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Love Me Never

Page 17

   


“I paid the fee, if that’s what you’re here about,” Madison starts. Jack looks to her, smile flashing on for a moment.
“Let me talk to her. Give me one second.”
“Okay,” Madison giggles. He kisses her passionately, so passionately I almost feel embarrassed for watching. When they part, she’s breathless, and Jack strides over to me with a brewing sneer. He grabs my elbow and pulls me in the other direction.
“Is that how you kissed me?” I ask, nearly tripping as he pulls me along. “Golly gee, it looks kind of mildly f**king embarrassing! No wonder people at school have been talking about it for weeks now. Golly gee!”
“Stop saying golly gee.”
“Tallyho, chaps!”
“Stop saying things!” He snarls, letting go of me only when we’re around the corner and a tea shop separates us from Madison’s view.
“Things!” I shout.
“How did you find me? If you hacked into the Club’s computer to look up my appointments - ”
“Whoa, I think you overestimate me, shitlord. Last time I checked all I did was be in the wrong place at the right time. I saw you and had to - ”
“Stalk me.”
“ - delicately approach you. In a sideways manner. From behind. Without being seen at all. For ten minutes.”
“Why are you even out? I thought you were sick.”
“I was. See, it’s this thing called an immune system -”
He holds up his hand and rubs his eyes. “Okay, stop. Shut all systems down and just. Stop. Talking.”
“Why?”
“It’s annoying.”
“That’s never stopped me before!”
“Why did you follow me?”
“I was…curious?”
“Not good enough.”
“You want me to be honest?”
“Preferably yes, so you don’t waste anymore of my time.”
“We are at war. Wars don’t exactly demand honesty. How are you enjoying suspension, by the way?”
“Wonderfully, thank you,” His voice drips acid sarcasm. “I’ve booked seven new clients and earned a thousand extra this week.”
“Impressive. Is that how much they pay for the dick, or for the hilariously cheesy compliments? Or are those extra? If so, count me in! I want to hear you serenade me with them while I choke on my own bile.”
He looks down at the jar of frosting I clutch in my hands. “Are you eating that out of the can?”
“Are you the king of stupid questions?” I fire back. “Of course I am! Frosting is the ambrosia of the gods. God, if you’re into that religious thing. Are you religious? Somehow I get the feeling the only church you’d join is the church of self-worship. Your body is your temple. Work it, boy.”
“What are you saying?” He snarls. “You’re blabbering!”
“At least I’m not whoring!”
He rolls his eyes. “It’s not that simple.”
“Uh, really? Because it sounded as simple as a bunch of new rope and a hotel room, and frankly that recipe means you’re either going to get some kinky sex on, or you’re going to mutually hang yourselves.”
He sighs. “She likes being tied up, okay? I don’t. I don’t like any of this, okay? I’m getting paid. So you need to just piss off and go to whatever immature party you were going to in the first place.”
“How’d you know I’m going to a party?”
“The receipt for red plastic cups sticking out of your jacket. Your eyeliner. Girls don’t make eyeliner wings that big unless they plan on drinking.”
“Touché. You’re smarter than I gave you credit for.”
“And you’re far more annoying than I first suspected. If I’d known you’d stalk me like all the others, I never would’ve kissed you, even as payback.”
“Seriously, you kiss everyone like that though! It was nothing special.”
“Exactly. It was nothing special. So back off and leave me alone.”
He whirls around and strides away, and I wave madly at his back, jumping up and down.
“Bye, loser! Try not to suck! Or I guess you have to since you’re getting paid for it, huh?”
He flips me the bird over his shoulder but it only makes me laugh and fist pump in self-congratulations. This is the first time I’ve really seen him perturbed. Everything before now was just a bunch of cold sarcasm and stony glares. I got under his skin this time. I, Isis Blake, got under his permafrost skin. I skip the entire way to the car and blast a triumphant Katy Perry song on my way to the party. I don’t even particularly like Katy Perry. But for this second my victory is so sweet even mindless pop sounds like the battle trumpets of Roman gladiators and I’m shouting along to it anyway.
-6-
3 Years
14 Weeks
0 Days
Kayla’s front lawn is crowded with cars. I wedge my Beatle into a parking space between a tree and a BMW, and rush into the warmly-lit house.
“I come bearing gifts!” I shout above the already-thumping music. There must be a hundred people here, if not more. A little get-together, Kayla said. Pft. I could power a small jet plane on the body heat crammed into this room.
I dump the cups in the kitchen, where bottles of Jack and Bacardi crowd the counters. I guard my frosting jealously, nibbling on it as I meander through the party looking for Kayla. The usual writhing group of dancers congregate around the speakers, and the equally writhing makeouts are happening on every chair and couch. Someone throws a roll of purple streamers around, someone has a plastic horse-head mask on that creeps me out, and someone else is wiping puke off the bookshelf with a TV remote. I don’t recognize half the people in here – some of them must be from Midvale High. Kayla’s in the garden, a gorgeous gathering of ivy trellises and a gently burbling fountain. She’s breathtaking – her blue tube top and white skirt making her look like some tanned tennis goddess. She’s talking to some of Avery’s crowd, but when she sees me she trots over smiling.
“Hey! You made it!”
“Yeah, cups are in the kitchen.”
“Awesome. Thank you so much. You look really great.”
“You too. Gonna be on high alert tonight, fight off those creepers with a baseball bat if I have to.”
“Oh, chill out,” she laughs. “Go get something to drink!”
When I come back with a coke and rum, Kayla’s gone. I look around for her and find her dancing with some guy. He isn’t grinding on her or staring at her tits 99% of the time, so he’s fine with me. For now. When he happens to catch my eye I point two fingers at my eyes and then at him in an I’m-watching-you warning, and he must get it because he smiles nervously back and nods. Good boy.
“Threatening the male populace as usual?” A familiar voice says. I turn to see Wren, in a casual polo shirt and jeans. He’s clutching a drink, grinning in that sunny way and staring at me in that creepy hellbent way.
“Yup. What’s up with you, homes? Why are you here? Oh, that’s right – you’re the super cool prez. You don’t tattle on boozers.”
“Well, if I did tattle I wouldn’t be friends with quite so many people now, would I?”