2 || Last chance

“That was super hot,” Rose, the redhead in our group says. She is the artist. “Go and do it again.” 

“No.” Jesus Christ. That guy is a sexy, pompous dickwad. “It wasn’t hot and I’ll not repeat it.” 

“Yes, it was,” Taylor, the brunette, supports. She is the geek among us and the smartest. I finish the rest of her chapman and her eyes narrow in fake anger. She ditched her glasses for contacts tonight and she keeps squinting. “But it wasn’t a real kiss.” To me, it was. Rose makes kissy faces at me. “I wanted to watch you two kiss. Muah. Muah.”  

“I think he likes you, Cathy,” Amelia says. 

It is her first time talking since I returned to the table. I ignore her. She set me up for this. 

“Don’t know. He wants me to follow him,” I say to no one and everyone. Rose hands me my bag. She is seated on my left. “His hotel is behind the pub.”

Taylor retrieves her phone from her purse. For the next few seconds, she types on her phone while I nurse my empty glass. The stranger is still there, staring at me openly. Sexy asshole.

“Yep,” Taylor says. She pushes her phone into my face to show me pictures of the hotel right behind this pub. “He didn’t lie. There’s one.” 

Good for him, I guess. 

Rose stirs her colourful drink with a straw. She looks up and I shake my head before she says a word. Because she can get away with staying out late doesn’t mean I can. My dad will kill me. 

“Are you going to go with him?” she asks.

“Fuck you, Rose. Are you insane?” Rose laughs like that is not the craziest suggestion ever. I look around the table. Three pairs of eyes are staring at me in anticipation. “Jesus. He’s a stranger danger.”

“So? A bad bitch will go with him. Nicki is a bad bitch,” Amelia says to provoke a reaction out of me. Fuck this girl because she’s right about that part. “It’s only a kiss. We will wait for you.” 

I push down the voice of reasoning in my head screaming at me to say no. There are four of us and just one of him. What’s the worst that can happen? Taylor nudges me with her knee. Rose bats her lashes and Amelia pouts. Only a kiss.

“You will wait for me. Promise?” 

“Promise,” Amelia replies. “Your dad will kill us if we don’t have you home by 11 pm.” My dad is the principal so they know better than to mess with him when he has their future in his hands. “Just don’t go doing more than a kiss, okay?” 

We will see about that. 

Taylor strikes a conversation about Lucien, our school’s captain. She has been crushing on him since forever but hasn’t worked up the courage to ask him out. I tune them out as the hot stranger’s eyes find me. Even with his sunglasses, I feel his stare. He shoots to his feet and I grab my purse for lack of something to do.

The stranger slaps a bill on the counter, says a few things to the bartender and starts for our table. The pub isn’t crowded tonight so all eyes turn to him. He’s sexy and he knows it, that’s why he actually slow-walks towards us like a model on the runway. 

Rose giggles when she notices who I’m staring at. “He’s hot, you have to admit,” she whispers. 

True. But I don’t have to admit it out loud. I avert my gaze when he stops at our table. His sunglasses are still intact and I have to wonder who in their right thinking mind wears a pair of sunglasses at night. And to a pub. Amelia tells the stranger something but my heart is beating too fast for me to make out their words. He replies. It must have been funny, the whole table laugh. Rose snorts. If she’s snorting, then he has to be really funny.

I look up to his eyes that have been waiting for me to acknowledge him. “Hi,” I say. 

“Last chance,” he replies.

Another look at the girls and they all give me an encouraging nod. I stand but I don’t move another inch. “How am I sure you won’t kill me?” 

He laughs. I hate that his laughter is as gorgeous as he is. Wait, can laughter be considered gorgeous? 

While he’s thinking up his reply, Amelia tilts her head to survey him. “You kind of look familiar.”

“I get that a lot.” 

“Very familiar,” Amelia adds.

“That too, I get it a lot.” 

Rose, Taylor and I share a glance. They shrug. No familiarity. We don’t see what Amelia is seeing. She is the oldest in our clique and we respect her a lot but we don’t see it. 

Mister Stranger’s gaze finds me again. “What do you say?” 

“You didn’t answer my question,” I mumble.

“Amelia has my number,” he says. I dart her a glance and she nods. Just what did they discuss in the short time that I blanked out? He raises his phone and it rings with a familiar number flashing on the screen. “So?” I draw in a breath. He isn’t so bad or my best friends wouldn’t have agreed to this ludicrous idea. But what do a bunch of teenagers even know? I step out to stand beside him, keeping a tiny distance between us. “I’ll get her to you in one piece. Nice to meet you, girls.” 

“Nice to meet you, C,” they chorus.

C? How long did they talk? I follow C outside the pub and the chill air hits us first. I snicker at our dresses. Very inappropriate for the weather. 

“What’s funny?” C asks. 

“We are not dressed for the occasion.” 

“Yeah?” He offers me his hand and I slip mine into it. It’s strangely nice. Tugging me forward, away from the pub, he says, “It’s this way.” I am quiet as we take a turn that leads into a path illuminated by the streetlights. The logo of his motel shines from the distance, working out the knots in my joints. I almost relax completely. He wasn’t lying. “Your best friends really wanted you to get a kiss, huh?” 

“I guess so.” 

Our footsteps echo in the dark. We are the only ones out on the street and I keep looking around us. C doesn’t do the same. We stop at the motel and he lets go of my hand for the first time. Not-so-strangely enough, I miss his body’s warmth. 

The receptionist barely glances up as we walk past the counter. C takes my hand again and leads me up the stairs. We continue in silence till we are at a door he opens within seconds.

A switch goes off inside and light floods the room. C steps in before me and I follow behind, wary. Coming here sounded like a great idea at the bar. It always sounds like a great idea when you have had too much to drink. He stops in the middle of his room and grins. I force myself to reciprocate it. 

“Welcome to my humble abode,” he says. 

Some of the arrogance from the bar seems to have worn off. Same way the buzz from taking those diluted shots disappeared on the walk down here. His room is as normal as a hotel room should be and it’s neat. Neater than most guys’ rooms are. 

Mirror. Bed. Chair. Vanity. Everything is intact. C stalks towards me and I see the guitar leaning on the blue wall. Does he play? I almost ask but I swallow the urge. Just a kiss and I’ll be gone. 

“Alright. It’s time.” I force my eyes to his face and my breath leaves my lungs. The sunglasses are gone. There’s a cut on his eyebrow I didn’t notice earlier. I bounce on the heels of my feet as his eyes trail my body, stripping me with his gaze. For some reasons, it doesn’t irk me. I puff my chest to give him more to look at. “It’s time for my kiss.” 

“Right away? You don’t want to talk?” 

“Do you pick random girls from the pub, then ask them to follow you to your room to talk?”

“No, this is my first.” C cocks his head, eyes taking in all of me like he can tell the secrets in my heart. My thighs clench. “What about you? Do you follow random guys from the bar to their room?”

“My first too.”  

C drags a chair towards me and crumples to the floor, sitting cross-legged. I occupy the chair. 

“Your friends said I had twenty minutes.” C looks behind me to the old clock. “We have about fifteen minutes of that time left. So let’s talk about you.” 

“Me?” I point at my chest. C nods. His gaze dips to my arm and flicks back to my face. I drag my sleeves over my wrists. “No. Let’s talk about you.” 

C grins like he expected that remark from me. Clasping his hands under his jaw, his eyes flash with interest. “What do you want to know?” 

“What does your tattoo mean?” 

“Used to be in a band,” C says without thinking twice. That explains his guitar. “Was so excited to belong somewhere, I tattooed the name on my arm.” He rolls his shoulder for me to get a better look at it. I don’t see a name. I see a big rose, if that thing can be called a rose. “We separated so I had to use a bigger tattoo to cover it up. It looks cool, yeah? No one would know it’s a cover-up.” 

There’s a date under the rose lookalike. But I don’t ask him about it. “Yeah, it looks really cool.” 

“What about you?” He takes my left hand and pushes my sleeves up to reveal the tattoo on my wrist. I wear long sleeves to hide it because it’s a painful reminder from a foolish time. His thumb circles my wrist. “How did you get this?”  

“I’m not telling,” I reply. He only lifts a brow as I retract my hand to hide the tattoo of a semi colon on my wrist. “Um… how did you get the cut?” 

He touches the cut on his eyebrow to be sure what I’m talking about. I nod. “I’m not telling.” Against my wish, I smile. “You have a pretty smile, Miss Stranger.” I offer him a full blown smile. C takes my hand again, traces the outline of my tattoo. “You really should smile more often.” 

“Thanks, C?” He drops my hand and rises to his feet. I swallow tight when he pulls me up. He is taller. My palms become clammy. He closes the tiny gap between us, his fingers brush my cheek and a seed of nervousness germinates in my belly. His head lowers. His breath warms my face. I lick my lips. “C? Is that really your name?” 

A flick of his thumb against my pink lips and my heart skips a beat. “No names, remember?”

“I… I do.” 

He steps away momentarily. “I’m about to kiss you, pretty stranger.” And I want him to. “You can say no and your friends will never know.”

I bring his hands to cup my face. “Kiss me.” 

Comments (4)
goodnovel comment avatar
Interesting
goodnovel comment avatar
Maxine Barnes
I'm just glad he didn't strangle her
goodnovel comment avatar
Maramartha
it slows down a bit.
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