Look at the way he's stacking up the wood, like he's some type of macho man. Obviously trying to impress me. He's completely clueless that he's overrated in my mind. And his jeans are way too tight. You know, he's not as hot as he thinks he is with sweat dripping down his forehead. And his neck. And his chest. And- Stop it.

... News flash, Owen. We're history.


13. Thirteen

"He has a girlfriend?" Owen asks, pulling his boxers up. I nod.

"Yup. Apparently she's been around for a while." I decide not to think about my brother's relationship and fumble with the hook of my bra. "Help me." When I move my hair, I can feel his warm fingers on my back. He kisses my shoulder gingerly, letting his lips linger. My spine tingles and the corners of my mouth twitch. He latches my bra together, and pushes his forehead against my temple.  Hot air is blown in the direction of my ear, and my shoulders flinch. "I told Nicole I'd meet her at five." I say with a shaky voice. 

"Its five fifteen." He roughly whispers, and even though I cant see his face, I know he's smirking. I pick my jeans up off the floor and tug them up my legs. He just watches me, still half naked. By the time I get my shirt over my head, he stops looking and starts dressing himself. He's been so lovey today, so much that if you saw us, we wouldn't exactly be labeled as friends. Kisses for no reason, even in school. He held my hand on the car ride to his house. 

"Drive me?" I ask nicely, rubbing his shoulders as I stand above him. He's sitting on his bed, getting his shoes on, and my hands are planted on his muscles. I straddle him to get what I want. "Pretty..." I whisper, my lips touching his ear, but barely. "Pretty..." I blow out air on purpose, and he chuckles at my efforts. "Please?" A kiss is placed on my collarbone, than my chin, then my lips. 

"I would've taken you even without the seduction." he says, grinning. "But thank you for that." He squeezes my denim covered backside and I get off of him with a bashful smile. 

We linger for a second, staring at each other playfully. I lean all my weight on one side and bite my lip, then he goes for my fingertips. We're just standing here, looking at each other, but the silence is powerful. I notice that his figure is moving towards me, and my shoulders tense. I had no problem teasing him, but when it was done to me, I somehow froze up. I force myself to relax as he brushes his lips against mine. Not quite a kiss, just a gesture I guess. I stretch my back and sigh through my nose.

"Oh sorry, guys." Norma is at his bedroom door, covering her eyes. We both laugh. 

"It's okay, Ma." Owen pushes in the chair of his desk and walks toward her. I follow. He kisses her cheek, and I take time to notice the difference in her features. Her cheeks are a little more sunken in since the day I helped her in her bedroom, and there are bags under her eyes.

 I hug her politely, and she says "I'm really glad to see you two together again." I go to object, to tell her that we're not a couple, but Owen snatches my hand and gives me a look. His glare stuns me, so I just smile. He uses his other hand to grab my waist, and pulls me to give him a soft hug. I hadn't hugged him since the day he beat up Reese in the front of the school. I look at Norma's expression when Owen kisses me on the forehead. She smiles like if it makes her heart ache in the best way possible. I smile too, because I've felt that feeling once or twice before. I sigh again, this time out of my mouth, and scratch the small of Owen's back with my nails. 

"Presley has to be somewhere, and she's already late." He says in a low voice. He holds my hand tighter and we pass his mom in the doorway, where she reminds us to be careful and to wear our seat belts. 


"So, you and Owen?" Nicole says, chewing on her gum. I can see that its bright green, and I have to stop myself from looking at her crooked as it sloshes around in her mouth. 

"What about me and Owen?" I stared at a strand of black hair that was sticking out next to her ear. The hair color makes her look pale, but it makes her brown eyes look brighter. 

"I saw the kiss when he dropped you off." She smirked. "Are you guys on again?" She took a long sip of her cappuccino. 

"No, we're just... friends" I realized how stupid it sounded when I said it out loud to her. After she'd seen us kiss. Friends don't kiss. 

"Friends don't kiss." she says, echoing my thought. 

"They do in our book." 

"Do friends have sex in your book?" she asks, her eyes big and bold. 

"Yes." I say simply, trying not to make a big deal out of it, even though I was kinda shocked that she even asked me that in the first place. She slapped the table, and gripped the edge of my long sleeve. 

"Is it good?" she squeals when shes excited, so her words made me squint. Sex isn't exactly a subject we focus on, so this was more than weird. 

"Um, I guess." I think about it, my mind drifting into a haze. And then the word slips out. "Yeah." I smile afterwards, wanting to laugh at myself for the way I blurted it out. She smiles uncomfortably, like if she doesn't know why she asked the question either. But then the curve on her face warms up, and its no longer awkward. I watch carefully as she twists the small stud planted on the left side of her nose. Then her next question pops up.

"I saw him kissing Ava Leesy under the main staircase yesterday. Do you know about her?"

"Yeah." I say, and I do my best to seem unbothered. I'm sure I succeed because she looks surprised. "I know about her." I didn't realize that I'd put my nail between my teeth, and I immediately pull it out. I look at my fingers and notice that every other nail besides the ones on my thumbs are long and healthy. It's always been this way, but now its worse. I'd been doing a whole lot of chewing lately, and the sight of my hands made me want to hide them. 

"Interesting." she sips again and the smile on her face is different. It's more of a smirk now. I wonder if she thinks I'm a fool for letting Owen get away with this. No, if she thought I was a fool, it wouldn't be for that reason. I'd probably be a fool for the whole idea. For going along with being friends with benefits when we have so much history between us. 


I say the word over and over again in my head. Spitting it at myself to make the weight on my chest heavier and heavier. Suddenly I had that feeling. The feeling you get when you're around nail polish for too long, or when you drink milk too fast. I decide to stand up, but the feeling gets worse. I'm afraid I might puke, but I know I won't. "Are you okay?" Nicole asks, looking up at me. I take a second to recognize where I am again, and my wave of panic fades. This was one of the quickest panic attacks I'd had, and I was glad that Nicole wouldn't have to see me like that. I remember Owen blowing on my face and running his thumb over my knuckles to make me feel better. Then I flicker to my father, who used to kneel in front of me and tell me to look into his eyes. The thought of his eyes made my insides smile. "Are you okay?" Nicole repeats, her hand tapping the table lightly. My eyes are closed, and when I open them I take my seat. The warmth of my dad's orbs linger in my brain, and my hands don't shake as hard. I nod to Nicole and take a sip of my own drink, the surge of caffeine not making the situation better. 

"I think I better go." I tell her. I give her a warm smile, and accept her sad one. Then I pick up my purse and begin to flee. 

"Was it something I said?" she's half standing, dark strands of hair swaying in front of her face.

"No." I say smoothly, in the lightest voice possible. I don't want her to feel bad, and I certainly didn't want to leave her there by herself. I just had to get out. From past experience I know that fresh air helps miraculously. I show her a small wave and start my walk home in the sunset. 


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