Chapter 20 | He's a Stranger
| Connor’s POV |
I woke up the next morning with a mind-shattering headache.
“Connor, get up! Time to get ready for school!” My dad hollered through my bedroom door.
“Can you not scream right now?” I hollered back, gripping my throbbing forehead.
“Sorry son, no can do! Let’s go!” He yelled even louder this time. I could tell he was standing directly in front of my bedroom door to purposely yell louder.
I huffed and threw my blanket off me as I slowly sat up. I placed both of my feet firmly on the floor below and slowly started to stand up, but instantly stumbled back down onto the comfort of my bed.
“Well, today is going to suck.” I mumbled to myself. I stood up again and finally made it to my bathroom. I immediately shrugged off my boxers and got into the shower. The warmth of the water helped a little to wake me up, but my throbbing headache still made me feel nauseous.
“Maybe I just need to puke.” I told myself. I opened the shower curtain and leaned over the toilet just as everything came up. After a few minutes of emptying my stomach into the toilet, I flushed but then immediately cursed myself as scolding hot water burned my skin.
“Fuck!” I yelped, standing as far away from the stream of water as I could.
Once the temperature cooled off some, I was able to finish my shower.
I got out and wrapped a towel around my waist as I stood in front of the mirror and began brushing my teeth. After that, I ran a comb through my hair and then left the bathroom to head over to my closet.
After picking out a simple pair of jeans and a white T-shirt, I threw my clothes and shoes on then grabbed my bag and phone and headed downstairs.
The instant smell of food caused my stomach to turn yet again, but I was able to keep my stomach from regurgitating once more.
“Hello dear! Breakfast?” My mother smiled wide, knowing that I couldn’t eat anything right now. She picked up the plate of pancakes and brought them to my nose, forcing me to inhale the delicious, yet nauseating aroma.
“Mom, please!” I whined, stepping away from the plate of pancakes and going to sit at the kitchen table.
My mom laughed and poured a cup of coffee then walked over to place it in front of me. “Here, you’ll need this.”
“Thanks.” I mumbled, taking a large gulp of the bitter liquid.
A few moments later, Mark and Red came strolling down the stairs. They both looked as bad as I felt.
Do I look as bad as they do?
“Well hello there boys! Breakfast?” My mom chirped, holding the plate of food directly in front of their faces the same way she did to me just a few minutes ago.
“Mom, please don’t harass my friends.” I sighed, peering over my coffee cup.
“Who’s harassing? I am merely asking if they want something to eat. I mean after all, you boys had quite the night last night.” She innocently stated.
“No thank you Mrs. Gaines. I don’t think I’ll be able to eat all week.” Red sighed, dramatically rubbing his stomach.
“Mark?” My mother asked.
“No thank you. If I look at that plate again I’ll puke.” He admitted while scrunching his nose up in disgust.
“Fair enough.” My mother sang as she placed the plate of pancakes in front of my dad and little sister.
“ConCon got in trouble huh mommy?” Arabelle teased.
“Shut up Bell.” I hissed.
“Connor.” My dad scolded.
“Sorry...” I sighed, sinking down into my chair a bit.
“Haha, ConCon.” Red teased, taking a seat beside me after grabbing himself a cup of coffee.
“Shut up.” I hissed again, which cause my dad to send me a glare.
“Arabelle, finish your breakfast and go grab your bag for school.” My mom instructed.
“Is Connor gonna get punished?” Arabelle asked with a smirk.
“Oh you better believe it!” My dad smiled down at my little sister. “Grounded for a week.”
“What! Dad I’m not a little kid anymore, you don’t have to ground me like I’m ten.” I huffed.
“Should’ve thought of that before you broke the rules ConCon.” My little sister sang.
I glared at my little sister and as she walked swiftly past me, she let out a sudden yelp after having stood in front of me for a split second.
“Ow! Daddy, Connor flicked me!” She whined, turning back around to my dad and running to his arms.
“Oh come on! I did not! Stop whining.” I glared, fed up with my evil spawn of a sister.
“Connor, add another two days to that grounding!” My dad glared while hugging my little sister.
Once Arabelle turned back around to face me, she gave me a wide grin before heading up stairs to grab her bag for school.
My eyes widened as I looked over to my mom for help, but she only shrugged her shoulders with a small smile resting on her face.
“Whatever.” I mumbled while I grabbed my bag and headed for the front door. Red and Mark followed shortly after and we got inside Red’s truck to head to school. I’m glad he has a car, because if not we would be walking to school with hangover’s and that would not have been ideal.
“Damn ConCon, your sister is...” Red started to say, but I finished his sentence for him. “Satan.” I glared.
“Well, in so many words...” Red snickered, as his eyes remained trained on the road ahead.
“Right? What happened to the little girl who used to ask us to play hide and seek with her?” Mark chuckled, shaking his head at how evil my little sister now is.
“Trust me, I have no idea.” I sighed, leaning back against the car seat.
“Man, I am so not ready for today. I wish my parents weren’t home because I would totally skip school right now.” Red sighed.
“Why aren’t your parents at work?” I asked.
“They have weird schedules. They don’t work every day of the week like normal parents.” He shrugged.
“Technically I could skip, but I’d rather be in school than at home.” Mark sighed while looking out of the window as the trees passed us by.
“Why’s that?” Red asked. “Oh wait, I remember. Sorry bro.” He sheepishly smiled into the rear-view mirror at Mark.
“It’s cool. Can’t be upset over something I can’t change.” He sighed again.
I felt bad, but not too bad. I still have this bad feeling that he isn’t being truthful to me about Naveah. I don’t want to believe that they may have something going on, because honestly that would crush me. Mark has been my best friend since I met him, and I told him that Naveah was off limits from the beginning. He gave me his word, but how can I trust that? I can’t just sit around and wait for something to happen, I need to make sure that nothing is going on that I don’t know about.
Of course, neither Naveah nor Mark would ever tell me if there was something going on, but maybe I can give them the benefit of the doubt.
Maybe they just don’t know how to tell me yet. Only time will tell I suppose.
A few moments later, we arrived at school. Crowds of teenagers filled the schoolyard and parking lot.
I knew today was going to be a very long day.
As Red, Mark and I approached the entrance to the school, Marissa appeared out of nowhere.
“Hey Connor!” She smiled wide.
“Uh, hey.” I semi-smiled.
“Listen, is it ok if we talk?” She asked. I looked into her light blue eyes and wondered what on earth she could possibly want to talk to me about.
I noticed Mark give me a weird look from the corner of my eye, but thought nothing of it.
“Um, sure Marissa.” I shrugged.
“Great! Follow me.” She urged, grabbing me by my hand and yanking me with her inside the school.
I glanced back at Red and Mark and shrugged my shoulders as I followed Marissa.
Once we were inside the school, Marissa let go of my hand but I continued to follow her as we entered the library.
“Why in here?” I asked.
“Because... I don’t want any eavesdropper’s in here.” She sighed.
“Okay...” I wearily replied. “What’s up?”
“Well... It’s about Naveah.” She began, giving me a look that I couldn’t quite read.
“What about her?” I rose my eyebrows with curiosity.
“It’s about Mark too.” She slowly began.
I could feel my stomach drop.
“Please continue.” I urged.
| Naveah’s POV |
“The boys were so weird last night.” Lucy chuckled as we stopped at my locker.
I opened my locker and began putting books away and taking the books out needed for my upcoming classes for the day.
“Yeah, it’s not like Connor to get drunk period, let alone on a school night.” I sighed, thinking back to last night and how ridiculous he acted. He must be really hurting.
“He must be taking the break up really hard.” Callie sighed, giving me a knowing look.
“Yeah, I feel horrible.” I confessed, and while Callie may have thought it were a lie, it couldn’t have been more true. I did feel horrible... about everything. I didn’t want things to escalate this far, but I knew I only had myself to blame.
“Remind me again why you let him go so suddenly?” Lucy asked.
“I just... I don’t know,” I began while looking down at my books in my hands. “I just don’t feel the same as I used to feel.”
“That must be a crappy feeling.” Lucy said, placing her hand gently on my shoulder.
“I’m sure he just needed to let his emotions out too, like you did.” She shrugged.
“I guess you’re right. Still, it was totally weird.” I confessed.
“You’re telling me. Apparently after they left your house, they lost Connor’s house key and then they lost Connor!” Callie started laughing while holding her stomach. “Red called me before he went to bed and I honestly thought I was going to die.”
“So that’s why you were laughing in the living room last night. I was about to come down stairs and give you a piece of my mind!” Lucy chuckled while shaking her head at our crazy best friend.
“I couldn’t help it. Besides, Red’s accent makes the stories he tells all the more funnier.” She laughed some more.
“Well, I am glad I can amuse you babe.” Red suddenly said as he walked up behind Callie and wrapped his arms around her waist. He leaned in and kissed her temple before pulling away.
“See you at lunch?” He asked.
“Of course.” Callie smiled.
I loved seeing my best friend so happy. I am so glad she found someone like Red who balances her out. They are honestly the perfect couple. Kind of like how Connor and I used to be.
Lucy and I walked into first period just as Mr. Smith began his boring lecture. I noticed Mark wasn’t in class, and honestly I was a bit relieved. It was far too early for any more drama.
A few minutes into class, the door swung open and Mark came strolling inside.
“Mr. Chase. You’re late.” Mr. Smith scolded Mark.
“Wow, great observation teach.” Mark sarcastically replied.
“Don’t give me any crap. Take your seat or get out of my class.” Mr. Smith challenged.
“Hm, stay here where I’ll be bored to my death, or leave and chill until next period? Man, tough decision.” He brought his hand to his chin pretending to think over his options.
“That’s it. To the principal’s office Mark. Now!” Mr. Smith roared.
“Peace out.” Mark casually smiled while turning right around and walking towards the classroom door. He gave me a quick glance before leaving and I couldn’t tell what he was trying to say.
“Wow, he is such an idiot sometimes.” Lucy laughed as Mark finally left the classroom.
“I guess he isn’t in the best of moods today.” I shrugged, pretending not to care at all about his sudden defiant behavior.
“Speaking of Mark... whenever he pulled me upstairs to talk last night, he told me that he only wanted to be my friend.” She frowned. My eyes widened as I turned to look at her. “I hate that he doesn’t like me in that way, but whatever right? There are plenty of other fish in the sea.” She smirked.
“Dang, I’m sorry girl. I wonder why he wouldn’t want to date you, you’re perfect.” I smiled, causing her to smile back at me.
“Well, you’re supposed to think that Naveah, you’re my best friend.” She smirked while letting out a chuckle. “It’s alright though. I’m glad he is still my friend, that’s all that matters.” She shrugged.
“Well I’m glad.” I fake smiled. “Things won’t be weird between the two of you, right?” I asked.
“Nah, it shouldn’t. I’d rather he be my good friend than nothing at all.” She smiled.
“I wish Connor could just be my friend.” I sighed, sinking lower into my seat. I’m still unable to shake the images of Connor from last night. I never wanted to put him in that state of mind where he turns to alcohol to hide his feelings. I suppose you can say I am feeling pretty guilty of just about everything these days.
God Naveah, you have one messy life.
After another half hour of agonizingly boring lectures from Mr. Smith, the bell finally rang signaling that class were over. I did a happy dance in my mind as I collected my things and stood up, ready to leave with Lucy.
We made our way out into the hallway and headed towards our lockers.
I opened my locker and put my books inside, grabbing my other books for my next class.
“Hello ladies.” Mark stated while approaching us.
“Hey Mark. Nice display there in the classroom.” Lucy smirked.
“Well you know me; I have to maintain my image.” He shrugged, also smirking.
“So Naveah, sorry about last night. I shouldn’t have let Connor talk us into going over to your place last night. I don’t know why he acted so dumb.” Mark said, looking directly into my eyes.
“It’s fine I guess. I think he’s just taking the break up harshly.” I shrugged, trying to hide the fact that my insides were flipping at the sweet smell of Mark’s cologne.
“I guess. Sucks you guys broke up too. You were like the ideal couple to wanna be.” He laughed, clearly just being annoying now.
“Okay Mark, we get it.” I sighed.
“So Mark, you going to actually show up to second period?” Lucy asked, slinging her bag over her shoulder. Her and Mark have the same second period. I have second period with Callie. Then I remembered that Mark and I share third period History together... how could I forget that?
I dread sitting through that class with him, if he even shows up. Just remembering all the times we skipped History to meet up in the janitor’s closet, makes my stomach churn. Then again, it also gives me a sense of happiness, which I will never understand.
“Hm, I think I will.” Mark smirked. “Shall we?” He asked motioning Lucy to follow him.
“Sure. See ya Naveah.” Lucy waved.
“Yeah, see ya Nave.” Mark smiled, and I wanted to slap him as well as kiss him.
“Bye!” I chuckled while closing my locker shut.
“Um... Naveah.” Callie suddenly appeared beside me.
“Hey, what’s up?” I took in Callie’s alarmed expression.
“Are you sure that Connor is going to be alright?” She slowly asked.
“Yeah.... Why?” I rose my eyebrows.
“Well, I’m just wondering why it is that he’s walking down the hallway right now with... her.” She brought her eyes to something behind me. When I managed to turn around, my heart sunk into my stomach.
Walking in full strides down the hallway was none other than my ex-boyfriend with his arm draped around Marissa Bradley’s shoulders while he’s leaning in to kiss her on the... lips.
“What... the hell...” I whispered. My eyes were bulging out of my skull now as I continued to watch the newly couple walk down the hallway in my direction. While her and Connor walked by Callie and me, Marissa made it her mission to shoot me a smirk, almost as if she were saying she won.
Connor didn’t even look up at me once. He completely acted as if I weren’t even standing right there with no acknowledgement whatsoever.
“What are you going to do about that?” Callie tried not to laugh at my misfortune.
“I have no idea.” I barely spoke above a whisper.
I couldn’t hide the pang of jealousy I felt after watching Connor kiss Marissa practically right in front of me. Why would he go with her, of all people? He knows how much of a tool she is. Is he really this out of it since I broke up with him? Did I push him into Marissa’s arms and push him to start randomly drinking? Marissa must have some sort of agenda, as she’s never been interested in Connor before. I hope she doesn’t do anything stupid to hurt him even more than I already have. I need to figure out what her motive is.
With that being said... This isn’t the Connor I know.
Connor is... well, he’s a stranger.
A stranger to me.