“Hey Rocky, wait up!” The yell could be heard clearly over the laughter and conversations filling the hallway of Brookdale High School.
Instead of heeding the call, Ryan ‘Rocky’ Kingston laughed and increased his pace, expertly dodging kids, stacks of books on the floor, open locker doors, and other obstacles in his path. He reached his destination seconds before his pursuer, who announced his arrival with a hard punch to Rocky’s shoulder.
“Thanks a lot, Rock. Way to help your brother out in his time of need.” Christopher ‘Colt’ Kingston grumbled as he opened his locker and exchanged his books for the ones needed for first period.
Rocky snorted, restarting the process to open his own locker, which his brother had interrupted. “I told you that i was going to my locker. Not my fault that you didn’t hear me. And from the looks of things, you sure as hell didn’t need my help.” He shot Colt a sly grin. “Of course, Zoe did have her tongue down your throat at the time, so you were understandably preoccupied. It’s also rude to talk with your mouth full.”
“She ambushed me!” Colt complained. “Since she heard that Nikki and I broke up, I haven’t been able to get her off of my jock! Now I know how Bambi felt.”
“You did have a whole wild eyed, deer in headlights look when she pounced.” Rocky agreed thoughtfully, dodging another hit. “Hey, I told you to stay away from senior girls. Dating Nikki put you on all their radars. We’re only juniors, man. They’re on a whole ‘nother level.”
“Yeah well, I’ve always been an over achiever. It’s why they skipped me a grade.” Colt smirked, unrepentant. His smile widened and turned slightly sharper as he added, “Still, you could’ve run interference for me when you saw her coming earlier. How convenient that you had to find your lucky pencil for AP Calc, and it took just enough time to get up the front steps at the exact same time as Zoe.”
Rocky ducked his head into his locker so his brother couldn’t see his shit-eating grin, even though they both could hear it in his voice. “Finals are coming up! What the heck were were thinking, taking Mr. Eagle for AP Calc? That guy is vicious. I need all the help I can get.”
“You’re a business major, you jackass.” Colt snorted, rolling his eyes and glancing down the hallway behind his brother before casually picking up his bag. “You know Rock, what goes around comes around.”
“Okay, Justin Timberlake.” Rocky scoffed, shutting his locker.
Colt watched him, hiding his grin. “Dude. After all this talk about AP Calc, you do realize that you have it with me, same as always, right?”
“Yeah. Lucky pencil, remember?” Rocky twirled it between his fingers.
“That luck and those books you just shoved in your bag ain’t gonna do you no good in Mrs. E’s first period AP English, which we have right now.”
Colt wasn’t finished though. “I told you – what goes around, comes around. And oh look! Here comes that bitch karma now.”
Rocky’s head jerked around, and his eyes widened at the sight of his ex girlfriend and her new boyfriend heading his way. “Shut up, Colt!” he snapped, even though his brother hadn’t said anything else.
The other boy held his hands up in defense, now snickering. “Unlike you, brother mine, i am a caring and thoughtful sibling, so I am fully prepared to stay right here and watch this go down, even if it means being late to class.” He said solemnly.
“You’re a sadistic bastard and I hate you.”
“Aww, Rock. You say the sweetest things.”
Rocky swiped at him, which he dodged easily since neither boy was really trying.
“ETA is about a minute.”
“Not helping. ” Rocky muttered, finally getting his locker back open and shoving the correct books into his bag. This whole situation was ridiculous; he probably didn’t even need the books themselves, except his assignments were in them and Mrs. E liked pop quizzes nearly as much as her husband.
A hand that was not his brother’s landed on his shoulder. Rocky reacted instinctively, grabbing it in firm grip and whirling them both so that the owner slammed hard against the lockers. The surprised feminine gasp had him changing their momentum to a controlled shove instead, one hand bringing her arm hind her to trap against the small of her back so that she arched into him, taking most of the impact on her shoulders. HIs other hand landed beside her head, instead of on her neck as he originally had intended. He moved in close, shoving one hard thigh between her legs to limit her range of motion.
“What the hell?” he snapped. “Why were you sneaking up on me?”
Amelia “Mia” Blackwell raised her chin defiantly, her dark eyes narrowed. “I wasn’t sneaking up on you! I was approaching like any normal person, and about to speak when you grabbed me It’s not my fault that you have ninja like reflexes!”
“Ninja reflexes. Not ninja like.”
They broke their glaring contest to look at Colt, leaning casually against the lockers next to them.
“What?” Mia frowned, bewildered.
“We actually are ninjas. Been training since we were six or so. Most people know me as Chris, but I’m Colt, by the way. The strong, silent, and grumpy type there is my brother Rocky. And you’re Mia Blackwell.”
Mia turned back to the boy in front of her and raised her brows. “Is this where I make some ironic comment about being stuck between a rock and hard place?” She drawled, deliberately provocative, and watched his eyes darken with interest and temper at the challenge. “Colt, will you please tell your brother that I didn’t sneak up on him so that he will let me go?”
“She’s right, Rock.” He obligingly said, his voice full of humor. “She was being normal. You’re just a bit hyper aware, that’s all.”
“Colt.” Rocky warned through gritted teeth, which only made his brother’s amusement grow.
Colt knew his brother. They had trained together from the age of six, fought side by side numerous times, and still sparred as needed. He knew Rocky’s quirks and tendencies, and his ingrained ability to assess-think-react. The fact that this girl had managed to get under his skin and somehow rile his instincts like no one else – as not even Colt had managed to do – was driving Rocky crazy, Colt knew.
“What do you want, Mia?” Rocky sighed, backing off slightly. “I don’t have time for games.”
“But you’re so much fun to play with.” She said mockingly. “Actually, I cam over to help you with your impending stalker problem,” she nodded down the hallway. “But it seems that she chickened out for the moment, so crisis averted.” She glanced again, and her eyes widened. “Oh wait – spoke too soon. Ugh – don’t move!” She snapped, grabbing Rocky’s arm to hold him place. “Colt, get lost. Rocky, kiss me.”
“What?!?!” They both exclaimed.
She huffed. “I don’t have time to explain right now. Just do it!” She latched her hand around the nape of Rocky’s neck, pulling his head down to hers. His lips remained passive against her own, which wouldn’t do at all. She nipped demandingly at him, before flicking her tongue out ot tease and entice. That worked enough to coax him into softening his mouth and jaw. She increased her efforts, still nibbling and licking as she surged forward to press up against him in a full body, nose to toes contact.
Rocky didn’t know why she was kissing him, but he wasn’t about to waste the breath to find out. Not when he could use that breath instead to breath her in and swallow her surprised gasp as he suddenly came alive, his large hands skimming down her sides to land low and heavy on her hips, his fingertips spread wide and skimming lightly over her ass, which tightened. He leaned into her, pressing her back into the locker and causing her to arch into him, forcing her up on her toes. She tried to pull back to breathe, to regroup and take control but he wouldn’t let her, instead giving her his own breath, chasing it into her mouth with his tongue to curl around hers in a decadent, toe curling kiss.
A crumpled up paper ball hit him in the back of the head, distracting him enough to pull away.
“Seriously, Colt?” he groaned, as Mia thumped her forehead against his chest, her shoulders shaking with laughter. “What are you doing back here?”
“Ninja reflexes and speed, remember? Not only have I been to class and back, I also charmed Mrs. E out of a couple of these. ” He held up two excused tardy passes. “I’m sorry Mia, but i couldn’t ask for another pass without explaining that no, Mrs. Eagle, my responsible older brother is not actually dropping our baby brother off at school late, he’s really making out with a hot senior girl in some convoluted girl reasoning way to get his ex-girlfriend to go away. Which worked, by the way. Emily did an abrupt about face while you two were sucking face, and flounced off.”
“I’m breathing just fine, jerkass, despite choking on the partially resolved sexual tension clogging up the hallway.” Colt retorted.
Mia slipped completely out from Rocky’s embrace, deliberately moving out of reach. “Are you two always like this?” she laughed, glancing between them.
They looked at each other, then at her and shrugged. “Pretty much.”
Still laughing, she leaned back in to brush her lips up against Rocky’s cheek. “Stick to actual nice girls, handsome. Emily is on a whole ‘nother level.” She advised. “You’re too nice of a guy to get caught up again in all of that – or with wme. This was just a right place, right guy, prime opportunity to piss Blondie off some. Anyway, keep your head down for a few days, and she’ll be on to something – or someone – else by Monday.” Picking up her bag, she sauntered away. “Bye, boys.”
They stared after her.
“Ive taken out a lot of opponents, but never quite as ruthlessly as that.” Colt remarked. “I think I’m in love.”
Rocky resisted the urge to slam his head – or his brother’s head – against the lockers, and instead groaned loudly, picking up his bag. “I will never understand girls. Is it summer yet?”
“Nope. Still the first day back. First period, actually.” Colt answered cheerfully. “But hey! I haven’t gotten into a fight yet!”
They jogged up the two flights of stairs to AP English, where their teacher was waiting.
“Boys! How nice of you to finally join us.” She said pointedly. “Please take your seats and pass your homework up. You’re just in time for a pop quiz.”
Rocky dug into his bag, sighing in relief as he finally relinquished responsibility of the homework that had gotten him into this whole mess. Behind him, Colt flipped through his English book, his eyes wide, and flipped through it again before turning his bag upside down.
“Erm, Mrs. E? Can I have a pass to go to my locker? I forgot my homework…”
The sound of Rocky’s laughter followed him all the way back down stairs.