Beneath Your Beautiful

Page 4

"We'll have to see about that sweetheart." I'm doing everything Brody told me not to and laying my Southern charm on thick, even accentuating my drawl a little more. Her cheeks redden a little more and she turns to look at Brody. "I'll be back in a few minutes with your food," she repeats. Brody smiles at her and we watch her leave.
"Well well, the last time I saw you get all tongue-tied and breathless like that over a girl was when you met Haley." The mention of my ex girlfriends' name makes my entire body go rigid. I haven't spoken about her or seen her again since she cheated on me in our freshman year and skipped town. That was two years ago. That's not all she did I remind myself.
I scowl at him. "Brody, don't."
He shrugs. "Just callin' it like I see it."
Before our conversation can continue, Huntley exits the kitchen and starts towards us. Thank God our food is done, I'm starving and hopefully Brody will shut up while we eat. I hate that the mere mention of Haley's name can put me in such a foul mood so quickly. Obviously I'm not as over it as I thought. Maybe if cheating on me was all she did then I'd be over it. But it wasn't and what followed was a long string of random hook-ups to try numb the pain. She left me when I needed her the most. It was the hardest time of my life.
I drag myself away from my vehement thoughts and instead of turning to look at Huntley, I finding Rebecca's angry glare. She's shooting daggers at Huntley but when she sees me watching her, the expression changes into something more sinister, evil. What the hell is up with that? Brody wasn't lying when he said Rebecca was the she-devil incarnate. She had a nasty jealous streak and an imperceptible cruelty about her.
I should've known what would happen next. I should've expected it.
Rebecca sticks her leg out slightly and catches Huntley by the foot. The tray flies into the air and before I can think twice about what I'm doing my feet start moving towards the accident-in-progress. The plates and coffee cups join the tray and come crashing down with a deafening clatter. I grab Huntley by the waist and catch her before she can hit the ground. Her head snaps up and she's looking at me like a deer caught in headlights. I notice then that her eyes are the most incredible shade of indigo. But it's their depth and lucidity that surprise me, like they would be able to see right through me if given the chance.
Get a damn grip Grayson.
"Oh my God, are you retarded or just clumsy by nature?" Rebecca snaps. There's a cold edge to her tone and I've only seen her use it when she's threatened by someone. Huntley whips her head back towards Rebecca but doesn't say anything. "Oh, so I guess you're just clumsy then." Rebecca is taunting her, kind of like how a cat sometimes plays with its' food before eating it. God she's a bitch.
Huntley yanks herself free from my grip and scrambles to pick up the mess on the floor. The girls at Rebecca's table say nothing; instead they sit there and laugh, like their Queen Bee had nothing to do with what just happened. Mrs. Coach steps closer to Huntley and whispers something in her ear. I catch a glimpse of her tear-filled eyes and that's all it takes. "Rebecca, why do you have to be such a bitch? I saw you trip her on purpose!" I growl. She has the audacity to look embarrassed, but only because she got caught. "What are you talking about Grayson? I didn't do anything." The lie falls so easily from her lips and I mentally castigate myself for ever getting involved with such a cruel person. "You're such a liar!" I roar, making her flinch. I should feel bad for getting so angry with her but I'm not even sure why I am. Maybe it was my conversation with Brody earlier about Haley.
Yeah, that's it . A single mention of her name and I'm ready to flip the fuck out. It's not Rebecca's fault but hell, she had no right to humiliate Huntley like that. And for what? I know the answer, the realization only adding to my misplaced anger. Rebecca saw me talking to Huntley. Before she has a chance to respond Brody grabs my arm and slowly pulls me away from the chaos. "Let me go," I snarl, trying to loosen his vice grip on my bicep. I need to see if Huntley is ok. I hate that Rebecca made her cry. As if sensing my intention Brody shakes his head, "Just leave it Grayson, don't get involved man. It's just Rebecca being Rebecca. She wants to see you flip out."
"It's my fault," I say, feeling somewhat calmer. Brody has that effect on me. He knows when I'm about to lose my shit. "Rebecca saw me talking to Huntley." Guilt settles in my chest.
"Bro, I haven't seen you react that way in years, let alone defend a girl you've only just met." He's eyes are questioning and I feel myself wondering the same thing. Why did I feel the need to defend Huntley, protect her?
By now the mess is cleared and people seem to have forgotten about it, resuming their conversations like it never happened. I know Rebecca is staring at me but I don't care. I'm done with her. "I think we should get out of here. The guys are already on their way to the lake," Brody says, lowering his voice. He's about to leave when I see Huntley walk out of the bathroom. Her eyes are puffy and her face is red. I find myself wanting to fold her tiny body in my arms and comfort her. The thought takes me by complete surprise and leaves me baffled. Perplexed. I look back at Brody and he nods once, walking out the door.
"Are you ok?" I ask Huntley, meeting her in the middle of the bakery. She looks a little surprised and I don't blame her. "I'm fine," she whispers, her voice hoarse. "Thank you for catching me."
I nod. "I'm sorry. Rebecca did that because of me." And I will talk to her about that, but now's not the time. Huntley looks confused by my apology but doesn't say anything. After a few seconds of awkward silence I pay the bill and leave, but not before I turn to take one last look at Huntley's tear-stained face. In that moment I realize that calling her hot is an insult. She's beautiful. Earth-shattering, life-changing, mind-blowing beautiful.
My mind is in overdrive and my behavior makes no sense, to the extent that it seems irrational and maybe even illogical.
Huntley Morgan is a problem.
One I'm going to have a hard time ignoring.
Chapter 3
~ Huntley ~
I toss my keys onto the table by the door and let out a huff. What a day. I've been here for two months already and it was by far one of the worst days. I started it off like I do every Saturday – working at Aunt Emma's bakery. It's something I've come to love. Until today.
The sound of my phone ringing makes my jump and I grab it out of my bag before I miss the call. I fall onto the couch and slide my finger across the screen to answer. Of course it's my friend Demi. We met during freshman orientation in one of our psychology classes and hit it off. Strangely enough I felt at ease with her immediately, something that still boggles my mind. I have a hard time letting people in and Demi seems to be the first exception. I'm still cautious though. After what my last best friend did to me I'm wary about the people I allow close to me.
"Hey girly," Demi's sing-song voice chimes through the phone and I smile. I like her.
"Hey Dem! I thought you were coming over later for ice-cream and really bad rom coms?" I ask. We made plans last week for a girls' night at my apartment after Demi decided she needs a night away from her boyfriend, Tommy.

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