Letting In & Valentine's Day
It was finally Valentine’s Day. Yes!
There is just something about this day, you know, as if the atmosphere realizes that it’s Valentine’s and the air get’s all mushy, romantic, cheesy and corny as fuck and all that crap. Like during summers, the air is humid and warm and sweaty, in winters it’s cold and harsh and during Valentine’s, it’s trashy.
I knew as soon as I opened my eyes that it was gonna be the crappiest day of my life. It was a school day, never mind the fact that it was half day, and at evening, it was the annual Valentine’s Day ball our school hosts every year.
Oh the joy of being dumped by the golden boy and being single.
I got ready at a lazy pace, not really interested in seeing the day any further. Mom and Dad would get back home tomorrow and Grant will be leaving after they arrive too.
He had been acting really strange ever since that night I told him the truth about everything. After Mom and Dad had left, he didn’t come back home at all. It was when I called him, worry almost killing me, did he get back and scoffed at how could they leave me when I opened up to them. Aside from assuring him that I insisted them to go, I also had trouble cleaning up his knuckle wounds that had not so mysteriously appeared in a span of few hours.
Ever since then, he has been overprotective of me, calling every hour when I’m out and he even told me that he wanted to meet Axel and threaten him good so he won’t even dare think about playing me. He has been spending the rest of the time left from worrying about me staring at nothing and acting like a mute statue and whenever I would ask him about it, he would just say, “I’m sorry, Lee Bear, I’m just thinking.”
Kevin and Tracy are taking it slow, mostly because of Tracy’s insecurities and Kevin is doing a great job in proving her wrong by clinging to her every second he could. Maggie and I have been hanging out a lot. I even sat down the other day and ranted to her about everything that makes me feel miserable. She listened to my rants patiently and then used her chance to go at it too. After letting it out of our systems, we laughed like hyenas for hours and ended up watching Resident Evil till late in the morning on a school night.
Today, the new couple in our small group have really romantic plans and there gonna be glued to each other for the whole day. Tracy even told her mother that she’d be staying at my place for tonight which is not exactly true. Initially, she was hesitant to celebrate the festival of love but I had assured her that she needs to live her own life too, without worrying about me all the time. Also, the girl needs to get a dose of fairytale romance to accept a chance at love with Kevin for which he and I planned the whole night last night and today he’s gonna put them all to action.
“Leah, Maggie’s here!” Grant’s voice pulls me out of my thoughts and I give myself one last glance before grabbing my bag and skipping downstairs.
“Hey.” I smile at my friend and brother.
“Hey.” Maggie grins biting into an apple kept on the dining table.
“Morning, sis.” Grant smiles at me. “I won’t be able to drive you to school today, she’ll be taking you.”
My eyebrows shoot up almost instantly. “Why can’t you take me to school?”
His cheeks tinge pink and he clears his throat awkwardly. “I uh - ” His eyes dart to Maggie who’s smiling softly before coming back to me. “I kind of have plans for the day.”
“You have plans? On Valentines’s Day?” I ask, folding my arms across my chest.
He cringes but nods. “Yeah.”
“Girlfriend?” I ask, curious.
He sighs and rubs his temples before meeting my eyes. “I’ll tell you later.” He says and the way he says it makes me stop my questioning immediately and so I nod.
“Is it only me that is single on this God awful day?” I groan.
“Hey!” Maggie hits my arm, offended. “Me too.”
“Let’s get together, babe.” I joke.
She grins, catching on. “Your place or mine?”
Grant groans beside us. “You can get on with it here itself, I’m gonna leave.” He says and dashes off, slamming the main doors shut and making me and Maggie burst in fits of laughter.
“Let’s go to school before we really ‘get on with it.’” She says and I snicker, following her outside.
We reach school with ten minutes to spare and since Maggie already has her books with her, she rushes off to the homeroom, saying she has an assignment to hand over to Mrs. Doris, her homeroom as well as Chemistry teacher. I wave her away and make my way towards my locker, a fake smirk plastered on my face.
Past four months have made me master the ‘I don’t care what you think about me’ look. The whispers and snickers about me reach my ears and even bother me to some level but I don’t show it on my face, I never show. Instead, I plaster a smirk to hide the frown and empty my eyes of every emotions and get on with my day.
I reach my lockers and pull it open, dumping the extra books I won’t need until later and take out my History and English books and binders. I’m busy shuffling things inside my locker when a sudden presence looms behind me and my heart starts racing faster than ever. I know who it is without even having to turn back to see.
But I do.
I turn around and come face to face with Sean who wears the same impassive expression and fake smirk I have come to master. He leans in further, slamming the locker shut and pushing me against it, his hands trapping me in between.
“Hey, babe.” He whispers huskily and my throat runs dry.
My eyes flare with anger and I grit my teeth. “What are you doing here?”
His eyes roam all over my face before he takes a quick glance to the right. It’s so quick that I would have missed it if I wasn’t too aware of him being this close to me after all this time. I sneak a peek too to see Ronnie standing at the end of the hallway looking at us with a heartbroken expression.
“I missed you, baby. And I know you did too.” He says softly and for a minute, I think he’s telling the truth before I come back to my senses and realize what he’s doing and why.
It is wrong, so wrong but I don’t care about it. The pain I felt is something I want someone else to feel too, that someone else being Ronnie. I know I should have been more humane, after all, I knew how it felt like seeing the boy you were involved with in someone else’s arms in front of your eyes. But I wasn’t. A sudden thirst of revenge clouded my judgement and I smirked.
Smiling shyly at him, I say. “You might me right.” He was.
Sean gives me a smile that is half smirk. “Yeah?” He sneaks another glance at Ronnie and speaks a little loudly. “What are you doing tonight? Are you going to the ball?”
I smirk, enjoying it all a little too much than I should. “Maybe.”
He gives me a lopsided grin I had come to love and leans in even further. “Will you go with me? As a date?” He asks.
I’m internally shocked. Is he really going to go that far? “Sure, anything for you.” I say in a seductive voice. God, what am I doing? I’m acting like the fake girls who thrive for male attention. Like the one’s who keep hovering over Axel.
The moment he enters my thoughts, my feet touch the ground and I’m back to reality. Shit. What the actual fuck did I get myself involved in? It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was supposed to steer clear of this boy and mend my heart without letting him scratch it everytime I get somewhere. Before I could further think about how I screwed up once again, Sean grins and leans in further, placing his lips on mine.
Another wave of shock hits me and I can’t comprehend anything. His lips are just as I remember and he tastes the same but the image of him kissing Ronnie is painted in my mind and I feel disgusted. At myself and at this feeling of kissing him. Isn’t it the same situation how it was four months ago? Except then, he was kissing Ronnie and I was left heartbroken.
I know exactly how Ronnie must be feeling right now. I shouldn’t be sympathizing with her but I do.
When that thought floats around, I push him away slightly and he takes the hint, backing away, frowning slightly. When he notices that Ronnie isn’t standing where she was, anymore, his smirk vanishes and he turns impassive again, trning around and walking away.
Before he disappears, he throws a “I’ll pick you up at seven.” over his shoulders.
I stand frozen at my locker, my classes forgotten. The students piling around in the hallway are just as shocked as I am and I can hear every whisper, every murmur. I straighten my back, bring back my smirk when I notice all eyes on me and walk away.
I don’t go back to my class but the same old washroom I used as an escape on my birthday. I stay in that cubicle until lunch and then walk out, only to show my confident and prideful smirk to the whole school, Ronnie included.
Sean isn’t in the cafeteria when I get there but my three friends look at me, letting me know they heard everything. I walk up to our usual table they’re sitting at, passing by my ex best friend’s table where she sits with Amelia and Denise, her two new friends. Her eyes are puffy and red, telling me she has been crying and when she meets my eye, my heart breaks a little more. Instead of telling her sorry like my heart wants to, I smirk and and walk away.
“I’ll explain later.” I whisper when I get near my friends and they nod, not asking further question.
The day is short and an hour later, we’re allowed to go back home and prepare for the ball that is happening tonight. My stomach tightens when I remember Sean’s proposal for me to be his Valentine’s date. I don’t want to - I realize. But I agreed. And if he showed up at my place, I know he will succeed in manipulating me to tag along.
“You guys go ahead. I won’t go home until later.” I say when the four of us make our way towards the parking.
Maggie frowns. “Where are you going?”
A small smile involuntarily makes way on my lips. “To the cafe.”
Tracy purses her lips and looks at me, contemplating if she should speak or not. “What happened back at school Leah?” She finally says, her voice still uncertain if I would answer or not.
I smile softly. “I’ll tell you guys later. Just know it didn’t mean anything and I won’t allow it to stick to my brain for long.”
Kevin gives me a side hug and kisses my temple. “We just don’t want you to go back spiraling down again.”
I smile slightly and nod. “I won’t. At least I think so.”
Tracy and Kevin leave together and, Maggie insists on giving me a ride but finally gives up when I say I want to walk. I meet Ronnie’s eyes once again before leaving the lot, she’s standing near Amelia’s car looking at nothing when I enter her line of vision. Her eyes show hurt that I’m all too familiar with and when I try to smirk again, I can’t.
Emotionlessly, I walk out of the school and on my way to my safe place where I know I will find peace. I don’t even realize when I get there but I’m instantly smiling wider as soon as I enter the quaint cafe with delicious coffee smell and the melodious wind chime ringing above the door.
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