Weeks had passed. Weeks of me pretending to be something that I wasn't. I really wanted to hang with Kaysha and Jae Jae but instead I was spending most of my time with Bambi. Kaysha loved it because she felt like she had an inside scoop into the Dollhouse. Jae Jae didn't mind it either because I was able to pitch all this stuff to the Dollhouse that they needed. Clearly they had the money to buy all the illegal shit that Jae Jae had stored in the storage modules.

I had to admit there were some high points in being Bambi Hampton's boyfriend.

Mia LaPerla has called for an assembly after two weeks of dating Bambi. Of course Bambi wants to walk in together. She doesn't only want to walk in together. She wants to hold hands. As we walk in I realize people staring. People are so much nicer.

“Hey Mario,” a random boy says.

I don't recognize him but none-the-less I'm smiling, “What's up man?”

“You guys can sit here if you want. I was actually about to move anyway.”

The boy literally sacrifices his seat for me in the front of the room for me. Not only that but his friends follow suit. Shit like this has happened so much. I don't even have the chance to whisper out a thank you before he leaves. Bambi is expecting this kind of thing. She's used to it. I'm still struggling with it a little bit.

Bambi rolls her eyes at me, “You need to stop ignoring losers. That's the most important part. Don't say thank you when people do nice shit for you. That's expected. You're the shit now.”

“I didn't know being nice wasn't cool anymore.”

Bambi eyes me hard, “Well it's not. It's hard enough people wonder why you still hang out with that chatty girl and the help...”

I know who Bambi is talking about. She's talking about Kaysha and Jae Jae. She calls Jae Jae the help because he's Greg's supplier. He gets them all kinds of things from his storage locker. It's the only reason any of them even talk to Jae Jae. One day Jae Jae's supply is going to run out and he's going to be just as unpopular as everyone else.

“Those are my friends Bambi...that's not going to change,” I tell her.

“Fine. Whatever. But why don't you just start hanging out with Jax and Greg more. Especially Jax. It's a good look for you if you are friends with those guys.”

I honestly wouldn't mind hanging out with Jax more. Greg on the other hand is annoying. He's been an ass kisser since his little turn around. He's always around too. Being that Greg and Bambi are siblings its hard to get him to leave us alone for too long.

There is another person who just always seems to pop up. Chyna.

“Hey, I brought you guys some drinks,” Chyna says smiling at me.

That's another thing. Chyna is literally a professional kiss ass. According to Kaysha, Chyna has been trying to get down with the exclusive Dollhouse members for a while now but of course she doesn't.

“We're fine Chyna, go...save a seat for Pia or something,” Bambi states dismissing her little man servant.

Within a matter of minutes the room fills up. I can see Chyna did what she was sold and had saved a seat for Pia. Pia is with Jax. I'm pretty sure she's been trying to get back with him even though she never does it in public. I can tell by his body language that he seems a little annoyed with her. Jax and I make eye contact from across the room at that moment.

It's been happening every single time we saw each other. I can't explain it. The long stares. The cold sweat that I get all of a sudden. The warm tingle runs up my spine. He makes me so fucking nervous and in the most beautiful away possible.

“Welcome students...no...I should say Pioneers...” Mia Laperla announces to everyone.

I can see that Pia has taken a stance right next to her mother on the stage at that point.

Bambi is leaning into me at that moment, “Look how desperate she is for attention.”

Her whispers are harsh. You would think Bambi and Pia weren't supposedly 'best friends'. I'm not saying Bambi is wrong though. She is completely right. Pia is standing next to her mother with her chest out with this sense of pride and self importance. She is damn near standing on the podium with her mother making sure that the entire audience is looking at her pretty white dress.

“My brilliant daughter Pia came up with the best idea,” Captain LaPerla starts off at that moment, “As you know we are all pioneers in space. We are all on a journey that one day will be written in the history of America. A group of students on a deep space expedition. It will be important to share our journey once we get back on Earth. Who knows...you might even get a movie deal or something based off of your story.”

Pia smiles at that moment, “Your journals will be pen and paper. The old fashioned way. Please everyone remember to grab on your way out. I call them our Journey Journals.”

Bambi looks completely annoyed as we get up.

“Journey Journals? Really?” Bambi comments as we are starting to walk out, “This bitch really think she has some mind blowing idea. We gathered for this shit? Journals are now rocket science?”

Bambi looks heavily annoyed.

But as we are exiting we see Pia and Jax and immediately that annoyed look she had on her face completely turns upside down.

“Hey girl hey!”

The two girls are kissing on cheeks and carrying on in seconds. None of us personally go get journals. It's kind of sad...but I'm pretty sure it's kind of clear that Chyna is going to go get a copy of the journal books for us to write in. Truthfully I think Bambi is smarter then she looks but she's wrong about this. I think the Journey Journals are actually a good idea. There are so many feelings that I have that I would like to just get out so I'm not bottling it in.

I look over to Jax. He smiles at me. The smile sends tremors down my fucking spine. Yeah. Feelings like that. Keeping those kinds of things in were just not good for me in anyway possible.

“How have you been?” Jax asks me, biting his bottom lip.

He does that all the time. He bits his sexy pink bottom lip and lets it curl into his mouth. When he releases his bottom lip it shimmers almost with his perfect mint smelling saliva. It drives me fucking crazy and every second I'm just struggling not to get a hard dick around Jax.

I get nervous every time he's around, “Good good. Um... we still need to get together for that assignment.”

I don't know what else to mention with Jax except Astronomy class. It's the only real thing we have in common besides the fact that the girls we were around the most now seemed to hang out together all the time.

“Yeah. How about tonight? I can invite the one boy...Dre was it?”

I laugh a little bit, “Yeah Dre.”

“If I can pull him away from his girlfriend. Have you seen them? Talk about PDA...” Jax states at that moment.

Jax is signaling to the other side of the room. Everyone is getting their journal. In the middle of the room though I see Dre. My heart is rolling at that moment in anger when I see Dre's tongue... ALL THE way down Daniella's throat. Not even sexy Jax can distract me at that moment. I'm just so pissed. I'm beyond pissed actually.

What the fuck part of the game is this?

“Um...I'll be right back,” I tell Jax.

“You ok?” he asks.

“I will be...”

I find myself walking over to Dre. I'm trying not to be jealous. I'm trying not to be upset but this guy just told me he was in love with me a few weeks ago. Since then he has been completely avoiding me. He hasn't said two fucking words to me and now he's running around with Daniella. What part of the love game was that?

“Excuse me.”

“Oh...hey...” Daniella says smiling at me.

“I actually was talking to Dre,” I respond.

I'm short and a little rude. Fuck. I have to admit that a little bit of Bambi was rubbing off on me. It was hard not to let her blunt straight forward attitude rub off on you. I'm standing there eyeing Dre with the meanest look I can give. Daniella has always annoyed the fuck out of me and easily it's just easy for me to be an asshole to her.

“I was about to take my girl out to the observation bridge...can it wait?”

“Wait? Interesting...”

I start walking away at that moment. I don't have time for this.

Immediately Dre grabs my hand and looks back at Daniella, “Actually hey Daniella, give me a quick second ok?”

Daniella is giving him a half smirk. She can tell I'm annoyed. The question is though does she know what I'm annoyed with. Can she tell that much? Daniella was always a smart girl. I wonder if she ever assumed that Dre and I had something going on. I mean if she did would she still be tongue kissing him in the middle of the an assembly?

Dre pulls me to a corner in the hallway somewhere. I can see in his eyes he's a little embarrassed. He leans into me at that moment.

“Why are you tripping?” Dre asks me.

“Why do you think?” I ask, “I haven't seen you in how long? You tell me you are all into me one day and then the next day...”


“What the fuck Dre...no one is listening?” I respond at that moment, “I can't take this crazy DL shit. You are back with your ex who you say you aren't interested in but it seems like you can't separate from her.”

Dre leans back at that minute. He rushes his hands through his blowout and starts saying some stuff in Spanish. He does that when he gets irritated. I know him well. It's interesting that I'm irritating him but I'm the same person he supposedly sneaked on this ship to be with.

“Por Que? Why are you doing this to me?” he asks.

“I'm doing this for you,” I correct him, “You think I'm pretending to be this straight guy for myself? I have a girl blackmailing me because I'm scared she is going to sell YOU out.”

“I don't see you complaining now that you're Mr. Popular though.”

“Man fuck you Dre, I never asked for this shit. Mr. Popular? I never dreamed about being popular. I was fine with being the nerd. The popularity thing was you, Dre. You were always the type to want acceptance.”

Dre punches the wall at that minute.

He damn near almost misses my hid. I know mentioning his need for acceptance has hit a nerve. That's the thing about best friends. I know him better than anyone else. He can't hide anything from me.

“I told you that in confidence. I didn't tell you about that shit so you can use it against me later, Rio. That shit is low man. I told you about why I needed acceptance. After my mother abandoned me I was always trying to fill that hole.”

“Well I hope you fill that hole with Daniella.”

Dre grabs my arm at that moment, “Yo...why are we arguing like this? You know how I feel about you and I know you're clearly not mad if you don't give a fuck.”

He's right. That's the issue. I cared too much. I was sitting here really tripping over a boy that I can never be out in the open with. I'm on the verge of breaking down right now and he doesn't even understand. Why do I allow him to hurt me like this over and over and just make up some excuse to patch the shit up?

“Dre what is it? You going to spend some time with me or are you going to keep kicking it with Daniella.”

Dre look at me hard for a minute, “You. Of course. Name the time and place and I'll be there.”

“Jax is going to invite you to a little thing later. Why don't you come and then afterwards we can leave and spend some 1 on 1 time together.”

Dre smiles at me, “I'll be there kid.”

Dre then does something that I have to admit is a really cute. He punches me in my arm and then he makes sure no one is looking and gently kisses the arm he just punched.

I don't know what it is about Dre. He's cute yeah but he's not like DROP DEAD, sacrifice your momma cute like Jax is. He's funny, he's friendly, he's honest. He has all those qualities but those aren't them either. The history is what keeps me around with Dre. I have this fucking history with him that I just don't know how to shake.

And for some reason I am so vulnerable around him.

I find some time to detach the strings from Bambi for to meet up about our next Astronomy assignment with Jax and Dre. Unfortunately I run into Kaysha and she has all this gossip that she wants to share with me in the hallway. Supposedly all this stuff about how Pia and Bambi got into some sort of argument in cycling class. I'm not sure if I should care about this but she goes through every single detail about the little cat fight they had. I'm kind of surprised to be honest. Pia and Bambi clearly were frienemies but they were always a little careful about it.

After Kaysha went on and on about the little fight I realized that I was almost two fucking hours late to this thing. Fuck. I figured that Dre was going to kill me for making him sit with Jax for such a long period of time. Dre wasn't exactly the most social person when a lot of people weren't around. He found it awkward to have one on one conversation.

When I get to Jax's door though...Jax opens it.

Jax is in a wifebeater and he he has on some boxers. The hole in his boxers peers at me. I struggle with it almost immediately afraid to say anything. I'm swallowing hard as I realize his sexy muscles filling out his white wife beater.

“Mario?” Jax states.

His eyes are low.

“Sorry. I ran into a friend and I'm late um...I...”

“No problem come on in.”

“Did you want to put on some clothes first?”

“Naw...why would I do that...it's just us. No girls in here,” he laughs at that moment as though I have said the funniest thing in the world.

He leaves the door open at that moment and lets me walk in. At that moment I smell weed. I see that he was rolling up one blunt and had already smoked one before. The entire apartment smells like weed. He had a white towel under the door and seems to have wrapped up the fire alarm that is right above the back bedroom door.

As I walk in I take a good look at him. His eyes are low in this really sexy way. He sits on the floor. The tight boxers suspend around his muscular legs. I can see the cuts in Jax's legs as he leans over. He looks like a damn track runner or something. They are beyond sexy.

I struggle on what to do as I realize the wrinkle in his boxers. Jax's dick is right there! It's right there under just a thin layer of fabric!

“It's hot in here,” I state at that moment realizing how bothered I am almost immediately.

“It's all good. Just blazing up. Do you smoke?”

“No...I don't,” I state and look around a few times, “Did Dre leave already?”

“Dre? No...he never came. Called my room and said he had to cancel. He had plans with his girl or something.”


I'm pissed all of a sudden. I'm beyond pissed. What the fuck was Dre really doing right now? Was he really that fucked up that he would make plans with me and then cancel...WITH someone else? I can't believe that I'm sitting here letting this guy treat me like shit.

“You ok?” Jax asks me.

He looks up at that moment. He's licking the fuck out of he wrapper on his blunt. He looks beyond sexy. The look on his face is just...to fucking die for. I can't believe this sexy ass man is sitting in his underwear right here. I can almost see the six pack hard abs through his shirt.

I find myself struggling at this moment.

“You know what?” I say all of a sudden, “I may just smoke.”

I sit down at that moment on the rug with him.

He smiles, “Great. I hate smoking by myself. Greg is off at some girl's room banging her.”

“I thought Greg was dating Chyna?”

“Chyna? Hell no,” Jax states at that moment, “Chyna is pretty and she's easy. He just using her. Believe you me the more you hang around this group you'll see a lot of stuff like that. These people just seem to use each other. Here.”

Jax passes me the blunt and a lighter.

“I've never done this before,” I say sparking the lighter, “But...what about you Jax? Do you use people?”

“You still think I'm a dickhead because of that situation with Greg don't you?” Jax asks me.

“No it's not that.”

Jax laughs with his pearly whites, “You don't trust me. Super Mario. Admit it.”

“Super Mario though?” I laugh.

I take a long pull of the weed. It's so strong and potent that I'm coughing up almost immediately. A few ashes spills on the floor. I'm honestly not surprised when Jax gets up and finds a small handheld vacuum to vacuum up the ashes. He's so super perfect all the time that it just seems like a Jax thing to do.

I'm choking and coughing at the same time. I'm shocked and almost blushing when Jax scoots over towards me at that moment. He starts patting my back hard at that moment a few times and then carefully rubs my back out.

His fingers on my skin send sensations down my spine. It's that feeling again. My heart is racing. I can't take it. Before I know it I'm looking up in his eyes.

Our eyes connect at that moment. There is a strange instance where everything just seems to stand still.

Jax scoots away at that moment, “Well I just saved your life Super Mario. You owe me.”

I give him the blunt and watch him smoke. He perfectly inhales the smoke and pouts his lips in a circular way. His beautiful, perfectly moisturized lips let perfect O's out at that moment. Everything about him so perfect. Ashes fall on the floor. It doesn't even take a second for Jax to reach over and vacuum them up at that moment.

“Why do you do that?” I ask him laughing.

“Do what?”

“Do that...with the vacuum?” I ask him.

Jax puts the vacuum down in a strange manner at that moment, “I don't know what you're talking about. So what's up with you and Dre?”

He's changing the subject from his weird little habit. It's clear he doesn't want to talk about it. I want to let him know that I wasn't saying the thing about the vacuum in a bad way. He is just super clean. That's not a bad thing. But Jax clearly wants to change the subject and for some reason he's doing it in a way that seems aggressive. Why would he want to bring up Dre at a time like this?

“What do you mean?”

Jax shrugs, “It took me forever...but I remembered where I saw him. He's the guy who stole your ticket? Ain't it? If not let me know. It's entirely possible I'm high as fuck right now...so...”

“No, you're right.”

Jax shakes his head, “Damn. That's foul. How are you still friends with him?”

“It's a long story.”

“I have time,” Jax states.

“Actually kinda don't want to talk about it,” I say, “Kinda like how you don't want to talk about your vacuum habit. Maybe we should start that assignment.”

I'm being honest as possible.

“I already finished it,” Jax responds.


I'm shocked at that moment.

Jax laughs, “Hey. Just because I'm best friends with Greg doesn't mean I'm a dummy you know? Ok I didn't have to pass a test or whatever to get in here, but I'm not a dummy either ok.”

I smile back. Handsome and smart? Interesting.

“So I guess we can just spend just smoke.”

“Yeah. And chill,” Jax responds and stares at me for almost 10 seconds in complete sentence as though thinking about something. All of a sudden he just smiles again and licks his lips and then says, “Come here.”

“Where?” I ask.

Jax points at the space directly in front of him, “Here. Are you for real? Get that expression off your face Super Mario. Yeah. That expression. Damn kid. Stop acting weird. All those new clothes and you're still a little awkward kid aren't you?”

“I'm not...”

“Relax I like the awkward shit,” he laughs, “It makes me feel like I'm still the coolest guy on this space station.”

I laugh, “You still are.”

“Nawl...you got me beat now...pretty boy,” he says.

Shit gets awkward again. I can't help it! He just called me a pretty boy. This was coming from the sexiest man in the Universe to me. He was calling me pretty? I mean I'm sure it was an improvement but I'm not stupid. I'm still no where near as attractive as Jax Christopher. If people are interested in me it's probably because they've been so used to seeing sexy ass Jax since he was a kid star.

“Am I close enough?” I ask.

Jax looks at me at that moment. Our eyes connect. There is a steam from the cigarette. It's so hot.

“Closer...” he instructs me.


I am so fucking close at that moment. Clearly I'm not close enough. Jax does something I don't expect. He opens his legs and lets LITERALLY pulls my fucking body between his legs. I'm shocked by this. My heart is beating so fast. I'm so nervous at that moment. What the fuck is going on here. Jax is looking me dead in my e yes.

“Now you're close enough,” he says, “Here. When I blow the smoke in your mouth exhale. It's a shotgun.”

“I thought you're supposed to turn the blunt backwards.”

“Fuck that...that's boring. This gets you way more high.”

At that moment Jax pulls the blunt. He holds the smoke in his mouth for a second or two. He leans close to me. I lean close to him. Why is there a sweat running down my back at that moment. Why the fuck am I so nervous being around Jax.

Jax leans his head close to me. He's so close. At first only a foot away...then only 6 inches away. Then we are so close that I can almost feel the hairs on his face. My heart is racing. If I pucker my lips I can be kissing Jax right now. And that's what I want. I want so badly just to kiss him on those perfect soft lips of his.

I open my mouth.

A stream of smoke enters my mouth. Perfect mint flavored smoke. I find myself inhaling and closing my eyes.

And when I open them Jax hasn't moved back. His eyes are pressed on mine.

We are staring at each other.


Why the FUCK does this feel so good?

All of a sudden the door opens and slams shut. I jump up to my knees at that moment. I turn to see Pia.

“What the fuck is going on in here?” Pia asks at that moment.

It probably looks so suspicious because I jump up. Jax doesn't seem to react in any of that way. He seems more annoyed then shocked that Pia opened the door.

“What's it look like? We are blazing up,” Jax responds at that moment, “Yo...why do you still have my key. We broke up remember. Give my damn key back.”

Pia glares at him hard, “You fucking loser...here...”

“I should leave,” I say at that moment.

Jax stops me at that moment, “No stay. Let me just put this key up. I'll be right back.”

Jax gets up. He walks a way. His boxer briefs are slightly hanging off his abdomen. Fuck he's sexy. As he moves his strong legs seem to flex with every single step. He grabs the key that Pia threw at him and walks away from her towards the bedroom. I am just watching...his strong back and his muscular powerful shoulders. I am blown away by him.

But then I realize the stare at me. I realize it just a second too late.

“Are you gawking at my man?” Pia asks.

It's clear what she's saying. She isn't saying it in a joke. She isn't saying it in a funny manner.

“Excuse me?” I ask.

“No it's clear you were gawking. My question is...why are you gawking at my man?” Pia asks at that moment, “It's not the first time. What are you some type of faggot or something? Like ew...”


I'm so mad. I'm beyond mad. What if she said something like this to Jax? What if he thought that and decided not to hang around me any more?

“Look. I heard about your little issue...or whatever with my girlfriend but please don't make up fucking lies to boost your ego.”

“My ego? Hunny. I run this space station. This is the Pia show...” she states at that moment.

Pia has the nerve to take a few steps towards me at that moment and snap right in my face. If this was back in Compton I would have just cursed her out. But these people don't play those kinds of games. This isn't the time to be ghetto and loud. That's what she wants. She wants me to act out of character and I wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of it.

“Pia show?” I ask.

“Right. You already know what it is,” Pia states, “Since day one I've been seeing those eyes you give Jax. You may be able to fool the others but I'm not amused. You're no one's hot boy. You're a little, broke, black ass, low class, ghetto...probably AIDS infected Faggot from Compton who will never amount to anything more than swallowing some burly nigger's heavy load.”

Her words sting. I've been bullied all my life and no one has ever dug so low as this before. No one has EVER been so nasty to me.

She said all of those disgusting things with a smile on her face. She'd been doing her research on me if she knew I was from Compton. It's clear she was bothered from me two weeks ago. Now it's clear though that she's attempting to do something about it.

Pia's true colors were showing and they were nasty. They were beyond nasty.

“Wow. Stay classy. I'm dating Bambi. All that other stuff your saying are just lies and fabrications. You're tripping over a man? I thought you were supposed to be a bad bitch? Funny thing is you're tripping over a man that doesn't even want you, right? Or did I get that wrong? Your so called man just asked for his key back.”

I start walking past Pia at that moment. I want to wait on Jax but there is no way in hell I'm staying in this room with this spiteful bitch for another second.

I can hear her little strange laugh as I leave. Pia warns me in the most extra way possible, “This is a game you may not want to play. Watch your back little boy.”

“Actually why don't you watch it for me? You and everyone else. Remember...Bambi and I are the REAL popular ones now. We run this space station.”

I've hit a nerve. I know I have when she just stays silent and lets me leave. I had a glimmer of anger in my eyes. I realize now that I had another goal and that was to make Ms. Pia eat her words.

To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com