Justin likes me.
My heart involuntarily skipped a beat as a secret smile covered my features.
Justin likes me.
I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about it since last night when he got back. It wasn’t like I liked him back I was just…excited he liked me. I had never suspected he liked me, I just thought we were becoming closer friends. That's perfectly acceptable, right? A hot guy has a crush on me, its entirely normal for me to be happy.
No its not, because you just found out your boyfriend played you and yet you’re still happy about Justin.
I pushed these thoughts away. It wasn’t like I wasn’t hurt by what Nate had done to me, but I had been upset anyway over his behavior with me already. In all honesty, yesterday when I was at his house, I was so close to breaking up with him. I could not be with a guy who continuously drank underage and treated me like shit. All my hurt had been replaced by anger toward him. I just wanted to punch him really hard.
Maybe it was a good thing that we didn’t work out.
God, I’m messed up. Maybe I should just... not think about Justin for a bit. That's probably the best thing to do right now. I picked up my phone, distracting myself from my hopeless attempts at studying, and scrolled through Instagram. I stopped suddenly at a photo of Nate and I, posted by a friend of Nate’s.
So excited to see you two again tonight! Had heaps of fun last time…look how cute they are? @NateCassonova and Cassidy!
I frowned. Seeing us tonight? Who even took this photo? I was posing for the camera so much it hurt to look at myself, a hand on my hip. Nate stood with one arm wrapped around my waist and the other holding a beer. When was this even taken? I scrolled through the comments, seeing people commenting cute love hearts and saying how cute we were.
I remember this! God, I want summer back!
So it was in summer?
I frowned slightly, before I remembered. Nate took me to his friend’s party during the summer, the only party he hadn’t abandoned me at. We had left not long after we got there, it was too dark and too loud for us to talk. I clicked on the profile of the guy who posted the photo, only to see it was Michael from art. Michael, the one who Justin had almost beat up for saying I had a nice ass and the one I had called a girl? He was friends with Nate? No wonder Justin couldn’t stand him.
I double tapped the photo, liking it, and kept scrolling. I was stopped by my phone ringing. Nate ringing me.
“Hey.” I replied, trying to sound bored. The sound of his voice made me want to cry again, but I pushed it down. I was stronger than that.
“I’m sorry about yesterday. I know you probably can’t forgive me and I’m sorry. So sorry.” He sounded so sincere I almost believed him, but I knew otherwise now. “Come downstairs.”
“Um, why?” I asked, already getting off the couch and walking out my front door.
I cringed, not really wanting to see him.
I quickly made my way downstairs to the lobby, only to be met with Nate standing in a black suit holding a microphone and bunch of roses. There was a white rose, a pink and the rest were red. It was beautiful to look at, but I didn’t understand it. If this was his apology, I didn't want it.
“Cassidy, baby.” The entire lobby was silent as all eyes were on the two of us, making me want to throw up. “I did some terrible, terrible things to you. I took you for granted, I was a complete douche towards you. I’m so sorry baby. But you’re the love of my life and I will get your forgiveness. I’ll earn it. You’re the best thing that's ever happened to me, I love you more than words can say.”
I stood frozen in my spot as Nate motioned to the people all around us. “I want everyone to know how much I love you and how sorry I am. Please, forgive me? You’re everything to me. Without you, I’m nothing. You make me better and stronger and you make life so much more enjoyable.”
Many old ladies in the lobby began to tear up and whisper about how cute and young we were. I couldn’t move as the entire lobby’s attention was on me. This was so stupid – he was lying! “A white rose represents true love and purity, everything that we are. It’s a representation of our love, as it is as pure and true as a white rose.” He said, handing me the white rose out of the bunch.
“I give you a pink rose, one to represent my admiration towards your strength and the grace and elegance that I see within you every day. You’re gorgeous and gentle and perfect, like a pink rose.” My heart hammered in my chest as he handed me the pink rose. This was all an incredibly cheesy scenario, but it was scary nonetheless. I couldn’t stand being the centre of attention. His words were empty and completely see through and I couldn’t help but internally roll my eyes. Of course he would do something like this.
“Lastly, I give you a dozen red roses, to show just how great my passion and love is when it comes to you.” He handed me the entire dozen of red roses and I wanted to die of embarrassment. If I didn’t know that he was faking the entire thing I would probably be crying in happiness. If he had given this to me a few days earlier, I would have been in heaven. He was a great actor, I had to give him that.
“I love you Cassidy. Please, forgive me?”
I nodded, forcing a giant smile onto my face. Nate’s face changed to one of complete relief, a grin taking over his features. He pulled me closer toward him before closing the space between us and kissing me deeply. I resisted the urge to cringe as we kissed, feeling nothing. No excitement or butterflies or shivers. Just a huge feeling of wretchedness and disgust in the pit of my stomach.
“I love you too.” I whispered to him as he pulled back, leaving him to gasp in surprise. Justin and Ashton would be happy about this, making Nate believe my act, right? He searched my eyes, almost for reassurance that he had heard correctly before kissing me again, this time more roughly.
“I thought I’d never hear that from you.” He said, happiness overtaking his face. The entire lobby began clapping for us as we separated and I forced a fake smile onto my face. The elevator made a ‘ping’ noise, letting everyone know the doors were about to open. I looked there quickly, but I wish I hadn’t. There stood Justin, watching as Nate embraced me once more. He looked like he’d been kicked repeatedly in the stomach, and I couldn’t help but feel the same way he looked. Noah stood next to him, his hand on his shoulder and a grim look on his face. My heart dropped and I wanted to be sick, knowing he had to witness that. The doors opened and he stepped in, helping an old lady with a shopping cart inside before pressing the button to his floor. His eyes stayed locked with mine right until the doors closed, making me feel guiltier than ever.
“I want to ask you something.” Nate started. I snapped my eyes back to him, forgetting he was there. “I know we don't have a great history with parties but this one is more like a dance. It’s classy and the only reason I’m even invited is because of my mother’s status so I won’t be leaving you at any point during the night. I was just wondering if you’d like to come? It’s tonight, at 8pm.”
I bit my lip before nodding. “Sure. I’ll see you here at 7:30?”
He smiled. “Great.” He kissed me once more before departing, leaving me with a bunch of flowers and a sudden hatred for old ladies who enjoyed watching young couples. I trudged up the stairs to Abby’s apartment, not even bothering to knock on the door.
“I hate everything.” I complained, flopping onto the couch and throwing the stupid roses on the table.
I heard multiple laughs and I looked up, surprised. I didn’t expect the entire group to be here.
“We all saw Nate’s little episode in the lobby. I thought it was sweet. If he wasn’t such an asshole I mean.” Abby said. Looking now, Justin wasn't with them. I ignored his absence, maybe he had helped that lady to her apartment?
“I hated it. I hate big exclamations of love, its ridiculous. I feel like having it just between two people makes it more appealing and private.”
“Where did he invite you?” Noah asked. “I heard him ask something.”
“Some stupid dance, tonight. He said he was only invited because of his mother’s status-“
There was a sharp intake of breathe from Abby as we all looked at her curiously.
“That’s the Newtown Ball. You know, run by Edward Newton?”
I cocked an eyebrow, having no clue about who he was. “Your mother would know him. Jasmine’s going to that as well…she invited Justin.”
I frowned and overwhelming jealousy hit me. A pang hit my stomach as I took in Abby’s words, my heart hammering dangerously fast. Jasmine and Justin? Since when did they actually keep in contact?
“You look like you swallowed a lemon. Are you jealous?” Noah teased.
I rolled my eyes. “Don’t be ridiculous. I’m not jealous of Justin. He can go out with Jasmine as much as he wants. Jasmine will always be mine. I met her first.” I declared, a smirk on my face.
“I meant, are you jealous of her for taking Justin?”
“No! I don’t like him or anything, why would I be jealous?” I said much too quickly.
The three exchanged a look before Ashton looked at me with a smug look on his face. “No reason.”
They could see through my lies. I must admit, my lying skills were terrible. I couldn’t even lie to myself, of course I had feelings for Justin. But it didn’t mean I had to display them, or take them into account. Not after I had just been crushed by Nate.
“Come on, we may as well get you ready for this dance.”
“Hold up. Back it up like, 6000 steps. You can’t go unless we’re all there.” Ashton said, holding his hand up to shut us up like he had done so many times in training.
I frowned. “Justin will be there.”
“Yeah! And besides, you can’t just show up. You need to be invited personally.” Abby reminded them.
“Who said anything about invites?” Noah asked, a cheeky grin on his face.
Justin slowly trudged out of his room toward us all. He looked like shit, to be polite.
“Lets get down to business. Getting in won’t be hard, its only going to be me and Noah.” Ashton started, sitting down on a chair.
Abby looked at them like they were dumb. “Getting one invite is what someone would kill for, let alone two.”
Ashton rolled his eyes. “Abby, babe. We don’t need invites.”
Justin let out a low growl and shot a glare to Ashton. “She’s like my sister, don’t call her that.”
A smile crept onto my face before I could stop it. Obviously, Justin and Abby weren’t related, but it was adorable that Justin treated her like they were.
“Don’t listen to him, Ash. You can call me whatever you want.” She said, a suggestive hint in her voice. I cringed as Ashton winked at her and Noah copied me, expressing his discomfort. Justin took a deep breath and clenched his fists, failing to calm himself down. I kicked him lightly under the table, trying to get his attention.
“Calm down, tiger.” I mouthed. He smiled in return and I couldn’t help but feel happy for making him okay.
“Okay, seriously. Lets work this out. Where’s it going to be held?” Justin asked Abby, getting everyone back on track.
“Probably the Newtown Hall. You know, the one that he owns.”
I rolled my eyes. Of course this guy was ridiculously rich.
“Get me a floor plan of that, one of you. Ashton, go and figure out where the security guards will be and their details. Noah, look for the cameras and guest list and I’ll figure out the rest.” Justin sighed before turning his attention to the two of us. “As for you two, go and get ready or something. You’ve got an expensive dance to go to – take Jasmine.” He grabbed a card from his wallet and gave it to Abby. “Don’t put me in debt, but just go for a while. I don’t want either of you around this.”
Abby’s eyes gleamed in excitement before kissing Justin on the cheek. “Thank- you Justin!”
I grinned at him widely, receiving a weak smile in return.
“It’s okay, I’ll control her.” I told him, before wrapping my arms around his shoulders.
“We’ll be back later and Jasmine will be here at 7pm sharp. Bye bye!”
Abby pulled me away from the boys and down the stairs as fast as she could. “Get a cab for me, I’ll text Jasmine to meet us at the mall.”
I sighed. I didn’t exactly want to go shopping. I just wanted to sit around at home, away from all of this.
“Come on – hurry up!”
I rolled my eyes and tried to catch a cab drivers attention. To my luck, an old man pulled over, allowing us to get in.
“Where to, ladies?”
“Newtown Mall please.” Abby told him, shooting me a pointed look. “I still can’t believe you don’t know who he is.”
The rest of the ride was silent other than the continuous droning of old men expressing their opinion on the radio.
“That’ll be $60 please.” The man said, an evil smile on his face as we stepped out of the car.
“$60 for a ten minute drive!” Abby shrieked, her eyebrows raised so high they were threatening to disappear into her hairline.
“Cough it up, ladies. Or would you rather go shopping at the police station?”
Abby gave him a cold, hard glare before digging into her bag and pulling out a wad of cash.
“Take it and don’t you dare rip off the next people you see.”
The cab driver gave us a greedy grin before speeding off. “Greedy old man.” Abby grumbled, pulling her bag over her shoulder and motioning for me to follow her.
“Oh my gosh! Cassie? Is that you?” A familiar voice squealed, causing me to cringe in embarrassment.
She ran over to me, her heels clicking against the floor as she did so. “My gosh, you look so different! Did you dye your hair? Get your teeth whitened?”
I cocked an eyebrow as I took in her appearance. Her black wavy hair perfect as usual, her bright blue eyes wide in excitement…add in a few diamonds from her insanely rich parents, monstrous high heels and she basically screamed beauty. Same old Jasmine I guess.
“No, I didn’t. I missed you.” I admitted, embracing her in a hug.
“I missed you too, Cassie! But lets get to shopping, we need to look good for Nate and Justin tonight!”
I smiled back at her, but I honestly wished she wasn't here. As close as we were, she was the fakest person I knew. She squealed and ran around acting dumb and I couldn’t stand girls like that.
“So…you and Justin huh?” Abby giggled, bumping hips with Jasmine. I internally rolled my eyes and huffed. Her and Justin nothing.
“Well, we are getting close! But we’re just going as friends, that's what we agreed anyway.”
“Friends is all you’ll ever be.” I mumbled to myself. Abby whirled around to me, surprise covering her features. I didn’t expect for her to hear me! I pretended I didn’t see her.
Stop it. This is ridiculous, you’re better than this. Justin isn’t yours, you have no reason to be jealous. You don’t like him – where is this coming from?
“I’m really happy for you Jasmine. You’re so lucky to get to go with Justin, he’s a great guy.” I grit out between clenched teeth.
“Aww, thanks honey.”
Abby was shooting holes in my head with her suspicious gaze. She knew, or suspected, that I was jealous. Was I even jealous? Or was I just mad that he was going with someone that wasn’t me?
The three of us walked into an extremely expensive shop that I honestly didn’t know the name of.
“Ooh I’m trying this on! It’s gorgeous, don’t you think?” Jasmine asked, holding a tight blue dress against her body.
“Sure.” I smiled, continuing to look through the hundreds of dresses they had at this store. “What are you supposed to wear to this sort of thing anyway?” I asked Abby, but she gave me no answer. Instead, she pulled me from the clothes racks and into a dressing room, shoving a dress at me.
“What are you talking about?”
“You’re jealous because Jasmine is going with Justin.”
“I am not jealous-“
“Girlies! What do you think of this?”
Jasmine stepped out of the dressing room, all long legs and curves in perfect places. My mouth went dry – that's why Justin would go with her over me.
“You…you look beautiful Jas.”
“I do, don't I? What do you think Abs?”
Abby raised her eyebrows, “You look perfect for tonight. You’ll knock Justin over with your beauty.”
Jasmine smiled sweetly at the two of us, barley taking her eyes of her own reflection to notice the both of us in the same dressing room, glaring at each other. She stepped back inside the dressing room and closed the door behind her with a kick of her foot.
“She’s perfect. Why wouldn’t I be jealous?” I mumbled, kicking the floor awkwardly.
“Cassie, shut up. You can’t be serious. Justin likes you.”
“Yeah, whatever. I don’t care. I don’t like Justin. He’s my friend, that's all.”
“What, you’re jealous of Jasmine going out with your friend?”
I glared at Abby and when I spoke my words were filled with venom. “Yes actually, I am. She gets to go to a dance with one of my best friends while I have to go with a guy who I can’t stand. Justin treats every girl like a queen and Nate is only ‘interested’ in me because he’s using me! So yes, I am jealous. She gets to have Justin and I’m stuck with a guy who only asked me to come because he wants to rub it in Justin’s face that he’s with me. I would much rather go with Justin than Nate, regardless of my feelings for him.”
And with those parting words, I shoved the dress back in her hands and stomped out of the store, rage and pain and ridiculous feelings of jealousy clawing at my emotions.
“Cassie, wait!” Abby’s voice sounded from behind me, stopping me.
“You don’t have to be mad at me. I don’t know what feelings you have for Justin; if you’re confused or hurt by Nate or if you actually like him and don’t want to admit it but…don’t be jealous over Jasmine.”
“Why not? The first time he met us he didn’t even want to see me again, he wanted her.”
“Because he was scared, Cass. He didn’t want to get feelings for you…There are a lot of things that you don’t know about. You just have to trust me, Justin would never actually want a girl that's got boobs instead of a brain or long legs instead of a personality. Sure, they turn him on but that's what his hook ups used to be for. Except he likes you. He likes you for you, not as a fuck-and-dump. He’s genuinely into you.”
I glared at Abby, searching for an indication of her words being untrue, but I found none. “Its you who sends him into little smiling fits by just being in his day, its you he gets jealous over and its you he cares for. She’s just easy!” She lifted her hands in defeat, like she didn’t know what else to say. “He really likes you, Cass. He has for a while.”
I opened my mouth to speak but my brain was empty. What was I supposed to say to that?
“Girls, where’d you go? We still have to find a dress for Cassidy!”
Abby held out her hand, waiting for me to take it.
“Okay.” I mumbled, letting the anger and jealousy drain from my emotions. I was messed up. Hours ago I was excited that Justin liked me and now I was jealous that he could possibly like someone else? Why did I even give a shit! He was my best friend – at least very close to it – and I should be happy for him to find another girl.
“Come on, we want Nate to drop dead when he sees you.” Jasmine winked, intertwining our hands and leading us back inside.
“Yeah, me too.” I replied, thinking that I’d much rather him just drop dead before he sees me.
A/N: I am majorly disapointed to where this story is going right now. Im sorry for the lack of updates i saw all your comments but after next week it will be normal, regular updates again. i just have next week of exams and thats all :) i just thought id update because you all deserve it buuuut I'm not proud of this chapter. as i've said before i have so much editing to do but when I'm on break i assure you it will actually happen. i love you all so much, happy reading ! (sorry for the long ass authors note x)