He sidled up against the alluring blonde with a playful bump, causing their hips to collide. He visibly caught her off guard with his rather unusual greeting of sorts.
“What the hell? Oh, it’s you,” bluntly, the female resumed walking through the crowded hallways of Capeside High.
The all too familiar Capeside High for him. Something about being stuck in here for ten months of the year was so long and sickening to him. Education was so much easier to get off the television set.
“Hello to you, too, Lindley,” he scooped her up against him with his brawny arm, his physique overwhelming compared to her own.
“Did I say what the hell, Drue? Oh, sorry. I meant go to hell,” she flashed him her radiant simper of pure innocence, too sweet to be real before pointedly contorting to free herself from his protective cape.
“You’re worse than my mother, Lindley,” he continued his onward trek with her, having memorized her class schedule from his usual visitations to feed off her misery. Oh, her sweet misery.
“Well, then. I’ll take that as a compliment. After all, even if you did get an automatic stamp on your forehead identifying you as a highly overrated loser from your father’s side, hopefully the good looks came from your mother’s side,” she smiled dully, being almost lazy with her defense mockery.
“Oh, so the high and above me Jenny admits to wanting Drue Valentine?” he cocked a side-spun simper, dark strands dangling loosely before his dark spheres. He was haughty, and he knew it. But she didn’t know him on the inside. His exterior may have displayed the one kind of personality that would turn her off…but he had his reasons, ones she couldn’t judge him on.
“No, I loathe Drue Valentine. I don’t even know a Drue Valentine. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, he’s nonexistent. I think I heard of him once before. Oh, right. He was in grams’ bible listed under Satan’s honorable disciples,” she rapidly twisted around a corner, moving towards her locker.
He observed as her nimble fingertips hurriedly decoded the secret code to access what was within. Slowly his eyes traced up to the creamy flesh of her bare arms, then to the delicate golden curls that bounced affably around her pallid features. Whoa! Time to take a time out. He would not even think about Jennifer Lindley. All he cared about was those ditsy, fatuous, hike up their skirts and do the splits, rah-rah cheerleaders who were easy catches for the night. He didn’t care about her. Never would he care about her. Never would he care about anyone.
“There you go in denial again. Not good for you, Jenny,” he shamed her with delight.
“Do you know the term get lost, Drue? Because for the amount of times that I have said it to you, you’re not too smart if you haven’t caught on yet. And don’t you dare call me Jenny,” she scowled, growing with irritation. She was so impurely cute when she was angry with him.
“Please, Jenny?” he pouted, bearing his weight against her locker. She muttered bitter words, and how easily that turned him on was surprising to him. Whoa! It was time for another time out. This was getting pitiful on his behalf. His reputation couldn’t be sacrificed for a girl of such nonentity to him.
“Fine. Yes, Drue Valentine can in fact be seen on my radar scale as good looking…but only on his good days. The rest of the time he is more like Homer Simpson gone bad,” she cocked her head to the side with a transformed grin of utter drama.
“Close enough,” he pulled away allowing her to snake up her doodled-on binders and textbooks condensed through the mounds of ruffled papers.
“Here,” he curled his fingertips within the tight tunneling of his jean pocket, offering her a folded up party invitation. She scanned it over placidly before her gaze inclined to his with a mixture between disgust, surprise, and none other than rejection.
“You are inviting me to a Halloween Bash?” her finely shaped brow quirked inquisitively, scanning over the small print.
“Yes, along with the rest of Capeside High’s misfits, so you should feel lucky,” he covered his insecurities over with an ounce of his cocky demeanor.
“Lucky? I would say this skips more along the lines of insulting. Why would you think I would want to give you the pleasure of showing up at some party you have schemed up? The ones that always find a way to screw up somebody else’s life through embarrassment, humiliation, you know, the usual,” she commented bluntly. A bluntness that he wished was sharp enough to stab right through him rather than edge its way in inch by inch. She hurt. She hurt so indescribably much.
“Because of this,” he managed, swallowing down his pain with ease. His calloused fingertip edged along the bottom phrase as her eyes followed it.
“Free booze, no chaperones, what more could you want? Oh, wonderful, Drue. Goody, goody. That gives me all the more reason to go,” she rolled her eyes, packing her next classes materials within the storage of her backpack before swiveling the metal door shut with a sharp slam and twisting the rusted lock back into place.
“Your friends are coming,” he blurted out, her eyes widening visibly. Duh. Of course her Einstein gang wouldn’t come! But he needed an excuse, any excuse that was within grasping range to change her mind.
“They are?” a forced confusion spread over her features, cautiously swinging her bag over her shoulder.
“Yeah,” he lied, but it came second nature to him. Luckily it did, because he sure couldn’t afford acting lessons.
“What’s in it for me?” she inquired distastefully, still dubious that her gang of soap opera girl and boy scouts would actually engage in an evening of the rather naughty acts he usually planned, let alone just being in his presence for more than two minutes at a time.
“A night with your favourite person in the whole, wide, universe?” his brows wiggled waggishly, attempting to snag her with his charms.
“You mean whole, wide, world? And unless you’re planning to invite a Calvin Klein model, I don’t think my favourite person will be around,” she headed off purposely in the cardinal of her next class.
He figured she was silently praying that somehow he would slip on a banana peel, smash his head off the drinking fountain, get trampled on by the various brainy students rushing to get to class, and then hopefully be unconscious until she had time to get away from him. But no, he resumed his duty of trailing her like a pet.
“Pretty please, Lindley? I mean the least you can do is give me a chance. You of all people shouldn’t be quick to judge. You’re just as bad a sinner as me if not worse. And who knows? You might even have a good time,” he challenged her, briskly cutting through her path so she was forced to cease her motion.
He could sense she was debating by the subtle way she nibbled at her full lower lip, clamping it between her enamels in this seductive way that was about to drive him crazy in…after checking out his watch, a couple milliseconds. Whoa! Okay, the fact that he had to remind himself to take regular time outs from thinking about her was pretty sad. He was so weak, but only when it came to her. It wasn’t supposed to be that way!
“The others will be there?” she questioned hesitantly.
“Yes,” he confirmed wistfully, his rather nefarious spheres deviously crawling over her.
“I’ll be there,” she sighed heavily, forsaking her argument before making an attempt to push past him.
“Hold up there, Lindley,” he snapped the crinkled invitation from her grasp, teasingly holding it at a high enough elevation that her attempts to retrieve it were ineffectual.
“Drue, do you want me to go to your party, or not?” she hissed, exhaling deeply as she sassily crossed her bare appendages across her midriff with a glare of resentment.
Once again, there was another turn on. That was her fault. She had to stop doing that to him. It was all her fault.
“I just wanted to remind you that you have to dress up,” he smirked fondly down upon her overall impression of annoyance.
“So you decided to tell me I have to sport a hideous costume to this sad excuse for a Halloween event after I accepted?”
“Of course. No worries, Lindley. We could go together as Adam and Eve. Then we won’t have to dress up, just go in the flesh. I’ve got a few trees in the backyard to get busy behind, and we can throw in a snake for good measure,” he advised her, his creativity in no way seeming impressive to her.
“I’m just jumping for joy. Make me barf. Say, here’s an idea! Why don’t you wrap yourself in a sheet of tinfoil and go as a leftover? You’ve already got the acerb smell to play the part, and maybe in the mean time if God is willing, you’ll suffocate!” she cheerfully responded before at last squirming past him.
“Have fun with Shakespeare in English Class, darling,” he waved her off through the growing crowd.
“How did you know I had English?” the volume of her voice rose to meet his ears as she turned to face him from a distance.
“There’s a lot I know about you, Lindley…and a lot you don’t know about me,” he chuckled in a bemused fashion.
“Right. I think I’ll just go for the stalking theme,” she smiled almost thoughtfully.
He did care about her enough to know where she was going and why. Why he cared he didn’t comprehend himself. Maybe she was making him soft, and that wasn’t a good thing.
He snapped up one of the cafeteria trays, hypnotized briefly by the arrangement of colours in the rather unappetizing foods, if that’s what they called them here. To him it looked more like a little bit of this mixed with a little bit of that and presto! There you had it, crème de la crème cafeteria crap. If there were any memories that he would have about high school, this would certainly be one of them. Watching as a glob of some mixture was mounded on his plate. Yummy.
“Hey, is this from some horror movie? I think I recognize it from The Blob,” he inquired distastefully with one of the cafeteria servers.
“Move down the line!” was the annoyed response he received.
Obediently he wrestled through the growing crowd, placid stare taking vigilance on a vacant table. Empty, unwanted, unneeded; just like him.
Once seated, he found his appetite disintegrate as he struggled to swallow the acrid substance which was dubbed his meal for the day before being interrupted by an overly bubbly blonde, and it certainly wasn’t the notorious Jennifer Lindley.
“Hey, Drue!” the female chirped.
His blank stare inclined, blinking rather slowly with bafflement to the opposing. Oh, no. Okay, okay. So Andie McPhee was as nice as they came…but he really couldn’t deal with her overly cheerful excuse to hide her depression act any longer. She had this way of always looking on the bright side, always too spirited to be what he called real. She was too much for him.
“Andie,” he greeted her rather grimly, disposing of a used napkin before pointedly pretending she wasn’t there.
“Can you actually believe that our school is too cheap to afford eatable food? Celery?” she grinned widely, passing over a stalk which he promptly refused.
“Listen, McPhee. I know that somewhere over there your little Walton family friends are awaiting you, so why don’t you hightail it back over there instead of pretending to want to be here,” he informed her bluntly.
She wasn’t budging. Okay, so be it. He gaped his mouth open as a rather groggy burp erupted. That should satisfy her with enough Valentine rudeness to get lost. He didn’t want her sympathy or pity. He was just fine where he was, a loner.
A rather disgruntled expression eased across her features before making her best attempt to ignore his uncanny behaviour.
“Trying to wipe me off your slate, Drue? Won’t work. You actually thought that a moment of the male genre passing gas would make my hair turn on end before running away like little red riding hood from the big bad wolf? Lets remember that I did spend several months in a relationship with a guy by the name of Pacey Witter,” she responded dully before crunching deliberately at the stalks of vegetation that everyone was so bent on calling health food. How could something that tasted so bad be good for you?
“Yeah, and didn’t that end pretty,” he remarked, flinging various particles of his unwanted meal near the geek-a-zooid table.
“Well, at least I have something to account for unlike a certain somebody who wallows about his loner status before showing a perfectly good example why he got there in the first place,” she snapped hastily, snaking up her tray before gesturing at his actions.
“Was I complaining? Interesting, because I sure don’t remember complaining. What I do remember was an unwanted visitor intruding on my lunchtime, which I just happen to prefer to spend alone,” his expression validated his point.
“Right, and I’m the Wizard of Oz. Good afternoon, Drue,” graciously she tucked in her chair, moving away from his poisoning presence.
“Just keep following that yellow brick road back to your munchkins. Oh, one more thing, Andie. I forgot. Don’t ask questions; just be there with the rest of the gang. Please,” he pleaded subtly, thrusting her a paper airplane flyer advertising his now well known Halloween Bash.
All he had to do was con the rest of the Dawson Leery fan club into attending his celebration of sorts, and then she would come. She would be there and he could prove that he was better. He would be better.
“Come one inch closer and I will be forced to get a Drue exterminator,” the bullheaded brunette, Joey Potter threatened as he strolled in sync with her down the hallways after their last period.
“You don’t need one with those looks, Potter. That’s enough to drive me away,” he commented bluntly, tightening the grip he held on his books before an overwhelming simper laced across his daring features to meet her obscure glare. Perhaps becoming the ideal annoyance for everyone else was fun, but for Joey Potter, it was like heaven. She was so easily stricken, and once you hit her she erupted like molten lava. This wasn’t satisfaction. This was pure joy!
“Pesticide will do. If I’m enough to drive you away, then I suggest you start driving that way,” she gestured him off in a shooing manner.
Get lost? Him? Never. He had work to do. If he didn’t confirm that the rest of their groupie would make their presence known at his party, a certain female wouldn’t think twice before dropping out.
“Well, by the way you keep brushing your butt against me, I would say you are more than a little happy to see me, Potter. Maybe we should skip the pleasure for the time being. Why don’t we get straight down to business?”
Oh, if looks could kill…he’d be dead, mutilated, and burned at the stake. Was it just his imagination, or was it getting awfully hot in here? All that anger from her was enough to roast hotdogs on a bonfire.
“My butt wasn’t anywhere near your butt, so I suggest you take your butt elsewhere before I kick your butt,” the words were spit at him with irritation, swiveling to allow her glowering features to intimidate his.
“Butts, butts, and more butts. Well, while we’re on that topic, can you happen to drag your butt to my party, or did Andie mention it to you yet?” he also ceased his motion, peering down upon her blankly. Did she really think she could get to him with that ‘I’m going to devour your insides for my supper after I brutally beat every ounce of life out of you’ look?
“Oh, I heard, Drue. Trust me, she’s pretty much the only one who has enough pity for your wormy existence to even care to attend your little hat and balloon party.”
“So she’s coming? And you…” he trailed unsurely, shifting to allow a few crowding students by the blockage he had created in the hall.
“Would rather die,” she finished his sentence before once again whirling and moving towards her locker.
“That can be arranged, Potter. What shall it be? A slit throat, electric chair, or the old fashioned rope to the neck?” he teased, never giving in. He would not just dismiss this. All he had to do was convince her. She would convince Dawson, Andie would convince Pacey, and Jack would somehow find his way to them like usual.
“Any. They’re all better than standing another moment of your destruction. Sometimes I wish you would just…” she pondered momentarily, trying to skitter through her built-in dictionary for the proper terms.
“Go to hell?” he offered, meeting her dark gaze.
“Yeah, well my mother always says that to me, but she’s a nut. Looks like you two have something in common,” he confessed, his expression growing rather serious.
“Well, it’s no wonder. Being around you too long can be a pretty traumatizing experience,” she chuckled sarcastically in unison with him before spotting the advancing Dawson Leery.
He observed them greet one another with a hug, it having become a tradition in their Romeo and Juliet romance. Bah, soon it would sour out just like Andie’s and Pacey’s did. He wasn’t jealous in the least, or he wasn’t going to admit it if he realized he was.
He tested his fake grin on the opposing male, elegantly sacrificing his own happiness by not bothering to insult him at first sight like he usually did.
“Don’t worry. Drue was just leaving, right?” the brunette stressed.
“Actually, I was, but only if you so graciously accept the invitation to my party. So, what do you say, Spielberg?” he directed his inquiry to Dawson this time, hoping in some distorted fashion he would convince Joey with his sickening, dull, tedious, once again sickening, over the rooftop optimism.
“Sounds alright, I guess. Has Joey agreed?” he curiously stared down upon the now infuriated brunette.
“Course she has, right Josephine?” he pointedly horrified her even more by using her full name, his mood brightening as their evil glares kept colliding. Oh, fun, fun!
“Then I guess we’ll be there,” the male confirmed.
“No surprise. It’s not like you guys have anything else to do unless you count watching a bunch of PG rated horror flicks all night fun. Dress up. Maybe you two could come as Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street. That’s just an idea. Well, tootles Dawson; Josephine,” he poised his sweetly unknown grin before twiddling his fingertips and waving the duo off.
He knew he would win again. After all, Joey Potter would always obey her master Dawson Leery. Wherever he was, she would be. He would drag her around on a leash for as long as their absconded sister-brother relationship prolonged. Well, he supposed the best part about it was the fact that he could pick on someone else’s relationship since he didn’t have his own to critique. Whatever worked, worked for him. He still got the satisfaction out of it, every time, and that’s all that mattered.
“Whoops. My hand slipped,” he casually stated his innocence as his hand struck the blonde’s arm-full of school books, sending them scattering to the gravel turf.
She scowled, creeping nearer to the ground to assist in recollecting them without a word. It was his perfectly valid excuse to walk her home. At last, she wasn’t with her damn bodyguard, Jack McPhee.
“Whoops. My foot slipped and happened to magnetically transfer to your shin,” she grimaced as her hard toe made a harsh collision with his leg.
“Little Bo-Peep shouldn’t walk home without her sheep.”
“Well, the evil, grotesque spider shouldn’t keep scaring her,” she responded, purposely easing into her silent mode, where everything he said was ignored in a dumbfounded manner.
“Nice try, Jenny, but that was Miss Muffet, I’m afraid.”
“Close enough. I’m not Mother Goose,” she grumbled, continuing on in her steady trek.
His solemn vigilance traced every curve of her physique, her features almost ghostly in their velvety paleness. God, she was beautiful. Everything about her was some sort of fascination to him that would take hours to truly appreciate.
He sidetracked a bit, until she lost her attentions to him and he was able to sidle up closer behind her. Inhaling the honey sweetness of her coiled strands sent a spontaneous wave of desire through him, the warmth of her body deflecting off his own with the small gap between them. How could he be so near yet so far from her at the same moment?
“What are you doing?” the female spun unsurely, tossing him a perplexed gaze.
“Nothing,” he abruptly responded, blinking down upon her with a hindered motion.
She frowned subtly at him before they continued on. She didn’t seem to mind the fact that he was escorting her home in a secluded, sneaky act. Maybe she didn’t realize that’s what he was doing, or maybe she was too scared to admit that for once he wasn’t bothering her, even if he was getting to her.
“Something wrong?” he questioned her quiet temperament.
“Nothing,” she abruptly responded in a copycat tone.
“So do you. I’m not complaining,” she snapped almost bitterly. A bitterness that was too much to swallow. It simply lingered in place, like an unwanted visitor.
“Whoa, is your monthly friend cramping your style?” he formed an excuse for her sudden agitation, completely oblivious to the fact that it would only make things worse.
“No. You are cramping my style. Drue, just go away. I don’t want to talk to you right now. I don’t even want to see you right now because the next time I look at you, I am going to want to ring your neck like that pesky hamster I had when I was in grade one,” her tone came off forceful, and utterly painful to him.
“I know you love me, Lindley.”
“No, I don’t. I hate you and you bug me,” she replied obtusely.
“Hag,” he countered miserably.
He saw her hazel oculus grow dark and suddenly fog and haze into an eerie resentment. He shouldn’t have said that. He knew how sensitive she was about her past and he would never live this down. He had failed her once again. He was clawing at her in a way that was unfair, because he was insecure, because he was unworthy, and because he had no right to be the one man in her life.
As quickly as he came, she left. Watching her walk away from him seemed almost alien. Not because she hadn’t done it before, but because this time…she meant it.
All the preparations were ready, and so was his road kill party. The guests would be arriving sooner than later. But, there was something missing. It was her, Jennifer Lindley. If he could’ve screwed up any worse than he did the previous day, he couldn’t imagine how. He wanted everyone who ever hated him to be there that very moment simply to call him stupid, simply to call him worthless, and simply to point their fingers at him and blame him for everything in their lives that needed a cause. For once, he wanted to care about how he affected someone else and how he could hurt someone else as intensely as he hurt the beloved blonde. He was going to pay up in hell for this, or heaven, which could be worse because he was too careless to stop while he was ahead. Then he went barging through the dead end and crashed into her where she hurt most. Time to admit he was an idiot. Time to admit he was wrong. Time to admit that he did carry these devouring emotions that were sucking every ounce of anger that he wanted to have away; these emotions that were all because of her. Why was he losing the strength he needed to be hated over her, over a girl that found him so despicable, so inhumane, so…so…him?
He had it figured out, because he was a smarty-pants. He could actually make sense of the way he was when a stiff degree of intelligence was admissible to seeping through. He just didn’t want to admit it. His mother had even dragged him to a shrink once before to see why he was so incapable of being a normal kid. Well, the answer she should’ve gotten was because he had a mother who was incapable of being normal, but she didn’t. She got the answer that she preferred, as per usual. He was just as smart as any other kid around, only dysfunctional. Dysfunctional, eh? Now he didn’t work properly. Now he was some robotic excuse for a human being. But they were all right. He wasn’t human. Maybe he wasn’t a robot, but he was a monster.
He awoke from his mind-boggling thoughts only to hear the high-toned ring of the doorbell. A group of regular acquaintances moseyed on in, starting the party off with a danger sign as they immediately went searching for liquor after their subtle hello. Wonderful. Things were just getting better and better. But, it was his fault for promoting it. He always got in the spotlight of the blaming game.
After about thirty guests had already arrived, some familiar with him, others not, he opened the door to a Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s bride, none other than Dawson and Joey. Okay, so if he ever needed a reminder of how completely lame part of the student body at Capeside High was, this was all he needed, to replay Joey and Dawson sporting this hideous wardrobe. Maybe them dressing up wasn’t all that good of an idea after all. It surely wasn’t going to brighten their reputations any. But hey, the good side was that their reputations couldn’t get much lower.
“Welcome, green lovers. I love what you’ve done to your hair, Potter. It really accents the rest of your ugly features,” he playfully remarked at her silver-streaked strands.
“Thrilled to be here, Drue. Just thrilled,” she seethed, eyeing him with her thin oculus. Oh, well. What was another one to add to his Drue haters club?
He escorted the duo in, observing them stand rather awkwardly within the growing crowd.
“This isn’t a stand up comedy show. You can join in you know, if your legs permit you,” he commented, baffled with their uncertainty.
“We promised the others we’d wait for them,” Dawson exclaimed to his previously drawn-out statement, quietly easing a brawny appendage around his belonging.
Joey Potter, oh, Joey Potter. Not growing tired yet, was she? It was time she stood on her own two feet and stopped her blah, blah act. She wasn’t even an individual anymore. She was Dawson’s individual. She was Dawson’s movie masterpiece creation. She was his. He felt like striding up to Dawson with a hugely plastered smirk on his face and asking him in a nonchalant manner if he would like fries with his order of Joey Potter. But he didn’t. Why he didn’t was because only ninety-nine percent of him was monster, believe it or not.
“Well, if you don’t mind taking a brief timeout from your antisocial status’, could you please move into the living room with the rest of the socially educated individuals? I rather you not stand here and block the door or scare off any incoming guests,” he shoved them into deliberate motion, slinging their jackets over the staircase rail before once again meeting and greeting trailing comers.
The other guests were probably getting into apparent trouble in the other rooms of the house, which he dared not to check on. He pretended like the thought of the house being struck by an invisible tornado, and a bunch of barfing drunks lazing around while another load sneaked up into the available bedrooms for a quick hokey-pokey was completely not in reality, which he happened to know it was.
“Hey there, Drue. Looks like we’re just in time for the good stuff,” Pacey eased in with the one and only Andie McPhee tagging close behind. She greeted him with a simple smile, which he wasn’t sure if he should take for granted or not.
How two people could be so inseparable, and state that they were over each other no matter how uncalled for their breakup was, fizzled his mind. They were remarkably stupid if they thought everyone around them was falling for that hoax. What was it with people nowadays? They could be so annoying with their drama plays. Speaking of which he…never mind.
“Pacey, Andie. Come on in! Love the costumes. They’re much more fashionable than Joey and Dawson’s Frankenstein dilemma. They’re around here somewhere waiting for you, and there’s booze for the taking if you even care. Don’t be surprised if you trip over some drunks. I haven’t been back there yet, but I’m not expecting it’s pretty,” he put on his best cheerful act, yet did admire their look-alike outfits of Danny and Sandy from Grease. As he watched them disappear into the now bustling atmosphere, the loud raging of the music boomed within his head. He was being drained of everything, but mostly his disappointment. She was supposed to be here.
As he drifted from the door, in popped what he imagined Jen, but it wasn’t. It was her sloppy second, Jack McPhee.
“Oh, Jack,” he blinked slowly, heaving a forsaking sigh.
He was dressed as James Bond. Interesting. Figures so. Not that he wasn’t up and cheering for the opposing with his rare sexuality trait, but James Bond? I mean it was a little expected for Jack McPhee.
“Door service, Drue? Well, that’s a switch. Usually at your party’s it’s a break in and enter situation, free for the taking,” the other chuckled lazily, removing his slick jacket.
“You know me. Come one, come all,” his sarcastic excuse for laughter erupted, ceasing almost immediately. The only reason he was doing door service this time was because he was waiting for a certain somebody, namely Jen. But she wasn’t coming. Oh, no. Drue screwed up again.
“There you are, Jen. Tripping up the steps were you?” Jack McPhee teased, escorting the mistress into the modern atmosphere.
What? She had come! Oh, no. His sights were set upon her, a bright myriad of colours dotted along her clingy costume. She was posing as Superwoman. This was more than interesting. This was…time out! His thoughts were straying too much lately, and that outfit was making it worse. She was making it worse.
“Jen,” he managed, nearly choked for words.
Okay, so she obviously was still angry by the distraught look she gave him. She was not nearly as pleased to see him, as he was she.
“Ready to grind, Jen?” her male companion bumped against her casually with a smirk, being so at ease with one another before dragging her off.
“Jen!” he called after her, brows furrowing with uncertainty. He wistfully observed her swivel to meet his daring gaze, a deep off edginess battling between them.
“Love the costume, Drue. It’s Jack the Ripper, right?” she smiled so faintly; so faint he had to struggle to acknowledge it. But she had acknowledged something nobody else had. What he was.
“Yeah,” he confirmed.
“Surprise, surprise,” she indulged with a violent mockery that was so subtle, yet still so loud and clear.
Then she slipped quietly into the crowd with Jack, and he was still left standing alone by the front door. He was always alone, wherever he was. And he wasn’t waiting for anything because nothing was coming.
“I like pretty red curtains,” Andie McPhee commented brightly, her fingertips raking along the velvety material in silence. She was drunk. Not just drunk, but also truly intoxicated when the party had only been going on for a couple hours. He would’ve never guessed she had it in her.
“It’s okay, Andie,” he smiled sweetly, petting the top of her head as he attempted to drag her out of the empty dining room which was off limits. As talented as he was at breaking his mother’s rules, he didn’t feel like breaking this one.
“But they’re pretty, Drue,” she beamed.
Man, he was glad she didn’t get a hold of any drugs that might be going around this party. The shouting of the other drunks and partiers sounded almost faint from the part of the house they were mingling in. She just kept getting heavier, and heavier, and heavier. He couldn’t drag her much longer.
“Andie, why don’t you get up and try to walk, eh?” he inquired with depletion, hoping for some assistance.
“Okay,” she talked impishly, supporting herself on gangly limbs before recklessly flopping back into the generous hold of his firm embrace with hysteric laughter.
“Whoa, easy now. Maybe that’s not such a good idea. Shit,” he blanked out, at a loss for ideas. The last thing he wanted was for her to get into any more trouble, as peculiar as many would find that of him.
“I’ll help. I’ll be lighter, and then you can carry me,” she began humming while pointedly undressing herself.
“What the hell are you doing?” he half screamed, half whimpered as she slowly stripped her shirt off, revealing a lacey bra. This wasn’t going to be fun to explain. And to make matters worse, she was beginning to slip down her jeans as he struggled to stop her in the midst of bearing her weight.
“Helping,” she responded gleefully.
“Andie!” he yelped, at last forcing her denim’s up to their rightful positioning once again. His throat was growing dry and achy, hormones becoming a sudden occurrence when a female simply began to strip down before him. This was looking very grim.
A hoarse voice was heard advancing, and he recognized it as Pacey’s. He must’ve been looking for Andie. Oh, now he was going to be Jack the Rapist. This was certainly not going to be his brightest moment if he didn’t get that shirt back on her.
“Andie, listen. Can you pretty please put your shirt back on for Drue? I’ll give you a ride home,” he pouted innocently. He did care about her welfare, and somehow, he was going to make sure she was okay.
“Pace!” she squealed, also recognizing the voice that was now growing louder in volume.
“Shit, shit, shit!” he growled, his calloused fingertips slinking downwards to locate her discarded shirt before at last snagging it and doing his best to slink it over her bare arms. But this wasn’t working well, seeing as her arms were too limp with protest to facilitate his actions.
“Andie! Drue? What is this, some sick joke of yours?” a familiar voice boomed. Pacey Witter had found them, and now there would be hell to pay.
“This isn’t what you think, Pacey,” he abruptly intruded, shifting to hold up the attached female who was simply filled with an everlasting sense of happiness. She wouldn’t be much help at this time.
“What I think is that you were readily about to take advantage of her, you son of a bitch!” the opposing challenged; visible anger surfacing as he protectively lunged at him. If there was one thing that he gave credit to Pacey Witter for, it was his fearlessness to act on what he felt…and right now, he was feeling anger.
They engaged in what was for high school guys, a heated battle of sorts. It wasn’t grueling or long, just short lived with a few swift left-handers from Pacey Witter whom happened to be quite educated in the brawling department, much to his disadvantage. He was losing, despite his larger size. Pacey was a mongrel, rough, tough, and devastatingly painful. As they parted for a brief moment, his lower lip stung with an unbelievable force of defeat, a metallic taste accompanied by the crimson liquid.
“Shit,” he squirmed, accidentally fumbling backwards into Andie who was braced against the wall with an awakening shock.
“You won’t ever lay a bloody hand on her again,” the tempered Witter fumed, stalking closer to him, now dubbed as his prey.
“Just hold it, Witter!” he pleaded, his trembling hands placed ahead of his body to protect any other sudden attacks he was soon to receive.
“Pacey, did I ever tell you how much I’m still in love with you?” the now ditsy blonde interrupted, coughing hoarsely.
He observed Pacey brush off her confession. Perhaps he believed it was just one of those effects that took on her when she was one hundred percent drunk, but it wasn’t because he could sense it. The opposing male was blind not to, or maybe he just didn’t want to see it.
“Come on, Andie,” the opposing male softened, gradually redressing the female who he now took care of with everything he willed.
“I found her here drunk. I swear it. Nothing happened, Witter. I was trying to drag her out of here so I could give her a ride home or maybe get you to get her home safe. Then she just started undressing because I hinted that she was getting too heavy,” he managed between cracking winces coming from the consequences of the barbaric acts Pacey Witter indulged upon previously. He was innocent! He didn’t need a lawyer this time. But everyone had the right to say he was lying because of how often he had done it before. He deserved this.
“Please believe me, Witter,” he prayed, on the verge of begging. Great, now he was a dog. Wasn’t this just the most splendid situation he had ever gotten himself in to?
“I don’t know what to believe right now, Drue. All I know is that I’m getting her out of here. If I stay any longer, I won’t have the self control to stop myself from digging you a grave, whether or not you are telling the truth.”
He watched. He didn’t just observe; he watched this time as the brunette male escorted the intoxicated female out with affable whispers to soothe her disoriented state. For some uncalled for reason, he found that simple act, dare he say beautiful? He would kill for that. The simple sacrifice and reward of caring about someone so much that every moment you tried to be with them to take care of them. To always make them feel right. He was incapable of ever having that.
“Joey, let’s not make this a scene. Why don’t we talk about this outside,” the masculine tone of Dawson Leery was what he walked into.
Oh, wonderful. He had just walked away from a fight, and now he was walking right into one? Was this punish Drue day? Wasn’t every day? Could he not get through this night without another tragedy? Now, he was walking right into the battle zone of one of those spitting, get out of the way before a bomb is launched, everlasting Joey and Dawson arguments. Fortunately, he wasn’t part of this fight but now he would be the cause of a relationship burning down into ashes. Superb. He loved how everything kept getting better and better. He concluded something. He was cursed in a past life, or worse, he cursed someone else in a past life and was now getting his well-earned, long due punishment.
There was a massive crowd growing with chuckles. They probably didn’t know what they were laughing at, simply because they had lost all their brain cells to one too many drinks. But he knew, and it was no laughing matter. He gave credit to Dawson and Joey’s relationship, as much as he poked fun at it…and he sympathized with what was unraveling before his very eyes.
“I don’t care if we make a scene, Dawson. I don’t even know what I care about anymore. I don’t even know who I am. Everything about me has something to do with you and I’m not so sure if I’m ready to accept that,” the brunette babbled with a confidence he had usually clued out on. Soon would come her rage stage.
“What’s that supposed to mean, Jo?” the blonde male was completely at ease, gifted with a patience he envied himself.
“What do you think it’s supposed to mean, Dawson? You know it all, right?”
“Jo, you’re going to have to try and help me out here because I sure am not getting this picture you’re trying to draw out for me.”
“Do you love me, Dawson?” the female erupted, her body posture uniquely intimidating. He noticed the sudden wave of insult flooding the male.
“Of course I love you, Jo. God, why do you think I’ve been so scared to lose you since day one?” he inquired quietly, the blaring music shutting out his tone mildly.
“Maybe because if you did, you wouldn’t have something to come back to. We have this comfort zone, Dawson. Something that we always cling to because we are so scared of everything around us. We have to let go,” the brunette settled, much to his surprise. Was she drained of her bullheaded approach?
“Why are you saying this now, Jo?” the opposing male swallowed with fierce pain, struggling to hold back his vulnerable emotions before a large fraction of the student body.
“Because I should’ve said it a long time ago, Dawson. This is no surprise to either of us. We are trapped here together. It’s written in the stars, but we both know it isn’t truly written in our hearts,” the female concluded.
“I don’t want to see you right now, Joey. I can’t even,” the blonde male hesitated, moving away from her in a mixed flurry of every emotion ever sensed. He was hurting now.
The brunette stood idly, oblivious to the curious stares revolving around the centerpiece of party animals. Her placid gaze momentarily passed his own before her lips drew up into a quirky guilt portrayed by innocence. Then she too left the party. One by one they seemed to be dropping like flies.
His battered body was completely inert. He didn’t care about his stupid, typical high school party going on below. He just sat in his bedroom where everything was quiet. Everything was just like he wanted it. And furthermore, he was alone.
An unsteady knock rattled against his shut door, his attentions sparked momentarily.
“Whoever it is, go away,” he bluntly remarked, figuring it was just a couple trying to rent out his room for a couple hours like it was some cheapskate hotel. But some persistent unknown without hesitation swung open the door. There before him was no other than Jen.
“That’s no way to greet guests, Drue,” she smiled meekly, aimlessly wandering into the enclosure of his personal lair.
“I’m no longer the doorman. Plus, I didn’t know it was you. Why are you up here? Don’t think I didn’t notice earlier when you so casually stared at me with your jutted out lip and sinister glare, reminding me that I was still on your top ten kill list, because I did. So instead of sitting up here with me and reminiscing about what a disappointment I always turn out to be, you should go down there and continue enjoying yet another one of my degrading parties,” his spheres remained morose and edgy to her presence, dark strands curtaining his shadowed features.
“So should you. Jack left once he heard about Andie, leaving me alone. Plus, I was getting bored of decoding what all the drunks downstairs had for dinner from their barf puddles after they passed out all over your kitchen floor so I decided to pretend I wasn’t mad at you anymore.”
Sure it was a rather sickening comment, and coming from a female it wouldn’t be so ladylike. But he had to indulge in a brief chuckle, for Jen Lindley knew how to make him laugh sincerely. It was Jen. She was all real, no holding back, flat-out to her point. That was something he had always trusted in her.
Without his request, she aimlessly wandered to his positioning, easing herself aside him onto the comfort of the mattress.
“I heard about everything that happened,” she remarked, examining the open wound on his lip.
“I really rather not reenact it, Jen, if you don’t mind,” he responded, his tone a subtle growl.
“Ouch. That looks like it hurts,” she gestured to the gruesome slit.
“Yeah. Well, thanks to you for not warning me about Witter’s lefthanders.”
“Here,” she ignored his grumpy demeanor, lightly allowing the icy beads from a damp cloth she had prepared and brought in to bathe the soured flesh.
It was quiet. Not awkward quiet, just quiet. Like there were no words that needed to be said for a simple moment of his life and there didn’t have to be any analyzing, crude punishment, or ‘I told you so’. It was for the briefest moment, perfect.
“So what made you go for Superwoman, Jen? I figured you’d be coming in as some man slayer,” he smirked deviously, exchanging glances with her briefly.
“I thought I’d test out the good-girl image this time, and Mother Theresa seemed a bit over the top.”
“Aren’t you scared to be sitting aside me, Jack the Ripper? I might decide to slit your throat and mutilate your body if Superman doesn’t come in time,” he played along with the moment.
“Of course not. Jack the Ripper was a monster, which not even you could be, Drue,” she offered almost compassionately in response, tucking away a few blonde wisps for safe keeping.
He grew solemn and his emotions became disoriented by her statement. Gradually his drained features edged their way into the security of his moist palms.
“I am a monster,” he confessed unwillingly, his voice deeply masculine and hoarse. Perhaps she would be stunned by such a confession but she knew within her that his true identity was just that.
“You’re not, Drue. As much as I hate everything you do.”
“I know, Jen. That’s what scares me the most. Everything I do is hated. I am hated. If for some reason I disappeared from the face of the earth, nobody would notice, let alone care. Sometimes I wish I could just die and spare myself the aggravation,” his voice grew deeply unconfident, fearing the very thought of such an occurrence.
“You know those aren’t the facts. You’re not the type to give up so easily. Life is hard, especially living it. Leave the easy stuff to death. Putting yourself down isn’t going to charm anyone, especially when you know none of what you’re saying is true,” the female comforted, and he found that very act obscure for her to reflect upon him.
“And you know it is. All you’re going to remember about me when you’re ninety years old with a barrel full of ignorant kids and a husband with an unattractive beer belly is how I constantly reminded you of how dumb you were. How I constantly fed upon your misery. How I ruined every good thing in your life that I could manage. Don’t start lying to me now, Jen. You’ve been honest every time you’ve clearly demanded I get lost,” his tone grew almost insulted by her apparent dishonesty.
“I didn’t say I wasn’t going to remember all those things, Drue. Because I know I will. I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t. But I won’t just remember them. I’ll remember how every crabby morning of school you started off my day with a stupid joke, which was exactly what I needed. I’ll remember how you flattered me by hanging out with me when the rest of my friends were too busy in their love dramas to give two hoots about what was happening in my life, while you take interest in it. I’ll remember how every time I show you one of my lousy, not so impressive grades, you’ll always compare yours and make me feel better when you casually joke that there’s always someone stupider. But most of all, I’ll always remember how you just let me be me,” she faded off, becoming cautious at her open approach.
“How can you say that after all I’ve put you through? Let me guess, you are drunk too,” he concluded in a baffled manner, dumbfounded with her admitting to actually caring about him.
“Drue, is it so hard to believe I don’t think you’re half bad? I mean sure, you are a nuisance, but that doesn’t mean I hate you.”
“Then what does it mean, Jen? You pity me?” he grew defensive, his mood-swings willing to irritate her to the bone.
“No. It means maybe we have more in common than you think. We both have sad excuses for mothers, no direction in our lives, and the same dislike for education.”
Her cheerful beam was in no way working its magic on him. He was completely blank, and still very in the dark about what she was saying. It was quiet again, but this time an awkward quiet that was penetrating his thoughts. The room grew darker, colder. It was too easy to open up to her, becoming more vulnerable than he could’ve ever desired.
“I’m so scared, Jen,” he cracked with dissolving security as he felt her fingertips edge up the mild groove of his back, trekking up the tunnel like Braille.
“Every time I see someone happier, I get this impulse and passion to make them angry, sad, whatever it is that they fall into. It feels good. It feels so good, Jen. It’s like maybe if everyone else becomes as anguished as I am, then my life is right. If I make them feel so worthless, so unwanted and unneeded, then maybe they can be as insignificant as I want them to be. Maybe if they for the briefest moment feel they are nothing in this world to anyone, it will make me something. If I hurt them, then they should fear me or hate me and maybe that’s better than nothing at all. It satisfies me, and sometimes I hope that’ll make everything I do right. Like the satisfaction of it will be worth it. And then I realize everyone’s gone. Sometimes that’s not so bad…but sometimes I wonder how I got here. When everyone including your own mother and father don’t want you, it’s sometimes better to just stay unwanted. That way I won’t be hurt again. That way I can make everyone else feel bad and still feel good,” he continued, her presence acknowledged and ignored at the same moment.
“I know. I know that when everyone around you feels bad, you feel good. Like you’re special because you’re not feeling bad. Like you’re better because you have nothing to feel bad about. But then you realize why you have nothing to feel bad about, because you had nothing to feel good about in the beginning. I feel it too,” her words were barely audible, but they lingered in his lobes as he observed the stunningly beautiful display of saline brim her lids.
“I don’t know how else to feel, Jen. Maybe we’ll never know how to feel because the one thing we can’t get past is that we both have defensive barriers, Jen. Strong and mighty,” he managed, his fingertips clasping greedily to the comforter on his bed as the female suddenly flickered from her depths. Did he make another boo-boo?
“Don’t pin that on me. I do not have a defensive barrier,” she nearly fumed out of the ordinary.
This was certainly amusing. Jennifer Lindley wouldn’t admit to having a defensive barrier when he could see his distorted reflection in the pools of hurt that were bravely edging her eyes? Well, he would just have to prove to her that she had something she never noticed before, because he sure had. He knew all her emotions, because he felt them too. He felt every minimal sting that she did for all the same reasons.
“Then why do you have this wall around you that nobody can get through? God, Jen. Can’t you see it? It’s too high to jump, too strong to break…and too beautiful to harm,” his voice grew into a bellowed tone, dark eyes surfacing to hers.
“It’s not,” she responded delicately, her tenacious moment dispersing.
“Then why are you so scared?”
“I’m not scared of anything, Drue,” her chin propped up, exhaling deeply as she refused to forsake her point of view.
“You are. You’re scared of loving someone too much, or someone else loving you. You’re scared to get too close to anyone who might leave you in the end. You’re scared that you’re always going to be alone. But most of all, you’re scared to get hurt. You’re so, so, scared,” he rhymed off in such a nonchalant manner that he realized maybe he did know more about the human heart than he thought he did. Maybe it wasn’t some foreign object that contained too many emotions to consume. Maybe he knew more about her.
“And you want to cry so bad, but you can’t. You can’t because you won’t let yourself. You think you’ll look too weak, but really you’ll look too strong,” he continued.
He noticed her abrupt change of reaction. He had secured her where he wanted her. Their soft gazes were exchanged, and she dared not utter a breath. Maybe it was time for them both to submit to reality, the truth of it all. They knew more about each other than they ever could’ve processed, or imagined. That could be scary…or it could be relieving. It was whatever they chose to make it.
“Jen, I just want you to know that you should stop being afraid. I know what it’s like and you get so caught up in staying away from everything until you’re so far away that you realize you weren’t so close to anything in the first place. You have friends who love you. Don’t push them away. Sometimes it hurts more to not be hurt. At least if you’re hurt, you know you meant something to someone in the first place, and probably still do.”
Silence overpowered everything, and the moment was so engaged within itself. Nothing seemed to matter; nothing seemed to really count. It was ironic that they ended up here. But for some reason, it comforted him if not her knowing he wasn’t alone out there. Knowing at least one other person in the world cared enough about him to be honest and true. That was something he needed to function. He needed to know that maybe in the slightest degree he had a chance at something meaningful.
“I’m not,” she argued in such a soft tone, there really wasn’t much of an argument.
“Jen, what would you do if I kissed you?” he swallowed out of the blue, uncertainty dwelling as his dark gaze transfixed upon hers.
“I would scream, and kick, and yell,” she ran on, brows furrowing as if she wouldn’t even discuss the very thought of his lips against hers.
“That there was your proof that you have a defensive barrier. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be so scared about letting me kiss you,” he commented rather bluntly.
“Maybe I just don’t want to kiss you, Drue.”
“Hypocrite,” he murmured beneath his breath.
“Pervert,” she responded.
“Woman slaughterer,” she threw in a costume insult.
“Sexy, teasing, seductive, Superwoman,” he rephrased his what should have been insult into a compliment.
“Pervert,” she repeated herself as the obscurely playful fray hit the cold cement, evolving into something new as her broadened palm drew up to her features. He heard her muffled sobs, half outward, half inward. She wanted him to hear her, but she didn’t want him to understand it.
“I won’t let you block me off the way I’ve tried to block you off, Jen. Because truth is, it’s not working so smoothly for me at the moment.”
The persistance of her imprisoned tears was no longer ignored as they plummeted down more fluently, leaking over her stained cheeks. These were emotions he could relate to and fears he had encountered his entire life.
“I’m so afraid, Drue,” she at long last admitted, her tone unbearably innocent.
“Jen, don’t be afraid,” his voice grew intimate with desire, his coarse fingertips gingerly stroking the moist exterior of her pallid cheek before forcing her into a swift collision of ultimate passion. His tender lips maneuvered around hers with caged in wants and needs. The moist, warm sensation passed off was more than he had bargained for. It was unimaginable, undeniable, and unsurpassable. He couldn’t begin to explain how badly he wanted to love her.
He felt her submission after her brief resistance, crumbling within his overly powerful security. She was falling for him now, and he wasn’t about to help her get back up. She quaked lightly as he mouthed her parted lips, so teasingly intimate in one sweep. He would offer everything he had to her, anything to prove he could be the one man in her life that would love her for as long as she needed.
“You love me,” he flashed his side-spun grin of ultimate mischief.
“No, like I said, I hate you,” she smiled ever so sweetly as he graciously escorted her from the now manageably clean household.
“Thanks for helping me clean up the mess.”
“You mean the mounds of garbage, or the mounds of intoxicated football players?”
“Both,” he tugged her into an embrace that felt oddly familiar, though he had never experienced it before. Her in his arms felt so right.
“You know this is wrong,” the female murmured breathlessly as if telepathically reading his thoughts, obviously still uncertain about the awkward events that evening.
“Yeah, it is. But some things are wrong for the right reasons, Lindley,” his thumb bristled over the amber coils showering her hypnotizing features of a simple elegance.
“I hate when you’re right.”
“I know. Look on the bright side. At least the night wasn’t a total disaster,” he managed to excuse the rather uncalled for events.
“Oh, of course not. Not nearly as bad as World War One or Two,” she teased with evident sarcasm.
“I should go,” she smiled meekly, turning to exit the generously open front entrance into the raven casts looming within the night’s sky. Jack-o-lanterns scattered the premises, flooding the darkness as they acted like lamps to guide. He waved her off unwillingly, wishing for so much more than just a night to kiss her. He wanted all the time in the world to make her, his.
She eventually slowed at the base of the driveway, teetering on her heels to turn and face him once again.
“Hey, I forgot to ask you, Drue. Trick or treat?” she quizzed him with a waggish contrast.
He chuckled mildly to her, shaking his head as if in disbelief of how she so easily amused him every moment. It was an honorable trait.
“I think I already got the treat, Lindley. I’ll see you around.”
As quickly as she came, she dispersed. He knew that he had always been scared of being close to anyone, let alone a female as intimidating as Jennifer Lindley. But now she was turning him upside down and inside out, and the thought of being without anyone became his new fear. Furthermore, being without her. He certainly wasn’t perfect and maybe she wasn’t either, but maybe if they worked on it they could be perfect for each other. Only time could tell.