Lost Cause

Kennedy James is trying to escape her life, and doesn't want to look back. Ever.

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James was behind the steering wheel by the time I got into the car. He looked up at me.

"Are you okay?" he asked, looking concerned. I nodded to him.

"What are you doing?" I asked him. He looked up at me and grinned.

"I'm organizing Theo's CD collection," he said. He shrugged setting down the CD's. "It's stupid, because I mixed all these CD's in this car."

"That's cool!" I said. And I actually meant it. I'd never been able to understand the art of burning a CD.

"Maybe I'll teach you how to do it," James said, starting the car. Then he gave me a long hard look.

"What?" I said, suddenly self-conscious. I don't know why, but my hand immediately flew up to my face. "Why are you looking at me like that?" I could feel my cheeks heating up.

"You didn't eat anything," James said, refocusing on backing out of Theo's driveway. I wasn't sure in the twilight, but I thought that I saw his cheeks slightly color.

"I wasn't that hungry," I said, lamely. James raised a brow at me.

"Your stomach sounded like it was going to eat you," James pointed out.

"No it didn't!" I admonished. "I wasn't even hungry!"

"Yes, you were!" James laughed. "You were so hungry! I thought that you would attack the pizza because you were so hungry!"

"But lactose," I said, slowly.

"Hey, no judging," James grinned at me. "People do crazy things when they're hungry." I giggled. "Not that I have, of course," James said, lazily. I laughed.

"Of course not," I giggled.

"I'm serious!" James said, laughing. "I don't know if I would ever be that desperate to almost kill myself!" James considered it. "Maybe I would, but that's besides the point."

"No it's not!" I admonished. "It is the point of it!" I laughed again. "You have, haven't you." James considered it for a while. They he looked at me out of the corner of his eye.

"Okay, I have." I burst into a peal of laughter. I couldn't help myself. "But that is a piece of information that I may have to murder you for if you were to share it with anyone." I giggled and nodded to him, pantomiming locking my lips with a key. "Do you promise?" I nodded.

"Who am I going to tell?" I asked, giggling.

"We're going to school tomorrow!" James said. "Who couldn't you tell?" I looked at him surprised.

"I'm going to school with you?" I asked.

"Well, you can't exactly stay home alone," James started. "And I figured that you could just shadow me at school." I slowly nodded.

"Makes sense," I whispered looking at my hands. They were calloused, but slim. Not as slim as Jewel's I noted.

"What's wrong?" James said, picking up on my tone of voice. "You've been to school, haven't you?" You could hear the joking tone in his voice. I looked up at him, but I said nothing. "Wait," James said, glancing at me. "You've been to school, right?"

"I've been to school," I protested. "But I haven't been there in a while."

"A while meaning...?" James looked at me out of the corner of his eye.

"Before I ran away, I stopped going to school for about two months," I said. "It's not that I don't like school..." I trailed off. "I just haven't been there in a while."

"You're coming to school with me tomorrow," James said. He pulled into the garage. "We're leaving at seven in the morning."

"But I don't know if anyone's going to like me!" I said, pouting slightly.

"Everyone's going to love you!" James said, his voice cracking slightly. I had to giggle at that. "Shut up," he said, attempting, and failing, not to smile. "That happens to every guy at some point."

"Apparently so," I giggled.

"But I don't think anyone could dislike you," James continued. "You're much to innocent and lovable."

"But I'm supposedly from Eden Prairie," I pointed out. James shrugged.

"You're shadowing me. After a while, people will stop asking questions." James grinned at me. "You got Eric to talk to you tonight, didn't you?" I blushed furiously. I didn't really get him to talk to me; I humiliated him, serving his head on a platter. "You'll be fine." I made a face at him. "I promise," he added, sincerely. "I won't let anything happen to you." I made another face.

"Fine," I said, and he cheered, as if it really made him happy. "But I'm not going to like it," I objected quickly.

"Of course you won't," James said, giving me a bemused look. He finally climbed out of the car and I scrambled out after him, following him to the garage door. "Mom! We're home!" he announced, walking into the house.

"Hey James," Adriana said, grinned at him, the grin coated with malice. "Hello Spencer." She opened her mouth to speak again, but was interrupted by her mother.

"James, honey, you have school tomorrow," James's mother said from the kitchen counter. She was doing the dishes.

"Mrs. Bradley," I said, quickly. "You have to let me help you with those dishes." She gave me a genuine grin.

"No, honey, it's okay," she reassured me. "Though Adriana could learn from you." Adriana flushed an unhappy red. She glared at me, and I was intimidated by it, so I quickly followed James up the stairs.

"Don't be intimidated by Adriana," James said, grinning back at me. "She's just trying to scare and intimidate you."

"Well it's working," I muttered, James laughed at me.

"It shouldn't," James said, leading me up to my room. "And this is where you'll sleep."

"I don't have pajamas," I said bluntly. James looked at me surprised, but then he chuckled.

"I guess you could borrow one of my shirts," James said, escorting me out of the room. "My room is right next to yours, so if you need anything during the night, I'm right here." He went to his dresser and pulled out a tank. It was worn and faded, but seemed otherwise comfy. "This one shrunk a bit in the wash, and I think it'll be fine on you." I peered at it, while James held it out towards me. "Yes?" he said, expectantly.

"Why don't you wear it anymore?" I asked.

"There's a whole in the hem," he said, lifting the hem to show me. The whole was probably as big as my pinkie finger.

"That's nearly nonexistent!" I said. "You can't be that paranoid!"

"I could notice it," James said. "It was bugging me!"

"How could that bother you? I don't understand that!" I found myself laughing even before I could finish my phrase.

But James was laughing too. "Did we just have our first fight?" He asked, jokingly, shaking his head. I wanted to tell him 'What does it matter? We're not going out; who cares if we fight?' but I couldn't bring myself to speak. We just held each others gaze for a long moment. James cleared his throat. "Well, you've got to get to bed so that we can go to school tomorrow morning" I cleared my throat too.

"Of course," I said, looking down at my feet. I didn't know why I had this red hot feeling in my cheeks. I looked back up into his clear eyes. They were enticing, and even intimidating. "I'll see you tomorrow morning." I faked a smile at him, and took the shirt back to my room. What was I doing? I didn't even know why I was feeling this way.

I shucked the clothes that I was wearing and traded them for the shirt James gave me. There was a knock on the door. James was there, looking wild eyes, and shirtless. Admittedly, he had a nice body. He had a six pack abs, outlined pecs and his biceps were chiseled on his tanned and muscled body. His Calvin Klein boxers peeked out from his blue pajama pants that brought out his amazing eyes. "What?" I started, but I was cut off by him.

"God, I have to do this," he said. By impulse, I was going to say 'do what?' but I didn't even get the chance to. James kissed me. His skin was hot under my fingertips, as I ran my hands up and down his chest, before I pushed him back.

"James," I gasped. "No."

"I'm breaking up with Jewel," he panted. I looked at him, stunned. "I can't keep lying to myself. I've been wanting to break up with her for ages now." His eyes penetrated me with their clarity and desperation. "I never had an incentive. I was too afraid that without a reason, I'd be dead. She'd kill me off, put the whole student race against me." He shook his head as a smile crept onto his lips; his ever so perfect lips that had just kissed me and felt like the most wonderful thing in the world. "Now I say to hell with it. I could be rejected by everyone, and it wouldn't matter because I'd have this amazing girl." The silence hung in the air for a moment.

"James," I said, but then I looked around me, knowing that no one knew my secret, but him. I took his hand and led him inside the bedroom door, closing it behind me. James's eyes widened in surprised.

"If sex is what you want, okay. Just know that I wasn't prepared for it." His hands immediately went to his waistband.

"James," I said in disbelief. "No!" I looked at him incredulously. "We've barely known each other, whatever our story says, and I didn't bring you here for sex." I felt my cheeks redden. "I wanted some privacy." James stared at me, but relief was coloring his eyes. "Why do you look so relieved?" I asked. I felt surprisingly hurt, although I had no reason to.

"I wasn't ready for sex," James said unabashed. He sat down on the bed. "I probably sound like the biggest douche in the world," he moaned.

"Yeah, a little bit," I said. James chuckled, and I couldn't help but giggle. "I thought you were sweet, funny, and the most amazing guy in the world," when James's brow raised, I quickly continued, "but I'm getting off topic."

"No, you aren't." James stood up again, taking my hands. "I will break up with Jewel. I felt this connection to you ever since you saw me at Target. It took everything not to chuck that Seventeen magazine over my head and away from your view. My only regret was not pulling the whole magazine-in-a-magazine trick we learned back in grade school." I giggled at that. "But I really thought that you felt it to."

"But-" I tried to start, but James sighed. "You're right though; we shouldn't rush into anything. We may even regret it, but I don't know yet. I'll tell you what Spencer, I want to find out." James let go of my hands. "But I also need to give you time and space." He leaned in and gave me a slow, sweet kiss. "Good night Spencer," he said with a grin, slowly backing towards the door. "See you in the morning." He left the room, leaving me in the room in silence.

What was I doing? I knew that I was in love with him, so why would I reject him? Everything was falling into place, and I was throwing it all away. What was wrong with me? I sank down to the floor, pressing a fist to my mouth to keep myself from screaming. I wanted to cry. Sitting on the cold floor, I felt tears well up and spill over from my eyes, but I didn't move to wipe them away. What did it matter anyways? I'd already ruined everything with James. Even though he'll try to break up with Jewel, who knows if he can actually go through with it? She'll get him feeling guilty, or pull some other mean girls bull. Even if he did, he'll always remember that I originally rejected him.

There was a soft knock on the door. I quickly wiped my eyes but I didn't have enough time to raise myself from the floor before the door opened. I decided that it didn't matter whether I was on the floor or not. Adriana walked in, almost cautiously.

"Spencer?" she said, her voice sounding timid.

"Hi." My voice sounded small and weak. I coughed and sniffled a little before forcing a smile onto my lips.

"What's wrong?" Adriana asked. She sounded like she genuinely concerned. I felt the smile slipping from my lips.

"Can I tell you a secret?" I asked her.

"You are here just to make Jewel jealous?" Adriana said, sounding a-matter-of-factually. "You don't really know my brother, but he feels as if he has to be a saint to everyone?"  I laughed weakly. She was so right, it wasn't even that funny.

"I love your brother." The statement hung in the air for a while. I couldn't exactly tell how Adriana was taking this news, but it wasn't too bad considering there was no response from her. I just wanted to get it off my chest. It was like a giant weight lifted from my chest.

"But he's still with Jewel?" Adriana looked at me like I was insane.

"He said he's going to break it off. He's wanted to for a while." Adriana looked at me.

"But, I don't get it. Does he know that you're in love with him?" I shrugged. "Why did you tell me?"

"I felt like I had to." Tried to smile at her, but could feel it failing. I sighed. "I needed someone to talk to."

"But," Adriana stammered. "I was so mean to you?" I shrugged.

"I knew it was coming from a good place," I said, a genuine smile. I looked at her more intently now. "Why were you so mean to me?" I asked.

"I didn't trust you," Adriana confessed. I felt a deep pit of guilt in my stomach. She had every right to not trust me. "It seemed just like James to help out anyone.that he feels needs help." I felt guilty because that is exactly what happened. And I couldn't tell her. "Anyways, I've got to get to bed. We've got school tomorrow." Adriana smiled at me, and the smile seemed real. "It was really nice talking to you." I forced another smile before Adriana left the room.

"I'm a hypocrite." I didn't care that there was no one there to hear me; it just had to get out. Even if it was in the darkness of the room.

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