Whispered Truths (Truths #1)
©2015 Anne Mercier
Dick. I’m thoroughly disgusted. Prick. A wave of revulsion runs through me as Lisa and I pass by Jason DeMarco in the hallway. Asshole.
“I just don’t understand how some people think they have the right to touch people or things without permission.”
Lisa shakes her head and mutters, “Motherfucking douchebag,” as we walk past my nightmare in the form of a 17-year-old linebacker for our high school, Lake Point Academy South.
Now I’m going to stop right here for a minute and let you know that Lisa is full-blooded Italian with the stereotypical Italian temper and she’s got a super filthy mouth. You can take the girl out of the Bronx, but you can’t take the Bronx out of the girl. Seriously, she curses more than Alec Baldwin on a crack-induced temper tantrum.
Thing is, that’s all offset by the fact she’s gorgeous. I mean supermodel gorgeous at the age of seventeen. She’s five-eleven, blonde hair, blue eyes, 36-24-36, and I swear her legs go up to my chest. Jealous? A little. Envious? TONS.
“You remember my Uncle Leo?” she asks.
“The scary one that lives in Brooklyn?”
I nod. Oh yeah, I remember her Uncle Leo. He’s gigantic, like six-three, two hundred fifty pounds of intimidation. I nearly peed my pants (literally) when I met him for the first time. There was just so much of him and his scowl could send the bravest of men crying in the corner—I shit you not. Those frighteningly piercing eyes, Robert DeNiro scowl, and nose that had obviously been broken more than once had a shudder running through me every single time I looked at him. He reminded me of an Italian version of a very pissed off Brock Lesnar. Yeah, no thanks. He thought my reaction of wanting to run away from him as fast as I could was funny, yet he tried to reassure me that, through Lisa, I was part of the “family” so, as her best friend, I was safe.
“Well, he’s got connections if you know what I’m saying.”
“Uh, ‘family’ connections?” I wonder, not for the first time, if he’s mob or mafia or whatever they call it now.
Lisa nods. “He has friends… associates who can make accidents happen.”
My eyes widen. I mean, this shouldn’t come as a shock. I kinda figured out what “family” meant, but still having their services offered is pretty effing terrifying. I have no idea what to say so I just remain quiet and bug-eyed.
“That motherfucker over there could have a really, really bad accident. Leo knows people who would be on the next flight out to take care of his bitch ass.”
It’s a tempting proposition. I tilt my head to the side as I ponder Lisa’s offer for a moment. Her eyes widen and she grins when she sees me seriously considering it. The bastard truly deserves it but…
“That might be taking things a little too far.”
Lisa grabs my arm gently and angles her head down the hall. “Hottie central.”
I look down the hall and see a group of gorgeous maleness. Lucas Matthews aka Luc, Lisa’s sexy boyfriend; Marcus Stewart aka Stewie; Jackson Brandt aka Jack; and the one and only Kyle Cooper aka Coop.
“Damn. Right there are four tall, muscular, extremely attractive and sexy male specimens.”
“Wipe the drool, Myah.”
“Why? I’m proud of this drool. I’m gonna let it drip off my chin.”
“Yep. Kyle Cooper is worth every drop of drool.”
“I agree, Coop is hot, but that’s sick. You’re aware of that, right?”
“Yep. Ask me if I care.”
“Do you care?”
She lets out an unladylike snort.
I smirk. “We better head inside.”
Lisa stops me once more just outside the classroom and looks me in the eye. “Let me know if you change your mind. All it takes is one phone call.”
I nod. Scary shit right there. Just saying.
We walk into the last class of the day.
So far the first day of the second semester of my junior year at Lake Point Academy South is going pretty well. I lean my head on my hand and start doodling in my notebook. An artist I’m not, but I like to keep my mind occupied.
So much has happened this past year, I think with as I sit in Ms. Pritchard’s Creative Writing class and turn to look out the window. The snow has really started to come down. Large flakes are blowing harshly in the wind, and when it stops, they spiral gloriously to the ground. My dad used to tell me a story my grandma (his mom) told him when he was little. She’d said that when it snowed like this, the angels were having pillow fights and those were the feathers from a torn pillow floating listlessly to the earth. The memory brings a tear to my eye. My dad died last summer and I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. He was my savior, my best friend, my protector and I miss him every minute of every single day.
Circle of life and all that BS is what people keep saying but the gist of it is: Everything and everyone dies. Some days I wish I would. It would be a lot easier than fighting the never-ending battle of my miserable life. I sigh inwardly.
I guess my life isn’t so bad from the outside looking in. I mean, I’m not a social outcast but I’m not the most popular kid either. Since my dad passed, I’ve been so screwed up, locked up tight inside myself. It’s not that I haven’t tried to fake normal, but a person can only pretend so much before the truth surfaces.
Meh. I blink and shake off the heavy thoughts ruining the beauty of the storm outside when the final bell rings. I pick up my pen as the last of the stragglers come in. I’m usually one of the stragglers but not to this class. I love to write and I actually love this class—not that I’d ever admit that out loud to anyone. It’s my secret. I’ve shared some poetry with a couple people I trust but the rest is mine.
The final bell rings and Lisa looks at me and mouths, no Hottie God?
I shrug, but to tell you the truth I’m a bit surprised myself… and if I’m being honest, I’m a bit disappointed.
“First time in a year and a half,” Lisa whispers.
I nod solemnly and her eyebrows go up.
Ms. Pritchard calls attention, pulling me from my thoughts as she starts babbling on about nouns, pronouns, and all that happy horseshit. Truthfully, I don’t care about that crap and I can’t tell you what a pronoun is to save my life. I just enjoy stringing sentences together and telling the stories that create themselves in my mind.
I tap my pen on my notebook in boredom when Lisa, next to me, sends me a glare. I smile apologetically then bring the pen to my mouth and begin to chew on the cap.
Lisa Renzi’s been my best friend since the third grade. We met when she moved from two towns over. She wore glasses so all the kids picked on her, calling her four-eyes. I thought she was pretty, even with the glasses. They suited her. So I walked right up to her in the middle of the bullying at recess, took her hand and walked to the jungle gym where we hung upside down like monkeys and became instant friends. She knows all my secrets and I know all of hers. She’s one of the few people in the world I know I can trust—I can trust her to be honest and to keep my secrets, even the really bad ones.
While Lisa’s supermodel beautiful, I on the other hand am five feet nothing. I admit to having pretty awesome long blonde, naturally curly hair. My hair along with my blue-green eyes are my best features. The rest of my face isn’t anything spectacular. My body is a bit too curvy for my liking. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not fat—far from it. I’ve just got more hip and boob proportion than I’m comfortable with.
There’s a knock at the door and that’s when he walks in. Oh my God. What’s he doing here? I thought…
Lisa looks over and smirks. I watch, resigned to the fact that there is no escaping all that is his hotness.
“Mr. Cooper,” Ms. Pritchard starts, flustered and blushing, “to what do we owe the pleasure?”
I roll my eyes. Even the teachers fawn over him. Mr. Popular. Mr. Quarterback. Mr. Basketball. Mr. Tall, Dark, and Yummy. Who can blame her, really? He’s six feet tall with unruly brown hair that sticks up in disarray, giving him that just jumped out of bed look—or been thoroughly kissed and the girl (preferably me) ran her fingers rapturously through his hair. Yeah, oh yeah. A girl can dream.
His eyes… eyes the color of milk chocolate surrounded by long thick eyelashes I’d kill to have, his lips full and lush, and his body firm and muscular. In other words: sex on a stick and every female that comes within ten feet of him wants to take a lick…or a bite.
Lisa leans across the aisle and whispers, “And the Hottie God has arrived.”
I roll my eyes again.
“Every class for three semesters?” she asks.
I nod and she smirks.
“Luc told me today that Kyle dumped Macyn in the middle of his party the other night. He just looked at her when she started hanging all over him and told her to take a hike.”
I raise my eyebrows and my eyes widen. “No shit?”
“No shit,” she whispers.
“That had to be humiliating.” I bite my bottom lip trying to stifle my grin. Awww, poor, poor Macyn.
Lisa smirks, knowing exactly what I’m thinking. “It was time. That skank was with him entirely too long if you ask me.”
“It was barely a week.”
“Two. And two weeks too long,” Lisa says with a pointed look.
Aaron Weber, who’s sitting in front of me, adds, “I heard she cheated with DeMarco.”
“Ewww,” Lisa and I say at the same time.
“What the… why?” I ask aloud.
“No shit,” Lisa adds.
“Chicks,” Aaron says with a shrug and turns around.
I lean forward a bit and whisper to Aaron, “Because you’ve recently gone through an ugly breakup, Weber, I’m not going to cuff you on the back of your head for that incredibly sexist comment. Any other time and you’d be feeling the pain.”
He responds with a sheepish grin. “For someone so small, you’re really scary, Wilks.”
“Don’t forget it either.” Like my wimpy self could even hurt anyone. I snort inwardly. What they don’t know won’t hurt them.
Lisa points at me and mouths, your turn with the Hottie God.
I wish. I just shake my head and give her a helpless look. She’s the only one who knows my secret.
So, okay, I have a crush on Kyle Cooper. He’s hot, he’s sexy, he’s one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met—and I’m too shy to let him in on the fact that my heart ping pongs around inside my chest whenever he’s around.
I’ve known him all my life but he’s always been untouchable. We’re friends but we’re never alone together unless it has to do with family obligations, and I never really thought we would be—until ninth grade.
He’d been assigned as my Biology lab partner. He sensed my desperation when we were faced with the “dissection” portion of class. He recognized it without having to even tell him. It’d probably been written all over my face, but in any event, he took pity on me and that was the one and only time I would never bristle when someone pitied me.
He took over, soothing me with his voice while he cut open the nauseating, formaldehyde-drenched insects and frog. Gawd, it’d been disgusting, but disgusting took on a whole new level when we got to the earthworm.
A long, filthy worm. I shudder in remembrance. Apparently I turned a bit greener than I had with any of the other “victims”. Kyle just rubbed my back and told me it’d be all right. I’m not usually such a sissy. I mean, when I used to go fishing with my parents, I put my own worm on the hook, so I don’t know what prompted that reaction.
Maybe it was because I had to inspect the guts of this worm. Maybe it was the smell. Jesus, did that thing smell—like smelly feet combined with ass. I don’t know. All I do know is I’m glad that Kyle Cooper had been my partner because not every guy would’ve let me get by without doing some of the cutting.
Then one day he produced a small jar of Vicks, opened it, put a little on his finger, and rubbed it underneath my nose.
“That should help with the smell,” he said as he closed the jar and returned it to his backpack.
That’s when my heart started beating for him. He wasn’t like the rest of them—the rich, preppy jocks. He was kind, caring and sweet.
“I switched a class, so you get me for the rest of the semester.” He gives Ms. Pritchard his best smile and I swear I hear every female in the class sigh. I’m not immune, I feel it as much as the next girl. I just don’t want him to know. What would be the point?
My heart kicks up. I look at Lisa and she looks at me and wiggles her eyebrows and mouths, eye candy.
I don’t smile and I’m glad I don’t because when I look back at Kyle, he’s looking right at me. Crap! I look down at my paper and start drawing random shapes again.
“Well, lucky us!” Ms. Pritchard says enthusiastically. Yeah, on top of being hot, popular, the star quarterback, point guard of the basketball team, and prom king, Kyle is also a straight-A student. Teachers love him extra for that.
“You can take the desk behind Ms. Wilks.”
He turns and smiles in my direction.
“Myah,” he says, as he winks at me from the front of the classroom. In front of everyone.
Naturally, I blush, my heart races, and the butterflies start doing some funky dance in my stomach. When I notice the entire class staring, I wish I could crawl under my desk and hide. Lisa snickers next to me.
No. No. No. No. No.
It’s not as if I’m not used to having him in my classes. I can handle the fact that whatever God is out there has it in for me and put him in every single one of my classes the last three semesters—even Home Ec. The only saving grace for me is his last name starts with “C” and mine with “W”. That means, unless there’s an unusual pairing up as had been done in Biology, we’re always on opposite sides of the room—because even if we aren’t seated in alphabetical order, I keep my distance.
I need that distance. From him. I can admit that out loud. He overloads my senses. Not just because he’s gorgeous, but because he smells delicious and more than once I’ve had the urge to lick his skin to see if he tastes as good as he smells. On top of all that, he’s got an incredible personality. He’s not your typical jock. He is—as I said before—sweet and kind and I really, really wish he was mine.
My head is down and I’m still doodling as he walks by and sits in the desk behind me, his scent floating over me. I close my eyes briefly and enjoy the woodsy smell of him.
I hear and feel him lean forward in his desk. He’s close, so close I swear I feel his hands on my hair. I’m grateful I wore it down today because having it up, my neck exposed, would leave me feeling naked and push me over the edge.
I take a deep, steadying breath when Ms. Pritchard finishes her blather about adverbs. I can do this. I can.
“We’re going to start the semester off with something a little different,” Ms. Pritchard says, going from row to row passing out packets of paper.
I sit, waiting for Aaron in front of me to pass back my packet and then… then I have to turn and give one to Coop. The butterflies have come alive again.
I turn and hand the packet to Coop, who winks at me and grins that too-sexy grin that makes me melt. I can feel my face flame red and he chuckles as I quickly turn to face forward. I glance at Lisa who is grinning. The traitor. Where’s the sympathy for her BFF? I send her a glare and give her the finger in return and she laughs under her breath.
I tune in just in time to hear Ms. Pritchard tell us that we’re going to be working on a fictional story, we can choose the genre. This totally rocks! I will, of course, be writing a romance or romantic suspense.
“You’ll be working in groups of two. Now let’s see,” she says as she starts going around the room pairing people up. It would be amazing if I get Lisa as my partner, but from the way she’s pairing people up it looks like I’m going to be paired with—”
“Mr. Cooper and Ms. Wilks.”
My face must reflect my horror and Lisa reaches over and nudges my arm. OhGod,ohGod,ohGod. This can’t be happening. A semester-long project with Kyle Cooper. Fuck my life.
I drop my head to the desk, my forehead hitting it with a thud.
I glance to Lisa, who gives me a reassuring smile, just as I feel a tug on my hair. I sit up and slowly turn to look at Coop.
“Hey,” he says smiling brightly, “—partner.”
“Hey,” is all I can manage to say.
“From your reaction there, a person would think you don’t like me or want to work with me,” he says, his grin not quite meeting his eyes. Oh crap. He totally read that wrong.
“No, no. Oh my God, Kyle, that’s not it at all,” I tell him, absentmindedly reaching out to touch his forearm.
His hand covers mine. “Yeah? You sure?” He sounds so un-Kyle-like… almost insecure.
“Positive. I’m happy to work with you,” I tell him, smiling, hoping he can’t feel the erratic pulse as he squeezes my hand.
“Happy… that’s more like it. I like enthusiasm. You should shout that from the rooftops. It’s a pretty big deal, being able to work with me.”
I roll my eyes and he chuckles.
“So you’re gonna wanna do the chick thing, huh?”
I get lost in his eyes. “Chick thing?”
He smiles that smile again and my heart flutters. I’m barely able to hold back my sigh. He is so completely gorgeous. I just want to lick his lips. Maybe gently tug on the bottom one with my teeth.
“Yeah, romance. The chick thing.”
“Oh,” I reply, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. “That was my plan—well, until she said we were partnering,” I say with a wry grin.
“It’s cool. We can do a romantic suspense or something.”
“Really?” I thought for sure he was going to go all macho and insist on writing horror or straight suspense or thriller.
He shrugs. “Sure. So long as there’s murder and mayhem, why not?”
“Do you have any plot ideas?”
“No, not just yet.” Truthfully, I’d like to write a fictional story of my dream version of me and Coop. We’d be in a relationship, in love and no one would ever be able to come between us. I sigh and he chuckles.
“Already ‘romancing’ I see.”
I blush and shrug.
“We’ve got a lot to plot out. Age, race, characters, the suspense part, the romance, location…” He trails off and I nod.
“It’s going to be a big project.”
He nods. “We’ll have to hook up outside of school to work on this, probably two or three times a week.”
OhMyGod. I had planned on doing a lot of the work on my own and letting him come in and give his thoughts and changes. I hadn’t planned on him participating. At all.
He must notice the surprise on my face because he tilts his head and asks, “What?”
“Uh, well. I guess I didn’t figure you’d want to put that much effort into it and that’s fine. I don’t mind doing more of the work.”
His brows furrow and he frowns. “Why would you think that?”
“I don’t know,” I shrug. “I guess I didn’t think you’d have time with all the stuff you’ve got going on.” You know, I think, basketball and Macyn. Only if what Lisa said is true, there is no more Macyn. Snoopy dance. Inside, of course, because outside would be mortifying.
“Nah, I make time. I’m not one to slack off on the work. Remember Biology?”
I smile. “Yeah, I remember.”
He grins and my breath catches. Oh God, that grin. For an entire semester. One-on-one. I’m never gonna survive.
“You were so repulsed I thought for sure you were gonna puke right there in the lab.”
“I came pretty close—especially with those worms.” I shudder.
He laughs. “Yeah, you looked pretty green with those.”
“What?” he asks.
“Green is so not my color.”
He laughs again. “Oh, I don’t know. You were pretty cute.”
Cute? Did Kyle Cooper just call me cute? I instantly blush.
“You have your cell on you?”
“What?” I’m still hung up on the cute comment.
“Do you have your cell phone with you?”
“Oh, yeah.” I pull my iPhone out of my back pocket and hold it up.
“I knew it would be pink,” he says just before he reaches for it. I won’t apologize for being a girlie-girl who loves pink. I won’t apologize for the daisy stickers on it either. I’m girlie. People can deal. Every day I wear something that has pink in it. I don’t know why, but I just love the color. Lisa hates it and wouldn’t be caught dead in pink.
Kyle reaches for my phone. I quickly pull it back against my chest, narrowing my eyes.
“What do you want with it?”
“I’m not going to go through it or anything. I was just going to put my number in so you can text or call whenever you want to hook up.”
My mouth goes dry. Coop’s phone number. In my phone. Holy shit.
I keep my eyes narrowed and slowly hand him the phone. He works it like a pro, then I hear a beep. He pulls his nearly identical iPhone out of his back pocket, only his is black where mine is pink. He slides his long fingers across the screen.
“There.” He turns his phone toward me. “Now I’ve got your number too.” He wiggles his eyebrows.
“Well, don’t go all stalker on me like Jason DeMarco did last semester when we had to work on that Psych project.”
I look at him and note he’s frowning instead of laughing at my, apparently, poor attempt at a joke.
“What the hell? He stalked you?”
I shrug. “I may be exaggerating a bit.”
“She’s not.” This from Lisa, the traitor across the aisle.
“Thank you very much,” I say sarcastically, sending her a glare.
“You’re welcome,” she replies, sweet as can be.
“What happened?” he asks.
I shrug and shake my head. “It doesn’t matter. It’s done and over with.”
“Hmm,” is his only reply. I really don’t want to talk to Coop about douchebag DeMarco and his nonstop texts and phone calls. The nude pictures and—dear God—the videos. The party where he trapped me, forced his tongue down my throat, then proceeded to touch me wherever he wanted to while I fought, scratched, and clawed at him. I shudder and shut the memory down, closing my eyes briefly. This isn’t something I want to talk about with him—or anyone—ever.
“Anyway…” I say, hoping to change the subject. The bell rings and I breathe a sigh of relief.
He leans forward, his nose nearly touching mine and I barely cover my gasp—barely. My heart speeds up and I can’t look away from his eyes staring directly into mine.
“This isn’t over. You’ll tell me what he did.”
“You think so, huh?” I reply smartly.
He nods. “I do.”
“We’ll see,” is all I say as I grab my books and stand.
“I’ll give you a call tonight after basketball practice and we can figure out a schedule.”
I nod. “Sounds good but I’ll need—” I was about to say my phone, when he leans forward, his chest brushing mine, his lips a hair’s breadth away from mine. My eyes widen as I lick my lips. His gaze locks onto the movement as he reaches around me and boldly tucks my phone into my back pocket, my breasts brushing against his chest as he does. My breath catches and I know he hears it. He pauses and looks at me, his eyes now almost black as his gaze sears into mine.
After what feels like an eternity but is really only a matter of seconds, he pulls back, straightening to his full height, and touches his index finger to the tip of my nose. While the gesture is light and flirty, he doesn’t crack a smile.
“I’ll call you.”
I nod. As he walks away, I pull my books up to my chest, wrapping my arms around them. My eyes still wide. My mouth hanging open. He’s rendered me speechless.
“Wow,” Lisa breathes standing next to me.
I can only stand there and nod. What the hell just happened?
Lisa elbows me and wiggles her eyebrows. “And,” she says saucily, “he’s single.”
“He’s not interested in me like that.”
“Don’t be stupid, Wilks,” Aaron says as he turns and starts walking toward the door. “His eyes dilated and darkened. He’s more than interested.”
“Because you shared that information, again, I won’t cuff you upside the head for the insult.” Sometimes Aaron’s nerdiness is informative.
He grunts and gives a half-assed wave as he walks out the door.
Lisa smirks. “See? Girl, you’re neither dumb nor blind.”
No, I’m not but… he’s Kyle Cooper and I’m just… me. He is way out of my league.
She nudges my shoulder with hers. “Let’s go. We’re gonna be late.”
Kill me now.