I BLEW MY growing bangs from my eyes and peeked up at the front door for signs of Willow. I was anxious to show her the car my aunt had gifted me this morning for my sixteenth birthday. Willow was usually my ride to school, but I loved having my own ride now.
It meant a quicker escape when he came around to torment me.
I gritted my teeth and reminded myself I wasn’t going to let him bother me. Not today. We were only three days in the school year, and he had managed to humiliate me more than ever and confuse me at the same time. I hadn’t seen him for three months because I’d heard he’d gone to some camp for gifted players. We didn’t usually cross paths during the summer. Since he had a crowd and I didn’t, I never had to worry about ours mixing.
When he caught me standing alone in the hall the first day of school, it wasn’t only fear that his presence created. My body flushed even now remembering the way he looked at me just before he knocked my books from my hand and kept walking.
I didn’t know what to call it.
But even more confusing was how I wanted more of it.
Yesterday, he made a point to tell a teacher, in the middle of the cafeteria and loud enough for others to hear, my nipples were too hard for my top and that maybe someone should loan me a bra. Later that day, I found a pile of worn bras, ranging in size and color, waiting for me at my locker. Displayed on the locker was a message asking if my headlights were still on. Unfortunately for me, the hallway had been full of people waiting to witness my humiliation. I couldn’t find Keiran in the crowd, but I felt his eyes watching me.
I’d kept my head down the rest of the day, wishing my aunt had found the time to take me bra shopping for bigger bras yesterday. I had outgrown mine, which had been the reason for me not wearing one. I didn’t count on my nipples hardening or Keiran noticing.
A knock on the window brought me back to the present, and I found Buddy standing outside with a goofy grin. I forced a smile and rolled down the window. “New ride?”
He was only fourteen but already a complete heartthrob. Even girls my age were sighing over him. Rumor was already circulating he kissed like a dream. How that made it among high school hallways and girls locker rooms was beyond me since he was only in the eighth grade.
“Yup. My aunt got it for my birthday.”
He nodded and stood back and admired the car, which was a simple white sedan that fits me perfectly. “Happy Birthday. Let me borrow it sometime?”
I blinked slowly at Buddy, but luckily, Willow took that moment to come running from their house, saving me from answering.
“A car!” she screamed as if she’d never see one before. She bounced around the front of the car and pulled me into a hug when I got out, and then she screamed Happy Birthday.
“It’s so pretty and so you! Now you get to chauffeur me to school.”
“I thought we could carpool after I make up for all the rides.”
“Sure thing and no makeup necessary. We start tomorrow.” She ran around to the other side, hopped in, and started pressing buttons before I could even get back inside. I turned back to Buddy.
“Want a ride?”
“No. I have a ride.”
“Let me guess. I probably have a class with her.”
“You might.” He grinned and walked off.
I drove Willow and me to school and found a parking spot easy enough since we usually got here early to avoid the popularity contest in the mornings. Willow had already hopped out when I reached into the backseat to grab my backpack.
It was the rumble of another car engine that made me pause with my hand on the strap. The gravel of the lot screamed under the weight of the tires and then a car door opened, letting out the blaring music coming from car speakers. The car door closed shut, muting the music once more, and I looked through the rear window to see Keiran standing there. He didn’t say anything. He only stared with his arms crossed. I had no way of telling what he was thinking.
“Umm… Dude, if you take a picture, it’ll last longer,” I heard Willow snap. Her challenge pushed me into action, so I scrambled to grab my bag. Willow and I rushed to the building before she could be subjected to his wrath. Willow didn’t seem bothered by him while I was already crumbling into little pieces.
I chanced a single look back and saw a random blonde standing next to him. She tried to kiss him only for him to turn his head, and then she practically skipped to her car and drove away as if he hadn’t just dissed her. The entire time, his gaze never left mine, and only when he arrogantly turned away, dismissing me, did I find the courage to look away.
“That was intense,” Willow said as soon as the doors closed behind us.
“Want to stop by our lockers first?”
“Got anything else to say other than yeah?” I chose not to answer her. Maybe it was because my head was still stuck back in the parking lot. After he had knocked my books from my hand on the first day of school, I’d gone home and confessed to my journal that I might have a crush on my tormentor.
How sick was that?
Now, when I looked at him, I felt guilt and inexplicable attraction along with fear.
We reached our lockers, and Willow immediately shoved her books inside. I, however, opened mine and froze when I noticed a folded piece of paper inside. Peeking at Willow, I found her distracted with something in her locker so I moved closer and picked up the paper. My heart was already beating a wild rhythm before I read the note.
Tomorrow you’re mine again.
It wasn’t signed but it didn’t need to be. I knew who had left it. But what did it mean?
Tomorrow I would be his again.
I didn’t think it would be wise to decipher what being his meant, but just as quickly, I decided I wouldn’t wait to find out. I was done being a sitting duck.
He’d had on his basketball gear when I saw him, which meant there was only one place he could be right now. If I wanted to confront him, now would be the time. No one was around to witness whatever humiliation he’d think up.
“Willow, I’m going to catch up with you in the library.”
“Where are you going?” she yelled after me, but it was too late. I could already hear the steady bounce of the basketball coming from the gym.