So now two weeks have passed and the ring had remained on my desk in question, totally unchanged.
But there's one other thing, something else, that had changed in this course of time...
I walked down the hallway towards my next class when I felt a firm grip on the upper part of my arm which pulled me towards wherever it was coming from.
When I regained myself it was an empty classroom I was in, right beside the door. He locked the door, "Oh Coop," I wrapped my arms around his neck and I felt his lips touch mine, making the hair stand up on the back of my neck. And every time this happened I kept hearing a voice in my head saying, "More, more please."
But it was always just a kiss. And then, Cooper wrapped his arms around me, burying his face into my neck, "I've missed you so much. I'm so glad I have you back again."
Not quite, for our relationship was secret to all except for Bridget. It was awful of me, I knew, but I didn't know what else to do. I think I loved Cooper, but I also liked Broderick.
I was confused, so confused.
Cooper let go of me and our procedure continued with him leaving the room first, then I'd leave after waiting for people who saw him to pass by.
It seemed as soon as I left the classroom, Broderick was there, "Hey baby I feel like I haven't seen you in ages. Where you've been?" he leaned down to kiss me.
I felt nothing but a pair of lips against mine, "Yes well, I've been around. And we're heading to Pysch together are we not?"
His face hardened, "And so will your little friend."
I rolled my eyes while taking his hand to begin moving, "What is that suppose to mean? Jealous?"
"Ha, I'm jealous of no one. You’re right, there's nothing for me to fear about that skinny little boy."
Was he so wrong.
When we arrived in the lecture hall Broderick and I took our usual seats towards the front. I could feel a pair of eyes on my back and I casually turned m head around to see Cooper. He presented me with no emotion but I knew he'd be smiling. I gave a tiny half-smile before turning my head slowly back to the front. Broderick put his arm around me and whispered, "I'm curious to know who you were looking at."
But our professor came into the hall, giving me an excuse to not answer, "Good afternoon class," Mr. Teuner received nothing but grumbles and groans from his audience.
He clapped his hands together, a habit I've noticed of his, "Today we are going to learn how to tell people's real emotions in their words," he walked from behind the desk and strolled along the front row while speaking, "By the end of this class, most of you could go out and get a job in criminal investigation and figure out when anyone's lying. So," he stopped, stared straight at me, "Why don't we use the happy couple as an example. Miss Farro," he took the small amount of stairs to reach Broderick and me, and suddenly I really wished we sat in the back, "So answer this question, you're dating Mr. Reams, correct?"
"Are you happy with him?"
"Yes," I was sure I said it as calmly and as sure as possible, but if anyone could detect my unsure feelings, it was Professor Teuner.
He definitely did catch whatever it was to prove I was lying, but instead he turned away from us and began making his way back to his desk, "That's wonderful Miss Farro. I'm sure the wedding will be a beautiful and happy one."
I laid low for the rest of lecture, trying so hard not to turn and glance at Cooper.
The rest of the day was uneventful until Cooper and I were walking together, heading to my house. We went by the school field to see the football team practicing, "Oh shit Coop. Quick! Walk faster walk faster!"
But I heard a whistle blow and someone yelling me name right after. Then Broderick was huffing, exhausted, behind me, "Can I talk to you...alone?"
"Uhm, okay," as soon as I agreed he had grabbed my forearm a little too tightly and pinched my skin, but I didn't say anything as I was dragged away.
Broderick pulled me so I was staring at him, appearing quite menacing to me in his football gear, "Do you think what we have is a joke?"
I stared at him incredulously, "What? No? What are you talking about?"
"You're...you're with him again," he spat.
"What?!" I felt anger filling me now, "You're at football practice. My friend offered to walk me home so I don't have to be alone."
Broderick ran his fingers through his sweaty curls, "Then what's with all these rumors? People seeing you sneaking around, people always seeing you with him."
I shook my head, "I never knew nor would see you to be so god damn jealous. Perhaps you should stop listening to rumors and focus more on your team and game and beer!" I shoved him out of my way as I said this, storming back towards Coop, grabbing his arm, "C'mon, let's go."
And I didn't look back.
We were planning on picking up Bridget and the go out, to dinner or a movie or something like that. But when we entered the room, Bridget wasn't there, "How strange," I murmured. Cooper just made himself at home, flopping right onto my bed and closing his eyes.
I came across a slip of paper with my name on it lying on her desk. I picked it up and unfolded it, seeing Bridget's fancy, almost impossible to read cursive:
Sorry about leaving so suddenly, but my mother had become ill and I had to leave immediately for the hospital. The room is open for you...and anyone else to use.
My face was already beginning to turn a slight pink as I could feel warmth settling there. I knew what she was suggesting in her note, but there was no way I would suggest it, "She's at the hospital with her mother," I stated to Cooper, unsure if he was awake or not. The note was shaking in my hand as I spoke, realizing that we were in fact alone.
"Oh? Did it say what's wrong with her?"
I shrugged though he probably could not see, "Just that her mom's sick," I went to stand in front of my bed, "I hope her mom's okay," I wrapped my arms around my chest, sincerely worried.
"Oh I'm sure she is. Bridget will probably call you if something real bad happens. Now come here," Cooper tugged me onto my bed, settling on his chest. It felt familiar, almost too familiar. But it was a good familiarity, the kind that made your chest feel full and complete.
"God I missed you," he wrapped his arms around me and squeezed me against his chest, burying his face in my hair.
I turned my face towards his, receiving a shower of kisses.
But these kisses were different than before, more urgent and intense.
Suddenly, Cooper was directly on top of me, both arms on either side of me almost like a trap, a trap I definitely did not want to escape from. I found myself pulling him close, but close wasn't close enough. As we were still kissing, I felt him against my leg, making butterflies soar about in my stomach from nerves. I haven't done this before! I didn't know what to do!
But Cooper's hand was already on my back fumbling with my bra strap. I found my own hands unbuttoning his shirt; my mind wasn't working anymore, just my body.
Cooper was shaking, so much in fact that I had to joke, "Scared Coop?"
He stopped kissing my chest to chuckle, "If only, if only."
If only, if only indeed.
If only Cooper had never broken up with me, If only we had stayed together like we wanted to, then everything would be perfect.
But "if" is such a horrid word, full of regret and worrying over the past. This was now, and this was going to happen, whether I was scared shitless or not, "Uhm Cooper? You do have something, right?"
And it hurt. God it did hurt and I bit his shoulder to fight back the yelps of pain, since I still didn't want him to know I was a virgin. But then the good feelings everyone talks about began.
And when it was all over, we just laid there in each other's arms. I was exhausted, which I found to be strange, but I didn't notice it because I was still on Cloud Nine.
At that point Cooper started laughing, "That was well worth the wait. Was that any more amazing than with Broderick?"
"Broderick?" I squeaked, "Uhm...well..." The Cloud Nine feeling was falling fast with that name being uttered.
My stutters made Cooper's face fall and his laughter ended abruptly, "Well, you don't have to tell me or anything you know-"
"No!" He jumped with my shout, "I mean, well-"
"Can I tell you something?"
My heart skipped a beat. What could he say? Sorry Sophie, but I only liked you because I wanted to take this from you, I'll be going now? I wouldn't know if I could even live after that.
"This was kind of my first time."
"You know this...I haven't done it before."
I was in total disbelief. What did he wait for all this time, "But you, you could've done that with anyone. In high school, I thought that's what you were doing and..."
"Soph, there wasn't anyone I wanted to give this to in high school. I waited for the right person."
Still in shock, my voice came out in a quiet whisper, "Me?"
"Of course. I mean, Soph, I've always been in love with you."
My eyes grew wide with his words. He loved me? Always has? Some people never hear those words.
I thought I was going to be one of them, "Coop, since we're all being honest here, I think it's time I am too."
"Look I'm sorry if this is totally not how you feel and right now you feel absolutely awkward but I-"
I covered his mouth with my hand as I laughed, "Can you let me talk first?"
When I was sure he wouldn't start blabbering again I removed my hand from his mouth, "As it turned out, this was my first time too. I...I didn't want you to know because I was worried this wasn't your first."
It was his turn to be surprised, "But...Broderick, you've been dating him for almost over a year."
"So what? Maybe I just wanted to wait for the right person too," I sniffed, probably feeling a little too proud over that statement.
"Well, I'm just glad that you thought the right person was me," Cooper began leaning forward to kiss me after this, so I decided to beat him to the punch. His lips were always so inviting and comforting to me, making me want to kiss him and never stop.
The best part was that for once, we didn't stop. We continued all through the night, kissing and snuggling, making love and merely just drinking each other in. After all, neither of us knew if this was the last time we could be together like this. For all we knew Broderick could break the door down right now and end everything. So we enjoyed every minute of that night together, the night filled with a bittersweet atmosphere and our prayers for the sun to never rise.
But the sun did come up. I could feel its warmth on my face as its light shone through my window.
I couldn't find the will to get out of bed, but I at least opened my eyes.
Cooper's face was in front of me, arms still around me in a sleep embrace. The sun was in my eyes, making it hard to see, but I could make out the shape of his face and his messy hair extra messy from sleep and sex. Was he awake? The sun made it almost impossible for me to tell.
Then there was a knock at the door. I immediately tensed up, expecting the worst: Broderick.
"Relax Soph, they'll go away eventually," Cooper's voice was low and groggy with sleep.
Whoever it was knocked again. They'll go away, I thought, they'll decide I'm not home eventually. Trying to put my heart at ease, I snuggled closer to Cooper's bare chest.
Another knock, "Sophie, I know you're in there."
I shot upright. It was Broderick. I looked down at Cooper to see his eyes were wide with worry, "Get up get up!" I hissed.
What to do? My eyes flashed everywhere, thinking of a plan.
"Sophie, you know I have a key."
Fuck! "Hold on dear. I'm...I'm in the tub."
Quickly, I picked up Cooper's clothes from the floor and threw them at him, motioning to the closet. As he snuck inside I turned on the tub's faucet and stuck my head under the flow of water. After I turned the water off I grabbed a towel from the floor and wrapped it around my naked body, praying to the lord this would work, "I'm almost ready," I called out.
"Alright!" Strange, did he sound excited?
To finish off my plan I took my perfume and sprayed it all over the room and my body, trying desperately to mask the smell of sex, "Coming."
When I opened my door I realized I had to be in for something; Broderick's eyes were as red as his hair, "Well this is a pleasant surprise Broderick," I tried to put a smile with my words.
"I wanted to surprise you. Looks like the surprise is on me," he looked hungrily at my skimpy towel, making the feeling of bile rise in my throat, "Can I come in?"
No, "Yes I suppose so. It's messy though."
He sure didn't care if it was messy or not and didn't take his time entering my room, "It smells good in here."
"I used bath beads. It's probably all over this room."
Broderick came up behind me, moving my wet hair away from my neck and leaning in, "Mmmm, jasmine. Very nice, Sophie."
The bile was crawling up my throat again, making me tear myself away from him. I tried to busy myself by picking up clothes off my floor.
"So," Broderick stopped me, "What allows me to have such a presence like yours here, in this state," he stood perhaps a good two feet taller than me. He was huge, "C'mon Sophie, let's forget all about marriage, you're basically undressed already."
This was all wrong. I felt like I was cheating on Cooper, when Broderick was the on I was dating. I put my hand to my forehead; feeling like the world had been flipped upside down in one night. His hand settled above my breast where the hem of my towel sat, as my eyes settled on the too familiar belt sitting on the floor.
"Coop," I whispered, eyes growing wide.
"What was that dear?"
My face shot up from the belt and I removed his hand from my towel, "No, Broderick you're drunk. As usual," I shoved him away and he lost his balance, plopping onto my bed, "But...Sophie..."
"Why do you never ask me this when you're sober?"
"Just take that little towel off for me..." he reached over to me again, only for me to swat his hand away.
Unfortunately, the alcohol started talking to him. Broderick got back on his feet and grabbed my tiny wrist, slamming me onto the bed and trapping me like Cooper, only I squirmed, desperate to be freed, "Broderick, stop, please."
He couldn't hear me; he was off in another time, another place. He tore my towel away and tossed me onto the group, "You’re going to pay Sophie Farro fro ever saying no to me," he enunciated each syllable to me while crushing me further into the floor with his muscle, squeezing the life out of my hands. At this point I was crying, desperate. Cooper was in the closet, I knew, so close to saving me, but I knew that if he'd show his face, Broderick would kill him, "Broderick please," my tears began to trickle down the sides of my head, past my temples.
Then he stopped. He stopped crushing me, distracted by something. I turned my head to follow his gaze, but quickly turned away from it like it had burned my skin.
It was Cooper's belt. Broderick picked it up while his other hand held both of my arms above my head. The belt was waved in front of me, "What is this?" he asked in such a calm voice that it terrified me even more than yelling could.
I took a look at the belt. It was such a plain thing, made of worn brown leather with a silver buckle. But it was the belt that my hands ran across last night and unbuckled with hastiness and plenty of nerves.
I turned my head away again from Broderick and the belt, "I have no idea."
He let go of my wrists to grab my chin and force me to look at him, "What is this?" his teeth grinded as his patience was quickly being lost.
"It's just a stupid belt Broderick. It could be anything."
And before I could think, before I could even blink, Broderick took Cooper's belt and whipped me with it on the chest, in line with my collarbone.
The shock of the action came before the searing pain, "B-Broderick."
He got up, straightened his clothes and began walking to the door.
"B-Broderick," I rolled over onto my stomach, crying. I studied him through the tears in my eyes, "Broderick."
When the door slammed I lost myself completely and curled into a ball, sobbing for everything. The pain from my chest and my wrists, the pain from Broderick's hatred, everything.
Cooper practically jumped out of the closet and gathered me into his arms. He managed to have gotten dressed while he was hiding I noticed. He put his fingers to the skin that was taken off by his own belt, making me flinch for the first time from his touch, "Sophie, I'm so sorry."
And that was all that was said. After that he just held me close in hopes my shuddering sobs would settle. But they wouldn't. Why should they? I knew this time I had really screwed up.
I could only hope Broderick was drunk enough that he'd forget all about this.