Chapter 5 - Let's make a deal

Lilly's POV

The possibility of us was enough to knock the breath from my lungs.

In a span of seconds only, I saw how the future might play out if we take this risk. I saw us, together, figuring whatever the hell this is out. I saw this growing, I saw us getting attachedBut then, I saw that inevitable end. I saw how this would only end in heartbreak and the worst part is, it may not be me the one who'll get hurt.

Before I could let the words part my lips, the loud clicking sound of a door echoed in the empty library and I gasped, taken aback. My body jerked up and the sounds became louder, heavy footsteps, some chattering, and people talking.

My heart knocked it up a notch and I staggered backward till my back came in contact with Chase's front. His arm went around my body, his hand wrapped around my forearm in reassurance. My gaze lifted up to him and I breathed out, my heart dropped into my stomach trying to figure out if we're being saved or maybe not...

My eyes squinted when suddenly light from the upper lamps illuminated the whole place. I looked around in shock, someone turned the lights on. The chattering increased and the footsteps seemed to get closer and closer before I heard my name being called, "Lilly!"

"Dad!" I gasped when I registered his voice before I saw him step into the room.

His eyes fell on me and I didn't waste a second before I left Chase's side and ran to him. I came crashing between his arms, they protectively wrapped around me, "Oh thank god, you're here." He whispered in my hair, the underlying worry in his tone squeezed my heart so tight.

I pulled back a fraction and looked at him, my lips pulled up in a relieved smile. He held my face in his hands and his eyes inspected me, "Are you okay?" He asked, worry creasing his face.

I nodded with a small smile, assuring him. My dad worries, a lot. Like a lot a lot. More than he should but now, in his eyes, there was more than just worry, there was a type of fear I have never seen before.

"Dad, I just got myself stuck in a library that's all." I said, a hint of playfulness in my tone, lighting up the mood and trying to assure him, "Other than me being so stupid, I am fine."

He shook his head and breathed out a sigh of relief, "My head just played the worst scenarios." He mumbled, the look that flashed in his eyes was a first for me to see. For a second there, he looked scared. I've seen him worried before, I've seen him angry, very rarely by the way, but I've never seen him scared. What could he be scared of?

I shook all these thoughts away and looked around, finally registering the presence of the other people in the room. Uncle Ashton was talking with Chase, some security guards were there and two police officers as well but what shocked me the most was seeing Zack here.

"I'll call your mom and tell her, she was going crazy." Dad mumbled as he placed the phone to his ear while all my focus was on the fact that Zack was actually here. His eyes found mine and a small smile played over his lips before he walked closer, "You okay?" He asked and suddenly, my throat felt so dry.

See, how can I start something with anyone when I still get all excited and wobbly by just a glimpse of this guy.

My stomach flipped up and down and I tucked my hair behind my ear and nodded with a small smile. God, I must look like shit now. Did he have to come and see me like this?

"When you guys didn't follow us last night, we thought you ditched us at first." He remarked, his eyebrow raising, "But when I went in the morning to see Chase and couldn't find him, we figured out something must've gone wrong." He explained before a soft smile crawled up his face, "I am just glad you're okay."

My fingers nervously played with the oversized sleeve of the sweater, "Me too," I mumbled, my eyes on the floor before I looked up and sighed, "And i will be more glad when I change these," I motioned to my clothes, "Take a hot shower and eat some warm food."

He chuckled before he inched a bit closer. My eyes grew a bit wide when his hands came and fixed the inside-out flipped hoodie of the sweater. He was so close, dangerously close and for the very first time, I didn't like his closeness. It made me uncomfortable in a very twisted way. His eyebrow raised and he remarked jokingly, "Nice sweater by the way."

Every other thought evaporated into thin air as I looked down and realized that I still wearing Chase's sweater, "Excuse me a second." I said to Zack, leaving him alone before I walked to Chase, grabbing his attention away from his father. Uncle Ashton gave me a smile and messed up my hair as he went off talking on his phone.

"I'll wash it then give it back." I said, my fingers wrapping over the material of the sweatshirt.

He shook his head, "No need."

I smiled, "I can keep it then?" I asked, more excitedly than I should've and he returned my smile.

"It's blue," I commented.

"Your favorite color." He said with a nod.

I nodded and a very low sigh parted my lips. My eyes on his as my smile slowly dropped away. Those damn eyes, like the color of the ocean, they're so full of life but still so very uncertain, they reflected every unsaid word he couldn't let out and before I could take into a deep breath, I was drowning again.

"Yeah...yeah, my favorite color."

My eyes drifted away for a second and I licked my dry lips. My thoughts took me back to just a couple of minutes ago, of how worried I was, how just the fact that he was in pain demolished something in me.

I looked back at him and a harsh breath pushed itself out of my lungs and I did the first thing on my mind, I tiptoed and my hands wrapped around his neck and I hugged him.

"I am just really glad you're okay." I said.

"Thanks to you," He answered as his arms hesitantly came up and wrapped around me.

I pressed my cheek over his shoulder, "Told ya, you're lucky to have me." My tone wasn't at all playful.

His chest heaved up as he said, "Guess I am."

Way too many words went unsaid, questions and answers we need to discuss, things we need to figure out, but all in its time. Now, I am just glad that he is okay and we are not stuck in the damn library for another two days.

My eyelids glided open and the first thing they noticed was Zack standing a few meters away, his gaze totally focused on us. When my eyes caught his, he turned away and talked with Ashton but within seconds only, he slanted us another look and I could swear that the look in his eyes was so similar to the one I always see in Chase's eyes when he sees me with Zack.

Is this finally going to work?

Actually the more important question here is, do I really want it to work?


One week later...

I took a pause by the kitchen's counter and suspiciously eyed dad and Max, who were standing by the window, looking outside, whispering and laughing about something. True, my dad is kinda old but I can swear I never saw him act his age.

And please never tell him that I called him old because he might throw me out of the house for just saying that O-word. It's forbidden.

He high-fived Max about something that I am still trying to figure out before he walked toward me and gave me a wink. He was still wearing a tracksuit from his morning jog and in his hand a cup of some weird healthy green juice that he drinks almost everyday. Gosh, he really tries so hard to stay in shape, he is terrified as hell of getting old. Oh shit, I said the O-word again.

I sipped on my orange juice and kept eyeing them both till mom got into the kitchen.

"Good morning baby," She said, "Did you eat your breakfast yet?"

My dad's smile turned into a smirk and he winked, "I already had my breakfast in the bed this morning."

I winced and resisted the urge to spit out my juice while mom shot him a glare, "I wasn't asking you," She said in a matter-of-a-fact tone before she kissed my cheek. She is being extra affectionate since the day I was trapped in the library. My parents are really extra sometimes.

I smiled and nodded my head, "Yup mom, I already ate."

My eyes drifted from her to Max who is eyes are still focused outside the window then I looked back at her, "Mom, also dad was just teaching Max how to hit on the new neighbor's daughter."

My dad choked on his green juice thingy, "Hey, hey!" He said, shooting me a glare, "Last time I checked, you were on my team."

My raised my eyebrow, "Well, last time I checked, you're making from my brother the playboy of our town."

Max fake-coughed, "Not making me, I already am sweetheart." He walked closer to us, dad raised his hand and Max high-fived him from behind, "This boy is going to carry my legacy." He said.

"I am so proud of him, I might just cry." He added while casually sipping on his juice and I rolled my eyes.

I turned to mom, "You're not gonna say anything."

She couldn't seem less bothered, her lips stretched into a thin line, "I gave up on your father's ways along time ago, I had to adapt somehow," She tapped at my shoulder, "You should too."

I shook my head and let out an exasperated sigh. Gosh, my family is so weird.

"Anyway, afternoon I am meeting up with Aylin and Sally,"

"Nope, you're not."

"We are gonna go to...wait, what?"

My dad shook his head and my wide eyes drifted to mom, she gave me a helpless shrug, "I don't usually agree with your father but yeah, I am with him on this one."

"What!" I exclaimed, "Just because I got myself stuck in a library, now I can't go out anywhere, not even on the weekends?"

They both nodded and Max chuckled, pretty much amused at my misery. They've been like this for the past week. They are trying to drive me crazy. I only go to school and that's it, they even drop me off there and pick me up as if I am gonna trip, fall and just die.

Told you, they're so extra. I'll never understand why.

"Come on!" I exclaimed, throwing my arms in the air.

They didn't budge. Not even a bit. I looked at mom and said, "I am not on your team anymore." I angrily remarked before I made my dramatic exit.

I went up the stairs to my room and heard her shout from the kitchen, "We're having dinner at Katherine's today, finish your homework before that."

Oh great, just great.

I am gonna have to finally face the guy I was avoiding for the past week.


"Today, I was tidying up the attic and look what I found," Auntie Katherine said excitedly as she pulled out what looked like a photo album and showed it to my mom and dad. Are photo albums still a thing? Gosh.

I sighed annoyed and crossed my arms over my chest. Can this night just end already. My eyes went to Chase sitting on the couch across of me, his eyes on his phone, typing something. Totally ignoring me. We still didn't talk. We haven't been alone since the library day and turns out, he is avoiding me too. He couldn't bother to look twice at me today. Not that I am bothered by that fact or anything.

"Oh my god, look at this," Katherine said dreamily and pulled out one of the photos, "It's my favorite picture."

Dad's gaze went to her and he chuckled before he looked at Ashton. He snatched the picture out of her hand and eyed it, "Oh, look at that little weenie."

Ashton pressed his palm over his forehead, "I thought that I burned that picture!"

Katherine shook her head, "Nope, I always have backup copies."

My dad chuckled as he eyed the picture, he folded it and placed it in his pocket, "I am keeping this."

"Why you're keeping with you a picture of a baby naked me?" Ashton asked.

"Because I just love you too much." Dad said mockingly and placed his arm over his shoulder to which Ashton shrugged away.

See this. Sixteen years of these weird people.

"Dad, how come we don't have any picture of you when you were little?" I asked, my eyebrows pulled together, suddenly realizing that.

His smile faded there for a second but he recovered it very fast, "Because I was super cute," He shrugged, "It was almost illegal to take pictures of me." He said ever so seriously, "It's unfair to other ugly people," He said the last part while pointing at Ashton.

Oh god.

Less than two years for college. Less than two years, Lilly. You can handle that. You can.

"Oh look Lilly, it's you and Chase," Katherine said, changing the subject as she extended a picture toward me, "You guys look so cute!"

I took it from her and eyed the picture. It was baby me, probably two or three years old, sitting over the couch, my arm extended over Chase's shoulder, probably squeezing him. My smile is so big while Chase looks so annoyed, his eyebrows pulled together in anger and he looks to be escaping from my hold.

A smile curved my lips and I lifted my eyes up to see Chase looking back at me. A small smile pulled at his lips telling me that he had already seen this picture. That very little moment was interrupted by the ringing of his phone, he excused himself and went out of the room to answer it.

My hand tightened over the picture and I turned to auntie Katherine, "Can I keep this?" I asked and she immediately nodded, "Yeah sure, like i said, I always have extra copies."

I gave it one last look before I placed it in my purse. They continued looking at pictures and Chase didn't come back to sit with us. Why is he avoiding me? I mean, I have my reasons, what does he have?

"I am gonna go make popcorn before we start the movie," Katherine's voice snapped me out of my thoughts, "Lilly, come and help me."

My eyebrows pulled together, "Why me?" I mumbled, annoyed.

She just ushered me to go along with her and I did. Once we reach the kitchen, she paused in her steps and turned to me, "Do you know what's wrong with Chase?" She asked, worry creased her eyebrows together.

I was taken aback by her sudden question and shook my head, "No, why?"

"He's just not been himself for the past week," She said with a sigh, "I thought you might know why."

I raised my shoulders up pretending to be clueless. She placed her hand over my arm and softly rubbed it, "Can you do me a favor?" She asked and I immediately nodded.

"Can you go and talk with him?" She asked, "He won't tell me, but I have a feeling he would tell you."

She was right in a way. We needed to talk about what happened. I need to give him my answer. We can't keep running from it.

I nodded my head and she smiled brightly in return, "Thank you," She said, "He is in his room, you know where it is, just go to him."

I eyed her suspiciously before I turned around and headed up the stairs. Always squeezing us into one room, gosh.

I knocked the door and opened it before I could hear his response. His back was facing me as he slipped a black shirt over his body. I thanked god that I came barging in like this because it gave me full view as he turned around.

Damn, someone has been working out...

I licked my lips, "Um, not sorry." I said and shrugged when he gave me confused look.


I leisurely made my way inside and sat on the edge of his bed, "Whatcha ya doin?" I asked, ever so casually.

"Why you're here?" He asked.

I shook my head and bit on my lower lip, "Nothing, just got bored with the old people downstairs and thought-"

"Lilly." He cut me, his tone serious.

"We need to talk." I straight-forward said it.

He sat on the desk's chair across of me and nodded, "Okay, talk."

"Look, Chase, I-"

"We can't do this." He said, interrupting me and stealing the rest of my words away.

He shook his head, "We can't risk it."

I would lie if I said that his words didn't take me way off guard. I stared back at him, a little bit confused. I didn't think he'd be the one to say it, but he did.

My heart twisted in my chest for some odd reason, "You're right, we can't."

Yes, there is something here and we are both pretty much aware of it. But, "I have liked Zack for as far as I can remember," I said, "I need to give that a chance. I owe it to myself."

He nodded, "I agree."


A part of me thought that if I said this, he would get angry, he would refuse, he would get jealous just as he always does, but...he agrees? Since when?

He motioned between us, "And I need to let go of whatever this is. I owe it to myself as well." He said, before he got to his feet and stepped closer to me.

A beautiful smile lifted the corner of his lips as he extended his hand toward me, "Friends?"

I stared back at his extended hand dumbfounded. I tried to recover from my shock as fast as i could and I placed my hand in his.

I nodded, "Friends."

And then something clicked, it was the devil in my head cooking up some ideas of his own, "I have a plan, would you help me with it?" I was still testing the waters.

He gave me a questioning look so I carried on, "What if we..." I got to my feet and smiled, regaining my confident posture back.

I paused and a slight smirk pulled at the corner of my lips, "Let's make a deal," I said. Since we are...friends, "Let's pretend to be a couple. You know, fake date for a while." I questioned.

"First, it'll give me the chance to finally get out of the house more often because my parents trust you.

Second, it'll take your mom off our backs for a while and third -" I bit my lower lip in excitement, " agree, it'll be the best way to make him jealous."

I pushed my hand forward and confidently asked, "Deal?"

He silently eyed me for a full second. I was baiting him and never in a million years I would have expected to hear him say the next word.

His eyes, those very beautiful eyes lit up and a small smile tugged at his lips before he shook my hand and muttered, "Deal."

My heart thudded and chills raced down my spine. My smile almost dropped but I covered it up and kept the nonchalant posture on. He didn't take the bait...or is he the one baiting me?

Or maybe...maybe he really just doesn't care anymore.

I snapped. My jaw tightened and I forced my smile, "Great, let's go tell our parents then." I said as I grabbed his hand and pulled him with me out of the room before he could even react.

Well guess what, two can play this game. I will show him that I am not messing around.

I paused in my steps when we reached the living room. I cleared my throat, grabbing everyone's attention to us, "We have an announcement." I formally said. My outside calm posture, a total opposite to the fire burning up at my chest.

Their voices subdued and all their eyes focused on me and Chase. My hand on the side went and tangled with Chase's. I could feel his eyes on me, I could sense the shock radiating off him in waves at my sudden outburst.

I tightened my hand over his...I will show him how great of a friend I am.

I first saw dad's eyes travel to our intertwined hands. His throat bobbed and his eyebrow raised, I felt him daring me to carry on. Katherine's eyes were a bit wide, her lips parting a bit, while mom's full concentration was on dad, waiting for something.

And then, I just set the bomb on, "Chase and I have been dating for a while."

"What the fuck?!" Dad shot up.

"OH MY GOD! I KNEW IT!" Katherine jumped up from her seat and squealed excitedly before she walked up to dad and extended her hand, "Pay up, I win!"


Dad's eyes stayed on us and I couldn't make out his expression. Mom's wide eyes were just on him, she looked ready to calm him down before he...god-forbid kills someone. Max whistled, "Finally some drama," he said. While Ashton looked at dad and chuckled, pretty amused at this turn in events.

"Come on, pay up," Katherine stressed out.

"Hell no!" Dad remarked, "They're not...that's not...they are not, you know what, fuck.."

"Five hundred bucks, I am waiting."

My eyebrow raised, "You guys bet on us dating?"

My dad shot me a very hard glare, "Well, I bet against it, way to disappoint me daughter!" He looked furious. I am not sure but he looked like he hates me at this moment.

Dad and aunt Katherine started arguing again, I turned to Chase and my fake smile widened, "Well, friend, looks like this is gonna be so much fun!" I sarcastically added.

He didn't look at me. His eyes were focused ahead, I looked and dad was giving him the hardest most furious glare he could ever master.

My dad looked ready to kill.

Chase's eyebrows pulled together, he swallowed hard and looked pretty much terrified, "You know what," I felt him backing away, "Maybe this wasn't such a bright idea."

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