What was frustrating, was Chase’s drastic mood swings. Over the last three weeks, he’d started talking to me less and less during the week, but if we were at his parent’s house, he wouldn’t leave my side and you wouldn’t believe he was the same guy I’d met my second night in California. He was hilarious, sweet and an incredible artist. Listening to him banter back and forth with his dad usually left the rest of us in tears and he treated his mom, Bree and I with such respect, it was mind blowing. If anyone’s drinks started getting low, he was already refilling it, he always made sure we were comfortable and had everything we needed, and his kisses on his mom’s cheeks had to be the most loving thing I’d ever seen come from him.
The biggest shock was when I’d gone to Chase’s room in his house to tell Bree I was ready to leave, and stumbled upon a sketch book. I confronted him about it later at his parent’s, and he ran upstairs for a minute and brought down an armful of them. He was extremely talented and I shouldn’t have been surprised when he told me he was a tattoo artist at the shop Bree had taken me for our piercings. The way his eyes lit up as I gushed over each drawing tugged at my heart, and I tried desperately to push those feelings away. I’d spent a couple hours last Sunday watching him work on a few new pieces he wanted on his forearms while the whole family watched a couple movies in the living room. At some point I must have fallen asleep on the couch I’d been sharing with Chase because an explosion on the TV jerked me awake.
“It’s just the movie,” he whispered in my direction and ran his fingers over my cheek, “don’t move yet Princess.”
“Don’t move? Why?”
“I’m almost done, give me another minute or two.”
I heard his hand moving back and forth across the paper slowly and waited until he kneeled down in front of the couch so his face was directly in front of mine. My breath caught and his electric blue eyes glanced down to my barely parted lips. His tongue absently wetted his lips and his teeth lightly bit down on his bottom one as his gaze roamed my face.
“Why couldn’t I move?” I managed to ask when he started closing the distance between us.
He abruptly stopped and blinked a few times, “Oh, um. Well…here. Just don’t freak out, okay? I wasn’t trying to be creepy.”
“You’re not supposed to tell someone not to freak out, those words alone cause them to freak out.”
Chase smirked, “Okay, well then don’t hit me or use your pressure point training on me again.”
Before I could roll my eyes at him, he brought his sketch pad up in front of me and my jaw dropped. I felt my cheeks burn and he took that the wrong way. Snatching the pad of paper back up, he cursed softly.
“I knew it was creepy.”
“Chase,” I breathed and shook my head in an attempt to clear my thoughts, “that wasn’t creepy. Can I see it again?” When he didn’t make an attempt to move I reached my arm toward the book, “Please.”
He handed it over with a sigh and looked at me with a sad smile, “I’m sorry, but you looked too perfect. I couldn’t let that opportunity pass.”
My stupid blush came back with force when he said that and I focused at his drawing. It was amazing, somewhat embarrassing, but remarkable none the less. With the shading and the detail he’d captured of my upper body and face, it almost looked like a black and white photo. It was perfect. From my chest, throat and slightly open mouth to the way my hair fell around my face and my eyelashes rested against my cheeks, it was one hundred percent me. He even had my hand clutching the pillow under my head that was resting on his leg, as well as the blanket that had been pulled up to the swell of my br**sts. Goose bumps covered my body as I realized he’d spent however long staring at, and replicating, every part of me while I’d been completely unaware. He was wrong, it wasn’t creepy, it was beautiful and strangely intimate.
“Chase, it–” I cleared my throat and tried again, “It’s incredible.” Incredible didn’t cover it.
I looked up into his eyes and smiled, “Yeah.”
We stayed there staring at each other, my mind and heart completely torn in two. One half desperately wanted to act on the feelings his drawing had stirred up in me, and the other was screaming at me to sit up and scoot away from him. Before I could try to make a decision, another series of explosions came from the TV and we both jolted away from each other.
My face heated again as the memory of last Sunday played through my mind, and Chase’s annoyed look turned bemused. I pushed aside my awe and longing for that rare side of Chase and let my anger take forefront again. I don’t know why he was so different on Sundays, but at least during the week he would usually say hi to me. Not that I expected him to spend more time with me since I was always with Bree or Brandon during the week, but after that moment on Sunday I was dumbfounded as to why he’d avoided me like a leper since.
“Whatever. I’m done trying to figure you out. If you want to be an a**hole, go right ahead. But don’t keep acting like there’s nothing wrong between us on Sundays.”
“We’re back to this now?” He jeered.
“It’s a freaking miracle. He speaks.”
“You think I’m confusing? God Harper, that’s rich.” He laughed once and narrowed his eyes at me, “This coming from the girl who repeatedly told me to stay away but fell into my arms at the first sign of trouble with her boyfriend? Do you want me to back off, or don’t you?” Chase took a step forward, I took one back and he matched it, whispering in my ear, “Why keep fighting the inevitable baby? You want me. Even now your body is shaking because you’re trying to keep yourself from touching me.” Brushing the tips of his fingers across my hand he smiled, “One touch from me and you’re covered in goose bumps. Tell me now that you want me to go away.”
“You’re such an ass.” I growled and took another step back, “I just don’t understand why we can’t be friends all the time. I don’t want to be your friend on Sunday and the girl you don’t acknowledge every other day of the week. I want the same thing every day. So you decide what that is and let me know.” I moved to walk around him, but he put his arm up against the wall of the hallway, blocking me in.
“I’ll tell you, if you tell me.”
“Tell you what?”
“I feel like I’m just one in a group of Harper’s many guys, but I’m not getting the benefits. So tell me, if I act like your friend, will I get to f**k you too?”
My fist was aiming straight for that perfectly shaped nose but Chase was slammed into the wall before I could connect. Brandon’s forearm was pressed against Chase’s throat and his tan face was turning red with anger.
“What the hell did you just say to her?” He growled and pressed Chase harder into the wall.
Chase’s only response was to spit in Brandon’s face.
Brandon’s other hand grabbed Chase’s shirt to bring him forward while the arm that had been against his throat delivered a hard blow to Chase’s stomach. Chase swung and hit the wall when Brandon moved, but he’d moved right into Chase’s left hook. I started yelling at them to stop and somehow they ended up on the floor with Chase on top. Just as the other housemates came out of their rooms, Brandon knocked Chase’s head to the side and Chase spit again on Brandon’s face, this time it was full of blood.
“Shit, again?” Brad huffed as he ran past me and grabbed Chase’s arms to pin them back. Derek kept Brandon on the floor while Zach helped Brad haul Chase towards a hall on the opposite side of the living room.
“Holy Crap Princess,” Drew slung his arm around my shoulders and I shook it off, “you really drive guys crazy don’t you? This has been the most entertaining two months we’ve ever had in this house, and it all seems to come back to you.”
“If you want to have kids at some point in life, I suggest you leave.”
He tsked at me, but wisely moved away, “So touchy. Hey B, you uh, got a little something on your face.”
“I’m about to let him up.” Derek warned and Drew took off for the back yard.
As soon as Derek let go, Brandon was up and stalking toward his bathroom, not saying a word to me. Derek handed me Brandon’s back pack and nodded toward his bedroom.
“Wait for him in there, I’m gonna go talk to him though I’m positive I already know what he’s gonna say. Just give him a few minutes, and Harper?”
“Stay away from Chase. It’ll make all of this a lot easier.”
I blushed fiercely and nodded before shutting myself in Brandon’s room. Ten minutes of sitting there alone felt like three hours. I listened to numerous doors open and slam shut, raised voices on different sides of the house and what must have been Chase taunting Brandon. Next thing I know all the guys were yelling at each other and Brandon started threating Chase. The door opened, and I watched Derek and Drew struggle to push Brandon in.
“Chill man!” Derek puffed as he kept shouldering Brandon’s chest so he couldn’t leave, “He’s doing it to piss you off more, just calm down.”
“She’s mine!” Brandon growled and pushed forward again.
“Yeah, she’s yours and right now you’re scaring the hell out of her. Calm down!”
Brandon turned and stopped trying to force his way out when he saw me. As soon as the other two were out of the way, he slammed the door shut and locked it, but didn’t turn back to me. He rested his head against the door, one of his hands pressed against the wall.
I started to move off the bed, but his voice stopped me.
“Don’t. Give me a minute.”
Four tense minutes later and I stood up anyway, “I’m going to go –”
“I’ll take you to your dorm,” He finally looked at me and shook his head, “never mind I’ll get Derek to take you.”
My stomach dropped. I had been planning on going outside to give him more time; I wasn’t expecting him to want me to actually leave. Usually he was trying to stretch our “weekends only” rule, this was the first night since Saturday that we were supposed to be together, and he wanted me to go back to the dorm. He didn’t even want to be the one to take me. Was he that mad at me for the fight with Chase? My throat closed up, so I simply nodded and grabbed my duffel bag.
“Uh, will you please take me to a hotel?” I asked Derek after we were in his car.
“Hotel? Don’t you want to go to your dorm?”
“No, Bree’s having Konrad stay there tonight. Just take me to a hotel.”
He pursed his lips but didn’t say anything until we were at the entrance of the closest place. “Don’t be too hard on Brandon, kay? Try to forgive him, he feels really bad for doing this to you.”
What? Doing what to me? Oh my God, is he going to break up with me? I didn’t ask him to get in a fight with Chase, I had been about to take care of it myself. My eyes watered and I couldn’t even thank Derek for the ride, afraid that if I opened my mouth I’d start sobbing.