I Knew You Were Trouble - Cassie Mae


There are three things I know I want in this world, and they’ve all come at me at separate times in my life. The first was when I was seven and three quarters, and Josh Spencer grabbed the blue paint from me in art class and said, “Blue is for boys.” Then he dumped the whole darn bottle on his canvas, leaving me with only purple and pink to work with for the whale I was painting.

Right then and there I said to myself, Candace, anything can be any color you darn well please, and I vowed to never paint to a natural color scheme, and I was going to make a fortune doing so.

The second was during a movie night with all my friends at fifteen and two months. Amber, my best friend, spilled every. Single. Detail of the sex she had the night before and traumatized the heck out of me. Lots of sweat. Lots of… mess. Lots of discomfort. Some blood. (Blood!) She said it wasn’t good, not even that fun, didn’t last long, and that given the chance to do it again, she wouldn’t until she was in love or with someone way more experienced. Or if he was really cute or something.

And I said to myself, Candace, let’s not do the deed until you trust a person enough to handle that.

Now the third… sigh. It happened thirty-one days ago, while I sat eagerly waiting for my art teacher to introduce the subject of our next assignment. I’ve been in and out of art classes since I was a wee wittle one, and I was so done with the bowl of fruit phase. I was ready to pick out my palate of off-beat colors and go wild.

And in he walked, the door swinging open and angels singing a chorus as he entered the room. The black boots he wore hit the tile with a soft thud. His jeans were tight, but not too tight, and there were zero holes. Zero. Unheard of. His jacket did have a hole near the lower front pocket, and his thumb stuck out through it. A simple black tee peeked out between the open zipper of his jacket, and his neck was covered in ink, suggesting a work of art hidden underneath all those clothes.

I squirmed in my seat, my heart beating uncontrollably in my throat as I met his eyes.

They were blue—of course they were blue—framed by long eyelashes that many a girl would pay good money for. He wore eyeliner, which caused the smallest twitch of a smile to pop onto my face. I liked it, and honestly, I didn’t think I would.

He grinned as Miss Barley introduced him as our new subject, and I internally squealed and knocked my brushes to the floor.

Right then and there I knew that love at first sight was a total thing, and I was going to make it happen with him.

A loud balloon pop reverberated around Troublemakers, the indoor amusement park I work at, knocking me clean from my fantasies. It’s been a long week since my last art class, so I didn’t think I would see Mr. Love-At-First-Sight till Monday, but my head went straight there when I caught a glimpse of him over by the Skeeball.

It’s my day to run the arcade. Troublemakers has several “Trouble Zones,” and we rotate all over the place. Yesterday I was at the bowling alley—my least favorite—and last week I ran the 3D zombie killer ride for eight hours straight. The arcade isn’t too bad. Mostly just dealing with broken games and redeeming tickets. The worst part is—

“Hon, you’ve only got ten tickets left. Just pick something.” The exasperated and tired mom of five kids points toward the top row of knick-knacks for her must-be-six-or-so daughter who had taken thirty minutes to pick out two toys.

I rest my chin in my palm and lean against the counter, suppressing a deep impatient sigh. I do not envy this woman, but I do want kids someday… I mean, if I ever get past the sex thing.

“What about this fun whistle?” I suggest, then get a stern shake of the head from Mom. Oh… probably not the wisest choice. “Or this very pretty bracelet,” I quickly say instead, pulling one out. “See, you slap it on your wrist like this.” I give my arm a good whack and the poop-emoji decorated bracelet snaps into place. I smile at the girl, but she frowns and her eyes well up.