Chapter 27 | Mark Needs You Too
My alarm went off, but my eyes were still open. I instantly brought my gaze to my alarm and reached over to turn it off. I’ve been awake all night going over what I’m going to say to everyone once I see them. I didn’t write a speech or anything, because that would be weird. I did go over in my head what I wanted to say though. The constant thoughts and nerves of what’s going to happen today had kept me up all night.
There’s a knock against my bedroom door and my mom poked her head in to greet me. “Naveah, you awake?”
“Yeah.” I replied, as I pushed the covers off my lap.
“You look exhausted, did you even sleep last night?” She asked with widened eyes as she took in my mangled hair and bloodshot eyes.
“Nope, sure didn’t. I’ll be okay though. Can you give me a ride to school?” I asked.
“Sure honey. Want to stop for coffee on the way?” She smirked.
“God yes! Let me just shower and get dressed really quick.” I smiled, walking towards my bathroom.
My mom nodded and then left my room, leaving me to my peace and quiet. I turned on the shower and stepped into the hot waterfall. I allowed the water to sooth my nerves and muscles as I lathered my body in soap. I washed my hair with my honey shampoo and rinsed myself before getting out.
Once I put on a pair of blue-jean skinny jeans and a plain white tank top, I pulled a black cardigan over it and pulled on my black converse. I brushed my wet hair out and ran some hair shining oils through it, to make it seem more alive than it’s been these last few days.
Despite the name calling at school, I decided that today I’m going to be the real Naveah, so I put on my makeup for the first time in weeks and grabbed my bag before heading downstairs.
“Ready?” My mom asked and I nodded as we both walked out of the door and got into her car.
“You look nice today. I haven’t seen you in makeup for some time now. Why the sudden change?” My mom smiled as she glanced over at me.
“I just decided that I’m going to live for me. I’m going to do whatever makes me happy, no matter what anyone else thinks.” I stated proudly.
“I like that.” She nodded, pulling into the drive-thru at Starbucks.
We both ordered a coffee and I also ordered a banana nut muffin. Mom dropped me off at school and I took in a deep breath before getting out of the car. Today was the day. I knew that whatever happens, at least I would know that I put all my effort into it. At least I would know that I tried to make amends.
“Bye mom!” I smiled as I shut the car door. She waved and then drove off, leaving me to fend for myself.
I proudly walked into the school doors with my head held high, despite the few stares pointed at me. I noticed that the other students saw that I was dressed like my old-self again, and I kept my positive thoughts in my mind as they began to talk.
“Looks like Naveah is back at it again! Who will she choose this time around?” Some random guy smirked as he chatted with his friends.
“Hey Naveah, choose me please, I’ll be your dirty little secret.” One guy winked, and I cringed at his immaturity.
I rolled my eyes and flipped him off which caused his other friends to laugh at him.
“Fucking bitch.” The guy mumbled, and I halted dead in my tracks. I decided right then and there that I wasn’t going to let people talk down to me anymore. I was over it.
I turned back around and marched right up to the creep while slamming him against the lockers with one hand, my coffee and muffin still in the other.
“Damn, kinky.” He smirked, and I smirked too while bringing my knee up into his groin. He doubled over in pain while he placed his hands over his junk.
“The next time you say anything like that to me again, I’ll make sure you are never able to have children, let alone have sex ever again. You got that asshole?” I glared venomously.
All of his friends had wide eyes as they took a step back from the scene. The guy I kneed was on the floor nodding for dear life. “Yes, I got it. Sorry Naveah.” He winced in pain, still grabbing his junk.
“Good.” I confidently replied. I turned on my heels and walked back down the hallway toward my locker, and I swear I saw people smiling at me, as if saying that they liked what I did and how I defended myself.
I opened my locker and set my coffee down before taking a few books I needed for my morning classes. I noticed a small piece of paper sitting at the bottom of my locker, so I picked it up.
The plan is a go. Everyone is set to meet in the gym after school. I really hope this works out for you. – Red
I smiled at the note from Red and put it back in my locker before grabbing my coffee and shutting it. I leaned against my locker and ate my muffin before the first bell rung. As I ate my muffin, I looked up and saw Callie and Lucy standing over by Lucy’s locker. Callie glanced at me, but then looked away. I sighed and threw my empty bag away after finishing my muffin. I took my coffee and headed to first period, even though there was still a few minutes left before the bell.
Each class went by very slowly, until it was finally lunch time. I walked into the cafeteria and noticed a lot of eyes on me. I glanced around at everyone and just smiled.
After getting my food, I began walking toward an empty table, but I felt a presence behind me.
I turned around and came face to face with Marissa. I hadn’t spoken to her at all since before she outed me to the entire school. A scowl made its way onto my face as a smirk made its way onto hers.
“Naveah, happy to see you’re back to your old self again. Ready to ruin somebody else’s life?”
I wanted to slap the smirk off her face, but I refrained.
“Why take over something that you’re so good at though, Marissa?” I replied with a raised eyebrow.
A few of the other students snickered at my reply, and Marissa’s smirk faltered only slightly.
“Just remember, nobody here likes or trusts you anymore.” She smiled.
“Yeah, probably. But at least they don’t pretend to like me like they do you.” I shrugged, which made her even angrier. I scoffed, and then spoke up again. “You actually think these people genuinely like you? Half of them think that what you did was immature and typical. Half of them are just scared of you, which I’ll never know why. You’re nothing.” I casually stated, making it clear to everyone that I’m bored with this conversation.
Marissa noticed that her encounter with me wasn’t affecting me in the slightest, so she said something that really pushed my buttons.
“Hey Naveah, how’s Mark?” My eyes turned to slits. “I hear he’s been having a blast with my good friend Tania, here.” She motioned to Tania who was only a few feet behind her. Tania smirked.
“That’s not going to work Marissa. Say anything you want, it isn’t going to phase me one bit. I know you are all bark and no bite. The worst you could ever do, you’ve already done and let’s just say it wasn’t exactly that great.”
Marissa’s face turned a light shade of red as Connor suddenly appeared at her side. He placed a protective arm around her shoulders and I almost threw up in my mouth. Almost.
“Oh good, your boyfriend is here to save the day.” I deadpanned. They both took note of my sarcasm and I rolled my eyes as I walked away without another word. Marissa didn’t say anything, and neither did Connor. After a few moments, I glanced back and noticed Connor still staring at me. I discreetly gave him a sad smile and then made my way to an empty table on the other side of the cafeteria.
I sat down and began eating as a random girl suddenly sat down across from me.
“Naveah, right?” She asked.
I raised an eyebrow in question, because normally everyone already knows who I am.
“That was fucking sick. You deserve a medal.” She laughed.
I smirked and then shrugged, “Just keeping it real. Something I’m not used to doing so it would seem.”
“Yeah, I heard about what went down with you and Connor and everyone. Marissa’s a bitch for putting you on blast the way she did.”
“I’m sorry, what’s your name?” I asked, not having the slightest clue as to who this girl was.
“Oh, right. I’m Riley. I’m a senior too, but mostly stay under everyone’s radar. I just had to come and tell you how awesome that was.” She smiled genuinely.
Riley was the same height as me, but had raven black hair with streaks of blue going through it. She’s wearing pitch-black ripped skinny jeans, and a black crop top showing her belly button ring. I took note of her nose and eyebrow piercing as well, and wondered how I would look with something like that.
I decided against finding out though, as my parents would have a heart attack.
“Well thanks. You’re right, Marissa is a bitch for doing what she did, but in a way I deserved it. Besides, I was actually relieved after everything was put out in the open. No more lying or secrets.” I sighed, thinking about everything all over again. “I decided to take over a new leaf. I’m going to be open and honest Naveah from now on, with a little side of extra bitch maybe.” I smirked, causing Riley to laugh.
“Hey we all have a little bit of bitch in us. No shame.” She replied.
“Why didn’t we meet sooner? It feels like we’ve known each other for years, despite just meeting for the first time.” I said, and Riley smiled.
“I tend to have that effect on people.” She smirked, “I get along with pretty much anyone.”
“Well, if you’re up to the task, I’ve needed a friend for quite some time now.”
“Hey, I’m everyone’s friend.” She nodded and I smiled in return.
“So, you gonna share those or what?” She asked, motioning toward my plate of fries.
I rolled my eyes as she leaned over and grabbed a few then shoved them into her mouth.
“Next time get ketchup, you buffoon.” She managed to say despite having a full mouth.
I already liked this girl.
The rest of the day went by pretty normal, until the last bell rang signaling that school was over. I finally felt the nerves setting in and turned to Riley who I realized I had in my last class upon arrival.
“I don’t think I can do this.” I admitted.
I told Riley all about the plan to win my friends over and she insisted that it was the right thing to do. She told me I needed to at least try to make amends and that if it didn’t work, she would still be there for me.
“You’ll regret it if you don’t.” She replied, following me out into the hallway. “I’ll wait outside of the gym for you when you’re done, alright?”
“Thanks.” I smiled.
I had only known Riley for a few hours, but it had already felt as though we were best friends. We instantly clicked and I felt a lot better knowing that if this whole apology thing didn’t work, I would still have her to be my friend when it’s all said and done.
“Go get ’em.” She smiled while pushing me in the direction of the gym. I was purposely waiting, so that I was the last one to arrive inside the gym. I’m sure Red was going crazy trying to keep everyone in the gym. I don’t even know what he said to make them agree to meet here.
As Riley and I arrived at the gym doors, Riley stepped to the side and relaxed against the wall.
“I’m right here if you need back up.” She smirked. I laughed and slowly pulled the gym doors open, keeping my head held high as I walked inside.
The sound of the gym doors opening gained everyone’s attention and Mark instantly tried to walk away the second he saw me.
“Mark, stop!” Red sighed, “Just give her a chance to talk.”
Mark was hesitant, but then to my surprise he slowly turned around and walked back over to everyone else.
Connor had a weird expression on his face, and Lucy and Callie didn’t really seem to show any sign of emotion.
“Hi.” I lamely said.
“What do you want?” Mark rudely asked.
I wondered if what I was doing was the right thing to do, but I remembered my dad’s words and then I remembered Riley.
I needed to do this, not only for them, but for myself as well.
“Thank you guys for showing up. Don’t be mad at Red for lying, I asked him to get you all here.”
“Great, another lie. Got anymore?” Mark scoffed.
“Actually no. I’m done with lying. I’m done with everything.” This gained everyone’s attention, all of their eyes falling on me.
“I uh, just wanted to get a few things off my chest.” I began.
“Oh this should be good.” Mark mumbled.
“Will you just let her talk for fuck sake?” Connor suddenly said.
“Why? Aren’t you all about Marissa now?” Mark challenged. “Don’t tell me you still have the hots for Naveah here.”
Connors eyes turned to slits and I noticed Mark’s fists clenching.
“Guys, stop!” I shouted which gained their attention again. “I didn’t bring us here to fight.”
“Why did you bring us here then? Come on out with it.” Callie chimed in.
Her voice almost sounded foreign to me. It had been awhile since I’ve actually talked to her, or any of them for that matter.
“I just needed to say that I’m sorry.” I confessed. “I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done or didn’t do, and I’m sorry for lying to all of you. Especially you Connor. You’re amazing and I’m so sorry that I hurt you the way that I did.”
I noticed him tense up at my direct apology. I could see the hurt behind his eyes, but he didn’t show much of any emotion other than that.
“You were the best boyfriend any girl could ask for, and I took you for granted. I just kind of thought that you would always be there, no matter what. When Mark and I first happened, I just... I couldn’t stop. I felt something for him that I know I’ve never felt before, and that makes me feel horrible for what it did to you, to us.”
I noticed Connors hands clench.
“I did love you Connor. So much. You were my first love, my first real boyfriend. You will always be that for me. I don’t know... I just, I felt like a totally different person when I was with Mark. It intrigued me so I kept it going, thinking that I could just stop any time I wanted, but I couldn’t. I caught real feelings, feelings that I still have.” I brought my gaze to Mark who also tensed at my words. His piercing brown eyes locked onto my own and I almost felt small under his intense gaze.
I quickly looked back to Connor. “I know that nothing I say excuses what I did, and how I did it. I know that what I did is unforgivable and I understand that. But I needed you to know how truly and deeply sorry I am, and I just hope that someday in the future, you won’t hate me because I still care about you despite what you may think.”
I could feel tears beginning to form in the corners of my eyes, but I kept them from falling.
Connor didn’t say anything, he just nodded and I almost thought I saw a smile start to form.
“Callie...” I began. She instantly brought her eyes to mine. “I’m sorry I got you so involved. I confided in you and I knew that I probably shouldn’t have. I put you in a terrible position and I’m sorry that everything played out the way that it did. You’re one of my best friends Cal, and I never thought that we would end up here. I know why you took Marissa’s side, and I forgive you for that. You had every right to out me along with her and I know that you were only trying to do what you thought was right for Connor, Mark and Lucy. I just wish I could go back and do things differently. I hope that one day you can forgive me.”
I stood there for a moment while I awkwardly played with my fingers. The tears in my eyes were evident, and yet they still didn’t fall.
Out of nowhere, Callie smirked at me. The next thing I knew, she was walking towards me. Instinct told me to hold my arms up and she wrapped her arms around me in a hug. I smiled so wide at the fact that she decided to forgive me, or at least would try to forgive me.
“You’re insane Naveah, but I know that deep down you have a good heart.” She said as she pulled away.
“Thanks Cal.” I smiled.
“Lucy...” I glanced over at her, though she looked down at her feet the instant I did. “Come on Luc, look at me.”
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have lied to you and I know that what I did was wrong. You had feelings for Mark and I just didn’t care about how this would make you feel. Other than Callie, you are my absolute best friend and I have been killing myself lately over everything. I hate not having you there to talk to or to do stuff with. We used to do everything together, all three of us. I should have given you more credit, I should’ve known that you would understand, I was just so scared of losing you that I kept saying that it was better if you didn’t know. Ask anyone.”
Lucy finally looked up at me. “That doesn’t change the fact that you lied to me and went behind my back. How can I trust you again?”
Her words hurt, but I knew I deserved them. “I know things will never be how they used to be before, but I’m willing to try if you are.” I sadly smiled. “All I’m asking for is a second chance to prove myself. To prove that I’ve changed and learned from my mistakes.”
“Oh, so I was a mistake?” Mark finally spoke up, “Good to fucking know.”
My eyes widened as I turned to Mark.
"You weren’t a mistake, me lying to everyone was. How we went about things was a mistake. You though, you’re far from a mistake.” I took a step toward him, but he just kept his face emotionless. He didn’t try to reach out for me. He barely looked like he even wanted to be in the same room as me.
“Whatever. I’m out of here. Don’t follow me.” He got up and walked away, causing my heart to crack just a little bit more.
“Mark wait!” Connor suddenly shouted, “I uh, I’ll see you guys around maybe.” He said to Lucy, Callie, Red and I and then went after Mark. They began talking as they continued walking until they were out of the gym and out of our sights.
“Wonder what they’re talking about.” Callie said, and I shrugged. Red gave a quick kiss to Callie before running off to meet up with the other two.
“Hopefully they can make amends. Mark needs Connor.” I sighed.
“Mark needs you too.” Lucy suddenly said.
My eyes instantly moved to Lucy.
The tears in my eyes finally fell as I saw her slowly beginning to smile at me.