Flynn’s point of view – saving Cass the first time
Closing my car door, I pause. How am I going to do this? In the drive over from Jake’s, I only focused on the what: making sure that Rob Meadows doesn’t succeed in his god-awful plan to humiliate Cass.
But now I need to think about how. Walk up to Rob and punch him into the middle of next week? Maybe not, when he has the advantage of a rugby team on his side. I’m royally pissed off, not stupid. I could text Neve and get her to fake some girl emergency that would mean Cass insists on taking her straight home. Maybe not. My inner caveman is kind of excited by the chance to rescue a damsel in distress; getting my sister to act as the decoy is decidedly less than heroic. So how? Hoping, no, praying, for inspiration, I make my way to the balloon-festooned entrance.
“Hello, Mrs Bell. I’ve come to pick up Neve and Cass, but got here a bit early. Can I pop in and say hello to a few people?” Receiving the full force of my most charming smile, she has little choice but to relent. Strike one.
Scouring the room, I pick out the rugby team, without Rob, ladding it up at the bar. So he’s minus his henchmen. Strike two.
I notice Neve, alone at a table, her eyes fixed ahead. Looking in the same direction, I see what has her transfixed. And it’s me who is struck out.
My brain doesn’t know what to process: how utterly beautiful Cass looks; or the fact that she is currently tangled up in Rob. Literally. Immobilised by I-don’t-know-what-the-hell-to-do-next, I stand in the doorway, watching his hand trail down her back. Why haven’t I ever been able to touch her like that? Before I can ponder on the enormity of that question, his hand reaches her bum and I can take no more.
Before I know it, I’m striding across the dance-floor.
“Can I cut in?” What the fuck? Did those words really just come from my mouth? Nobody says that unless they’re in one of those god-awful costume dramas Mum loves. But I’ve got to brazen it out now. I can’t change tactic, however much I want to. I look at Cass, not really interested in Rob’s response, and my heart sinks. Her eyes are filled with loathing but, sad as I am to have caused her upset, I know I can’t stop.
“Can I have this dance?” I continue, my eyes pleading with Cass to understand, to go along with this. Thankfully, Rob is as stupid as his reputation and doesn’t think that I am any threat. After all, he knows that the geek never gets the girl. I don’t even hear his parting words as he walks away, leaving me within touching distance of Cass. Of course I’ve been this close to her before, more times than I can remember, but this is different. This is me, a boy, reaching out to hold her, a girl.
As I take hold of her hands, her touch electrocutes me. My heart stops. Every muscle twitches. In fact, everything twitches.
“What the hell are you doing?” Her words are filled with an anger that tears at me. If this was a book, she’d fall into my arms and tell me that she has always loved me. But it isn’t. I shrug my shoulders, knowing that if I speak, I could verbally vomit every bit of what I feel for this girl. “Can’t you see that the last thing I want at this precise moment is what has just happened?” Trying to smile, I put my arms on her shoulders, willing her to move her body into mine, like she did with Rob. “I mean it, Flynn!”
Hating that I’m giving her no choice in the matter, I pull her to me, as close as I can bear. “Just hold me and pretend that you’re having the best time of your life,” I whisper, lowering my head to hers. Oh my god! Her hair smells amazing and I can’t stop myself taking in a deep lungful of the citrusy-floral-whatever it is. Seriously, who knew shampoo could give you a hard-on?
“I was until you got here.” Her words are all the cold shower I need. But then she puts her hands on my waist and I’m back into the game. I hold her tight, worried that she might brush too close against me and realise the embarrassing truth. Wishing that this was real, that we’re just two ordinary people having a first dance with each other, I can’t stop myself sighing. If only. However, I need to park my feelings and focus on getting Cass out of here before Rob comes back to claim her. The truth will destroy her and I can’t do that here, but I need her to cooperate.
“Look, this is not how I envisioned my night turning out either. I thought I was just giving you and Neve a lift home.” I’m sure she can hear the desperation in my voice. “But you have to trust me on this one, OK?”
Why should she trust me? After all, I’m the one who has harboured a secret from her for years. I’m the one who has slept with other girls, even though they weren’t the only person I wanted to be with. I’m the one who, despite wishing it could be oh so different, will trash her hopes and dreams for tonight. And she will hate me for it. When she tilts her head to look into my eyes, I have to steel my face so that she isn’t scared by how much it would reveal.
“Flynn, I don’t know what is going on here, but I was having a great time until you showed up. Please, just leave me to it. Go and sit with Neve if you have to stay. She’s all by herself.” I can’t stop the half-smile that appears with this blatant emotional blackmail.
“If you don’t start to look like you’re enjoying yourself within the next ten seconds, Cass, I won’t be responsible for my actions.” Although I’m half-joking, worry that I’m not going to get Cass to come with me is seeping in. Something seems to click with her as she gives me this huge smile and my insides turn to jelly. God, if she only knew the power she has over me. Actually, maybe that wouldn’t be such a good thing. When she laughs, I can’t stop myself from smiling at the transformation, and I allow myself to extend the role-play.
Twirling a curl of her hair around my fingers, I revel in its softness and an image of Cass brushing it down my naked chest enters my mind. Role-play? Who am I kidding? I am just a desperate opportunist, not some fucking Prince Charming. Would Prince Charming be standing here, jeans painfully tight, mentally undressing Cinderella? Or maybe he would be? Just as I’m about to enter some weird Disney-esque porno daydream, the villain enters the scene. Is Rob really so fucking stupid that he thinks he can come back over here and take Cass back? Clearly he is. Game on, fuckwit.
Looking him dead in the eye, I pull Cass to me, trying to ignore how amazing she feels pressed against me. I tuck her head under my chin, marvelling at how perfectly we fit together.
Maybe she can feel how turned-on I am.
Maybe she thinks I’m a pervert.
Maybe she is enjoying it.
It doesn’t really matter. All that counts is that I will do anything to save her from being hurt.