Friends can snuggle, right?
“It’s official. I hate him.” I ranted. I was currently in my room talking to Kate on the phone.
“Which ‘him’?” Kate asked me. To her credit she managed to keep the sarcasm out of her voice.
“Trey! Wait, I actually hate both of them, but mostly Trey! Do you know how many girls he’s kissed since that party? Seven! That’s a different girl for every day at school!”
“And you’re keeping track because...?”
I threw my hands in the air. “I don’t know! Those kinds of things just stick with me, ok?”
“The number of girls Trey’s kissed stick with you.” Kate asked me flatly. I could almost imagine her raising her eyebrows at me.
“No! You know what, never mind. You just don’t understand. And I don’t like him!” I quickly said.
“Hey, I didn’t say anything!” she said innocently. I knew she would be having a smirk on her face.
“You were going too.” I growled. “And don’t get me started on Tyler. He called me at five in the morning to talk to me yesterday! I literally fell asleep while on the phone with him, and when I woke up he was still talking! I mean come on, I know there’s a time difference between here and Paris but a little common courtesy would be nice!”
Kate laughed so hard at that she had to put the phone aside slightly. “For being a football player, that boy is such a dweeb!” she managed to get out.
“And all the other girls don’t even realize it!” I moaned. “They always come up to me in class and tell me how lucky I am that I’m dating him!”
“Well we’ve already established that he’s hot.”
“But so boring.” I muttered. “I’m so glad he’s away.”
“Well aren’t you the picky one.” Kate chuckled.
“Don’t we know that’s not true.” I rolled my eyes. “Anyways, I gotta go. You don’t know how nice it’s been not having mom and dad around the house. I could go to the hospital every day this week!”
“And you’ll have half of next week too!”
“If I was lucky they would both move out for good.” I laughed at that thought. “Anyways, see you later!”
We hung up and I ran out to my car, excited to go see Hunter again. Most people would find it boring to go and sit in a room with a comatose vegetable, but every time I drove there I had a slight hope that today would be the day he would wake up.
Once in the room with Hunter I changed out the flowers by his bed with some new ones that I had picked up before sitting down. As usual, I told Hunter about my day and ranted some more about Tyler and Trey.
“I really miss you Hunt.” I sighed. “I know I probably should have gone to Paris with them, then I wouldn’t be in the mess with Tyler. But I would’ve hated myself if you had woken up and we were all out of the country. What kind of sister would I be then? I would be just like our parents.”
My phone began to ring, playing Whistle by Flo Rida, and I picked it up without looking at the number.
“Hello?” I asked.
“Hey babygirl, what’s happening?” a low voice asked.
I jumped out of my seat as if burned and then froze. When I finally got my voice back I managed to ask hoarsely, “Axel?”
He chuckled. “Happy to hear from me?”
“How’d you get my number?”
He tsked. “Did you think changing your number would get rid of me? I don’t think so sweetheart. Did you get my message?”
“Yeah I saw Sam. I’m not going back to you Ax. Especially after what you did to Hunter.”
“Well he shouldn’t have interfered in my business.” Axel told me.
“I’m his sister, I am his business!” I yelled at him.
“You’re going to make me angry, babygirl, don’t yell.” I unconsciously shrunk back as I recognized the deadliness of his voice. “And I do regret what I did to Hunter. It’s a shame to have to hurt a future in-law.”
“Excuse me?” I choked out.
I could practically imagine him grinning. “You heard me babes. I’ll be damned if I let another man have you. You’re mine. I’m allowing you to date that Tyler kid mostly because I know he’s the kind of guy who annoys you. Anyways, talk to you later.”
I sat there with the phone to my ear even after he hung up, too frozen to do anything. Finally I managed to remove it. A wave of anger came over me as I processed the fact that he thought I belonged to him. I gritted my teeth and threw my phone at the cushy chair.
“That sonofa bitch, next time I see him-” I began to rant, but was quickly cut off.
I whirled around, almost tripping on my feet, and found myself facing none other than Trey.
“Wh-what are you doing in here?” I asked him shakily, my eyes flickering to the bed where Hunter lay. Trey’s eyes followed mine.
“I heard someone yelling and I thought it sounded like you so I decided to come in.” he shrugged. He glanced down at the foot of the bed where the name of the patient was written on the doctor’s card.
“Hunter Dupont?” he read out loud. “But... that’s your brother! I thought you said he was in Europe?”
I licked my lips uneasily and shrugged. “I lied.”
Trey didn’t look too upset or angry at my words, just confused. “Why?”
I huffed out a breath of air and ran my hand over my face. “Why do you care?”
Trey’s eyes flashed with annoyance. “Is it such a crime to want to know why someone lied to you?”
“Doesn’t seem like it would matter to you, especially since you’ve been ignoring me these past weeks. What’s the matter, get tired of me?” I scoffed at him.
“God, you are literally the most infuriating person I’ve ever met!” Trey said angrily, his voice almost at a yell. He ran his hand through his hair irritatedly.
“I could say the same about you!” I shot back, giving him a withering look. “What’s the matter, I suddenly get a boyfriend and you decide that since you can’t make any moves on me you don’t want to be friends anymore?”
Trey scoffed. “Like I’ve ever let a girl being taken stop me before.”
I gave him a disgusted look and said dryly, “Charming.”
Trey looked like he was going to respond to that but then stopped himself and shook his head. “Stop distracting me, will you just tell me why you lied about your brother?”
“Fine!” I shouted at him. “My brother’s in a coma! He got beaten up by some assholes and they put him in a coma.”
My voice cracked on the last word and I looked away from his shocked face. I took a deep breath before looking back up at his frozen form.
“You can’t tell anyone, understand? Promise me.”
Trey snapped out of his trance and suddenly looked concerned, but he nodded.
“Why would you lie about that?” he asked.
“The only people who know about it are your grandfather, my parents, Kate, and her parents because her mother is his doctor.”
“But why?” he asked me again, running a hand through his hair and looking down at Hunter’s state.
“I was getting to that.” I shot him a glare before continuing. “He was involved in some bad stuff and got beaten up by some guys. My parents were worried that the truth would hurt my father’s career and so they made up a story about how he’s away in Europe visiting family friends. They were so disgusted by him that they were almost going to disown him. They weren’t even going to pay his doctor and hospital bills.”
I snorted at the memory.
“I had to beg them to do it. My mother made a deal with me. She said if I played the obedient daughter, if I did everything she asked without question, then they would pay his bills. That’s also why I had to date Tyler. They would’t listen to me when I told them it wasn’t his fault. It was four against two, we never stood a chance.”
“We?” Trey asked me, his voice hushed.
I froze as I realized my slip-up, but then decided it didn’t matter. I gave him a bitter smile. “One of the guys was going to rape me. Hunter saved me and for that they put him in a coma. I called the police and they ran away before they could finish him off.”
Trey’s hands were clenched into shaking fists, his knuckles white. He was pissed, and the sight of it made me laugh.
“I don’t see anything remotely funny about this.” he told me coldly.
“Sorry, it’s really not. But for some reason I find it funny that you show more of a reaction then my parents did when I told them. Wanna know what they said.” I raised my eyebrows and he pressed his lips together tightly, not amused by my attitude towards my life’s drama. “They said, ‘they didn’t rape you? Good. We’ve got enough to deal with right now without a damaged daughter on top of it all.’ It was like I wasn’t even a person. Like if he had raped me, I would’ve just been damaged goods. No longer useful to my parents. Like Hunter now is.”
Trey took a deep breath through his nose and then raised his fist to his face, kneading his forehead with it. I admired the way his bicep flexed when he did that but quickly scolded myself when I realized what I was doing.
“I’m sorry, but you have assholes for parents. I really hate them.”
“Join the club.” Trey gave me a strained smiled. I grinned at him and said, “No seriously, Hunter and I actually made a club. We can have an initiation for you and everything. If I remember correctly it involved a rain dance and a tutu.” Trey started to laugh as I tried to remember before shrugging. “Meh, I’m sure we can figure it out.”
“You and Hunter together sound hilarious.” he told me when he sobered up enough.
“Oh yeah we totally were!” my smile faded as I looked down at Hunter. “My biggest fear is that one day my mom will say ‘enough is enough’ and pull the plug on him. I would do anything to keep him alive, even if it meant going back to that day six months ago and letting him rape me. I just wish he would open his eyes soon.”
I felt a gentle pressure on my shoulder and I jumped slightly, looking over to see Trey had put his arm around me. I buried my face into his chest as the tears began to fall and he held me. He didn’t say anything, but oddly enough I felt it even more comforting that he didn’t offer me false words.
“I’m sorry I was being an asshole these past two weeks.” he told me when I pulled away to wipe my tears away. “I was a bit angry at you.”
I gave a watery chuckle. “I was a bit angry at you too, but why were you angry at me?”
Trey looked embarrassed and he let go of my waist with one hand to rub the back of his neck. “I was upset that you were letting your mom push you around. It was obvious how much you hated being with Bentley. Hell, I think everyone but Bentley can see how much he annoys you.”
“God you have no idea, he’s driving me insane!”
“I’d say ditch him, but you kind of are in a tight spot since your parents are blackmailing you.”
I sighed and rubbed my eyes. “It’s okay, I can handle Tyler.” I peered up at him and smiled. “So, friends again?”
Trey hesitated, but then smiled back and nodded. “Yeah, friends.”
We stood there for a moment in a slightly awkward silence before Trey broke it.
“I was about to go visit my grandfather, you want to come?”
I nodded and grabbed my bag, pausing to kiss Hunter on the forehead, before following Trey down the hall. Arthur gave us a smug smile when we came in that I didn’t quite understand, but quickly forgot about as the day went on. He had fun embarrassing Trey by telling me some of his old childhood quirks until finally Trey managed to put an end to it. We stayed there talking until almost six and then finally we decided to leave.
Trey walked me over to my car and I played with my car keys nervously as we stood there for a moment in silence.
“Well I better go.” he finally said.
I nodded, but he made no move to leave. After another second of awkward silence he took a breath and nodded.
“I’ll see you later, I guess.”
He turned around to leave and before I could stop myself I had called out, “Wait!”
Trey turned around and waited patiently for me to go on.
I licked my lips uneasily. “Um, do you wanna come over?”
I saw a hint of a smirk on his face and he teased, “Why kitten, are you trying to put the moves on me?”
And just like that the awkwardness evaporated.
“No, you idiot.” I rolled my eyes at him. “Just to watch a movie or something.”
“Ok, if you say so. But only if you promise not to try and seduce me.”
“You holding out for your Prince Charming?” I asked seriously, but the corners of my lips twitched as I tried to keep from laughing.
“Oh that’s it!”
Trey charged forward and grabbed me around the waist, hoisting me over his shoulder. I was laughing harder then ever as he spun around in a circle before setting me back on my feet leaning against the car. At first I thought it was because I was dizzy, but then found his ulterior motive as he pinned me against the side and began to tickle me.
“Stop!” I cried, laughing so hard my sides hurt.
“Say Trey’s a sexy beast!”
“I can’t my mummy told me not to lie!”
Trey gasped, pretending to be offended, and then began to tickle me again.
“Fine, fine Treysasexybeast!”
“I didn’t quite catch that? What did you say.”
“Trey’s a sexy beast!”
It was just my luck I said that right as an old couple passed us to get to their car. They both gave me a disgusted look and kept walking, the lady muttering under her breath about girls with loose morals nowadays. My mouth dropped open at that and Trey roared with laughter, literally clutching his stomach with one hand and holding onto my car with the other so he wouldn’t fall over. I smacked him in the back with my hand.
“It’s not funny, you jerk!”
“Your face - priceless!” he gasped out.
“Okay, okay.” he said quickly. He managed to calm down a bit, but then took one look at my face and collapsed back into a fit of laughter.
“I don’t think I want you to come over anymore.” I pouted.
Trey waved his hand at me as he managed to sober up a bit. “I’m good now.” he insisted.
“Really?” I said flatly.
“I swear.” Trey nodded, putting his hand over his heart.
“Fine.” I muttered.
“I’ll follow you there.” he waved as he headed off for his motorcycle.
When we got back to my house, Ms. Erickson’s car was already gone. I parked in the garage and then went out to meet Trey. His eyes were wide as he took off his helmet.
“You live here?”
“No duh, genius.” I rolled my eyes at him.
“So rude, kitten.” he smirked, using the same voice I had to reply. He flicked my nose and then grabbed my hand, dragging me towards the house.
I smirked at the expression on his face when he walked into the house.
“I think I’m gonna have to start calling you princess.” he muttered.
“Don’t you dare.” I said instantly, glaring at him.
Trey just snickered and continued dragging me around the house. It would have felt more like he was giving me the tour the way he dragged me from room to room, however he kept up a string of questions like: “what’s this?” and “who sleeps here?”. He was shocked at the number of empty bedrooms we had, but I explained to him that we get a lot of international guests who stay with us sometimes.
When we got to my room, he seemed to realize that it was mine because he smirked at me and flopped down on my bed before grabbing my arm and pulling me down with him. I laughed at him and hit him upside the head.
I jumped off the bed and Trey followed me as we went downstairs to the television room. He grabbed a movie and waved it at me with a grin.
“Halloween? Really?” I asked him, quirking an eyebrow up. “That’s not even a scary one!”
Trey’s mouth dropped open. “You actually like scary movies?”
“I love them.” I informed him with a smug smirk.
Trey eyed me dubiously. “I don’t believe you.”
My smirk widened and I walked over to the shelves full of DVDs. I quickly located the one I was thinking of and grabbed it, putting it in the player too fast for Trey to see what I had picked.
“Tell me to turn it off if it gets too scary for you.” I teased him, hitting the play button and then turning off the light.
As I sat down on the couch, Trey frowned at the distance I put between us before reaching over and pulling me against his side, throwing an arm over my shoulder so that I was snuggled against his chest. I pulled back slightly so that I could give him a questioning look and he just gave me an innocent look.
“Friends can snuggle, right?”
I rolled my eyes at him, but didn’t make a move to escape from his grasp.
As the movie started, Trey scoffed. “This movie looks old.”
“You’ve never seen this?” I asked, amused at his remark. “It’s from the ’80’s.”
“Evil Dead... it sounds stupid.”
“Just wait.” I told him, already anticipating his reactions.
By the time the movie was over, Trey was clutching me so tight that I had some trouble breathing. That also might have had something to do with how hard I had been laughing, though. I had been right, Trey’s reactions were priceless. At one point he had even screamed like a little girl and I had laughed so hard tears had started to come out of my eyes.
“It wasn’t that funny.” Trey grumbled, still complaining about how he had been more frightened than me.
His response just made me remember his expression when he had screamed and I immediately dissolved into another laughing fit. Trey’s expression soured slightly at my response but as I began to sober up, his face softened.
“Well I’ll give that one to you, that was scary as fuck.”
“You shouldn’t judge the oldies so quickly.” I said smugly.
“How come you weren’t afraid?”
I laughed, “I’m desensitized, that was Hunter’s favorite movie of all time and he would make me watch it at least two times a month.”
“No fair, you had an advantage.” he pouted.
“Suck it up you big baby.” I teased.
Trey smirked at me, but before he could say whatever it was that had made him smirk like that, his phone buzzed. He glanced at the text message and frowned.
“I gotta go, kitten. You owe me, though.”
“Why?” I frowned.
“Because I watched that scary-ass movie with you! Next time I get to choose what we do.”
“You assume there’s going to be a next time.” I grinned, and he grinned back rather impishly.
“Of course, we’re friends aren’t we?”
Before I could respond, he leaned forward and quickly kissed me on the cheek then jumped to his feet and headed towards the door, throwing me a wink over his shoulder as he left. I sat there in shock, gently touching my cheek as I heard the sound of his motorcycle revving up and roaring to life. The sound disappeared as he left.