If it was up to Marley Rose she wouldn't face Jake Puckerman ever again. The boy was toxic and that wasn't going to change anytime soon but getting a bad grade on such an easy assignment wasn't part of the plan. At least that's what she tried to convince herself as she made her way to his house. She held her folder tight into her chest, the memory of Jake's lips close to hers haunting her mind, followed by the cold hard reality of being rejected.
She knew it was impossible to be with him. They were a day away from never seeing each other again and here she was pinning after him like a school girl in love. He needed to stay in the past and he would. She knew that as soon as she left for college he would be history. She would no longer be haunted by the man she knew as Jake Puckerman.
She knocked on his door with a straight face. She was going to ask the last questions, take the picture they needed and leave. That was the plan.
Jake opened the door and stared at the girl standing before him. She could see in his eyes that he was shock to see her there. "The assignment isn't done" she said and pushed him aside to come in. She knew no one was home. She had seen his mother leave early in the morning for work. "Just two more questions and the picture. I think that if we take one picture that sums everything up we should be just fine" she explained setting down the folder on the small coffee table in the living room, the same coffee table she had seen so many times before when she was growing up.
Marley turned around to find him just standing there staring at her. "Why are you still standing there?" She asked a little aggravated. "Get the camera!" she exclaimed making him jump. He nodded and started making his way upstairs to his room.
She sat down and took a deep breath. She told herself that she would never come into his house again. It was filled with so many painfully happy memories. Ones that she was so desperate to buried deep inside her brain.
"Here" he said, once he came, placing the camera next to the folder before he sat beside her.
"Finally" she rolled her eyes.
"You're mad" he stated.
"No… I'm just tired" she lied and quickly grabbed the folder and looked for the questions. "Share a your most embarrassing moment" she said and glance at him.
Jake thought for a minute before shrugged. "Haven't had any" he said and Marley rolled her eyes.
"Of course you haven't" she murmured under her breath. "Well mine was this year. At the English Poems activities we had" she sigh, her mind traveling to that night.
She had been so excited about the assignment. Every year the senior class was assign to pair up and write poems about whatever topic the chose that year. Marley had always been excited for the day when she would have chance to do hers. After the assignment was over the top 10 pairs who did the best were asked to present their poems to a group of parents and Marley was lucky to be one of them.
She even prepared a little skit for her and her partner to do. She was so proud. "I remember that" Jake interrupted her line of thoughts. "You were being stubborn and decided to use the microphone but you dropped it when it was your turn" he chuckled.
"It's not funny" she growled.
"It's a little funny" he said with a smirk. "Beside that wasn't so bad"
"It was too me. I was so humiliated" she sigh and shook her head. She knew there was nothing she could have done. The microphone fell and her amazing poem was ruined. "Moving on" she said, trying to just brush it off.
"Bring it" he said trying to make her smile but Marley was not in the mood. She could already feel her heart racing and herself relaxing. She needed to get out of there.
"Pick 10 things you like about your partner" She said.
"That's easy. I like your eyes, your smile, your voice, your lips…" he quickly jumped in without hesitating. "I like the way you play with your fingers when you're nervous. I like the way you scrunch your nose when you're annoyed. I like that you're smart but not cocky. I like that you are shy, I think it's adorable. I like to hear you laugh, it's very contagious" He said and smiled.
"That was only nine" she said, trying not to blush. She tried to remind herself that this is what he did. He use charming words to make everything else seem like nothing and she wasn't going to fall for that. Not anymore at least.
Jake shrugged and Marley rolled her eyes. He was hopeless. "I like your smile. I like that you never became a total jerk. I like that you care for others. I like that you can make anyone feel better. I like that you're always looking for an excuse to make people laugh. I like that you care about your future. I like the you cover you face with your hands when you are blushing" she said as he did so which only made her smile. "I like the way that you with your mom. I like the way you are with mine and I like you're a good guy" she said.
They stared at each other as they shared a silence. Something in his eyes made her believe that he wanted to say so much more and deep inside she wanted him to say more but she shook the thoughts away. "Well…" she said as she broke the eye contact. "I think that was the last-"
"I like that you can see me better than anyone else" he finished. Marley stared at him again, her heart thumping loudly. It was getting hard to breathe.
"Stay strong Marley" she told herself. "Uh… right. That's the last. We should do the picture now" she said standing up and he followed. She took out a picture of them as little kids. They were both grinning widely, their arms around each other. She remember that day perfectly.
"I can't believe you still have that" he said as he looked over her shoulder making her shiver.
"I found it" she lied. She had framed in her night stand. "I was thinking we could both hold the picture in front of us, each holding an end. It would mean that we haven't changed. We just drifted apart" she said stepping away from him.
"Sounds like a good idea" he said and went to set up the camera. Marley could feel the urge to cry getting even stronger by the minute but she wasn't going to allow him to see her cry. Not anymore.
He came back and took the picture as Marley instructed. Their shoulder barely touched as they both posed for the picture. As soon as the flash went, Marley snatched the picture from Jake's hands and started packing up.
"Well that was all. It was a pleasure doing this with you" she said as quickly as she could.
"Wait!" Jake said grabbing her wrist and pulling her back before she could go. "There is still one question" he said.
"One that you said you didn't want to answer" she said, trying to free her hand.
"I want to… I just don't know which one to pick" he said. This made Marley stop. Her mind went blank. Jake Puckerman was perfect. Jake Puckerman didn't have regrets.
"What are you talking about?" she asked.
"I regret so many things" He said and started to come closer. "I regret pushing me far away from you. I regret not talking to you. I regret not going up to you and owning up to my mistake. I regret not being your first kiss and last I regret not kissing you yesterday" he said, his eyes focus completely into hers while her mind spun around with so many thoughts.
"No…" she whispered. "You're lying. Don't lie to me!" she exclaimed and started pulling on her to set herself free but Jake wouldn't let her.
"I'm not lying Marley. I love you. I've always had but I was idiot" he said.
"No! You don't love me!" she sobbed as the tear started to run down her cheek. "You don't love me. You didn't even want to be my friend"
"That's not true. I was just a kid and then I was so afraid that you hated me and I thought that if I told you, you would have laughed in my face. I couldn't bare it" he said and pulled her toward him again, this time takings his other arm and wrapping it around her waist. "I pay to pair me up with you. I knew that if I somehow got the chance to know if you loved me I could finally tell you"
"You did what?!" she asked, her hands busy hitting his chest.
"And I know you love me and I was going to tell you yesterday but I panicked" he tried to explained.
"You're lying" she cried.
"I'm not lying" he yelled and with that he crashed his lips against her. At first Marley was shocked. She just started at him as he pressed his lips against her but as soon as she felt his tongue ran across her bottom lip she started to fight.
"Stop" she cried as she pushed him away. She manage to get a few steps back before he was on her again. "No" she whispered, her struggle going weaker and then her back hit a wall and his lips met hers again and nothing else mattered anymore.
She let herself fall down the rabbit hole. She opened his mouth and let his tongue explore every inch of her mouth. She shivered and moaned into the kiss. Her body felt like it was on fire by the way his hands touched and molded every inch of her body.
The rest of the night was a complete blur. She remember his hands running down her legs and wrapping them around his waist. She remembers clothes flying around and the feeling of his soft lips kissing places that had never been kissed.
She felt like she was where she belonged. In his arms.
She woke up hours later, her aching body wrapped in his dark blue sheets. She was alone. She looked around, trying to get her thoughts straight as the worst came to mind.
He left. He left her. He had been lying and now she was just one of the rest.
She lowered her head and cursed herself for being so stupid. For letting his words brake down her barrier and then she heard the sound of the toilet flushing and her head snapped. The door opened to reveal a half asleep, half naked Jake.
"Hey" he said with a sleepy smile as he dropped beside her and wrapped his arms around her.
"You didn't leave" she whispered.
"No" he shook her head as he brought her closer. He lifted one of his hands and traced the outline of her jaw. "I've been running for years. I don't want to run anymore" he said.
Marley stared at him. Her mind quiet down for the first time that week. "So, it's true?" she asked. "You love me?"
Jake smiled and nodded. "I've always loved you Marley Rose. Ever since the first moment I saw you. I've always known" he said. "I was an idiot. I don't know what I was thinking leaving you like that. I thought… I thought I lost you"
"I thought I lost you" she whispered back. They smiled at each other before she brought her closer, letting her head rest against his chest.
"I love you" she whispered as she laid her hand over his. She listen to his heart quicken with happiness in his chest.
"I love you too" he said back.
Marley closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep in the arms of the man she swore she would never love again but she knew it was worth it. She knew it worth going down the dark rabbits hole as long as she was with him.