They couldn't have hurt me more if they had torn my heart into a million pieces. The comments they made - about my clothes, my family life, my dancing abilities, and especially my innocence when it came to guys - had gone far enough. One moment, they'd been teasing me about never having been kissed, and the next moment, they'd been making fun of the fact that I'm not as skinny as they were. They'd laughingly told me that I wasn't skinny enough to be a dancer - which really angered me. They'd bashed my style choices, explaining why the outfit I was wearing wasn't fashionable enough. And when they'd talked about what a loser my dad was, and what a misfit Dakota was turning out to be, I lost my cool.
Funny how yelling the words "Both of you get out!" made people scramble for their lives.
Apparently, my words had reached outside the house, because Devyn came storming in, those expressive eyes of his filled with anger toward my "friends." As soon as it was just the two of us in the house, I finally allowed myself to burst into tears.
And Devyn sat beside me, stroking my back and letting me cry. Our silence was filled with the words neither of us needed to speak.
At long last, I wiped the last of the tears from my eyes and let out a sigh. "Kacie and Brittany couldn't have been crueler," I said. "Did you hear what they said about my family and about me? Did you hear how stupid they were being? It made me feel like I'm not good enough."
"Good enough for what?"
I shrugged. "I don't know," I mumbled. "Just not good enough in general."
"Their opinion doesn't matter."
I nodded, numb. No, perhaps their opinion didn't matter, but it still hurt. I closed my eyes and tried to remind myself that even if other people didn't approve of me, God did. But the words were easier to say than to believe, and I found myself about to cry again. No, Nadia. No more tears!
I let out a shaky breath. All in today, I'd cried more than I had in months! The realization was rather humiliating. "I promise, I don't cry all the time," I told Devyn. "You just...catch me at the wrong times. You probably think I'm such a crybaby!"
"Do you want to know what I think?" Devyn asked, and his closeness made my skin tingle. There had been something going on between us for almost a year now, but neither of us had ever mentioned anything about being in a relationship. Now, however, I could read Devyn's eyes clearly: they were focused on my lips.
Before I could protest, Devyn kissed me ever so softly. I felt his hand smooth hair away from my face, and for a moment, it didn't matter what other people said about me.
For a moment.