All day I’ve been living in this alternate universe where I’m feared and deadly. No back talk, no snarky comments, just an unspoken respect that translates smoothly into play. Honestly, these thoughts are kind of scary. I have no idea why my shell is cracking, but I’m grateful for something happening.
Speaking of things “happening,” I’m pretty sure the trouble Blake is in has something to do with the fight from the cafeteria yesterday. I could tell in Barbara’s voice that the hot water he’s in is scorching him badly. I wonder why he got in that fight now.
But there’s no time to think about that. The last bell of the day has sounded and I feel my heart swell in my chest. It’s very hard to breathe right now. I hold my chest like I’ve got heart burn and wait for the halls to clear so that I can find Blake and talk to him about, well, everything.
Blake. For some reason, I blush just thinking about him, and that’s not normal. My body tingles at the memory of his fingers exploring my bruises and scars and making them feel like art instead of war. I will always appreciate the feeling I felt when he touched me. So rare, so insightful, but so meaningless. For him at least.
When I am certain that everyone has either gone home or is in their after school activities, I start searching for Blake. Anxiety rings in my ears as every step I take is one step closer to Blake. What am I meeting up with a gang leader for? I’m relishing these feelings with great consideration, and still I keep taking steps. Every step becomes bigger, harder, more consistent. I am still looking for Blake.
Meaning, I am serious about what I want for myself.
It takes me ten good minutes roaming around the base of the main building before I realize that Blake is not on school grounds. Instead, I go outside.
Lincoln High is a very bulky campus with stretched hallways and seperate buildings all connecting into one. We have a garden trail, a river bank, and an open wide parking lot filled with bikes and cars and buses for pull out. Near this pavement, a plush green field sits polished and tamed with sky high bleachers and a gate linking into the science labs in the other building. Sometimes I feel like I’m in college rather than a high school.
Walking down the trail’s tongue of knowledge stops me short when I suddenly spot him against the far side of the main building. He is tucked between the angle of brick and posed near the dumpsters, with the baseball field up ahead that has practice going on.
My heart stops.
I stand for a moment just bracing myself for whatever’s to come. I have no idea why I’m interested in this. Maybe it’s the idea of having power? This strikes me as an ideal asset to have because then, I can use it to achieve independency. I can think the way I want, say what I want, and feel what I want. Amazing how easy my blood flows knowing I’m not subjected to everyone else’s standards and punishments.
I think Brandon had hit me a little too hard.
Finally relying on my heart instead of my head, I resume taking steps that frighten me the smaller the distance closes between Blake and I. My legs feel like bolts and metal and my stomach cries with anticipation. Blake is getting closer and closer.
Until finally, I reach him. This was really fast. I don’t know what to do. I just stand, holding my breath for no reason. Blake is on his cell-phone, eyes scanning along the screen for whatever. Being next to him seems worse than being next to a rampid bull dog, and I am belligerent when it comes to any type of vicious animal.
But the look in his eyes when he turns his head to look at me is a look that can make any man falter in surrender.
I always forget that Blake is a rampid bull dog.
I manage to say a few words, and I try not to stutter.
“Um, hey Blake.”
His eyes crinkle when he frowns, and it’s the most subtle but cutest thing I’ve ever seen his face do. He shakes his head and continues scanning his phone.
“I cannot believe you just said hey to me.”
This makes me frown. My lips softly purse and I puff out my cheeks to exaggerate how awkward I am. Especially talking to gang members behind the school building.
He looks up from his phone again and angles his body to face me. For a split second, I imagine him pressing his body into me again, making sure no new bruises or scars have managed to show up. But he keeps his distance. A stir of disappointment troubles my insides.
“What you want bro?”
“What do I want, you mean?”
My eyes quickly apologize for being a grammar nazi because his eyes darken and penetrate my soul. I shuffle my feet, start all over again.
“W-What do you mean what do I want? I thought Barbara told me to talk to you?”
“I didn’t tell her to do shit.”
“Y-You did. She told me to stay after school and talk---”
Blake closes in on me and reaches for my arm. It’s in his grip, being squeezed and cut off from blood circulation. I try to jerk away but he doesn’t loosen up.
“Stop being a bitch Ron,” he says, pulling me away from the wall. He swings me across the ground and before I know it, I’m on it, contemplating my decision. My heart is broken and I can’t believe I thought this demon actually cared about me.
This is where I always mess up in life.
"What you say?” he’s hovering over me now.
I’m on one knee getting ready to stand up, but he pushes me backward and I scrape my hands against the granite. I curse under my breath and try to stand up again. He shoves me to the ground so hard that my head bounces off of it, and my book bag just makes my upper half unbalanced weight. Blake raises his hand to grab the hem of my shirt and he yanks me up to my feet. I wobble under his force, trying to pry his hands off my shirt, but he decks me in the jaw and a flash of silver brightens my vision. I’m on the ground, hurt and torn and throbbing.
Blake stands above me, hands still curled at his sides. I start crying. It’s a quiet sob with tears leaking out like a broken fountain. My jaw has it’s own pulse now and I try to distract myself from the pain by listening to it’s rhythm.
“Get up,” he scorns, yanking me to my feet like I’m some weightless child.
Without processing the damage before hand and just acting off of pure adrenaline, I shove Blake away from me and my face is enraged with tears.
Blake seems oddly amused. He did not expect me to put my hands on him. I throw my book bag off my shoulders to relieve the annoying weight tugging down my upper half.
Those pearls fill with crazy illusion. He thinks this is a game.
“Good boy Ron,” he smirks, walking around me to my backside. “you finally found a little speck of a back bone. Now HIT me.”
“I don’t wanna fight you!” I practically scream. I’m breathing too hard and glowing too red. Blake notices my tears and grits his teeth.
“Well guess what nigga? You can’t be in nobody’s gang if you can’t even defend yo self.”
He slaps the holy hell out of me, and it’s so quick and sudden that I almost saw it coming. I hear voices around the corner and it sounds like a staff of teachers.
Blake doesn’t care though.
“What the, I just slapped the shit out of you dog! Doesn’t that piss you off? Don’t you wanna hit me?”
“Who on Earth is talking like that?”
A teacher lady pokes her head around the corner of the wall to find a provocative situation. Me red and tear-stained, book bag on the ground, Blake pratically frothing at the mouth.
“Where should you two be?” the teacher demands.
“We leaving now,” Blake retorts, chest exhaling a breath I never knew he was holding.
The teacher eyes me and I try to pretend like my feelings aren’t bruised. Blake doesn’t stop watching the teacher even after she’s out of view.
I grab my bag and look up to find Blake by my side. I turn my head, deciding it better to look at the baseball practice than to look at Blake’s somewhat pinched and angry face. He puffs out his breath, and turns me around to face him.
“Don’t touch me,” I snap. I honestly can’t get over how bipolar Blake’s actions are. One minute I feel like he notices my scars and wants to help soothe them, and the next minute, he’s creating them himself. This isn’t wrapping around my head accordingly. I feel sick. The sun is beaming too bright and it’s directly reflecting off my eyes. I squint and back away.
“Ron,” Blake’s voice is soft.
“What?” I say, a little too harsh. This makes Blake’s smile stretch like a knife slicing slowly across a cake. Blake moves onto me and slings his arm over my shoulder. I almost want to budge, but his words stop me.
“Man, you mad as hell. I know you angry on the inside.”
“What do you mean?”
He starts walking us. It almost looks like we’re a couple, with his jacketed arm brushing against the nape of my neck. We walk slow and carefully. My heart starts doing jumping jacks when a group of students glance at us then bulge their eyes out to stare.
“The fuck y’all looking at?” I feel Blake’s arm pull me closer.
The teens say something back and Blake’s fingers caress my red stained cheek. Involuntarily, I block my face away from the kids and sun by burying it in the crook of Blake’s signature jean jacket. I keep my face here. It is dark and warm and smells just like him.
If I’m crazy, it almost feels as if Blake is protecting me from the teens and the sun. Before I know it, we’re walking together. He keeps his arm here and I keep my face in his protection.