Tears are running down my face as I pull the door open, and I close it behind me.
Soon, we pulled into a driveway that was packed with cars. He parked as far away from the cars as he could without actually leaving the property. He turned the truck off, and opened his door. As he got out, I unbuckled my seat belt. He opened my door and held his hand out. I took it with a smile tugging at my lips, and he helped me out. He closed the door, and slipped his keys into his pocket. I wrapped my arms around myself, the fishnet top doing nothing to shield me from the chilly air.
"Cold, sweetheart?" Jake asks, and I nod slightly, "I can get my jacket for you."
"No, it's okay. I'll be fine."
I laugh slightly, and pout. He chuckles and puts his arms around me, rubbing his hands up and down my arms. He then gently pulls on my arm, and I give in. He smiles and laces his fingers with mine, giving my hand a tender squeeze.
"You look beautiful, baby," he whispers as we stop outside the front door.
"Thanks," I blush slightly.
"Seeing you right now reminds me of your birthday."
"It was a very special night for me."
"I'm glad," he smiles, "I did everything I could to make it special."
"And I can't believe you caught it all on tape. Do you still have that, by the way?"
"Would you be interested in watching it when we get home?"
"I think that's a great idea," he says.
He smiles at me, and cups my face in his hands. I smile back, and a soft blush covers my cheeks. He runs his thumb against my blushing cheek, his eyes boring into mine. As he begins to lean in, I close my eyes and tilt my head to the side. I can barely feel his lips against mine, when suddenly a squeaky voice breaks us apart.
A blonde haired girl suddenly bounds up to us, squishing in between us, and throws her arms around Jake. I step back awkwardly, and watch him go stiff-his arms not circling her. I meet his eyes, and he looks at me with apologetic eyes. I bite my bottom lip, and look away. As I shift my gaze back to them, I see Jake's arms rise. For a second, I think he's going to hug her back, but he doesn't. Instead, he gently pushes her away, and she pouts. He disentangles himself from her arms, and steps around her, slipping an arm around my waist. Her eyes land on me, and they suddenly turn cold.
"Oh. Who is /she/?" she asks, hissing out the 'she' part.
"This is my girlfriend, Isabella."
"Well, /Isabella/...would you mind if I stole your boyfriend from you for a bit?"
"Umm," I look at Jake, he looks upset, "if he wants to go, he can."
"Great!" she grins, and then latches on to his arm, "C'mon, angel."
"Amanda," he says coldly, "I don't want to go with you. I came with my /girlfriend/. That's who I intend to spend my time with."
"Hey, guys, I can't believe you made it here before I did," Chad says as he walks up to us with a six-pack of beer.
"Chad," Amanda starts, "why don't you go put those in the cooler? Isabella, would you mind helping him?"
"Sure," I nod uncomfortably.
"Baby," Jake stops me.
"It's fine, Jake. Don't worry about it."
I pull myself away from him, and follow Chad inside the house. Surprisingly, the music's down to a comfortable level, and people are happily chatting away without having to yell at each other. As Chad walks through the house, I follow close behind him. I bite my lip as I hear a few whistles. Chad stops and points his finger at someone in particular, starring at him menacingly.
"Watch yourself, Newton," he calls out and puts his arm around me to walk behind me.
We walk into the kitchen, and he looks around.
"I'll be right back, okay? I'm just going to go the garage and grab a cooler," Chad says.
He puts the six-pack on the counter, and smiles at me before walking through the glass sliding doors.
"Hey, baby," someone murmurs from behind me, causing me to turn around, "was that Chad I just saw you with?"
"Umm, yeah..." I say as I move to stand behind the counter, recognizing him as the guy that Chad referred to as 'Newton.'
"Figures...so, what's your name?"
"Very nice," he whispers as he walks a bit closer, his eyes wandering below my face, "you are just beautiful."
"Thanks," I look down uncomfortably, crossing my arms across my chest.
"I see Chad's abandoned you, shame on him. Why don't you come spend some time with me instead?"
"Relax a little, will you?" he says as he grabs a hold of my arms, forcing me to put them down.
"I am relaxed," I tell him as I take a step back and fold my arms again.
"To be Chad's new catch, you're a bit uptight. He usually goes for the loose women. Not that I blame him. But you, you're a bit of a challenge, and boy do I love a challenge," he says as his fingers touch my arm.
"I'm not Chad's new catch."
"You're not?" he asks, raising an eyebrow in interest.
"Get your hands off of her," Chad growls from the door, "she's Jake's girlfriend. I can tell you one thing, though. You're lucky she's not my girl, or my fist would be imprinted in your face. Nonetheless, I suggest you keep your comments to yourself."
"Or you'll what?" he says, lifting his chin, almost in a challenging way.
"I don't think it's him you should be worried about," Jake says from behind him.
He steps around Chad, and puts his arms around me, pulling me towards him. I look down uncomfortably, and Newton backs off a little. As I look at Jake, the expression on his face is stone cold.
"Alright, relax, cripes."
He turns around and walks out of the kitchen. Chad shakes his head, and puts the cooler down.
"Sorry you had to listen to that jerk, babe," Chad says.
"It's okay," I murmur.
"Can I talk to you outside for a minute?" Jake asks me, and I simply nod.
He takes my hand and gently pulls me with him as he makes his way to the large sliding glass doors. He opens one, and we step outside. It's pretty much isolated, except for three people in the pool.
"Hey, man, glad you could make it," Jeff calls out, "hey, Isa."
"Hi," I smile slightly.
He continues his chatting with the two other girls he has in the pool with him, forgetting all about Jake and I. I look back up at him, and find him looking back at me.
"I'm sorry about Amanda," he whispers.
"It's okay," I whisper back.
"No, it's not. I'm sorry."
"Don't tell me not to be sorry. That wasn't fair to you, and I'm sure it didn't make you feel very good, either."
"I'm fine, Jake."
"Please don't talk to me like I don't know you," he says softly, "I know when something upsets you, I know when you're uncomfortable. I know every expression of your face."
"Honestly, I'm fine. You didn't blow me off to go with her; you didn't push me off to the side. You're not in there with her. You're here with me. You did what I was hoping you'd do. How can I be upset about that?"
"I know you felt uncomfortable."
"More like slightly jealous, but it's okay. Don't worry about it, okay?"
"Okay. Moving on from the Amanda subject. What did that idiot say to you?"
"It had to have been something for Chad to react the way he did."
"Well, you didn't exactly take it lightly, either," I point out, "and you don't even know what he said."
"Judging from Chad's response, I know it was something offensive. Besides, the >get your hands off of her' part wasn't exactly heart warming."
"What he said wasn't really that bad, he just made me feel uncomfortable. And he didn't really touch me, he kind of touched my arm."
"I'm sorry. You won't have to deal with him again."
He puts his arms around my waist, and pulls me close to him. I smile at him, and he smiles back as he leans down to press his lips against mine in a soft kiss. His hands slide to my hips, as my hands lay flat against his chest.
"Woo! Go Jake!" someone suddenly calls out.
We pull away from each other to find someone standing a few feet away, with a very unhappy Amanda. I feel my cheeks blush slightly, and I try to step back from Jake, but he won't let me. I look up at him, and the look on his face is difficult to read as he stares at them. I reach up and turn his face towards mine.
"Ignore them," I whisper to him.
"Why don't we go home?"
"Baby," I start, "we just got here. Hang out with your friends, relax a little; don't worry about me so much."
"They don't make you feel uncomfortable?"
"I don't know, sort of. But it's okay. Just try to have some fun."
"You're too nice, you know that?"
"Nah, I'm just holding it all in," I say teasingly and he laughs.
"What exactly are you holding in?"
"The urge to march over to Amanda, and rip her hair out."
"I'd love to see that," he smiles.
"Whose friend is she, anyway? She seems kind of like an annoying person."
"She is annoying. The only reason she's here is because she's Jeff's sister."
"She is? I had no idea. We've been here a few times, though. How come I've never seen her before?"
"Well, I try to steer clear of her. As you can see, she seems to like me."
"I know. It was kind of obvious by the arm latching, the spontaneous hug and the angel calling."
"I don't want her to give you ideas. There's nothing going on between us. I wouldn't even dream of cheating on you, you know that, don't you?"
"Of course. I trust you, Jake. Believe me, I trust you completely."
"I love you," he whispers as he cups my face.
"I love you, too."
He smiles down at me, and begins to lean towards me. I tilt my head slightly and close my eyes. Suddenly, I hear Amanda's voice again, and I inwardly sigh.
"Jake! Your favorite song is on!"
I open my eyes, and look over at Amanda, and she grins, narrowing her eyes at me. Before I can do anything else, Jake turns my face towards him and he presses his lips firmly against mine.
"Jake!" she squeals.
This time, he pays no attention, and instead, he deepens our kiss. He moves his hands from my face, down to my hips, pulling my body closer to his as we kiss. He pulls away, his forehead resting against mine as I catch my breath.
"Want to go inside?" he asks, and I shrug.
"Whatever you want."
"Let's go. Their free show is over."
I giggle as he grabs my hand and begins to pull me towards the glass sliding door.
"Jake...I need your help," Amanda whispers as she comes up behind us.
We turn around, and I see that she's taken her top off, and left on a bikini top.
"Will you tie this knot a little tighter for me? I wouldn't want it to accidentally...you know, come lose," she says as she wedges herself in between Jake and I.
Suddenly, I feel a hand close around my elbow, and I turn immediately.
"Can I talk to you for a minute?" Jeff asks, and I nod.
"Yeah, sure," I turn to Jake, "I'll be right back."
"Don't worry, I'll take good care of him for you," Amanda volunteers.
"I'm sure you will," I mumble as I begin to walk away from them with Jeff.
"I apologize for my sister," he says, and I look up at him.
"It's okay, I guess," I look over at Jake and Amanda, only to find Jake looking at me, "I trust him. I know he wouldn't do anything."
"I know he wouldn't either. Amanda's been after him for almost a year, and he's never, and I mean never showed any type of affection towards her. I don't know many guys who are faithful to their girlfriend, especially in his situation."
"What do you mean his situation?"
"Well, you guys don't go to the same school. He's in college, and you're still in high school. If he'd been seeing Amanda while he's been dating you, there was no way you could've ever found out. I bet you didn't even know I had a sister."
"No," I murmur, "I didn't actually."
"See? He had a free shot at messing with a girl like her, without the fear of ever getting caught, and he's always blown it off. My buddy over there is one of a kind, Isa. I have to say, the guy loves you."
I turn to look up at him, before turning my head to look at Jake. He's still looking at me, and now Amanda has noticed. She stops talking, and reaches up to turn his face so that he'll look at her, but he grabs her hands and pulls them away from his face. He says something to her, and her face immediately turns to look at me. Her eyes turn cold, almost malicious, and he gives her a light shake to get her attention. He speaks to her again, and he lets go of her, and begins to walk towards us.
"I know he loves me," I whisper.
"Good," Jeff says, and I turn to smile at him.
"Are you two still talking?" Jake asks as he puts an arm around me.
"No, we're done," he says, "I just wanted to apologize about Mandy."
"Chad didn't say she'd be here."
"I know, I'm sorry, man. She wasn't supposed to be here, but she called when Kari was helping me set everything up, and she heard the racket. She's supposed to be over at my mom's."
"Hey, baby, I think we're out of ice!" a young brunette calls out as she walks up to us, "Oh hey, Jake," she says as she leans up and kisses his cheek, before settling next to Chad.
"Hey Kari," Jake greets her, as her gaze shifts to me.
"Hi there," she says smiling.
"Hi," I smile back.
"You must be the famous Isabella," she says, and I nod, "Jake talks so much about you. You were right, Jake, she's gorgeous. No wonder he blows off all the girls that hit on him."
I smile at Jake, and he gives my hip a light squeeze. He excuses us and he leads me towards the door, opening it for me. As we step inside, his hold on my waist tightens slightly, almost in a possessive kind of way, causing a smile to curl my lips. He was so cute when he was jealous. He leads me towards the living room, and we make our way towards an empty couch. He sits down, and gently pulls me down on his lap sideways. His hand comes to rest on my knee, and he leans back against the back of the couch.
"Kari seems nice," I tell him and he nods.
"Yeah, she's sweet. You two would get along great. She isn't anything like Amanda."
"Am I getting paid to be your >do this boy'?" Chad calls out as he laughs.
"Yes, with all my gratitude and affection," Kari smiles as she pats his shoulder and hands him some money.
"Hey Jake," Jeff calls out, "can you help me out here for a few minutes? Chad was helping me, but Kari's sending him away."
"Uh..." Jake starts and looks at me.
"Isa can come with me," Chad offers and I nod.
"Yeah, go help Jeff. I'll take a ride with Chad."
"You sure?" Jake asks.
"Yeah, it's no problem," I smile.
"Alright. Take care of her, Chad."
"Of course," he grins.
I stand up and Jake stands with me. He puts his arms around my waist and pulls me close to him. I blush slightly as we stand in a living room full of people, and he tilts my head up with a gentle hand. He lowers his lips onto mine, and I let my eyes flutter close. Needless to say, the kiss leaves me breathless. He offers me a gentle smile, and I smile back, my cheeks still a light crimson red.
"Ready, Juliet?" Chad asks teasingly, and I blush again.
"Yeah," I tell him, "I'll be back."
"Be careful," Jake says as he touches my blushing cheeks.
"Chill out, man, we're just going to the store," Chad says chuckling as he comes up to put an arm around me.
"Right, sorry," Jake smiles.
He leans forward and places a quick peck on my lips before Chad motions for me to follow him. He keeps his arm around me as he leads me through the house, and through the door. As he opens the front door for me, I turn around to see Jake and Kari walking towards the back, where Jeff is waiting.
"C'mon babe," Chad says, and I turn around.
"Sorry," I smile.
He smiles back at me, and leads me towards his car. He walks ahead and unlocks and opens the passenger door for me. I slide in, and he closes the door before walking towards the other side. He opens his door, and slides into the driver's seat. We buckle our seatbelts, and he roars the engine to life, moments later pulling out from his spot in the grass.
"There's something I want to talk about, but I'm afraid that I'll upset you," he says as he drives down the street.
"What is it?"
"Why didn't you ever tell me about your dad and that he hit you?"
"I don't know. I was afraid, I guess. The only person that knew was Jake, and even then, it was almost like he didn't know, because I wouldn't let him do anything about it."
"But why not? There was plenty that he could've done to stop him. I would've helped you, too."
"I know you would've, and I know he would've, too. But, at the time, that wasn't an option for me."
"Do you know why he treated you that way?"
"Not at the time, no. I found out today, though. Well, you know that my mom left about four years ago, right?"
"Yeah, you've told me that before," he says.
"Well, when she left, he took down every picture, every memory, anything that would remind him of her, he got rid of it. I brought myself to forget all about her. Turns out, I'm like her twin. If you saw her pictures, you'd swear it was me. And well, who's the person he hates the most? I mean, besides me," I laugh sarcastically, "it all happened so fast, too. It was an over night change. I came home one night, and he was drunk. He yelled at me, and before I knew it, he was hitting me. I was so scared. I knew he had a bad temper, even more when he was drunk. He was kicking me, pushing me around. He left me on the floor, and stormed out of the house. I'm sure you can imagine how confused I was," I tell him as he parks the car.
"He did it just like that? He didn't apologize, he didn't-"
"No. An apology would've done nothing because he didn't mean it. When he left, I managed to drag myself to the nearest phone, and I called Jake. I managed to get upstairs and pack a small bag. When he got there, he was terrified. He took me to the hospital, even though I told him I didn't want to go. I told the nurse that I'd been robbed. They put my arm in a sling, and they let me out. Then-"
"Then you stayed with us for two days because your dad was out of town, and you'd just gotten into a car wreck, so you needed someone to take care of you," he finished for me, a look of disbelief clear in his face.
I didn't say anything; I simply nodded as I shut my eyes tight. I felt his arms around me, and I leaned into him.
"I'm sorry, Chad...I'm sorry I lied...I just, I couldn't say anything..." I whisper, and he holds me tighter.
"It's okay. I'm sorry I never noticed...I would've helped you."
"I know. But it's over now. Things are going to change."
"They already did. I promise that you won't ever have to go through something like again, you hear me?" he says as he takes my face in his hands, "never."
I smile gently and nod my head, and he hugs me again.
"C'mon, let's get the ice before Jake freaks out and calls the cops to say you've gone missing," he says chuckling.
"Sad thing is I wouldn't be surprised."
He laughs again and opens his door, before sliding out. I reach down to unbuckle my seatbelt, and just as I'm about to open my door, it opens. Chad offers me his hand, and I smile before placing my hand in his and letting him help me out. He closes the door after me, and we both walk towards the entrance of the small quick stop. He opens the door for me, and he walks in after me. As the walk through the two censors, an annoying sound of bells chiming greets my ears. As the bells chime, the clerk and a few of the costumers turn their attention towards the door. I cross my arms across my chest and look down as I feel a few stares.
"I'm going to go get the ice," Chad tells me.
"Okay. Do you need me to get anything?"
"If they're not too heavy, grab two six packs, and I'll go grab the other two."
"Okay. I'll wait for you at the counter."
He goes in a different direction, and I begin to quickly walk towards the back of the small store, where the refrigerated liquids are. I open the freezer, and I reach in to grab two six packs. I close the door with my hip, and I turn around to make my way towards the counter. I walk up and put the two six packs on the counter. The clerk steals a glance at me before looking at the beer.
"Aren't you a bit young to be drinkin' all this by yourself, darlin'?" he asks as he leans on his arms.
"I'm not going to be drinking this, it's not for me."
"Well, I'm afraid I can't sell it to you, unless you show me an ID that says you're over twenty-one."
"It's not for her," Chad says as he walks up with two more six packs, and two bags of ice, "she just told you that."
"Can I see some ID, please?" the clerk replies as his eyes shift to me again.
Chad sighs, and puts the stuff on the counter, before reading in his back pocket and pulling his wallet out. He grabs his ID, and slaps onto the counter. The clerk looks down at it, before nodding. Chad takes it back, and slips it back in his wallet.
"How much is it going to be?"
"Ten dollars and fourteen cents."
Chad puts a twenty on the counter, and the man rings it up. He takes out a few bills and change, and hangs them to Chad.
"Your change is nine dollars and eighty-six cents."
"Thanks," Chad mumbles as he takes it.
The clerk double bags all the stuff, and Chad grabs the bags before I can reach for them. He starts to walk towards the door, and I quickly follow him, walking ahead to open the door. As we step outside, he tells me his keys are in his shirt pocket, and I reach inside it for them. I unlock the car, and I open the backseat door for him. He puts the bags inside, and closes the door. I open my door, and slip inside, and he closes the door for me before walking about to his side. He slips into the driver's seat, and quickly starts the car. As we're waiting to pull out of the quick stop, I look over at him and notice the serious expression on his face.
"Are you okay?" I ask softly.
"I guess so."
"Tell me what's bothering you."
"The fact that you attract guys attention so much bothers me," he says, and I look at him.
"I...I don't do it on purpose. Haven't you noticed that I hate all of that attention?"
"Of course. I didn't mean it like you did it to provoke guys-that's not what I meant at all. You're like a little sister to me, Isa; I hate that look that guys give you. I know you're beautiful and all, but I don't like it when a guys sees you, and disrespects you that way. They get all these other thoughts in their head, and start undressing you in their mind. It's sick, I don't like it," he says, "but I know you don't do it on purpose. You don't dress provocatively, and you don't go around flaunting yourself. I know you dislike that attention you get as much as Jake and I do. I'm protective of you, I feel like I'm your big brother. That's my job, you know? If a guy disrespects you, I'm entitled to rip them to pieces."
"Chad," I say laughing, and he smiles at me.
"Okay, maybe that's a little farfetched, but they wouldn't get away with it."
He parks his car in the same spot as before, and we simply sit there. I look over at him, and put my hand over his.
"Thank you," I whisper, and he takes my hand in his.
"For everything," I tell him, "for being the big brother I never had."
"You don't have to thank me for that. I love you."
"I love you, too, teddy bear."
He smiles at me, and I lean over and hug him. He closes his arms around me, returning the hug. I pull away slightly and I press my lips against his cheek. We pull away completely, and we get out of the car. I open the back door, and I reach in to grab a few of them, but Chad closes his arms around my waist, and pulls me away.
"Hey!" I squeal, and I laugh as he sets me down.
"Bad girl. I'll get the bags."
"I just wanted to help," I say laughing.
"I'm a man, I don't need help."
"You need mental help."
He sticks his tongue out at me, and I laugh. I hook my arm in his as we make our way towards the house. He suggests that we go around to the back, so we go through the wooden gate on the side. As we get closer, we hear chatting and some laughing. I immediately recognize Jake's laughter, and I smile. We appear through the gate, and I see Jake sitting with Jeff, Kari, and another friend of his, Nick.
"My dear Chad, I owe you my undying gratitude," Kari says as she comes towards us and I unlatch my arm from his.
Jake turns his head and smiles at me before he motions for me to come closer. I walk up to where he's sitting, and he pulls me down onto his lap. He gives my lips a soft kiss, and pulls away after a brief moment. I blush slightly as I see Nick smirk.
"With you two, I don't need to scope the mall for steamy couples," he says and I blush more.
"We're not steamy," Jake says chuckling, "we're just very affectionate."
"Well, I happen to think that you're steaming hot," a voice says from behind us.
We turn our heads to see Amanda standing there in a black barely there bikini. Jake sighs and shakes his head, while Nick rolls his eyes.
"OH! My eyes!" Chad suddenly yells, "Mandy, put some clothes on for God sake's, no one wants to see your bag of bones."
"Ouch," Nick says.
He bursts out laughing and I look at Amanda, the look on her face deadly. I look over at Jeff to see that he's fighting the urge to laugh, as well.
"Jeff! Are you going to let him talk to me like that?!"
"Well, it's not like he's lying, Mandy."
She grunts loudly, before stomping over to the pool, and jumping in. Water splashes everywhere, and I gasp. Jake quickly stands up and pulls me away. She comes up for water, looking straight at Jake as she steps out of the pool. She turns to look at me, and smirks.
"I didn't wet you, did I?" she asks.
"No, actually, you didn't," I respond.
Her smirk turns into a scowl, and Kari grabs her and pulls her away.
"Let go of me!" she screams.
"Listen to me! This is going to stop now! This is ridiculous, Amanda. Stop throwing yourself at someone who isn't interested in you!" Kari yells, and Amanda seems to get even angrier, "if you don't cut it out, Jeff is going to take you back to your mom's place-whether you like it or not. You're in my house right now, and you're going to play by the rules. If you don't want to, fine, then get out. But you're not going to sit here and disrespect anyone, and especially not my friends."
Everyone is dead silent, and Jeff is making no move to defend Amanda. Kari turns around to face us again, and I look down.
"Let's go inside," Jeff suggests.
We all nod, and Jake and I follow Kari as she makes her way inside the house. We all gather on an empty couch in the living room, for the exception of Chad, who stayed outside to chat with Nick. Kari sat on Jeff's lap as I perched myself on Jake's. Kari and I talked about everything and anything, occasionally bringing the boys into out conversations when needed.
Suddenly, loud noises started coming from the backyard, and Jeff and Kari excused themselves and quickly make their way outside. I leaned my head on Jake's shoulder and yawned, as he put his arms around me.
"Sleepy, baby?" he asks, and I shake my head.
"No, not really sleepy, more like tired."
"You want to head home?"
"If you want," I whisper.
I bite my lip to fight a yawn, but it's no use. I yawn again, and blush slightly when Jake chuckles. He kisses the top of my head, and I smile slightly.
"Let's go home, sweetheart. It's late, anyway."
"Shouldn't we wait for Jeff and Kari to come back?"
"I'm going to go tell them we're leaving. Stay here, though. I don't want you to get hurt in case they're fighting out there."
"Okay," I nod, "be careful."
He nods and presses his lips against mine in a brief kiss, before gently settling me on the couch. He gets up, and starts to make his way towards the big sliding glass door. He steps outside, and I cross my arms, and look down at the floor as I wait for him.
"I see Jake finally left you alone," Amanda says as she walks up to me.
"He went to let your brother know that we're leaving."
"Leaving?!" she suddenly shrieks, "why?!"
"I don't think I need to give you an explanation."
She glares at me, and suddenly dumps her drink on me. I gasp loudly as the cold liquid soaks my face and my chest. She looks at me menacingly, and I close my eyes. I open them again and stand up, but she pushes me back down on the couch.
"You listen to me, and listen to me good. If it weren't for you, Jake would be mine right now. Do you understand what that means? That means you're in my way. And I'm going to fix that, so you better watch yourself, because I refuse to give him up to someone like you."
She drops her cup in my lap, and turns on her heal to walk away. I stand up, the cup dropping from my lap. As I make my way towards the door, I hear Jake call my name.
"Isabella," I don't turn around, I keep walking, "Isa?"
Tears are running down my face as I pull the door open, and I close it behind me.