Read Love Me Online

Authors: Jillian Dodd

Tags: #YA Romance, #General Fiction

Love Me (2 page)

BOOK: Love Me
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Do I love myself?

Of course I do. I work out. I eat healthy. I try to get enough sleep. I always wear sunblock so I won’t get sun damage or premature wrinkles. I always try to look my best. Maybe I didn’t love myself when I was being a bitch to Vanessa, but since I’ve been here at Eastbrooke, I totally love who I am. I’m confident. I’m in lots of activities I love. I’m making friends with a wide variety of people. I’m nice to everyone. 

Why wouldn’t I love myself? I’m awesome. 

Except . . . 

I felt embarrassed when I told Aiden how fast I slept with Cush. 

And Dawson. 

At the time, it felt right. And I’d known Cush and Brooklyn for a long time. It’s not like I’d just met them.

Like Dawson. 

I slept with Dawson fast. 

Why?

Because I was hurt about B and needed to feel loved? Wanted? Adored?

Or was it just because he was so freaking hot that I couldn’t help myself?

 

The current state of your neck.

History

 

When class is almost over, the phone rings on our teacher’s desk.

He picks it up, listens, then frowns disapprovingly in my direction. “Mr. Johnson and Miss Monroe, your presence is requested in the dean’s office.”

“Do you think we’re in trouble?” I ask Riley as we walk down the hall.

“I can’t think of anything I’ve done to get in trouble.”

“I’m almost positive that the current state of your neck is against the school’s decency policy.”

“Probably, but you didn’t give them to me.”

We round the corner and run into Dallas.

“Did you get called to the office too?” Riley asks.

Dallas whispers, “If they saw the video, we’re screwed.”

“What do you mean?” I whisper back.

“I mean, we had our school blazers on. We could get expelled.”

“Seriously?” 

I can’t get expelled. I’m safe here. 

Plus, I like it.

The dean meets us at the door and says, “Have a seat in my office.”

We walk in and sit in the three chairs lined up in front of his desk. 

“It has come to my attention that the three of you recently created a video.”

Shit. Shit. Shit.

He pulls out three pieces of paper. Pieces of papers with our signatures at the bottom and the words “Eastbrooke Code of Conduct” at the top. “Do you recall signing these at the beginning of the school year?”

We all nod.

“In this document, you all agreed to protect Eastbrooke’s reputation. In the video, Mr. McMahon and Mr. Johnson are wearing pieces of their Eastbrooke uniforms. Combine that with underage drinking, some unbecoming sexual behavior by Miss Monroe, and it all adds up to the three of you possibly being expelled.”

Please let
possibly
be a way out of this. I can’t let Riley and Dallas get expelled because of me.

“I can explain,” I say. “I’m sorry. I was really upset. Dawson and I broke up and the video wasn’t supposed to be seen by anyone but him.”

“Did the video serve its purpose?”

“Well, he was upset by it, if that’s what you mean.”

“Although I was disappointed with the video’s content, I was impressed by the overall quality of it.”

Riley grins. 

“Mr. Johnson, did you create this video? Do the editing and such? Can you tell me about the process?”

“Uh, sure,” Riley says. “Basically we did shots of us singing the same song a whole bunch of times in different situations, different settings. Then I pieced it together.”

“Can I assume that none of you want to be expelled?”

We all nod. 

“Then here’s what I expect. First, that video will be removed from YouTube before you leave my office. Second, I have a project for you. Eastbrooke understands the power of social media, and our upcoming Prospective Student Weekend does not have the number of participants that we would like. I’d like you to create a video showcasing the school. Give students a reason to come see what we’re all about. Obviously, it needs to be classy and uphold the Eastbrooke tradition, but maybe you can make it a little less stuffy than the informational video we have on the school’s website. Can you shoot the video, edit it, and have it ready for my approval by this afternoon?”

Riley nods his head yes, but I’m thinking about something else. 

I just realized that uploading the video of me was really dumb. What if Vincent had come across it somehow? Actually, that’s silly. The internet is a massive place and since I wasn’t tagged in it with my name, he’d have better odds finding a needle in a haystack. But, still, the idea of me being in a video that could lead him straight here scares me. 

“Um, do I have to be in the video? Can we recruit some other students?”

“Yes, Keatyn, you do have to be in the video. It’s better than the alternative, correct?”

“Yes, sir,” I gulp. I could mention that Vincent finding me would be much, much worse, but I don’t. I can’t. Riley and Dallas are my friends. I need to start being a good friend back. And a good friend wouldn’t let them get expelled.

“I don’t want you just getting your friends out of class,” he says, as he writes on a piece of paper. “But if you need additional students, use this pass.”

 

Every boy’s fantasy.

9:30am

 

Riley removes the slutty video before we leave the dean’s office. As soon as we get out of the building, Dallas says, “Getting expelled would not have been good.”

“No, it wouldn’t have been,” I agree.

Riley grins. “Let’s go get my camera.”

“Any idea what we’re going to film?”

“No. But you’re in drama. Write a script.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“The purpose of the video is to get students to want to come here. So let’s show them how much fun we have. I think I’m going to include clips of how Dawson asked you to Homecoming. The dean with a letter on his naked chest is a cool thing. And I have a bunch of footage that I shot during Homecoming. Then we just can include a little blurb at the end about the upcoming Greek/PSW weekend.”

“Maybe we need to get some of the Olympian gods to be shirtless.”

Riley grins at me. “You, start writing the script.” Then he turns to Dallas. “And, you, go get Maggie, Ariela, Aiden, Jake, and Logan out of class.”

“Why them?”

“If I’m going to appeal to 8
th
grade boys, I need hot girls. Plus, it’s every boy’s fantasy. A blonde, a brunette, and a redhead. All together, waiting for him at Eastbrooke.”

We get to his room. While he messes with his camera, I grab his laptop, sit at his desk, and pull up Eastbrooke’s website and perspective student video. 

Eastbrooke: Honor. Tradition. Excellency. 

It goes on about how great Eastbrooke is in a very boring fashion. There are still shots of kids in classes. At activities. One of a cheering crowd at a sporting event. Really, it’s pretty bland and impersonal. I can see why kids aren’t signing up for the PSW. 

Hmmm. 

I spin on Riley’s chair. “So what if we start with this shot. The beginning of the other video with the “honor, tradition, and excellency” thing, then make it look like we tagged it with graffiti. Like we’ve spray painted a big cougar paw over the top of it.”

“I like it. What do you think for a script?”

“I don’t know that just showing clips of Homecoming and stuff is a good idea. That’s what’s on the other video. Photos of people you don’t know. It’s really impersonal.”

“So, let’s make it personal. Talk about us.”

“Our story?”

“Yeah. Let’s take them through a day. Getting coffee and breakfast with our friends. Goofing around in the halls between classes. Dinner. Hanging out in our dorms.” He smirks. “Maybe you girls could wear your Mission: Impossible lingerie and have a pillow fight.” 

“Very funny. But I think the idea of showing us girls hanging out in my dorm is a great idea. I mean, really, the dorm can be like one big slumber party.”

“Exactly. And I’ll get some shots of the guys, chilling in Aiden’s room, playing video games. Texting girls. Stuff like that.”

“That sounds good. And maybe dance practice, soccer practice, rehearsal. There’s a French club meeting at lunch and lit club after dance. We can recreate whatever we want to.” 

“The dean is really cool,” Riley replies. “We’re lucky.”

“Yeah, we are.”

“Okay, so before everyone gets here, I want to record you. Let’s go outside where the lighting is good. Do you know what you want to say?”

“I think so, yes.”

 

We get situated outside of Hawthorne House. “Riley, you know, one of my favorite things about this school is how pretty it is. So let’s make sure we get shots of the trees, and we should get some shots of a pick-up soccer game in the common area.”

“Shirts and skins?”

“Absolutely! So what do you want me to do? Should I stand or sit on the steps?”

“Stand. I love those little thigh-high sock things you wear. Those ribbon ones are my favorite.”

Riley holds up the camera and says, “Roll that.”

Which causes me to crack up instead of talking. 

“Maybe we can do some bloopers at the end.” He nods at me. “Go.”

I smile for the camera and start talking. “Hi, I’m Keatyn. I was sitting where you are, just a few months ago, watching videos, trying to decide where to go to school. You can learn all about academic excellence and tradition on the other video, but, in this video, we want you to
experience
Eastbrooke.”

He stops recording. “That’s good, I like it.”

“I want to introduce you and Dallas. Tell them how we met. Then we’ll follow all of us on our day.”

Dallas shows up with Maggie, Logan, Jake, Ariela, and Aiden. After Riley and Ariela suck each other’s faces off, we fill everyone in on what we want to do. Riley hands Jake the camera. 

I speak to the camera. “This is Riley and Dallas. Say hi, boys.”

Dallas says, “Hey, y’all,” in his adorable accent. Riley, hotly, sticks out his tongue at the camera and yells, “What’s up?”

 

We spend the day filming all over school. Some scenes with just a few of us. Others with classrooms full of students. 

After that, Ariela goes back to class, and the others are off recruiting guys for the pick-up soccer game. 

I’m sitting in the grass waiting for them to show up. 

I glance at the goal and think about Aiden, who, even though he’s been helping on and off today, has been acting weird. 

Like, sort of standoffish, maybe. 

Sometimes he gives me those looks. Like he wants to talk to me or say something, but then he doesn’t. 

And I really don’t know what his deal is. 

Maybe now he’s embarrassed about the stars?

Aiden is first to return. He has a soccer ball and is bouncing it off his knees over and over again.

“Wanna see if you can score on me?” he asks, finally saying a full sentence to me for the first time today.

“I probably wouldn’t do very well in these heels,” I reply, bending my knee to show him a cute shoe. “But I would like to play you again. Especially since you told me only, like, ten people have ever scored on you.”

“That was just in games.”

“Fine, then. We’ll consider it a game.”

“How will it work?”

“Hmm. I'll kick a penalty shot. No, I’ll kick twenty of them. If I get eleven of them past you and into the net, I win.”

“And what will you win?”

“Bragging rights are all I need.”

“No, it needs to be bigger than that. Let me think about it,
B-Moi
.”

“I’m not sleeping with you if you win,” I say immediately, knowing that’s what his shortened
Baise moi
is suggesting.

“I wouldn't want you to,” he says. 

My face drops. He doesn’t want to sleep with me? I look down at the grass and start studying the blades. 

Oh, I have so been friend-zoned. He just wanted to get rid of the stupid stars. That’s all it was. 

I’m not the one. Not the dream girl.

I see Aiden’s shoes coming toward me. He kneels down next to me, but I refuse to look at him. If I do, I’ll probably start crying. 

Oh, I
hate
him.

“Boots?” he says. I pretend to be really interested in the single blade of grass I just picked. He puts his hand under my chin and pushes it up so I have to look into his sparkling emerald eyes. “When we sleep together, it's not going to be because of a bet.”

I swallow. 

And turn away quickly. 

When
we sleep together? 

Is that what he wants? Is that why he wants to be my
friend
? Does he want to be friends with benefits?

Sorry, Aiden. Been there. Done that. Hacked the shirt with scissors, ripped it to shreds, then burned the effing thing to oblivion.

Fortunately, Riley runs by, flicks my hair, and steals the soccer ball out of Aiden’s hands, causing Aiden to tear off after him.

While they chase each other around, my mind wanders to what sleeping with Aiden would be like.

I’m pretty sure it would be like dropping the hairdryer in the tub while I'm taking a bath. 

I’d probably be majorly electrocuted and die. 

But I bet it would be worth the risk.

 

All the guys show up, so Riley goes into director mode. Saying who he wants on which team. Who should take off their shirts. And what to do.

I’m sitting in the grass next to Maggie, thinking about how fitting it is that this field be included in the video. It was one of the first things I saw when I got here. When I took a deep breath and finally felt safe. And, later, how crazy I was to run down the hill, steal the ball from Dawson, and kick it past Aiden’s head. Dawson bringing me here to ask me out. Aiden and me sitting on the bench outside the library, overlooking the field, and watching the sunset. 

Maggie elbows my side. “So, tell me about the stars. What happened? Are you and Aiden gonna get together now? What are you going to do about Dawson? Did you see Jake was teasing me? I think I might like him. Should I like him?”

BOOK: Love Me
4.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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