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You Owe Me

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I just couldn’t understand. The more I stared, the more confused I became. I had seen it, Reese was aggressive and sometimes even cruel. He was a bully sometimes. Why did I find him so interesting? Why was it that, even as I watched him chuckle to himself while doodling on that text book, I still wanted to hang out with him?

A voice I recognized got me out of my thoughts as I finally spotted Malcolm and Stevie eating lunch at a close by table. I leaned off the wall and headed their direction.

We weren’t really that close, but they were the ones I got along with best. Especially now that Dabney, Lloyd, Kevin or Cynthia weren’t there. I felt inhibited with so many intelligent people.

“Hey, guys” I called them, earning curious glances from them. “Mind if I sit with you?”

“Go… ahead” Stevie replied with a small smile that I reciprocated.

“Hey, Y/N” As all response, Malcolm moved his bag so I could sit down with them. “Don’t you sit with your friends?”

“Let’s just say that they’re not really my friends…” I glared in their direction as they boisterously laughed in my absence. “Especially behind one’s back”

“Sorry to… hear that…” Stevie said, making me look at them again instead of my ex-friends.

“Yeah, what happened?” Malcolm asked me as well.

“Never mind that, I’m with you now” I showed them a cheerful smile and shrugged. “Forgive me if my conversation isn’t too interesting, though, I’m not as smart as you two”

Both Malcolm and Stevie mumbled humble replies, slightly flustered by my compliment.

“Hey” I hadn’t noticed Malcolm’s brother had walked up to us.

“Hi, Reese!” I waved at him, earning only a brief glance and a reluctant wave back.

“Give me your book” He demanded from Malcolm, who rolled his eyes.

“What’s wrong with yours?”

“I got artistic, but didn’t realize I was using permanent marker”

When Reese opened his book to a random page and showed us his masterpiece, I giggled at the sight. It was full of goofy doodles like rockets, skateboards, skulls, pirates and even some comical stick figures fighting like ninjas. He heard me laughing and dedicated me a cute toothy grin filled with amusement and pride in his work.

“Don’t… encourage him” Muttered Stevie.

“I’m not giving you my book!” Malcolm complained. “Just because-“

He was interrupted by his brother as he stole the bag from Malcolm, grabbed his book and then punched him in the arm.

“Thanks!” Reese then proceeded to leave like nothing had happened, with his brother’s unpainted book.

What went on in his mind? What was behind all that goofiness and violence and why couldn’t I pinpoint it? Even worse, why did he fascinate me like that?

I watched him as he walked away grinning, satisfied with the outcome of the scene. I still couldn’t understand why I found him so interesting. Maybe because he was oddly charming, or just because he was a mystery to me.

*

The next day went on as usual. My stupid friends pretended like I didn’t even exist, and I didn’t know if that was worse than knowing they insulted me behind my back. Whatever, I knew I could hang out with Stevie and Malcolm and they wouldn’t mind. Maybe I couldn’t talk about science or math with them, but we did chat about TV, videogames and comics.

I walked into Reese on my way out, right after the bell rang announcing the end of the classes for the day. We hadn’t really interacted much other than because of our mutual connection with Malcolm, but I smiled at him like I always did.

“Bye, Reese!” I waved at him, and he frowned as usual. This time, however, it wasn’t the only thing he did.

“What are you up to?” He exclaimed, holding me by the shoulders and shaking me.

“What?” I was confused by his sudden outburst and tried to get away from his grip, but he was really strong.

“Why are you always so nice to me?”

“And why not?”

“Tell me!”

“You’re hurting me…”

Reese paused and let go of me, watching me intently. His greenish eyes focused on me with suspicion. I took a step back, staring at him as well and waiting for his next move.

“Bah…” In the end, Reese rolled his eyes and walked away, leaving me alone.

A part of me shouted that maybe people were right about him. Maybe he was a little crazy and was nothing but a bully. A small side of me, however, looked into his behavior without really meaning to. Maybe he was so used to people being mean to him that he was suspicious when someone was nice for a change.

“Don’t let him intimidate you” Malcolm’s voice startled me as he had arrived behind me without me noticing. “You’re smarter than him”

“I’m not that smart”

“You’re still smarter than him”

I stared at Malcolm, surprised that his own brother talked like that of him. I shook my head, knowing that their family dynamic wasn’t really my business. I sighed and continued on my way outside the building, with Malcolm walking next to me.

“Did I say something wrong?” I asked, still confused about his reaction. “I just said ‘bye’ to him!”

“He’s paranoid” Malcolm tiredly explained. “He thinks you’re going to pull a prank on him or something”

“Just because I’m nice”

“Yup… Why are you that nice, by the way?”

“I don’t know, I just want to be!” I shrugged, self-consciously pushing the books I carried against my chest. “I think he can be sweet too… Deep down…”

To my surprise, Malcolm broke out in loud guffaws of laughter. After a few seconds, he looked at me and slowly calmed down.

“Wait, you’re serious?”

“Okay, maybe deep deep down… But still…”

“Look, Y/N, you’re really nice” He put a hand on my shoulder. “But I think you’re too nice to think that highly of Reese”

“He’s your brother!” I complained, shocked that he spoke like that.

“Yeah, and I will always defend him” Almost like he was surprised by his own words, he looked around to make sure no one heard. “But… don’t tell him I said that”

“What…?” I stuttered as he left. “But I thought… You said…”

That family sure was weird. But maybe that was why I was so drawn to them.

*

I couldn’t get Reese off my mind for some damn reason. Random moments of watching him goof around school kept popping up in my head. Like that time he squirted water in his mouth using a tiny water gun. Or the day I surprised him singing the catchy song to a commercial, he interrupted himself to say hello back to me, and continued. And how every time he did one of those things he chuckled or giggled to himself. I found him to be… endearing, adorable even.

I still didn’t let him take over my life, he just piqued my curiosity, that was all. But I continued with my day to day as usual, not being all that bothered when I bumped into him. Instead I kept hanging out with Malcolm and Stevie, went to class and forgot about him. Until one day he made me focus on him by the force.

I was walking around on my free period, taking in the tranquility of the school playground without all the people talking, shouting and laughing. But I guess he either had a free period as well or just skipped class, because Reese was there too.

“Hey, Y/N!” I heard his voice calling me, so I turned around to face him.

“Ah!” I squeaked when I was instead welcomed with something hitting me hard.

Something exploded over me, falling onto my head. When it did, it covered me with a gooey substance that spread through my clothes and stuck to my hair. I immediately heard him cracking up, coming to meet with me.

I was confused, but overall I was angry.

“You should have seen your face!” He pointed at me, holding his stomach as he continued laughing.

“Reese, you dumbass!” I pushed him with so much force that he lost balance and fell on the floor. “What was that for?!”

“Ha!” He said, even as I towered over him sitting on the ground. “That will teach you!”

“Teach me what? To hate you like everyone else?” I hoped my intense glare would pass on to him how absolutely furious I was since I couldn’t put it into words being so rattled.

Reese frowned, remaining silent for a moment, but he recovered quickly and stood up.

“No, to trick me trying to be nice!” He pointed a finger at me again, this time accusatorily.

“Trick you? Trick you?!” I looked up to the sky in exasperation, grunting in annoyance. “Ugh, Reese! You’re a brute and a jerk!”

“I… I…” He was suddenly rattled too.

“Maybe people are right about you” I told him before I stomped away.

I was glad that people were in class and the hallways were empty, otherwise they would all have laughed at me and maybe even give me a weird nickname that would haunt me for years. I made it to the bathroom and watched my reflection in the mirror to analyze the damage.

I spent at least fifteen minutes in the bathroom, trying to get that goo off me. My clothes were completely ruined and I would have to throw them away, it was impossible to clean them no matter how many times I put them in the washing machine. But I had managed to mostly get it off my hair. When I was rinsing it for the third time, a knock came to the door.

“Occupied” I bitterly said to whoever was trying to get in.

“Y/N, it’s me, Reese” I rolled my eyes even if he couldn’t see me through the closed door. “You there?”

I didn’t reply, I was still mad at him. I didn’t know what I had done wrong, but mostly I was upset that I saw something in him that wasn’t there. He wasn’t sweet deep down, he was just cruel. What did I do to him to deserve such prank?

“Can we talk?” He insisted, knocking again. “Y/N?”

I continued giving him the silent treatment, even if a part of me wanted to shout at him and tell him to go away. The only sign that I gave him that I was still there was the sound of the water running.

“At least let me talk to you, you don’t have to say anything” His voice sounded genuinely regretful, almost… vulnerable. It was the softest I had heard him speak.

Malcolm was right, I was too nice. Heaving a resigned sigh, I turned to the door.

“Come in…” I budged, willing to at least let him, maybe to punch him in the arm.

“I can’t, it’s the girls bathroom” In any other moment, I would have found that comment cute. But not then, I just felt aggressiveness towards him at that moment.

“What a shame” I sarcastically replied, focusing on my reflection in the mirror again.

“Please, Y/N, I… I’m sorry!” He stuttered for a moment until he recovered. “You’ve been so nice, I want to apologize!”

I hesitated for a moment, but in the end I walked to the door and opened it. Reese jumped up when we were suddenly face to face, but before he could say anything I returned to my spot in the sink. He stood in the doorway, staring at me as I wrung water off my hair.

“I didn’t mean to do it” He began saying effusively, still not trespassing the threshold.

“Then why did you, huh?” I eyed him for a moment before returning to the task of cleaning my hair. “You seemed to be having fun too…”

“I thought you would find it funny, not hate me!”

“Funny?!”

“Yeah! A friendly prank!”

“How is this funny or friendly, Reese?! How-?” I cut myself before I lost my temper and took a deep breath instead.

“I feel terrible…” I wanted to believe him, but now I was too wary of him. Especially since his hands were behind his back and it felt like he was up to something.

“Why did you do it?” I tiredly asked him, trying to keep myself calm.

“I… I just wanted to get your attention!”

“You already had my attention!”

“Really?”

“Yeah… But maybe now you’ve lost it…”

A very awkward silent settled, and Reese fidgeted in the spot. Then he finally put his hands in front of him, so I feebly glanced at them.

“I made another one” He held a big water balloon, presumably filled with the same disgusting substance from before.

“I swear, Reese, if you throw it at me, I will-“

“No, it’s for me!”

“What?”

“Then we’ll be even”

He showed me that wide cute grin again and I swore under my breath, hating to be so vulnerable to its charming nature. I watched the balloon in his hands, considering the payback opportunity.

“It will get all over your clothes” I warned him, walking closer.

“I know” He calmly shrugged as I closed the distance between us.

“Wouldn’t you get in trouble with your parents if you went back home looking like this?”

“I don’t care”

Once we were at arm length distance from each other, I paused dramatically.

“What about your hair?” I carefully studied his reaction, even if it was a late one.

“I…” He gulped, and there was clear agitation both in his features and his voice. “I-I don’t mind”

I stared at him, but he did not falter. I looked at his hair, realizing how perfectly styled it was. He probably spent a long time spiking it every day. Moving slowly, I took the balloon from his hands, but even then he did not back down.

“Yes you do” I gave him the balloon back. “You love your hair”

“Just do it, Y/N” He returned it to me, setting his hands over mine with determination to convince me. “It’s only fair”

I cocked an eyebrow and lifted the balloon over my head. Reese shut his eyes tight, bracing for the impact. He really was willing to let me do it to make it up to me!

Feeling too guilty to go through with it, I turned around and threw it at the sink instead. Reese gasped at the sound of the balloon exploding, but opened his eyes to see how the gross contents of it were spread all over the inside of the sink.

He gawked at me, blinking repeatedly as he assimilated what I had just done. Or rather, what I hadn’t done.

“Why didn’t you…?” He began, showing me a cute confused frown that reminded me of a puppy. Damn him and whatever I saw in him.

“Look, that I’m mad at you doesn’t mean I actually hate you” I sighed, smiling at him. “And I shouldn’t have said that either, I was just angry”

“Say what?”

“That you’re a dumbass… It’s not true, you’re not dumb”

He smiled, but instead of that toothy wide grin of his, it was a much smaller but much sweeter one. It looked more genuine and serious than the other goofy grin.

“Thanks” Reese finally said, and I smiled wider too.

For a moment, we both stayed silent, staring at each other. Then he suddenly took his plaid shirt off, leaving him in a yellow T-shirt, and handed me the plaid one.

“What are you doing?” I said before I considered taking it.

“Get changed” Reese energetically shook it until I finally took it from him. “Then at least you don’t have to wear that gross wet shirt”

I chuckled when he turned around to give me a little privacy. It was just that, gestures like those that told me that Reese was something more than what people thought he was.

“Fine” I grabbed the hem of my shirt, but stopped before pulling at it. “Don’t peek”

“I won’t” To reinforce his statement, Reese covered his eyes even if he was still facing his back to me. “I promise”

“Good” I quickly took my shirt off and put it over the sink as I put my arms over the sleeves of his plaid shirt. “If you do, I’ll punch you in the face”

“Good one” Reese laughed, thinking I was joking. I didn’t blame him for not taking my warning seriously, though, I wasn’t exactly threatening.

As I buttoned up the shirt, I noticed Reese slightly moved his head, tilting it to look over his shoulder. He slowly uncovered his eyes, so I glared at him.

“Don’t you dare” I said to keep him from giving in to the temptation.

“Sorry” He looked straight ahead again, covering his eyes and now also facing the ground.

I watched him carefully as I finished getting changed, and was glad to see he came through. He didn’t move other than to shift his weight from one foot to the other.

Moving to stay in front of the mirror once more, I saw that his shirt kind of suited me. It was a little too big and too long, but I looked okay.

“I know what to do!” Reese suddenly said, breaking the silence. “I’ll cook you dinner!”

“What?” Taking advantage that he still wasn’t looking, I quickly combed my hair as best as I could. “You can turn around now, by the way”

“I’ll cook you dinner!” He excitedly said, now facing me. “To make it up to you!”

I tilted my head, endeared by the sweet thought. I observed him as I rolled up the sleeves so they didn’t cover my hands, but he seemed determined.

“Are you serious? You can cook?” I examined his features, looking for any hints that he was teasing me.

“Yeah!” He nodded, excited. “What do you think?”

“That’s fair, I guess. You kind of owe me one”

“What would you like to eat?”

“I don’t know… Surprise me”

“Great! I’ll pick you up… Wait, I don’t know where you live”

“Do you have a pen?”

Reese held one finger up and proceeded to rummage through his pockets. He pulled out some coins, an empty gum wrapper, a napkin, and finally a permanent marker. Probably the one he used the other day to wreck his book.

I took it from him and wrote my address on his hand. As I did, I felt him staring at me and it made me smile a little. Were we… flirting?

“There” I returned the marker and he grinned widely.

“Cool!” Reese blew on his palm so the ink dried faster. “Pick you up at 8!”

Even if I felt stupid when my cheeks started burning, I couldn’t help but to also be excited myself. It was my chance to get to know him better and spend some time alone with him.

I hoped he hadn’t noticed I was blushing, but my hopes were foiled when he started snickering.

“What?” I averted my gaze, even if he playfully shoved me a little.

“You look small in my shirt” Reese replied, clear amusement in his voice.

“Shut up” I shoved him too, although a chuckle escaped my lips.

*

When Reese parked the car, I took a look at his house from the copilot seat. It was a medium size house, and the lawn was yellowish and unattended. The house itself seemed a bit messy, but somehow still homey.

We both got out of the vehicle, still silent as we had been since he picked me up. We had only said ‘hello’ to each other. Why were we so awkward all of a sudden? After the moment we shared in the girl’s bathroom, I thought it would be easier to chat with him. But maybe it was harder because of that moment we shared. Our relationship had evolved from being almost non existent to kind of flirty.

“You… You look hot” Was Reese’s attempt to break the heavy silence.

“What?” I mumbled to buy some time, feeling how my cheeks flushed.

“I mean…” Reese scratched the back of his head as we walked to the front door. “You usually look good, but tonight you look great and uh… yeah…”

I bit on my bottom lip as we stopped at the threshold and he occupied himself with looking for his keys. When he found them, however, he stopped before putting it on the lock.

“My parents are gonna love you” He said to change the subject, smiling at me.

“Wait” I put a hand over his arm to keep him from opening the door. “Your parents?”

“Yeah” He shrugged nonchalantly. “They wouldn’t let me have the house, and they insisted on meeting you”

“Your parents” I repeated, feeling overwhelmed to be meeting them.

“Yeah!” Reese insisted, now opening the door and letting me come in.

“O-Okay…” I was just… Why was I nervous all of a sudden? He was probably only introducing me as his friend, nothing more. Did I want to be introduced as something more?

“Dinner’s almost ready” Reese told me, a hint of pride glinting in his green eyes.

“Smells delicious” I genuinely said, because even if I couldn’t tell what there was for dinner, I sure was looking forward to eat it.

“Thanks, I-“ He interrupted himself, frowning as a sudden thought seemed to hit him. “Wait, where’s dad?”

That said, Reese walked away muttering something about his father eating the food prematurely. I stood there, but I laughed a little since it seemed like the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

“Hey, Y/N” Malcolm greeted me, walking into the room with me. “You look pretty”

“Thank you!” I played with my hair, relieved that at least my appearance was actually good. I chuckled, though, remembering Reese’s way of expressing the same thing. “Reese thought so too”

“Hi!” Someone else said, a slightly high-pitched voice. “You must be Y/N, I’m Dewey”

“Hello, Dewey” I smiled at the younger boy. “Then you must be their little brother”

“Yeah, but Jamie is the youngest now”

“I bet is a pain to have Malcolm and Reese as older brothers”

Malcolm rolled his eyes at me, but his younger brother laughed.

“I like her” Dewey said before returning to the kitchen, where Reese’s voice mixed with a male one that I assumed was his father’s.

I leaned on the wall and Malcolm gently nudged me in the ribs.

“You doing okay, Y/N?”

“Yeah, why?”

“You look a bit nervous, I don’t know what gave it away” He grabbed me by the wrist and softly pulled at it, making me realize I had been anxiously chewing on my nails.

“Sorry” I sighed, tightly holding my hands behind my back not to do it again.

“It’s fine” He shrugged casually. “But really, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m just… freaking out a little”

“Why?”

“I’m really awkward around parents, you know?” Just thinking about meeting them caused my stomach to churn. I really wanted to make a good impression on them. “I… I just wanted to be friends with Reese and now I’m suddenly meeting his whole family”

“You didn’t expect to fall in love with him, huh?” Malcolm smirked at me, and I gawked at him for a moment.

“I… I’m not in love!” I whisper-yelled, hoping Reese didn’t hear. “Okay, maybe I have a crush, but…”

“Don’t worry” Malcolm chuckled. “I can keep a secret”

“You better, Mr. Smarty Pants” We both laughed at his new fond nickname.

Before he could come up with a witty or sarcastic response, however, a woman approached us.

“Hello! You’re Y/N, right?” I opened my mouth, but she continued before any words came out of my mouth. “I’m Lois, Reese’s mother”

“Hi, Lois, I-“ Without further ado, Lois took me to the kitchen to meet with the rest.

I looked over my shoulder to Malcolm in a silent request for rescue, but he shrugged a little even if with an amused grin plastered on his lips. Lois kept on talking, so fast that I barely understand anything. I caught Reese’s name somewhere in that myriad of words, but that was about it.

“You look like such a nice girl” She patted my back and basically pushed down into the chair. “Sit down, dinner’s almost ready”

The kitchen was a mess of people talking loudly, running around as well as the noise of cooking and plates clinking. Malcolm was the only person to stay calm in that craziness, as he serenely sat down in front of me and picked up a breadstick from a basket at the center of the table.

I thought that Reese could have warned me. A simple heads up would have sufficed, but he preferred to hide the fact that I was having dinner with his parents and brothers. He didn’t tell me that his parents were that eager to meet me either. Nothing.

Now I assumed I was to expect a couple of hours filled with awkward silences as well as lots of embarrassing questions about myself.

“Remind me to kill Reese?” I asked Malcolm, who boringly chew at the breadstick.

“Deal” He managed to make me laugh when he outstretch his hand over the table.

We shook hands to seal the deal as we waited for dinner to be ready.

*

I tried to be as polite, kind and helpful as possible. I offered to give Reese a hand with dinner, but he wouldn’t let me. The family insisted that I wasn’t allowed to set the table either, I was their guest. So I just sat there, patiently waiting to eat.

When the food was finally on the table, my stomach growled in hunger at the sight of the delicious rotisserie chicken with potatoes and varied great-smelling sauces, as well as the freshly baked bread. Did Reese make all of that himself? I was honestly impressed.

The bunch of us immediately started eating, giving our compliments to the cook for the exquisite feast. Who knew Reese was such a good cook?

Then we started chatting, and so it began. It was pretty insane:

Lois kept talking about how I could be a good influence on Reese and that lately he hadn’t been as reckless, ever since he spent more time with me, all this while the aforesaid complained under his breath.

Hal –the father, he had introduced himself –asked me lots of questions, wanting to know if I was in the same class as Reese and such. At least I assumed he meant to avoid any of those awkward silences I dreaded.

Dewey seemed to be more intrigued about what Reese had done to get me to come, did he threaten me? Had he intimidated me into that torture? He couldn’t understand why I was there.

The little one, Jamie, looked from one to the other in curiosity.

And Malcolm, all the while, was having the time of his life watching the whole thing while I suffered in silence.

“Malcolm” I kicked him under the table and mouthed the following words. “Please. Help”

“Okay” He finally spoke up, smiling in spite of himself. “Mom, dad, leave her alone. You too, Dewey”

“Sorry” Lois sat at my right, patting my arm. “We’re just excited that Reese decided to do something nice for you”

“Yeah, that means you’re quite the catch!” Hal cheerfully added.

“Stop it!” Reese said as he stood up to get the dessert. “You’re gonna scare her off!”

I had to chuckle in spite of it all. After the anxiety inducing start of the night, we were now having a more casual conversation. Then Reese put a soufflé over the table and we dug in too, moved by the delicious smell of his baking creation.

“This definitely makes up for everything” I bumped my shoulder against Reese’s as soon as he sat down to my left. “It was the best meal I ever-“

“Make up?” Lois repeated in outrage. “What did he do?”

“Oh, no…” I uttered, realizing I had messed up. “N-Nothing”

“For the love of god, Reese!” His mother insisted. “What did you do to this poor girl?”

“I didn’t do anything!” He defended himself, even if he wouldn’t meet with her eyes.

“He, uh…” I piped up, wanting to fix my mishap. “It’s kind of silly, really. No biggie, Reese was just…”

“What happened, Reese?” Hal asked him tiredly, but his son didn’t reply.

“He was sitting outside with his legs stretched out, right? And so, uh…” I gulped, seeing as Reese remained silent. “I passed by him, but I was reading a book as I walked and I tripped over his legs. Funny, right?”

“Reese, what did you do?” Lois didn’t buy my story at all.

“I threw a water balloon at her” Reese confessed. “Filled with goo”

“You did what?!” Lois’ volume suddenly increased, so much so that I winced at her shouting. “Are you really that stupid?!”

Reese clicked his tongue but didn’t respond. He didn’t seem surprised, offended or hurt by her words. He just accepted it, like he was used to it. It made me feel bad, that he truly thought himself to be that stupid or useless.

I noticed his elbows rested on his thighs instead of over the table, so I placed a hand over his forearm and squeezed it softly. When our eyes met, I smiled at him and he did too. Then, he didn’t seem all that bothered by his mother’s lecture anymore.

*

Everything settled down in the end and I ended up having a great time with the Wilkersons while we played charades after dinner. Lois was still convinced that I would do Reese some good sticking by his side since I was such a ‘good influence’ but everyone else relaxed and focused on the game instead of me.

When Reese and I got back in the car so he could drive me home, I was equally relieved yet sad to leave. His family might be a little crazy, but they were genuine and I appreciated them.

“So…” Reese began after a while, keeping his eyes on the road. “How did you like my family?”

“They were cool, but they were a lot”

“I know”

Another moment of silence followed, so I decided to lighten up the tension.

“You still owe me one, you jerk”

“What, why?”

“For what you just put me through!”

“You’re right”

“And… Wait, that’s it? No buts?”

“No, I should have told you as soon as I knew we wouldn’t be alone, but…” Reese frowned saddly. “I didn’t want you to get mad or not come. It was stupid, I’m sorry”

“Reese, you’re not stupid” I wanted him to stop feeling like that. “Maybe you’re not as… harmless or sensitive as I expected you to be, but you’re not dumb”

“What do you mean?” He pretended to be nonchalant, but I noticed how tightly he gripped the steering wheel.

“Just because you do stupid things, that doesn’t make you stupid”

“Why are you saying this?” Reese stopped the car, and I realized we had arrived.

“Because I know you think you are and I don’t want you to” Flustered by what I was admitting, I watched my house through the window. “Just because people say it, you don’t have to believe it”

He might not be the brightest, and he was a bit of a brute sometimes. But I had seen he could be sweet too, maybe even sensitive. He was just a bit of a mess, but then again so was I. After all, I knew what it felt like to have no friends, or to be judged by people. Or to hide my true feelings behind a facade. Mine was too nice, his was violent.

“What do you say we try this again some time?” Reese interrupted my train of thought. “Alone”

“No families?” I smirked, teasing him for the night we had just experienced.

“No families” He grinned, turning to face me completely.

“That sounds nice”

“Great”

“Great”

“It’s a date”

“Yeah, and it’d better be amazing”

“Why’s that?” I frowned, pausing when I realized he was smirking at me now.

“Because, as I said, you still owe me, remember? And-“ I was cut abruptly when he let out a mischievous chuckle, and his lips suddenly covered mine.

The kiss only lasted a few seconds, but it was surprisingly tender and filled with emotion and I treasured every milisecond of it. When we broke away, we looked into each other's eyes. In the end, I chuckled happily and so did he.