When I saw you I fell in love and you smiled because you knew.
– William Shakespeare
Day 6, 11 p.m.
Too caught up.
Those three little words ring through my head over and over. The perfection description of how I’m feeling at this very moment. Too caught up in your sweet, heartbreaking words, in your strong, capable arms and in your warm, soft lips. I’m too caught up in this…pretend life I’m so completely submersed in.
And you know what? I like it. I love it. Even though I know deep down inside, it’s fake. That the way you talk to me, look at me, touch me. Kiss me…is all for show. I’m some sort of protection for you but I don’t care. I want it.
I want you.
What I don’t get is why we’re here. Right now. I’m in your bed and we’re half naked, our arms and legs tangled around each other, the sheet slipping off our bodies because our skin is so hot, it feels like we’re burning alive. You keep kissing me and whispering in my ear how much you want me and oh, my God, I want you too, but that nagging little voice inside my head tells me we only have one more day together and then we go back to the real world.
Where you ignore me. And I ignore you. You’ll get what you want—shocking the hell out of your parents and everyone else at home so they won’t bug you ever again. And I’ll get what I want, the money you promised me for ‘putting up with your shit for seven days’—direct quote—so I can take care of my little brother for at least a little while longer. We’ll settle back in to our usual roles.
Where you hate me and I hate you.
It’ll be a lie. I might’ve hated you before all of this, but now…
I think I’m falling in love with you.
~* Chapter One *~
T-Minus 4 days and counting…
Drew [verb]: bring toward oneself, by inherent force or influence; attract.
I wait for her outside the bar, leaning against the rough brick building with my hands shoved deep inside my sweatshirt pockets, my shoulders hunched against the wind. It’s cold as shit and dark from the clouds hanging low in the sky. No stars, no moon. Creepy, especially since I’m standing out here alone.
If it starts to rain and she’s not done working, forget it. I’m leaving. I don’t need this shit.
Panic sweeps through me and I take a deep breath. I can’t leave and I know it. I need her. I don’t even know her and she sure as hell doesn’t know me, yet I need her to survive. I don’t care if that sounds like I’m a complete pu**y or what, it’s true.
No way can I face next week on my own.
The music from within the tiny bar thumps loudly and I can hear everyone inside laughing and shouting. I swear I recognize more than a few voices. They’re having a good time. Midterms are going down and the majority of us should be studying, right? Chilling in the library or bent over our desks, our heads in a book or hunched over our laptops, rereading notes, writing papers, whatever.
Most of my friends are in that bar drunk off their asses instead. No one seems to care it’s only Tuesday and there are still three more days left of testing and turning stuff in. It’s make or break time, but everyone’s focused on the fact that we’re off next week. Most of us are hightailing it out of this shit small town where we go to college.
Like me. I’m outta here by Saturday afternoon. Though I don’t want to leave. I’d rather stay here.
She’s off work at midnight. I asked one of the other waitresses who works at La Salle’s when I snuck in there earlier, before anyone had really arrived. She’d been inside working, in the kitchen so she didn’t see me. Which was fine.
I didn’t want her to notice me. Not yet. And my so-called friends don’t need to know what I’m up to either. No one knows about my plan. I’m afraid someone will talk me out of it if they did.
Like I have anyone to tell. It may look like I’m surrounded by plenty of people I call my friends, but I’m not close to any of them. I don’t want to be. Getting too close to anyone only brings trouble.
The old wooden door swings open, creaking on its hinges, the noise from within coming at me like a physical blast as it smacks against my chest. She emerges into the darkness, the door slamming behind her, the sound echoing in the otherwise quiet night air. She’s got on a puffy red coat that almost swallows her whole, making her legs covered in black tights look extra long.
Pushing away from the wall, I approach her. “Hey.”
The wary glance she flicks in my direction says it all. “I’m not interested.”
Huh? “But I didn’t ask you anything.”
“I know what you want.” She starts walking and I fall in behind her. Chasing her really. I didn’t plan on this. “You’re all the same. Thinking you can wait around here, hoping to catch me. Trap me. My reputation is far more outrageous than what I’ve actually done with any of your friends,” she tosses over her shoulder as she picks up speed. For such a little thing, she sure is fast.
Wait a minute. What she said, what’s it supposed to mean? “I’m not looking for an easy mark.”
She laughs but the sound is brittle. “You don’t need to lie, Drew Callahan. I know what you want from me.”
At least she knows who I am. I snag her arm just as she’s about to cross the street, stopping her in her tracks and she turns to glare at me. My fingers tingle, even though all I’m grabbing at is coat fabric. “What do you think I want from you?”