Chapter 6 | The Ultimatum
“I fucking called it dude!” She yelled suddenly.
I could literally feel my face becoming pale. My hands started to grow moist as the sweat built up against them. I wanted to drop inside of a hole in the floor right now and shield myself from the agony of having to explain everything to Callie while watching the smirk grow bigger on her face.
“W-What?” I stuttered.
“I mean I didn’t want to believe it, because I didn’t think you of all people were capable of something like this, but now that I know I was right all along, it all makes sense now. Especially the bathroom incident at the football game... that is what really pushed it over the edge for me. Man... Who would’ve thought, Naveah... the friend hopper.”
Did she really think this badly of me all along? Was our entire friendship just fake to her? Was she secretly being my friend so she could keep tabs for Lucy?
My head was spinning with all the possibilities. Was she proud of me for doing this to Connor? She couldn’t be. She does seem strangely calm about the news. I expected screaming, blaming, hatred... the works, but not this.
“I... I don’t know what to say. How did you know?” I asked.
“Come on Naveah. The way you guys argue. The way you both act weird whenever anything sexual comes up in the group conversation. The way he sometimes looks at you and Connor like he’s disgusted well, actually the correct term is jealous.” She smirked.
“I can’t believe you’re being so cool about this.” I exhaled the huge breath I was holding.
“Oh, I don’t approve Naveah. Don’t think that I’m proud of you or something. What you are doing is really wrong and if you have any sense of guilt you need to stop what you are doing with Mark before Lucy or Connor finds out. I mean, I personally would tell them both if I were you, because keeping something like this a secret is only going to make them hate you harder and longer in the long run.”
I should have known a lecture was coming.
“Callie... I can’t tell them. They would never forgive me. I can’t lose either one of them. I know I sound selfish and horrible, but I just can’t.” I frowned.
“Well, then you need to stop the relationship between you and Mark once and for all and promise yourself that it will never happen again. This will be one secret you will have to burry and take with you to your grave.” She sighed.
“I know... I have wanted to stop it for a while, it’s just... Mark makes me feel different from what Connor does. He makes me feel more alive, dangerous even. God I am such a bad person.” I plopped down on my bed burying my face into my pillow.
“I’m really disappointed in you Naveah. If I were Lucy and you were doing this with the one guy I’m head over heels for... we’d be finished.” She bluntly stated, causing my heart to sink just a little.
“Please, don’t. I know it’s wrong and I know that I have betrayed Lucy and Connor... I just, can’t tell them.”
“Naveah... I’m sorry to say this, but if you don’t stop what you’re doing with Mark, I will tell them both myself.”
For some reason, I got angry.
“To be fair, it’s not of your business. I just confided in you because you are my friend and I had no one else to talk to about this. I will do what I need to do in my own way. Besides, you promised you wouldn’t hate me after finding out. So you can’t go back on your promise and telling them both before I’m ready to do something makes it seem like you hate me.” I urged, pointing my finger in her direction.
“On the contrary, you confiding in me makes it my business. Especially when it involves two of my closest friends. I don’t hate you Naveah, everyone makes mistakes and falls under pressure... but if you don’t end it with Mark, I will tell Connor and Lucy everything. Please don’t put me in that situation.”
Her tone was icy and challenging. What else could I do but follow her command and end things with Mark once and for all? I can’t have her tell Lucy and Connor the truth, and I don’t want to put her in that position.
“I promise I’ll end things with Mark. All of this will go away and everything will go back to normal, whatever normal is for us. I know you think lower of me now and I’m sure I’ve lost your respect as well. I’ll do whatever I can to fix that. I just needed to get this off my chest... I felt like I was going to explode.” I sighed sitting up in bed and clutching my pillow into my lap.
“Well, we will see about that. You just have to make it happen Naveah. Or should I say, Nave.” She teased.
“Ugh, shut up!” I laughed, throwing my pillow at her.
“So, before you end things... can you tell me one thing?” She asked.
“Is he good in bed?”
I was never going to live this down.
It’s Sunday evening now and I’m currently trying to catch up on my homework.
I finish writing the answer to the last question when I hear a tap at my balcony door.
Only one person would come through my balcony.
I walked over to the doors and pulled them open after making sure my bedroom door was locked.
“Mark what are you doing here?” I asked dryly.
“You haven’t been texting me back. I wanted to meet up.” He smirked holding up his cell phone.
“I’m doing homework, Mark. I can’t.”
“Who cares about homework? It will be there when we’re done.” He smiled while sitting down next to me on my bed.
“Mark we need to talk. You might get mad, but I told Callie the truth about us...” I confessed.
“About time. One down, two to go.” He teased.
“Mark it’s not funny. I told her and she basically gave me an ultimatum.”
“We can’t hook up anymore. We have to stop whatever this-” I pointed to each of us, “is. If we don’t Callie threatened to tell Lucy and Connor herself. I can’t do that to them and neither can you. We will both lose them all forever. Is that what you want?” I urged, trying to get it through his hard head.
“Nave, you clearly ignore me everytime I say this but... I. DON’T. CARE. So what if Callie tells them, they deserve to know anyways. We owe it to them, as their friends to come clean. If we lose them in the process then so be it. At least we will both have a clear conscious and we won’t have to sneak around anymore.”
Wait, we won’t have to sneak around anymore. Was he implying that he wants a relationship with me? I couldn’t do that to Lucy or Connor! I couldn’t tell them the truth and then come to school every day with Mark rubbing it in their faces. That is cruel.
“Mark... we can’t tell them and we can’t hook up anymore. We need to stop all of this completely. Even if Callie does decide to tell them, we can’t keep hooking up every day. We would be rubbing it in their faces and that’s not cool.” I stated while placing my textbook and notebook on my bedside table.
“Oh, so you just want to do away with me completely?” He looked honestly sad.
“Mark I’m sorry... but it’s for the best. Please try to understand.” I gently placed my hand on his muscular arm, but he pulled it away upon contact.
“Whatever. Later.” He jumped up from my bed and walked directly out of my balcony closing the doors behind him.
I hated potentially hurting Mark’s feelings, but I know what I’m doing is for the best. Eventually he will see that.
I hope he see’s that.
Monday morning at school, the atmosphere felt different. Connor, Lucy, Callie, Mark and I were all eating breakfast at our lunch table.
Mark was oddly quiet today and Callie didn’t know whether to act normal or just stay quiet herself, so she chose the latter.
Lucy was trying to brighten the spirits, but she could tell something was up. Connor on the other hand, was oblivious as usual while he munched on his fruit loops.
“Guys, I know it’s Monday and we all hate Monday’s but you could at least pretend to look like you enjoy your waffles.” Lucy inquired while pouring more syrup over her plate of fluffy blueberry waffles.
I took a bite out of my chocolate chip ones, and quietly sipped on my milk.
“Okay, what’s going on? You people are never this quiet, even on a Monday.” Lucy demanded.
“I guess we’re all just tired, Luc.” Callie responded while finishing her last bite of her strawberry yogurt.
“Yeah, I haven’t had my coffee yet. You know me.” I chuckled.
“Oh, want me to go get you a coffee babe?” Connor smiled at me.
This made Mark quietly scoff, but I think Callie and me heard it perfectly clear.
“Sure! Thank you! Extra vanilla.” I smiled back. Connor gave me a quick kiss before standing up and walking towards the cafeteria breakfast line.
“You guys are so cute!” Lucy smiled in my direction. “Aren’t they Cal?” She asked.
“Oh you bet! Super cute.” She replied with a smile, though I know it was a fake one.
“I wish I had someone to buy me coffee.” Lucy sighed while discreetly glancing in Mark’s direction, to which he pretended not to notice.
“Someday you will Lucy.” I stated, hoping it to be true.
“Oh please. If you want someone to buy you a coffee, go ask them. Grow a pair Luc. A girl’s lack of confidence is a huge turn off to guys. You sound pathetic.” Mark bluntly stated while squirting ketchup over his eggs.
The table fell silent and Lucy’s expression made me want to slap the shit out of Mark for being so mean.
“Mark, that wasn’t very nice.” I stated shooting him a much-deserved glare.
“Who ever said I was nice needs to stop believing the lies being told to them.” He replied.
I glanced over at Lucy who was red in the face. I knew she wanted to cry, but she wouldn’t give Mark that satisfaction.
“You’re an ass Mark, such an ass.” Lucy stated before getting up and walking out of the cafeteria.
“Thanks babe! Means a lot coming from you!” He shouted sarcastically.
“Mark, really?” I glared.
“What? She needs to stop being so scared to get out there and do what she wants to do. She needs to assert herself. It’s the only way anyone is going to notice her.” He shrugged his shoulders before finishing his eggs and getting up from the table. “I’m out.”
A few moments later, Connor returned with my coffee and he even brought one for Callie and Lucy.
“Here you go lad- wait, where’s Lucy and Mark?” He asked looking at Callie and I.
“Mark was an ass. Lucy fled the cafeteria and Mark left after calmingly finishing his eggs, too stuck up to realize that he was being said ass.” Callie stated boringly. “Thanks for the coffee, Con. You’re sweet.” Callie stated followed by a stare in my direction.
I was mentally telling her to shut up. I could see that she read my face seeing the smug smile across hers.
“You’re welcome. Anything for my girl’s best friends.” He smiled while pulling me into his side.
Stop making me hate myself even more, Connor. It’s torture.
“Typical Mark though. Naveah, you want to go see if Lucy is okay?” Connor asked me.
“Yeah, I’ll see you guys later.” I got up and followed in the direction Lucy went.
Walking down numerous hallways, I finally found her sitting at the bottom of the stairs near the library.
“Hey Luc. You okay?” I asked sitting down beside her.
“Why is he such an asshole and why am I so caught up in him? He’s never going to change and he’s never going to take me seriously.” She sighed, leaning her head against my shoulder.
I slowly brought my arm up around her shoulders and tried to sooth her with small strokes against her arm.
“Honestly, no one has the answer to that question. He’s so blunt and carefree I’m sure he doesn’t even realize that it’s hurting your feelings.” I reassured.
“Well clearly he can tell that his dumb remarks make me mad. I only said I wished someone would get me a coffee, because I wanted to see if he would volunteer. I knew he wasn’t going to, I guess I just hoped something magical would happen, ya know?”
I took a deep breath. “I know. Maybe I can have Connor talk to him for you. Kind of see where his intentions are, and if he wants to give you a shot.”
I knew Mark didn’t feel the same for Lucy as she did for him. I knew that he would never seek her out or ask her on a date. He just sometimes flirted with her because he knew it would make her happy and feel special, even though he saw it himself as just being the same old jerk he always is.
“No, it’s okay Naveah. I’ll deal with Mark myself. I’m going to just ask him straight up if he likes me at all, and even if I regret the answer, at least I’ll know.” She stated wearily.
“I think that’s the best route to go.” I agreed.
She looked at me and gave me a smile.
“Thank you Naveah. You always know what to say. You’re the best.”
I winced at her words as I hugged her back. I didn’t think I could possibly feel any worse for the things I’ve been doing... but I proved myself wrong today.
“Lucy, I...” I started.
“Yeah?” She asked, pulling her head up from my shoulder to look at me.
“Uh Nevermind, let’s get to class.” I smiled.
“Alright. Do you think Mr. Smith noticed that stain on his shirt from when we saw him this morning?” She laughed while standing up.
I stood up beside her and picked up my bag. She looped her arm through mine as we walked to class.
“I hope so. What that man really needs is a shower!” I laughed.
When we got to class, Mr. Smith was still sporting the beautiful stain that Lucy and I noticed earlier this morning. We had Mark this period, so things were as tense as ever.
I looked at Lucy as she was looking at mark from behind him. Her saddened face spoke softly to me and I frowned at the fact that I was indirectly hurting my best friend. The one person who’s always been there for me and who has always been on my side. I want to tell her so badly. In fact, I want to scream it to her. However, my own sub-conscious is whispering for me not to do so, because it knows that the second I do my world could come crumbling down.
I sunk into my chair and closed my eyes to take a deep breath. I thought about my life and about how I ended up this way. I think about the ruin, devastation and wreckage I could potentially cause to myself and to the ones that I care the most about. I think about how and why and the thoughts come easily, but the answers don’t.
Everyone says you must destroy what destroys you, right? But what if what’s destroying you, is yourself?
How do you possibly come back from that?