The Prickled Heart

If there is one girl any guy in Westerfield High is afraid of, it's Jesy McKinnley. Forget the fact that she may as well be the hottest chick in campus, she's off limits; and not in the way that you might think.

When the resident school magazine is one scoop away from completion (a.k.a. 'The Hottest Scoop of The Year') it's up to the not-so-awesome Rhys Miller to save the day with the hottest topic the editor-in-chief could come up with. Unluckily for him, it just had to be Jesy.

Rated [Yellow] for future scenes.

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12. The Secret Garden

 

 

 

 

Rhys watched as Jesy unbuckled her seatbelt. "Are you coming?" she asked, momentarily stopping, when she noticed he did not make an effort to move. Rhys hesitantly nodded his head and copied her actions. Jesy shook her head with a smile.

"Where are we?" Rhys asked when they were both out of the vehicle. Jesy watched as Rhys looked around, confused. There were nothing but trees and the road they stopped on.

"This is my paradise," Jesy answered, gesturing for him to follow. Reluctantly, Rhys did.

"Are you planning to kill me here?" they were now venturing into the woods. “Because if you are, I don’t think my mum will want to have you over to our house anymore,” he said.

“She won’t really know, would she?” Jesy replied as she jumped over an uprooted tree, “I mean, you’ll be dead after all. And no one ever comes here, so you can’t really be found.”

The seriousness in her voice scared Rhys.

“Please tell me you are joking,” he said. Jesy laughed. It was a nice laugh, Rhys realized. He wanted her to do it again.

“Yeah,” Jesy said with a nod, “I’m kidding.”

Rhys sighed in relief, smiled, before going over the same uproot Jesy jumped over.

“You know, it’s not really fair that you have longer legs,” she said with a pout. And it was true, where Jesy jumped; Rhys only had to step over. “I mean, are you even human?”

Jesy was incredibly tall for a girl her age, but Rhys was no doubt taller than her.

“Aren’t you the tallest girl in Westerfield?” Rhys asked. Jesy pouted.

“That’s just it; the tallest girl. I mean, why are guys always taller?” she asked. “It’s just not fair!” Rhys shrugged noncommittally.

“I think some guys are shorter than you,” he said, trying to remember the names of the shorter guys he knew. Harry. Dexter. Chris.

“Not you, though,” she replied, appearing bummed out at the thought. Rhys raised an eyebrow at her.

“I thought girls like it when a guy is taller than them,” he stated. Jesy scoffed.

“And where did you get that? The Big Old Book of Sexism?” her tone was sarcastic, Rhys could tell, “Us girls also like being tall, mind you. It gives us a sense of superiority.”

“Is that why most girls wear high heels?” he questioned, smiling.

“Now that’s just sexist,” Jesy said with a shake of her head, “Didn’t you know that guys were the first one to ever wear heels? They had this thing wherein the higher the heels, the higher the position. There was even this king that decreed something about people not being allowed to have higher heels than him. But yeah, that should explain it.”

“I didn’t know you like history,” Rhys said, surprised that the Cactus Queen knew more than he thought. He saw Jesy roll her eyes before turning to resume her walk. At the middle of their discussion, they had apparently stopped. Rhys followed her a few seconds after.

“Just another new thing to learn about me, then,” Jesy had said when he caught up. “Surprised that the so called Cactus Queen knows her fair share of history?” At Rhys’s silence, Jesy sighed. “Figures,” she muttered.

“I’m sorry,” Rhys said a few moments later. “I should not have-”

Jesy cut him off with a shake of her head.

“Don’t worry about it,” her tone was distant, “I’m quite used to it by now.”

Silence.

“Can you do me a favour?’

“What is it?”

Jesy stopped. Rhys stopped. She turned to him.

“I’m not some kind of idol people should look up to,” Jesy said. “I know what people think about me, and frankly, I don’t really care. But seeing as you’re tasked to do an article about my so called reputation, I want you to quote me on this: ‘I am not perfect. The reason why I do not date is not because I think other people are not good enough; it’s far more personal than that. If they think, for just one second, that my entire life is perfect, then they’re dead wrong. I’m not perfect; I’m far from it.’ Did you get that?”

Numb, Rhys could only nod. Jesy attempted to smile before turning back to their invisible trail.

“I want to show you something,” she said without looking, “Do you have your camera?”

Rhys nodded, but seeing that Jesy was not going to turn, said, “Yeah.”

He saw Jesy’s head nod.

“Good,” Rhys could swear her voice was thicker than normal.

“Are you okay?” he hesitantly asked as he tried to catch up with her. Jesy jerked away when his hand tried to touch her shoulder.

“Yeah,” she said. “Let’s just go,” she sniffed.

If Rhys was being honest, he was sure that he had just witnessed Jesy McKinnley crying.

“Okay.”

 

 

 

 

 

It was beautiful.

Rhys had never seen anything like it.

“What is this place?” he asked Jesy as he looked around. It had been a long walk but, upon seeing where they were, worth it.

“It’s my sanctuary.”

There was a small lake at the middle of the clearing, its water so clear that Rhys could see the bottom. Around it, were various kinds of flowers— hibiscus, roses, and orchids filled the grassy landscape, giving the whole place an ethereal aura. The break in the trees gave the place much needed light; nothing less, nothing more. There were butterflies flying together in a synchronized pattern above a field of daisies. A robin was nesting on a nearby tree. It was picturesque.

“This is beautiful,” Rhys said as he started to sit on a grassy mound. He felt Jesy sit beside him. He did not bother to mention he red, puffy eyes.

“That, it is,” she agreed.

“How did you find it?”

“Let’s save that story for another time,” Jesy said, not turning to look at him. Rhys nodded, still looking around. He heard Jesy sigh in content.

“The Queen’s secret garden,” he muttered. “Who would’ve thought?”

Before Rhys personally met Jesy, he imagined her being in a garden full of prickly cacti. But this, this was different. He turned his head towards the said girl, who he found had her eyes closed. Her face looked incredibly serene. He smiled.

It was different.

But it was beautiful.

It fitted her.

 

 

 

 

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