Book 3.5 of The Bully series:
Uninhibited and happy-go-lucky Hannah Austin had thought she'd get through high school free from any worries and problems. But then she meets a guy who made her heart beat in a crazy way like never before. The same guy who was also determined to keep breaking it. Despite that, can Hannah endure losing him to protect herself from a big heartbreak? Or can she trust him with her heart again?
Skull was sitting next to me on the couch, holding me as I sobbed into his shirt.
One of his arms was around me, his hand rubbing and patting my back. How'd we ended up in this situation, I'd never know. All I remember was drinking too much alcohol and blacking out. When I came to, we were already in this position and I was already crying my heart out to the one person I'd never thought I would be with. Alone. I didn't even know he would be at this party.
"Are you done, Hannah?" There was a tinge of amusement in Skull's voice.
"Why am I crying?" I mumbled wetly, wiping my face on his shirt. "Why are you here?"
He groaned when he saw what I was doing. "Are you still not sober? Hell, where's Terry with that coffee?"
I lifted my head from his chest and blinked at him. "Did you hurt me?" I asked him suspiciously.
The only light in the room came from the lamp upon the table. Still, I saw how he stared at me in disbelief.
"No, I didn't," he answered. "But apparently, from what I can understand from all your drunken blabbering, a guy named Asshole Will did."
"He's not an asshole!" I shouted.
"Hey, that's what you called him."
I glared at him, though where I found the courage to do so I didn't know when I was afraid of Skull the most among all of Leon's friends. Skull's lips twitched, like he was struggling not to laugh.
"Correct me if I'm wrong but were you referring to William Carter from South High Academy?" he asked. "The third son of the CEO of Carter International which operates a helluva lot of restaurant chains?"
"No," I denied lamely. How'd he know anyway?
"Wow, you're almost as bad as Sophia when she lies," he commented in a dry tone. "Do you mind getting off my arm? I've completely lost feeling of it."
I stared at him for a moment. Then let my gaze wander around. If I wasn't mistaken, this was one of the upstairs rooms that weren't open for visitors. There were shelves of books around the room and a desk by the window. It must the study room. How they convinced Jean, a senior and the owner of the house, to let us use the room, I didn't care to ask.
"You are still not getting off me," Skull said with a loud sigh and I returned my attention to him.
"I'm sad," I rubbed my nose and sniffed loudly. "You should comfort me."
He gave me a frown. "Do you want to have s*x then?"
"No!" I burst out, slapping his shoulder. "No way! You remind me of my dead grandpa too much. There is no way—!"
"Your dead grandpa?" he began to laugh. "You mean Old Man Austin who smoked and swore too much?"
"Yeah," I mumbled. "That's why I'm afraid of you. Because you remind me so much of him especially when you smile."
There was a twinkle in his eye when he said, "But not anymore?"
"I'm drunk." I laid my head on his shoulder and sniffed again. "And I miss Will."
"Asshole Will who didn't text or call you and gave you the cold-shoulder?"
"Shut up!" I wailed, slapping his chest this time. "What do you know about unrequited love anyway?"
"I'm in a one-sided love for seven years. I think I know a thing or two about it."
That shut me up. Completely.
"S-seven years?" I stammered, straightening away from him, my eyes bugging wide. "Are you serious?"
"Dead serious," he answered with a grin.
"I have only been in love with Will for like a year and it already freaking sucks. I don't think I can handle seven years of it."
He patted my head. "Maybe you won't have to."
"Who's the girl?" I leaned towards him. "Anyone from East Private?"
"I'm not telling you," he chuckled. "Now tell me more about Asshole Will. How'd you fall in love with that t**t anyway?"
"Wow," I glowered at him. "You expect me to tell you when you won't tell me anything about this secret girl?"
"Not even Leon, John or Rohan knows about my unrequited love. And I'm hoping you can keep that a secret."
Now that was a burden I didn't want to take. Keeping secrets was almost an impossible task with me.
"So tell me." He got comfortable on the couch, like he was preparing himself for a long story. "Why'd you fall in love with him?"
I stared at him for a while.
Then I told him.
"You said you liked me," Mark whined as he followed me in the park. "Why are you being like this?"
"I'm not going to have s*x with you in your car just because I said I like you," I snapped over my shoulder. "Go away. I'm done with you."
Seriously, I was done with him. I thought he was a good guy when we met at a friend's summer party so I agreed to go to the movies with him. But then he started to get a little bit handsy in the car on the way and even suggested we skip the movies to go to his house instead. I should have known he was a guy who thinks with his d**k.
Mark suddenly grabbed my arm roughly and whirled me around. "Listen up, you b***h. I don't know why you're acting coy. I thought you wanted this."
Alarm bells rang inside my head and I tried to pull my arm away from his grasp. "Let go, you bastard."
"Come on, baby," his tone turned coaxing as he leaned closer to me, "You know you want me. Why else would you wear such tight clothes. f**k, but your t**s look awesome in that top."
"Mark, I swear to God if you don't let go—"
"Then let's not do it all the way," the crazy asshole dared to even suggest. "I'll even let you be on top, alright?"
"Screw you. Just let go!"
"Come on, Hannah—."
"Let her go."
My eyes flew over Mark's shoulder and I froze. Standing behind him was a tall, taller than Dickhead Mark, and very good-looking guy around our age who was glowering at the hand wrapped tightly around my arm. He had short platinum blond hair and blue almost purple eyes and was wearing a simple white tee, black jeans and white sneakers. He wasn't that big but he wasn't lanky either. Simply put, he was gorgeous.
"Let her go. You're hurting her."
Mark sneered at him. "This is none of your business, pal—."
The guy took a step forward, making Mark tilt his head back to look up at him. He was that tall.
"Let. Her. Go," he repeated and enunciated carefully.
And his expression was that of black thunder that made a chill glide down my spine. Mark would be an i***t not to mind that look. And luckily, he wasn't.
His face as red as my hair, he let go of me, mumbling, "f**k this. You aren't worth it."
Then he left, mumbling more about how much of a tease I was.
I paid him no mind. My eyes were on the tall drink of a guy. The guy stared back down at me and I was sure he was seeing the admiration on my face. I didn't care if he did. He was my knight-in-shining armor. My superman. My prince. My—.
"That was all your fault, you know."
At that, my thoughts screeched to a halt and my crush died before it even really started.
"If you had worn respectable clothes, then you might have not been assumed the worse."
I glowered at him. "You are judging me by my choice of clothes. Who the f**k do you think you are?" I took a step forward and poked him on the chest. "That's what's the problem with you men. You assume that everything a girl does is all about you. It's summer. It's hot. Hence, the tank top, short and kimono cardigan. I did not dress up thinking about that asshole who just left. I'm sensitive to heat, alright? It's hot, alright?" I ended shouting.
He fell silent and stared at me. I stared back at him, fuming.
"I'm sorry," he said quietly. "I'm sorry for... for judging you. I know this isn't an excuse but I grew up in a rather conservative family. I'm really sorry."
I softened at the sincerity I heard in his voice. But it didn't mean I was over my anger.
"You should change that way of thinking," I said snootily.
"Yes, I should." He nodded. "I also go to South High so I really don't have much interaction with females. I really am sorry for hurting your feelings."
South High? The city's boarding school for boys? I'd heard rumors that it was such a strict and traditional school.
"Is this why you sound awfully formal?" I asked curiously.
He tilted his head to the side. "Do I?"
He thought about it for a few moments, then shrugged, "I guess I am."
"What's your name?" I asked.
"I'm William. What's yours?"
Good God, even his name sounded traditional.
"I'm Hannah," I shook the hand he proffered. "It's nice to meet you despite the circumstances."
"It's also nice to meet you, Hannah."
"He sounds old-fashioned," Skull commented when I paused for breath. "And boring."
"Shut your mouth," I snapped, pinching his side. "He's not old-fashioned or boring."
Skull snickered. "All South High boys are you know."
"I'm not going to continue if you keep insulting him," I warned him.
He laughed and waved his hand. "Please. Go on."
Will left a deep impression on me since the day we met. I had negotiated to call him Will instead of William and laughingly, he agreed. He bought me ice cream and we sat on a bench in the park where he listened to me rant for almost two hours about Dickhead Mark and how I hated guys who slut-shame women.
My mother called me then, raving about how I should be picking my little siblings up from karate class. Will waved a taxi over for me and even opened the door for me. I had never experienced something like that in my entire life and it made my crush on him deepened.
We agreed to meet at the park the next day. And the next. And the next.
Our conversations ranged from what we did with our family and friends over the summer to how we both liked dogs and what tricks we had successfully made our pets do. We also talked about our families. I told him about my younger siblings who made my life hell sometimes and he told me that his older brothers, Benedict and Charles, two and four years older than him respectively, also loved making his life hell with their antics. He didn't say hell exactly because he was too polite. But I got the gist.
I was so comfortable with him that I could be real self with him. He was like nobody else in this world.
When I was with him, I felt like I was split in half. A part of me was on fire, wanting to touch him. Wanting to kiss him. The other part was calm like the ocean, just perfectly content, knowing that he might be the one for me.
It took me awhile to decide to tell him that I had feelings for him. I didn't want to rush things unlike with the other guys I had previously liked and dated. I wanted to be sure with him. But unfortunately, just when I finally planned to confess my feelings for him a week before school started, Will didn't appear at the park.
And he never did again.
"Didn't you have his number?" Skull asked.
I shook my head. "He said his phone got lost when he went surfing with his brothers."
I shook my head again. "He said his parents didn't want him to be on social media so he could focus on his studies."
Skull's brows lifted. "You know how fishy his excuses sound right?" he pointed out.
I couldn't deny that.
But I didn't want to tell Skull he was right because he'd definitely gloat about it so I continued my story.
I thought that was the end of Will and me and it bummed me for days. But sophomore year came and it was back to school again. There was a new girl in my class, a pretty blue-eyed blonde named Sophia and I had made it my mission to win her friendship over. She helped distract me from thoughts of Will until I thought I had almost forgotten him. But then I met him again at my mother's dinner party.
"Will!" I shouted excitedly, earning ire looks from the people who heard. I picked up my skirts, pushed past the crowd and stopped in front of him. "You're Will, right?"
There was recognition in his eyes when he caught sight of me. But then, his eyes turned blank, he'd never looked at me like that before, and my happiness faded a little. Still, I pushed on.
"Remember me?" I asked him. "Hannah? From the park?"
"I'm sorry but no," he said, politely distant. "I don't know you."
I blinked twice. "Oh."
Bowing his head slightly to me, he muttered, "Well, if you will excuse me..."
Then he went to return to his table near the front of the restaurant.
I wasn't devastated. But I was pissed. Whirling around, I walked to the ladies' room to cool myself down because the urge to strangle him with his tie was almost too difficult to resist. He recognized me. He knew me. Why did he pretend he didn't?
Realizing that I also need to pee, I went into one of the stalls to do the business. Just then, I heard the door outside open and two girls came tittering inside the ladies' room.
"Did you see Hannah's face?" one of them said and the urge to pee disappeared.
"I did. God, that was so embarrassing. And really, where did she get the guts to come and talk to William? How can one be so thick?"
My fingers clenched. I knew who these girls were. They were North High girls whose parents were also my mother's clients.
"Like William would associate himself with girls like her," one of them scoffed. "She's a s**t. Probably the sluttiest girl in East Private. I'd be embarrassed to be seen with her too."
God damn it. It was probably Dickhead Mark who spread the rumors. That or April Locke who I had the displeasure of having a quarrel in the cafeteria when we were in middle school.
I was so angry that I almost went out of the stall to pull all their fake bleached blonde hair from their heads. But I stayed put, knowing that I would just feed the rumors if I did.
Sure. I wasn't a virgin. I played around with guys for fun but I never played with their feelings. I never let them decide my value.
And it wasn't like Will and I were in a relationship. I never even told him how I felt.
But why did it feel like I just got dumped?
"Do you want me to do something with Dickhead Mark?" Skull asked.
I smiled. "That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me all night."
Skull grinned. "Do you?"
Yawning, I shook my head, "I already kicked him in the nuts the day after the party. Then I spread a rumor that he was seen kissing a guy in the locker room."
"That was you?" he threw his head back and laughed.
I smirked. "I'm really mean when I want to be."
"I doubt Terry was happy with what you did."
"She wasn't. But she let it happen because she was pretty mad at Mark for what he did to me too."
"Does she know about Asshole Will?" Skull asked curiously.
"Don't call him that, alright?" I sighed. "And yeah. I called her after the party and asked her about Will."
"What did she say?"
"She said what you said, that he's the third son of a CEO," I muttered in answer. "And a lot of things that I already know from talking with Will. But although he already told me that his family was really conservative, I didn't know that his family was thatuptight and conservative, basically a very traditionally wealthy family that were pretty much all about reputations. She also told me that when his older brothers were in school, they were involved in a lot of scandals because of their misdemeanors and outrageous behaviors so Will was basically his parents' last hope since he was the good kid."
"So basically, Terry's saying that you might be a scandal," Skull chuckled.
"I figured," I wailed. "I'm not exactly lady-like. And I'm nouveau riche as they say."
He shrugged at that. "So what happened next with Asshole Will?"
I let out a heavy sigh again.
And resumed the telling.
I ignored the voice and kept walking through the thick throng of people. The orchestra was beginning to play and couples were beginning to walk into the dance floor.
I was determined to ignore the voice. Just as the owner had ignored me and pretended not to recognize me the last time we met. But annoyingly, everytime he called my name, my muscles tensed and my heart beat quickened with expectancy. Every nerve in my body was yearning for him and it was all I could do not to move into his arms and tell him how much I missed him.
I didn't know why he still affected me so much. It had been weeks since we last saw each other.
Terry was still engaged in conversation with the guests of their party and I waited patiently by her side until she had no guests to entertain.
"You look really beautiful tonight," I told her once the guests had moved on. "I absolutely love your dress. It must have cost a fortune. I look like a troll next to you."
"You don't look like a troll, Hannah," she replied loyally. "No one could ever make you look like a troll."
"I do look pretty, right?" I giggled. I was wearing a pale green dress that suited me perfectly and my red hair was unbounded, falling into soft waves around my shoulders. "Now if only the one I'm interested in will give me a glance."
"If you're talking about William then he's been staring at you since you've arrived," she pointed out. So it wasn't only me who had noticed. And that made my heart flutter.
I didn't want that to make my heart flutter. Because he really did hurt me when he pretended not to know me. But I didn't let it show. I didn't want Terry to be worried about me.
Winking at my best friend, I said, "I know. But he snubbed me at the last party we both attended so it's his turn to come to me."
"How vengeful," Terry commented dryly.
Leaning in, I whispered, "But don't you think John oh-my-God Steele is the hottest guy in the room? And did you hear this is the first party he's attended for years?"
"What do you mean?" she frowned.
"Well, we all know how he turned wild and rebellious once he reached puberty right? My sources also told me he's been flatly refusing invitations since then and his parents couldn't force him to come."
Terry kept frowning. I was about to talk more about John to get her mind off questioning me about Will when I spotted him over my shoulder.
"Oh, crap," I mumbled. "Will is elbowing his way to me."
"You better run then if you want to play cat and mouse with him," she said with a small smile.
"Yeah, I better. See you later!"
I managed to lose Will in the crowd. But somehow, he found me hiding behind a pillar.
"Hannah," he exhaled as he cornered me. "You have to let me explain."
"Do I know you?" I asked in an innocent tone as I backed away from him.
He clenched his jaw. "I'm sorry about that. I'm really—"
I didn't let him finish. "Is it because everyone thinks I'm a s**t?"
"No," he immediately said. "You're not a... a..."
"s**t?" I offered.
He glared at me. I closed my mouth.
"You have every right to be angry," he began in a low voice. "And you have every right not to forgive me. I won't offer you an excuse. But let me apologize for hurting your feelings."
My brows lifted. "So you can feel good about yourself?" I bit out. "No. Keep your apologies. I'm not even hurt by you brushing me off like that. Surprised, yes. Disappointed, that too. Because I didn't expect you'd do that to me of all people."
I tried to step past him. But he grabbed my wrist and I paused.
"At least let me have a dance with you," he said almost desperately. "I'd be honored to have a dance with you, Hannah."
Those words, I didn't know why but those words thawed the pain and anger inside of me. I turned to him. He had the saddest expression on his face. And everything that I had once felt for him rushed over me like a tidal wave.
"Fine," I blurted out before I could stop myself. "One dance."
Damn it. I winched. I couldn't believe I was so easy and weak for him.
But his blue eyes shining in pure joy and the big smile gracing his lips made this hasty decision worth it. An excited sort of happiness skittered through me as he led me to the dance floor, especially when I saw those North High girls who talked crap about me in the crowd.
And then we danced. In each other's arms. Staring into each other's eyes like we were the only people on the floor. I forgot about the North High girls. Forgot about Will's sin. All that mattered at the moment was that we were together. I didn't understand what was happening to me but I knew that I didn't want this moment to stop. I didn't want to let go of him.
I didn't want to lose him.
When the music softly ended, we both beamed at each other in delight. I was breathless with exhilaration. He could say any excuse he had about snubbing me at my mother's dinner party and I would accept everything in an instant.
Will opened his mouth to speak. But then my eyes caught a sight so incredible I got entirely distracted from him.
"Oh, my God," I whispered. "Is that Terry and John?"
Confused, Will looked behind him.
"Oh, my God," I kept on whispering. "Why are they dancing with each other? Is she crazy?"
Will returned his gaze to me. "Umm..."
"Give me a moment alright?" I told him, patting his arm. "I need to talk to Terry."
He hesitated for a moment before he stepped back. Smiling brightly at him, I picked up my skirts and dashed through the crowd to talk to Terry.
But when I returned to find him, he was gone. And I didn't see him since then.
Skull started laughing again.
"It's not Asshole Will's fault then," he said between laughs. "It's because of you."
"It's-it's not my fault," I denied. It was. But I didn't want it pointed out at me.
"You chose gossip over clearing things out between him," he annoyingly pointed out, still laughing quite loudly. "Damn, you chose to be such a girl at such an important time."
I couldn't help it, I was so annoyed at him but mostly at myself that my hands just wrapped around his neck to strangle him.
And that was how Terry found us when she returned with coffee.
Me trying to kill Skull.
And Skull laughing his a*s off.
Reposted from Tumblr.
This is actually meant to be read before Book 4, Skull and April's story. I never really planned to make Hannah a book but while I was writing Rohan's story, the plot just came to mind and I knew that I had to make it happen. And I guess I had too much fun, hence the long chapters, because I had to cram everything I can in these 5 chapters.
I hope you will also like this story! ( ' ▽ ' )ﾉ