As the weeks blur together, my relationship with Elliot continues to grow. After blowing me off for our first date almost a month and a half ago, his willingness to try harder grows tenfold. He's taken me on dozens of dates now. And officially? I guess you could say I'm his girlfriend.
But of course, the day that we become 'official' is the day he decided to tell me he'd be going out of town for two weeks for some big trial. He offered to take me with of course, but I declined. There's no way I could have afforded to take off work. When I told Kelly about all of it, she just rolled her eyes and called him a pansy. I really don't get why though.
My tired feet continue to wait on tables, but every so often my eyes flit over to the clock hanging above the kitchen door. It's nine-thirty already. Thank God. Only half an hour to go.
I wipe down one of my last tables and hear the bells clanging above the diner's door. I look up to welcome my new customers, but my shoulders relax when I realize it's just Kelly and Taylor paying me an unexpected visit. I wipe away my sweaty blonde hair from my forehead and go to the back to get them each a diet coke.
"Girl, you're the diet-coke life saver," Taylor says when I set the drinks on the table.
The only customer I have left is a really old man reading a newspaper. So I take my chances and squeeze into the booth next to them. The pain in my feet instantly subsides.
"Seriously," Kelly says and slurps down her drink. "You know I love you Jessie - but half the reason I come here is for free diet-coke."
I laugh behind my hand. "Yea, I know. But whatever, if it gets you here that's all I care about."
Taylor glances at me from beneath her thickly panted lashes and gives me a sly smile.
"So Jess - since your new beau is out of town, we were thinking about having some fun tonight."
"Fun - as in…..?" I question.
"A party - duh," Kelly interrupts. "I mean come on. It's fourth of July weekend. Everybody is still talking about that kick-ass party we threw a few weeks back. So we're definitely gonna' need to throw another. We can't disappoint our peeps!"
I hear the childish whine in her voice and then out of nowhere, both Kelly and Taylor jut out there bottom lips, making their eyes as sad and adorable as a new born puppy. I purse my lips at their super obvious tactics but I can still feel my resolve whittling down to nothing.
"Ok fine," I agree and both of them squeal with delight.
When I look at the clock again I see it's nearing ten o'clock. So while my friends continue to plan for what's sounding like the biggest bash of the summer, I close down the diner in record time. I feel my phone buzzing in my pocket and I yank it out. A picture of Elliot and I is displayed on my background and I smile. Even though he's only been gone a week, it feels like it's been forever since I last saw him.
It's ok, I reassure myself. One week down. Only one week to go.
The thought is comforting and makes my smile widen. My phone buzzes again and I flip it open to see I have two new text messages. Both are from Hunter. A weird feeling comes over me in seeing his name on my phone.
Since the night of our kiss, the tension between us has gotten dramatically worse. Hunter hasn't really talked to me. He even put up a make-shift divider in our room so that we both had privacy. When we're in a group he's congenial to me at best. But when it's just the two of us? It's like I'm invisible.
Don't get me wrong - I've tried talking to him about that night, but every time I do he says the same thing:
"You're Elliot's girl now. It was a moment of weakness on my end. I don't want to talk about it."
I bite my lip, wondering for the hundredth time how I could make things better between us. No one knows about our kiss. Not even Kelly. And yet the knowledge of it burns in my mind and in my heart every time Hunter's face crosses my path. But he's my boyfriend's cousin for goodness sake! Doesn't that mean we should make an effort to at least be friends?
I open up his texts and feel my heartbeat pick up speed. This is the first time I've ever gotten a text from Hunter. Actually, if I'm being honest, this is the first time he's even tried talking to me since 'that night.'
Hunter: Party 2nite or no?
Party tonight or no? What on earth is he talking about? I close the lights of the diner and lock the doors behind me. Kelly and Taylor wait for me in Kelly's oversized truck, blasting some song I've never heard before on the radio.
I decide to quickly text him back.
Me: Yea. Party tonight is a GO!
The girls help me into the truck and before I can even get my seat belt on, my phone vibrates again. It's another text.
Hunter: Elliot told me 2 watch out 4 u if we had a party while he was gone
Oh, well that explains things…
Me: Thanks, but I can handle myself.
Hunter: Like u handled urself at the last party by making out with a perfect stranger?
Ouch. Why was he being such an ass hole all of a sudden? I adjust myself in the back seat of Kelly's truck so neither of them can see that I'm texting. The last thing I need is a myriad of questions from those two.
Me: What I do is none of ur business.
Hunter: It is if you get so drunk that you end up hurting my cuz.
Me: Hurting him how?
Hunter: Idk. Making out with another guy 4 example.
Me: I wouldn't do that.
I bite my lip and can feel my cheeks flush with embarrassment. I know he's talking about our kiss and the thought is humiliating. Now he wants to talk about it? And through text?! I don't want to argue with him and yet for some reason, Hunter's obvious negativity towards me bothers me immensely.
Me: Is that why you did it? To see if I was trustworthy or not for ur cousin?
Oh God, please tell me it wasn't.
The thought of Hunter kissing me just to see if I was trustworthy enough for his cousin makes me sick to my stomach. I stare at my phone, my palms sweating as I wait for his response. If that's the case, does Elliot know about the kiss? Or is Hunter holding it over my head, waiting to pull the trigger at any moment?
I shouldn't feel guilty. I mean, after all Elliot and I hadn't even had our first date yet! And ever since then, I haven't done a single thing that could possibly hurt Elliot.
But that's also partly because Hunter has kept his distance.
I can't deny my attraction for Hunter. I can't. But it doesn't matter anymore. I chose Elliot, and Hunter obviously can't even stand to talk to me.
My phone buzzes to life against my thigh and I snatch it up to read my new text.
Me: Ok. Then why'd u do it? Do you regret it?
I hold my breath and thank the good Lord above that Hunter's new reply doesn't take as long as his last one. I flip open my phone and read his double response. And then I read them again. And again.
Hunter: Idk. Chalk it up 2 a moment of weakness I guess
Hunter: but no Jessie. I don't regret it. Not 1 bit.
And finally I curse myself for feeling small hopeful butterflies peek their heads from out of hiding. Oh Hunter, how do you keep doing this to me?
By eleven o'clock, the party is in full swing. I'm just putting on the final touches to my make up when Taylor comes storming into my room, demanding that I start 'socializing.'
"Seriously girl," Taylor says with an irritated sigh, "I thought I took forever to get ready. But you put me to shame."
I give a final twirl in the mirror and shrug my shoulders. I guess it'll have to do.
Taylor grabs my hand and yanks me forward, not bothering to take it slow for me as I struggle down a flight of stairs. The heavy bass thumps against my temples and already our condo is packed with people. A few see me coming down the stairs and start shouting my name.
I crinkle my nose when I see a cloud of smoke filtering through the living room air. Someone must be smoking. As soon as my high-heels click against the tiled-kitchen floor, Taylor places a cool beer into my open, sweaty palm. She clinks our drinks together.
"To friends forever," she says and gives me a wry grin.
"To friends forever," I repeat and chug down my first drink of the night.
After getting myself good and tipsy, Kelly manages to drag me to the living room - the hot spot for dancing. Sweaty girls in their tight clothes grind up against one another, their boyfriends and other horny single dudes watching at a close distance.
A few of the girls I recognize, but most of them are new faces. But then my eye catches on a thin brunette and my glare narrows on her. Audrey. I nonchalantly dance my way over to her. I quickly find Kevin who is sipping a beer a few feet away from us, watching her intently.
I wait until Audrey notices my presence and when she does, I really crank it up a notch. My lean hips move seductively to the beat, and I watch as multiple sets of eyes begin to land on me. I usually hate being the center of attention, but tonight, stealing the attention away from Audrey makes me feel like I'm on a high.
Normally I'm non-confrontational. But for the past month, Audrey has been in my condo - eating my food, watching TV in my living room, and sucking off my stupid ex-boyfriend's face whenever I walk in the room. She glares at me whenever I'm around, and even though I've made no effort to be nice to her, it's clear she wants me to shrivel up and die.
Of course Kevin is no help with all of it. He plays into her childish tactics and even glares at me occasionally as well.
Fuck them. Fuck them BOTH.
A new song is just coming on and it's one of my favorites. Audrey has stopped dancing now, her tiny pale hands curled up into angry fists at her sides. I glance at Kevin to see that his gaze has finally left Audrey and is now trained on my body. I give her a smug smile and watch as she takes a threatening step closer to me.
And just as I see she's about to come even closer, strong hands come around my waist, locking me in place. Audrey's eyes widen and she blushes, scuttling a few steps back to try and get out of the 'lime light.' My eyes flit over to Kevin once again and I see that he's still watching me like a hawk, only now his expression has hardened.
The masculine hands on my hips tighten as I rub my ass against the front of his pants. I start dancing down this mystery man's body, all the while soaking up the jealousy shooting from Kevin's dark eyes.
That's right! Doesn't feel so good - does it Kevin!?
I continue to dance until Audrey finally yanks Kevin by the arm, dragging his body out of the living room. It's only then that I crane my neck back and see that my mystery man is none other than Mr. Sexy -Ass- Hunter. His passive face stares back at me, but there's a spark of desire in the depths of his eyes.
Sweat trickles down my forehead and I wipe it away before it enters my eyes. My mouth goes dry as he continues to stare at me. He forcefully pulls my body closer to his, and his head dips down until his lips press against my ear.
"Let's go outside," he says and his voice sounds very serious.
I look up at him and his gaze darkens.
"But why?" I ask.
Even though I can tell Hunter is angry, I have to admit I'm thankful that he's holding me up. Thanks to all the beer I've consumed, without him I'm afraid I'd fall right on my ass. Hunter feels my unsteady body and with little effort, he lifts me from the floor, carrying my body in the lengths of his arms. I see people watch us as he carries me across the living room.
My eyes refuse to look away from his face and when he finally returns my gaze, my stomach flip-flops with nervousness.
"We need to talk," Hunter says in a low voice, before carrying me outside and closing the door behind him. "Now."
A/N: Hello my wonderful cuties!!!! I hope you like this chapter! Things are about to get really heated with Hunter and Jessie - emotionally speaking! HEHE I was also thinking about throwing in a chapter from Hunter's POV. Thoughts??