“You are… the only one that needs to knoooow! I’ll keep you my dirty little secret, dirty little secret! Don’t tell anyone or you’ll be just another regret…hope that you can keep it, my dirty little secret!” I sing as loud as I can while dancing at the sink with the dishes in my hand, though I’m too much into the music to be accomplishing much. Who cares? I begin to dance around the kitchen rather stiffly due to my leg. Even then my moves are a little rusty since I haven’t danced with Gunner in a while, if he were here he’d be ashamed, thank God I haven’t seen him for a couple weeks. “The way she feels inside, those thoughts I can’t deny, these sleeping dogs won’t lie, and now I try to lie, its eating me apart, trace this life baaa-” My singing cuts short as I scream, barely noticing a large figure in the door way. My heart pumps harshly in my chest only to see James there, grinning at me with his arms crossed over his chest smugly.
“What are you doing here?!” I scream at him, trying to de-clutch the glass bowl my hands are currently grasping so tightly I’m afraid it might break.
“You sing?” he laughs, his face turning pink from trying to hold back laughter.
Bitch mode; ON. I toss the bowl on the counter as lightly as I can. It makes a ringing noise. “Fuck you.” I say before shoving past him to retrieve my jacket to head out. He won’t answer my question so I won’t to his.
“Whoa whoa whoa, Addison I-” he cuts off from laughter again, and I flip him the bird as I throw my jacket on.
“Get a life would you?” I snap as I reach the door only to have it shut as soon as I get it open. I see James’s hand in the corner above my head, holding the door shut.
“I brought you food.” He trys to smother his amusement as he talks but fails to wipe the look off his face in time for me to whirl around and glare at him.
“Not hungry.” I manage calmly, though I can’t deny I have the overwhelming urge to just punch him in the face.
“You don’t even know what I brought you,” he sticks his tongue out at me, more in control of his laughter now. “C’mon.” His hand rests on my lower back as he begins to guide me back to the kitchen. I shudder as I feel warmth rise to my cheeks. My mind turns slowly as I try to understand what is happening. I do not like James. Fuck no. That’s just gross. So why do I feel like I’m actually blushing?
“You must have some steel balls to be touching me right now Sullivan.” I snap angrily and jerk away from him.
“You know me Addison,” he says slyly, looking down at me. For a second I think he means something by it but then he adds, “Everybody knows I like to take risks.” He winks at me and my nose wrinkles with disgust. “Anyway,” he continues before I can say anything and he picks up a brown bag from beside the bed. I get a waft of the food and I’m instantly hungry. “Jake told me you loved Chinese.” James grins at me. I study him for a couple seconds before surrendering my eyes to the bag of food. Did Jake really have to tell him my weakness?
My stomach growls abruptly and James flashes me a triumphant smile before heading to the kitchen with the food. When I find myself following him, I hesitate at the door way. Lunch with James Sullivan? In his guest house? I debate going in but as I watch him setting out the food my stomach growls again. I take a deep breath before letting it out with a groan. “Fuck my life.”
I’ve never been more awkward in my life than I am in this exact moment. I sit across James at the table and watch him while eyeing the food. This is fucking torture! Why James?! WHY CHINESE?!
“Are you going to eat?” James asks wearily, around a mouth full of noodles.
My eyes narrow. “Did you forget what we talked about this morning?” I avoid his question.
“Nope,” he wipes his mouth with a napkin before reaching for the orange chicken. My stomach clenches with hunger and deep temptation. I rip my eyes away from the sight.
Be strong Addison, I remind myself, stand your ground and make your point clear. I feel my concentration slipping away as I look at all the food in front of us again. Boy I’m not going to last long….
“What’re you doing then?” I snap, trying to distract myself. “If you’re not being nice, what exactly do you call bringing me lunch then?”
“I didn’t say I wasn’t being nice.” He pauses as his fork spears a piece of the chicken.
“You agre-” I begin to say but James cuts me off. “I agreed I wouldn’t change around you in front of the people at school. I never agreed to treat you the same when we are alone or with Jake.” He folds his arms over his chest as he leans back in his chair. He was right. I had only implied life in school, but that was because I hardly have a life outside of school, which our principal finds hard to believe due to my gpa.
“If you try to be nice to me outside of school yet still behind the curtain it’s just going to complicate things James. I can’t risk anything when Jake’s on the line. You can’t do this.” My voice started out firm but by the end it comes out sincere. “Look,” I sigh. “I get that maybe you’re trying to make yourself feel better about how we are in school or whatever, or maybe even try to make up for it, I don’t know,” I pause. “But it’d be better if you didn’t.”
“I disagree.” He states, his eyes piercing mine, but not with amusement or harshness, just simple honesty. The look urges me on to provoke any other emotion out of them than this one. “I understand you don’t want to be friends with me Addison. I always knew I gave you a hard time at school, I just didn’t know you actually thought I hated you.” He studies me for a few seconds. His eyes glaze over mine and I shudder slightly at a certain thought. “I don’t care if you hate me. I know I have to have some enemies, maybe even a lot,” he leans forward and I study him again as he talks. “but if I have the opportunity to make things right with someone, even in the most complicated situation I’m not going to pass it up. I’m sorry if you don’t understand that.”
He leans back and we’re left staring at each other mutually, the both of us trying to read each other’s mind. I take in his words as a thought comes to mind.
He isn’t exactly who I thought he was and I know I don’t know him, but…I never pictured James to be a good guy, or at least seem like one…. It makes me wonder what else I have wrong about him. What puzzles me the most though, is why he thinks I’m even worth the effort. Of all people at school, James, the same one who I know as an asshole, and the same one who knows how to be a bitch to me is trying to make things right? Now that I cannot accept and won’t even consider.
“I don’t believe you.” I state bluntly. “So please, just stop fucking with me James. I don’t know what game you’re playing and I don’t want to know because I don’t want to play. Jake and I will be out of your hair by tonight so let’s just leave this day as if it never happened okay?” I storm out of the kitchen rather angrily because that part of me still wants to believe him, and I hate that.
“You don’t have to leave, you know?” James calls after me as he enters the bedroom.
“Yes, we do.” I say stubbornly as I grab my bag and begin to pack in anything that belongs to me.
“Addison,” He grabs me gently and the one part that really bugs me is that he’s holding me too close to him. “You and Jake can stay here for however long you guys need to.” He says softly. I pull away from him as gently as I can without seeming rude.
“That’s not in the question anymore.” I go back to packing. I hear him sigh from behind me.
“Jake wants to stay, Addison.” He says slowly. My body begins to slow down on me and I feel like I’m about to pass out from how slow and weak my arms suddenly feel. “He asked me to talk to you, that’s why I’m here. He thought if I brought you your favorite food you might want to talk more because he thought you’d see it as me making an effort to convince you.” I turn on him.
“You weren’t making an effort. You just followed orders.” His eyes pierce mine.
“Believe it or not I was making an effort!” he stood up from the bed and then we were both in each other’s faces.
“What are you trying to accomplish here James? If this is some trick to embarrass me or Jake stop being a dick playing these pathetic games!” I shout at him and shove him in the chest to back up. I’ve had enough of this.
“I let you guys stay here for the night when you had nowhere to go! I’m not playing some fucken games Addison!” he snaps back at me cynically. “You really think I would go this far to make your life difficult?! I have a life too you know!”
We stand there staring each other down, breathing hard for a minute. I probably was being paranoid to think he had a hidden agenda. He was right, again. He does have his own life and I’m stupid to even think it would revolve around others. Especially mine and Jake’s. I back down in defeat, knowing what I’m about to say will stick with him forever.
“I’m sorry.” I manage, sitting on the bed. “I’m just trying to do what’s best for everyone, okay?” I don’t look him in the eye when I say this because I can’t quite believe I’m allowing myself to trust him.
“Seems like you’re just doing what’s best for you.” He snaps. I sit there quietly and wait. I deserved that for snapping at him so quickly. It’s just nature for me. I hear him sigh and see his hand go up to rub his face before sitting on the bed across from me. “I didn’t mean that. You just,” he pauses and it looks like he’s measuring his words carefully.
“I get it.” I say. “I deserved it anyway.”
“You didn’t deserve that.” He says quietly and an awkward silence fills the air.
“Look,” I take a deep breath. “The less you’re involved, with Jake and I, the better. We could be putting you in danger.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asks stiffly, as if he were holding back from exploding again.
“Our father could come looking for us, he’s kind of a girl on holding grudges.”
“All the more reason for you guys to stay here.”
“What?” My face scrunches up.
“What we’re trying to cover up could come in our advantage.” He says thoughtfully.
“You’re losing me here James.” I wave a hand in front of his face to get him to look at me.
“Think about it. People at school would never guess the two of us would get along enough for me to do this for you guys and I’m pretty sure your father would never guess that you’d let anyone, especially me, help you guys given how you’re a pretty fucking stubborn bitch.” He points out. I can’t help but smile.
“You would smile at that comment.” He laughs and shakes his head. I can’t help but laugh with him. We grow quiet with thought when we’re done though, both of us cooking up a plan.
“I very much dislike you right now.” I grumble at him.
“Because you know I’m right.” He chuckles at me smugly.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” I wave him off.
“It’d be better for Jake too, you know.” He says softly. I make no response. “He needs someone right now and I’m sure it’d be refreshing to confide in a friend instead of a sister for once.”
My eyes grow into slits. “I hate you.” I’m rewarded with a full on smirk with a flash of some teeth.
I’m not going to like this what-so-ever.
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