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The Boyfriend Deal

By:Charity West

Chapter One


Seeing Hunter head my way, a determined, slightly psycho look in his  eyes, made me panic. I did the only thing I could think to do. I grabbed  the first boy I saw and kissed him like my life depended on it, but as  my body pressed against my unsuspecting target and my lips crashed  against his, three things became very apparent to me. One, the boy knew  how to kiss; his lips were divine and the hands going around my waist  weren't so bad either. Two, I was slightly in over my head, as he  pressed me back against my locker. And three  …  well, I was still reeling  from one and two. Three would have to wait for later.

"If you wanted me to kiss you, Red, all you had to do was say so."

My eyes popped open and I stared in open-mouthed shock at the boy who  had just made me melt with his kiss. Tyler Robbins. The one boy I should  avoid like the plague. The only boy who had the power to completely  devastate me, rip out my heart and stomp on it, and do so without any  true effort on his part. I'd had a major crush on him since  pre-kindergarten. Perhaps crush was too tame a word. When you've  obsessed over a boy since the age of four, it escalated things beyond  crush level.

He winked at me and moved along down the hall, as if the earth hadn't  just moved, as if lightning hadn't just struck, as if  …  well, you get  the point. He was everything I'd ever wanted, and the one thing I'd  never have. Tyler flitted from one girl to another. He didn't have a  flavor of the month; he had a flavor of the day. Or maybe it was a  flavor of the hour. Except for Alicia Thompson. She was his on again off  again girlfriend for the last two years, and she was a total witch. The  last time they'd broken up, she'd egged the car of his next conquest.

It took me a moment to realize Hunter was standing beside me, looking  both livid and hurt all at the same time, but really, the entire thing  was his fault. If he hadn't cheated on me, then turned stalker, my lips  never would have touched Tyler's. Then again, maybe I should be thanking  him. Now I could cross off a major item on my wish list. I'd been  dreaming of kissing Tyler Robbins since the first time I saw him, on my  very first day of school. Of course, that was before he started crushing  on the snotty girl in our class, then I just wanted to pelt him in the  face with a mud pie at recess.

"Why are you doing this, Hadley? Tyler Robbins? Don't you know he's  going to use you and toss you aside like yesterday's garbage?"

"Yeah, because there's no one around here who hasn't already done that,  right? In case you missed it, Hunter, we broke up. You have no say in  who I do or do not kiss. If I want to make out with him in the janitor's  closet, that's my business and not yours. And stop stalking me! I'm not  taking you back. Not now, not ever."

I snatched the books out of my locker, slammed it shut, and took off  down the hall. I could feel his gaze boring into my back, and I wasn't  not going to lie, it seriously creeped me out. But what could I possibly  do about Hunter? My own family thought I should give him another  chance; every girl in school was praying I wouldn't, and no matter what I  said to the boy, he wouldn't take no for an answer.

What I needed was a boyfriend. Someone who wouldn't be intimidated by  Hunter, who would stand up to him and tell him to back off and leave me  the heck alone. What I needed was a jock, but no self-respecting jock  was going to be seen with a band geek like me. And I wasn't even in the  marching band, the semi-cool band geeks because they kept the audience  revved up during football games. I played the flute, but I wasn't  coordinated enough to walk and play at the same time. Not without  landing on my face at any rate.

I sat through first period in kind of a daze, not really hearing  anything the teacher said. I managed to write down my assignment and  shuffled toward the door when the bell rang. It seemed I wasn't the only  one in a daze and ready to leave Mr. Bertram's math class because  everyone bottlenecked at the doorway. As I was squeezing my way through,  someone grabbed my arm and I found myself plastered against Tyler for  the second time that morning.

Startled, I looked up at him, wondering why his hands were on my waist,  and more importantly, why was he looking at me like that? You know, in  that you're the only girl in the world kind of way. Not even Hunter had  ever looked at me like that. He didn't say anything, not at first. He  just stood there smiling down at me. I took a moment to admire his  perfectly gelled hair and-sniff-his heavenly scent. I had no idea what  type of cologne he wore, but if I could wrap myself in that  scent-preferably by way of his arms being around me-then I would die  happy.         


"Mind if I walk you to class?" he asked.

I didn't think I could have spoken if I'd wanted to, I was that shocked,  but I managed to squeak out some sort of reply that he must have taken  as consent. He gave me a little smirk, and with his hand resting at the  small of my back, he ushered me to my next class. My conclusion was that  I'd somehow fallen into an alternate reality during math class, because  in what world did the captain of the football team walk someone like me  to class?

No, I'm not ugly. But I'd seen the girls Tyler "dated", and I used the  term loosely. They weren't anything like me. They were all blonde,  curvy, and at the top of the social food chain. He could literally have  any girl he wanted in the entire school, so why was he escorting me to  class as if he was my boyfriend? Sure, our kiss was probably the most  important event of my entire life, but he'd locked lips with plenty of  girls. I doubted my kiss was special.

We paused outside of my next class and he pulled me close again. His  head lowered and my breath hitched in my throat. Was he going to kiss  me? I felt my eyes widen, but he stopped a mere inch from my lips, lips  that were now tingling and begging for a kiss that would probably never  come.

"I'll meet you here after class."

There was a mischievous twinkle in his eyes right before his nose  caressed mine. He pressed a kiss my cheek, making my lips insanely  jealous, and then he took off. I was left standing outside my class,  slack-jawed and probably looking like a complete loon. Somehow, I  managed to snap out of it and went inside to find my seat. My best  friend, Amber, stared at me, eyebrows raised, as she waited for me to  dish about what was happening between Tyler and me. Except, I didn't  know what to say.

"He wants me to wait for him after class." I know I had to look at least  half as dazed as I felt. Amber smiled at me, but it was this devious  I'm plotting to take over the world kind of smile.

"Maybe he can be your Hunter repellent. You should ask him out."

I think I must have hallucinated for a moment. "Did you just say I should ask out Tyler Robbins?"

She nodded, that same scary smile on her face.

"Amber, he's Tyler Robbins. Why would he go out with me?"

"Maybe for the same reason he just kissed you. I know you don't see it,  but you're gorgeous, Hadley. He had to have noticed at some point, and  now that you've broken the ice, not to mention having dumped Hunter, he  figures it's time to make his move."

She believed the words coming out of her mouth, but I just thought she  was crazy. No way Mr. Football Captain wanted to date me. He probably  hadn't even known I existed before I kissed him this morning. Maybe I  gave him false hope and he thought he was going to get lucky? Well, if  that was what he believed, I would have to straighten him out next time I  saw him. My lips craved his, but that was as far as I was willing to  go. Unlike the girls he usually hung out with, I was far from easy. I'd  dated Hunter for nearly two years, and he'd never even gotten to second  base. Now, I was eternally grateful for that.

The teacher droned on and on about the book we were reading in class.  Being somewhat obsessed with books, I'd read ahead. All right, to be  perfectly honest, I'd read the entire book. It wasn't like I was heading  to Milo's Pizza Café on a Friday night with my boyfriend, or going to  whatever party was taking place on the weekends. Even when I'd dated  Hunter, I hadn't been a party kind of girl. He'd been okay with that,  perhaps a little too okay. It had just never occurred to me that he was  heading to those parties solo and hooking up with random girls. Not  until I received the video proof on my phone.

There was a knock at the door and I looked up to see the object of my  obsession leaning against the doorframe. How does he look so incredibly  sexy so effortlessly? His gaze clashed with mine across the room and  there were instant sparks. Had he felt it too? The way his lips tipped  in a slightly sardonic smile said he knew exactly what I was thinking  and that it amused him.

"Mr. Robbins, shouldn't you be in class?" Mrs. Lundstrom asked, as she adjusted her glasses.

"I need to see Hadley Ryan for a moment. It's important."

Mrs. Lundstrom sighed, but I could tell from the slight smile on her  lips that she wasn't really annoyed with him. I didn't think there was a  female alive who wouldn't fall under Tyler's spell, even the seventy  year old Mrs. Lundstrom. She gave a slight nod and motioned for me to  step into the hall. My heart was pounding in my chest, racing like it  was trying to win the Kentucky Derby, and I smoothed my skirt as I made  my way over to the door.