Dense is to You, as Male is to Boy
by: lulu. lemon
Ch.22 - Surprise Guests
Liam, fuming as per usual was feeling tense and annoyed as he marched up Reece's front step that Saturday morning. After everything happening in the hall with Madeline yesterday, he had pretty much spent his Friday night pent up on his own. But after mulling some things over in his head and making a sure decision that Tim and Mark needed to die, he decided it was time to talk to Carson, even though things in the Reece/Carson/Liam department were a little rocky as of lately.
Liam expected the two of them to still be asleep so he was a bit surprised when the door was in fact unlocked. It made more sense to him however, when he walked into the living room and saw the two of them fast asleep on the couch, the TV still on.
"Oh for fucks sake," Liam muttered to himself, walking over to the couch to proceed in shaking Carson, who was closely tucked under Reece's arm.
"Carson… wake up," he said repeatedly until she finally stirred out of her sleep, tiredly blinking her eyes until she registered who was looming over her. Reece also woke up in the process, taking a moment to gather his surroundings.
"You two fell asleep with the front door opened you know?" Liam muttered, taking a step back before dropping into the adjacent couch.
"Reece!" He heard Carson scold him. "I told you to lock the door last night."
"And I said I would when you got off my arm," he replied lazily.
"Well… I fell asleep," she murmured.
"Well… I didn't lock the door," he replied back slickly.
Deciding to put aside this annoying back and forth bantering the two of them always did, Liam leaned forward on his knees with his eyes set on Carson. "I've got to talk to you," he said seriously. He could practically feel Reece's eyes penetrating him, still a little pissed about the whole freaking out on Carson deal. "Look," he said, turning towards his best friend. "I already apologized to her about everything. You can drop the protective bullshit."
"Oh would you two stop it?" Carson wriggled herself from Reece and sat upright. "It's fine, Reece," she said quietly.
"Whatever," he murmured, getting up and leaving the two of them alone without another glance at Liam.
Carson quietly watched him walk into the kitchen before quickly clearing her throat and looking back at Liam. "What is it?"
"I fucked up."
He swore she almost cracked a smile. "Really?" she said in an amused tone. "What's so different about this special circumstance that you need my help then?"
Liam hated admitting he needed help when it came to a certain girl, but he found himself doing so anyway. "It's Madeline okay?"
Carson slumped back into the couch and raised her eyebrow. "Didn't I just help you deal with a problem with her yesterday?"
"Yes," he answered. "I freaked out on her and apologized and everything was fine, but then…" How was he going to explain this without making himself sound like a complete jerk? "Okay at the beginning of the year, before I even knew her, I made this dumb bet with Tim and Mark that I'd get to know her, and that I could get her to have feelings for me, and then—"
"You're sick," Carson cut him off sourly.
"Yeah, we're all completely aware of that fact right now," he rolled off the tongue easily because it was more than true. "I called the bet off okay? I swear I did, but she found out about it anyway. And I need to make it right, but I don't know how." He could tell by her apprehensive look that she wasn't feeling as sympathetic for him as he had hoped. "Do it for Madeline," he added on quickly. "I know you don't want to help me, but it'd make her feel better."
She mulled it over in her head for a bit before slowly shrugging her shoulders. "Yeah, whatever," she said. "Have you even tried explaining yourself to her… not that that makes it much better," she added on.
"She won't even give me five seconds to listen to me," he said.
"So find a way that she'd have to listen," she replied quickly. Liam could tell that Carson already had an idea on her head but was holding back that information from him.
"Just tell me what you're thinking, Carse," he muttered. "You know I'm not going to catch on."
She shook her head with an even smile. "Think about it," she said evenly. "You messed up big, and now you're going to have to put yourself out there to make it better."
He didn't have anytime left to question her on that because her cell phone started loudly ringing out in the front hall. The two of them watched Reece stroll in to sight and pick it up, looking at the caller ID. Liam saw the way Reece's eyes drooped and he swallowed slowly before turning to Carson, holding out her phone towards her with an empty stare.
"It's your boyfriend," he said hollowly.
Carson stared at him for a second while the phone continued to ring, and then finally stood up and took the phone from him, while Liam observed the little exchange they had between their eyes.
Right before leaving with the phone, Carson turned back towards the two of them. "Will you two talk to each other please?"
She left the room, and Reece slumped down into her previous spot on the couch, looking less than happy.
"You okay?" Liam asked him. Reece lifted his head and gave him an evident stare. "Okay, dumb question. Obviously you're not. I'm sorry I freaked out on her, and put those things in her head okay? I wouldn't want to screw anything up with you guys."
Letting out a deep sigh and running both hands through his hair, Reece sat back. "Yeah, I know."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Liam asked, genuinely curious about the answer.
"Why didn't you tell me you like Madeline?" Reece asked in the same tone.
Liam opened his mouth and started to say, "I don't…" but then trailed off because they both knew that wasn't true.
"Exactly," Reece muttered. "I didn't want to admit it either. And then past that stage was the trying to forget about it, and then finally just realizing it was true and feeling like there was nothing I could do about it."
"You could have told me," Liam shrugged.
Reece raised a sceptical eyebrow. "And what would you have done?"
"I don't know," Liam shrugged, with a grin. "Got drunk and let it slip? That would have been an easy way to tell her."
Reece finally cracked a smile but it wasn't there for much longer. "Yeah well, I waited a bit too long and waited until she had a boyfriend to tell her."
"So, what?" Liam asked. "She can't break it off with Landon or something?"
"Not without hurting him," Reece answered. "And you know here… anything to keep everyone happy." Reece looked down and picked up the blanket he and Carson had previously been wrapped under.
"You don't seem overly happy," Liam observed.
Reece sighed and dropped the blanket. "Not when I've got to be sharing her. It just sucks."
Liam fell back into the couch too. "Yeah well, at least yours actually likes you."
Reece's car was completely silent after he cut the engine in his driveway. He grabbed his bag out of the backseat, and got out, proceeding up to his front door. I slowly did the same and frowned while watching him walk ahead of me. He wasn't necessarily mad at me, it was just that he was so torn up about the whole Landon thing, that I think it was just easier for him to ignore me sometimes.
He left the front door hanging opened, and I quietly shut it after I walked in. "Reece," I said quietly, in what came out as a pleading tone. It was only then though, that I realized he was standing in the living room entrance, eyebrows slightly raised. "What are you…" I trailed off, walking up to his side. Sitting in the living room smiling were his parents, which was weird enough seeing as they usually worked the longest hours of the day. But what was catching us all off guard was the fact that my parents were sitting right next to them.
"What are you guys doing here?" I broke into a huge smile, bounding into the living room and into my father's arms. It had literally been months since I had even seen my parents. It almost seemed as if they just didn't exist anymore.
"We didn't want to tell you because we wanted it to be a surprise," Mom answered with a smile and a hug. "But we're home for good now. We missed enough of your last year of high school."
I turned towards Reece, who was now leaning against the doorframe, much like he was the day they told us they were leaving. "Did you know about this?" I asked him.
He slowly just shook his head, looking equally as surprised as me. "No."
"And by the looks of things, you look pretty cozy here. But I think it's time you move back into your own home," Dad laughed from behind me.
But I was still looking at Reece and he was still looking at me. And at the words of me moving out, not living across the hall from Reece, he slightly raised his eyebrows at me with the tiniest trace of a frown. Not living with Reece anymore. I had become so accustomed to being around him all the time. I wasn't so sure I wanted to go home. But what could I say? I'm in love with Reece so I want to stay living with him? Something tells me that would have had the complete opposite desired affect.
"I assume you've been taking care of her then, Reece?" Dad asked.
Reece stepped forward from the wall and shoved his hands in his pocket. "Absolutely."
"And she didn't cause you too much trouble?"
"Just a little bit," he smiled at me. "Nothing I couldn't deal with."
I noticed Reece's mom watching her son, and then her eyes flicker over to me. It was then that I realized that she knew. Before I had even realized it was me, Reece had told his Mom who the girl was. So if that was the case, she had been fully aware this whole time.
That was a bit embarrassing.
Dad stood up and clapped his hands together, startling me a bit. "So what do you say we all go get some supper, and then pack you up huh?"
I turned around with a forced smile. "Sounds like a plan."
Packing up my stuff was brutal. Especially since it was the second time I had done so within the span of a few months.
"Hey pretty girl," I heard him say from behind me. I turned and saw Reece with an easy smile on his face. He walked around me and sat down on the bed. "I guess I could have been helping you hey?" he grinned before flipping it into a frown. "I'm gonna miss having you across the hall from me though."
I nodded my head and then shrugged my shoulders. "Maybe it's for the best. Not being together all the time might—"
"Make you break up with Landon?" he cut me off. I'm sure my shock was mirrored on my face. "Sorry," he apologized quickly while running a hand through his hair. "I know I've been being kind of a jerk lately."
I let my head drop down onto his shoulder. "No you haven't. I understand how you feel. And maybe this moving out is what I needed to get things going. I'll deal with it okay?" I lifted my head to get his reaction.
"Almost ready, honey?" Mom popped in the door, after loading some of my other boxes into the car.
"Yeah," I said, looking around the now empty looking room.
Reece squeezed my knee and stood up. "I'll take the rest of your stuff down," he said, hoisting some boxes into his arms and heading downstairs.
Mom gave me a quizzical look before sitting down next to me. "You okay, sweetheart?"
"Yeah I'm just wrapping my head around not living here anymore."
"Okay," she nodded simply. "How are things at school then? You still seeing that Landon boy?"
She elbowed me lightly in the side and grinned. "You seem a little hostile about it." I wasn't liking where this conversation was going, but lying to my Mom was one thing I wasn't good at. "What's Reece think about this?"
I stood up and tried busying myself with something to do. A hard task when you're in an empty room. "Why are you asking about Reece?"
"Because you two seem different now," she observed in a quiet voice. "I don't know, maybe it took some time away and then coming back to realize. It's really clear to see if you overlook some things though."
I turned around with a perplexed look on my face. "What are you talking about?"
"You and Reece aren't just friends are you?" she shot straight out. I didn't need to respond. All she needed was the confirming look on my face to realize that she was right. "Only a matter of time," she said with a smile, more to herself than to me.
"Hey," I spun around quickly. "Where is this even coming from?"
"Carson," she said almost as if I were dumb. "You two spent almost every day of your life together," she laughed. "We always knew, and even kind of hoped that one day you two would realize that you don't want to be just best friends. Maybe your friends don't see it, but we're your parents. We're not dumb." She seemed to space out for a bit, before saying, "Well, I don't think your father has quite realized, but I have."
I could only stare at her. Here I've been at school, fooling everyone and then my Mom comes home and can tell right off the bat. Again though, maybe this is what I needed. Moving back into my own house with my family, and my Mom being able to tell what was going on between Reece and I. Maybe after all of this I could finally figure stuff out with Landon and make things right for his and Reece's sake.
"I'll be down in the car," she hummed out. "Oh and Carse?"
I blinked and looked up at her. "Hm?"
"You probably shouldn't date two boys at once."
My face reddened as she left the room. Yup, that was probably some pretty solid advice.
I groaned and threw myself back onto my now empty bed. Well, I guess it wasn't mine anymore. Or ever. None of that mattered though. The fact was, I finally had to come clean, and I was about to have two completely innocent and nice people absolutely hating me. I had been completely avoiding Kara, because it was just the coward thing to do. And if Landon wasn't technically my boyfriend, I'd probably be doing the same to him. I just didn't deal well with people hating me. That's probably why I was so easy to push around.
After stalling for what felt like twenty minutes, I decided it was time I left Reece's house, and returned to where I actually lived. Mom and Dad were probably gone by now, so I assumed I'd be driving myself. However, it was Reece and my father sitting in the living room, staring at me pensively as I descended the stairs.
I stopped short and narrowed my eyes at the two of them. "Yes?"
"Sit for a sec," Reece gestured to the surrounding coaches.
I suspiciously glanced at him while I took a seat. "Why?"
"Reece has something to ask," Dad shrugged, sitting back with ease, because to him, Reece had always been the boy who could do no harm to his daughter. My former suspicious glance turned to a full out glare, but Reece seemed to be ignoring it. "Shoot," my Dad directed.
And shoot right out Reece did. "I want to date your daughter," he said with full strung confidence. And judging my Dad's expression, Mom had been right about him not realizing anything about Reece and I, because that was clearly not what he had been expecting to come out of Reece's mouth. "I know," Reece continued quickly, sitting forward in his chair. "It sounds crazy, because Carson and I were always best friends. But I love her."
My anger towards him started to slowly melt away as I watched him plead his case to my father.
"And seeing as our families are so close and all, I just figured I should talk to you first. And now seemed like an ideal time," he finished with an almost nervous scratch to the back of his neck.
Dad finally turned his head to look at me. "Don't you think she should be the one hearing this first?" he asked, almost confused.
"Dad," I rolled my eyes. "This isn't the first I'm hearing of this. I'm kind of involved."
He puffed out a breath, sure sign of being caught off guard. "Gee, well to be honest I thought you two had hit one of our cars again and needed to get it repaired or something. This wasn't what I was expecting."
"I know she's your daughter and you're being protective," Reece leaned even more forward in his chair, sitting right on the edge now. "And trust me, I'm the exact same way. And I would never do anything to ruin our friendship."
"I'm happy, Daddy," I said softly, not even realizing the words had left my mouth. I saw Reece smile softly at me, and watched as my Dad shifted into more of a mood that seemed like he was really coming to terms. Reece was right by doing this. After losing one daughter, Dad had always been extra protective of me. And an approach like this was really what he needed to be assured.
My Dad took a breath and stood up, and in doing so, Reece did the same. "All her life," Dad started. "You've been the one person she depended on most, and always ran to. Don't take that guy away from her."
"Wouldn't think of it," Reece smiled, exchanging a handshake with him.
Dad patted Reece on the back and then started for the door. "Your stuff is packed in our car, Carse. You can take your own home."
"And—" he started before cutting himself off and turned around with a shake of the head. "I'm not even going to ask how long this was going on while you two had rooms across the hall from each other."
He left the house while my face reddened, and Reece let out a chuckle. I grabbed my keys off the coffee table to go, and turned to Reece. "Thank you," I said, leaning up to give him a soft kiss on the cheek before turning to leave.
I only made it about one step though before he carefully caught my wrist and tugged me back towards him to place a gently kiss on my lips. "We're almost there, Carse."
Liam had been moving around the school all day, trying his best to avoid Madeline, because he really had no idea what he'd say to her if she did happen to pop up. Carson hadn't helped him as much as he hoped she would, so he found himself still clueless.
One place he did need to go though was to the newspaper room. Even though all this bullshit was going on, he still needed to pass English, which meant he still had to hand in his weekly submission. He was happy to see that the room was empty when he walked in. He always tried to get in and out without Holly the editor seeing him. That way she had no chance to bitch out on him about how awful his last piece was. Or something else completely irrelevant.
He was about to leave when something laying on a desktop caught his eye. The reason being, that the name Madeline Warner was written on top of the file.
Liam could just imagine the bitch fit she would throw at him if she knew he was about to look through this, yet he found himself sitting down at the desk and flipping through it anyway. From what he could tell, this was the big thing she had been working on all year to submit to the program she wanted to get into. The second thing he noticed was that his name was written in it, a lot.
He stopped for a second, and rethought what he was doing before simply shrugging his shoulders again. He was already on her bad side. As he kept reading, he noticed other names sticking out. Reece, Landon, other guys from the soccer team. He realized that these were the interviews that he seemed to be the only one left out of. They weren't interviews about Reece being captain though, or about Landon's experience on the team, or anything for that matter. They were all about Liam.
Words that were meant to be adjectives for Liam himself started sticking out to him. Best friend, leader, devoted. And one that seemed to be Madeline's main point of this whole paper; The genuine, rarely seen feelings of the high school captain/ popular guy/ lady's man/ asshole. In this school's case, Liam.
He nearly fell backwards out of his seat when the folder in front of him was suddenly slammed close. He hadn't even realized she came in the room until Madeline was standing in front of where he sat, looking like she was about to shred his face off.
"What are you doing?" she snapped.
He couldn't even react to her, or the fact of how mad she was because he was too shocked. "This is about me," he stated simply. "The me that only you really know about," he answered for himself. It was just strange to him though, because… well looking at her now, it was clear how much she currently loathed him, but everything in this paper was so nice. Her whole point of this was to show the personal, and nice side of Liam. The type of things someone like him actually goes through, but hides from everyone else through anger, rather than exposing him as the jerk he outwardly was, which was what he expected.
Madeline snatched the folder out of his hand and held it close to her chest. "Don't go through my stuff. Besides, this is all bullshit and the farthest thing from true anyway. Just took me a while to realize. But now that it's too late, I guess I just have to go with it," she said bitterly. "But let me guess, you don't want me to submit it?"
Liam rapidly stood up and started for the door before quickly turning around and shaking his head. "No, submit it," he said. "I gotta go."
Now he finally knew what he had to do.
I had literally been staring at the back of Reece's head for the last fifteen minutes. Sometimes history class was just too boring for me to handle, and counting how many individual hairs were on his head was honestly more interesting. It was weird being back in my own house, because it didn't really feel like my house anymore, I felt like I belonged back at Reece's place. I'd find myself walking across the hall expecting to walk into Reece's room, when in fact it was only my parent's room. He hadn't talked to me much today either, which obviously caused some curiosity on my part. Did not living with him make him realize I wasn't actually all that great or something?
The bell finally rang, cutting off my teacher's rant. Even though she was still continuously talking, everyone was rustling up their stuff and leaving the room until she finally just gave up with a slight roll of the eyes and sat back down.
Reece left the room without me, and it wasn't in any way a rude or spiteful action, he just kind of left. I raised my eyebrow and quickly shoved everything hazardly into my bag before setting out to follow him like a puppy.
"Reece," I said from behind him, tapping him on the shoulder.
He turned quickly but was looking over my shoulder more so than at myself. "Not right now," he said rather quickly.
"Wh—" I began to stutter but he was already walking away. That was kind of rude. I didn't even do anything this time.
"Carson?" I heard Landon say from behind me. I spun around with my best plastered on smile but upon looking at his face, realized that I didn't really need it, because he wasn't exactly wearing much of one.
"Hey," I said, relaxing some of the muscles in my face. "What's up?"
"Can we talk?"
I swivelled my head around, surveying our surroundings. "Yeah, sure. You want to go somewhere?"
I followed him to a less populated hallway, my mind racing a mile a minute. What could he possibly have to talk to me about? I haven't even really been around him much lately…heh, maybe that's what it's about.
"Hey," I grabbed onto his forearm to get him to stop walking. "I'm sorry I haven't really been around lately."
"Huh? Oh don't worry about it. I know you've been busy. And with moving all your stuff out of Reece's…that's what I wanted to talk about actually. You and Reece."
I literally felt like fireworks just exploded in my head. And not even in the slightest bit of a good way. I'm talking about my face getting approximately three hundred degrees hotter and my head going all fuzzy. Is that why Reece wasn't talking to me much? Because he had went ahead and told Landon about us? I was going to kill him if that was the case.
I couldn't jump the gun though, so I kept a calm façade and stood there calmly. "What about us?"
"Well when you told me you were moving out yesterday, I figured I'd stop over and help you out. But I ended up being too late and you were already done and gone when I got there," he explained. I kept my eyes straight on him, nodding for him to continue. "Reece was there though, and we got to talking."
"About me," I said, knowing it had to be the truth.
Landon subtly scratched the back of his head before speaking again. "Well, yeah. He just said he wanted to talk to me about you, so I figured it was the usual best friend rant, you know?" he smiled a bit, but I couldn't quite yet bring myself to do the same. "He likes you a lot, Carson," he finally said. "Which is actually an understatement I guess, because it was loves, as he put it. And I know this is all probably ridiculously shocking for you." Now he was just losing me. Shocking for me? I was beginning to get the feeling that Reece hadn't exactly told him what I thought he did.
"I don't know, I've just been thinking about it a lot. For you." He was looking down at the floor now. "I never though about you and Reece together because, I don't know," he shrugged. "You're best friends. Which made me realize that you probably haven't either. But you're so close, that maybe he could make you the most happiest. And you of all people deserve that. To at least be able to give it a try."
I was so unbelievably confused. I didn't really understand what exactly it was that Reece had told Landon, and I was pretty sure that whatever it was, wasn't completely true.
"Wait," I shook my head confused. "What exactly did Reece say to you?" I asked him.
Landon finally lifted his sad looking eyes off the floor and to me. "That he's in love with you, and for the sake of you being happy, I should give you some space to give you the chance to see that you feel the same way about him," he said in a nutshell.
"And you're doing that?" I checked in an even tone.
"I don't want to," he shrugged in a struggled voice. "But after I thought about it, maybe he's right. I just want you to be happy. Even though I'd just about like to kill him right now. I could never be with you without the thought of you being happier with him in my head."
That's when it all made sense. I was free to go, completely off the hook. All problems with Landon solved. He was breaking up with me. Not because I wanted to, and not because he wanted to, but because Reece did.
Reece had completely taken all of the blame for it. Put himself out there and got all the hatred directed towards him, leaving me to be the innocent one who Landon was solely doing a favour for, for what was best for me.
"Just let yourself at least consider the possibility," he said quietly. "It makes more sense when you think about it. So don't let me be doing this for nothing." He pulled me into a one armed hug and placed a gentle kiss on my forehead before leaving me alone in the empty hallway, feeling paralyzed by my thoughts.
That was it. I had done so many awful things to Landon over the past few months, and I was about to get away with all of it looking completely fine. Reece had taken the fall.
And I couldn't let him do that.
A/N: I suck at updating, I know. Enjoy! Oh and I'm sorry I didn't get to reply to all the reviews from the last chapter, I'll get back on it this one but thanks everyone!
ps. Next time you hear from me, I'll be in university! Woa!
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Twitter: / Jennxox1