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Chapter 6

"Are you going to the Kick Off Carnival?" His question catches me off guard. We had spent the previous night talking like we were best friends still. It just felt right talking to Ryan again, even if it was a little weird with my obvious attraction towards him. Attraction that I knew hadn't been there when I was thirteen.

"I have to." I say.

"Alright, let me rephrase this." He smirks and I see him push him hands into his pockets. "Will you go with me?"

I wasn't expecting that. I just stood there with my hand resting on my locker for support. Over his shoulder I can see my best friend giving me a strange look. Then I remember that she likes him.

"I'm sorry, Ryan but no." I shake my head. I want to quickly say that I'd love to go with him but that's not an option. Lindsey likes him, I'm not allowed to.

"What, why not?" He looks shocked.

"I just can't. How about you take Lindsey, she's a great girl." I have to force a smile. "Oh look, there she is. Why don't you go ask her now?" I turn him around and give him a light push in her direction.

"You need to give me a valid reason, Townsend." He doesn't take my urgency for him to go away.

"She's my best friend." I say simply and close my locker door. "She likes you and I'm sure she'll love for you to ask her to go with you."

"Fine, but I can't promise I'll have fun with her."

"You will." I plaster a smile to my face. "Now go ask her." I push. He just shakes his head and turns around. I see a large smile on Lindsey's face before I turn around and head to class.

I couldn't watch him ask her.

The night before had been great. We sat in my room all afternoon and into most of the night just talking about our lives. He told me things he never told anyone else and in turn I did the same thing with him. I ended up falling asleep with my head in his lap. I woke up to him putting me in bed. His lips had softly brushed my forehead before he left. I had wanted to jump out of bed and ask him not to leave but I just stayed put.

I walked into my first period class with my head held high. I wasn't going to show Ryan that him asking Lindsey bothered me. After all, I had been the one that told him to ask her. What would it look like if I appeared upset? It would look weak. It would look like I had more then just friendly feelings towards him and there was no way I could let him see that. Not yet, at least.

"She said yeah." Ryan sat down next to me at our table.

"I knew she would." I gave him my best fake smile. It was the one I used at my Mother's many benefits, it was the same one I used whenever I was around Joseph or Julie.

I frowned thinking about Joseph. He had only grunted at me that morning when I tried to greet him. Marissa smirked at that and asked him for some money which he quickly pulled out his wallet and distributed a couple of fifty's. I just shook my head and thought about asking him for some money even though I didn't need it. I decided not to since I wasn't going to let him buy my love like he was buying Marissa's. I only had another week in his house and then I could go back home and forget all about my stay with them.

"I still don't see why…" He started but he was cut off by our teacher.

I was trying to pay attention to the lesson when I felt a tap on my arm. I glanced over at Ryan and he slipped a piece of paper towards me.

I wanted to go with you, not her.

I took a deep breath before I replied. I wasn't exactly sure what to say to him but I knew that I had to be a little harsh.

You missed that chance three years ago. I'm sorry but I can't forget how you treated me for all these years. I just don't understand. What's changed now?

I pushed the paper back over to him. He quickly wrote something back and slipped it back over to me.

Everything.

I took a deep breath and crumbled up the paper. I had nothing else to say to him.

The rest of class I kept my eyes on the front of the room. Once the bell rang he tried to say something to me but I just walked away before he could even get the words out.

In the past three years I have wanted more then anything to have his friendship back. Now, here he was handing it back to me and I was just pushing it away. All because of Lindsey. All because I felt like it'd be betraying her.


I was miserable looking around at all of the happy faces at the Kick Off Carnival. They looked to be enjoying themselves as they ingested so much fat that would make my Mother cringe. I had to stop myself from eating any of it. When Veronica got home she'd be able to tell, even if she'd been gone for two weeks.

I'd been there awhile before I spotted Ryan and Lindsey. He looked bored but I couldn't help but notice the large smile on her face. He looked up and noticed me. I was thinking about walking away but then Lindsey noticed me and waved. They started walking towards me.

Ryan was holding Lindsey's hand but he wasn't gripping on to hers like she was to his.

"Taylor!" Lindsey grinned as they approached me. "Are you having fun?" Lindsey was now giving me a fake smile and I really wasn't sure why. I just nodded, there was no need to tell her the truth. "Oh, well I need to use the restroom. I'll be right back." She patted Ryan on his chest. I suddenly felt a wave of jealousy hit me.

Judging by the look on Ryan's face right now he noticed the jealousy. I really need to start learning to hide my feelings better.

"How are things with Lindsey going?" I asked. I figured I had to say something.

"She's boring." He shrugged. I swear I squealed inside. Does that make me a terrible friend? "Nothing like you are." He leaned closer so he could whisper in my ear. My body betrayed me and shivered at his voice. He was too close. I needed to distance myself from him. Now. But, I couldn't move.

"You just need to get to know her better." I stuttered out. This wasn't good. I needed to put my guard back up. I needed for him to believe he wasn't having any affect on me.

"No, I don't think I do." He pulled away distancing himself from me finally. I realized why he did it because in the next second Lindsey was standing by his side again. She grabbed his hand quickly. I saw Ryan frown and try to shake his away from her. It wasn't working. Lindsey seemed to have a death grip on it. Lindsey whispered something into Ryan's ear. I heard a giggle come from her when he whispered something back into hers. It took everything in me to hold back a growl. Ryan must have noticed something because he looked up at me with a smirk on his lips. "I should get Lindsey home. We'll see you later Taylor."

"Oh, yeah. Bye guys." I gave them a slight wave. Ryan winked at me before they walked off. My heart fluttered and I felt my knees buckled beneath me.

I just stood there alone after they left me. I didn't know what my next move should be. I wasn't ready to go back to Joseph's.

I felt someone tap my shoulder while I was deep in thought. I turned around to find Marissa hanging all over Luke Ward. I widened my eyes and asked her what she wanted. She whispered something to Luke and pushed him awake.

"I just wanted you to know that Ryan is mine. He will always be mine." She tried to give me a sweet smile. I just rolled my eyes. "So, back off." She barked before turning around on her heels. I couldn't help but laugh. She wasn't even close to being intimidating.


Walking into Josephs house a few hours later I was greet by Julie in the kitchen. She was sitting at the counter talking to someone on the phone. She quickly stopped talking the second I stepped into the kitchen. She muttered a quick goodbye.

"You're home so early." She tried to start up a conversation.

"I'm not Marissa, I don't stay out at all hours of the night." I couldn't help myself. I should really learn to censor what I say around here. Julie frowned at me but didn't say a word. She flipped her phone back open and left the room. I heard her on the phone again before I left the kitchen to go to my room.

I plopped down on the bed groaning. This was not my comfortable bed. This was possibly the worst mattress I had slept on in my entire life.

I pulled my clothes off and climbed under the covers. Once there I couldn't fall asleep.

My mind just wandered to Ryan and Lindsey. I wasn't sure if I liked the idea of them being alone together. No, I didn't like it at all.

Just as I allowed my eyes to close there was a soft knock at the door. I sat up and muttered a quick 'come in.' I made sure I was covered up enough before they stepped into my room.

I widened my eyes when I realized it was Ryan at my door. He stepped towards me. He looked like he had been crying. I grabbed for my robe and pulled around me getting out of my bed.

"Ryan, what are you doing here?" I walked to him. He didn't say anything just wrapped his arms around me.

"Can I stay here tonight?" He croaked out. I just nodded and pulled away from him. I figured I would talk to him about it later when he wasn't so upset. I grabbed his hand and pulled him towards my bed. "I'll take the floor."

"No, silly. There's room on my bed." I said a little nervously. I crawled into the bed and Ryan got into the opposite side. Everything seemed so awkward as we lay there. That is until Ryan reached out and pulled me to him. I rest my head on his chest a little confused to what was going on. I figured I'd deal with it all in the morning. Right now I was just going to enjoy my closeness to him.

"Thank you." I heard Ryan whisper before I dozed off.