I don’t use the term “bully” lightly. However, I have no qualms about using it when it comes to Max Cooper.
Those are just a few of the names I have for him that start with the letter A. I haven’t gotten through the rest of the alphabet … yet.
From the moment I met Max three years ago, he was nothing but an arsehole. The only reason we put up with each other is because we share the same best friend.
Then, everything suddenly changes when Max is involved in a horrific accident which sets him back three years. He remembers his friends, but here’s the real kicker: He doesn’t remember … me.
At first, I think it must be a cruel joke, but then I see how serious he is. Over time, I get to know the real Max Cooper. The one who can be sweet, funny, and kind. The one who shows me he’s not such an arsehole after all.
Then, the inevitable happens; I start to fall for him.
Just as things between us begin to balance out, I start to lose my own equilibrium, and I don’t know why.
But, despite all of this, no one is prepared for the real terror that’s about to unfold.
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My dad always told me to see the good in everyone—no matter how much you wanted to smash their face in. I always laughed when he said that. When I was at school, I was picked on. Even outside of school, I was mocked. There was one girl, Bethany, I think her name is. She told me I had big ears and a pointy nose. I plucked up the courage to ask her why she felt the need to say those things. She just wrinkled her nose, shrugged her shoulders, and said, “I don’t know. I guess you just have one of those faces.”
So, here I am at the age of twenty-one, all grown up with no hint of big ears and a pointy nose. But, alas to say, I still have “one of those faces.” I must have because Max Cooper thinks so. He “tolerates” me because I’m best friends with one of his closest friends, Gabrielle. I met Gabrielle my first year of college. I sat down, pen clutched between my fingers as I nervously tapped it against my desk. I sat at the back to remain hidden. I had learnt to adapt to hiding because of my “one of those faces” looks. If I stayed hidden, then no one could pick me out of a crowd. No one could judge me. I was safe. Or at least that morning, I had thought so. Gabrielle crashed into my world… literally. She tripped on someone’s bag and stumbled. Luckily at that point, I looked up. The girl with the crazy pink hair and even crazier green eyes fell on my desk at the same time I caught her from falling even further. “Thank you,” she had said. “I’m always falling over.” She had rolled her eyes as if she’d heard that so many times before. I am the girl with one of those faces, and Gabrielle was the girl who fell over a lot. Once she steadied herself, she looked at me with a crooked smile and said, “May I sit next to you? You look like the only sane person in the room.”
Right then, in that moment, I had smiled wider than I had in ages. Gabrielle, who is widely known as Pixie because of the cut of her hair, managed to do something I hadn’t done since before my dad died. I felt… noticed. And in a good way. She never once judged my boring baggy jeans, scuffed white trainers, and plain black T-shirt. I looked boring because I wanted to be boring. I wanted to be unnoticed. But, my little Pixie with the crazy pink hair and green eyes had other ideas. We instantly clicked, she and I. It was like we could see something in each other. Something… individual to what the rest of the outside world perceives what we should be. Pixie’s the crazy one, the outgoing, I-don’t-give-a-shit-what-you-think-of-me kind of gal. I equally admire her and am jealous of her at the same time. We’re polar opposites, and yet we click like nothing else. For the last three years since we met, we’ve been joined at the hip. We even moved in together four months after we had met. We do everything together, and life is wonderful.
Well, almost wonderful.
Unfortunately, Pixie came as a package deal, and that package deal included her irritating friend, Max. He also has an equally irritating best friend called Chester, who can’t seem to think for himself. He follows Max’s lead all the time. I’ve noticed, so others must have as well. In total, there’s six of us in our cosy little group, and I get on with all but two. I was the outsider. The one who came in late. Everyone already knew each other for around five years. It felt awkward at first, but everyone was welcoming. There was only one who stood on the sidelines watching me cautiously with his flaming brown eyes and hair so golden brown, that every girl wanted to snip a piece of it off so they could take it to the hairdressers to replicate its colour. Even I was tempted at one stage—until I found out what a total arse he truly is. His scrutiny of me made my walls flare up. I remember feeling watched as I was introduced around the room at Pixie’s house. My shoulders tensed, my teeth gritted. I hated that the girl who remained hidden was suddenly studied so closely I could feel his blazing brown eyes burrowing into me. My skin heated and my breathing quickened. I had felt intimidated by him straight away, and that thought had made me so angry, that by the time I had reached him, my stare was ice-cold. I had shaken his hand rigidly. I was definitely not accepting him the same as the others. Even Chester at the time welcomed me with a big, bright smile. That all changed once Max had obviously gotten him on the “I hate Lucy Rhodes” bandwagon. Since that initial meeting, we have never clicked. Instead, we exchange sarcasm as a defence mechanism. Pixie can’t understand it. She constantly asks me that if she loves me and him, then why can’t we love each other? “Because he’s an arse,” I would always reply. And then I would go to bed that night feeling guilty because I couldn’t live up to what my dad wanted me to be. To see the good in everyone.
About Jaimie Roberts
JAIMIE ROBERTS was born in London, but moved to Gibraltar in 2001. She is married with two sons, and in her spare time, she writes.
In June 2013, Jaimie published her first book, Take a Breath, with the second released in November 2013. With the reviews, Jaimie took time out to read and learn how to become a better writer. She gets tremendous enjoyment out of writing, and even more so from the feedback she receives.