Stealing Emma

Emma Blake is ready for a change from her monotonous life in Los Angeles. So when her boyfriend Roy suggests they go to grad school abroad in Spain, she’s all for the adventure. New city, new life, new friends. What could possibly go wrong? Max Durant is excited to be back home in Madrid and take a much needed break from his hectic life in London. He was looking forward to a new challenge in school ... until it materializes in the feistiest girl he ever met on a basketball court. There’s something about her that simply makes his blood boil and he becomes instantly hooked. But then his world comes to a screeching halt when he realizes she’s already taken. Despite the obvious warning signs and potential disaster, Emma and Max become close friends when they’re forced together as partners in the same study group. When the lines start to blur and things begin to unravel, Emma must decide if she should hold on to her past ... or take a risk in her future.

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4. Chapter 4 - F is for Friend

Max walked up behind Emma who was currently pressing a lot of buttons on the schoolyard’s vending machine and looking confused. He had no idea why he had just walked over to her. He was still mad at her from yesterday, but still somehow had managed to gravitate towards her. He was such a fool.

“Hey, Emma” he said, trying to act as if the day before had never happened. “Didn’t see you there.”

“Oh, hey Max,” she said turning around to look at him. He saw her cheeks heating up as she turned again towards the vending machine and continued pressing the same button several times. Why did she have to be so fucking cute?

“Do you need any help there?” he chuckled, momentarily forgetting his anger.

“Well, do you happen to have 30 cents? Looks like this thing ate some of my Euros.”

“Yeah, hold on,” he said digging into his pockets. She had already crushed him yesterday, why not give her some monetary compensation for doing so.

He found a 50 cent coin and handed it over to her. “Keep the change,” he said and started walking away after remembering why he was angry.

He heard her fumble with the machine from behind, followed by her footsteps going right after him. “Max, wait up.”

He turned to catch her hiding a Snickers bar into the pocket of her jacket. “I wanted to apologize for yesterday,” she immediately said, handing him back the change he didn’t want.

“It’s fine, Emma,” he said, although it clearly wasn’t to him. “I guess I should have known.”

“What do you mean?” she asked confused.

“That you would have a boyfriend. Someone like you … obviously you would be taken.”

“Oh,” was the only thing she said, looking towards the floor.

“So you guys moved here together?” he asked before he could stop himself. Why would he even want to know that? He was asking details about her relationship that were clearly none of his business.

“Yeah … from Los Angeles,” she added quietly.

That meant they were pretty serious. Maybe that’s what he had wanted to gather.

“How long have you been together?” God Max, stop it. What does it matter? She’s taken, he scolded himself.

“About a year and a half.”

“You live together?” Seriously, he needed to cut his damn tongue off.

She nodded, almost seeming embarrassed by the fact.

Great, just great. It keeps getting better and better. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked, feeling offended all of a sudden.

“It didn’t come up. You didn’t ask either,” she shrugged.

“Still, it would have been nice to know.”

“So … what? You wouldn’t waste your time on me?” she asked, starting to look mad. “God, you’re just like everybody else. I thought you would be different.”

“No. So that I wouldn’t make an ass of myself trying to look out for you yesterday,” he explained.

“I understand if you don’t want to be friends anymore,” she blurted out, suddenly looking like a very vulnerable girl. Something he hadn’t seen in her so far.

“Is that what you think?”

“I wouldn’t blame you if you did. People around here just seem to lose interest in me once they know I have a boyfriend, so you wouldn’t be the first.”

He studied her for a moment, looking at the sudden sadness he found behind her eyes. She was completely right though. When he woke up this morning, he had no intention of being her friend anymore. Hell, he hadn’t even wanted to talk to her anymore. He had been convinced she had led him on just to play games with him.

But looking at her now, it was clear she just didn’t want to be labeled and placed under the no friends allowed bucket. He probably wouldn’t have given her the time of day if he had known since the beginning. And now he was just going to be another asshole that had wanted to get into her pants. At least, that’s what she would always see him as.

“Is there anything else I should know about? Former lovers who might come hound me from some gang in East LA?” he asked.

She smirked and looked at him with a puzzled expression on her face. “Um … no?”

“So I shouldn’t expect any death threats of any kind if we become friends?”

“I think you should be good on the death threats. How much trouble do I look like?”

“A lot of trouble, actually.”

“I can assure you my life is not that interesting. Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s pretty normal.”

Her eyes had turned sad again and he couldn’t explain it. What was it about this girl? He had known her for all of two days and she was already getting way underneath his skin. He wanted to know everything about her and stay the hell away by equal measure. He really should just turn around and go about his usual business and let her be. It was the sane thing to do. It was the right thing to do.

“You know what, sweetheart? I’m just gonna have to friend the shit out of you now.”

Her green eyes instantly lit up and her smile seemed to extend from ear to ear. “You really mean that?” she asked, innocently.

“Of course,” he said leaning in to give her a hug. She seemed surprised by the gesture, and didn’t even move to hug him back. Still, he took his time with her in his arms and probably held on a few seconds longer than what was deemed socially acceptable. He took a deep breath, and inhaled the scent of her hair. She smelled delicious. Just like he had expected her to.

He felt a small jerk in his pants, much the same way he had felt previously watching her in the study room. Only this time he was much more aware of it, being so close to her. He lowered his head enough to whisper into her ear. “I’m going to friend you so hard you won’t know what’s coming.”

He grinned when he saw her jaw almost drop and a flushed expression crossed her face. He was relieved to find he still had an effect on her, boyfriend or not. Maybe he did have the upper hand after all.

“Catch you on the flip side, Em,” he said coolly and walked away.

He left smiling, but shaking his head a little at the same time. He wasn’t sure if he had just done something incredibly stupid or incredibly smart, but either way he most likely had just signed his own death sentence. He wouldn't need some gang member from LA to help him out with that.

 

 

 

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