Kaitlyn was quiet as she descended the steps of her house, her soft pink socks barely making a noise as she peered over the railing.
There he was, silent as ever. Perched on her bright white couch as the raven lounged across it to stare at their T.V, as if he owned it. The sight was a little unsettling and she frowned. It had been three days since he'd shown up to live with her and Randy. And still, she had no idea what to make of him.
She found him annoying, lazy, and entirely too tall. And to make matters worse, she still had no idea how Randy had met such an odd person. She'd known Randy since they were children, growing up in the same posh neighborhood as they played cops and robbers together. She'd even gone to the same university as him in order to keep the strain on their relationship light. She had made up her mind as soon as they began dating in middleschool.
It's how she ended up here, with him, settled down in a new town after Randy had popped the question. She had been apart of his life for as long as she could remember.
So why had he never once mentioned a friend named Jackson? Living together for over six years, it left her just a tad bit curious.
If not nervous.
Kailtyn sighed as she finally appeared into the living room, giving his profile a side stare.
His sharp jawline was resting on his hand as he yawned.
She thought he looked suspicious and she hated the doubt that slipped into her mind. Was he really Randy's friend? He wasn't some stray he picked up, right?
Perhaps she was uppity, but as her gaze trailed over his messy black hair, to the tattoo inked proudly over his neck-- the cackling jester bothered her, Kailtlyn could only assume there was a good reason he was currently unemployed.
But perhaps, that was just her aunt rubbing off on her.
His intense emerald eyes and cocky smile flashed in her mind. The way he held her off the ground during their first meeting... it was embarrassing.
Kaitlyn flustered and quickly she huffed and stomped her way into the kitchen. The raven didn't say anything to her, and as she fell into routine in the kitchen, she began to start the dishes. Her own red brows knitted together as she furiously scrubbed the plate in her hands, the suds building precariously in the sink.
She didn't have the slightest clue on how to interact with Jackson. How was she supposed to entertain or bond with someone she knew nothing about?
When Randy had come home the other night, he had only insisted Jackson was a great person and that everything was fine. Despite her protests and inquiries for just a little more information, she was shutdown with his shrugs and grins.
Sometimes, she wondered when he had stopped taking her seriously.
No, no... she was thinking too much of it.
She blew a piece of her bangs out of her eyes, the plate in her hand stockpiling with suds as she washed faster. She was overreacting. Her pink lips pulled down.
"Did that plate do something to piss you off?"
Kaitlyn nearly shrieked, dropping the plate into the soapy, raspberry scented suds. The sound of his laugh grated on her nerves, coloring her cheeks to match her vibrant red hair.
"Do you have to sneak up on me like that?!" Looking over her shoulder, blue met green, "what if I would have broken the dish! And for two, that's not polite at all!"
Jackson seemed to snicker, his pale digits reaching up to tap his chin. "I'm sorry, sweetheart. I wasn't trying to scare you, honest."
Immediately she bristled. What was Randy thinking? Inviting someone like him into their home?
Kaitlyn dropped the sponge she'd been using into the water and pivoted around to face him.
"Don't call me that." She started, her wet hands coming to rest on her hips. She felt the water seeping through to stick to her skin, but she paid it no mind. "I'm definitely not YOUR sweetheart. If you're going to be in our home, you'll respect that I'm spoken for."
Jackson held up his hands, sheepish. "Now, now. I was only hoping we could be friends. Randy is doing me a huge favor." He shoved his hands in the pockets of his dark blue jeans and tilted his head at her. It was unnerving. A thrum beneath her skin as she glanced away.
"I... While I'm not opposed to being friends, friends call each other by their names, last I checked."
"Well, 'last I checked' nicknames were a thing," he countered, his eyes playful. Kaitlyn wasn't having it though.
"Sweetheart is not a nickname!"
"Are you sure?" Jackson asked, while he bent down to look her in the eyes. It made her feel awfully short. Again. "So... what is it then?"
Crossing her arms, she refused to falter under his stare before muttering, "It's... harassment."
The way his lips twitched, Kaitlyn was certain he was trying not to outright laugh in her face.
But then Jackson coughed, crossing his arms as he leaned on the counter beside her. "I'll give you that one, my apologies, Princess. I meant no disrespect."
"Princess?" She questioned, peering up at him. Her sudden love for the old animated princess' came to life, and it made her stomach do a flip. No one had ever called her that, except Johsua, her and Randy's other childhood friend. And he only said to make fun of her vast love for pink and hatred for any sort of bugs.
Jackson didn't seem annoyed though, and all he did was smirk at her as he shrugged. "You didn't like sweetheart, so now you're princess. I used to call my old cat that too, so you can't claim it's harassment."
Kaitlyn felt her mouth twitch, but she refused to smile. Instead she gave him a pointed eye roll before turning away from him. "I'm not sure you can put limitations on harassment if it's unwanted... but whatever. Make yourself useful and finish these dishes for me."
He wanted to call her a princess? Well she would be demanding like one.
Glancing at him to see his reaction, she waited with a baited breath.
But his reaction took her off guard. Jackson only gave her a mock bow, those pretty lips curled into a lopsided smile--and he had the audacity to wink. It suited him. Kaitlyn was annoyed by that, too.
"Whatever you say, princess. Your demands shall be met with favor."
Jackson reached into the sink and grabbed the sponge and quickly took over her chore with no resistance. His shoulder almost touching hers as he scrubbed away with a hum.
Unexpected, and she felt awkward as she stood there. Clearing her throat, she excused herself and sidestepped away from his broad shoulders. "Thank you." She breathed. And scurried out of the kitchen.
Too aware of his simple, "not a problem" that followed her out.
Slumping down onto the couch he had occupied not too much earlier, she took a breath. Happy to be away from him and his... quirky mannerisms. She was even more convinced now, that perhaps Randy hardly knew the guy. Would he really have let someone like him into their home otherwise? Or did he just not care?
Shaking her tired features, Kaitlyn peeked at the coffee table, at the papers and books that were scattered across it. Her dainty hands reached out to cusp one onto her lap, reading the title with a sigh. "Everything you need for your wedding!" Stood out at her like an exhausted flame. She had read a multitude of books like this one since the beginning of her engagement to Randy. Picking out numerous items and ideas, just waiting for him to finally agree on a set date. During the first two years, she understood. Finances were a thing, so was timing... but now, they had plenty of money. It just seemed like Randy couldn't make the time.
But how much was the sacrifice for a week... at most?
Pulling her lip between her teeth, she silently gathered the magazine clippings she'd been looking through; yearning coursing through her system. Her finger nails paused, lingering on the image of a beautiful brunette woman. She was dressed to the royals in an enchanting lace and pearl wedding gown that flowed behind her like a river.
It was gorgeous.
And she was... jealous. Jealous of a model who seemed to be able to wear something she still couldn't seem to grasp.
Absently sighing, Kaitlyn tucked it away, back into her building wedding planner. It bothered her that she hadn't had the opportunity to pick out a dress yet. With Randy always pushing back the date, the season for their wedding was always out of grasp. And that had a huge impact on the dress she'd pick.
So... she just never could. It wasn't as though they lived in the tropics... a dress for winter could not hope to be the same for summer.
"You're getting married?"
Kaitlyn tried not to squeak.
Shaking back her surprise, she glared up at Jackson's towering form. Leaning precariously against the side of the couch, those eyes were set directly on her journal. "Has anyone ever told you that you're meddlesome and for two, stop sneaking up on me!" she spat.
Jackson didn't look impressed. "Hold the phone, it's not my fault you don't pay attention to your surroundings. All I did was walk from one room to the other."
Kaitlyn opened her mouth to argue, but soon realized she had no rebuttal. How could she argue that? Hating being wrong, all she could do was puff her cheeks.
"... Well walk louder." She sighed before awkwardly placing the rest of the clippings into the journal. "And yes... Randy and I are getting married. He didn't mention it to you?"
That stung a little.
"Can I see that?"
Kaitlyn blinked. Hesitating, as she reached out to hand him the journal slowly. "Um, sure."
She watched silently as he flipped through the pages, unable to read the look on his face.
"He mentioned having someone special," Jackson breathed as he flipped through the the text on the pages, but she was unable to tell what he thought of it. "But I met Randy a few couple years ago. It's possible that you just weren't engaged at that time."
The curiosity from earlier took hold, and Kaitlyn couldn't help but to ask, "when did you meet Randy? He's never talked about you. At least, not to me."
Jackson almost looked offended before he chuckled, "He didn't tell you anything about me, at all? Well, I can't say that's not typical of Randy. Dude can ramble about anything but forget to mention having ties to anyone." He deadpanned.
But honestly, Kaitlyn couldn't have agreed more. Randy was... scatterbrained. Still, she perched up in her seat, patting the spot next to her.
Jackson took it with a plop. "I met Randy three years ago, give or take. I was applying to work at the firm he works at, I wanted to be a research assistant or hell, even a practitioner by that point... but the interview bombed. He tried to help me but he couldn't pull me the job either... despite that, we've been friends since. Can't say I see him all like that though."
Intrigued, she wanted to ask more. Why didn't he get the job? Shocked he was also a psychology degree holder-- but more importantly, she was offended. Curling her lips, she said softly, "We've been engaged for going on six years."
Jackson let out a surprised whistle. She blushed, shame pooling in her round cheeks. "Six years? That's a long ass time. What's the hold up? Can't decide on the table flowers or something, you one of those picky brides, a bridezilla?"
"What?" Kaitlyn objected, "No! I could care less about what our table settings look like! Or the stupid flowers!"
Jackson looked surprised at her reaction, but she could only fist her hands in her lap. "It's... nothing like that. I've just been planning this entire time hoping that Randy would finally set a date with me…but he always says no."
Jackson looked bothered by something, but by what, she didn't know. His handsome face looked tight, a hitch to his brow before he was shaking his head slowly. But the expression was gone as soon as it came. "Huh... doesn't seem like Randy. But, I'm sorry to hear that, princess."
Didn't seem like him? The words left a sour taste in her mouth. But instead of arguing with him, she simply nodded and held out her hand for her journal back.
But Jackson didn't hand it over. His lithe frame turning to her as he easily maneuvered his slender frame to rest his arm on the back of the couch.
She envied how comfortable he was.
She watched as he continued to flip through her book with his other free hand. "Um," she wanted to ask for it back, but he genuinely seemed interested in the contents. It was a huge contrast to Randy, and it left her feeling a little flattered.
So instead, she started a conversation. Curious as she peered at his heavy lashes that stayed focused on the pages. Watching as he picked up the image of the bride from earlier.
Such a strange man.
"So... I never would've guessed you'd be in the same field as Randy. It doesn't bore you?"
Immediately, those bright green eyes were gazing sharply into hers. And she almost regretted asking.
But, he just smiled.
"Actually, quite the opposite, princess. I love reading people like a book." He waved her journal as he spoke, his eyes piercing. "Who doesn't love a good mind game?"
Chapter 3:She shouldn't have been disappointed.But as she stared across the way at Randy's hurried movements, she couldn't help the heavy feeling in her heart.It was common these days."Was that all you wanted from me, K?" Randy asked as he paused by the door with his bag on his shoulder. His brown eyes seemed to be looking through her. He'd promised his undivided attention today but fate seemed to have other plans. Apparently, it had turned into his rushed, almost one sided attention. With a glance at his text that had turned into an emergency meeting at his job. Especially pleaded for by Mr. Hanks.Which meant he had to go to the lab as soon as possible.She would be lying if she said she didn't feel...Just overwhelming disappointment.Kaitlyn reluctantly nodded, glancing at the catalog
Chapter 4:Dainty fingers flicked at her blouse, the clips snapping into place as she buttoned the fabric over her chest. With one last once over, she emerged from her bedroom. Walking down the stairs slowly, only for her gaze to immediately fall on Jackson.Her eyes narrowed in distaste, watching with mild disgust as he lounged all over her couch, again. He was consuming a bowl of cheerios at the coffee table, his gaze fixed on the television screen as he scooped up the little tan loops. He seemed bored as he flipped through the channels, moving from the news, to cartoons with the same disinterested expression. All he ever seemed to do was watch TV though, or listen to music on his phone.She couldn't help but wonder if he was putting in any applications at all.Tossing her locks over her shoulder, she toed on her bright red heels and smoothed out her black pencil skirt one las
Today was the big day, the day she got to see Randy for more than just a couple hours in the morning.Tugging the fluffy bristles of her brush through her red locks, Kaitlyn all but twirled in front of the large mirror standing tall in the bedroom. She was adorning a slick mermaid style dress, the gray and black buttons accentuating her curves as they traversed down the sides of her hips. She felt pretty and comfortable in her shoes as she slipped on flats instead of her usual heels.Today was their annual office party, and as Randy's future spouse, she always showed up to support his endeavors.This year would be no different.Her pink lips upturned into a smile, just as the bedroom door creaked open."Hi." She breathed, perking up as Randy entered the room. She waited to hear what he'd say about her attire. A soft blush painting her face as she twirled the edges of her hair around her freshly painted nails--a glossy
"I can't do this anymore."The words are piercing, loud amongst the quiet and watching walls of their bedroom. And Randy pauses by the door. She isn't sure where it came from, or why it was bubbling up inside her now.But as the frustrations fell from her lips like boiling water, she couldn't stop."I'm sick of you treating me like this, Randy!"Not even as Randy peered at her from over his shoulders, his usually chocolate ambers clouded with anger. He cocked his brow at her, and when he turned to face her, the nonchalance on his face only fueled her anger."Treating you like what? Like my future wife? Sorry I'm not home as much as you'd like and I'm busy trying to build a future for us."The scathing reply made her falter, for only a moment, before she shook her head.No, not this time.She would say her piece."No. That'
The bags under her eyes left her feeling ragged. Bringing her fingertips up to her face, she rested them there, against the darkened flesh. Patting away a dollop of concealer as she hid her sleepless night away from the prying eyes of her office.Every time she went to close her eyes, she saw Randy. She couldn't stop remembering the look on his face when he pushed her away, the anger on his face as recoiled away into the vase.That desperate to get away from her.Where had the love in his eyes gone? When had they stopped being so gentle?The hollow feeling in her chest was consuming. And as she checked for phone for the hundredth time, she could only stare in silence.He hadn't returned any of her texts or calls in the last 24 hours. Randy had never even texted her to assure her that he had arrived safely to...wherever he went. She was sure he thought she was ungrateful and couldn't
Kailtyn all but gawked at the restaurant ahead, her eyes darting around as she tried to hide her face from view behind Jackson's towering shoulder. She felt self-conscious as they weaved through the crowd, the click of her heels loud amongst the sidewalk. She was overly in tune with the glances spared at them. As if they knew the person leading her by the hand wasn't her fiancé. She knew it was ridiculous, and she had already told Jackson twice that she wouldn't run away if he let go of her hand. She had even pointed out that she hadn't tried to jump out of his car on the drive over to try and sway him. But to no avail. His grip had stayed firm. The proximity made her blush as she swallowed down her trepidation with a slow blink, the slope of his arm so close, she could almost brush her lashes against it. It made her nervous. It also felt ... <
The thrum of alcohol scorched her throat, the liquid a smooth burn that her taste buds couldn't decide if they liked or not.But as the crystal clear liquid was slid at her in the form of another shot glass, Kaitlyn noted that the room was a bit warmer than she recalled. The glossy hue on her cheeks reflected back at her from the adjacent mirror on the wall.She felt giddy. Nerves alive as her leg bounced happily against the booth she resided in."We should do this more often." She giggled out, her hands reaching out to steal a scoop of goopey cheese off his plate.Jackson snickered, his own lime green shot glass being pressed against his lips as he gave her a smirk. "See, I told you that you should live a little."The crunch of the chip all but made her moan as the cheese, for some reason, tasted way better than earlier. It was if everything was just a little more satisfying. And as her g
"Jackson! Is this where you ran off to hide?"Kaitlyn watched, perplexed, as the girl with bouncy chocolate locks all but skipped over to Jackson. The brunette’s small hands falling on his shoulders as she wrapped around him in a hug. The atmosphere was intimate, a closeness that Kaitlyn couldn't quite place.Taking a small sip of water, Kaitlyn ignored the weirdest hint of irritation she felt at the close contact between them.Her lashes narrowing as she noted that Jackson sure was chummy with women.It was a weird feeling, one she hadn't been expecting.Frowning, she set down her water bottle with a small thud.“Jeez, it’s been way too long. I’ve missed my other half.”Kaitlyn didn't have time to reflect on her words, surprised when those wide eyes went her way instead. The blonde from earlier followed her, his smile significantly more tense than the woman’s. But maybe it was just her im