Hickey || 06

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HICKEY / chapter six


"Aren't you gonna go back to your friends?"

I didn't mean for it to come out so harsh, but my words were as sharp as ice. Frustratedly, Ryder runs a hand through his hair before glancing at his friends, who were filling up the diner's quietness with their voices talking over one another. Finally, he stands and gets out of the booth. I let out the breath I didn't even realize I had been holding. Throwing me one last glance, Ryder heads to his friends' table.  

Once he's gone, Nikki grins mischievously at me. "Jeez, Eva, what happened last night? Damn. If only I had hooked up with him at the party."

"Oh, trust me," I mutter, still shooting daggers at Ryder's back. "If you were me, you'd wish you never even saw him at the party."

"So what's the thing between you two?" she asks, taking a bite of her french fry.

"He's my older brother's worst enemy, basically." I shrug, taking a sip of my smoothie. "They're fighting for the team captain spot and, well, two years ago..." Nikki gestures for me to continue, looking very curious now. "Well, they got into a huge fight at school. Elliot broke his hand and I think Ryder had a black eye for two weeks. They didn't get suspended, but the principal called our parents to have a talk."

Nikki's eyes widen. "Wow, okay. What was the fight about?"

"Elliot's ex."

"What?"

"It's not as bad as it sounds, honestly. I haven't heard the whole story and I try to avoid the topic with Elliot, but apparently, his girlfriend had a thing for Ryder. I don't know if anything actually happened between them, but Elliot found out because Ryder told him."

"He told him? What the hell?"

"That's what I said!" I almost laugh at her outraged expression. "But he said something, maybe told him that Sophia—Eli's ex—was trying to get close to him or whatever. That made my brother mad and the fight started. I mean, that's what I've heard. They said that Ryder didn't do anything wrong, but then again, Elliot's got to have a reason to hate him so much, right?"

"Forbidden romance, huh?"  

I roll my eyes at her. "Nik, I don't think you're getting the point. Elliot would kill him if he found out."

"Found out what? That you two disappeared off to somewhere at a party?" Her eyes widen. "Unless you two—"

"No!" I exclaim, eyes just as wide as hers. The very few people in the diner, including Ryder and his friends, turned to look at us. I shoot them an embarrassed look before saying to Nikki in a more hushed voice, "We didn't! Nothing happened!"

"Then what's he gonna find out?" she asks, raising an eyebrow at me. "That you two talk? That you're friends? Jeez, you make it sound like it's the end of the world."

"Maybe it is!"

She stops, fry in mid-air. "Why? What's the big deal?"

I want to slap myself for hesitating. This is my best friend we're talking about, why was I even hesitating? I could trust her and plus, she might just be the right person to ask for advice. Nikki was popular at her school and had way more freedom than me, so she had way more experience at partying and hook ups than me.

I adjust my hoodie and show her. "This is the big deal."

She studies my neck (or more specifically, my hickey) for a few moments. I wait for her to react, knowing she'd freak out like I did especially now that she knows the deal between Elliot and Ryder. But to my surprise, my best friend bursts out laughing.

"Why are you laughing?" I say in disbelief. 

"Eva, seriously, a hickey?" She rolls her eyes at me. I shooting an anxious glance at Ryder's direction. "I love you but seriously? Is that why you two were in such a heated discussion earlier? And I can't believe you're just telling me this now! You could have texted me earlier or something!"

"Sorry, Nik, but I was kind of freaking out."

"Freaking out over this? You make it sound like you committed a crime or something. You hooked up with Ryder, so what? Why does your brother have to get involved?"

"Because," I say slowly, in case she wasn't getting it, "Elliot hates him, and I'm not talking about a small high school competition thing. Ryder was entertaining Elliot's girlfriend while they were still together!"

"Didn't you say that you never actually heard the whole story? Maybe there's more to it."

"Or maybe there's not," I retort, doubtful.

"Either way," she says, sipping her smoothie. "You know of him; you don't actually know him."

"This isn't about me knowing him or whatever. We've never even spoken before this whole hickey thing—"  

"Exactly! You can't just base this whole thing on rumors you've heard around school so why not give him a chance?"

"That's not the point!" I tell her. "This isn't about me giving him a chance. I mean, it's not like we're ever going to be anything more. We hooked up, so what? We're not gonna end up together just because of a stupid hickey."

"Then why are you overthinking it?" Nikki says, head tittled. "If it's as simple as that then why are you freaking out?"

"Because Elliot's gonna kill him when he finds out!"

"He's not," a voice says from behind me."Not gonna find out, I mean. The killing part, I'm not too sure."

I look over my shoulder at Ryder, trying not to roll my eyes. "I thought you went back to your friends."

"I did," he says simply. "Are you done eating? I'll drive you home."

"Nikki's already driving me."

Nikki clears her throat. "Uh, that's a great idea."

I shoot her a sharp look. "What? No, it's not!"

"It is, actually," she says, sliding out of the booth. "I have to get home, like, right now. You know, in case my parents check on me or something. I don't have anyone to cover for me like you, Eva, so you should let Ryder drive you home."

I grab Nikki's arm just as she tries to leave. "Nik, you're leaving me alone with a guy you barely know. Do you seriously think this is a good idea?"

My best friend simply rolls her eyes. "He's a guy from your school, not a serial killer. Besides, he drove you home last night and you're fine."

Ryder chuckles. "She's got a point. Besides, you also let me drive you home earlier."

Nikki's eyes widen and I let out an annoyed sigh. "You're right, you should go before your parents find you gone," I tell her, practically pushing her towards the door. I do not need her questioning me about Ryder nor do I need him making me feel more like an idiot than I already do.

She grins at me before looking at Ryder. "Thanks again!"

My eyes follow her small figure until she's out the door. I also notice that Ryder's friends were gone, the booth they were sitting at already abandoned. Once she's gone, I cautiously turn to Ryder, who was leaning against the booth with his arms crossed, looking down at me with the faintest smile on his face.

"Let's get you home," he says.

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