Reagan had to get away from Taylor so she wouldn’t see her cry. She got up and ran, leaving the pretty, blonde haired, blue-eyed and very popular girl sitting on the bench alone. She felt ugly and plain sitting next to little miss perfect. Then she humiliated herself when she nearly ran over Darnell Pariss, the super cute basketball player on Ryan’s team, and one of his good friends. She knew exactly why Darnell was there. He was going to ask her to the dance. Ryan had told her.
When Reagan got home, she went straight to her room, being as quiet as possible so Dannie or Connie wouldn’t see her. She couldn’t take Connie running up to her with her constant barrage of questions or wanting to play. She simply didn’t feel like playing and pretending to be happy right now.
She laid on her head on her desk and cried softly until she couldn’t cry anymore.
When her tears were spent, she looked at herself in the mirror. Days like this, she almost wished she were dead. Compared to Taylor, she was ugly and had no friends. Boys didn’t look at her like they did Taylor.
She really missed Ryan right now because he always made her feel better. She knew if she asked, he would come home. But she wouldn’t ask. He seemed to have found his happy place, jamming with Jason and the guys, or playing basketball until dark with Darnell and some of the team, or going out with a different girl every week. She was glad for him and wouldn’t spoil it. She, on the other hand, had nothing to do and no one to do it with.
The next day at school, during lunch, Reagan got her plate and went to the corner away from everyone, like she had done everyday since school started. She didn’t feel like socializing – at all. And she wasn’t about to hang out with Taylor and her friends so the could gush over them being ‘real’ sisters. She knew they only tolerated her because of Taylor. Not one of them had asked her to join them or sat with her. Nope, they followed Taylor around.
A male voice sounded from behind her, making her jump. “This seat taken?” he asked and walked around to sit down across from her without waiting for an answer.
She had seen him around, he was cute in a bad boy sort of way, and very hard to miss, but she didn’t know him. She did know he was much older than her. Plus, he hung out with a rough crowd that made her nervous. Just him sitting there made her nervous.
“I guess it is now,” she said softly, looking down and afraid to ask him to leave.
“Thanks,” he said and began to eat.
After only a minute, but what seemed like an eternity, he looked over to where she used to sit with Olivia, Taylor and Rosa. The girls were laughing like they didn’t have a care in the world. “Why aren’t you sitting with the ‘cool kids’?” he asked, “Get kicked out of the club?”
“Huh?” she said confused, “It’s not a club.”
“Hah. You have no idea. If you sit at that table, you are in the inner circle and not just anyone gets in.”
“Oh,” she said still confused, “Well, I don’t want to eat lunch with Taylor, I live with her. She’s my – half-sister.” The words were hard to say.
“Well, since you are sitting alone, I assume you don’t have any new friends to hang with yet. Amiright?” he asked with a confident grin.
Reagan looked at him suspiciously. “Why are you over here by a loser then? Don’t you have your own friends to bother?” Her heart rate sped up a little when she challenged him.
“I do!” he said and laughed. “Our crew is a bunch of misfits. You looked lonely, so I told the guys I’d check you out,” he said. “So – you must be a sophomore since Miss Junior Class Princess is your sister.”
“I am,” she admitted and felt the corners of her mouth turn up just a little for the first time in a couple of months. She looked at him a little harder. He really was cute underneath that rough exterior. And he seemed really nice too. “And you?” she asked.
“Senior,” he said, “My last year in this hell-hole of a prison, then someone else will take over the crew.” Then he eyed her, sort of the same way she had looked him over. “Hey – gotta date for the dance? Bet you don’t, sittin’ over here all mopey like.”
“That was rude,” said Reagan, now beginning to get a little upset that he was prying into her personal failings.
He smirked at her. “Hey, I call it like I see it. Wanna be my date? For my very last Fall Dance.”
“I don’t even know your name. Why would I go out with you?” she asked, even as she said it, she thought maybe she might very much like to go with him. It might be fun and it would show Taylor. She would have a date with a senior! But at the same time, he scared her a little and she was nervous about being alone with him. But they wouldn’t be alone at the dance. So maybe it would be okay.
He pointed at her and grinned. “I know yours, Reagan Murdock,” he said.
She squinted her eyes at him. “How?” she asked.
“I make it a point to know all the lonely pretty girl’s names.”
Reagan felt herself blush. “I’m not pretty, not like Taylor.”
“You’re much prettier than Barbie over there. Plus, your kinda mysterious. Makes me want to get to know you.”
“Whatever. You still haven’t told me your name,” she said, getting more and more nervous, yet surprising herself with her boldness towards him.
“Archer – Archer Kendall,” he said with a grin, “So Reagan, wanna go to the dance with me and my crew?”
Reagan almost gasped. She had heard of him but didn’t know what he looked like. He was rumored to be in and out of trouble all the time, but he seemed so nice. And he was a senior. Seniors almost never paid attention to sophomores and here he was asking her to the dance.
“Um, who’s your ‘crew’?” she asked, trying not to let him know he had shocked her.
He nodded across the room to another table. She glanced around and realized they had been watching them. Now, she felt like she had been setup. Make the loser feel good and then cut her down. That would explain why he sat down with her. She was humiliated and her eyes began to burn.
“You are rude and mean,” she spat out, “Did you win or lose the bet? This isn’t nice or funny! No, I won’t go.”
She got up and started to leave. Archer grabbed her arm, preventing her from leaving. He was very strong and it frightened her so she froze in place.
“Reagan,” he said, his voice low and kinda scary, “I wasn’t trying to be mean. There was no bet, I swear it. I was serious when I said I like you. You’re cute and spunky. Please, go with me. Meet my crew. You’ll fit right in.”
Just then the bell rang and she was never so happy to have to go to class. “I gotta go,” she said. He loosened his grip, but didn’t let go. He looked so sad as her arm slid through his hand down to her finger tips, sending chills through her body. Maybe he really was serious and did want to take her to the dance.
Reagan hated that she had nobody to talk to about Archer. She sat alone in her room thinking about him. It would be so cool to go to the dance with him. He was cute and he was a senior! It’s just she didn’t know anything about him except he seemed really nice – and had a bad reputation. That confused her. The two didn’t quite match up.
She knew Ryan was going with Rosa. One of Taylor’s friends, which surprised her a little. And now, Reagan would be the ugly duckling sitting at home alone, because even as much as she kinda wanted to go with Archer, there was no way her Dad would let her. She already told him no anyway, so it really didn’t matter. Why as she so stupid?
Her phone rang shaking her out of her gloomy thoughts. It was her Aunt Ami and it made her smile. She adored her Aunt and Uncle. She wished they were her parents. Ami had always been so nice to her, even though it was her mother’s boyfriend that purposely crashed her car. Her Aunt never held it against her.
Uncle Noah was amazing too. He was so strong. That made her think of Archer and when he held her wrist. He was really strong too. Ugh. Stop thinking about him, she thought. Maybe Ami needed her to babysit for her six-year old cousin Will. She hoped that’s why she was calling. That way she could get out of the house, and besides, she had fun with Will.
“Hi Aunt Ami!” she said pleasantly.
“Hi Rea! Do you think you can sit for Will tonight?” she asked. Ryan and her Aunt and Uncle were the only ones that called her Rea.
“Sure!” she said, relieved to be able to escape the darkness for a little while.
“Great. Uncle Noah will pick you up at 7:00.”
“Can he come earlier, maybe 6:00? I can help Will with his homework and we can have dinner together?”
Ami laughed. “Sure thing Rea. I’ll have Noah grab you on his way home.”
Reagan quickly finished her own homework and went to tell Dannie she was going to babysit and eat dinner with Will since her Dad wasn’t home yet. Taylor was cooking again and talking non-stop to her mother about getting a new dress for the dance. The easy laughter between mother and daughter made her heart ache with an overwhelming sense of loss and she wanted to run back to the safety of her room.
Dannie saw her before she could escape. “Hi Reagan, Taylor’s just finishing up,” she said pleasantly, “Wanna help me set the table?”
“I can’t,” she said quickly, “I’m babysitting Will. Uncle Noah will be here in a minute.” Then she turned to leave, running into her father.
“Hey Reagan,” he said as he caught her, “what’s the hurry?”
“Babysitting Will,” she muttered and pulled away from him.
“Okay, see you later then,” he said then walked over to Dannie and kissed her on the cheek. As she walked away, she heard him say to Taylor, “Wow sweetie, that smells amazing!” and little tear escaped before she could stop it.
Reagan played video games with Will until it was his bedtime. He groused when she said it was time for bed, so she happily relented and gave him another 30 minutes. She had to admit, he was pretty good for almost 7 years old.
After he was finally in bed, she turned on the TV to pass the time. Her phone rang and it was a number she didn’t recognize so she didn’t answer it. Then a few seconds later, a text came through.
Her stomach did a little flip-flop in anticipation of hearing Archer’s voice. When the phone rang she answered before the ring tone even finished. “Hi,” was all she managed to get out.
“Hey pretty Reagan,” said Archer’s unmistakable deep voice.
She loved that he called her pretty. It made her smile. She badly wanted to believe he meant it. “Why are you calling me?” she asked.
“You never answered my question today. Are you going to the dance with me or not?”
She sucked in a breath. “I did,” she said. She hadn’t been able to talk to Ryan yet to get his opinion.
“How can I change your mind?” he asked.
Her heart was hammering in her chest. “You really want to go with me? Why?” she asked. She was genuinely curious.
“I told you already, I like you. You are pretty, mysterious and you got lady balls.”
Nobody ever told her she was mysterious or ever said she had ‘lady balls’ whatever that meant. She didn’t understand why he thought that. “Oh,” was all she could say.
“Who are you babysitting for?” he asked, suddenly changing the subject and she relaxed.
“My cousin, Will Redcliffe. I’m at their house,” she said.
“Noah Redcliffe’s kid, right?” he asked.
“How did you know?” she asked.
“Pretty Reagan, everyone knows the Murdocks and Redcliffes. I just put two and two together.”
“Great,” she said. He knew everything about her and she knew next to nothing about him.
Archer just laughed. “Where did they go?”
“To some charity function. It won’t be over until late,” she said.
“Oh really? Well in that case, I better let you go. Think about me and my question, okay?”
“Huh? Uh, okay,” she said. That was really weird she thought. And unexpected. But she was liking him more and more.
“See you later pretty Reagan,” he said and laughed.
“Okay. I guess. Bye,” she said. She was excited he called her but a little disappointed that he didn’t want to talk anymore.
Reagan turned the TV back up after she hung up but she didn’t hear it. All she could hear was Archer’s voice. He seemed so nice. She wondered what he did to get in trouble. And why didn’t he press her for an answer? He confused her.
A few minutes later the doorbell rang, startling Reagan. Nobody ever came over unannounced. Especially at night. She got up to peek through the window and saw a motorcycle in the drive. She didn’t know anyone that rode a motorcycle.
Then she looked towards the door and Archer was standing there with a smirk on his face. She quickly walked around and opened the door. “Archer! What are you doing here?” she asked both nervous and excited that he was there.
“I figured you could use some company since the kid is asleep,” he said, his smirk still firmly in place, “gonna let me in?”
“Oh, uh, okay,” she said and stepped aside so he could come inside.
He walked in and perused his surroundings. He let out a low whistle. “Nice digs,” he said appreciatively.
“I guess,” said Reagan, hoping he wasn’t scoping out the place.
“What’re you doing?” he asked.
“I was just watching a movie,” she replied.
“Mind if I join?” he asked.
“Okay – but only for a little while. You have to be gone before they get back, or I’ll be in sooo much trouble,” she explained.
“Can’t have that. Come on, let’s sit down and watch your movie,” he said and took a seat on the couch. When Reagan sat in the chair across from him, he objected and patted the empty space on the couch next to him. “No pretty Reagan, come sit by me. I promise I won’t bite.”
Reagan’s heart began to beat faster as she did as he asked and moved to the couch next to him. She had never had a boyfriend before or even kissed a boy. She knew Ryan had kissed girls before because he told her. He said it was nice. She wondered if Archer wanted to kiss her. She was surprised that she really wanted him to.
Once she had the TV back on, he put his arm around her and pulled her close. She just sat there stiffly, with her heart pounding in her chest. She figured he could hear it.
Archer began to absently draw circles on her shoulder with his fingers and it felt so good that she finally relaxed into him. Being next to him like that gave her a funny feeling in the pit of her stomach. She had no idea what was going on in the movie, she was so focused on the boy next to her and what he was doing to her arm.
Archer laughed and said something about the movie, so she chanced a look at him. He was looking at her too, and their eyes locked for a minute.
Then he leaned in and it happened. He actually kissed her. It felt like electricity ran from his lips straight to her stomach – and below. She actually gasped a little the feeling was so unexpected. How did he do that to her?
He pulled back and looked at her. “Your first kiss pretty Reagan?”
She didn’t want him to know she was inexperienced so she shook her head. He just laughed a low laugh and didn’t challenge her. She was pretty sure he knew she lied but he didn’t say so.
Instead, he pulled her closer. “Relax your lips sweetheart,” he whispered to her. His low husky voice sent chills all through her again. When he kissed her this time, she tried to follow his lead. She knew she fumbled it terribly, but Archer didn’t complain. He just kept on softly kissing her lips until she began to get the hang of it. Jason was right. This was nice. That was until she felt his tongue brush across the seam of her lips, and she froze.
He pulled away pretending not to notice. Maybe he didn’t, she hoped. “Have you made up your mind yet PR?” he asked, “Are you going to the dance with me ?”
How could she possibly say no now? He kissed her. And she kissed him back. And she wanted him to do it again. “Yes,” she said breathlessly. She didn’t recognize her own voice so she cleared her throat and said it again, “Yes.”
“Hot damn!” he said and grinned. He kissed her again, but this time it wasn’t sweet and soft, just a quick smack on the lips. “I need to leave now. Can’t have you getting in trouble and miss the dance. See you at school PR.”
A/N – Introducing another Casting Call Sim….You may not recognize him with hair!
Archer Kendall – age 18 ….submitted by: Munterbacon