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December 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm (Uncategorized)

 

Hi Everyone,

I’m sure that you all had a wonderful holiday with your family.  And I can’t believe that the next holiday is only a couple of weeks away!  There is soooo much to do.  But it does involve one of the things I love…shopping!  I admit it.  I love shopping so much I don’t care who I’m shopping for. 

But…I do notice that when I am shopping for others I always seem to find the most incredible deals for myself.  Am I the only one that happens to???

I hope that you are enjoying Choices.

I’ll let you get straight to the action.

Chapter 10

Mallory doodled in her notebook. She didn’t even try to concentrate in school anymore.   All she could think of was Jackson.  She replayed the times they spent together in her head.  Jackson’s hands on her body, his mouth covering hers.  A shiver raced up her spine.  They had been meeting for almost a month, and each time only served to make her want him more.  Despite his refusal to go any further than they already had, she could tell that he was getting as frustrated as she was.  She wasn’t sure why he was waiting.  All she knew was that it was making her crazy.

“Mallory!”

Her head rose at the sound of her name.  She looked around the room to find the rest of the class staring at her.  “Would you like to join us in History class or are you going to spend all day in dreamland?”

The rest of the class giggled. 

“Sorry, Mr. Donaldson,” she said, an embarrassed blush covering her cheeks.

After what seemed like an eternity, class finally ended.  Pulling her purse off the back of the chair, she scooped her books up into her arms to make her way into the hall.  Walking to her locker, she barely heard the loud chatter that filled the hallway.  She searched both directions, but Jackson was nowhere to be found.  Where was he?  She hadn’t seen him all day.  After tossing her books in her locker, she walked around to the side of the building to search for him.

“Hey, Mallory,” she heard a male voice call out from behind.

Turning around, she saw Derrick leaning against a tree.  She sighed heavily.  The last thing she wanted to do was deal with him.  Flirting with him that day in the lunch room had been a mistake she quickly regretted.  “What is it, Derrick?”

He crossed the distance between them, his eyes raking her from head to toe.  “I was thinking maybe we could go out tonight,” he suggested casually

 “I’m busy tonight,” she replied with a huff of irritation.

“Come on, Mallory.  Haven’t you avoided me enough?”

She rolled her eyes.  “Look Derrick, it’s just not going to happen.  Why don’t you take out Lucy Walker?  I hear she has a thing for you.”

“I don’t want to take out Lucy Walker.  I want to take you out.”

“Derrick, I’m just not interested, okay?”

He crossed the distance in three long strides, pulling her against him roughly.  “To hell with that!  You were interested in the lunchroom the other day.  I’m tired of you playing the tease.  It’s time you started playing with something else.”

She squirmed against him, fear racing up her spine.  “Derrick, let me go.”

His hand curled around her nape, as he pulled her closer in an attempt to kiss her.  “Come on, Mallory.  I know you’re not as innocent as you act,” he bit out angrily.

“Let her go, Lange!”

Derrick’s eyes narrowed as he saw who the voice belonged to.  “You sure are a nosy son of a bitch, Hart.  Get out of here.  I would hate to have to ruin your pretty boy face!”

“Any time you’re ready to try, let me know,” Jackson barked.

“This has nothing to do with you.”

“Back away now, and I won’t hurt you,” Jackson warned.

“Go to hell!”

Suddenly, Derrick was wrenched away from her, making her stumble.  Jackson grabbed his arm, throwing him to the ground.  He stood over him menacingly.  “The next time you touch her will be the last.  You got that, Lange?”

Derrick scrambled to his feet.  “Is she sleeping with you, too?” he asked with a sneer.  “I always knew she was a whore.”

Jackson punched him, his fist connecting with Derrick’s chin.  Derrick backed away, one hand rubbing the spot on his face where a bruise was already beginning to form.  “You’re a fool, Hart!”  Seeing the look on Jackson’s face, he hurried to the side door.  He looked over his shoulder as he pulled the door open.  “This isn’t over.”  With that, he disappeared inside.

Mallory stared at Jackson’s stiff back, his body still prepared for battle.  “I can’t believe he did that,” she murmured.

He spun on his heel to confront her.  “Can’t you?” he demanded.  “Why would he treat you like that unless he thought he could get away with it?”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

His eyes narrowed.  “I think you know,” he replied ominously.

“You believe him?”

When he tried to turn away, she grabbed his forearm yanking him around to face her.  “Just forget it, Mallory.”

“No, I’m not going to forget it.  How can you believe what he said about me after the time we spent together?”

He pinned her with a harsh glare.  “What am I supposed to think when we’re sneaking around behind everyone’s back?  Do you think if Lange knew we were together he would try a stunt like that?  He wouldn’t have the balls, and we both know it.  But no one knows about us because you don’t want them to. Well, I’m tired of being your dirty little secret.”

 “You’re not my dirty little secret,” she vehemently denied.

“Aren’t I?”

“No!  You were never that to me.”

He started to walk away, but she grabbed his arm refusing to let him go.  “Jackson, please.  Tell me what you want me to do and I will do it.”

His lips formed a grim line.  “It doesn’t matter what I want.”

“It does to me.”

He reached up to rub the tense muscles in his neck, shaking his head.  “I’m just tired of being your little fling, Mallory.”

She offered him a stricken look.  “This isn’t a fling.  Not to me,” she assured. 

He turned away to stare into the distance.   She looked at him, wondering what she could say to make things better.  How could he actually believe that he was a fling to her?  Just the thought that he considered it a possibility made her want to cry.  She wanted to tell him the truth, wanted to confess that she was falling in love with him, but fear made her hold back.  

What if he didn’t feel the same way? 

Her heart sunk.  If she confessed her love only to find out he didn’t feel the same way, she wasn’t sure she would be able to face him.  She wasn’t completely naïve.   She knew that being with her was not something that Jackson considered a good idea.  It was dangerous for both of them.  She knew that.  But she also knew that she couldn’t stay away if she tried.  No, for now the fact that he was jealous was a good sign that he was developing feelings for her.  Publicizing their romance was going to be a risk, but it was a risk she would take anytime.

For him.

“So, why don’t you take me out tonight?”

Her question brought his head around.  He stared at her as if she had gone insane.  “What are you talking about?” he asked, his brows furrowing together.

She came to stand before him, her hand reaching for his.  “Well, you said you don’t want to hide anymore.  Neither do I.  Let’s go out tonight…on a real date.”

His eyebrows rose at her suggestion.  “A real date?”

“Why not?  What’s the worst that can happen?  We find out that we don’t like each other after all?” she teased, her lips curving into a smile.

A slow grin slid across his beautiful mouth.  “That would definitely be a surprise,” he joked.  He tilted his head to the side.  “You’re really serious about this, aren’t you?”

Her fingers laced with his.  “Absolutely. And you have to say yes.”

“I do?”

“Of course, you do.  This is the first time I’ve ever asked anyone out.”

His lips twitched.  “Is that right?”

She nodded.  “So, how am I doing?” she taunted, pulling her lower lip into her mouth.

He pulled her against him, causing her mouth to fall open.  “I’d say you’re doing just fine.”

Later that night, when she waited for him to pick her up at the barn she wondered why she was so nervous.  She had been with him many times, been intimate with him, but somehow this was different.  This time it was official.  She was going out on a date with Jackson Hart.  Her heart sped up at the thought.  Reaching into her purse to search for her lip gloss, she held a pocket size mirror up to apply a fresh coat.  

Her stomach rolled as another thought crept in.  If her father found out that she was on a date with Jackson, she would be grounded for an eternity.  But she wouldn’t think about that tonight.  Tonight was about being with Jackson.  For once, she wouldn’t think about what might happen in the future.  Jackson was right.  It was time to stop sneaking around.  If this was ever going to work between them, they would have to face the unpleasantness that would come when people realized they were seeing each other. 

She heard a car in the distance a moment before Jackson pulled around the corner in a Corvette with faded blue paint.  Her eyes widened, as he got out of the car.  “Where’s your motorcycle?” she asked in surprise.

He came to stand before her, his eyes taking in her pink skirt and striped shirt.  “Well, I figured that since this was a real date, I should pick you up in something other than the bike.  So, I borrowed my mom’s car.”

Her heart began to beat double time, as she noticed that he had traded in his signature jeans and t-shirt for a polo shirt and khaki pants.  The fact that he had dressed up warmed her from head to toe.  Every time she was with him, she lost another piece of her heart. 

Soon, it would all belong to him. 

“You look amazing.”

Before she knew what was happening, he closed the distance between them.  His hands came up to frame her face, as his mouth fused with hers.  His tongue invaded her mouth, searching out every part of her.  He caught her breathy sighs in the hollow of his mouth.  Her arms slid around him, her hands tracing the muscles in his back through his shirt.  When he gently set her away from him, his forehead resting against hers, her confusion was evident. 

“Much more of that, and we won’t be going anywhere,” he explained.  He took her hand in his, pulling her toward the car.  “Come on.”

He parked the car at Dick Clark’s, his gaze scanning the crowd who had already arrived.  Well, this was certainly going to be one hell of a coming out party.  The side parking lot was filled with cars and trucks.  It seemed like half of their school had decided to enjoy the night out.  It wasn’t a surprise that everyone was here.  After all, Princeton didn’t have many places to hang out.  Some kids went cruising past the town square, but most ended up at Dick Clarks.  One way or another they were about to find out what everyone would think of their secret union.  He just hoped that the night didn’t end up with him in jail for beating the shit out of some ignorant son of a bitch.  He had to admit that the probability was high.  After all, his school didn’t seem to be short of them.

He turned to face Mallory.  She worried her lower lip with her teeth.  He couldn’t imagine why a girl like her would risk this kind of embarrassment for him.  Unless she truly cared about him? He pushed the thought away.   No, he wouldn’t even consider that a possibility.  He couldn’t, because if he did and he was wrong he would never be able to live through it.

“You ready?” he asked, his voice tense.

Mallory shifted in the seat, her eyes meeting his.  “No time like the present, right?”

He smiled at her rallying spirit.  “Right,” he said, getting out of the car.

She waited while he walked around to open her door.  She slid out of the car to stand next to him.  He closed the door, taking her hand in his.  At her nervousness, he gave her a reassuring wink.  “What’s the worst that can happen, right?” he teased, pulling her with him to walk up to the pick up window. 

Jackson watched, noting the domino effect of people turning to stare at them.  What’s the worst that can happen?  A lot, he thought.  She gripped his hand tightly, her chin lifting a notch at the judgmental stares.

Walking up to the window, he ordered a couple of ice cream cones, handing one to her.  The tension in his shoulders refused to ease. After they finished their ice cream, they began to walk back to the car.  Jackson kept his gaze focused straight ahead, refusing to think about the barely concealed voices that were chattering all around him. 

“Damned shame.  A girl like that with trash.”

He gritted his teeth.  He would not beat the shit out of anyone tonight.  He repeated the words in his head like a mantra.  This was Mallory’s night.  He would not let them get to him. 

“I know what you mean.  I’d certainly like a piece of that.”

His hand formed a fist at his side as he fought for control. 

“Well, if she’s with Hart, she must be giving it away for free, because he sure as hell doesn’t have two dimes to rub together.”

His head snapped around, as he began to search for the offenders.  His resolve to keep his nose clean tonight was slowly fading.  The thought of pummeling the two bastards for what they said was becoming more and more of an option.  As soon as he thought it, Mallory pulled him close. 

“Let’s get out of here.  Let’s go somewhere where we can be alone.”

He looked into her eyes.  She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen in his life.  If only things could be simple, easy.  Still, he knew she was right.  They should go, before he did ruin things by taking out his anger on a couple of idiots.  Besides, he wanted to be with her in ways that a crowd wouldn’t permit.  He placed a tender kiss on the tip of her nose.  Still, their quick trip out had accomplished the task they set out with.  People knew about them now.  All too soon, they would face the fallout of their little unveiling. 

He just hoped it didn’t put an end to something that had just begun. 

 

Stay Tuned for more of Choices… 
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