I dug my fist into the hard, tiled wall across from Penley’s classroom.
Fuck her. Fuck Tate and her pathetic whining.
But even saying those words, I still wasn’t calming down. Fuck! Who did she think she was anyway? Acting like she was the victim? Really?
I pressed my forehead to the cool wall and closed my eyes. What had she just done to me in there?
I’d gone stone cold as soon as that monologue started. I knew she was talking about us right off the bat. And I couldn’t tear my eyes away from her. She still remembered when I was good to her. And from the sound of it, she still missed me.
Goddamn, Tate. Don’t do this! Don’t fuck with my head!
All I wanted when I was fourteen was her. And she wasn’t thinking about me when I was fucking screaming for her. She didn’t need me. She didn’t miss me while I was away. Life went fuckin’ on, didn’t it? I’d needed her so goddamn much that day, and she wasn’t giving me one fucking thought. She was happier without me.
I could barely breathe, and I tried forcing air into my lungs. God, I didn’t know what I wanted. Maybe I wanted to leave her alone. Maybe I wanted her to look at me like she used to. Maybe I just wanted to hold her and breathe her in until I could finally remember who I was again.
But I couldn’t I needed to hate Tate. I needed to hate her, because if I didn’t have a place to sink all of my energy, then I’d spin out. That’s what happened last year after she’d left. I went fucking crazy.
“See ya, Jared.”
I twisted around and blinked. Ben had called out to me, and she was with him. Looking at me like I was nothing. Like I wasn’t the focus of her life when—fuck–she was the focus of everything in mine!
I stuck my fists into the pocket of my hoodie, so they wouldn’t see me clenching them. It was kind of a natural thing for me to do now. To keep my temper in check so that no one would notice what was boiling underneath.
Stupid bitch. She couldn’t hurt me.
But the air coming out of my nose was heating up as I watched them fade away down the hall.
She was leaving with him.
She’d just handed me my ass in that classroom.
She was surviving me.
And I clenched my fists tighter until the bones in my fingers ached.
“Give me a ride?”
My jaw instantly hardened as frustration poured out of every hair on my body. I didn’t even have to turn around to know it was Piper.
Piper was the last thing on my mind these days, and I wished she’d take the hint and back off.
But then I remembered that she was good for one thing.
“Don’t talk.” I spun around and grabbed her hand without even looking at her and dragged her to the nearest bathroom. I needed to burn off frustration and Piper knew the score. She was like water. She assumed the shape of whatever container held her. She didn’t challenge me or make demands. She was just there for the taking.
It was after school. The place was empty as I barged into a stall, sat down on a seat and brought her down on top of me. She giggled I think, but to be honest, I didn’t fucking care who she was, where I was, or that anyone could walk in on us. I needed to dive deep. So deep into a cave that I couldn’t even hear my own thoughts. That I couldn’t even see her blonde hair and blue eyes in my head.
I ripped off Piper’s little pink cardigan and attacked her mouth. It didn’t feel good. It wasn’t meant to. This wasn’t about me getting off. It was about getting even.
I grabbed the straps of her tank top and pulled them down her arms, her bra coming with it, until everything sat at her waist. Her chest was free for me, and I dived in as she moaned.
Nothing hurt if I knew I had you.
I was trying to run from Tate, but she was catching up with me. I pulled Piper harder against me and inhaled her skin, wanting her to be someone else.
I felt sick when I saw you hating me.
My heart was pounding, and I couldn’t fucking catch my breath. What the fuck?
Piper leaned back and started grinding on me, and my hands were everywhere, trying to find the escape. Trying to find my control.
And my heart was ripped open. I missed you.
I gripped Piper’s ass and attacked her neck. She moaned again and said some shit, but I couldn’t hear it. There was only one fucking voice in my head that no amount of Piper or any other girl was going to drown out.
I loved all of those things, and I loved you.
And then I stopped.
All the air had left me.
She loved me.
“What’s the matter, baby?” Piper had her arms around my neck, but I couldn’t look at her. I just sat there, fucking breathing into her chest, trying to delude myself for even a few seconds that it was Tate I was holding.
“Jared. What’s with you? You’ve been acting weird ever since the school year started.” Her whiny-ass fucking voice. Why didn’t people ever know when to shut up?
I ran my hands over my face. “Just get up. I’ll take you home,” I bit out.
“I don’t want go home. You’ve been ignoring me for a month. Over a month, actually!” She pulled her shirt and sweater back on, but she still wasn’t moving.
I took a deep breath and tried to swallow down the nerves exploding in my stomach. God, I just wanted to fucking get out of here.
“You want a ride or not?” I said, pinning her with a look that said ‘take it or leave it.’ Piper knew better than to ask questions. I didn’t tell Madoc shit, and I wasn’t going to start with this girl.
By the time I got home, my mood had gone from bad to worse. After dropping Piper off, I just drove. I needed to listen to some music, clear my head and try to get rid of this ache in my chest. It felt like someone was squeezing my heart, and instead of calming down, I’d gotten more pissed off. Tate was doing this to me. She was always to blame.
And as much as I knew that that wasn’t true, it felt better to believe it. Because the truth hurt too fucking much.
The truth was that I wish I could go back to that day in the park. Back to the fish pond when I’d decided that she’d needed to hurt. I would’ve done it differently. Instead of pushing her away, I would’ve buried my face in her hair and let her bring me back from wherever I’d gone. She wouldn’t have had to say or do anything. Just fill my world.
But my anger ran deeper than my love for her that day. And right now, I couldn’t face what I’d done. I couldn’t face that she hated me now, that my mother barely wanted anything to do with me, and that my father spent every Saturday reminding me of what a…..
Fuck it! Fuck them all.
I walked into my house, slammed the door and threw my keys across the room. The place was as quiet as a church as usual, except for Madman’s paws scurrying across the floor.
He started clawing at my jeans and whimpering for attention.
“Not now, buddy,” I snipped and walked into the kitchen. Madman couldn’t calm me down, and I wanted to hit something. As I yanked open the refrigerator, I noticed that my mother had left a
note stuck to the door.
Off for the night. Order a pizza. Love you!
And I slammed the door closed again. Always fucking gone.
I gripped both sides of the refrigerator and pressed my head into the stainless steel. It didn’t matter, I told myself. Everything was okay. I had shitty parents, but who didn’t I’d pushed Tate away, but there were other girls out there. I had no idea what the fuck I was going to do with my life, but I was only eighteen—or almost eighteen.
Everything. Was. Fine.
I gripped the sides harder, willing myself to believe the lie.
And then I saw myself, alone in a kitchen, and holding a refrigerator. Telling myself that my life was good.
I started pounding the steel doors. Every muscle in my body felt choked as I slammed my palm against the appliance again and again. Madman yelped and scurried away. All the shit my mom had sitting up on top turned over or shattered to the ground, and I just kept going. Using both hands to slam it time and again against the wall.
Nothing hurt if I knew I had you.
She was fucking with my head. Why couldn’t I just forget her?
I stopped, my shoulders slumped, forcing air in and out of my lungs, but it was never enough. I turned around to head up the stairs. If my mom was gone for the night, then there was no harm in bringing out the Jack. Since she was an alcoholic, I kept that shit hidden. But tonight I needed a way out. I couldn’t stomach the hurt. I couldn’t deal, and I needed to be numb.
On my way up the stairs, I noticed that the front door was open. Shit. It must not have latched when I’d slammed it before. And Madman got out, no doubt.
I kicked the door shut. Hard.
Fucking awesome. He can leave too.
Once in my room, I went to my stash in the closet and pulled out a bottle. Madoc and I skimmed alcohol from the liquor store his father had in the basement for his many company parties and gatherings. The guy was hardly ever home and didn’t notice shit, so we decided to keep some here for our get-togethers. I flung off my hoodie and shirt, kicked off my boots, and unscrewed the bottle, swallowing massive gulps to drown out her voice in my head.
I couldn’t figure out what the fuck was wrong with me. It had sucked when she left for France, but I’d gotten better after a while, staying focused on racing, work, and school. And I knew she’d be back. But now, it was like she was farther away from me than when she was in a completely different country.
Walking over to my window, I instantly stilled. My stomach dropped, and I didn’t want to move.
There she was.
Closing her eyes and jumping around.
I almost laughed when she threw the devil ears up in the air and screamed along to the music. My chest swelled with the urge to hold her.
God, I wanted her back so fucking much!
But what the hell was I going to say to her? I couldn’t tell her everything.
I brought the bottle back up to my lips, closed my eyes, and forced the bile back down my throat.
There was nothing to say to her. The guy she knew when we were fourteen was gone. They’d left me. She’d left me. I was on my own just like that cocksucker said I’d be.
The stinging nip of hatred and hell crawled its way up my neck and into my head until my nerves burned so badly that I wanted to rip off my skin just to breathe.
I launched the bottle across the room where it slammed against the wall before spilling to the floor.
Leaving the room and charging down the stairs, I went fucking crazy. I kicked over chairs, smashed pictures, and went to bat with some pottery and crystal. All things my mother loved. It made no difference. I’d clean up the mess before she got home tomorrow or five days from now. But stuff would be missing, and she’d get over it. Because there was only one thing that woman loved more than me or all of this stuff. Herself.
I spent the next two hours lost in a haze as I destroyed every picture she had of me smiling and every fucking figurine that gave the impression that we were a happy household.
When all was done, the house was a disaster. But I was high as a kite. Nobody could hurt me if I could hurt them.
Sweating and exhausted, I parked myself outside on the back porch with my bottle of Jack and let the rain cool me down. I don’t know how long I was there, but I was finally breathing and that felt good. There’s something to be said for acting like a five year old and breaking some shit. Control had finally settled over me again, and I just sat there and drank, soaking up the quiet in my head.
I twisted my head at my name and immediately lost my breath. Aw, Jesus Christ. No, no, no…
She was here? And in fucking shorts and a tank top?
I turned back around, hoping she’d go away. I didn’t want to lose my shit with her. Or do anything stupid. I’d finally calmed down, but my head was nowhere near straight enough to deal with her right now.
“Jared, the dog was barking outside. I rang the doorbell. Didn’t you hear it?”
Damn, she was so close. I could feel the pull. I wanted to get closer. To sink into her arms until I couldn’t even remember yesterday.
She walked around in front of me, and my fingers tingled. They wanted her. Always her.
I glanced up, only for a moment, unable to resist the pull.
Jesus Fucking Christ. She was drenched. And I looked down again, knowing what I would do if I kept looking. Her wet shirt stuck to her body, but she tried to hide it by crossing her arms. Her legs glistened with the water dripping down, and her shorts clung to her toned, wet thighs.
“Jared? Would you answer me?” she yelled. “The house is trashed.”
I tried looking at her again. Why? Who the fuck knows? Because every time I saw her, I wanted to bury my heart and body inside of her. What good was that going to do either of us?
“The dog ran away,” I choked out. What the hell?
“So you threw a temper tantrum? Does your mom know you did that to the house?”
And that’s when the wall went back up. My mother. Tate looking at me like I couldn’t control myself. Like I was weak.
I didn’t want to hurt her anymore, but I wasn’t letting her in, either.
“What do you care? I’m nothing, right? A loser? My parents hate me. Weren’t those your words?” Yes, this was easier. Just push back.
She started talking, and I shot back with my usual bark, but it didn’t matter. I’d shut her down and shut her out. Like I always did. I didn’t need her. I was strong.
She followed me inside, and I tried to tune her out as I dried off the dog. But then she took the control out of hands again when she rushed to empty my bottle down the drain.
“Son of a bitch!” I ran up to her and tried prying the Jack out of her hands. “This is none of your business. Just leave.” I didn’t want her here to see me like this. She shouldn’t care about me. I’d done nothing to earn it. And I didn’t need it or her!
I jerked the bottle, and her body came flush with mine.
She was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. And angry was even hotter. A fire was in her eyes, and her full bottom lip glistened from the rain. I didn’t want to stop this for anything. I wanted to lose all of my energy on her. In more ways than one.
My head jerked to the side with the sting of her hand, and I stood there for a moment, stunned.
Fuck! She hit me!
I dropped the bottle, because fuck, I didn’t give a damn about it anyway and hauled her up onto the counter. I didn’t know what I was doing, but it was out of my control. And for once, I had no problem with that.
She met my eyes, not looking away for a second, as her body squirmed against mine. I shouldn’t be holding her like this. I shouldn’t be crossing this line with her. But I had Tate in my arms for the first time in over three years, and I wasn’t letting go. The more I looked at her, and the more she let me touch her, I was completely hers. She owned me.
And I fucking hated and loved that at the same time.
“You fucked me up today.”
“Good,” she challenged, and my hold on her tightened.
I jerked her into me again. “You wanted to hurt me? Did you get off on it? It felt good, didn’t it?”
“No, I didn’t get off on it,” she answered way too calmly. “I feel nothing. You are nothing to me.”
No. “Don’t say that.” I hadn’t pushed her away completely. I still had her, didn’t I?
I could smell her sweet breath as she leaned in. “Nothing,” she repeated, taunting me, and I was instantly hard as a fucking rock. “Now, get off—“
I took her mouth, eating up her sweet little whimper. She was fucking mine, and that was it. Her smell, her skin, everything invaded my world, and I couldn’t see straight. My head felt dazed, like
I was underwater, weightless and quiet. God, she tasted good.
I sucked on her bottom lip, tasting what I’d been fucking dying to get at for years. And I wanted to taste her everywhere. I went too fast, but I couldn’t control myself. It was like I needed to fit in all the lost time right now.
Her chest was pressed into mine, and I was between her legs. I tried to catch my breath between kisses. This is where I wanted to be, and why the fuck didn’t I see that sooner? She wasn’t fighting me, and I smiled as she stretched her neck back for me, inviting me in. I released my hold and dug my hands into her body, pulling her into my hips, so she could feel how much I wanted her.
She’d wrapped her legs around me, and I ran my hands up her thighs, in complete awe of her soft, hot skin. We weren’t going to fucking move until my hands or mouth had been on every part of her.
As I kissed her neck, she brought my face back up to her lips, and I reveled in how she responded. I knew I didn’t deserve it. I knew she deserved more. But I was going to bury myself in this girl or spend my life trying. I couldn’t get her close enough or kiss her fast enough. I wanted more.
I dove for the little spot under her ear, smelling and aching for her. I felt freer with her body wrapped around mine than I had in years.
“Jared, stop.” She pulled her head away from me, but I just kept going. Nope. You. Me. And a fucking bed. Now.
I was about to carry her off when she yelled, “Jared! I said stop!” And she pushed me away.
I stumbled back, shocked out of my trance. My body was fucking screaming for her. I stood there, trying to fucking figure out what to say to her to bring her back to me, but she didn’t give me a chance. She leapt off the counter and ran out of the house.
I had no idea what the hell I was going to do now, but one thing was for damn certain.
That would happen again.
Copyright © 2013 Penelope Douglas
All rights reserved—Penelope Douglas