A Teen Story

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Chapter 16

I'm at the diner right now. Tina asked me to come with her. She's talking to her crush. I think she's gonna ask her out.
This morning was really crazy. I'm glad I haven't come across Darren all day. He has been texting me but I didn't reply any of his texts. He's an asshole. How could he just force me to spend time with him? That's unfair!
I thought Bryson was gonna kiss me when we were in the library this morning instead he just told me to ignore what he said. I wanted to say something but I just couldn't. I didn't really know what to say. He was right. There's so much tension between us.
"Hey Ariana," I look up and find Travis smiling at me. He's pretty cute.
"Hey," I give him a small smile.
"Mind if I join you?" He asks.
"Go ahead. I was starting to get bored," I say.
He takes a seat and I look at my fingers like they're the most interesting thing in the diner.
"What a coincidence!" He chuckles.
"Yeah," I chuckle lightly. I think he's nervous. I'm not. I just have a lot on my mind. It's pretty hard starting a conversation.
"How've you been?" He asks.
"Not bad," I say, "how 'bout you?"
"Good," he nods, "I guess."
"You guess?" I question.
"School is kinda stressful," he says.
"I agree," I say, "that's a problem."
"Are you not going to ask why I haven't approached you before?"
"I didn't think you'd wanna tell me."
"I was kinda nervous," he says, "I also noticed that you've been so stressed out for the past few weeks." He's not wrong.
"Have you been observing me?"
"Maybe," he smiles, "just a little."
"Woah," I chuckle.
"You're pretty interesting," he says.
I'm not interesting. I'm always in shit. Is that interesting?
"You think?"
"Yes," he says.
"You're just being nice," I roll my eyes with a smile.
"Nah," he says, "I'm being honest."
"Are you waiting for someone right now?" He asks.
"I'm here with Tina," I say, "she's talking to someone right now so yeah, I'm waiting."
"Cool," he says, "I expected to see Darren around. He has been looking for you."
"How do you know that?"
"He asked me," he smiles. Is he always smiling? If so, I need him around. His smile is contagious.
"Didn't you text him or something?" He asks, "he wouldn't look around if he knew where you were."
Why would I text Darren? I'm running from him. We're not a normal couple.I don't have to text him.
"My phone died," I lie.
"Did it?"
"Yes," I laugh nervously and my phone starts ringing"
Oh my!
"Aren't you gonna pick up?" He asks, "it could be your mom."
Fuck! It's Darren.
"Where the fuck are you Ariana?" He yells and I move the phone from my ear.
"I'm hanging with Tina right now," I say, "we'll meet tomorrow."
"No!" He yells again. What's wrong with him?! "I want you here tonight. You better show up!"
"I don't think I can make it tonight," I say, "I've got homework to do."
"The 'homework' excuse isn't gonna work this time," he says, "be here tonight!"
I hang up and let out a heavy breath.
"I heard him yell," Travis says, "is everything okay?"
"I don't know," I run my hands through my hair.
"Aria, I'm gonna be honest with you now," he says, "you don't look happy. I don't know what you're going through but I can see sadness and worry in your eyes."
Is it that obvious?
"You might be right."
"Whatever it is, I'm not gonna pressure you into telling me," he says, "I just want you to know that you can always solve your problems even when it looks like there's no way out and if you wanna talk, you can just hit me up."
He's right. Every problem has a solution. This whole thing with Darren could end. I just need to figure out how to end it.
"Thanks Travis," I smile.
"Are you two on a date?" Bryson sits next to me. What's he doing here?
"Why are you here?" I ask.
"I came to eat," he says, "what's up Travis? How's it going?
"Great," Travis says, "I guess I'll get going."
"Why?" I ask, "you haven't ordered anything."
"It's cool," he says, "I'll see you around."
"Okay," I give him a small smile.
"Travis likes you," Bryson says right after Travis leaves, "you know that, right?"
"Yes," I say, "He's a great guy."
"Don't catch feelings," he laughs.
"I won't," I say, "we're better off as friends."
"Sure," he nods, "and you have feelings for me, right?"
"You wish!" I chuckle.
I might. Who knows?
"Hey guys," Tina joins us with a smile on her face, "it's settled. She's pretty nice. We're going out on Saturday."
"Oh my God! That's awesome," I smile, "I'm so happy for you T."
"What the hell are you girls talking about?" Oops. Bryson doesn't know about this.
"I'm gay and I just asked a girl out," Tina says, "that's what's up."
That was straight forward. She didn't even stutter or anything. I guess she's ready to come out.
"Woah!" Bryson's lips part slightly. I wonder what those lips could do to me. I remember when he kissed me on my neck at the party. I didn't take it serious 'cause I thought it was just one of his jokes but if he did that now, I'd lose my mind.
"Tina's hot. I never saw this coming. I hope you'll let me fuck you though," he winks at her.
"I'm not interested," she chuckles.
"Your loss," Bryson smirks.
Did he have to remind me that he's such a player? I wish he wasn't so in love with fucking different girls all the time. It's getting old.
"Should we leave now?" Tina asks.
"Yeah," I nod.
"You can't just leave," Bryson says, "I wanna spend time with you."
"I have to go home and do homework," I say.
"Is it cool if I come over later?" He asks.
"Nah," I say, "I'm going to Darren's."
"The fuck!" He stands up. He's fuming in anger.
"I have to," with that being said, I walk out of the diner with Tina.
We get into the car. I find lots of texts from Darren. He probably sent them after he called. He's ordering me to show up at his house tonight. Same threat.
"Do you really like Darren or is he forcing you to date him?" Tina asks.
This girl never keeps anything at heart. She's so straightforward. It's really awesome. I wish I was like that most of the time.
"Why are you asking me that question?"
"It's more than obvious that you and Bryson have feelings for each other," she says, "Darren doesn't mean shit to you. Everyone at school thinks he's messing with you."
"That might be true," I say, "Darren's cool though." She doesn't say anything so I drive off.
When I got home, I took a shower and dressed up in a T-shirt and a pair of shorts. I got my homework done and now I'm just seated on my bed.
I could just go to Darren's early. I'll get back here faster.
"Ari," Cole walks into my room. He's wearing a hoodie and shorts.
"Hey there," I smile at him.
"We haven't talked in a while," he says, "how've you been?"
"I don't know," I shrug, "you wanna talk now?"
"I'm pretty sure you didn't plan on talking to me so no. I don't want to," he says.
I feel so bad hearing him talk like this. I haven't been spending time with my brother. This whole thing with Darren has messed up my life.
I'm supposed to be spending a lot of time with my brother. I've been away from him all summer. I know he's sad and I really wanna do something about it.
"I'm sorry," I sigh, "let me make it up to you."
"Nope," he shakes his head, "just do what you were planning on doing. I'm going to dad's this weekend."
"I'll come with," I say. That will also help me get away from Darren.
"You'll not," he says, "It's a father-son weekend."
"You can go some other time," he says, "without me."
"I might do that," I nod.
"Jade left a few days ago," he says, "did you even notice?"
I completely forgot about that bitch. The last thing I remember was her snitching on me.
"I didn't," I say, "that's because I hate her."
"Oh yeah," he chuckles, "she told mom about that guy who tried to fuck you. Does she also know about the sex tape?"
Oh my God! How does he know about the sex tape? Who told him? Bryson could never! Leo never tells secrets.
"What do you mean?" Shit! I'm starting to sweat.
"You do realize the car windows aren't sound proof, right?" He asks, "I forgot my chemistry book in the backseat and when I saw you crying, I got worried and listened to what you were telling Leo."
If Cole was able to listen, that means other people heard the conversation.
"Don't worry, there were no people around the car," he says, "I came in here to let you know that this will end one day. Don't let misery take over. You can always be happy even when you have shit going on. I don't like seeing you hurt and I'll do anything to help you out."
I can't believe I was getting all miserable over this. Cole is right. This will all end one day. I'm not gonna let misery take over.
"I love you so much," I wrap my arms around him and we hug tightly.
"I love you too," he says, "more than you can imagine."
"How cute!" Mom exclaims.
We pull away and look at her. She doesn't look so happy. Am I in trouble again?
"Cole, would you please give us a minute?" She asks.
Cole makes his way out and I'm left in the room with mom. She shuts the door and sits on my bed.
"You haven't been studying," she says.
Oh shit!
"What!" She yells, "what excuse do you have this time? Your school called a few hours ago."
"You know I'd never fail my tests," I say, "I'm just so stressed out. There's so many things going on."
"What do you have going on?" She asks, "you're only 16 for God's sake! What is stressing you out?"
"The only thing that stresses you teenage girls are those boys you like."
"This is not about a boy," my eyes well up.
I thought she'd listen to me. I'd never fail my tests. There's an explanation. I can't tell her though.
"Fine. I haven't done this in years but I have to this time," she stands up, "you're grounded for the rest of the week."
"I'll drive you to school," she says.
"Mom, you can't ground me," I say.
"Give me your phone," she says. There's no way I'm giving her my phone.
"I'm not giving you my phone," I say, "do you want me to die?"
"Fine," she says, "you can keep it. I'll add another week and no WiFi." She makes her way out.
"Mom!" I call her but she doesn't respond.
Does she want me to stay in here and study for the next two weeks? That's not healthy! I need to go out. School can't be the only place I'm going to.
She can turn off the WiFi. I have no problem. I can still send some texts.
I'll text Darren and let him know I can't go to his place tonight.
Can't come over tonight. I'm grounded.
It feels so weird telling him that. Mom hasn't grounded me in years. I can't believe she's doing this to me. I hope she doesn't go as far as stopping my friends from coming over. I can't imagine two weeks without Bryson around me. I know we meet at school but that's not enough.
I'll just go to bed now. What's the worst that could happen?

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