No Matter What
Chapter 2: PastAlex Hoffman and I had a strange relationship. It all started with the day we met. I was babysitting for my neighbors. They had eleven-year-old twin boys, Ethan and Aaron Davidson. I have been babysitting them since they were four years old.
We were walking to the library. Ethan wanted to get another book by his favorite author and as for Aaron, he hated reading, he was forced to come along with us.
As we were walking the boys saw a guy on a skateboard heading our way.
“Sweet board!” Aaron yelled.
“Thanks.” The guy said. I had noticed him before; he was Alex Hoffman, a new student at my school. My friend Summer Larson always teased me about how I liked him. The truth was I really wasn’t interested. He was so full of himself, a big ego, and, well, I guess he was kind of cute. Back to the point, I always ended up ignoring him whenever he came near me. All the girls had a crush on him, but I wasn’t going to get sucked into his spell.
“Hi.” He introduce himself, “I’m Alex. Alex Hoffman.”
“I know,” I said. “I’m Jessica Samuels. You can call me Jess.”
“Well, Jess, can I take you three out for lunch?” He looked at the boys with a smile.
“Please? Can we?” Ethan begged.
“Yeah I guess we can come back to the library later.” I sighed.
Alex cleared his throat and said, “You can go to the library now if you want. I have to go get my car anyway. Not everyone can fit on my skateboard. Meet you in ten?”
“Sure.” I couldn’t believe I just agreed to this.
As Alex left I took the boys to the library. We saw him pull up exactly ten minutes later.
We ended up going to the Burger King in town. As the twins played on the playground outside I asked Alex, “Why are you doing this?” He knew what I meant.
“I did this because I like you.” He looked at me with gentle eyes, “I thought if I talked to you when you wouldn’t have any way to ignore me, I could get a date out of you. And that would mean even going to the local Burger King with nine year olds just to talk to you.”
“Actually, they’re eleven.” I corrected him.
Alex completely ignored the comment and spoke again, “Jessica, would you go to a movie with me tonight?”
I didn’t know what to say, at first I wanted to say no, but I noticed not only his smile, but his eyes were watching me, begging me to say “Yes.”
“Great, what time are you done here?”
“Oh no,” I checked my watch. I had half an hour to get the boys home. “In about thirty minutes.”
“Alright, I’ll bring you guys home.”
I went outside to retrieve the boys. “Aaron, Ethan, come on it’s time to go.”
We got Ethan and Aaron home, and I went home myself. At seven o’clock sharp Alex was at my door, talking to my parents as I got ready.
“Ready?” I asked coming down the stairs. He was wearing a Penn. State sweatshirt with khaki shorts. I couldn’t deny that he looked hot.
Alex looked up at me, “Yeah.”
On the way to the theater, I asked what movie we were going to see.
“A Wolf’s Howl.”
“Is it a scary movie?”
“Do you like scary?” He asked.
“What if I told you I don’t mind them if I’m with someone?”
“Well, I guess you’re with me then.” He was watching the road for a while, concentrating, and then he started again. “Tell me about yourself.”
“Tell me things about you that I don’t know for instance your favorite color and past boyfriends. Things like that. Just so I’m prepared.”
I laughed. “My favorite color is blue, I love tennis, and I have only had one boyfriend.”
“Anything I need to worry about with him? You know, for the future?” He looked away shyly as he said that.
“Well, his name was Kyle. We broke up because he was going to move far away and it wasn’t going to work out. Long distance just didn’t work for me. What about you?”
“I’ve had two main girlfriends one of them didn’t really count. We didn’t exactly go out. Nothing was clicking between us, we were more of friends. As for the other one, she was just using me to get back at her old boyfriend.”
We reached the movie theater. I expected a building, not and outdoor drive-in.
“I hope you don’t mind. I thought you’d like this.”
“Yeah I love it.” I truly did. I guess Alex did have a different side to him. But it was still too soon to judge, or was it?
He reached in the back and pulled out two bottles of coke.
“Thanks.” I said as he handed me one.
As we watched the movie I noticed that Alex had put his hand on the center armrest. I knew his plan was for me to take it, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to.
I studied his palm. He had a scar from the tip of his index finger to the base of his thumb; I had wondered how he’d gotten it.
Soon Alex shifted and his eyes locked on mine. He noticed me studying his hand, “I don’t bite.”
I let out a little giggle and took his hand in mine. He put his other hand on top of our combined grasp, but something caught my eye. He had a ring on his finger. “Where did you get this?”
It wasn’t just a ring. It was old, silver, and worn out.
“My grandfather past away a couple years ago, and this was left to me. I know it’s a piece of junk, but it’s all I have left of him besides a torn picture. It’s dumb, I know.”
I watched him spin the ring on his finger.
“No,” I interpreted, “It’s really cool that you kept it.”
He smiled at me and slowly came closer. I seriously thought he was going to kiss me, but instead he put his jacket around me. He must have noticed my goose bumps.
After a while of silence I rested my head on his shoulder.
“Is this alright?” I asked.
“Yeah, this is fine,” he said looking at me. Then I heard him whisper under his breath, “Better than fine.”
I think I might have fallen asleep, because when I woke up I had his jacket still around me, and everyone had started to leave.
“Jess, the movie’s finished.” I heard Alex say.
I sat up. “Thanks, I guess that wasn’t really a first date. I was asleep the whole time.”
“Well maybe we can rearrange that. Do you want to go to the beach with me tomorrow?”
“That sounds nice.” I smiled.
He took me home, and when he walked me to the door I thanked him and told him that I had a great time.
“I had a good time too.” He said as he stepped closer to me. “Jess, what would you do if . . .”
“If what?” I asked.
He hesitated and smiled. “What would you do if I kissed you? Would you let me?”
“Does this answer your question?” I leaned in and slowly touched my lips to his.
I suddenly felt a spring of joy wash through me. I could taste the sweetness on his lips as I breathe in the cologne he was wearing. His arms wrapped around me. It made me feel warm and secure.
I pulled away and smiled.
“Um I should go.” He looked pleased. “I’ll pick you up at nine? Or did you want to sleep in?”
“Nine’s great. I can’t wait to see you tomorrow.” I said it with complete honesty.
“Sweet,” he leaned in for one more kiss.
“You are.” I blushed.
I watched Alex drive off into the distance and smiled to myself. I have never felt like this before. I can’t believe I was the only one in the school that didn’t want anything to do with him before, but now that I’ve got him I want everything to do with him.
I ran upstairs, got ready for bed, and called Summer.
“Hey. What are you doing up so early?”
By now it was one forty five . . . in the morning. “Sorry, Summer. I’ve got big news, I kissed Alex Hoffman.”
“No way!” She screamed. “I thought you didn’t like him. I was so right!”
“I didn’t start liking him until this afternoon.”
I told Summer the whole story about lunch, the movie, and the kiss.
The next day I woke up to a knock on the door. I was expecting to see Summer, so I went to the door in my pajamas.
While I opened the door I said “You don’t have to knock. Just walk right- oh.” It was Alex.
“Hi.” He said.
“I’m sorry, I thought you were Summer.”
“It’s okay. You still want to go? It’s raining out, but it’s supposed to be a lot sunnier this afternoon. ” He nodded towards my outfit and chuckled, “You don’t look like ready yet anyway.”
I looked down. I was in my pajamas still in front of Alex.
I shook my head. “Sorry, I slept in by accident. I have to get ready yet. You want to hang out in here while I change?”
“Sure. Do your parents mind?”
“They’re not home.” I said.
He looked at me with nervousness and said, “Oh.”
Alex came in, sat on the couch, and waited for me. I quickly went downstairs and got ready. I put my new bikini on, just in case we left the house, and threw on a t-shirt over it. After that I added a pair of short-shorts to match. Then I grabbed my beach bag off the floor to put by the front door.
When I came upstairs, I said “Ready. What do you want to do?”
“I don’t know, we have a while it looks like.” He looked me up and down, “You look great today.”
“Thanks.” I said. I couldn’t think of any ideas for what we could do. Finally I gave up and tossed out an idea, “Do you want a tour of the house?”
He grabbed my hand. I took it as a ‘yes’ and started upstairs.
“This is the upstairs where our office is and all the bedrooms are except for mine.”
We went through every room in the house until I had only my bedroom left. I walked him downstairs and into my room. Luckily I cleaned it yesterday so Alex wouldn’t have to see all my junk lying on the floor.
“This is my room.” It was a bright color of purple, and I didn’t know whether he thought it was too girly or not.
He looked around and noticed some of my books on my desk. “I take it you like to read?”
“I love reading and writing stories. That’s why I’m in the school newspaper.” I went to my desk and showed him a few articles I had written over the years. I only showed him the good ones though, mainly the ones that had gotten front page.
He looked them over and commented, “These are really good, have you ever thought about becoming a writer?”
“Once or twice,” I stepped closer, taking the articles and placing them back on my desk.
“You should think about it more, you’re very talented.”
I could see he actually meant it, and that made me feel good. I walked over to him and waited for him to lean in and kiss me.
When he did, he sent the shudders through my body all over again. But when we were finally getting into it, he stopped. I gave him a confused look, wondering if I did anything wrong.
“Jess, I don’t want you to think I came here just to take advantage of you.” He explained.
I loosened my grip on him, “What if I wanted you to?”
He grasped me tighter and kissed me again, but this time he kissed me with passion. I could feel his tongue slip its way in to meet mine. As it did, I turned towards my bed and brought him with me.
We collapsed onto the mattress. I guess you could forget about my hair looking good today, because Alex’s hands were all over me. Not to mention mine were slipping to the edges of his shirt.
Somehow, his shirt did end up on the floor, exposing his full torso.
His chest was toned and tanned. I could see clearly all the muscles and his arms. They were huge.
I stopped kissing him and complimented, “I see you work out.”
Alex shrugged, “Only when I have time.”
I watched him speak with his soft, yet scruffy voice. My eyes traveled up to his, they were the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen. They were so deep, that I couldn’t help but blush when he noticed me staring at them.
Alex pulled me back into a kiss, and I slowly slipped my tongue into meet his again. As we deepened it, I removed my cover up t-shirt. It was okay considering I was wearing my bikini top, because that’s as far as I was going to go.
I pushed myself more up against Alex. Soon after that, I felt something move between us. He had his hands on my lower back, but soon he released his grip a little.
I giggled a little, then apologized, “Sorry, I shouldn’t laugh-”
He sat up and fixed himself, “No you can,” he laughed too. “I think we should slow it down a little.”
“I agree.” I stood up and walked over to the mirror. When I fixed my hair, Alex was putting his shirt back on.
He was over behind me within two strides. “It looks like the rain stopped. Did you still want to go to the beach?”
I checked the clock, three hours had passed. My parents were due back in two, so I told him we could go as long as we could have more time together.
We walked out to his car, and drove to the beach. It was mostly empty except for a few people and one family. Alex took a blanket and laid it out on the sand for us. After that, he sat down. I sat too. He was right about the weather; it looked as if it hadn’t rained at all.
“Can I ask you a question?” He stretched out his legs in front of him.
“Ask away.” I said.
“Why do you ignore me at school? Did I do something to offend you?”
“Um . . . well, I see all those other girls by you, and the truth is that I didn’t want to be one of them.” I told him.
“Really? You don’t like me?” He asked.
“I wouldn’t put it that way. I just wasn’t interested until . . .”
“Last night.” He finished. “Are you now?”
I smiled, “Didn’t this morning explain?” I softly kissed his lips as if to remind him.
“I guess it did, but I was just double-checking.” I pulled away. “I wasn’t done yet.” He complained and pulled me into another kiss.
We spent a while talking about each other, walking, then by the time it was sunset, I asked him if he wanted to finally swim. The beach was now completely empty.
“I’d love to.”
I ran to the water before him and jumped off the dock. As I watched Alex from the water, he took off his shirt and started running towards the water too.
Alex’s swimming trunks hung dangerously low on his hips, which was distracting me from his splash when he jumped in.
“Took you long enough,” I teased as he finally got up to the surface of the water.
“Yeah, well.” He smiled at me with his great smile.
The night ended too early. Alex took me home and drove out of sight. Tomorrow we had school, and I wasn’t sure if this weekend thing was going to last or if this was all in my dreams. I kept on wondering if we would walk down the hallways together or pretend this never happened while he went back to those other girls.
However, this morning when I was about to get into my car to drive to school Alex was already waiting for me. “Want a ride with me today?”
“Do you have to ask?” I responded. I was happy that we were still going to do this.
“Well then hop in. We haven’t got all day.” Alex opened the door so I could slide in.
When we got to school, sure enough all the girls that liked Alex were waiting for him in his usual parking spot.
As he got out he said “Good morning, ladies.”
After he did he came to open the door for me. All of the girls gasped and started whispering.
All day long I heard whispers and comments on how I was “Alex’s new girlfriend” and how “He’ll be on the rebound soon enough”.
I just kept right on smiling at the next girl who gave me a weird look or any sign of hatred. The funny thing was, some of them I had known ever since preschool, but as for Alex, they had known him since the beginning of the school year. I was starting to like this. And as Alex and I walked down the hallways together and ate lunch at our own table, I felt more comfortable with not only myself, but everyone else too. Alex was the one that held everything together.
“How’s lunch?” Alex asked me.
I looked at it and made a face. “I’m eating school food, is it supposed to be good?”
“Let’s go get some real food.” He took my hand and we left the table.
“Where are we going?” I questioned.
He took a set of keys out of his pocket, “We’re going to get lunch somewhere besides school. Then we can walk around the mall. Sound better than school?”
“You mean skip?”
“Yeah, is that okay?” He looked at me.
I got into his car, “As long as I’m with you.”
He smiled and kissed me, “Always.”