Girl Code(6)

By: L.D. Davis

I stared at him, floored, completely astounded. I knew he had read it, but I didn’t know he had read it read it, like got into it and didn’t want to give it back.

“But…” I opened my mouth and nothing came out for a few seconds. “But you could have walked away with it and I would have never known,” I said. “I didn’t know you had it until you opened your big mouth.”

Leo smiled sleepily, lazily, and it was the kind of smile that could knock a girl over, if I were any other girl.

“I like getting a rise out of you. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to see your head explode.”

“You are such a dickhead,” I said, shaking my head in disbelief. “It’s not funny, you know. You make me hate you.”

“You still hate me?” he asked incredulously. “Even after tonight?”

“I hate you even more for being better at something than me!”

Leo laughed. I tried to scowl, but I couldn’t hold that face for long before I grudgingly smiled.

“Leslie likes me,” Leo said after he had stopped laughing. It was such a sudden subject change that it took me a moment to catch up.

“Oh, yeah,” I said. “Yeah, she does, but a lot of girls like you.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Do you?”

Why did my heart skip a beat? Why did my eyes flicker to his mouth?

“I thought we were clear on my feelings about you,” I said, looking away from his face. “I hate you.”

“Hate is a strong word,” he teased, bumping me lightly with his shoulder. “Come on, you don’t hate me.”

“I strongly dislike you.”

“How about…you don’t love me, instead?” Leo suggested.

I looked at him like he was insane. “I definitely do not love you. Don’t make me hurl.”

He laughed again and I rolled my eyes.

“How do you feel about me going out with Leslie?” he asked after his laughter died down.

“Why would I care? I dislike you, but Leslie is allowed to feel however she feels about you.”

He was quiet for several seconds, before softly answering with a simple “yeah.”

There was another stretch of silence, and Leo looked at me with such an intensity that I couldn’t look away if I tried. I was tied to his sea-colored eyes. He sat up straight and leaned in too close to me. Too, too close. I stopped breathing. Why did I stop breathing? I hated him!

“You don’t really hate me, right?” he asked so, so softly.

My head answered him without my permission. It moved slowly, back and forth, back and forth.

A small, nervous laugh escaped Leo’s mouth. Warm, sweet air burst onto my face, but I didn’t back away. I was still glued to his eyes. I sucked in more air as Leo bent forward, hooking his finger under my necklace. He took a bite of the candy, and he was so close that his nose lightly brushed my cheek. I couldn’t exhale and I was pretty sure my heart stopped beating.

“My heart is beating super-fast right now,” he whispered, his breath so close to my mouth.

I was about to ask why is heart was beating so fast while mine was failing, but the sound of my brother’s bedroom door opening down the hall was like a crack of thunder right in our faces. I blinked and woke up. I jumped off of the bed faster than I have ever jumped off of the bed in my life and Leo also hastily got to his feet. When Tack came into my room, Leo and I were standing on opposite sides of the bed, packing up our math paraphernalia.

“Pesciano, I am officially kicking you the hell out of my house now,” Tack said, yawning. “I want to go to sleep and I’ll be damned if I’m going to leave a kid with your reputation alone with my sister this late at night.”

“He’s getting ready to go now,” I said, keeping my eyes down.

“I’ll give you a ride,” Tack offered. I heard him clap Leo on the back. “I’ll be outside in the car. You got exactly two minutes.”

“Okay. Thanks.”

I heard Tack leave the room and jog down the stairs as I zipped up my backpack.

“Um,” Leo mumbled, sounding very unsure of himself.

I finally looked up and met his nervous eyes.

“Thanks again, Leo,” I said, forcing a smile. “I think I’ll do really well tomorrow.”

“Sure.” He shifted from foot to foot. “But I—”

“And Leslie is a great girl,” I said hurriedly. “Technically, she’s not even allowed to have a boyfriend, but I think her parents will cave. Like I said, I don’t like you myself, but Leslie likes you a lot.”

Leo stood up straighter. His expression had been hesitant, but it suddenly turned normal, normal for Leo. He was smirking again.