CHAPTER 7

Ellie came over forty-five minutes later, dressed for work. We sat out on the deck and drank lemonade, a tradition we'd had since fifth grade.

The first thing I told her was, "Simon broke up with me."

"What!? Why?"

"Apparently, I fucked up bad at the party last night. I made out with Scott... and then I was with Jackson all morning, because Simon wouldn't take care of me and he wanted to make sure that I was okay. Simon just doesn't trust me at all!"

"It feels like you guys have been together forever... I mean I know it was only six months... but it seems like so much longer. Is there anyway you'll get back together?"

"Jackson seems to think so... He was so sweet, it was kind of scary."

"He wasn't sweet to me at all. For like the first five minutes, maybe."

"Why did you have sex with him?"

"It just kinda... happened."

"Mm-hmm." In other words, she was hoping that now he'd talk to her at school. I knew how Ellie's mind worked. "He's really moody, though. On the ride home he got really quiet and pissy. He was so nice all morning, talking about how I was such a great girl, how he had too much respect for me to be a one-night-stand... and then he just totally changed." I sighed. "Guys are such catty bitches."

"You always say girls are catty bitches."

"Well... I guess everyone has a little of it in them."

She laughed. "Well, Jackson probably got cranky 'cause he was worried he was gonna start to like you."

"Right, Ellie. Jackson Sutterfield is afraid of liking me."

"I'm serious. Sophie, you're freaking gorgeous! So what if your boobs aren't huge? I'd kill to have a face like yours!"

"I'll trade you."

She rolled her eyes. "I'm right. You'll see." She finished off her lemonade. "Anyway, I gotta go, my dear. I'll call you when I get home."

I spent the rest of the day thinking about how to get Simon back. Maybe he'd overreacted just a bit, and maybe he was a jerk for not keeping track of me at the party, but I had sort of been avoiding him. We'd been dating six months; we couldn't throw that away over something so small. I felt bad for not being devastated. I mean, I should have been, right? I was upset, and I felt lonely, but I'd barely cried at all.

Maybe it was the fact that Jackson was convinced we'd get back together... or maybe it was just the thought of Jackson in general. If I really wanted him, I could have him. Maybe not forever, but I could have him for a night. The thing was, I didn't want Jackson, at least not that rational part of me. My frivolous, carefree side told me to be optimistic. Maybe Jackson was crazy about me, maybe we'd stay together. My rational side, however, told me to stay away from him. All he wanted was a one-night-stand, regardless of what he had said. He didn't care about me, never would. Even if he did, why would I want to date him? There would be constant rumors, and other girls would always be all over him. I knew that Jackson was not a man of self-control.

That night, as I lay in bed, I thought about how I was going to get to school. Simon always picked me up. I didn't have a car, and neither did Ellie. I'd borrowed my mom's car to go the party, which she was pissed about, by the way. I hated riding the bus with a burning passion. It was hot and noisy and all together an unpleasant experience. Riding it every now and then, like when Simon was sick, was okay, but I couldn't ride it every day. I could always ask Jackson to take me. Sure, I would have to deal with obnoxious music the whole way, but it beat the bus. Even with the outrageous price of gas, Simon and Jackson did not ride to school together, they'd tried that when Simon was a freshman, and it resulted in two black eyes, a broken seatbelt, and roughly one hundred cups of piping hot McDonald's coffee applied directly to Simon's lap.

There was only one problem; I didn't know his cell phone number. I was going to have to call the home phone... just peachy. I dialed the number and hoped that Simon didn't pick up.

"Hello?" Guess who it was? If you answered Simon, you win.

"Um, can I talk to Jackson?" I asked, trying to disguise my voice.

"Sophie?"

"No, Jack."

"I know who you want to talk to... is this Sophie?"

"Who is this Sophie you speak of?"

"What do you want with Jackson?"

I sighed. No use playing dumb. "I just need a ride to school tomorrow."

"I've got news for you, princess, you're riding the bus."

"Let me talk to your brother!"

"Nah... Later, babe," he said and then hung up on me.

Well, that had gone really well. Maybe getting back together with Simon wasn't going to be as easy as I'd hoped. I'd just started to drift off to sleep when my phone rang. I groaned and picked it up. I looked at the caller ID. It was Simon! Maybe he was calling to apologize.

"Hello?" I answered, trying to hide my excitement.

"Sophie, it's Jackson. I stole Simon's phone so I could get your number. He told me you called, but wouldn't say why."

"Well, I was just wondering if you could give me a ride to school tomorrow. I really don't wanna ride the bus."

"Yeah, sure. I'll be there around 7:45. Is there something else bothering you?"

"A couple things," I admitted.

"Wanna talk about it?"

"Yeah, maybe," I said softly.

"Jackson! Get the fuck off of my phone!" Simon shouted.

"Are you're parents home?"

"No, they're—"

"See you in ten."

"Jackson—" I didn't bother finishing my sentence, he'd already hung up. I got out of bed and pulled on a pair of lime green sweatpants. I didn't bother putting a t-shirt on over my hot pink sports bra. Jackson had seen plenty of girls wearing much less than I was. I went into the bathroom and tried to brush the knots out of my hair. Make-up? No. I didn't want to look like I was trying too hard.

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