This is a scene from Choosing You (Jade Series #1) written from Garret’s point of view. It’s the scene in which he first meets Jade. For those of you who have read the entire series, keep in mind that Jade was not the only one who changed and grew as a person during her freshman year at Moorhurst. Garret also experienced personal growth. In this scene, we see the old Garret, but going forward in the series, as he spends more time with Jade, he learns more about himself and in the process, changes right along with Jade.
So here’s Garret…
My phone rings as I get out of my car. I check to see who it is because if it’s my dad, I’m not answering it. This past week he’s lectured me about pretty much everything, which is why I got the hell out of there the second they let us move into the dorms. Classes don’t start until the middle of next week so hardly anyone is on campus yet, but I’d still rather be here than back at my house.
I knew the lectures were coming. Given how I acted in high school, my dad’s convinced I won’t make it at college. He thinks I’ll get kicked out, or flunk out, or screw up some other way. It’s not like he thinks I’m not smart enough. He knows I am. I had good grades in high school and my SAT scores were way above average.
It’s the way I live my life that he doesn’t approve of. Unlike him, I don’t think life has to be so fucking serious all the time. You could die tomorrow so why spend today being miserable? You’d think my dad would get that after my mom died. You’d think he’d understand how life can change when you’re least expecting it. How you better enjoy today because tomorrow your life could all go to hell. Or in my mom’s case . . . end.
My dad forced me to go to Moorhurst because it’s only a half hour away from my house and he figures this way he’ll be able to keep an eye on me. Seriously? The guy’s never even home. I barely saw him for most of my high school years. Maybe if I’d seen him more, I wouldn’t have acted the way I did. Then again, even if I hadn’t partied so much, he’d still think I’m a screw-up. Nothing I ever do or say is good enough for him, which is why I’m not answering his calls. I’m not listening to yet another one of his reminders about what a shitty son I am.
Luckily it’s not my dad calling. It’s Decker, one of the few guys I hang out with who I actually consider a friend.
“Hey, Dek.” I click my remote to lock the car even though there’s hardly anyone on campus yet and even if there were, nobody would try to steal my car. Given the cost of tuition here, I guarantee that every other student here will have a car at least as expensive as mine. But I still lock the car because if I didn’t and someone did try to take it, I’d have to listen to my dad tell me for the millionth time how irresponsible I am.
“You going tonight?” Decker asks. I hear water running in the background, but it doesn’t sound like it’s coming from a faucet.
“Where exactly are you right now?” I shove my keys in my pocket and start walking to my dorm.
“I’m at home,” he says as the water turns to a trickle.
“Dek, you better not be fucking peeing while we’re talking.”
“Sorry.” I hear a toilet flushing. “I had to go.”
“Next time, go before you call me. I don’t need to hear that shit. That’s disgusting.”
“So are you going to the party or not?”
Now I hear a faucet running.
“Yeah, I’m going. There’s nothing else to do around here.”
I’ve been out of the car less than a minute and I’m already sweating. It’s night and the sun’s down and yet it feels like it’s still a 100 degrees outside.
I really hope they have the air conditioning turned on in the dorm. It wasn’t earlier, so I went and grabbed dinner at a diner in town.
The diner is in an old renovated train car. I went there as a kid every year for my birthday up until my mom died. She always ordered me this huge sundae that could feed four or five people. I haven’t been there since she died, so it’s been a while. But they still had the sundae; the Boxcar Bonanza. I almost ordered it, but it’s kind of something people order for birthdays and special occasions and I didn’t want to feel stupid just ordering it for myself.
“Blake and I are heading over to the party around 10,” Decker says, “but I’m going to his place now for a little pre-party. He’s got a few people over there already. You should stop by.”
“I don’t know. Maybe.” I’m standing at the entrance to my dorm but the door won’t open. It’s the side entrance and I forgot that they keep it locked. I reach in my pocket to grab my keys. As I’m pulling them out, I look up and notice an old beat-up car sitting in the parking lot. It’s a black two-door sedan backed up just outside the front entrance to my dorm. It’s dark out but the car is parked under a light pole and I can see the back of a girl as she moves stuff around in the trunk. My eyes roam her body, pausing on her round, little ass and what might be the best set of legs I’ve ever seen.
“Garret, I know you don’t get along with Blake,” Decker says, “but I think you should come with me to his place. We’ve got four years here together and it would make my life a hell of a lot easier if you two tried to get along. I can’t relive high school all over again where you guys are always fighting and I’m stuck in the middle. Come on. Just drop by. You don’t have to stay long.”
I don’t respond. I’m too fixated on the hot ass and legs, wondering who they belong to. I’ve lived in this area my whole life. I know every girl within a thirty mile radius and this girl is definitely not from around here. The car alone would tell me that. But the legs and ass are also a tell-tale sign and I have to find out who they belong to.
“You’re on the swim team with him.” Decker keeps talking but I’m not really listening. “It’s not like you can avoid him.”
My eyes continue to gaze at those legs, tan and lean, but also muscular, like maybe she’s an athlete. And then that perfect ass that’s just barely peeking out of her jean shorts as she leans farther into the trunk.
“Garret, are you still there?” Decker asks.
“Yeah. I gotta go,” I say, my eyes still on the ass. “I’ll see you at the party.”
“But what about—”
I hang up before he can finish. I slowly make my way over to the car. The thing’s gotta be at least thirty years old. I’m surprised it still works.
As I approach the car, I’m disappointed when the ass I was admiring suddenly turns the opposite direction. I’m left with a view of the tan, athletic legs which are topped with an overstuffed black garbage bag. Small hands move up and down the front of the bag, trying to hold onto it as clothes seep out the bottom onto the ground.
A voice mumbles from behind the giant bag. “Shit, I knew I should’ve got—”
“Can I help?” I go over and pick up three black tank tops from the ground. I offer them to her. “Here, you take these and I’ll take the bag. It looks heavy.”
“I can handle heavy,” she says as she snatches the tank tops from me. She turns around, giving me another glimpse of that cute little ass.
The bag starts to teeter side to side. I almost laugh because she clearly can’t handle it. It’s practically twice her size and in about two seconds she’s going to drop it and everything inside it’s going to spill out on the parking lot.
She knows I’m still there and says, “You can go now. We don’t need any help.”
A guy holding a large box appears next to her. Where the hell did he come from? I didn’t notice him when I walked over here. Is he her boyfriend? Must be, although he looks a few years older than her. He’s kind of got that hipster artist look going with wavy brown hair that hangs down by his chin. But his clothes are just basic khaki shorts and a navy t-shirt, which doesn’t at all fit the artsy types I know who try to make a statement by wearing bold colors or patterns, or t-shirts with the names of bands nobody’s ever heard of.
Artsy guy notices me and clears his throat. “Um, Jade, why don’t you introduce yourself?”
Jade. That’s an interesting name. I’ve never met someone with that name.
The girl turns around, the bag still blocking her face, and all I see is a small hand sticking out. “Hi, I’m Jade. Nice to meet you.”
I peer around the bag but it’s so big I can’t even see her face. “I think you’re in there somewhere. You sure you don’t want some help with that bag?”
She doesn’t answer as she struggles to keep hold of it.
This is so strange. What girl doesn’t let a guy hold shit for her? Every girl I’ve ever dated tries to make me hold her shit; her purse, her shopping bags, her sunglasses. I never do, because most girls never ask. They demand. And I don’t do demands.
I watch as the garbage bag sways to the side, the tear on the bottom splitting open even more. I reach under the bag and attempt to take it from her. She reluctantly lets me have it. It’s not that heavy and I’m at least a foot taller than her so I’m easily able to hold it in one arm as I extend my other arm and offer her my hand. “Hi. I’m Garret.”
Now that she’s not hidden by the bag, I can finally see the owner of those legs and that hot ass. And holy shit. She’s beautiful. Her features are small, delicate. I’m instantly drawn to her lips, which are full and the perfect shade of pink even though they’re free of any lipstick. She has dark brown hair that’s almost the same shade as mine, and she has it in a ponytail with loose strands hanging down around her face and neck.
She’s wearing a white tank top and although I usually try to be more discreet, I can’t help but glance down at her breasts, which are larger than I would expect from someone as tiny as her. As she leans toward me to shake my hand I can see some cleavage and damn, she’s got nice breasts. Beads of sweat dot her tan skin and it’s so freaking hot it’s causing movement where there shouldn’t be, at least not while standing in a parking lot in front of a girl I just met.
She looks up at me and as soon as I see her eyes, I’m lost. I love green eyes. I always have, but hers are the most gorgeous shade of green I’ve ever seen. They’re surrounded by thick black lashes that aren’t coated in that black clumpy shit girls put on their eyelashes. Her skin is flawless and I notice that she’s not wearing any makeup. There’s nothing on her eyes, her lips, her cheeks. It’s not a look I’m used to. Most girls around here wear so much makeup that I wouldn’t even recognize them without it. Personally I think girls look ten times better without makeup. This girl definitely looks good without it.
Damn, she’s hot. She’s more than hot. She’s gorgeous. And I don’t toss that word around easily.
The more I look at her, the more I want to keep looking at her. When it comes to girls I never thought I had a type, but I do now. This girl is definitely my type. I don’t know who she is but I have to find out.
“She’s right on the first floor if you want to follow me.” Artsy guy is motioning me to follow him to the entrance of my dorm. I forgot he was even there.
I would usually wait for the girl to go first, but artsy guy is standing there at the door waiting for me, so I take the bag inside, then wait in the hall because I have no clue what room she’s in.
Jade and the guy come inside and I follow them to the room at the farthest end of the hall, right by the stairwell. Jade opens the door and I go inside and set the bag down on the floor by her closet.
“Are you a freshman?” artsy guy asks me.
“Yeah, I moved in this morning. I actually live right upstairs.”
“Do you know anyone here?”
Jade glares at the guy like she’s mad at him for talking to me. I don’t know why she’d be mad about that. But for some reason I kind of like seeing her pissed off, so I smile and say, “I know a ton of people. Half my prep school ended up here. It’s almost like we’re just continuing high school.”
Artsy guy smiles at Jade, which seems to irritate her even more. “Isn’t that great, Jade? He knows a ton of people. He can introduce you around.”
“Yeah. Great. I’m going back to the car.”
“Where are you from?” I ask as she’s halfway out the door.
She turns around and looks at me. Actually it’s more like a stare and she takes a moment before answering. “Iowa. Des Moines, Iowa.”
I sigh inside my head. So she’s the scholarship winner. Great. I finally meet a girl who actually interests me, and is the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, and she’s the scholarship winner. My family’s scholarship. We only give one out each year and this is the winner. The scholarship isn’t based solely on academics. It’s also need-based which means she’s poor. That explains the beat-up car and the garbage bags.
I can already hear my dad lecturing me. Telling me she’s not dating material, at least not Kensington dating material. Then again, Jade does have a boyfriend so it’s not like I could date her anyway.
“It’s in the middle,” Jade says when I don’t respond. She must think I’ve never looked at a map before because she continues to explain. “East of Nebraska. West of Illinois. South of Minnesota. North of—”
“Yeah, I know where it is,” I say, a little annoyed that she thinks I’m that stupid. “You’re the Kensington Scholarship winner, right?”
She looks surprised, or more like shocked, that I would know that. I consider telling her why I know that, but then change my mind. I want to get to know this girl before I tell her who I am. I know she has a boyfriend, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get to know her.
“Yeah, that’s me,” she says. “Anyway, I need to unpack so I’ll see you around.”
She’s desperate to get rid of me and I have no idea why. Am I that bad to be around? Most people would describe me as being popular. Really popular. People usually want me around. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone try to get rid of me like this.
I’m actually being rejected. By a girl. This is a definite first for me.
But what this girl doesn’t know is that I like a challenge. Let me rephrase that: I fucking LOVE a challenge. And when it comes to girls, I’ve never been challenged. Not once. Not to sound cocky, but girls usually throw themselves at me, to the point that it can be annoying sometimes.
So if Jade wants to get rid of me, she’s going to have to work a hell of a lot harder than this.
“Let me help,” I say, meeting her at the door with a huge grin on my face. “I’m not doing anything.”
She tries to protest. “No, that’s not—”
“That’d be great,” artsy guy says. “Thanks!”
If looks could kill, that guy would be dead right now. Jade just totally gave him the death stare. And as much as she tried to make it look scary, it wasn’t at all. In fact I found it kind of adorable.
Artsy guy just smiles back at her. I’m starting to like this guy, even if he is her boyfriend. But maybe he’s not. He’s not really acting like her boyfriend. So is he her boyfriend or not?
The answer to that is the first thing I’m going to find out. And once I do, the challenge to win this girl over will officially begin.