Mr Popular and I Episode 10

River is standing right there, wearing dark jeans, a black t-shirt and a hard look on his face as he glares at Nick behind me. Then, his eyes meet mine, and his tough demeanor softens slightly. Thank goodness for the dim light that is hopefully concealing the redness of my face.


Out of the corner of my eye, I notice two more figures stepping out from the throng of people to stand beside River. The first is Jake, who holds his ground with his muscular arms crossed intimidatingly over his broad chest.


Then Ky, who comes to stand beside him, glances from Nick to me, then to Marissa; his eyes linger on hers for a moment before turning to the crowd surrounding us.


“Shows over,” Ky says rather effortlessly, yet everyone hears him and most pretend to go back to what they were doing. However, their ears are most definitely still with us.


“Lea, I swear this isn’t what you think!” Nick begs from behind me, forcing me to look away from River and twist towards him.


“Save it,” River says, calmly yet firmly. Stepping forward, he takes a hold of my wrist and pulls me out of the house through the front door and onto the porch. I want to pull my arm away from his unnecessary grasp but decide against it.


Marissa, Ky, and Jake follow after us like sheep with River as the shepherd until we are all out of the house and stood on the grass of the front garden. River’s fingers are still tightly wrapped around my wrist. Although I want to deny it, his touch makes my heart flutter.


River nods towards Marissa, his expression quite agitated. “Did you drive here? Do you have a ride home?” He questions as if Marissa is in some sort of interrogation.

“Excuse me?” I turn at him, surprised at his rude tone of speech. Marissa stares at him in shock.


What aggravates me the most is that he doesn’t even turn to face me; he simply leans forward, waiting for Marissa’s response. Poor Marissa looks stunned.


“Yes.” She answers quietly.

“Good, then you can go home. Ky, go with her and make sure she gets home.” River order as if he’s our parent.


“What on earth, River are you hearing yourself right now?” My voice is louder this time, and it finally captures his attention. He doesn’t have any right to boss her, or anyone around like this.

He turns to face me, his glaring eyes piercing mine. What is wrong with him?


“You said you were going to Marissa’s house only. What happened to that?” He inquires, the harshness of his tone still obvious.

“What the heck is it to you?” I bite back, loathing his bossiness.


“I’m sorry, am I missing something? Do you two know each other?” Jake asks, looking at both River and me in turn.


River lips part to reply with, “no, I mean yeah, it’s complicated.” He finally releases me from his grip.

Stepping closer to Marissa, I give her the let’s-get-out-of-here look. “Ky, there’s no need to go with Marissa, we’re both going.” I address him, before looping my arm around Marissa’s and starting to walking down the garden path, away from the three of them.


“No you’re not, you’re coming home.” River calls after me. Is it bad that a small shiver rushes through me when he says ‘you’re coming home’? As if his home is also mine?


Slowing my strides, I glance over my shoulder at him, eyebrows raised in a daring manner. “Or what?”


“I’m going to call your mummy and daddy.” He calls in a patronizing voice, and I halt in my tracks.

Oh no. Not mum and dad.


If they find out I went to a party full of drugs and alcohol without their permission, I will not hear the end of their parenting lectures. Plus, I’ll be grounded for life.


I spin around frantically and pace back towards River with the most venomous stare. “Parker, if you dare call them, I will cut your dick off and feed it to you.”


He devilish smirk tugs at the corners of his mouth. “Babe, I’m dialing my mother’s number right now, I’m sure she can pass me on to speak with your mum.”


I’m taken aback by the word ‘babe’, yet try to hide it by narrowing my eyes at him.


“Please, explain why her mum will be with your mum?” Ky asks, extremely confused. He and Jake look like Tweedledum and Tweedledee together, it’s funny, to me at least.


Lea, focus, you’re meant to be angry, or worried, take your pick .

“Shh…” River places his index finger against his lips as he presses his phone to his ear.


“Lea, it’s fine. Just go with River, I’ll be fine.” Marissa insists from behind me.


“Hi, is Lea’s mum with you?” River speaks into the phone as I feel the blood rush through my veins.


“Fine! I’ll go with you!” I exclaim, hoping that he’ll hang up the phone. He displays a satisfied smile which irks me even more yet I try to calm myself.


“Oh no, don’t worry,” he speaks into the phone. “See you later,” he says before hanging up.


“Wait, you live at River’s house?” Ky asks.


“What the heck dude, explain.” Jake pleads.


Neither River nor I can keep the amused smiles off our faces as we look at both Jake and Ky who are now beyond confused.


“We’ll explain everything later.” River says. “Ky, make sure Marissa gets home, Jake, follow me back to the wood house.” River orders. Yep, he’s definitely the shepherd figure.


“Wood house? I thought we were going back to your house?” I question unknowingly, following in River and Jake’s footsteps after I throw a quick ‘goodbye’ at Marissa, who is walking with Ky towards her car.


“It is at my house, it’s in the woods behind the back garden.” River explains.


“It’s our little hideout,” Jake inputs. Unlocking his Ferrari and reaching for the car handle, the door opens upwards towards the navy sky blanketing us.


“I’ll see you in a minute mate,” Jake calls to River before climbing in. River nods a farewell in his direction, and we watch as Jake swerves onto the road and drives away out of our view, the sound of his engine overpowering the music that has just been turned back on in Nick’s house.


“C’mon.” River says with a much calmer tone this time.


Trying to cloak my annoyance, I follow after him as he strides down the sidewalk, passing two more enormous houses that are guarded by large, steel gates.


A breeze hits us, winding its way through River’s hair and dishevelling it. It’s a small thing, albeit it’s enough to keep me subtly admiring him until we reach his Mercedes.


What? He’s hot. You would do the same.


Once we’re both inside the car and safely strapped in by our seatbelts, River turns the keys in the ignition, and the engine roars to life. As he steers the wheel to move off, a whiff of cologne tickles my nose, and the scent is heavenly.

Why do all boys have to smell so good?


He keeps his eyes on the road as he presses down on the gas and accelerates. However, he isn’t speeding, for which I’m grateful.

Is he not driving fast for my sake?

“You never said you were coming to this party.” I state whilst examining his features. I’m the first to break the silence in the car that is becoming too awkward.


“Neither did you.” He replies, eyes still on the road. His teeth are slightly clenched.


I clear my throat, remembering the conversation I had with him in the school parking lot just a few hours ago. “You didn’t need to know.”

“Well, you didn’t have to lie.” His eyes find mine for a moment, before turning back to the windshield.

I don’t reply, I don’t know how to. To be honest, I don’t know why I even lied to him.


“You know Nick just wants to get into your pants, right?” River continues, pressing down the break when the traffic lights turn red.

“What if I want to get into his pants?” I tease.


River chuckles, flinging his head back against the seat’s headrest. “I don’t think that’s possible.” He says through his laugh.


He has such a lovely smile, one that bears perfectly aligned white teeth.

“Why not?” I ask, acting overly offended.


“Because, I don’t think you’re the one for casual sex. I don’t get that vibe from you.” River explains, tapping his fingers against the black steering wheel.

“What vibe do I give you then?” I inquire, the curiosity in me coming afloat.


“Hm…” He thinks of what to say as his fingers tap on the steering wheel. The lights turn from red to green and the car accelerates. “I think, you’re a hard worker and your biggest nightmare is failing an exam.”

I smile, so true.


“I don’t think you like attention either, but I may be mistaken,” he cocks his head to one side.

Again, true.


“And, you put on this hard-to-get persona.” River finishes, a mischievous smirk plays at his lips.

The way he says t makes my breath hitch in my throat. Does he think I’m playing hard-to-get with him? Am I? Pushing the feed of questions to the back of my mind, I reply with as much wit as I’m capable of.


“River, I’m not playing hard to get, I am hard to get.”

Oh you wish, Lea, you wish.


After River parks his car in his house’s driveway, we both walk side-by-side towards his back garden and head into the woods. The high moon and the twinkling stars scattered around it illuminate our way.


We push through the branches that seal the woods from the garden and enter the forest-like area. I’m extra cautious of falling over the unsteady wood floor, so I cling onto each passing trees truck, feeling its rough texture beneath the skin of my hand. River’s in front of me, leading the way.


Every so often, he peeks over his shoulder at me.

“You okay back there, clumsy?” He asks, holding down a tree branch so that it won’t smack me in the face when I walk by it.


“You know, your nickname for me is getting quite boring, I think you should come up with another one, dickhead,” I tell him, trying to sound bored of the name but there is no stopping the smile that creeps onto my face.


“I can say the same thing for you. You saying ‘dickhead’ doesn’t suit you, you’re too nice.” He states, facing back ahead to watch for where he’s stepping.


“Me? Too nice? Oh, you haven’t seen the ugly side of me yet then, Parker.” There’s a challenging ring to my voice.


He comes to a hesitant stop, twisting his upper body in my direction to show me his crooked smirk. “Bring it on, Wilson.”


Before I can make a sensible justification to what I’m about to do, I just think ‘f-ck it, let me do it, the guy deserves it,’ and pick up a medium sized stone from the wood floor.


“This is for being rude to Marissa earlier,” I say, before throwing the stone at his chest.


What I haven’t thought about is River’s super rapid reflexes, and how quickly he realizes the stone is spinning towards him. Therefore, before it’s even an inch away from his chest, he catches it effortlessly with both hands. Then laughs. While holding his stomach. He looks like he’s in pain. That’s how funny.


There you go, Lea. You’re that pathetic that he’s laughing so hard it hurts. Go on, face-palm yourself, you know you deserve it.


“A stone? That’s the best you can do?” He chuckles, standing up straight and recovering from his amusement.


“I’m glad I can make you laugh.” I deadpan.


Don’t blame the guy for laughing at your stupidity.


Both mine and River’s heads turn in the direction of the sound of an opening door; I’m able to see through the tree branches the orange glow of artificial lighting and fire mixed together.


“Are you guys going to come in, or what?” Asks a familiar voice that I guess belongs to Jake.


River guides me around a few more tree’s until I can see the open door with Jake stood in the middle of its entrance. My eyes squint to try and make out the rest of the house, or at least an outline, and as my eyes adjust to the little light around me, I can see that the house is camouflaged into the trees of the woods.


You can barely see it even exists if you shut the door. No wonder Jake called it their hideout.

“Hey.” Calls River as we approach the door of the wood house.


Jake slaps his hand onto River’s chest to stop him from walking further into the building.


“Did you tell Georgia about this place?” Jake questions.


“No, why?” River replies, puzzled.

“Why the heck is she here then?” Jake whispers harshly as he indicates with a bob of his head towards the room beyond the door.

Georgia’s here, brilliant .


“I heard my name!” Georgia calls as she skips up to the door behind Jake. Once her eyes land on mine, she pauses dubiously. “Oh, hi,” she greets with a surprised tone, glancing from me to River when he speaks.


“Georgia, this is Lea. Lea, this is Georgia, my girlfriend.”

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