Distance: Inside the Mind of Jason NicholsMature

The first day I saw her, I didn't know what to think. Her wavy auburn brown hair frizzed around her shoulders with a clumsy grace I found rather cute. Then, there was her eyes. Emerald green bursting with a curiosity that would always be starving for more. There was so much life in her eyes and yet, she sat in the back of the classroom--every classroom--and kept to herself. Even the students seemed to overlook her as if her existence didn't register to them. Of course, having the cursed luck that I do, the teacher put us beside each other.

"Why are you doing this to me, dearest Fate?" I mumbled before I sat beside her.

I didn't know her name or her story but, that didn't seem to matter much to me know. I guess I expected a warm welcome, given what I just gathered from her eyes. Instead, she pretended to ignore me at first. When she finally did speak, she introduced herself.

"Rachel..." She said in her small, velvety voice.

Every ounce of it was filled with uncertainty, as if a certain part of her was afraid to talk to me...or just afraid of me.

A pure soul. With yours so corrupted, why bother speaking? It could only endanger her. You know that.

I could never ignore that voice, always a part of me that never seemed to let me enjoy the good moments. It annoyed me even more that it was right. I tried to hold my tongue, I really did. Her voice's eager call to that deep part of me resonated through my bones and my soul. This call I truly couldn't ignore...not that I wanted to.

***

Against my better judgment, and my darker side's urges to strike, I picked a fight and intentionally lost to a meathead with high social status. Great. Making so many wonderful friends at a new school. In a small town like Freeridge, word is going to spread fast. If Dad hears about this, he'll want to move again. Despite sporting painful facial injuries, it was worth it to see a bully get what he deserved and save a damsel in distress. Although, I guess I did make her cry.

"I'll have to make it up to her."

She has a strong spirit and a warrior's determination. She is too much like Mother. It's best to stay away before something bad happens. Something always does.

Ignoring the voice as usual, I asked Rachel to walk home with me. I wanted to know more about her. In truth, I wanted more than just to know her. There was still a part of me that kept her at arms length, not allowing her to see the real me. It had to stay that way. It was the only thing keeping me from falling apart.

Then it happened. It happened as she began her sad, complicated tale.

***

She was right. I didn't want to know. I didn't need to. It only made me want her more. But I pushed her away.

The next day, school dragged on longer than it normally did. The one class Rachel and I shared finally rolled around and my stomach churned violently at the thought of what I was about to do. After being there for her yesterday, I laid in my bed as my instincts drove me to one conclusion: push her away or she would end up like Mom. I wasn't ever going to let the latter happen to anyone again.

I stepped into the classroom and immediately looked her way. Rachel brightened up and smiled at me. I maintained a blank expression as I walked down the rows and past her.

"Jason...?" She whispered as I passed.

My heart cringed at the pain and confusion in her voice. Stop. This is already hard enough. Don't do or say anything else. Can't you see that I'm on the verge of breaking?

***

When Jason walked in, I perked up. Until then, I had been drifting hazily through my classes as usual. I admit, I almost looked forward to coming to school now just to see him. Jason didn't react once he saw me. In fact, he seemed unfazed by even my smile. Shake it off. He probably hasn't seen you yet. Relax.

"Tell that to my heart," I muttered, silently urging my pounding heart to slow.

Jason walked down my row...and kept walking. Stunned, I could only utter his name.

"Jason...?"

Hurt and confused, I twisted around in my seat to stare at him. I watched him take a seat on the opposite side of the classroom, in the back row. Did he intentionally walk towards me only to turn his back and take a seat over there? On purpose? The nerve of that asshole!

Anger boiled over inside me and I made sure to send Jason sharp daggers every time our eyes met. A flash of hurt crossed his eyes the first time, but that only satisfied me. I spent the rest of class thinking of how I was going to get him back for screwing with my emotions.

"I know, I'll just ignore him like he doesn't exist. At least, that's what I want to do but...it's probably what he wants," I mumbled to myself.

The more I thought about Jason and what he pulled, the more it hurt. How can he do that to me? He was so caring and understanding yesterday!...Wait, there's no way he would have done that on purpose! Would he? The idea that Jason could've joined up with Matt and his bullying ways sickened me. Then again, I couldn't come up with a reason for Jason to want to side with Matt. When the end-of-class bell rang, I remained seated. My classmates filed out casually, completely oblivious to me. I closed my notebook and shoved it in my duct-taped book bag. Standing up, I slung it carelessly over my shoulder and glanced over at Jason. He glanced back expressionless. That jerk! I stormed out, leaving Jason--unbeknownst to me--staring sadly as I left.

The End

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