I’m the selfish one. I suppose that’s the nicest thing people say about me. I’ve heard the other things, too. “Paige Owens is a pretty girl with nothing else to offer. She’s just a good time at a party. She’s stupid, heartless, cold and useless. All she cares about is getting a guy to look at her. Why would anyone want to be her friend?”
Some of those things are true. Others were true. They’re all hurtful.
None of it matters.
I’m ready to make the hard choices. I’m ready to face the consequences. I’m ready to be the girl I was before, and I’m done being the one who lost her way.
I’m ready to become the girl Houston Orr sees when he looks at me.
Houston isn’t a star athlete. He doesn’t play in a band. He’s never going to be president, and his life is so far away from simple and easy it isn’t even funny. He wasn’t part of my plan. But I’m starting to think plans are overrated, and maybe our stories are what we make them. And mine depends entirely on me, and the choices I make…starting now.
Houston is my fairytale. He’s perfectly imperfect. He’s poetry and life. He’s truth and heartbreak, all rolled up in a tall body with dark hair, broad shoulders and green eyes that lull me into submission. He’s nothing I ever thought I wanted, but the very thing I need. He’s the only guy I’ve ever really loved, and he thinks I’m a princess. I fell into him, and now I’m holding on.
But sometimes life takes away our ability to choose. Sometimes…things aren’t in your control. Sometimes, it hurts to be selfless. My only hope is that when it comes time to choose, I get it right.
Welcome to my once upon a time and wish for happily ever after.
I’m slow with my hand, and when she sees my fingers near her cheek, her breath hitches again.
“I like you, Paige,” I repeat, my voice a whisper, my lips close to her ear. I barely remember how to do this, how to do any of this, but every movement, every word with her right now feels so natural. “I don’t want to. You don’t want me to. But I do. And so do you. And we can keep fighting, and you can walk away from things, and you can yell at me when nothing makes sense and you don’t have anyone else to blame. I’m okay with that. I’ll be that guy. Even though part of me doesn’t want to. That part is fucking terrified. But the rest of me…”
I step back again, my hand fully on her cheek now, her weight resting on me, her eyes closed, lips still trembling.
“The rest of me just wants to kiss you,” I say, closing the inches quickly until my lips touch hers, surprise hers, claim hers and quell her fears all in one action. Her protest is short, and soon her hands find my shoulders and then my back and she pulls me into her. My hands are holding her face, and we both walk backward until her back is against my door.
I reach with one hand, frantic to find the doorknob, desperate to open the damn door. Panicked that if I break this contact she’ll stop, that she’ll slap me, that she’ll go back to not wanting to…anything. When I get the door open, we both fall inside, but our lips never part, our grip remains tight on one another. Reaching with one hand, I close the door behind us gently, not wanting to make any sound that could possibly get us caught.
This cannot be interrupted. It’s still too new, too at risk for being the only time I get to feel this. Goddamn does she taste like the most expensive drink I’ve ever had. Scooping her into my arms, I pull her even closer to me, until my legs hit the bed. I don’t want her to think anything other than this kiss is enough. I’ve thought about more. Fuck, I think about more twenty-three of my twenty-four hours, dreaming when I’m sleeping, daydreaming when I’m awake. But this kiss—it’s enough right now.
Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling author of eight young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, Wild Reckless and The Girl I Was Before.
A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.
When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).