Contrary to popular belief, I’m actually great at remembering names. Having someone mispronounce your name or call you the wrong name is a pet-peeve a lot of people have. It didn’t matter who they were, if someone called them the wrong name, they would be infuriated.
Which made complete sense because I get annoyed whenever people ask me why my mother gave a girl name. Whenever that happens, I take two deep breaths and remember violence isn’t the answer. Unless it was directed toward Pierson.
Any who. About the names. Usually, before I purposely messed up a name, I knew their actual name well enough to make a close enough guess so I could get away with it. But, right now, with this random girl in my car, I had no clue what her name was. I was sure she had told me it before we left the cafeteria, but I couldn’t hear her over the cafeteria chatter.
I let her keep talking though, nodding along the entire time.
There was only two things I needed her to do. If she talked her head off the entire time, I didn’t care. As long as it looked like I was completely and utterly infatuated with her, that was all I cared about.
I was too broke to offer her money, but I did offer her Heath’s phone number. She saw him in her homeroom today and she wanted me to set him up with her. Heath wouldn’t mind me giving his number to her considering the fact that this was his idea. He’d get over it. Eventually.
She followed the instructions I gave her in the cafeteria and asked me for my keys. I pulled out the wrong set of keys on purpose and handed them over to her. She plastered a wide smile and went ahead of me, skipping to the car.
I’d rather have my liver sold on the black market than to let someone else drive my car. Silvia knew that. Seeing me hand over my keys to a girl I barely knew was something that would hit a chord.
Taking my time, I walked up to my car and brought out my actual keys and unlocked the doors, taking a seat on the passenger’s side. We waited for Ronnie’s car to exit out of the parking lot. When I was certain they were gone for good, I face the girl sitting in my driver’s seat.
I leaned over and opened the car door for her. “You can leave now.”
“Where’s Heath’s number? You said you’d give it to me.”
I drew out a long sigh. “Fine.” I brought out my phone and gave her the number she wanted. After putting into her phone, she got out of my car, already texting a message while walking back to the cafeteria.
For her sake, I hoped Heath didn’t text anything rude back. She could simply go to Silvia and tell her the truth if she wanted to.
. . .
To say Heath was fuming would be an understatement. When he found out that I was behind the random text messages he was getting, he wanted my head on a stick. Apparently the girl wasn’t subtle when it came to sexting.
Yes, sexting. I always thought I moved fast, but boy was I wrong.
“Where the hell did you find her? On Craigslist?” He inquired. It was Friday, and so far, his plan hadn’t done much for me. Silvia kept to herself and didn’t bother to react to my lame attempts at flirting with other girls.
Heath and I were on the field, waiting for the bell to ring. I was in P.E., but he had a free period so he swung by to kill some time. Half of the class was divided for today. Coach Walker gave us the option to swim in the pool or run around the track. Silvia joined the ones who wanted to swim. And even though the sight of her in bikini was enough to convince me to go into the pool, I didn’t have the right swim clothes. Because of that, I went for a run instead.
I had finished my laps before most of the students so I was just sitting on the bleachers in front of the tracks. Stretching out my limbs, I asked Heath, “What was she texting you exactly?”
“You don’t want to know. It’s on a new level of weird.”
“It can’t be that bad. C’mon, tell me,” I pressed on. “I’m sure I’ve had it happened to me before.”
“Oh, really? Because I’ve never had a girl ask me for photos of my feet. And then ask me, moments later, if I’ve ever put my dick i-”
“Okay, stop,” I rushed to say. “Anything that starts with ′my dick′ is something you should keep to yourself. I can already tell where this story is heading.”
“I didn’t even mention the part where she mentioned what she’d do to my head - ”
“Stop.” I repeated. “I’m not going to ask you again.”
“Hey, you’re the one who wanted me to tell you in the first place.” He raised both of his hands. “What happened with the photo you posted earlier today?”
Heath was referring to the Instagram photo he made me post this morning in the hopes to piss off Silvia. It was a lie, wrapped within a lie, but he was certain it would work. I pulled out my phone and checked to see if I had any activity. “Oh, I got two new comments.”
“Really? From who?”
“Oh, looks like it’s from Ronnie,” My voice dropped, reviewing the remark she made.
It was a rude remark. I frowned at her comments and deleted it without stopping to think.
Coach Walker blew his whistle just as I had done that. It was our signal to go back to the locker rooms and change before the bell would ring.
Heath and I parted ways. He went back to the main building and I went into the gymnasium, merging into the stream of students heading to the locker room.
“I’m going to get you back,” Heath promised, walking backwards to his next class. “Trust me. I will. You know I will.”
“Yeah right,” I waved him off and didn’t think much of it.
Heath was really good with computers. If he wanted to screw me over or get revenge for giving his number away, he could easily do it in the next hour. I knew him well enough though. He wouldn’t do anything.
Wrapping the towel around my body, I clutched it with my fist to keep it in place. I was the last one out of the pool. The wind felt stronger once I was entirely out of the water. Most of the students were inside of the locker room by the time I went toward the staircase. My squeaky sandals echoed with each step I took.
I would’ve gotten into the locker room sooner if it weren’t for the fact that the dance squad was already getting ready for practice. They took their sweet time to cut in front of me, entering the gym one by one. They held practice during their sixth period every other day.
Holding on to the railing, I walked up the steps toward the locker room and pushed through the double doors.
A girl standing near the showers glanced over at her friend and gestured at me in a not-so-discreet way. I didn’t do much about it and went further inside. After take a quick rinse in the shower, getting the smell of the pool off my skin, I went over to my locker.
I quickened my step when I saw what had happened to it. The door was left ajar, slightly dented -- which wasn’t how I had left it. Once I got close enough to it, I saw that it was wiped clean. All of my clothes were gone, along with the AP textbook and my shoes.
My hand covered my mouth and moved up to my forehead. I wiped my eyes to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. This couldn’t be happening. There was no way someone would go that far.
I could give two fucks about my clothes. But that textbook was another story. It was more expensive than the clothes I was wearing.
I whipped my head around the room, heaving in and out deep breaths with flared nostrils. My chest rose and fell at a rapid rate, looking to see if I could find the culprit. “Who did this? Did you see?”
A few other girls shrugged or kept their heads down, averting their gaze as they got ready for their next class. The bell rang as I asked them for a second time, but less people responded. My time was measured. I couldn’t just leave without changing first. Walking into my English class with a swimsuit was the least of my worries right now.
“Maybe you left it open,” one of them supplied, muffling a laugh.
“I know I locked it.” I touched the bent metal, feeling a curve engraved into the locker. My fingertips outlined an S. I tried to close the locker to the best of my ability with it being pried open with what looked to be a crowbar.
On the front of the locker, a deep S was written into the metal. It almost mirrored the burn mark I’d seen on Dakota and Maven. For the first week of school, I hadn’t gotten any interaction from Segg.
Why now? Why did they wait this long?
The rest of the girls exited out of the locker room, leaving for sixth period. Since the dance squad had taken over the gym, there wouldn’t be a sixth period P.E. class. I was the only one left by the time the tardy bell rang.
I wanted to go find one of the coaches and ask them if they had any spare clothes. But each time I got up to do something, I froze in front of my locker and stared at the S carved into the metal that was facing me. A new train of thought would cause me to sit back again, weighing my options.
It was a faint, distant voice. I contemplated if my mind had made the voice up on its own when I first heard it, but then they called out my name for a second time, I couldn’t ignore it.
Readjusting my towel around my body I walked to the source of the voice and came to the front of the locker room, pausing a few steps away from the exit.
I didn’t see his face, but I did see his arm. It stretched out from the crack in the door, holding out a pair of sweatpants and a gray T-Shirt. The distinct “Diana” tattoo on his left arm gave him away. If it weren’t for the fact that he was holding clean, dry clothes, I would’ve told him to fuck off.
I bit the inside of my cheek, holding back a wave of emotion from taking over me, and retrieved the clothes. “How did you know?”
“Someone told about how you were stuck in here,” Dakota said. “Is it okay if I come in?”
“Isn’t there a coach in the hallway?” I asked and moved in a little closer so I could see him. “They could come in at any moment.”
“Nah, they’re out of their offices. I think they’re on their lunch break.”
“Yeah, you can come in if you want.” I stepped aside and let him enter. He swept his eyes over the stark walls and white lockers. I felt like he was waiting for someone to jump out from the showers. “No one is here but me.”
“I figured,” he shrugged and walked alongside me to where my locker was located. “Do you know who would’ve taken your stuff?”
“It’s pretty clear on who did it,” I snarled to myself and pointed to the broken locker. “They left their mark. Whoever did it wanted me to know they were in Segg. Do you have any clue who could’ve done it though?”
Dakota stalked past me and to my locker, sitting on the bench to examine it closely, running his hand over the S and inspecting the dents on the locker. “I know one thing for sure. Whoever did this was pissed off at you.”
“I haven’t pissed anyone off lately.”
He darted his eyes at me. “You sure about that?”
“You mean other than you?” I laughed and unwrapped my towel, laying it on to the bench to dry.
“I wouldn’t do this...” he trailed off. I glanced at what was wrong and saw his eyes dip down to my breasts, and then snapped back to my face when I cleared my throat.
I collected the clothes he had handed me into a neat pile.
“Where are you heading to?” he asked when I started moving away from the lockers.
“I’m going to change in the stalls.”
I hated the smell of the restrooms on this floor, but I didn’t have much of a choice. Dakota’s hungry gaze told that he wasn’t going to keep his eyes shut if I asked him to.
“You don’t have to do that. I can turn around. I won’t look,” he promised. “I’ve already seen you naked before.”
I rolled my eyes. “You’re just going to look when I’m unaware.”
“No, honestly. I won’t,” he said and faced the opposite direction. He put his hands to his face. “I’ll even take extra measures and cover my eyes.”
I rebelled against the smile that was starting to appear, but there was no use. The time was ticking, and I was probably fifteen minutes late to class by now. I needed to stop messing around and hurry up.
I grabbed the sweatpants first that had the school mascot of a bobcat printed over the right pocket. I shimmed out of my bikini bottoms and hoped into the pants. I felt uncomfortable without underwear but I had no other option at this point.
Discarding the top portion of my bikini onto my towel, I stuck my head into Dakota’s P.E. shirt and was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t smell bad. It was most likely his second set in his locker.
“You can turn around now,” I said to Dakota and got my towel up off of the bench. One last time, I dried my hair with it. “Thank you for helping. I really appreciate it. Honestly, I was pretty sure I was going to be stuck up here forever.”
“No problem. I’m happy to help,” he assured me and took the bundle of wet clothes I had left over and the towel. “I’ll put these in my locker since yours is broken.”
I dodged his look. This morning, Ronnie had mentioned me under a photo of Dakota where he was going out on a date. I acted as if it didn’t effect me, but I knew that it had dragged me mood down a little after seeing it. “I don’t know, Dakota. How would your girlfriend feel about that? I mean, she is your girlfriend right?”
“Why do you ask?” The corner of his mouth twisted upwards. “I didn’t think you realized I was with someone else, to be honest.”
“I saw you guys earlier this week, going to your car. I think it’s-it’s great. You know. That you’re going out with new people...and stuff. It’s really, really greaaat.”
He smirked. “You said great twice.”
“I’m well aware of that. I said it twice so you could get the point. I’m happy for you,” I quickly added on. “But I hope she--”
“I’m sorry.” He said, slamming his eyes shut, unintentionally cutting me off.
“Wait, where did that come from?” I heard his footsteps get closer, unsure on what he was doing until I felt the warmth of his hand over my face, and then settle against my neck, brushing his thumb to my cheek. “What are you saying sorry for?”
"Everything." He stopped himself and opened his eyes. My head was craned forward, looking into him for a more elaborate answer to my question. “I know I should’ve done this sooner. Before the party, before the last day of school, before...everything.”
“You’re gonna have to be more specific than that,” I beamed. “What did you do exactly that you’re sorry about?”
“I’m not sure where to start, doll,” he whispered.
My heartbeat quickened. It was so polar opposite to how I first reacted to him calling “doll” last year. I found it annoying. But now, it sparked the perfect amount of hope into my heart.
I walked away from his touch and reminded myself that he was someone else’s. I’d lost my chance. “You shouldn’t call me that. Not anymore. Especially when you have someone else in your life.”
Dakota took an extra step, making us face to face again. He didn’t take my words seriously, because the second we were inches apart, closed that distance and placed his hands on my hips. “Can you please let me finish my apology?”
“Does it even matter anymore? You’ve got a girlfriend.”
He was pulling me through hell by making me tell him. This would only spring false hope into my head and I’d be worse off once he left.
“It matters a lot more than you think,” he assured me. “Please just let me tell you what I was trying to say.”
For the first time, it is I who closed my eyes before doing anything else. Not him. I was much braved in the dark. In the light, that was when things started to get difficult. I could see my obstacles before me. But this way, in the dark, I could listen to him with ease. Part of me was scared of what I’d learn. The other half, wasn’t all that interested in learning the truth. In a way, not knowing would prevent me from the pain I’d feel once I knew the full story. I sounded childish thinking this way. I knew I did. But I didn’t care one bit.
“Okay,” I sighed, “Tell me.
“I had a lot of regrets.” He took my face into his hands, letting one hand slowly slip down to my neck. He tangled his hand into my damp hair, holding my head in place like he was about to kiss me.
I didn’t know if it was intentional or unintentional - either way, it sent shivers up my spine with the way he touched me. It wasn’t sexual in the slightest way, but my body responded to it as was.
“You have regrets? Like what?” I stopped myself. “I mean other than what you did when you were in Segg.”
“Yeah, I have a lot of regrets. But I didn’t make those recordings, Silvia. I want you to know that first and foremost. That night Beth came over, I think she was retrieving devices Finn had placed in. That was not under my control.” He breathed softly. “There’s so many things I could’ve done differently in our relationship. There a few things I wouldn’t want changed though,” he replied. “But one thing I definitely regret, above all, is not doing this often enough.”
I began to ask what he meant, but my answer was brought to me in the form a kiss planted on my lips. Dakota lifted my chin before I had caught on to what he was going to do and covered his mouth with mine. My body relaxed into him as my knees weakened, startled at how much I was enjoy the taste of his lips and the heat that swelled in my chest.
He eased my lower lip in with his teeth and gently nibbling it, causing a soft moan to overcome me. A husky laugh rumbled out of him in response. “If you keep making noises like that, your hair isn’t going to be the only thing wet.”
I reeled back, flatting my hands over his faded black shirt. My head was still spinning, but I had regained enough sense to stop him. “I-I can’t do this. You have a girlfriend. This is wrong on so many different levels.”
“She’s not my girlfriend,” he revealed.
“Wait, you’re not involved with anyone?”
“No, I’m not,” he said earnestly, holding my close to his chest. “The only person I’d be interested in being involved with is right here in front of me.”
In a different circumstance, I would’ve been floored at what he said to me. I waited months for him to say that. Getting angry would only worsen the situation. I fought against the urge to glare at him and inhaled deeply and steady my breathing. “What do you mean she’s not your girlfriend? You made it seem like you guys were together.”
His hands dropped from my body and he sighed while taking a seat on the bench. “It was Heath’s stupid idea. He thought if I made it look like I was with someone else, it would make you stop ignoring me.”
I narrowed my eyes. “I’m not ignoring you.” He flashed me a dark look. “Okay, maybe a little. But you know why I was doing that. It wasn’t out of anger. I wanted space to figure myself out.”
He chuckled. “And how is that working out for you exactly?”
“Well it was going fine,” I admitted, “up until you kissed me and messed everything up. Now I don’t know what’s what. Everything is foggy and out of focus.”
“I could help,” he suggested, getting back up to his feet. “Maybe you just need someone to talk to. I’m always around.”
“I do that with Ronnie though. It’s a lot easier with her because she doesn’t beat around the bush. If I mess up, she’ll tell me. She won’t try and hide her opinion.”
“Don’t you think talking to me would be better though? It is me you usually talk about, right?”
“Sometimes.” I dug my hands into my pockets. “But sometimes when I call her at night, it’s about other things. When I can’t tell her what’s wrong, she just stays on the line until I fall asleep, telling me about weird trivial facts she knows.”
Dakota titled his head. “Wait, is this after a nightmare? Is that why you call her at night?”
I nodded and sat myself down. Dakota followed suit, putting his legs on either side of the bench and pulled me in so I was as close as possible to him. “W-”
“You don’t have to tell me,” he whispered, circling his arms around me and rested his chin on my head.
We stayed like that for the rest of the period without talking. The silence between us didn’t feel awkward or weird. I felt at ease with his arms wrapped around me, listening to him inhale and exhale. There was no need to speak. We said everything we needed to without words.
[a/n: in the wattpad sample, the comment Ronnie made is displayed in the chapter if you'd like to know what it was that she said. I can't insert images here or I would've added it. Hope you're enjoy the story :) ].