Authors: Taylor Henderson
Blake rubbed his head and focused his eyes on mine as he reached for my hand. “Violet, I shouldn't have lied to you yesterday.” He rubbed small circles on the back of my hand as he spoke, making it slightly harder for me to pay attention to what he was saying. “You have to understand that I had a good reason for doing so though. Okay?”
I shook my head. “If you can't tell me your honest reason for hanging out with Brianna then I won't be honest with you anymore. Which would basically signify the end of our relationship, since you can’t have a relationship without honesty.”
He shook his head slowly, leaning back on his swing. “Violet, please. Don't you trust me?”
, but that was until you lied to me. At first it was only Brianna that I didn't trust.” As cliché as it sounded, it was true.
“I don't see why. If you actually get to know her, she's not that bad. I don't see why you guys hate each other.”
I yanked my hand from his grasp. “She's not that bad? She’s treated me terribly on multiple occasions. She given me lice, put gum in my hair, super-glued my backpack shut, and on our sixth grade camping trip she pushed me into poison ivy. When she got suspended for that, she told me that it had been worth it. She’s pure evil. Every year she finds a new way to torture me, and I've never done anything to deserve it!”
Blake rubbed the back of his neck. “I know she's done a lot to you in the past, but maybe she had a good reason for it? What if she wanted to try and reconcile with you?”
“Then I'd say that was complete bull shit, and I'd flick her off.”
“Would it kill you to forgive and forget? Can't you just be kind to her?” he countered.
I crossed my arms over my chest. “Fine. Then I'd say that was complete bull shit, and I'd
flick her off.”
Blake frowned and pushed himself off of his swing. “Wow. Do you have to be so stubborn all the time?”
“Stubborn is my middle name.”
“Yeah. Along with rude, and impatient.”
“So you're taking up for Brianna?” I looked down at my hands as I spoke. Now I understand why Blake was so interested in his shoes before. Why wouldn't he be? His shoes are more interesting than talking to his rude, stubborn, and impatient girlfriend.
I felt Blake's finger on my chin as he tilted my head up to look at him. “I'm not taking sides, Vi. I just think you should be a little more understanding.”
“Understanding of all the things she's ever done to me? Why are you all of a sudden such good friends with her? Why were you at her house yesterday anyway?”
“I can't tell you. Just trust me when I say that I had a good reason, okay?” There was honesty in his eyes, but I couldn't help the immense feeling of doubt that surged through me.
“I just figured you were breaking up with me for her.” I wanted to slap myself for feeling so insecure. This wasn't like me at all.
“What?” Shock was clearly written across his face as he stared down at me. “Why would I do that? Violet, I really like you.”
“I really like you too, Blake.” Lame. I know. We have been dating for almost two years now and we still hadn't gotten to the “love” stage yet. Love is a really strong word and you have to make sure you mean it when you say it. Blake had said it before, but at the time I had been too nervous to say it back, but now that I wanted to say it I was too worried that he wouldn't feel the same way anymore. I'm such a loser.
Blake pressed his lips gently to my forehead before pulling me to my feet. He wrapped his arms around me, resting his head on my shoulder. “I'm sorry, Vi.” His warm breath blew across my neck, sending tingles down my spine.
“I'm sorry too.”
“For what? You didn't lie to me.” Blake leaned back and looked into my eyes.
“I'm sorry for being rude, stubborn and impatient.”
“Don't be. I love that about you. You're not afraid to speak your mind and you don't care what others think.”
My cheeks warmed and I looked down to hide my blush. Blake placed his finger under my chin and tilted my head up again. He placed a quick kiss on my lips before pulling back and smiling sheepishly. My lips heated from his kiss and I unconsciously leaned forward again, wrapping my arms around his neck and standing on my tip toes as our lips came into contact. Blake kissed me back gently for a moment, but when I tried to deepen the kiss, he pulled away with a teasing smile on his face.
“I’ve never been that into public displays of affection,” He trailed off and looked a bit embarrassed as his eyes focused on something over my shoulder. Glancing behind me, I couldn't help but laugh when I saw Lena making kissy faces at us.
“Isn't she so mature?” My words dripped with sarcasm.
He smiled, looking into my eyes again, and changing the subject back to our earlier conversation. “Violet, you have absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to Brianna. There is nothing going on between the two of us, and there never will be.”
“Really?” I questioned, biting my bottom lip.
Anyone could tell from the way that I stumbled into school that morning that I hadn't gotten much beauty sleep last night. As if it wasn't enough that I had spent half the night texting Blake, I woke up to my mother's high pitched shrieks. Apparently she had come across my secret stash of hair appliances that I had kept hidden in the back of my bathroom cabinet. Thanks to her lecture about how flat irons and hair dryers were a potential danger to my physical health—she had the idea that I would burn my ears or set my hair on fire—I was late to gym for the second time that week.
My hair was frizzy from being towel dried and I had seemingly permanent bags under my eyes from lack of sleep. My backpack dug into my shoulders as I trudged through the empty hallways, only stopping once to splash cold fountain water onto my face. Once inside the girls locker room, I was relieved to see that Ms. Botch was nowhere in sight. A few of my classmates were lingering as they took their time to change into their gym uniforms, and I was happy when I came across a glimpse of bright red hair near my locker.
In a few quick steps, I was beside Lena and already tugging my shirt over my head. Lena tossed my gym shirt and shorts at me with a smirk imprinted on her face. Returning her smirk with a scowl, I tugged on my gym shirt and stepped into the shorts in one fluid motion. As soon as I was dressed, Lena wrapped her arms around my shoulders and led me out to the football field where the rest of the class was standing. I couldn't see Ms. Botch over the rest of my classmates, but I could hear her raspy voice as she went over today's class schedule.
“You'll be working in pairs learning how to properly throw and catch a football.” Obviously noticing how everyone immediately pointed to their partner of choice, she added, “I will be assigning the partners so don't get your hopes up. If you and your partner can't work together then you can always run laps for the rest of the class period. It's your choice.” She gave the class a crooked smile as she placed her beefy hands on her hips. “This is part of your grade so no fooling around.” Ms. Botch leaned down to pick up her attendance sheet off the ground. As she marked the students that were absent and present, she assigned partners.
Brianna stood off to the side, closely examining her nails and only looking up when Ms. Botch called out her name. Since I didn't particularly like Brianna, I didn't feel bad when I began to silently pray that she wasn't my partner.
“Brianna Richardson and,” she paused as her finger slid down the attendance list, “Lena Snotty.”
I snorted when I heard Lena's last name, but winced almost immediately when a sharp elbow came into contact with my side. Lena smirked at me for a second before her smirk slipped into a frown as realization took over. Her hand shot into the air causing Ms. Botch to look at her curiously and ask her if everything was all right.
Lena shook her head furiously; her thick red hair whipping around her head reminded me of a dog shaking the water from its fur. “Ms. B, I cannot work with that girl,” her words came out in a snarl. “Two days ago she got into a fight with my little sister. I'll happily run laps the rest of class if you would like.” Lena's brown eyes were narrowed at Brianna as she spoke. Brianna merely looked amused at her words, and even rolled her eyes exaggeratedly.
Ms. Botch cleared her throat, gaining the classes attention again. “That won't be necessary, Lena. I can just pair Ms. Richardson with someone else. How about,” she glanced down at the attendance list in her hand, “Ms. Forrester?”
Before I could attempt to suppress it, a groan escaped from my throat. “Is that a problem Ms. Forrester?” Both of Ms. Botch's eyebrows rose to the top of her forehead, and she gave me a look that seemed as if she was challenging me.
Little does she know; I love challenges. “Honestly, I have a hard time getting along with
, but I don't mind working with Ms. Snotty.” I stifled the laugh that threatened to break through as I said Lena's last name.
Ms. Botch gave me a disapproving look. “If Ms. Richardson has mutual feelings toward the situation then you two can feel free to run laps.” Lena feigned a sad expression while pretending to wipe tears from under eyes. Forget Lena. I should be the one crying right now. Ms. Botch let her out of having to work with her partner without so much as a slap on the wrist, but if I even suggested switching partners I got a stern look and the choice of running laps for an hour. I get tired from just walking up the four steps on my front porch!
From the corner of my eye, I watched as Brianna strutted toward me with an evil grin on her face. “I wanted to work with Violet anyway.” When she was standing next to me, Brianna slung her arm casually over my shoulders as if we were the best of friends.
The perfume cloud that surrounded Brianna threatened to suffocate me. In one quick motion, I shrugged out from under her arm and took two steps away from her body. Noticing my discomfort, a sickeningly sweet smile covered her face. “Are you all right, Violet?”
“That's good to hear. Your hair looks,” she grappled for a compliment, “nice today.”
My hand reached up toward my hair that I knew looked terrible. I hadn't even had time to comb through the tangled locks with my fingers; let alone an actual comb.
“Your hair looks very…blonde today.” Who knew it could be so hard to compliment someone? Why were we complimenting each other anyway?
“So, I've been thinking that the two of us should hang out more. After all, we are neighbors. We should at least get to know each other better.” The smile that stretched across her face was starting to give me the creeps. Why would she want to hang out with me?
“What the hell is wrong with you? Why are being so nice to me of all people? Did you bump your head on someone's bed post last night?” I chuckled a little as I added, “You’re taking the meaning of banging to a whole new level.” Harsh, I know. I can't help it though. I tend to say what's on my mind. Sue me, why don't ya?
Brianna's smile became a glare for a moment before she quickly rearranged her features. “Silly Violet. I'm trying to be nice to you since we'll be hanging out more.” The knowing look on her face made me feel as if there was something that she wasn't telling me.
“What in the world makes you think that we'll be “hanging out more”?” I crossed my arms over my chest, scowling in annoyance.
“I know for a fact that we'll be hanging out more from now on.” There was an evil glint in her eye that made me want to tackle her to the ground and force her to tell me what she was talking about. At least if I did so, I would be putting good use to this football lesson. In front of me, Brianna took a few steps backwards. “You better watch out, Violet,” she spoke.
That sounds more like the Brianna I'm used to. “Are you threatening me, Bri-Bi?” A scowl formed on my face as I stepped closer to her.
“No,” she smirked at me, “I meant it as a warning.
“Isn't that basically the same th—ow!” I clenched my jaw at the pain that was forming on the back of my head and immediately brought my hand up to rub it.
Brianna walked behind me only to return a moment later with a football in her hand. “I told you to watch out.” A small smirk formed on her lips.
“Ms. Forrester! That is not the proper way to catch a football,” a raspy voice yelled from behind me.
The urge to flick off Ms. Botch suddenly overcame me, but I brushed it away and focused on passing the football back and forth with Brianna. The rest of the class period was uneventful with an exception to Brianna's subtle hints of us hanging out in the future. It was surprisingly annoying how nice she was being to me, despite my rude comments toward her.
Blake's words from yesterday resounded in my ears.
“I know she's done a lot to you in the past, but maybe she had a good reason for it? What if she wanted to try and reconcile with you?”
As much as Blake may want to believe that Brianna has every intention of being nice to me, the unmistakably evil glint in her eyes made it perfectly clear that she had ulterior motives.
The bus came to a screeching stop in front of my house. Blake, Lena, and I were pleased to finally be rid of the stuffy bus air as we strode up my driveway. We were chatting amiably about Lena's old school as we took a seat on my porch steps.
“Your old school sounds awesome, Lenny.”
“It sure was. Awesome doesn't even come close to it.” Lena sighed wistfully as she reminisced.
Blake ran a hand through his hair leaving it disheveled when he removed it. “So then why'd you leave?”
“Not that we aren't happy you did,” I added on.
Lena seemed hesitant to respond. “The school itself was awesome, but the people who went there weren't.” Lena's shoulders tensed as she locked her jaw and clenched her fists. She was silent as if she was debating on whether she should elaborate on her statement, but then seemed to think better of it. The only sound came from Lena's ragged breathing. I would have given anything to know what she was thinking about at that precise moment. Her facial expression was perfectly arranged and free of all emotions.
“You don't have to tell us, Lena.” Blake's voice was compassionate and caring. I wanted to disagree with him and say that Lena didn't have to tell
, but she certainly had to tell me. If I don't find out what happened at her old school then it's all I'll think about until I figure it out.
“It's not my secret to tell.” She shrugged her shoulders and looked away, not meeting our eyes.
The silence that enveloped us was anything but comfortable. My eyes focused on the one dry patch of grass on our lawn until the sound of a revving car engine caught my attention.
Brianna's car pulled into her driveway. Three thin girls climbed out before their leader turned the car off and pushed her own door open. The girl who got out of the passenger seat had familiar red hair, and her face was splattered with freckles. I was caught off guard when Brianna and her fellow skanks—with an exception to Ella because as far as I know, she hasn't made her skank-itude known yet—began to saunter across the lawn and over to where we were seated.
The four girls stood in front of Lena, Blake, and I whilst Brianna cleared her throat to gain our attention. Lena, who had been looking off into the distance, snapped her head toward the girls.
“Hey Ocean, Violet,” Brianna paused for a second as she looked Lena up and down before saying, “Red.”
Ocean? Since when does Brianna have a nickname for Blake?
“Ocean?” I voiced my thoughts.
Brianna shrugged and bit her bottom lip, her eyes meeting Blake’s. “His eyes remind me of the ocean.”
Blake wrapped his arm around my waist as if I was going to spring up at Brianna at any moment. Why would I care if she gave him a nickname?
In response to Brianna's statement, Lena rolled her eyes, looked past Brianna and addressed her sister. “Why are you here? Don't you have homework to do? Does dad know where you are?”
Ella rolled her eyes, glaring down at her older sister. “That's none of your business.”
Lena scoffed, pushed herself off of the step she was sitting on, and brushed off her bottom. “Come on. I'm taking you home.”
“Who made you queen of everything?” Ella questioned, crossing her skinny arms over her chest, and not once breaking eye contact with her older sister. “Besides, Brianna already offered to give me a ride home.”
“Do you really want a repeat of last year? Can't you stop for a second and think about how your actions affect other people?”
Ella took a step toward Lena. Her face was turning red, and her hands were balled up at her sides. “I hate you. I really do.”
“I'm glad the feeling is mutual.”
“I'm glad too. More importantly, I came to talk to Mrs. Forrester. So anytime now would be fine,” Brianna spoke, looking bored with the situation at hand.
Everyone's head turned to look at Brianna. She smiled sheepishly before gesturing for Blake and me to move out of her way.
Blake stood up, holding his hand down to me, but I ignored it. “Why do you need to talk to my mom?”
“Get off of my lawn and take your supporting sluts with you.”
Brianna smiled and pushed past me, ringing the doorbell. Before I had time to react, the door opened and there stood my mother. Her hair was pulled up into a high ponytail and she busily wiped her hands on the front of her apron.
“Brianna! It's a pleasure to see you, sweetheart! You're growing up into such a respectable young lady.” Respectable young lady, my ass. To my dismay, she leaned down and wrapped her arms around Brianna in a tight hug. When she finally pulled away, she said, “I'm so excited to have you and your family here tonight!”
Brianna smiled sweetly. “I'm excited to be coming! Thank you so much for allowing me to stay here. I really appreciate it, Mrs. Forrester.”
I frowned to myself. Staying here? Why would Brianna be staying at my house? What did I do to deserve this cruel and unusual punishment?