“Hey Jordan.” I grit my teeth at the breathy voice on the other end of the phone. That's what I get for not paying attention to the caller ID before I answered it. I had been dodging Liv's calls for a few weeks now. I felt like we had said all we needed to say. I knew she just wanted the drama and I was not into that at all.
After that night of the mixer, I bit the bullet and ended whatever relationship she and I still had right then and there. Yeah, maybe it was a bit dick of me, but I couldn't have her thinking that there was any hope we'd be together again. Particularly after being in that bathroom with Maysie.
Olivia had blamed Maysie for all of it. Which was bullshit. She knew it, I knew it. We hadn't been together since May. We had made the decision to spend time apart, see where that led us. I should have cut the proverbial cord then, no questions asked, no misunderstanding. But when you're with someone for such a significant part of your life, it was fucking hard as hell to put the fork in it. No matter how dysfunctional the whole thing had become.
But then I had met Maysie. And touched Maysie. And tasted Maysie. And there was no going back to Olivia. I told her when she got back for the summer that we were over. But she had begged me. Pleaded that I couldn't leave her. She threw a bunch of shit in my face about our history and the fact that she was going through a tough time after her grandfather died in the spring. That she needed me. I shouldn't have caved. I knew that I wanted to be with someone else. I told Liv that I had met someone.
So, long story short, she hung onto the dead horse of our non-existent relationship while I tried not to run like a little bitch to Maysie and beg her to have me. She was being cool and distant and part of me knew that I should respect that. But that louder, more insistent part of me was like FUCK THAT! So I made my move.
In the worst possible scenario. But I made it. I couldn't handle it anymore. And I knew for those few minutes that she was into me. I mean, really into me. And I felt like I had won the fucking lottery. But then that goddamn friend of Olivia's busted in and then Maysie was running away.
I felt like I saw Maysie's back more often than her front. I couldn't get her to stay long enough to work through anything. And that was frustrating. But it made me want to chase her down until she had no where to go. And didn't want to.
I felt like shit that Olivia thought I was going behind her back with Maysie. I hated that she found out the way that she did that Maysie was that someone I had met over the summer. I knew Liv and Maysie were sisters and I didn't want to be the source of what would most likely become a very awkward situation.
After her round of bitch wrestling, I laid it all out for Olivia. I was done playing nice. I let her know in no uncertain terms that my heart was with Maysie. I wanted to be with Maysie. The “discussion” with Olivia turned into her yelling and me trying to calm her down. Then she started crying and it sort of deteriorated from there. When she picked up my Gretsch guitar, the one my uncle bought me when I was fourteen, and smashed it against the wall, I had had enough
I had gotten my keys and left, thinking that was the end of it.
I should have known better.
Even though I had stayed away from the Pi Sig house for the last two weeks, I couldn't avoid an ex-girlfriend who was insistent on being seen. She waited for me after class, called my phone constantly. I started avoiding the commons and library. Thank fucking Christ for Garrett and his open door policy because I was close to losing my damn mind.
And maybe I wasn't being fair in not letting Olivia say her piece. But I was of the understanding that we were all talked out. What else was there to say?
Because when I wasn't at school, or hiding out at Garrett's I was doing some stalking of my own. I waited for Maysie outside her apartment several times a week. I couldn't get a read on her schedule, so I just started showing up at random times.
Her friend Riley, who I had mad respect for, was okay with it at first. But as time wore on, she finally told me to leave her roommate alone. That had sucked. Because I didn't want to leave Maysie alone. Maybe I should just call her.
But it was too easy to ignore a phone call. I wanted to see Maysie face to face. I needed her to see me when I laid it all out at her feet. I was feeling desperate and that was something I wasn't used to.
By the end of week two, I was at Garrett's house. I was expecting the guys back anytime to start practice. We had a gig tomorrow night and wanted to nail down our set. Hanging out with my band mates was just the break that I needed. None of the guys went to Rinard. They were all locals who happened to have a mutual love of hard, kick ass rock.
When I hung out with them, I wasn't Jordan Levitt, Frat president, Mr. Popular, ex-boyfriend to Olivia Peer. I was just another guy, banging on the drums to the noise around him. And it felt freaking great. I liked the guy I was when I was here at Garrett's. Because I was really starting to hate that other Jordan. He was kind of a prick.
I was feeling better about things. I needed to distance myself from the Rinard bullshit machine. I needed to figure out a way to get Maysie to listen to reason (well my reasoning of course) that we belonged together. And I was ready to pave my own way in this mess that I called a life.
But then I answered the fucking phone.
“Hey.” I said shortly after hearing my ex's greeting.
“I just wanted to see how you were doing. I miss talking to you.” Olivia said softly. I didn't respond. What was I supposed to say? The truth was I didn't miss a thing about the awkward tension that had been our relationship for the last year.
“Yeah.” I said back. I heard Liv take a deep breath. “Look, Olivia. I'm not sure what the point of this phone call is, but I think we've said everything we need to say.” I said, trying to be gentle and not the raging jerk that I really wanted to be. I felt like every time I spoke with her it was the same conversation over and over again. I tried to patient. I tried to be understanding. But I was at the end of my very long rope.
“I don't think so Jordan. We still have a lot to say to each other.” Olivia's voice started to sound angry. I was saved from having to continue with this particular discussion by the arrival of my band mates. They loudly entered the house and I was thankful for the distraction.
“Piper! We've got to practice!” Cole yelled out in way of a greeting.
“Jordan! Listen to me!” Olivia screeched and I knew whatever she had to tell me was just going to piss me off. We had never been able to talk about anything like freaking adults. It always ended up with her screaming and me wanting to bang my head into a wall.
“Olivia...I have to go. Like I said, I'm not sure what else there is to say. We broke up. I'd like to be your friend. But I don't know what else to say.” I clenched my drum sticks in my hand, thinking about smacking myself in the face with them for picking up the damn phone to begin with.
“Friends? Friends!? Give me a fucking break Jordan! If you think I'm going to move aside while you start screwing that bitch, you are sadly mistaken.” She yelled. She was working herself up to blow and I really didn't need this shit. And she was not going to talk about Maysie like that.
“Watch it Liv. You can say what you want about me, but don't bring Maysie into this. You and me, we had our problems and they had nothing to do with her. We were broken a long time ago. If I hear you saying shit about her, you'll have to answer to me. Are we clear?” I growled. Yeah, I was well and truly angry.
“Jordan, I'm sorry, I'm just so upset.” Olivia wheedled, her tone instantly changing. I sighed tiredly. I knew manipulation when I heard it. And I had hit my mind fuck quota for a life time.
“Look, I”m sorry you're upset. But we're done here. But I'm serious, leave Maysie out of it. You have beef with me, not her.” I warned.
“Dude, seriously, hurry up!” Mitch poked his head into the bedroom where I was staying. I nodded my head at him.
“I've gotta go. I think we're done here anyway.” I said.
“Don't you dare hang up Jordan Levitt!” Olivia's voice rose again. Shit, there was no easy way out of this mess. So yep, that's exactly what I did. I hung up the phone just as Liv started threatening me again. Dick or not, I was over it.
The Boogie Lounge was packed. I smashed my sticks down on my kit, loving this part of the set when I could really unleash. We had just launched into the song, Loose Ends and I was going balls to the wall. I had incorporated this kick ass drum solo toward the end. It was intense.
Sweat poured down my face and I wiped it away from eyes with the back of my hand as Garrett took over with this guitar. I couldn't really see the crowd. The lights were blinding. Right now the people at the foot of the stage looked like a big shadowed blur.
Cole was practically mouth fucking the microphone. He was such a fame whore. He loved the attention. Me on the other hand, I could take or leave that part of it. I just liked playing music. I mean, it was great that people liked us and dug our songs. But I would be just as happy playing in Garrett's basement. It was about jamming with people who were as into the music as I was. It was about creating something that I loved.
The rest I could give a shit about. But the other guys wanted the lime light. Cole particularly, craved it. So I went along for the ride. I enjoyed being a part of Generation Rejects, even if the attention was a bit unwanted at times.
That had been a source of serious conflict between Liv and me. She hated the band. Hated my music. She wanted me to have nothing do with the three guys rocking out on the stage with me. And that was a huge part of what killed our relationship. Over time, her constant nagging about giving up the band became too much. So Maysie or no, I would never have stayed with someone who didn't support something that mattered so much to me.
We ended the set with Lost in You, one of our few ballads. I hated ballads. I particularly hated that ballad. I had written it two years ago when I thought Olivia hung the fucking moon. It was pussy song written by a deluded idiot. But the damn thing had become insanely popular. So now, here I was, forced to play a song that only reminded me of what a dumb ass I had been.
“Awesome job tonight, Piper.” Mitch gave me a mock bow and I twirled the drum stick in my hand. I was burning up under the glare of the spotlights. I stood up and used the front of my shirt to wipe my face.
“Thanks man, it was pretty killer tonight.” I said, moving off to the side of the stage.
“You know, we really should take Kyle up on his offer to help us get some gigs. You're done in May. Summer is touring season. It would be awesome.” Mitch said, bringing up the old discussion. Mitch, Cole and Garrett had been tossing around the idea that we should go on the road for a few months.
Mitch's cousin Kyle, was a club promoter in Washington D. C. He had heard us play last school year and liked what he heard. He told Mitch that he would easily be able to get us some gigs at some clubs where he had connections. The idea had its appeal. I loved music. There was nothing I wanted more than to make a living at it. I just wasn't sold on it. There were too many other variables to consider. Like my dad, who wanted me to join his accounting firm after graduation.
I rolled my tongue ring across my teeth. I did it so much I was probably chipping away at the enamel, but it was my nervous tick. Something I did when I felt the overwhelming urge to put my fist through something.
Which is what this discussion made me want to do. Mostly because I was sick and fucking tired of my dad's asshole disapproval running my life.
“Yeah, I think you're right.” I finally said, surprising the hell out of Mitch. I had been the lone voice of dissention and my sudden agreement definitely came out of left field. But it was my life. And it was about time I started living it on my fucking terms.
Mitch was a big guy. I was by no means a small dude. But Mitch towered over me. So when he dropped his bass and gripped me in a hug, it felt like he was crushing my ribs.
“Man, seriously, enough with the hugging shit.” I pushed him off but grinned.
“Did you guys grow fucking vaginas while we were on stage?” Cole asked, throwing back his beer. His serious lack of filter made me want to slug him in the face most of the time. But you had to laugh him off, it was easier than inflicting bodily harm.
“Shut your fucking face, Kroegar.” Mitch laughed and Cole's face darkened. Cole hated Nickleback with a passion that was bordering on crazy and Mitch enjoyed nothing more than goading our front man.
“I'm gonna punch you in the fucking balls.” Cole growled, slamming his beer down on the table. Garrett and I dropped the equipment we were holding and stepped in between them. A fight between our band mates wasn't unheard of. Garrett and I usually let them duke it out but we figured a fistfight in the club, even if it ended with every one cool again, wouldn't get us a return invite to play.
“Just chill out you two and load up your shit.” Garrett said, smacking Mitch on the back of the head and shoving a handful of amp cables at Cole.
“I'm not fucking Chad Kroegar.” Cole mumbled, wrapping up the cable.
I didn't know whether to laugh or smack him.
When we were finished loading up our gear into Garrett's van, we headed toward the bar to get a drink. And that's when it happened.
Okay, well the it was actually her.
She looked fucking beautiful as always. She was dancing with Riley and her other friend Gracie and I couldn't take my eyes off of her. The way she moved her body only served to remind me of what it felt like to touch that body. To run my fingers along her sleek, wet warmth. Fuck, I was getting a god damned hard on. I needed to take it down a notch.
But it was hard when we were in the same room. Hell, just breathing the same air as Maysie made the urge to grab her and hold on forever impossible to ignore. So I stood there, against the wall, staring at the girl who had turned my world upside down. And I ached. A deep in the bones ache for something with this girl. Something amazing and life changing.
When she was done dancing, she walked off the floor and toward the bar with Gracie. I could see the sweat glistening on her skin and my tongue literally throbbed with the desire to connect to her flesh. I watched as she made her way to a dark corner at the end of the bar. She hung back, almost as though she were trying to make herself invisible. I saw her glance around the room and I knew she was looking for me.
At first that made me damn near giddy until I really took in her face. She was extremely uncomfortable. The way her eyes darted around made me think of a hunted animal.
Which was crazy because she had no reason to look like that when it was me that was nervous and unsure. It was completely out of character for me to trip over my tongue around a chick. I had never been that way with Liv. Even when I was knee deep in the unrealistic ideal of her, I never had this tangled up in the guts feeling I would get around Maysie.
I always thought love at first sight was a crock of shit invented by guys wanting an easy way into a girl's panties. All the Shakespearean bullshit about never knowing love until you saw her was just that...bullshit. That wasn't real life. It just didn't happen like that.
I had never been more wrong.
From the moment Maysie Ardin walked into Barton's I was obsessed. I could admit that. She was gorgeous. She was funny. I loved watching the way she bantered with Riley. Or the way she and Jaz would dance to the music in the bar during their breaks. Hell, I even loved the way she smoked her cigarettes; holding in the smoke and then slowly exhaling. It was sexy. It was hot. She was very, very dangerous. Because I watched her way more than was healthy, even I knew that. I tried to rationalize these intense, over the top emotions I was having for a girl I didn't even know that well.
It didn't make sense. There was no build up. With Liv there had been major build up. But this was instantaneous. And if I had learned one thing over the last few months, it was that attraction made zero sense. I wanted Maysie badly. Fuck me, it was damn near desperate.
I had never in my life been so consumed with someone the way I was with Maysie Ardin.
And she was avoiding me.
I could tell by the way she was hiding off to the side of the bar, that she didn't want me to see her. She was hoping to go unnoticed. What she didn't realize is I always noticed her. If she was in a room, then my eyes would find her. There was no hiding from that.
I moved through the crowd. Not once taking my eyes from the girl who stood nervously, chewing her bottom lip.
I came up behind her. My eyes lazily moved up and down her body, taking her in. She hadn't realized I was there so I took the time to peruse her at my leisure. Her smell hit me like a ton of bricks and my dick twinged in my pants again.
Finally I sucked in a breath. “Hey, Mays.” I watched as her shoulders tensed and I suppressed the urge to slam her against the bar and take what I wanted so much to be mine. The instinct to mark and plunder was overwhelming. Man, I had to get this shit under control.
“Hey.” She responded, not turning around. I needed to see her face. So I moved around until I was looking directly at her. Her head was bowed, her long hair looking wild and fuck me beautiful. I remember grabbing a handful of that hair and pulling as I devoured her mouth at the mixer. My dick was no longer just twinging, it was rearing to go.
“You looked good out there.” I remarked, waiting to see her eyes. And when she finally looked at me, my heart freaking stopped. It was those damned eyes. They got me every. single. time. They were a seduce me brown that I remembered going hooded with desire. My tongue felt thick as she looked at me. How can a girl bring me so low so quickly?
We started to exchange pleasantries, as forced as they were. Hell, even I was feeling the awkwardness at this point. Then I asked her how she had been and something changed. My girl went from uncomfortably blase to raging pissed.
“Just fucking peachy.” She bit out. What did I say? I frowned, not understanding the reaction to such a simple question. And then, well I got sort of pissed myself. Because I had been seriously pining after this girl for months. Consumed, obsessed, needy. And then she bit my head off. Girls and their damn crazy thoughts. And us guys were supposed to understand?
“What the hell Maysie? It was just a damn question?” I asked in bewildered irritation. I just didn't get it. And from the look on her face, I wasn't going to get any answers. She had completely shut down. Her friend was suddenly beside her and I greeted Gracie with a barely civil hello.
I stared at Maysie, wiling her to say something...anything. But she wouldn't look at me. Finally I gave up, this was going no where. “I've got to get back to the guys. See you later.” I said. But she still wouldn't look at me.
So I left her. And that was the hardest thing I had ever done. Especially when my every instinct was to hold on to her tight and never let go.
And then it hit me with sudden clarity. I needed to grab a hold of what I wanted. I needed to let Maysie know exactly how I felt. Let the chips fall where they may. Because I wanted that girl in my life. I needed her. Wanted her to know that she owned every piece of me.
So I ditched the guys. I was headed to Maysie's and I was going to make her hear me out.