Chapter 15 | Stupid Boys
Ethan and I didn’t speak all weekend.
I actually went to call him numerous times, but in the end, I just wasn’t exactly sure what to say.
I knew that I had scared him, or made him think that I wasn’t interested.
The truth is, I didn’t know if I was interested or not.
Am I? Do I actually have feelings for Ethan, ones that surpass far away from the friend zone?
I mean, he’s Ethan. He’s been just Ethan my entire life. My brothers best friend.
My best friend.
Do I want to leap into unknown waters and risk drowning all together if whatever we leap into, doesn’t work out?
Should I risk it all for a shot at something bigger?
As I continue to question the universe, and the predicament it’s placed me in, I get ready for school on this crisp Monday morning. It’s still a little cool outside, though spring is fast approaching.
It’s mostly cold in the mornings, and then warmer as the afternoon takes over.
The breeze is amazing, so Liam is shocked at the fact that I want to walk to school today.
“Are you sure?” He asks, and I know he’s being cautious after what happened the last time I walked to school.
Liam still feels incredibly guilty for leaving me to walk that day. I told him that he shouldn’t blame himself, Jeremy wanted to do what he did, and I’m sure he would’ve found another way to do it.
“Yes, I’ll be fine. He’s gone for a long time.” I say, referring to Jeremy.
Liam nods and heads to school in the jeep, while I plug in my headphones and blare some music.
I look casual in my ripped skinny jeans, black band T-shirt, and black converse. While I do enjoy dressing up every now and then, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with dressing for comfort.
I nod my head to the beat as I continue walking towards school, my long hair flowing in the wind behind me.
As I’m walking, I accidentally bump into someone who is rushing to go in the opposite direction as me.
“Sorry!” I shout over my music, since I’m the only one that can hear it. The woman sends me a glare, and I shrug as I turn to continue walking.
When I face the street to cross, I see it.
My hands immediately begin shaking, and I realize that walking to school may not have been the best idea.
I slowly continue walking, and as I step closer and closer toward the alley, memories instantly cloud my mind.
It’s almost as if I’m watching a movie.
A movie starring me, and my rapist.
I can still feel my internal bruises as I try to take a deep breath. It’s almost as if I can still feel him kicking me. Proving to me and to him, just how pathetic and useless I really am.
I stop just outside of the alley, and look down it.
I see the exact spot on the cold, cement ground that my body lay just weeks ago. Beaten, raped, empty.
My eyes fill with liquid, desperate to release, but I hold it in for as long as I can.
A single tear slides down my face as I watch it replay in my head. Every single time, more horrifying than the last.
This was a bad idea. I shouldn’t have walked to school. I shouldn’t have even left the house today.
I frantically shake my head as I begin running.
I’m almost certain I’m still running towards school.
Once I make it there, I rush inside and to the nearest bathroom. I distantly hear my name being called, but I can’t concentrate on anything other than getting into the bathroom.
I lock myself in a stall and let loose.
I cry, sob, anything that is willing to come out. I know if someone were to walk in here, they would think someone were probably dying, but I didn’t care about anything.
I don’t even notice the bathroom door open and close.
I know that voice. It’s a safe voice.
“Dallas, open the stall please.”
You’re safe Dallas. This person is your friend.
I don’t say a word, instead I pick up my bag and open it.
I’m searching for something, or maybe I’m searching for nothing at all.
I reach inside and pull out my case full of pens and pencils.
I find my metal pen and inspect the cap. It seems interesting.
I pull the cap off, and notice it’s super sharp on the corner.
Sharp enough to cut through anything.
I glance at my wrist, before I hear the friendly voice again.
“Dallas, what are you doing? Open the door.”
Just open the door, Dallas. You can do it.
Put the pen back in your bag, and open the door for Lexi.
My hands work to put the pen back into my bag, as I absentmindedly reach forward to unlock the door.
Lexi pushes through and sees my tear stricken face.
“Dallas, what happened?” She asks while stepping toward me.
“I decided I would walk to school today Lexi. And do you know what I saw?” I smile.
She furrowed her eyebrows in pure confusion as she answers me. “What?”
“I saw the alley.” I answer simply.
“The alley? What do you mea-“, but she cuts herself off. “Oh.”
“It was right there, in plain sight. Open and ready for anyone to walk into it, and do whatever they want.” I shrug. “Isn’t that funny?”
I know I most definitely sound crazy. I just don’t know how to get all of my emotions in order. I can’t sort through them properly. They just come out in spurts and broken pieces.
I have zero control, and that terrifies me.
“Alright, you need coffee.” Lexi says while lifting me up.
“That sounds good.” I nod, following her out of the bathroom, after washing my face.
Lexi walks with me out into the crowded hallway. I’m still a popular subject it seems, with every student in this place always watching my every move.
I’ve become used to it.
“Let’s skip, alright? We can go get iced coffee.” Lexi smiles and I nod.
“Hey, Lex, where are you two going?” Liam stops us. I hold in a breath as I watch Ethan who is standing beside him. We make direct eye contact for exactly one second, before both of us look away.
“I’m taking her to get coffee. We’re skipping today. She can’t be here right now Liam.” Lexi eyes him, and he nods at her discreet plea to allow it.
“Want us to come with?” He asks, but I’m the first to say no.
“Girls only. No boys allowed.” I joke, and he wearily smiles. I notice Ethan slightly wince at my indirect rejection.
“Alright,” He chuckles, “Have fun.”
Apparently, Ethan hasn’t told him about our kiss, or anything else for that matter. That’s good though, I’d rather Liam be oblivious to the chaos that is Ethan and I. At least for now.
I need to figure out what we are, before I announce anything to anyone. Lexi is my only exception. She’s allowed to know everything.
They both walk away and Lexi leads me outside and into the parking lot. We walk to her car, and get inside.
“Ready?” She smiles.
“Let’s hit it.” I say while turning up the radio.
We drive away from school, and head toward the nearest coffee shop.
Once we walk inside, I sigh in content as the smell of fresh coffee hits my nostrils.
“I love that smell.” I comment.
“Same.” Lexi nods as we walk toward the counter.
We each order an iced coffee with a muffin, before walking over to sit at one of the empty tables lining the wall.
“Dallas…” Lexi begins as soon as we sit at the table. I haven’t even taken a sip of my coffee yet.
“What?” I sigh.
“You really need to go talk to someone.” She says.
“A professional maybe.” Lexi replies.
“What is a stranger going to tell me about my life, that I don’t already know?” I fire back.
“I don’t know, I’m not the professional, but these people have actual degrees in psychology and they would be able to help you work through your problems and your thoughts.” She explains. “You can’t just push it all aside and hope it’ll go away on its own. It just doesn’t work that way.”
“I know you probably think you’re giving me good advice, which maybe you are, but I just can’t go sit down in front of a complete stranger and tell them that I’m struggling because I was raped. I can’t tell someone that I’ve lost everything, and it only lasted about thirty whole minutes. I just need to get over it and move on.” I say, stirring my coffee with my straw.
“This isn’t something you can just move on from, Dallas. This is something that you’re going to have to work through for a long time, before you’re completely yourself again.”
I humorlessly laugh. “Don’t you get it Lexi?”
She eyes me, urging me to continue.
“I will never be the same again. I can talk to a thousand different therapists, and I will still never be the same.”
“Maybe so,” She shrugs, “But you won’t truly know until you at least give it a real chance.”
I look down at my coffee, completely shutting her down.
“Can’t you see how this is effecting you? You can’t honestly believe that this will just disappear on its own. That isn’t realistic and you know it. You’re just scared to talk about it, because then it makes it real all over again. It’s nothing but fear. The Dallas I know isn’t afraid of anything.” Lexi says quietly.
“That’s before the Dallas you knew, was raped.” I say just above a whisper, and I knew she heard me.
We finish our coffees and muffins in semi-comfortable silence, before we leave the coffee shop.
We don’t go back to school, instead I ask her to drop me off at home.
“See you tomorrow?” She asks with a weak smile.
“Yeah, see you.” I say before turning and walking inside my house.
I hear her car leave the driveway, and I turn away from the door to find my dad lounging across the couch. We eye each other suspiciously.
“Shouldn’t you be at school?”
“Shouldn’t you be at work?”
“I won’t tell if you won’t.”
I smirk. “Deal.”
I leave my dad to continue lounging, while I walk upstairs and into my bedroom.
I drop my bag and walk over to my closet. I step inside and look on the top shelf, pulling out a small shoebox.
I walk over to my bed and sit on the edge, slowly lifting the lid.
I see dozens of pictures. Mostly of my mom and me. A few even have Liam or dad in them.
Every single picture I look at, I’m smiling.
It’s hard to believe that some of these pictures, were just taken a little over a year ago.
I can’t even fathom how much my life has changed.
What would my mom say about everything if she were here?
She’d probably tell me the exact same thing that Lexi did. That I need help, and the longer I put it off, the worse I will become.
I continue smiling at the many pictures, as tears slowly slide down my cheeks.
God, why did you have to take her from me? I wasn’t ready. None of us were.
I suppose nobody is ever ready for their life to change so suddenly.
I should know that first hand.
| Lexi’s POV |
After dropping Dallas off at home, I decide to go back to school to find Liam and Ethan.
I don’t exactly know what’s happening to Dallas, but I know that it isn’t good.
We need to do something, before she’s too far gone.
Once I make it to school, I notice it’s currently lunch time. I walk inside and head for the cafeteria.
I spot Ethan and Liam sitting with some of their guy friends.
“You two, let’s go.” I point to the two of them, and motion for them to follow me.
I hear some of their friends snicker and call out, “oooh’s”, as I lead Liam and Ethan away from their table.
I roll my eyes. Typical.
“What’s up? Where’s Dallas?” Liam asks once we reach an empty table and sit down.
Ethan nods, wondering the same as he finishes chewing his mouth full of chips.
“She’s at home, after we got coffee, she asked me to take her home.” I shrug. “But that’s not important.”
“Then what is so urgent?” Ethan finally asks, his mouth completely chip free.
I look at them both, worry in my eyes, causing them both to frown.
“She’s not doing okay, you guys. She’s really struggling and I don’t think her ignoring it, is helping the situation.”
“I mean, she seems pretty good at ignoring things.” Ethan shrugs, and I shoot him a glare, knowing what he’s referring to.
“Regardless, we need to figure out a way to help her.” I reply. “We can’t just let her deal with this on her own, or she’ll crumble.”
“Wow, dramatic much?” Liam says and I lean over to smack his arm.
“I’m serious you idiots, I’m really worried about her.” I sigh.
I knew they wouldn’t take this seriously.
“Look, if I know Dallas, and I’m pretty sure that I do…” Liam trails off, “Then she will come to us for help, when she wants to. If we push her, she’s just going to go against us. She’s just that type of person.”
“I think Liam might be right. We shouldn't force her. It could do more harm than good.” Ethan says quietly. “We should let her figure this out for herself.”
I give them both an incredulous look, just as the bell rings signaling the end of lunch.
“See you later, Lex.” Liam says, as they both get up to walk away.
I shake my head in disbelief.
I guess I’m going to have to do this myself. Figures.
I will find a way to help you Dallas, I promise.