"It's all bullshit, man," I said, quickly leaning over the Michael to grab the bowl of chips from his hands. He had this habit of eating a chip and then sprinkling the excess of the chip off wherever he pleased. What a disgusting bastard. "I mean, she ditches me to go hang out with Column?" I shook my head, scoffing as I crossed my arms in frustration.
Michael, being his tedious, carefree self, shrugged, "I don't think his name is 'Column'. That's just stupid. What kind of a name is that?" On top of that, he then took another chip from the bowl I was holding and did the same old, revolting habit he had.
"Jeez, you idiot," I rolled my eyes, gripping the remote only for something to distract me. As I switched aimlessly throughout the channels, I let out a low groan, "I don't even care what this Colam guy's name is. Call up Link."
Michael raised an eyebrow, slowly taking out his phone. "Why? We don't have anything bad planned for her to learn today. What's the point?" Michael had the audacity to ask again, a sly grin on his face, "Do you like her?"
The sad part was that I couldn't even answer that question myself. Did I like Link? It was all very confusing, and I had felt something I'd never felt for a person before, but I couldn't quite pin out what it was. I didn't think I had ever experienced it before, and If I was being completely honest here, it was making me scared. Could you imagine that? Me, Luke Hemmings, scared? Not possible. I wasn't scared, it was something else, for sure.
I had to think up some excuse for Link to come over. No, I don't know why I wanted to see her again, maybe it was the raging fucking testosterone's in my body that compelled me to her, but I just knew I at least needed to smell her scent again. I needed her with me, I didn't know why. But I knew by now that this wasn't just about the project, it was something more, but what?
Every time one of my friends, or Link herself, reminded me about the goddamn "lessons" I was supposed to be teaching her, it made me feel sick. Like she wasn't good enough, like I had to change her. I know she's grieving over her mother, and this is probably just a phase, but I was such an insensitive bitch to her on the first day, it just made things worse. "You can't go around spreading your fuckin' negativity everywhere!" I remember Ashton lecturing me once, the day he came back from Alabama, he picked up a slight accent. The boys thought it was funny, they laughed, I didn't. It had been that way for a while back then. Me, shutting everybody out. Damn, I was acting more emo than Michael when that happened. Nothing has changed.
I snapped, "The point is, I can't have her hanging out with Calum! Just..." Aggravatingly, I pinched the bridge of my nose and looked down, closing my eyes. "I'll think of something, some stupid lesson to teach her, alright? Just call her."
So he did. Michael called Link, and instead of worrying over how the hell Michael even got her number and why she gave it to him, I crossed my arms and let out a frustrated huff, trying to be patient, waiting for Michael to end the conversation with Link on the phone.
"She can't come over," Michael said as he hung up the phone, shoving the damn thing into his pocket. "Said she's busy today. She said she'll come over tomorrow."
"What?" I said, slightly pissed the hell off. "Seriously?"
It was only then when I realized that this girl was driving me absolutely mad.
. . .
Four whole hours later, I cursed to myself and forced my lazy, moping ass off the couch. I decided that I would march over to Link's house and call her "busy" self out. Hah, right. Busy, my ass. She wasn't busy, obviously, she couldn't be. She just wanted to avoid me, so she said she was busy. I know girls, I know how they act, and Link is just playing hard to get. Of course, I also what-if'ed my thoughts and asked, "What if she's actually busy and not playing hard to get? What if she just isn't interested?" But then I thought, "A girl turning down me? A girl not being interested in me?" Yeah. Busy.
She is not busy.
I made no hesitation or felt any remorse when I pulled up my truck in front of her house, nor marched up to her door. When I looked around the neighbourhood, there were more cars than I expected, but it was a rainy day, so I just brushed it off. There's no way people would come over to this neighbourhood on a rainy day. Except for me, obviously. I guess I'm an exception. Or maybe those people at least have some self-respect? my concious questioned.
Standing on the porch and in front of her door, I rang the doorbell. It made a ding sound, so surreal that I couldn't tell if the noise was very loud or if the walls were just paper thin. Then, I heard more than one or two voices inside, and I started to regret the decision coming here.
When the door opened, I felt a quick emotion of relief but that quickly faded when I saw who answered the door - a boy, with bright red hair, a lip piercing like mine (but a stud instead of a ring), a Beartooth muscle tee on, and he had to be at least 6 feet. Dammit. Who was this guy? Her boyfriend? She couldn't have picked up a guy like this that quickly. She should've picked up me first! my brain told me.
I told my brain to shut the hell up.
"Hey," I heard him say, a voice not as deep as mine. Thank God for that! "Are you, like, a second, third cousin or something? I don't think we've ever met before."
So he was just a cousin, or...?
"I- um..." For the first time in my life, I had nothing to say. "Link. I'm Link's friend. I was going to see her today. She.." Looking around at the cars once more, I cleared my voice and said, "She invited me to the party."
"Right," he nodded a little, shrugging one shoulder and finally taking a step back. "Come in...?" he raised an eyebrow curiously, prompting me for my name.
"Right," he repeated again, and I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes. He gave me the smallest of smiles, taking his hand out for me to shake, which I gladly took as he replied with, "I'm Blake."
Walking inside the house, Blake closed the door behind us and I heard an unfamiliar voice yell, "Blake! The hell is takin' so long, sugar? We need you over here!"
"Someone arrived, Aunt Cass!" Blake shouted back, and the unfamiliar person groaned quietly. After a few awkward seconds, a lady dressed in tight blue jeans and a just as tight yellow tee shirt came up to us. Her teased, bleached blonde hair moved as she tilted her head to the side and the corners of her mouth went up into a grin, flashing her bright white teeth at me.
"Blake!" she laughed, lightly punching Blake's arm. "When you said someone arrived a second ago, you never mentioned that it was a hot boy! What's your name, darlin'?" she asked, her southern accent loud and clear. She obviously wasn't from Australia, unlike Link, Blake and I.
How old was this woman, 30? 40? Was Link's family a bunch of cougars?
"Luke Hemmings," I answered her. "I'm Link's friend."
She snorted, playfully winking at me, "'Friend'. Got it, friend. Link never mentioned she was bringin' her friend over here!" She emphasized 'friend' so much that I almost growled out of pure annoyance. "Link!" she shouted, and this time, I did growl (good thing no one noticed though).
"What is it, Aunt Cass?" Link's voice yelled back, immediately surprising me with her loud tone.
"There's a boy friend here to see you!"
A few more awkward seconds later, Link's perfect body appeared and when her eyes found me, she was clear with confusion. "Luke?" she asked. "What're you doing here? I said I was going to come over tomorrow, not today."
Shrugging, I reminded myself that Link's family members were here and I needed to watch my mouth on what exactly I was about to say. "Needed to see you again."
"Needed to see who again?!" another voice shouted, and soon enough, a boy with dark brown hair, so dark it looked almost black, came up to our already formed tiny group. The boy, who must've been about 16 or 17, looked at me with an amused smirk on his face. "Woah," he chuckled. "Who's that? He's hot."
"Hey you!" a high, child-like voice yelled at me, grabbing my hand and pulling me down to kneel. I came face-to-face with a toddler (maybe 4 years old?), who totally wasn't shy about pulling me down in front of Link's family members at all. "Play with me!" She gripped my hand even tighter, dragging me to a small chair a few feet away from everyone else. As she and I walked away, I could hear the chatter of Link's cousins and aunt asking her a million questions:
"Is he single?" (Must've come from the 16 year old.)
"You never told us you had a boyfriend, sugar!" (Probably from her Aunt Cass.)
"His name is Luke, guys, I shook his hand!" (Fucking Blake.)
The little girl cleared her voice and demanded me to sit down in the chair, which I did, but it was so small that I had to stretch out my legs in front of me because I was so tall. Much to my dismay, she grabbed a small pink hair brush and a large hot pink bow, shuffling her feet to stand behind me. Her brush moved through my hair a bit too roughly, I grunted as she colossally screwed up my hair.
"Why are you so tall?" she asked.
"Genetics," was the best answer I could come up with.
"What's your name?"
Why didn't she just ask that question first?
"Why does your hair smell so funny?"
"Is Link your girlfriend?"
"Ouch!" I groaned quietly, not wanting to upset her as she shoved the pink bow into my hair.
Just to make things even better, the 16/17 year old boy pulled up a chair next to me, a goofy grin on his lips.
"Hey," he said.
If this all brings me to Link, then this better be worth it.
// a/n \\
(and also, 'i told my brain to shut the hell up' should sound familiar)