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The Problem

Chapter Text

~o~

"We've gotta do something about your problem," Emily smirked, carefully re-positioning her bikini top as she soaked up the Louisiana sun.

"I don't have a problem." Ness responded as if she didn't care, and she tried not to play into her promiscuous friend's horsing around. Emily being two years older than Ness was never a problem. They almost always were on the same wavelength as friends. The two were known to have a sixth sense around each other. It was as if they communicated through telepathy at times. Age never mattered, except in the area of boys and sex. On that matter, Emily was light years ahead of Ness. Ever since Ness graduated high school and turned eighteen, Emily decided it was her life's mission to rid Ness of her virginity problem.

"Yes, you do. You don't know what you're missing." Emily was never shy when she gave her best friend every detail of what she and Sam did in the bedroom, or on the porch swing, or in the back of his pick up truck, and so on.

"To hear you talk, I should just jump into bed with the first guy that shows any interest in me. That's not the way it goes, Em. Not every girl has a boyfriend like Sam," Ness slid her sunglasses down her nose to glare at her best friend.

"Hey, you have my permission to be picky, but I'm just sayin' that you need to let a boy at least try to get close... maybe just a little bit. Besides, your virginity problem is going to be the death of me. I've read your diary. You need a man. I'm tired of reading about your yearnings," Emily exaggerated the word, making more fun of her sort-of innocent friend.

Ness sat up straight, embarrassed by the conversation. She didn't even care that Emily had read her most private thoughts (they had no secrets), but her skin turned bright pink, listening to how her sexless life seemed to be a problem.

"I don't have a virginity problem!" Ness yelled to her friend, and suddenly she felt her body wrap inside itself with even more humiliation because right as she made her outburst, Emily's boyfriend and his cousin, Jake, walked by them on the pier, heading for the fishing boat.

Ness' skin burned red, and it wasn't from the sun.

She stood up quickly, wrapped her over-sized towel around her, and bolted to the lake house. She didn't wait around to see what Emily or the guys were doing. Being humiliated in front of Jake was about all she could take in one day.

Once inside Ness threw her cover-up on and headed for the kitchen. She gulped down a glass of tap water and tried to slow down her breathing.

"Sorry," She heard Emily say softly as she entered the huge kitchen. The Uley's were loaded and always let Sam's friends come and play during the summer, giving them free reign. Ness had only been a couple of times last summer and was happy that she got to tag along with Emily. Being the best friend of Sam's girlfriend had its advantages.

Emily gave her the big, puppy dog eyes, begging for forgiveness for her big mouth.

"There's nothing to apologize for. So what if they know I'm a virgin?" Ness's voice squeaked a bit, trying to blow off what the boys may or may not have heard. Emily saw right through her charade.

"You know I would never do that to you on purpose in front of them, especially Jake." Emily's voice comforted her, and Ness smiled at her friend's honesty.

"I know. It shouldn't be a big deal, but I just hate that he probably heard about the problem you think I have." Ness tried to pretend she wasn't interested in Jake, but ever since she met him last summer, he was all she ever thought about. All senior year, no guy could ever come close to the boy she met at the lake. There was a problem, though.

Jake couldn't stand her.

"Besides, Jake barely tolerates me, so I shouldn't be too embarrassed. He doesn't even talk to me enough to even tease me about anything."

"He's a good guy. He may not talk much to you, but give him some time. Sam says nothing but good stuff about him." Emily was trying to encourage her friend when it came to being shunned by the tall, mysterious, dark-haired boy.

"I don't even have to give him a chance because he never gave me one. From the first time we met, he finds every excuse not to be in the same room with me. He's rude and arrogant. I don't care if he has muscles for days and eyes that look like milk chocolate," Ness sighed at the thought of his eyes. She often dreamt of staring at them while they held hands on the pier. Emily cleared her throat, noticing her friend having a moment, obviously thinking about the boy she swore she didn't think about. Ness began again. "Jake knowing I'm a virgin isn't a big deal." Except it was. Ness wished she didn't care about the guy who had spoken no more than ten words to her since they met.

That's the way life was sometimes. She had fallen into a deep infatuation with an older guy who didn't know she existed. There were a million movies about the subject, and they almost always had a happy ending. The girl always got the guy. Ness didn't think her story would be like the movies... or if it would begin at all.

~o~
Ness looked up from her book when the boys pulled the boat into the dock after they had done some fishing in the humidity of the summer evening. The porch swing made small, creaking noises as she swayed slowly to and fro. From the buckets they each held, they must have had some success with their trip. A nice fish fry would be in their future. She wondered what the two guys talked about since the one that held her attention acted as if he were mute. She absentmindedly twisted a lock of her reddish-brown hair as she watched him do the things guys did after a fishing trip. Her toes curled just a little, watching Jake's biceps flex when he secured the boat to the dock. He could easily flip her small frame around with his strength. Her toes curled a bit more at the thought of him doing anything with her in private.

She was so lost in thought, that it didn't register the boys had made their way up the grassy hill to the screened-in back porch that kept the giant mosquitoes at bay. Her eyes widened when he made direct eye contact with her as he came through the screen door. Her finger stopped its twirling motion, and the air seemed to be in short supply at that moment. Jake held her gaze for a brief second, but his stride never slowed. The encounter was over before it started, and Ness was left wondering if it had even happened at all.

~o~
"Sam, we're almost out of beer," Jake called from the kitchen. Emily and Sam sat watching TV in the living room. Ness curled her legs underneath her body on the couch and was mindlessly scrolling through her smart phone, looking at pictures of her friends on Instagram when she looked up towards the sound of Jake's voice. Even though his words weren't directed at her, she loved to listen to the smooth tone his voice held.

"Well, we can't have that, can we? Time to make a beer run. You girls up for heading out to Joe's Corner?" Sam asked, grabbing Emily by the hand and twirling her into his arms. Emily laughed a yes and walked to slide on her flip flops.

Ness redid her messy bun, getting ready to hop in the truck and was about to follow the happy couple out the front door. That was until Jake cut her off before she could leave. His huge frame blocked the door, and she couldn't understand why someone who never gave her the time of day would want to talk to her now.

He kept one hand on the door knob and ran the other hand through his short, spiky hair. Ness had imagined running her slender fingers through it many times this past year, wondering how it would feel. She couldn't help but sense that he seemed nervous; something that Ness had never seen in him. It was the longest the two of them had ever been in close proximity for this amount of time, and she could feel the sexual tension building between the two of them. Normally, Jake would turn tail and run as far away from her as he could. This time was different. He had something to say, and her body tensed wondering what it was. She was about to explode if he didn't talk to her soon, but she would wait forever just to hear his smooth, masculine voice.
He looked her square in the eye and spoke. What she heard made her legs almost go out from under her.

Jake cleared his throat and began. "I can help you take care of your problem."
~o~
A/N:
What a jerk, right? Or is he a jerk? Let me know what you think. Reviews rock my world.