Chapter 14: Because Life Is Such A Sucker For Ruining Moments

“You look fantastic,” Gwen gushed as she eyed me from head to toe.

“You're just saying that to make me feel good,” I told her, rolling my eyes, as I walked towards my mirror. I stifled a gasp as I saw my reflection – man, she was right. And that was actually saying something since I normally refuse to acknowledge anything that involves vanity.

“Now tell me,” she then said, smirking. “I know you're agreeing with me.”

Instead of saying anything in response, I just gave her a wide grin.

Boy, all those painful hours of grabbing at my hair and plucking my eyebrows actually paid off. It was definitely worth it as I stood before the lovely being in front of me. For a moment, I felt.. pretty. Well, if I really wanted to impress Zach, I definitely had to. At the back of my mind, there was this silly part of me that wanted to see if he also felt the same way about me.

Yeah, very silly indeed.

My hair was neatly placed in a side braid, my bangs swept into the side. My make-up was simple and I was thankful that I didn't look like a drag queen. I wore a leather jacket over a simple top, my usual skinny jeans and my old Vans. To sum it all up, I looked 'cool' enough, and I honestly loved it.

“Your date's here,” a voice from my left grumbled, snapping me away from my thoughts. I turned towards the speaker's direction and all of a sudden, Chase's eyes and mine connected making my heart flutter for some unfathomable reason. There was something unrecognizable in his eyes and for a second, I thought it was a tiny hint of admiration. But before I could assume something, he cleared his throat, pulling me out of my reverie.

“U-uh,” I stammered, turning away from the intensity of his gaze. “I'll be down in a minute, thanks.”

Awkward much?

From behind me, Gwen cleared her throat. I looked at her strangely as she shot knowing glances between Chase and me, like she knows something we don't.

“Uhm, I'll go ahead Carli,” she spoke, turning to Chase and me. “I've got some monkeys to babysit, I guess I'll just see you at school.” With a final goodbye, she packed all her things and left both Chase and I all alone in my room.

As the door closed with a click, awkward tension was suddenly lifted in the air, leaving an unsettling feeling in my gut. The two of us just stood there, apparently incapable of speaking as of the moment. I fidgeted with the hem of my top and pretended to study a painting on my wall, like it suddenly became very fascinating. Chase, on the other hand, kept running a hand through his hair, as if it was making him feel comfortable.

“Uhm,” he mumbled at last, breaking the silence that has ruled over the past few minutes. “You look pretty.”

“T-thanks,” I stuttered, my cheeks heating up in the process. The way he uttered those words made my stomach churn. I averted my gaze, unable to find anything sensible to say.

“You're welcome,” Chase drawled and cleared his throat. “And yeah, Zach's here, you should probably go down now.”

Incapable of formulating a response, I just nodded hesitantly and began to scurry towards the door, accidentally smelling Chase's aftershave as I walked past him.

Ugh. I was starting to feel really annoyed at myself for succumbing to Chase's charm. Man, when did I become so jumpy and girly all of a sudden? I was supposed to hate his guts, not feel conscious and fidgety around him – that's just insane. I can't be affected by my mortal enemy – not in this way, at least.

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