“He plays with emotions, and he doesn’t play fair.”
What was I doing here? I glanced up at Brendon’s house, sitting in my car. I could turn around and pretend I’d never come in the first place. I could take myself home, bandage my emotional wounds from the day and get some rest.
Instead I was drawn to Brendon, knowing I couldn’t just turn around like my logical side would prefer. I wasn’t doing much thinking these days.
I knocked upon the door, letting the pain build in my knuckles. Why was I knocking so hard? I could just ring the doorbell. Then again the part of me that was all for the knocking was the part that hoped Brendon wouldn’t answer.
I raised my hand to knock again but then the door opened and my mouth fell open, thoughts freezing once again. Brendon stood in front of me, shirtless. He was wearing a different pair of light blue jeans, ripped at the knees. The top button was undone, the jeans hanging from his hips. His chest was nicely toned, just as it had been the last time I saw it. It was a hard sight to get over but I finally did, glancing at his face. He had a cut across his lip and the beginning of a bruise upon his right cheek.
Brendon raised an eyebrow, glancing at me. “Are you done staring yet?” He finally asked.
I looked away at the tone he used. “Yeah.” I bit my lip, wondering if he would ask me to leave.
“Come in.” He finally said, and I did so without looking at him.
I stopped in the hallway, waiting for Brendon. I felt his hard chest against my back, and then his arms wrapped around me from behind, holding me tightly. “You smell so good.” He inhaled.
I didn’t say anything, letting my thoughts remain frozen. It felt good to be near Brendon. It felt good to not have to think so much but I knew it wasn’t right.
“Are you hungry?” Brendon finally let go, stepping away. I didn’t like it. I wanted him to touch me again, because when he was that close my thoughts were far away but now that his hands weren’t on me I was drowning in insecurity again, mixed with terrible thoughts and questions I knew I’d have to ask before I left.
“Not really.” Then my stomach grumbled and I realized I’d skipped lunch. Of course I was hungry.
Brendon frowned, “I think you are.”
“I am, I guess.” I admitted.
“Why is that hard to admit to?” Brendon asked, staring at me.
I squirmed under his gaze, looking away. “I’m sorry; I am hungry.”
Brendon didn’t say anything but I followed the sounds of his footsteps to the kitchen, my hunger growing more evident. “What did you want?” Brendon asked, leaning against the counter.
“The truth.” It slipped from my lips, even though I hadn’t wanted to talk about it just yet.
“Hmm?” Brendon raised an eyebrow, waiting for me to say more.
“Why did you get in to a fight with Alex?”
Brendon tensed, each muscle in his chest pulled taut. “Is that what you came here for?” He glanced at me, a hardened expression upon his face. I looked in to his eyes but those were cold as well, his entire demeanor changing so quickly. “Is that all you care about now; Alex?”
I was confused. “What?” I whispered the word, put off by his expression and his quickly changing moods. “Who said I cared about Alex?”
“It’s a little obvious.” Brendon spit out.
“Is it?” He was being ridiculous and I wouldn’t stand for this. Jon’s words echoed in my mind, ’He’s a mean one.’ I didn’t care though. He wouldn’t do this to me. I wouldn’t stand for the pain. I wouldn’t be so easy to forgive his misplaced jealousy. I had to stand up for myself now or it would never happen.
“It is.” Brendon replied, eyes still burning right through me. “He isn’t a nice guy Juliet.” I remembered being told that earlier but once again I wasn’t ready to listen.
“You aren’t either.” I snapped; the cold tone I’d taken on surprising me.
Brendon moved around the counter, slowly. “I’ve been very nice to you.”
“Like earlier when you tore the drawing I’d been given apart?” I stood in place, refusing to show my apprehension by backing away.
“Alex gave it to you.” Brendon now stood in front of me.
“It doesn’t matter who gave it to me Brendon, it was mine.” How could I make him understand without seeming so weak?
“Did I really hurt your feelings by doing that?” Brendon’s expression softened as he continued to stare at me, wanting to know.
“You really did.” I admitted, realizing it felt good to be honest with Brendon. It didn’t make me feel as weak as I’d thought it would.
“I’m sorry.” Brendon whispered, leaning down. I was surprised as he wrapped his arms around me, pulling me in to a gentle hug. “That wasn’t my aim.”
I believed him.
“So, why did you and Alex fight?” I mumbled, holding on to Brendon.
“Because of you.” That’s what I was afraid of.
I breathed in deeply before pulling away. “And you’ve gotten in to fights before?” I needed him to tell me, not Jon, not Ryan.
“I have.” Brendon answered after glancing at me for several minutes, assessing how angry I was. “I’ve gotten in to my fair share.”
“Your fair share?” What exactly did that mean?
“Okay, so more than my fair share.” Brendon shrugged, “Sometimes I get angry.”
I frowned, “Like earlier?” He had gotten angry at me. Was that a side of him that I would see frequently?
Brendon frowned as well, “I get in to fights Juliet, I’m a physical guy but I’d never get physical with you.” That wasn’t really what I was afraid of. You didn’t have to hit someone to hurt them. “But there is something you’ve got to understand.” He paused, watching me carefully. “Alex is just as bad, just in a different kind of way.” We were back to talking about Alex. “He plays with emotions, and he doesn’t play fair.”
“And you’re afraid he’ll try playing with mine?”
“I’m afraid he’s already doing it. He made us fight today.”
“We haven’t known each other for that long.” What was I thinking telling him I liked him so soon? There was so much that I didn’t even know. “How do you know we aren’t just fighting because we don’t mix well?”
Brendon leaned down, his teeth gently taking hold of my earlobe; with a gentle but firm tug he ripped a moan from my lips. He let go much too soon for my liking, “I know just how well we mix.” Brendon breathed out. “And so do you.”
“You’re the one that doesn’t play fair.” I whispered but I was smiling, I really couldn’t help it.
Brendon held out his hand, “Join me upstairs?”
“My bedroom Juliet.” Brendon’s eyes darkened, the lustful look suiting him well. “I want to show you my bed, just as you showed me yours.”
I placed my hand in his, savoring the feeling of our skin touching. He had a touch that I just couldn’t resist and though I probably should have declined, I found myself following him upstairs.
I entered Brendon’s bedroom behind him, pleasantly surprised as he turned and caught my mouth with his own. I was pushed against the door, after Brendon swung it closed. The kiss started out gentle enough, and then grew as Brendon’s desire grew. His tongue begged for entrance, against my lips. I eagerly allowed it, kissing back just as fiercely.
Would it always be like this? The thought alone stopped me and Brendon took notice of my withdrawal immediately. “What’s wrong?” He breathed out, body still pressed against my own.
“Is this how it’ll be to like you?” It hurt.
“What do you mean?” Brendon asked, confusion dominating his face.
“You’re hot here but cold at school.” It was true. Was he ashamed of showing me physical affection? Then again I’d pushed him away at school all day but he- he hadn’t been nice to me. I wasn’t sure how to feel. It just hurt.
Brendon grinned, “Well, I’m not really sure you want me to be like this at school… I might just get suspended again and again…” He rubbed his body against mine, and I felt his arousal. It was… surprising, and very mind numbing. “And again.” Brendon chuckled, “Hell, forget suspension, I’d probably get arrested.”
My breathing became ragged as Brendon placed one of his legs between mine, gently rubbing it against me. “But I could do it if you really wanted.”
I shook my head, color rising to my cheeks again. “I- not what I meant.” I spit out, cut off as the door bell sounded loudly through Brendon’s house.
“Ignore it.” He breathed out, pressing his lips against mine again.
Whoever was at the door was awfully persistent and Brendon eventually pulled away, groaning. “Cock block.” He muttered, and I felt the heat grow stronger in my cheeks.
“Did you think we were going to have sex?” I came over here because I was mad. I didn’t plan on staying for some sex. His touches were good but… I still had some of my will left.
“It’s just an expression.” Brendon replied, smiling sweetly. “There is so much I could do to your body without actually having sex with you, and I plan to do each and every one of those things before we actually have said sex.”
When did everything start happening so quickly? Thoughts flooded my mind, but I didn’t want to say no. My mind was saying no, you’re not ready, he’s just a guy but my body was screaming out passionately at each touch he laid upon my body.
It felt too good to deny.
“Want to see who it is, or would you rather wait for me up here?”
“I’ll come with. I’ve got to get going anyway.” I wondered how much would show on my face. Just how obvious was I?
I didn’t really want to know.
Brendon frowned, “So soon?”
I nodded, inwardly groaning as Brendon stepped away from me so that I could open the door. We walked downstairs together, the doorbell still ringing.
“That’s starting to give me a headache.” Brendon snapped, and once again I saw the part of him that had a bad temper attached.
I said nothing, letting him walk in front of me so that he could answer the door. Once the door opened I wanted him to shut it immediately, closing the visitor out.
That made me realize I was no better than him; I was just as jealous.
“Chelsea.” Brendon said the blonde’s name by way of greeting.
“What is she doing here?” Chelsea glanced behind Brendon, glaring at me. Her eyes widened as she looked back at Brendon, towards his unbuttoned jeans. She got the wrong impression immediately. Well, maybe it wasn’t completely wrong… “Oh no, don’t tell me he’s already slept with you?” She giggled, the sound was something awful. “Honey, you’re too new. It’s cute. You’ll find that once Brendon gets what he wants he’ll disappear without a trace and he wants what every other man wants; sex.”
“Chelsea.” Brendon growled out her name, forcing as much hate as he could in to the word. “What is it that you want?”
Chelsea smiled at Brendon, seemingly forgetting me completely as her attention became solely focused upon him. “I figured you might want some release by now, then again I didn’t know your new slut was putting out.”
“She’s not my new slut.” Brendon answered, closing the door slightly so that Chelsea and I couldn’t see each other.
“So, you’re still in need?” I could still hear her voice.
“No Chelsea, I’m not in need of anything you could provide.” Brendon sounded extremely agitated. “You can leave now. Forget my address, forget my number. I’m done with you.”
I started walking down the hallway, not wanting to hear anything else.
I didn’t stop until I couldn’t hear their voices anymore. I wondered just what I was getting myself in to and why. I’d never before felt the desire to have another person in my life; not even friends. I’d done fine all on my own for so long, why change things around?
I continued wandering, looking at photographs on the wall. There were pictures of Brendon with his parents, at various ages. They all looked so happy, like the perfect family. “I didn’t know she was coming.” Brendon’s voice startled me, and I jumped.
“Have you slept with her?” I suddenly wanted to know. I wanted to know how many girls he’d slept with. What exactly was the score?
“Many times.” Brendon’s voice was flat. “Does that bother you?”
“It does.” I admitted, turning to look at him. He was closer than I’d expected and his hands fell to my hips, grabbing hold.
“Good.” Brendon smiled, “I won’t be sleeping with her ever again.”
“How many girls have you slept with?” I looked in to his eyes, waiting for the answer that I knew I didn’t want to hear.
“I don’t keep score.” The way he looked up suddenly was a dead give away that he was lying.
“Brendon, I know that you do.”
He sighed and turned away, letting go of my hips. I followed him as he headed upstairs, neither of us speaking once again.
Once we reached Brendon’s room he pointed towards his bed. “Brendon, I’m not really in the mood now.” I admitted, eyes raking over his bed.
“Do you see the scratches?” Brendon asked, gesturing towards the wood bed frame.
“Yeah, I do.” I answered, stepping closer. There were tons of the tiny scratches, more than I could count without focusing.
“Each of those scratches represents a girl I’ve slept with.”
I felt somewhat sick.
I swallowed hard, walking closer to his bed. I ran my fingers over the scratches. I started counting, running my finger along each scratch I counted. “Juliet-“
“Shh.” I shut Brendon up, knowing I’d have to start my count over again.
“What are you doing?” He gently grabbed my wrist, trying to pull my hand away from the bed post.
“I’m counting. I want to know.” I glanced at him, feeling the emotions cross my face. I knew I wasn’t hiding anything very well when I was around him. I just couldn’t do it.
“Don’t do that to yourself.” Brendon pleaded.
“I have to know.”
Brendon nodded, sitting upon his bed. “There are sixty two notches on my bed post.”
I glanced at him, “So, you do keep count.”
“Sixty two is a lot Brendon.” I had a feeling I didn’t need to tell him that though.
Brendon nodded, “I know.”
I sat on his bed next to him, trying to figure out just how this new information made me feel. There was so much about Brendon that I didn’t know. Could I handle knowing anymore? He had a temper. He slept with a lot of girls. I… really liked him. It was the last bit that really hurt, and I didn’t know why.
Brendon raised his hand, about to place it on my leg. I shook my head, “Don’t touch me please.”
“Oh, okay.” Brendon put his hand back down on his own leg, frowning.
“Just not on this bed, okay?”
“Okay.” Brendon responded softly.
“Will I-“ I paused, thinking of how stupid this sounded.
“Will you what?” Brendon asked, and I could feel his eyes on me even though I wasn’t looking back at him.
“Will I be just another notch on your bedpost?” I looked at the scratches, feeling a spark of jealousy towards each girl that had slept with Brendon. I didn’t like the feeling jealousy brought but I found it was hard to just push it away.
Brendon frowned again. “I don’t want you to be.”
That wasn’t the answer I was hoping for.
“Hi.” I stayed close to my car as I spoke to Spencer, who was waiting in my drive way, his car door open so that he could get some fresh air.
“Hello.” He nodded, “It took you forever to get home. Where have you been?”
Did I really have to explain my whereabouts to Spencer now? “It’s none of your business.”
“Brendon’s house then.” He replied smugly.
I sighed, “Yes, Brendon’s house.” Why even try to lie?
“I brought you the assignments you missed out on while you were busy skipping school.” Spencer stood up, holding a small bunch of papers, held together with a paperclip.
“That’s nice.” I paused, taking the papers from him. “Why?”
“So that you don’t fall behind.” Spencer replied.
“Not what I mean.” I frowned, glancing down at the flimsy paper. “Why are you doing this?”
“I’m pretty sure that’s the same question.”
“I-“ I was starting to get annoyed.
Spencer chuckled, “I know what you’re asking. I’m just kidding. I think the better question is why are you so against it? Why not have friends? I’m not a bad guy.”
I slumped my shoulders in defeat, “It’s just weird.” I felt like he was watching me for Brendon. It was an awful nagging feeling that I didn’t want to give voice too. “And I already have friends.”
“I know; I’m one of them.” He was persistent, that was for sure.
“So, this is all the homework we got?” I asked, taking a look at the paperwork, again it was a great distraction from my actual thoughts.
“Well, I wrote down the chapters we are supposed to read through on the back of the first paper. So, why have you been hanging out with Alex?” The words came out smoothly, without a pause.
“Pardon?” My throat was getting dry and I couldn’t go over this with yet another person.
“Today you were kind of hanging out with Alex, or so I heard. Are you planning on keeping up with that?” He made the question seem so normal when really it was quite intrusive.
“Maybe.” I really wasn’t sure how to feel about Alex, but it wasn’t like if he spoke to me again I would run away.
“You really shouldn’t.” Spencer leaned against his car, staring intently at me.
“I think I can choose my own friends, thank you.”
“If he’s your choice then I’m not so sure you can.” Spencer replied, without missing a beat.
“Look, maybe you should leave-“
The front door of my house opened and my mother peaked out, “Juliet? Honey, why don’t you and your friend come in? I made lemonade.” Fuck.
“Mom-“ I was about to object but Spencer, with his frustratingly smug smile, cut me off.
“I’d love to Mrs.-“ He frowned, approaching the door. “I apologize; I don’t know what to call you.”
“You can call her Mrs. Leyton.” I snapped from behind him, before my mother offered up her first name instead. I wasn’t ready for that step. I wasn’t ready for Spencer, only because I wasn’t ready for Brendon.
The lemonade was bitter, and I nearly choked on it.
Spencer laughed, “I think it’s delicious.” He commented.
Spencer was now sitting on my bed, as I stood by the door waiting for him to leave. I couldn’t bring myself to request his absence however, and my mother had led us to my room so cheerfully that I wasn’t sure he’d ever leave.
“She’s great at baking things and a pretty decent cook… but something went wrong with the lemonade.” I licked my lips, the extremely sour taste still in my mouth.
Spencer set his cup down upon my desk, leaning over just enough to notice my barely concealed guitar, “Hey, you play?” He grabbed for it and my cheeks heated, protests falling unspoken upon my lips.
I jumped as my mother’s voice came from the doorway, “She’s started playing again, ever since Brendon.” Oh god mom, shut up. Please don’t tell him that.
“Really?” Spencer glanced at me, surprise etched on to his face.
I looked away, biting my lip. The answer was all over my face though, and I was completely aware of that unable to hide my feelings once again.
“Spencer, would you like some cookies?”
“Sure.” Spencer gave my mom an award winning smile which caused her to run from the room, intent upon getting him cookies.
“Don’t.” I snapped, sighing as I sat down beside him. “I’m too tired for today.”
Spencer nodded, “Well, I’ll pick you up tomorrow and we can talk then.”
“Wait, talk about what?”
“The weather, among other shit.” Spencer replied, grinning.
I nodded, giving in. “I’ll see you tomorrow Spencer.” Was he starting to grow on me? It seemed so.
“Goodnight Juliet.” He gently set my guitar down, heading towards the door. Suddenly he paused, “There is a school dance next week. Would you like to be my date?” Whoa, what?
“Um, why?” I licked my lips, completely confused.
Spencer smiled lightly, “It’s not for any romantic purposes, believe me.” Lovely. “But I’d love to keep Brendon and Alex from fighting again, and until you see how bad Alex actually is… It’s probably best that you keep away from them both.”
“I figured you’d want me with Brendon, seeing as how you are his friend, not mine.” Then again I thought he was Alex’s friend too.
“That’s where you’re wrong.” Spencer’s smile simply grew. “I’m your friend Juliet. Eventually you’ll get all of this shit sorted out, and you’ll realize that.”
I watched him leave, and heard his footsteps suddenly stop as my mother offered him cookies to take home. My mind was already swimming once again, and I couldn’t even begin to focus on my homework. I had to try though.