under Page 14

She turned her face in toward me and I felt the softness of her cheek against mine as it grazed my stubbled face. She lightly skimmed her lips along my jawline until the softness of her lips and the warmth of her breath hovered over my mouth without touching it. I thought I would surely spontaneously combust if I didn’t kiss her soon, but I wasn’t ready to risk scaring her off because I had moved too fast so I left all the control in her hands.

“I want to kiss you, but I shouldn’t,” she breathed against my mouth.

“I want to kiss you, and I don’t have a reason not to, but I won’t until you ask me to,” I said as I remained close enough to feel her breath on my mouth.

“I wanted you to meet me here alone because I needed to ask you if there was something between us. I think I have my answer.”

I thought my attraction for her was so transparent, but I guess I was wrong. I touched her lip with my thumb as I asked, “Did you really think you had to ask?”

Her lips were so soft and I felt them move against my finger as she replied, “I had to be positive before I asked you what I’m about to ask you.”

The anticipation of finding out what she wanted from me was about to kill me. “Which is what?”

“I feel this insane attraction between us, but I have a year and a half vested with Forbes and I need a little time to be sure I’m ready to throw all of that away. I need to know if you are willing to give me the time I need to find out.”

“How much time are we talking about?” I questioned.

“I don’t know because I’ve never done this before. A week? Maybe two tops, but there’s something else I need from you and you might not find the rest of my requests so reasonable.”

I moved to her other ear and softly whispered, “Tell me what you want from me.”

She hesitated before answering, “Ditch Gretchen. Don’t sleep with her because I won’t be able to have a relationship with you if you do.”

That would not be a problem, but she didn’t have to know that, then I remembered what Dane had told me about Forbes’ plans with Claire tonight and I thought it was only fair for her to agree to the same rules.

I pulled back to look at her because I wanted to see her reaction when I said, “I’ll strike a deal with you. I agree to not sleep with Gretchen if you won’t sleep with Forbes and we can see where this thing between us is going without any regrets,” I proposed.

She smiled and looked happy to be getting what she wanted. “I commit if you do.”

I smiled because I was happy I was getting what I wanted and vowed with her, “I do.”

This agreement would seem ridiculous if made with any other girl and I would have never made it with anyone but Claire. The upside was that I couldn’t be more pleased with the idea of Forbes’ girlfriend being with him while thinking of me and I laughed to myself when I realized I was responsible for issuing a cock block with his name on it without really even trying.

“I guess I better get back out there before they start to miss me and call out the search party,” she said, reluctantly.

I knew I wasn’t sticking around if my time with her was over, so I told her, “I think I’m going to split.”

She looked disappointed when she asked, “Why so early?”

“Frankly, I don’t think I want to watch you hang out with your boyfriend,” I said. “And it kind of seems useless for me to hang out with Gretchen.”

I could tell she didn’t want me to leave and that made me happy, but I saw no point in staying if we couldn’t be together.

“Okay, then I guess I won’t see you again until class on Monday. Want to be my partner? I know we still need to cover Making Connections.”

“I’m pretty sure we just made one,” I replied and even in the darkness of night, I could see her beautiful smile and I was happy because I knew I was the reason behind it.

14 I Don’t Want To Be Alright


The moment I returned, Payton pulled me off to the side, which wasn’t necessary considering how wasted Forbes and his pals were, and began questioning me about my secret rendezvous in the woods with Jessie.

“So, how did it go? I was right, wasn’t I? He wants you,” she said, so sure of herself.

I remembered how close his face was to mine and chills radiated down my body. “He was so close to my face I could feel the warmth of his breath on my mouth, but he didn’t kiss me. He told me that he wouldn’t until I asked him to.”

“I knew he wanted you,” she beamed, then lightly shoved my shoulder. “Why didn’t you ask him to kiss you, dummy?”

“I don’t know, maybe something about asking a guy to kiss me when my boyfriend is standing 50 yards away didn’t exactly feel right to me,” I explained.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. That could qualify as a little bit on the sketchy side,” she admitted.

“Ya, think?” I asked.

“I probably would have done it,” she confessed.

“Yeah, I have no doubt you would have.”

I looked back over my shoulder at Jessie getting into his truck, then looked at Forbes’ drunk ass and there was no decision to be made. There wasn’t enough tolerance juice in those kegs for me to stay and deal with a wasted, horny Forbes the rest of the night. From the looks of it, I had about one minute before the only interesting thing here tonight left in an old, junked out truck.

“Forbes and Cooper are trashed and I don’t feel like babysitting so I’m gonna take off. Do you think you could cover for me with Forbes and get my car home for me?”

“Sure, but it might be in the morning, depending on how things go here.”

I gave her a hug and said, “No problem and thanks, Payton. You’re a sweetheart.”

“If your car is staying here, how are you getting home and what am I supposed to tell Forbes?”

“I’m gonna catch a ride with Jessie so I can work on the plan. You know…strike while the iron is hot. Just make something up to tell Forbes. He’s too trashed to know the difference and you can text me later so we can get our stories straight.”

I heard Jessie start the loud motor to his truck and I knew I had to hurry. “I’ll call you tomorrow and tell you everything.”

I began running when I saw Jessie’s truck back out of the spot where it was parked. It begin to slowly creep forward, but I caught up with him and knocked on the driver’s side window to get his attention. After stopping the truck, he rolled his window down. “Is something wrong?”

“No, everything’s fine, but I was wondering if I could catch a ride with you? I mean…if it’s not too far out of your way?”

“Sure, I can drive you home.” As I begin to walk around to the passenger side of the truck, he stopped me. “Wait.”

He got out of the truck to walk me around to the passenger’s side. He opened the door for me and I climbed in quickly in hopes of not being seen. I was simultaneously nervous and excited about where my risky move was going to take me as my heart raced and my stomach fluttered.

I watched him walk around the front of the truck with the headlights beaming on him. He was so different from Forbes. He was wearing faded jeans and a black T-shirt with scrolling designs on it-nothing like the preppy clothes all the guys at school wore. The design on his shirt reminded me of the tattoo on his arm and I quickly looked to see if I could catch a glimpse of his ink. He was too quick for me and I missed my opportunity.

He got back in and I heard his door screech as he pulled it closed. He put the truck in drive and began to pull forward. As he slowly drove ahead, we left the world behind us and I knew this was going to change everything.

When he got to the edge of the property where it met the road, he stopped and asked which direction I wanted him to go. I knew I wasn’t ready for him to take me home. “Are you in a hurry to get home?”

He laughed at me and said, “No. I don’t have a curfew. Do I need to hurry to get you home on time?”

His concern about my curfew amused me. “No, I don’t have to be home anytime soon.”

“So which way do you want me to go?”

He couldn’t take me anywhere that would have been more exciting than in his truck with him at this moment. “Surprise me.”

“Don’t say that unless you mean it,” he warned.

“I do mean it. Take me anywhere you want.”

I could see his handsome face by the dim dashboard lights and he broke into a big smile, not his normal mischievous grin. “Okay. I’m going to surprise you, but remember you asked for it.”

He pulled out onto the road and my heart was beating so hard I could hear it in my ears and the more I concentrated on it, the more nervous I became. I reached for the radio, hoping some music might distract me, but didn’t know how to turn it on. “Can we turn on some music?”

He reached and turned a knob. “Sure. You can look for a station you like.”

“What kind of stereo is this?”

“The poor people kind. It’s original to the truck so it’s no satellite radio, but it still works.” He pointed to the knob on the right. “You twist this one to tune in the radio station.”

I began to turn the knob and the first song I found was a new one by a country band with a hit on the pop charts. Although I didn’t care for country music, I liked the song so I left it.

“Country music fan?” he quizzed.

“Not at all, but I do like this song. It’s sweet. It’s about the kind of love everyone wants to find.” I hope that didn’t make him feel awkward. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that, but the beer I drank had my tongue a little loose. Surely, that made my statement qualify for drunken immunity.

“I’m not into country music either, but I like this one, too.”

Forgetting it was a surprise, I asked, “Where are we going?”

“You told me to surprise you. If I told you, then it wouldn’t be a surprise now, would it?” He loved taunting me.

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