tagRomanceHate at First Sight

Hate at First Sight

byblackrandl1958©

Thanks as always to my editing team. PapaKilo14, Hal, Pixel the Cat, GeorgeAnderson and Olddave1951. Their work makes smooth reading. They make all the mistakes you never see go away. As usual, Harddaysknight gives me peer review and a critical read. SBrooks103x also gives me a pre-post read and criticism. These guys are the best. I love you all.

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Author's note: This one is a bit different. I had approached GeorgeAnderson about coauthoring a story with me after he contributed heavily to "Catch of a Lifetime." I had an idea for a story and a good start. We agreed on a division of labor and I'm as happy with it as anything I've ever written. I am very grateful to George for doing this with me. I always wondered how that process worked. He was off the hook to work with and a first class writer in his own right. I hope you enjoy. Randi.

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Co-author's note: Randi Black is widely known as one of the most talented and respected writers on the site. To be on her team and have my name mentioned on her stories is a tremendous honor. So, when she asked if I would coauthor a story with her, I jumped at the chance. I don't know if we actually figured out how the process works, we sort of made it up as we went along, but I'm very happy with the result. Working with her has been an amazing experience: Randi is as gracious and kind as she is talented, which is saying a lot. Coauthoring has been a blast, and I hope we can do it again sometime. Meanwhile, enjoy "Hate at First Sight."


*****

Do you believe in hate at first sight? If you believe in love at first sight, can the opposite also happen? I hated Talbot McCoy the first time I saw him. It wasn't that he was ugly or weird, quite the contrary. He was tall, well built, and I would discover, very smart, too. He had tons of curly dark hair, a face off a fashion magazine and all the other kids at school loved him. I hated him.

My name is Livingston Brookes. Don't call me Livy, either. I hate that name. I seem to start out here hating a lot of things. I'm really not like that. Just as many people loved me as loved Talbot. I'm a bit like him in a lot of ways. I'm tall, athletic and smarter than he is. The biggest difference between us is that I'm black and he's white. That doesn't matter to me. There were only nine black kids in our high school and I didn't care for most of them. A white family adopted me when I was little and I love my parents. I just point that out as a matter of fact, not to indicate that I hated him because he was white.

I moved to the school I was attending between my sophomore and junior years. I was number one in my class at my old school. When I got to the new school, I was number two. You guessed it; Talbot was number one. What pissed me off was that he never worked at it. He took blow off classes and aced them. It didn't hurt that all the teachers loved him. Hell, my mom and dad loved him. My mom was a science teacher and my dad was the football coach and taught health and PE.

I took dual credit, college and high school, classes and I worked my butt off to get those grades. Talbot played defensive end on Dad's football team and he was all state three years in a row. I played volleyball and ran track. Talbot did track, too, but he threw discus. I was out there running my ass off trying to break the school record in the 400 meters. He would be leaning against the fence. He'd push off every now and again, go throw three or four times and then hold that fence up again for a while. What made it so infuriating was that he won state our junior and senior years. So did I, but I busted my ass and he goofed off.

By taking those weighted classes, I passed him in the class rankings. He never seemed to mind. He was always happy and cheerful. He talked to me every day. I had him third hour in art three my junior year, and when I walked in the first day he introduced himself and hugged me. He hugged me every day for two years. It wasn't special; he hugged everyone. He'd be going down the hall and everyone he hadn't seen yet that day would stop for one of those hugs until he'd be late for class. The teachers never counted him tardy.

We had the same conditioning class first hour our senior year. He was ten minutes late on the days he bothered to show up at all. Dad taught that class and he never counted him tardy or absent. When I told Dad I wanted to sleep in and miss his class, I got this lecture about responsibility and being the best I could be. When I mentioned Talbot, he got this huge silly grin on his face. "Talbot is just special," he said.

"What about me?" I asked. "I'm your daughter! Aren't I special?"

He snatched me up and squeezed me until I could hardly breathe. "Of course you are, Honey. You're my baby girl. Your butt is getting fat, though, so you need the conditioning."

Beating on him with my fists didn't faze him a bit. He just spanked me on my fat butt and kissed me. My butt isn't really fat. Phat, maybe, but not fat. I have one of those sprinter butts and guys can't keep their eyes off it. It's hard and round and I work on it a lot. Dad knows that and he loves to tease me about it.

Our senior year, I decided to run for student council president. Guess who was running against me? I was eating lunch, and Talbot came and sat down beside me.

He hugged me, of course. "Livy," he said. "I don't want to run against you." Of course, he would call me that. "I know you'll beat me. You're the class president and more people like you than like me. Do you want to be both things?"

I thought about it. "No, I don't really have time to be both. Talbot, how many times have I told you not to call me Livy?"

"I'm sorry," he said. "I always forget. I just call people nicknames. Think about this. You decide which one you want. If you want to be student council president, I'll drop out and run for class president. If you want to be class president, you drop out and run for that."

I wanted both just to rub his nose in it, but I'm not stupid. I doubted more people liked me than him anyway. "Okay," I said. "I'll drop out of the class president race. You take that."

He hugged me again. "Good choice," he said. "You'll be a better student council president than me anyway."

"Stop that," I told him. "Why do you always do that? We aren't friends, Talbot. Stop being so nice to me, and stop hugging me!"

I'd told him that a thousand times and he never paid the slightest attention to me. He just laughed. "I'm wearing you down," he said. "Someday you'll admit that you're in love with me."

He talked to me all the rest of lunch hour and the next morning he actually showed up for conditioning. The first thing he did was hug me. He was infuriating.

When we graduated, we both made speeches and he actually thanked me for pushing him to be better. He said I had been a wonderful inspiration to him because of my work ethic and he admired me. It nearly made me puke.

We wound up at the same university and he made it a point to talk to me every day. It was the same old hugging routine, and people actually thought he was my boyfriend. No one would ask me out because they thought I was with Talbot. Since we were on the track team together, he made it a point to sit by me on the buses or airplanes and it seemed like I couldn't get away from him. He was such a nice guy that I couldn't be mean enough to him to drive him away, and it just got worse and worse. I had thought that high school was bad enough, but college was even worse.

People would invite me to parties by asking if Talbot and I were doing anything Friday. I would tell them I had no idea what Talbot was doing, but I'd be happy to come to the party. They would look at me as if I was weird and ask me if we had broken up. It just wasn't worth it to straighten them out. He would even ask me things like, "Hey, Calvin asked if we were going to the lake with them, are we?"

I got so sick of it that I stopped going anywhere. My roommate thought something was wrong with me. "Are you sick, Livingston?" she asked me one evening.

"No, I'm fine!" I shot at her. "Leave me the hell alone."

"Jesus, girlfriend, I was just asking," she said. "I'm worried about you."

"I'm sorry, Allie, I didn't mean to snap at you," I said.

"You need to relax," she said. "There's a party at the Wilsons'. Let's go."

I grumbled around a while, but she dragged me off to the party. I actually had a good time and there was no sign of Talbot. I smoked a couple of joints (it's legal here) and had way too much to drink. The next thing I knew, I was away from the lights, fighting off two douche bags from the baseball team who were trying to get me naked.

"Come on, baby, you know you want it," one of them kept telling me. I managed to get one leg free and I made a mess of his nuts with my knee. He screeched like a banshee and that pissed the other one off. He slapped the shit out of me and my head was spinning. I heard a kind of roar, and when I could see straight, I saw Talbot, mounted on top of the one that hit me, and he was turning the asshole's face into mush.

"I'm going to kill you, you motherfucker," he was screaming over and over. "You hit her, you son-of-a-bitch! No one touches Livy!" He was driving one fist after another into the guy's face.

I was scared to death and I ran over and tackled Talbot off the guy. "Please, Talbot," I begged. "Don't kill him! Don't hit him anymore. Take me home, please, Talbot!"

He had kind of a wild look in his eyes that faded when he saw who it was. Of course, he jumped up and hugged me. He tilted my face up so he could look at it.

"Are you okay, Livy? I saw that asshole hit you. I just got here and I didn't know you were coming."

"I'm okay, Talbot, just take me home. Stop calling me 'Livy'," I begged.

He had ridden his motorcycle, and I had to make him stop once on the way back to my apartment so I could puke. He held my head while I heaved my guts up, and cleaned me up with his handkerchief. I mean, who carries a handkerchief these days?

I don't remember going into the apartment or getting in bed. I woke up the next morning and my mouth felt like rats had taken up residence in it. There was a trio of blacksmiths banging away on anvils inside my head and I felt like fried shit. I could smell bacon and Talbot stuck his head in.

"Hi, Livy," he was all smiles. "Get that cute little black ass out of bed and come and eat breakfast."

I moaned. "Talbot, you are the bane of my existence. What are you doing here?" I didn't wait for an answer. I needed to puke! I jumped out of bed and made a run for the stool. I shrieked when I realized I was in my bra and panties and they were really small panties. I made my offering to the porcelain gods, and there was Talbot with a cool wet washcloth, cleaning me up.

"Damn, Livy," he said. "You were really messed up. I've never seen you like that before." He picked me up and carried me like a baby back to bed. I was too weak and too sick to protest. He covered me up and went away. I just laid there and suffered. He came back with a bottle of water and four ibuprofens. I was very glad to have them. I drank the whole bottle of water, took the pills, and collapsed back on the bed.

"What are you doing here, Talbot?" I asked him again. "Did you take my clothes off? If you groped me I'm going to kill you."

He grinned. "I was afraid to leave you. You were messed up bad, Livy. Your clothes had puke on them, so I took them off and put you in bed. I kept checking on you. I didn't grope you, but I wanted to. You're pretty gropable. I'm bringing you your breakfast."

I didn't want breakfast; I just wanted to die in peace, preferably, somewhere far away from him.

He brought back a plate with scrambled eggs and bacon on it, and a glass of milk. I didn't want it, but he fed the eggs to me, anyway. By the time I finished them, I was feeling better and I ate the bacon, too. It was salty and I was very thirsty, so I drank the milk.

"Why did you go to that party without me?" he asked. "You know I would have taken you, and I wouldn't have allowed you to get that high."

"Jesus Christ, Talbot!" I exploded. "Why do you do this to me? You know I don't like you. You're not my boyfriend! Why can't you just leave me alone?"

He looked very hurt and I was instantly sorry. I wasn't about to tell him that.

"That's something I've never been able to figure out, Livy," he said. "Why don't you like me? You're as sweet as an angel. You love everyone. You're even nice to me and I bug you all the time. Why don't you like me?"

"For one thing, you insist on calling me Livy and you know I hate it," I yelled.

He grinned. "I just do it to pull your chain," he said.

"Well, it pisses me off," I told him. "You're just too perfect, Talbot. Everything about you is just perfect and that pisses me off, too. You just slide along; you never put any effort into anything and everything you touch turns to gold. You just affect me like nails on a chalkboard. Why won't you leave me alone?"

"Too perfect?" Talbot sort of snorted. "Does it help if I brush my hair backwards?" He ran a hand through his mop of curls. It made no difference whatsoever.

"Nope, that doesn't change a thing. You're still too perfect."

"You're the one who's perfect, Livy... I mean, Livingston. Have you looked at yourself lately? Well, maybe not this morning, but how about yesterday? You're the sweetest person I know, at least when you're not around me, and the smartest. Don't you get it yet? I'm trying to keep up with you!"

I looked at him, expecting to have my headache made even worse by his blinding smile. Instead, he was looking at me seriously, puzzled and a little exasperated. Maybe if I pushed him now, he really would leave me alone.

"Go tell it to the Marines, Talbot," I snorted. "I have to work damned hard for every grade I get, and for the shape this body is in. I have to work hardest of all to be nice enough to you to keep up my sweet reputation. You just sit there, not having to work at a thing. You were born perfect, Talbot, you live perfect, and you'll die perfect, and you do it all without even breaking a sweat. Worst of all, now I owe you for last night. You make me sick."

"No, that was the booze you put away last night," he grinned.

"Don't try to be funny, Talbot. This isn't the time."

"Okay, then. If you hate me so much, why do you talk about me as if I were Jesus?"

My mouth fell open. I couldn't say a word. "Because He's the only one I've ever heard of who's that perfect. You don't hate Him, do you?" I still couldn't speak, so I just shook my head.

"Then why do you hate me? Would you like me better if I treated you like those two assholes did last night, so I wouldn't be perfect anymore? I don't think you really want a guy to bash you over the head with a club and drag you back to his cave, and I'm not really made like that, but if that's what you want, I'll try. Would that make me less perfect? Or, would that make me even more perfect? I've tried doing one thing to be less perfect, like calling you Livy, and that doesn't work either, because you still think I'm perfect. How can I be perfect if I call you by a name you hate? Am I trying too hard not to be perfect and ending up being perfect? Does perfect mean what I think it means?" He heaved an exasperated sigh and ran a hand through his hair. It didn't make any difference; it was still perfect.

"You do realize, don't you, that all of this is total nonsense, and now you have me doing it, too?" He looked as if he'd just been told the sun would rise in the west tomorrow, and he just couldn't handle it, and was asking me to make it all better.

Okay, I did feel just a little bit sorry for him just then. It was probably my weakened condition, and the fact that I did owe him for last night. Don't get me wrong, though, I still hated him.

"Talbot, I know it doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make sense to me, so I don't know why it would to you. You know what Mark Twain said: 'We don't reason where we feel, we just feel.' All I know is, every time I'm around you, I just want to scream and run the other way. You make me angrier than anyone or anything else I know. I don't know why, and I've never felt that way about anyone else in my life." He got that hurt look again.

"I know that isn't what you wanted to hear, but it's true. For some reason, you're just ... like nails on a chalkboard to me. So thank you for last night, but please, Talbot, please just leave me alone."

He got serious. "I can't, Livingston."

"Why the hell not?" I asked.

He smiled and those white teeth flashed. "Because I love you," he said.

My mouth fell open and I just sat there dumbfounded. I shook my head. I couldn't have heard that right. "What did you just say?" I asked.

"I said, I love you," he repeated.

"Jesus H. Christ!" I blew up. "Of all the stupid things anyone has ever said to me..." I didn't get a chance to finish because he was kissing me. I was totally mortified, indignant and pissed off beyond belief. I struggled to get away but he was way stronger than me.

My lips felt like they were being bruised and he smelled really nice. I could feel the muscles flexing in his arms and shoulders beneath my fingers. That big mop of curly hair was fascinating and I just had to tangle my fingers in it. My heart was pounding and I felt his hand on the bare skin of my belly. I needed to gasp but he had my mouth. I panted a little through my nose and his fingers trailed fire up to my right breast. For some reason, my nipple was as hard as a little pebble and he pinched it, rolling it between his fingers. I reacted, involuntarily arching my back so he would take the whole mound into his hand while he played with the nipple. He pushed my bra up over it and suddenly he shifted until he could take the other nipple between his lips. He scraped it gently with his teeth and it made me groan. My pussy flooded and I was losing control.

"No," I said. "Stop Talbot. Stop it!" I was insistent and he stopped and looked up at me.

"You don't like it?" he asked.

"Yes, I do, and that's the problem," I told him. "I'm not doing this with you, Talbot. Put my bra back down."

He did and then he took me in his arms and just held me, his fingers tracing up and down the bare skin of my back, giving me goosebumps.

"Thank you for what you did last night," I told him. "What did you mean, 'Nobody touches Livy'?"

He blushed. "I should have said Livingston," he apologized.

"That's not what I was talking about," I said. "Why can't anyone touch me?"

"You didn't want them to," he said. "You were fighting them. You messed Alex up pretty bad. He's in the hospital having his nuts treated." He chuckled. "You're quite a tiger, Livy." He was immediately contrite. "I meant Livingston. Why do you have a boy's name?"

"That's what my parents named me," I said. "Do you envision yourself as my guardian angel, Talbot?"

"I'm not going to let anyone hurt you or make you do anything you don't want to," he said. "If you hadn't been fighting them I wouldn't have interfered. It would have broken my heart, but I'd have just walked away."

I kissed his lips, just a quick peck. "Thank you for looking out for me," I said.

"I want to do way more than that," he looked into my eyes.

"I can't imagine why," I said. "I've never been anything more than civil to you, Talbot. I've never given you the slightest hint that I thought you were anything but an asshole."

He laughed. "I know. Do you know that you're the only girl I ever wanted that couldn't stand the sight of me? I've never been turned down for a date unless the girl was already involved and I didn't know it. I've loved you from the first day you moved here and you've never given me anything but, 'drop dead, asshole.' I've never been an asshole to you, though."

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