Anna passes me with a wave on her way to the bus and I give her a smile. No one else acknowledges that I’m standing there.
Where is she? The rush of students leaving has ended and only a few stragglers are left. My jaw clenches when I see Roman leaning over Mary against the lockers, still inside the building. They look to be a lot friendlier than when he had me pushed against the damn lockers.
“Mary,” I call, and both Roman and Mary turn to look at me.
Roman lifts an eyebrow and smirks. Keeping his eyes locked on me, he leans down to say something in her ear and kisses her cheek before standing up straight. He takes a step back, catching my eye, and quickly blows me an arrogant kiss. Mary’s cheeks turn pink and she says goodbye to Roman before walking toward me with a scowl on her face.
I risk a quick glance behind me. Roman rests against Mary’s locker. He turns his body toward me; using a hand, he pretends to jerk off. With a snide laugh and tilt of his head, he walks away.
“Fucking fairy,” he laughs, rounding the corner.
I struggle to catch up to her once I’m down the stairs. She doesn’t slow her stride.
“Mary!” I holler as I slowly advance on her.
She makes her way down the sidewalk toward our new house.
She says nothing; she just keeps walking with her back straight and determination in her steps.
“Why are you mad at me?”
If anyone deserves to be mad, it’s me. He threw me into the damn lockers.
“Are you serious?” She turns on me, forcing me to take a step back. “I introduced you to my new friend and you wouldn’t even say hi! You were so rude!”
“He threw me into the lockers this morning! He’s not a good guy!” I roar back at her. “I have a bruise on my back from the lock!”
With her hands on her hips, she watches me. “Why would he do that?”
“Are you really taking his side over mine? You’ve known him for, what, ten minutes? I’m your brother! You’ve known me your entire life!”
We stand there on the sidewalk, facing off.
“What do you know about him? I’ve been told he’s not a likeable guy.”
Mary rolls her eyes and turns to walk away, waving her arm in the air. “I’m sure it was from jealous girls that can’t get his attention. He’s actually really nice.”
“Nice? Are you kidding? One look at him tells me he’s a jerk!”
A jerk I’m sure will ruin me, given the chance, but it might just be worth the fall.
“Wow. Judgmental much?”
“He threw me into the lockers hard enough to leave a bruise. He cursed at me and called me a faggot. Does that sound like a nice guy?”
“What prompted all that? What did you do?”
“Really?! You think I did something to warrant that? Me?” I grit my teeth until they ache and let out a deep breath. “You know what? If you want to believe he’s a nice guy, there’s nothing I can do to change that. Just remember that I warned you.”
She stops and watches me walk past her, but I don’t stop.
“Guys like Roman King only want one thing from girls like you, and once they get it, they’re gone.”
No more words are spoken for the rest of the walk home.
I hate him. Roman King. Even his name makes him sound like a jerk. If jerk is even a strong enough word to describe this guy. Too bad it makes my blood pound in my veins at the mention of it. I hate him, but I have a feeling before the end of the year, I’m going to fall in love with him. I’m not sure why. He’s given me no reason to think otherwise, but there’s something about him that calls to me.
I hate him for that too.
Sweat trickles down the side of my face and down my back. The blistering heat beats down on us as football practice continues. School just started last week, but we’ve been practicing three days a week for over a month. Around here, football is a way of life. You play to win. Come hell or high water, you win the damn game. You play sick. You play injured. You play.
Taking a huge gulp of my now-warm water, I spray my face. My pads are drenched in sweat as it is, and a cold shower is calling my name.
The piercing shriek of a whistle flies before Coach Harris hollers. “Let’s go! Back to the line!”
Closing the water bottle, I drop it to the ground, grab my helmet, and jog back to the field. We’ve been out here for an hour already and we’re tired, but our first game is next Friday, so we must be ready.
Trust Me By Andi Jaxon Brightened Shadow By Andi Jaxon Zack's Zest (Heroes for Hire #24) By Andi Jaxon Wolf Untamed (SWAT : Special Wolf Alpha Team #11) By Andi Jaxon The Sweetest Gift By Andi Jaxon The Rancher's Wedding By Andi Jaxon The Duke Before Christmas By Andi Jaxon Snow Place Like Home (A Cozy AF Christmas Book 1) By Andi Jaxon Sedona Surrender (Sedona Pack #4) By Andi Jaxon Ride the Tide (Deep Six #3) By Andi Jaxon Once Upon a Mail Order Bride By Andi Jaxon Oh, Fudge (Hot Cakes #5) By Andi Jaxon