Chapter 3

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T H R E E

I WOKE UP the next morning curled up to Tyler's side. Now, I know what this looks like, but me and the boys are strictly platonic. They're like my brothers, and we all knew it would be weird if anything were to happen between us.

      Jay and I had tried the whole friends-with-benefits thing at first, having initially been attracted to each other, as I'd mentioned, but it ended up feeling increasingly awkward. It didn't take long for the crush between us to fade completely, replaced with a sibling-like relationship, just like with the rest of the boys.

      Despite their tough exterior, all three of them were secretly big, sweet teddy bears. And what do you do with a teddy bear?

      You cuddle it.

      I sat up slowly, careful as to not wake Tyler and be forced to deal with his grumpiness. I'd been laying on one of his arms, while the other was resting over his eyes. He didn't snore, but he did occasionally mumble in his sleep. We all constantly teased him about it, and his face would get brighter than a tomato within seconds.

      Well, if you didn't wake the beast first. Tyler had certainly never been much of a morning person.

      I brushed off my imaginary dust as I stood up fully. I was wearing a gray tank top and shorts, and Tyler had slept in a black T-shirt and a pair of sweatpants. Looking back at the subject of my thoughts, I saw his lips parted slightly and his hair laying ruffled over his eyes. His right arm arm laid stretched out to the side where I'd been laying on it, and his bare foot hung uncovered and off the bed.

      I was startled from my thoughts as a loud burst of thunder pounded against the window. It was still dark outside, and I'd planned to slip back to sleep after running to the bathroom. Classes didn't start for another few hours, and I'd planned to get as much asleep as possible. Unfortunately, Mother Nature seemed to have other ideas.

      "Shit," I squeaked, eyes wide as I quickly climbed back into the bed. I curled up to Tyler's side, tucking my face into his chest in an attempt to hide my ears, eyes clenched shut to escape my irrational fear of storms. I'd take my chances with the beast.

      Tyler groaned and moved his arm from his face, bringing his hand down to mess with my hair. "Morning, Skye." I glanced up at his irritated frown just in time for another round of thunder. Our eyes widened at the same time, but for different reasons—mine from fear, and his in realization as to why I was terrified. He cursed under his breath and reached over to the desk beside the bed for his phone.

      Ironically, it rung just as he picked it up. He checked the caller ID, then answered with it on speaker.

      "Tyler?" Jay's voice called out through the loud speaker. "Is Skye still with you?"

      Tyler nodded, then blushed when he realized Jay couldn't see him. "She's with me. You're on speaker."

      I squeaked again as lightening struck, followed by loud thunder. Once again, I tucked my face into Tyler's chest for protection.

      "Was that squeak her?" Jay asked, a light chuckle in his voice. "I couldn't tell."

      "Shut up," Tyler and I simultaneously mumbled, my voice muffled by the fabric of his shirt. Tyler then asked, "How do you suppose we get her to school?"

      "Fuck school," I muttered under my breath.

       Choosing to ignore me, Jay answered, "Cyrus has that covered."

      "His mom's car?" Tyler guessed.

      "Yep," Jay said. "Sorry, Skye, but you have to go to school. Since its storming, we'll go a little earlier so you don't have to walk in the storm from the next block."

      I nodded into Tyler's chest. He chuckled and narrated my actions for the two who couldn't see me.

      I heard Jay's muffled laugh from the phone. "Well, I've got to go. We'll be there in about . . ." he trailed off, mumbling something to someone else before returning to the phone, "ten minutes."

      "Alrighty," Tyler said, smiling brightly. "Bye."

      After the beep that signalled Jay had hung up, I groaned and sat up. I jumped as the thunder sounded again.

      Tyler chuckled lightly. "Come on, Skye. You'll be fine."

      I sighed reluctantly, nodding at Tyler before getting out clothes for school. I'd stayed here the majority of the time over the last two months, and at Jay's during the weekends or whenever Ryder came to Tyler's. They trusted me enough to leave me alone at one of their houses over night, so it didn't really matter if Jay was with me there or not.

      I'd stayed with Cyrus three times, but tried not to stay there too often, what with his mom and all. It just seemed rude to add more stress onto his plate by making sure I was fed and treated like a proper house guest, even though I've told him countless times that I'd be fine.

      I made my way over to Tyler's closet, pulling out a large suitcase from the corner in the floor. I had a week's worth of clothes at Jay's house and half of my closet at Tyler's. Whenever I stayed with Cyrus, one of the others would typically bring over an outfit for me. It was easier to stay with Tyler since his parents were hardly home, so this was usually the go-to place at night. I was just thankful the boys never asked me why I needed to stay with them.

      I pulled out a gray hoodie and some black leggings—I didn't feel like wearing jeans today—before heading to the bathroom. I pulled off the hair-bow I always kept on my wrist and tied my dark hair back. I then turned on the faucet and washed off any remaining makeup from my eyes before searching for the hand towel beside the mirror.

When I'd finished getting ready, I made my way back to Tyler's room just as he pulled his shirt on over his head. While he made his way to the bathroom for his boyish routine—I swear, guys pay more attention to their hair than most girls—I grabbed my converse from under the bed and laced them on.

Tyler came back out a moment later with a toothbrush in his mouth, and I nearly slapped myself for my stupidity. I knew I'd been forgetting something!

I blushed, walking back to the bathroom and starting the process of brushing my teeth.

Tyler came over a minute later and started spitting the minty, white foam into the sink. Right in front of my face.

"Tywer!" I whined through my tooth brush. "That's so gwoss!"

He chuckled and rinsed his mouth out. "Sorry, Skye."

I rolled my eyes and spit my own toothpaste out. "Ready to go?" I asked as I started back to the bedroom, Tyler following silently behind me, the sound of his shoe trailing behind me against the floor.

"Yup," he said, popping the 'P'. We made our way all the way to the door as i fought back a laugh and snickered instead. I couldn't believe he still hadn't noticed. "What?"

I just laughed harder, then pointed to his bare feet. I didn't know why I was laughing so hard; it wasn't even that funny. But, I must say, the look on Tyler's face was priceless.

He grumbled a few profanities as he ran back upstairs and threw on his shoes. When he came back down, he looked himself over to make sure he'd grabbed everything, all the while I was giggling endlessly. "Lets just go," he mumbled.

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