"I'm not what?"

"Who I want you to be, you do nothing but hurt me." I walk past him and cross the hall to the guest room to grab my bag. I hastily pull my pants up my legs and gather my things. Hardin's eyes follow my every move.

"Didn't you hear what I told you yesterday?" He finally speaks. I was hoping he wouldn't bring this up.

"Answer me." He says.

"Yea.. I heard you." I tell him, avoiding looking in his direction.

"And you have nothing to say about it?" His voice hostile.

"No." I lie. He steps in front of me. "Move." I beg.

He is dangerously close to me and I know what he is going to do as he moves in to kiss me. I try to back away from him but his strong hands pull me closer, holding me in place. His lips touch mine, his tongue tries to push through my lips but I refuse.

"Kiss me back, Tess." he demands.

"No." I push at his chest.

"Tell me you don't feel the same and I will go." His face inches from mine, his breath hot on my face.

"I don't." I tell him, it hurts to say the words but he has to go.

"Yes you do. I know you do." His tone desperate.

"I don't Hardin, and neither do you. You can't possibly think that I bought that?" I say and he lets go of me.

"You don't believe that I love you?" He gasps.

"Of course not, how stupid do you think I am?" I spit, he stares at me for a second before he opens his mouth and closes it again.

'You're right." he says.


"You're right, I don't. I don't love you, I was just adding to the drama of the whole thing." He laughs lightly. I knew he didn't mean it, but that doesn't make his honesty hurt any less. A part of me, a larger part that I am willing to accept, hoped that he actually did.

He stands against the wall as I walk out of the room, my bag in hand as I reach the stairs.

"Tessa sweetheart, I didn't know you were here!" Karen smiles from the bottom of the stairs. Her smile fades as she notices my distressed state. "Are you okay? Did something happen?" She asks. The concern in her voice evident.

"No, I am okay. I was locked out of my room last night and I.."

"Karen." Hardin's voice says from behind me.

"Hardin! " Her smile slightly returns. "Would you two like something to eat, some breakfast? Well lunch, its noon." She smiles.

"No thank you, I was just going back to the dorms." I tell her.

"I will eat." Hardin says. She looks surprised as she looks at me and then back at Hardin.

"Okay great! I will be in the kitchen!" She tells him.

After she disappears, I head for the door.

"Where are you going?" He grabs my wrist. I struggle for a second before he releases it.

"The dorms, like I just said."

"You are going to walk?"

"What is wrong with you? You act like nothing is happening, like we haven't just been fighting, like you haven't done anything. You are seriously insane, I'm talking mental institution, medicated, padded walks insane. You say horrible things to me and then try to offer me a ride?" I can't keep up with him.

"I didn't say anything horrible actually, all I said was that I don't love you, which you claim you already knew. And secondly, I wasn't offering you a ride I was simply asking if you were going to walk back." His smug expression makes me dizzy. Why would he even come here to find me if he doesn't care about me? Doesn't he have anything better to do than torture me?

"What did I do?" I finally ask, I have been wanting to ask this for a while but I was afraid of his answer.


"What did I do to make you hate me? You can have practically any girl you want and you continue to waste your time, and mine to find new ways to hurt me. What's the point? Do you dislike me that much?" I try to keep my voice down so Karen doesn't hear me.

"No, it's not that. I don't dislike you, Tessa. You just made yourself an easy target, its all about the chase right?" he smirks. Before he can say anything else Karen calls his name and  asks if he wants pickles on his sandwich. He walks to the kitchen and answers her, I walk out the door as I hear his boots against the hard wood floor.

I walk down the street to the bus stop, I have already missed so many classes lately I might as well miss the rest of the day and get a car. Luckily the bus pulls up minutes later and I find a seat in the very back.

"It's all about the chase right?" his words echo through my mind as I slump down in the seat. I think back to what Landon said about heartbreak, that if you don't love the person, they can't break your heart. Hardin repeatedly breaks my heart, even when I don't think there are any more pieces to break, I love him. I love Hardin.

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