Chapter 3

The next day was boring and excruciatingly slow. I kept falling asleep in first, second and third period. Ace kept nudging me every five seconds to keep me alive basically during history.

There was a football game on Friday and Kimmy was dragging me to it. She told me I was "free to bring my boy toy" whatever the hell that meant. But therefore, it meant I had to invite Ace otherwise Kimmy would think something was up.

So there I was, twirling a strand of hair around my fingers, thinking of a way to ask Ace if he would go with me to the game. For once, he was actually concentrated on his work and not staring at some girl.

"So your friend Raze plays football right?" I whispered to him, leaning my body slightly toward him.

He finished What he was writing and looked up. "Yeah, why?"

"There's a game tonight." He smirked. "I'm aware."

"Kimmy is making me go."

He leaned back in his seat and folded his hands together. "And?" I shrugged and turned back to the whiteboard. But Ace didn't move. He kept his eyes right on me. For a straight minute.

"She wants me to bring you," I whispered, exasperated.

The smirk turned even more mischievous and I almost wanted to groan in annoyance. "You sure it was Kimmy that's making you bring me?" His eyebrows wiggled in a way that I found oddly, hot?

"Fine, then find yourself another fake girlfriend by Sunday," I crossed my arms across my chest and settled into my chair.

Ace sighed, very loudly, and told me, "yeah I'll go to the stupid game with you. I was already planning on being there. Do you need me to pick you up?"

I thought about it for a second. "No, it's okay. Kimmu is driving me there and back home." He nodded and we got on With our day.

After school, Kimmy came over to my apartment to help me get ready. She searched through my closet. "Do you own anything With our school's name on it?"

"Just the PE clothes from freshman year. " I hated our school so why would I give them my money?

She groaned and kept looking. Eventually pulling out a pair of ripped blue jeans and a green oversized sweater. I opted into wearing my white converse and leaving my hair down, letting the brown waves lay on my shoulders.

Kimmy, with her black hair straightened and bronzed skin from recent tanning, wore a black mini skirt, yes a mini skirt to a football game. She also wore a white crop sweater, putting on a green cardigan over it, to show her spirit for the school. We left without a word to my father; who sat on the couch, passed out and with a beer in his hand.

The car ride was uneventful with Kimmy and I singing at the top of our lungs to the music. We arrived 10 minutes later and pulled into the very full parking lot. We headed to the stands and I got up to get something to snack on.

Walking back to where we were sitting with a bag of skittles in hand, I spotted a certain green eyes boy walking toward me. I nodded at him in acknowledgement and he smirked. "You didn't get anything for me?" He asked me with fake puppy dog eyes.

I laughed and kept walking. "Why would I?"

"Because I am your favorite boyfriend," he told me triumphantly and smiling.

I rolled my eyes, "if I had an ex I'd disagree with you but since I don't, I guess you win by default?" It came out more as a question than a statement.

"I can't even believe that you've never had a boyfriend. Guys are stupid," he huffed.

We were almost to the bleachers. "You are a guy Ace."

"I am? Thanks for noticing."

I ignored him. Thankfully I saw Kimmy and I saw her eyes light up in recognition. I looked over to the boy on my left and saw him still smirking. As soon as I turned my head back toward Kimmy, I felt my hand being overtaken. Ace scooped up my small hand in his and swung it between us. Weirdly, it didn't feel odd. It felt kind of, natural. I knew he was doing it for Kimmy's benefit but nevertheless, my heart still fluttered erratically in my chest. But this time when I turned to look at him, his smile was genuine.

We won the game, obviously. We weren't the greatest team in the state but we held our own against the rival schools in the area. Raze, I learned, was a star player. The QB of the team and already being scouted for colleges. Ace had sat next to me, squishing me between him and Kimmy.

After the game, Ace had somehow convinced Kimmy to drive me home. I didn't argue, seeing as he was supposed to do things like this, being my boyfriend and all. When we got to his car, he opened the door for me and spouted, "milady," making me smile.

He hopped in and started up the car. It was one of those cars where you press a button to turn on the ignition. I stared at it in wonder, wanting one for myself. He let me mess with the radio until I finally decided to hear what CD had been put in. It was The Maine and I let it play.

Ace's mouth twitched up at the side when I started to sway and sing along to 'Am I Pretty?

Am I pretty? Do people like meyet?

We drove passed the exit that would take us to my apartment.

Is there a party? Am I invited yet?

I looked at him in confusion but his expression told me to just wait and go with it.

It's such a pity. No one adores me yet.

Ace's hand began tapping against the middle console and he sang along, too quietly for me to hear.

Make me up in the shade that fits me, tell me love oh am I pretty?

"So where are we going? And if you say the long route I'm going to roll my eyes," I told him.

He chuckled, still tapping along to the song. "You'd do that anyway." I crossed my arms and faces the front again.

But when I felt his eyes still on me, I turned back, "why are you staring at me?"

He smiled again and shook his head, "nothing." His eyes on me made me feel uncomfortable. He was too gorgeous and he was looking at me. I knew I wasn't ugly but he was so far out of my league, it was crazy.

Eventually, we pulled up outside of Ida's Ice Cream Shop and he powered off the car. I got out of the car, very confused. But Ace just started walking into the shop so I followed, obviously.

The door made a jingling sound when it opened and I looked at him. "You took me to get ice cream?"

But before he could answer, Ida herself waved us in, "just get in from the football game kids?"

Ace nodded at her, "yes ma'am, we won 20-7. Thought I'd bring my girl in to celebrate."

I managed to keep myself from rolling my eyes. But it was more because he was telling people we were together. Not even people that necessarily needed to know. It made me feel warm inside. Oh god. What am I saying?

It's not that I liked Ace exactly. But he was a very, very attractive guy and a girl can't help but appreciate his curling hair and beautiful green eyes.

While my brain was working overtime, Ace and Ida had been having an entire conversation. I finally snapped to attention when she asked me What kind of ice cream I wanted. "Cotton Candy," is what I'd said.

Ace got rainbow sherbert, a very un-Ace like flavor. We sat down and I started going at my ice cream like I hadn't eaten in 20 years and Ace laughed when I got a slight brain freeze. "I swear, you are the only person who could get a brain freeze within two bites of ice cream," he stated, eating some of his own sherbert.

"So, what's the game plan for Sunday?" I asked him. "Who am I meeting?"

He finished off his bite and looked up. "My mom and step-dad, my brother and two sets of aunts and uncles. And then all the cousins. Honestly I don't know how many there are." He stopped to chuckle a little but continued. "I'll come pick you up probably around 4 and we'll head over there. Dinner will start around 5:30 and we'll get through that and then I'll take you back home. Questions?"

I shook my head, "seems easy enough." Ace smirked. "You haven't met them yet Mad."

We sat in silence while we finished our ice cream and surprisingly, it was a comfortable silence.

"I should probably get you home before your dad kills me, huh?" He joked.

I smiled sadly, "no, I'm fine. I won't get in trouble."

Ace looked confused. "When is your curfew?"

"I don't have one," I hesitated to say. He nodded, "lucky."

My smile got sadder. I wish that I had a curfew because it meant that you had parents who cared. I sure as hell didn't.

"You okay?" Ace asked me.

I nodded, "I'm fine." And then I got up and threw both of our trash away before going out to Ace's car.

He followed me out. "Well, if you don't have a curfew, you wanna go somewhere else?"

I looked up at the sky. "It looks like it's about to rain." I was making excuses.

"We could go somewhere inside," he tried.

I shook my head, "I really should go home."

Ace looked like an idea had come to him. "I know, I'll just come with you to your house."

Was he serious? "Why do you want to hang out with me?"

"The guys are most likely at some party."

I still didn't get it. "So go to that party!"

"I want to spend time with you. Is that so hard to comprehend? You're a good friend Mad," Ace admitted, leaving me shocked.

I got into the car and he did the same. "Well, let's hope Harry isn't home."

"Really?" Ace asked me. I nodded and he started the car. We drove the short distance to my house, The Maine still playing in the background.

We pulled up to the parking lot of my apartment and got out of the car. I checked my phone. Still no text from Kimmy. Ace walked in front of me until we got to the front door, which I unlocked. I told him to stay outside until I could conclude whether or not Harry was there.

I looked in the living room and his room and he wasn't so I went back to the front door. "Coast is clear," I told Ace and let him in. He went straight to my room where clothes had been thrown about, Kimmy's fault.

"So what do you wanna do?" I asked him once he settled, oh so comfortably, onto my bed.

He thought about it. "What movies do you have?"

I shrugged and went into the living room where we kept all our movies. We didn't own much. Any movie that I wanted, I had to buy myself. But there were Disney movies from when I was a kid.

I felt Ace's presence behind me so I grabbed some random movie and turned around, holding it up.

"The Little Mermaid?" He asked incredulously. I almost doubled over with laughter at his unamused expression.

"I love this movie," I told him. It was true. I could sing all the songs and I knew at least half the lines.

He smirked and plopped onto the small couch. "Then The Little Mermaid it is."

"Seriously? You're gonna let me put on a Disney princess movie? Who are you and what have you done with the Ace Craige I know?" I joked, putting it into the DVD player.

He patted the spot next to him. "There are many sides to this bad boy Mad. You'll just have to wait to meet them all.

"Whatever," I told him, turning on the power and starting up the movie. I sat on the far end of the couch, away from Ace. But he scooted closer to me. "You really are taking this fake girlfriend thing to an unnecessary level you know.

He laughed, "nah, I'm like this with all my friends." I really doubted that. Most likely, Ace just wanted to get into my pants like he had with so many other girls. But I wasn't going to fall for it. The movie started and I couldn't help but sing along to all my favorite songs and maybe say a few lines here and there. Ace laughed at me when I voiced Sebastian's accent, doing a terrible job.

Halfway through the movie, it started to rain heavily. I'm talking some hardcore hail. The roof was taking a major beating and I had to turn up the volume on the tv multiple times.

The movie finally ended which had me clapping, literally. I always forgot how good that movie is. Ace wouldn't stop laughing at my lameness which resulted in me slapping his arm on many different occasions.

Ace and I were standing in the kitchen, looking through the fridge. It was currently very empty and in need of a good grocery shop. I made a mental note to go tomorrow. And then we both heard the front door crack open.

I looked at Ace with my eyes wide and whispered, "go to my room." He didn't question it, he just quietly made his way down the hall.

I heard my father stumble his way into the living room but what I didn't expect, was to hear a giggle. A womanly giggle. I peaked out of the kitchen and saw Harry and a woman Who I assumed was his girlfriend.

She was pretty. She was blonde and had golden, sun kissed skin. But she also looked young. Way too young to be dating my 45 year old father but I wasn't an ageist so I didn't judge too hard. I decided I wanted to meet her.

I stepped out into the living room where they were still giggling like a pair of 12 year olds. "Hi, I'm Madison. You must be Nicole. It's nice to meet you," I told her, holding out my hand.

She glared at me and looked at my father. "Who is this Harry? And who's Nicole?"


"Okay well, I'll be in my room," I told them both and slowly started to back up.

Harry held up one finger. "Madison, you stay right there." He said this as the woman stood from his lap and made her way to the door. I had a feeling she wasn't staying very long.

I switched my feet uncomfortably. This was not going to turn out well. She left with a huff and I cringed when the door slammed. My father turned to me.

"How dare you Madison Grey. You did that on purpose didn't you?" I just stood there, glued to the carpet. "You little brat," he whispered before jumping from the couch and heading into the kitchen.

This was my chance, go to the bedroom. But I stayed.

He came back with a beer in hand and then set it on the coffee table. He came closer, stopping directly in front of me. He lit a cigarette right next to my face and took a drag. He blew it out, making me cough. But I didn't dare move.

I had learned to let him blow off steam and not stoke the fire by talking. "Giving me the silent treatment are you Mad? I see how it is. You're just like her, you know. Just like your whore mother."

If I knew one thing, it was that Samantha was not a whore. And then I did something stupid, I told him just that.

"My mom is not a whore."

Harry laughed and laughed and almost choked on his cigarette. His laughter turned into hacks of coughs. I took this chance to turn around to go to my room. But Harry had other plans. He grabbed a thick section of my hair and pulled. It surprised me more than it scared me but I still yelped. I landed on the floor, on my ass. Harry bent down toward me. "Don't talk back to me Madison Grey. One more time, I swear to God."

And then he leaned back, away from me. He went to the couch and opened his beer. He sat down and it was like he was excusing me. But I still sat there, confused out of my mind.

I was scared. Harry had scared me. I had never in my life been terrified of my father. But here I was, sitting on my ass in front of the tV while my father drank a beer and I was scared. I didn't even remember getting up and walking to my door. But somehow, I was in my room. I closed the door and sagged against it, sliding to the floor.


My eyes were closed because if I opened them, the faucet would let loose.

When I felt a hand on my cheek, I almost flipped my shit. But then I remembered I had told Ace to go to my room. Great, the last thing I needed right now was for Ace to see me cry. But when I opened my eyes, there wasn't pity on my face, only confusion and something else I'd never seen directed at me.

An unwanted tear slipped down my cheek and Ace pulled me into his chest, on the floor. He cradled me in between his legs and I cried. I wasn't sobbing but there were silent tears flowing down my face. They were unstoppable and Ace didn't care. He didn't care ifI ruined his tee shirt. He didn't care that a teenage girl was crying relentlessly into his chest.

Boys didn't know how to deal with crying girls, right? But Ace more than dealt with me and my tears. He did something that I didn't realize I needed. Which was for someone to just hold me. He didn't tell me everything would be okay. He didn't plant hope into my mind because he couldn't promise it.

After a while, I leaned on his shoulder. My tears had stopped but I was exhausted. His arms loosened around my waist and he pulled back a little. "Are you okay?"

I managed a nod and wipe at my wet cheeks. "Thank you," I told him, looking into his concerned green eyes. "I'm sorry for crying on you."

His frown didn't change as I stood from his grasp and walked over to my bed. "You don't need to be sorry sweetheart." I sat down, and looked at the floor. I didn't want him to think Harry was always like this.

"You know, Harry doesn't usually yell at me like that. That was a first." I could tell my justification did nothing to ease his anger.

"I don't want to leave you here alone Mad," he paused. "Mad, that's why you don't like when I call you Mad?" I nodded sheepishly. Harry had called me Mad my entire life. "I'll stop," he told me immediately. But I didn't want him to.

"It's okay, it's growing on me. And it's different when you say it." I was spewing out words before thinking. I didn't want to know what was going through Ace's head.I didn't know why I had just said that.

He ignored my last statement. "I'm serious about not feeling comfortable about leaving you."

I nodded, "stay."

"Turn around," I told Ace. I needed to change into a tee shirt but didn't want to venture into the hallway to find the bathroom with Harry still out there. He smirked but did as I said. I carefully watched his back as I changed, making sure he didn't sneak a peek. "Okay."

He turned back around and glanced at my shirt which had polka dots all over it. "Cute." I blushed as he went over to my bed and pulled back the covers for me. I climbed in.

"Are you going to get in trouble for staying?" I asked him.

He shook his head, "I was suppose to stay with Raze tonight anyway."

"Sorry I took you away from spending time with you friends," I told him, my voice solemn.

Ace got under the covers and smiled, "I think I'd rather be here anyway." And then he turned off the bedside lamp on my side. Meaning, he leaned over my entire body to do so. I think stopped breathing for a second. There had never been a boy in my bed before.

I felt heat climb up my neck as he settled under my covers, not touching me. Not unless I let him. And just for tonight, I wanted to forget he was Ace Craige. The boy who used girls when he was bored. The Ace that was my fake boyfriend.

So I scooted closer to him and loosely threw an arm over his torso. He was stiff to the touch at first but once my face was snuggled on top of his chest, he relaxed. One hand went to my hair and ran through the strands. The other played with my fingers that rested on his ribs. It was easy after that to fall asleep.

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