What a jackass. This was going nowhere. I threw the phone on the counter and marched up the stairs. Now, he’d put me in the mood to do something that would piss him off.
He was still sitting on the bed smoking when I opened the door after neglecting to knock. I headed straight for the drawer, grabbed his box of cigarettes and ran out.
I was laughing all the way back to my room. That is, until my door burst open. I quickly stuffed the cigarettes into my shirt. Elec looked ready to murder me, although admittedly, the glare in his glowing eyes was pretty sexy.
“Give them to me,” he said through gritted teeth.
“I’m not giving them back to you.”
“Yes the fuck you are, or I’m reaching into your shirt and getting them. You choose.”
“Seriously, why do you smoke? It’s so bad for you.”
“You can’t just steal my shit. But then again, like mother, like daughter.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Go ask your mother,” he muttered under his breath. He held out his muscular, tattooed arm. “Give me my cigarettes.”
“Not until you explain why you just said that. She didn’t steal Randy. Your parents were divorced before my mom even met your dad.”
“That’s what Randy wants you to believe. She was probably fucking around on your father too, right? Poor gullible bastard.”
“Don’t call my father a bastard.”
“Well, where was he when Sarah was fucking my father behind my mother’s back?”
My blood was starting boil. He was going to be sorry for asking. “Six feet under. My father died when I was ten.”
He was silent then rubbed his temples in frustration. His tone eased for the first time since I’d met him. “Fuck. I didn’t know that, okay?”
“There’s a lot you’re probably assuming. If you’d just talk to me…”
Elec almost looked like he was going to apologize. Almost. Then, he shook his head and turned right back into evil Mr. Hyde. “I’ll be fucking damned if I have to talk to you. Give me my cigarettes, or I’m ripping them out of your shirt.”
My body buzzed when he said it. What was wrong with me? A part of me wanted to see what that would be like, his rough hands pulling at the material on my shirt, ripping it off. I shook my head to rid the thought and backed away as he slowly approached. He was just inches from me now. The heat radiated from his body as he moved up against me, squishing the cigarette box into my chest. My nipples instantly turned to steel. I had never felt so out of control of my own body and was silently begging it to stop reacting so intensely toward him. Let’s face it. My body was an imbecile with poor judgment. How could it want something so badly that hated it right back?
His breath smelled like clove. “That was the last package of that brand. They’re imported from Indonesia. I don’t even know where to buy them here yet. If you think I’m difficult to deal with now, you’re not gonna want to see what I’m like with no cigarettes tonight.”
“They’re so bad for you.”
“Ask me if I give a shit,” he said uncomfortably close to my mouth.
He backed up a few inches. “Look…smoking is the only thing that has brought me any peace since walking into this hell hole. Now, I’m asking nicely. Please.”
His eyes softened, and with each second that passed, my resolve weakened. “Okay.” His gaze followed my hand as I reached into my bra for the cigarettes. I handed them to him and instantly felt the cold air replace the heat of his body as he walked away.
If I thought giving him back the cigarettes would initiate a truce, I was wrong.
He turned around one last time to face me, and his eyes were no longer soft. They were piercing. “You’re gonna pay for that.”
The start of school went exactly the way I expected. Elec ignored me anytime we were in the same class or in the cafeteria. Girls flocked around him everywhere he went, and he instantly became popular while barely having to say a word. Probably the least surprising development was Victoria’s covetous reaction to him.
“What do you think my chances are?”
“Of bagging Elec.”
“Don’t get me involved in that venture, please.”
“Why not? I realize you don’t get along with him, but you’re my only in.”
“He hates my guts. How am I going to be able to help you with this?”
“You could invite me over, set it up so we’re all in the same room and then leave us alone.”
“I don’t know. You don’t understand how he is.”
“I mean, I know you don’t get along with him, but does it really bother you if I try to make a move? It might actually help your relationship with him if I ended up dating him.”
“I don’t think Elec is the dating type.”
“No…he’s the fucking type, and that’s okay with me, too. I’ll take that.”
My heart was beating faster, and I hated myself for it. Every time Victoria would bring this up, it made me insanely jealous. It was like a secret struggle I was constantly battling. I could never admit this to anyone. Which part bothered me most was unclear. Was it the thought of my friend screwing Elec, getting to touch him and living out my darkest fantasy? That bothered me, sure, but I think what upset me the most was the thought of Elec connecting on a deeper level with someone else while he continued to apparently despise me.
I hated that I cared.
I lifted my backpack out of my locker. “You’re crazy. Can we please change the subject?”
“Okay. I heard Bentley wants to ask you out.”
I slammed the locker hard upon that news. “From whom?”
“He talked to my brother about it. He wants to ask you to the movies.”
Bentley was one of the popular preppie guys. I couldn’t figure out why he would be interested in me since he usually dated girls from his own crowd. I didn’t really belong to their group or any group for that matter. There were the people like Bentley from the rich side of town in one clique. Then, there were the artsy and theatrical ones. Then, you had the international exchange students. Then, there were those who were just popular because they were good-looking, intriguing or acted out (Elec). Victoria and I were sort of in a class of our own. We got along with everyone, got good grades and stayed out of trouble. Unlike my best friend, though, I was a virgin.
I’d only had one boyfriend, Gerald, who ended up breaking up with me because I wouldn’t let him get past touching my boobs. Word got out that I was a virgin and certain people around school would joke about it behind my back. While I still saw Gerald in the halls from time to time, I tried to avoid him.
Victoria snapped her gum. “So, anyway, if he asks you out, we should totally invite Elec. He could go with me, and you could go with Bentley. We could go see that new scary movie.”
“No, thanks. Living with Elec is all the scary I need.”
My words would come back to haunt me the next morning. I was getting dressed for school, and when I opened my underwear drawer, it was empty.
I threw on some yoga pants commando-style and marched into Elec’s room as he was putting on a shirt.
“What the hell did you do with my underwear?”
“It doesn’t feel good when someone takes your shit, does it?”
“I took one box of cigarettes for less than five minutes and gave it right back, by the way. You took every single piece of underwear I own! There’s a little bit of a difference there.”
I couldn’t believe I assumed he wasn’t going to get back at me for that one. Lately, he had been ignoring me especially well, and I just assumed all was forgotten.
I started searching his drawers. My hand quickly retracted after touching a strip of condoms.
“You can look in here all day until the sun goes down. They’re not in here. Don’t waste your time.”
“You’d better not have thrown them out!”
“Those were some hot pieces. I couldn’t do that.”
“That’s because they cost a fortune.”
Good underwear was probably the only thing I splurged on. Each and every pair came from a pricey online lingerie boutique.
As I knelt down to look under his bed, he laughed. “You have a wedgie, by the way.”
I leapt up and clenched my teeth. “That’s what happens when you don’t have any fucking underwear!”
I wanted to pick it so badly, but that would have made this worse. I stood up to face him.
Elec gave me a once-over. “You’ll get them back when I’m ready to give them to you. Now, if you’ll excuse me…” He brushed past me and ran down the stairs.
I didn’t even bother to stop him because he wasn’t going to budge. I went to Target on the way to school and bought cheapie panties until I could figure out how to get mine back.
I came home from school that day in a really anxious mood. Between the missing underwear and my actually getting asked out by Bentley, I was seriously in need of ice cream—not just any ice cream, but the homemade kind I’d make occasionally on the machine I got for Christmas last year.