It was hard at school.
Jackson tried to talk to me in class and when we were arriving back at home after school. But… after our talk at the restaurant, I had decided to just completely ignore him when he tried to talk to me. It was just too painful to hold onto the memory of the friend that was one of the most amazing people I have ever met. So I decided to back off, and only think about him when I knew he wouldn’t know I was. It was my own little secret, I suppose. Not even Kristian, who I was getting closer and closer too, knew I have having little moments where I let my guard down.
I managed to hold on though, and this made me proud. It was Thursday night before I fell apart. I cried myself to sleep, and I felt weak for the first time in a while. No matter what, I was always strong enough to hold onto my emotions, and only show my happiness. Now, I was falling apart, and showing myself that I wasn’t the hard-as-stone character I have been for the past 16 years.
I was scared.
Friday morning, I woke up feeling more tired than before I fell asleep. My eyes were heavy with bags, and I rubbed them wearily, yawning heavily. I didn’t want to go to school. It was just too much effort. I fell back on my pillow, groaning as I did.
My eyes were closed, and I was just drifting back to sleep, when I heard my bedroom door open. Assuming it was my mother, I kept my eyes shut. I stretched my arms up above my head, and relaxed my head into a more comfortable position.
I was confused, as usually my mother would have said something by now, usually ‘get out of bed’, but I hadn’t heard anything as of yet. I opened my eyes a crack, but couldn’t see anything as my black curtains in my room didn’t leave much to see when it was darker than usual outside. Suddenly, something jumped onto my bed on top of me, knees on either side of my legs, one hand around my wrists, while the other had one finger placed over my mouth. My eyes flew open, and though I couldn’t make out any details, I could see their outline above me. I was panting softly, as I had basically just had a heart-attack, and my heart was now pounding erratically in my chest. I caught the familiar smell of Calvin Klein cologne, and I instantly knew who was sitting on top of me.
“Kristian. Get off me,” I tried to say, but it was mumbled by his hand, so it sounded more like ‘Kristin. Geroff ee’ which didn’t quite have the desired effect I was looking for. But he got the message, taking his fingers off my mouth, and switching on the bedside lamp beside me. The room was illuminated with a soft yellow light, and I could finally see Kristian who was still sitting on top of my legs. His blue-green eyes were dancing with humour, but they stopped when they landed on my face. His good-natured grin fell off his face, and his mouth popped open a fraction.
“Car… what happened?” he asked, his German accented voice soft as he leaned back and got off my legs, sitting on the other side of my bed instead. I followed him with my eyes as he moved across, and rolled my head over so I was facing him. I just shook my head softly, and mouthed ‘nothing’ before closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, and sitting up. I threw the covers off, and stood up, walking to the bathroom to get ready. I was only in my black lacy bra and boy short underwear, but I didn’t mind being exposed in front of Kristian. We were basically family anyway, so I didn’t care. I stood in front of the mirror, and splashed cool water on my face from the gushing tap. It felt wonderful on my face, and I smiled as it ran down my face, and it tickled as it trickled down my neck to my collarbone. I opened my eyes, and saw why Kristian was so worried.
My eyes were red, and underneath them was all puffy. My cheeks were streaked with black from the make-up that I forgot to take off the night before, which looked horrible, and a whole lot more horrible for me to try and clean off. I turned the hot water on, and started to wash my face, lathering up the cleanser to get the make-up off. Splashing my face with warm water, I ran my damp fingers through my hair, and shook the curls out until they fell like a cascade of white around my shoulders. I smiled at my reflection, feeling better with the smeared make up off my face. I felt refreshed and my spirits were bolstered.
I brushed my teeth, and applied my black eye liner and mascara before walking out to my room again, a smile upon my face. Kristian looked up as I walked into the room, one of my song books in his hands. I froze on the spot, eyes on the book in his hands. He was reading it? Oh no. I dashed forward to him, and took the book from his hands, holding it to my chest as I took a few steps back, eyes wide.
He looked up, a look of confusion upon his face. “Why did you do that?” he asked quietly. I put the book down on my bedside cabinet, and walked around my room, gathering clothes I wanted to wear for the day, and putting them on as I walked.
“Because…” I started, stopping as I put clothes on. A high-waisted black skirt, that ended mid-thigh, was followed by a white long sleeved shirt that was low cut in a ‘V’, and was tight against my body. “I don’t want anyone reading it.” I tucked this into my skirt, and stepped into my white heels. “It’s embarrassing.” I shook my hair out again with my fingers, and turned to Kristian with a smile on my face to find him reading my song book again.
“Kristian!” I climbed over my bed to where he was sitting on the far side, and took the book from his hands.
“It was good though. I liked the lyrics,” he said softly, eyes levelling with mine. I was touched… they weren’t that great though. I wasn’t sure if I should let him read more, or if I should take it off him. I sighed, and gave it back to him. He smiled at me, and started flicking through the pages until he got to the song he was reading before. His eyes flew back to me quickly, taking in my figure.
“You look good, by the way. Beautiful,” he said with a smile, before going back to the book. I blushed, grabbing the book from him and sticking it into my messenger bag, along with my iPod and cell phone. I stood by the door, and pointed out to the hall.
“Go.” Kristian, looked at me, and smiled as he heaved himself off my bed, making a large scene out of it. I rolled my eyes at him, and turned my head so I was looking down the dark hallway, which meant I wasn’t expecting it when Kristian picked me up around my waist and threw me over her his shoulder fireman style.
“Kristian!” I squealed, curling my legs up in a defensive pose, even though it had no effect what-so-ever. So I allowed him to carry me down the dim hallway, which must have been difficult for Kristian, as he had my additional weight added. An extra 110 pounds wouldn’t be that useful. He managed to get us to the kitchen, where he heaved me off his shoulder, and set me gently on the bench. My mother looked up from the newspaper, and her cup of coffee, and smiled at us.
“Thank you, Kristian. I knew you could get her out of bed,” she smiled, her light blue eyes dancing. I scowled at her, unhappy at her for making a joke of me, but I couldn’t stay mad when Kristian was the one who had woken me, instead of her. It was a nice change to the barking command I was accustomed to.
“It was my pleasure, Leona,” Kristian said softly, with a matching smile. I shook my head at his charms; he sure had a way with adults, or just women in general. I had noticed that during school, the girls had been looking at me with envy in their eyes, whether I was with Kristian and Viktor or not. But perhaps those stares were not for the fact that I was with Kristian and Viktor, but the fact I was without Jackson. After all, I had been with Jackson for almost every minute of my schooling for the last 10 years… and now that I wasn’t, they had all had a go; probably to the same effect. Rejection… they were envious at the ease I had been so close to Jackson.
“Let us go,” Kristian said, taking my arm gently, bringing my out of my thoughts. I willingly complied, and waved to my mother over my shoulder, hearing a soft chuckle from her.
Kristian pulled me to his silver Jaguar, which was parked outside, and opened the passenger side door for me. I gave him a look, and he simply smiled, and made a sweeping gesture, motioning for me to get into the car. I hopped in the passenger seat, getting a fright when Viktor popped his head forward from the back seat.
“Hallo!” he exclaimed, giving me my second mini-heart attack in half an hour. He laughed at my reaction as I placed a hand over my heart, and rounded to face him. I heard the door shut beside me, and saw Kristian walking around the front of the car. Viktor was grinning at me, looking more energetic than I had ever seen him.
“What have you been giving him?” I asked Kristian, who had just buckled into the driver’s seat. Kristian glanced back at Viktor, who disguised his grin with a look of ‘innocence’; his lips puckered together and eyebrows rose, making him look almost surprised. He shook his head at his brother, and shook his head while he started the car.
“I do not know. But I blame Mother.”
I laughed at that, and buckled in before Kristian pulled out of my drive, and took us to school.
It was lunch time, and I was sitting at the lunch table with Kristian and Viktor. I was nibbling at my salad and sipping at my vitamin water, not really hungry. The first four periods of the day had been increasingly horrible, and I had lost my appetite. The loud noises of the animal-like students made my head throb, and I felt like I was going to cry. All-in-all, this day was not going well.
I was glad for Viktor and Kristian though. They were my rocks on bad days. I had Kristian on my left, and he had noticed my good mood evaporate during English first. He was now constantly rubbing my back in rhythmic circles, which relaxed me, but did not ease my head-ache, or bring back my appetite. Viktor was sitting on the other side of me, jabbering to him in German, which left me out of the conversation. But even in the foreign language, I could tell he was saying something about me, but the way he looked at me every few seconds, and how Kristian’s hand pressure became increasingly harder.
Viktor stopped talking abruptly, which caused me to look up. Jamie was standing at the other side of our round table, dark hair more dishevelled than usual; it looked at is he had been running his finger though it multiple times, making it stick up in several places, when usually it would all be flat and straight against his head. His forest green eyes were staring straight at me, and I felt the bottom drop out of my stomach. I could see something in those dark green depths that I had never seen before, and I wasn’t sure of how I felt about that… I think scared would be the correct term. Maybe nauseous?
“Hey, Carter,” he said softly, averting his eyes quickly, before bringing them back to my face. I smiled quickly, muttering a quick ‘hi’. I wasn’t in the mood for whatever Jamie was planning, and I was hoping he would go away.
“What do you want, Jamie?” Kristian said, his voice cold. I had told the boys everything about Jamie, Lincoln, Bethany… anyone who had been cruel to me over the years. They understood what Jamie wanted, for the most part, and it was something I wasn’t too sure if he really wanted it.
“I was wondering if I could talk to Car alone? Just for a minute. If she wants to?” he said, directing the last part at me, his eyes pleading. I had been watching Kristian, who had removed his arm from my back, creating a cold patch which I didn’t like, but now I moved my eyes to his own. I saw the pure vulnerability in them, and I caved.
I stood, sighing, and slung my bag over my shoulder, grabbing my vitamin water, but leaving my salad. I wasn’t going to eat it anyway. I looked at Jamie only quick enough to see triumph on his face, and this made my stomach squirm. Maybe this was all a joke? Was he going to make a walking/talking joke out of me? I would have to wait to find out.
He walked with me out of the cafeteria in silence, out to the courtyard at the back of school. He sat with me on a picnic table, and I turned to face him, to find him looking at his hands, his face paler than usual.
“Hey,” I said softly, playing a hand on his arm, making his eyes jump to my own. “What’s wrong?”
Jamie looked down at my hand on his arm, and I thought I saw a flicker of a smile jump to his lips as he shook his head. When he looked up again, the smile was gone, and I was unsure if I had mistaken it. Instead, his lips were set in a determined line, and I knew I was heading for something groundbreaking. Honestly, and utterly groundbreaking.
“Carter… will you go out with me?” he asked gently, looking up at me from under his lashes, green eyes wary. I frowned; why did he take me here, by my self, to ask me that? He had never gone to such an extreme before. Always before other people.
I was silent. I was shocked.
I was considering it.
There was a mass of information rushing though my head, and I was having trouble deciphering it. But I got the gist of it… ‘Do it’ my mind was telling me; which shocked me. All my high schooling experience, I have been shunning Jamie, even when he hadn’t been the cocky bastard he had become over the last year. I had been keeping my distance, even more so when I learnt he liked me. I put that all down to me being unattainable. He couldn’t have me, because of Jackson. I refused to date while I was best friends with Jack, because I felt like I didn’t need anyone else in my life. But now that Jackson was gone… I suppose I could. Even with Kristian and Viktor in my life again, it wasn’t the same as when I was friends with Jackson, and I felt a cold space in my heart where he had been.
I was considering it.
“Uh… why are you asking me out? There are much better girls around, you know…” I said, my voice shaking. I heard him exhale, and his body slumped in defeat. At his movement, I felt guilt rush through my body. He smiled a sad smile; looking up at me again.
“You honestly have no idea how beautiful you are, Carter. You are the only girl at this hell hole that I can see for who you are…” he trailed off, placing his hand over mine softly, and my heart lurched. Did he really think that?
“Jamie…” I breathed, feeling my heart jump to my throat as I spoke. He was looking at me with pleading eyes, and I just… couldn’t not do it.
I sighed, and nodded.
I nodded again. “Yeah… I’ll go out with you, Jamie…”