I'm in shit right now. What am I supposed to say? Mom heard the conversation. She's gonna ask so many questions and I'm not sure I have answers.
I can't tell her about the sex tape. What should I say? She can tell when I'm lying. I really hate Darren. More than ever!
Why didn't he just go home instead coming here to talk about his stupid plans. Why didn't I just walk away?
"I just asked you a question," she says, "what video are you talking about?"
"I was dancing in a really weird way at a party and he got it on camera," that just slipped, "it's so embarrassing and I don't want people to see it. Nothing serious," I smile, "let's go home."
"Okay," she says.
I really hope she doesn't question me when we get home. Mom isn't easy to fool. She doesn't just believe anything.
As a child, I've never been able to get away with lies. She always found a way to make me say the truth. I just hope she doesn't do that now.
We make our way out and into mom's car. She drives off immediately.
It's really silent. There's no music and none of us is talking. I don't know what to say.
"How was your day?" She asks.
"Not bad," I say, "just the usual school stuff."
"What's so embarrassing about the video?" Here we go.
"Everything," I chuckle.
"I'm not buying that," she says, "I heard him say he'd upload the 'video' if you didn't leave with him. It must be serious."
"Mom, it's nothing," I say, "I'm being honest."
"Fine," she says, "Leo will be home in two hours to study."
"You want me to study with him?"
"He asked to come over," she says, "I agreed because he's a good kid and studying with him will be good for you."
"When did you talk to Leo?"
"I called him," she says, "he asked to come over when I told him I grounded you."
What else did mom tell Leo? I really wanna know what they talked about. I'll just ask him later. I hope he tells me.
Good thing I don't have to stay in my room alone and bored all day.
"Okay," I smile.
"Strictly studying," she says, "don't do anything stupid. I'm going back to work right after I drop you off."
"Just let me drive myself," I say, "I won't go anywhere."
"I don't trust you enough to let you do that."
"Come on mom," I whine, "I promise you to come back home right after school. You don't have to drive me. It's clearly stressing you out."
"It's only temporary," she says, "Cole is fine with the arrangement."
"Who is he riding with?"
"Your friend Kate," she says.
"How come I didn't know that?"
"You'd know that if you spent time with your brother."
"I spend time with him," I say.
I took a shower and dressed up in sweatpants and a T-shirt.
Leo should be here any second. I'm pretty sure we're just gonna talk. He must've used that studying excuse to see me.
I wonder if Bryson's gonna come too. He comes here with Leo sometimes.
I really hope I didn't upset him earlier. It was so stupid of me to run off like that. I did like the moment we shared. I'm just afraid to admit it to anyone. I don't even know if I'm gonna talk to anyone about me and Bryson.
Things have been different between us and I've been trying to ignore that like the fool I am.
A part of me thinks he's only trying to sleep with me. Thinking of it really hurts me. I just can't help it. He sleeps around and I've never imagined myself with someone like him. I've always pictured myself with Leo or a guy who looked like him.
The doorbell rings and I rush downstairs. I open the door and find Leo standing there. He's dressed up in a sweatshirt and a pair of shorts.
"Hello Aria," he smiles.
"Hey," I let him in and we make our way upstairs.
I shut my bedroom door once we're in. We sit on my bed and he gets out a few books and his laptop.
He really came to study. No shit.
"How've you been?" I ask.
"Good," he says, "how bout you?"
"Really bad," I say, "I'm grounded and that makes me crazy."
"You barely get out," he says, "and you still have your phone. I don't think it's that bad."
"It's really bad," I say, "what subject are we doing?"
"We'll do Chemistry," he says, "but I want us to talk first."
"Sure thing," I say, "what have you been upto? How's the song coming up?"
"Really great," he says, "Bryson has been helping me a lot. I'll let you listen to it when we're done."
"I can't wait," I say, "I didn't know you were into music before you started working on this song."
"I make music every once in a while," he chuckles,"I last wrote a song in middle school. It didn't come up when we were talking so I didn't tell you."
"Wow!" I smile.
"Aria, I wanna ask you something," he says.
"Don't you think your mom should know about this whole thing with Darren?" He asks, "you should've told her from the beginning."
"I can't tell her," I say.
"Why not?" He asks, "she's your mother. She's more than capable of saving you. I think you should tell her."
"I don't know," I say, "what did she tell you last night?"
"Nothing important," he says, "we just discussed a few things."
"You chose to hide that from me, didn't you?" I ask. He nods and I let out a sigh.
Why won't he just tell me? Were they talking about me? Did he tell her?
"Did you mention any of that stuff to my mother?" I ask.
"Nope," he shakes his head, "I'll go grab a drink." He gets off the bed and makes his way out of the room.
I'm now hoping we get some studying done. I don't wanna sit here and talk about me all evening.
My phone rings and I pick up almost immediately. It's Bryson. Is this him calling to ask me out? I'd be shocked as fuck if he did that. I might want that.
"Hey Bryce," I say.
"Ari, I'd like you to do something," he says.
He hasn't even said hi or anything. Rude, much!
"There's this party at Caleb's and everyone's going," he says.
Does he want me to go with him? That would be really great. Who's Caleb though? I've never heard of him before.
"I don't know who Caleb is," I say, "I can't even go. I'm grounded."
"I'm not asking you to go," he says. Leo gets in and sits next to me.
"What then?" I ask.
"Call Darren and ask him to meet you there," he says.
What's he up to? I just told him I can't go.
"I can't go!"
"You don't have to go," he says, "just tell him you'll be there."
What is going on in that boy's head?
I hang up and look at my screen for a few seconds.
I call Darren and he picks up on the second ring.
"Hello baby," he says.
"Hey," I say, "let's meet up tonight. Find me at Caleb's party. I'm on the way there right now."
"I'll be there in no time," he says, "I really_" I hang up before he can say anything else.
I just don't understand. What's going on? What is Bryson planning? Is he trying to get Darren out of the house so he can get the flash drive?
What if Darren moves around with it in his pocket? What's gonna happen then?
I'm pretty sure Bryson's trying to get the flash drive. He did suggest sneaking in before he kissed me earlier. That kiss blew my mind.
"What was that about?" Leo asks, "are you going to a party?"
"No," I say, "Bryson asked me to say that to him."
"Wow," he laughs, "He is sneaking in. I thought he was kidding when he said that."
Is he really gonna do that to save me? That's really nice of him.
"What if he gets caught?" I ask.
"That's not gonna happen," he says, "Caleb's house is really far from Darren's and that's gonna give Bryson enough time to look for the flash drive.
Leo and I have been studying for the past hour. I couldn't really focus. All I could think of was Bryson. Did he get caught? Is he okay?
Maybe I should call and check up on him. I'm pretty sure Darren got to Caleb's. Someone must've told him I wasn't there at all.
My phone rings and I pick it up thinking it's Bryson.
"Ariana!" I should start checking the caller Id.
"Hey," I say.
"I want you at my house in fifteen minutes!" He yells. Oh God!
"What for?" I ask.
"Play around with me and I swear to God Ariana, I'll upload that video without thinking twice."
"Come here now," he orders, "if you don't show up in fifteen, I'll upload it. You can even check your phone and watch it."
He's such a dickhead. I hate him! Why won't he just quit yelling at me like that. It's really disturbing. I just wanna pinch him.
"I'll be there." I say before hanging up.
I have to find my car keys. Mom probably left them in one of the drawers in her bedroom.
"Things are getting out of hand," Leo says, "I'll drive you." He takes a hold of my hand and we walk out of the house.
Leo agreed to stay in the car. He said he'll come in if I take long which is okay 'cause Darren can't be trusted.
I make my way upstairs and find Darren's bedroom door open.
He's seated on his bed in nothing but sweatpants. I wonder what he has going on in that mind of his.
"I'm here," I say, "I'm grounded so I have to get home before my mom leaves work."
"You lied to me earlier," he says, "I was excited. I thought you were starting to actually like me."
"I'd never like you," I say, "You already know that though but you keep convincing yourself that maybe I'll develop some feelings for you one day."
"I know it's gonna happen," he stands up, "I like you for real. I want you to be around me all the time."
"What's the point?" I ask, "you forced me to be with you and yet you know how I feel about you."
"How do you feel about me?" He takes a step forward.
"I hate you Darren," I say, "I'd kill you if I could."
"You don't hate me that much," he spreads an arm around my waist. I try hard to get it off but his grip is so tight.
"Let go!" I yell.
He lays his other hand on my cheek and tucks a strand of hair behind my ear.
"I'd never let go of you," he says and starts to kiss me on my neck.
I lay a hand on his chest and try to push him off but it doesn't work.
His hands go under my T-Shirt. He tries to take it off but doesn't succeed 'cause I kick him in the nuts just then.
"Shit!" He groans as he falls to the ground.
"Fuck off Darren!" I yell.
He gets up almost immediately and sits on his bed, "That hurt like a bitch!" He yells.
"What's going on now?" I hear my mom's voice.
What's she doing here? Does she know about this?
Bryson comes in after her and walks towards me.
"Ari, are you okay?" He asks as he wraps up in a hug.
"No," I whisper. I wrap my arms around him and let myself feel comfortable.
I'm not okay. Darren keeps hurting me like it's some sort of game. I'm sick of it. I'm done with this shit.
"We were coming in to lecture your ass," Darren's mom comes in with Leo, "didn't think we'd catch you red handed."
"Mom, it's not what it looks like," he says.
"I've had enough of you!" She yells, "you're going to your dad's. He knows what to do with you. I'll drive you there myself!
"There's no way I'm leaving this house!" He yells.
"You could've thought twice before taking advantage of this innocent girl and filming a sex tape."
"How'd you find out about this?" He asks.
"The two gentlemen talked to Ariana's mother and she called me," she says, "there's no way out this time!"
Bryson and Leo told mom about the sex tape? They did that to save me? I never imagined this.
"Come on Aria," mom says, "let's go home."
"I spare Darren a glance and catch him glaring at me."
This is it! No more Darren.
The only thing I think of is giving Leo and Bryson big hugs for saving me.
My friends stood up for me and I'm really grateful. I don't talk to my mom about my issues and that's why I got into all this in the first place.
If there's anything I've learned from this then it's to open up more. Sometimes it doesn't hurt to talk to people about the things that we're going through.
I'll never keep such a thing from someone who can help me. That's if it happens again. I'm pretty sure it won't 'cause I won't let it.
We're now outside and mom is looking at me with no clear expression on her face.
"You have a lot of explaining to do Ariana," Mom says.
"I know," I look down.
She walks away and I remain on the spot with Leo and Bryson.
"You told my mom?" I ask.
"You wouldn't talk to her if we didn't," Leo says.
"All we want is for you to be happy," Bryson says, "that piece of shit can go to hell."
"Thanks guys," I say, "so much." I give them a small smile and my eyes start welling up.
"I'll head home now," Leo says, "my mom texted me a few minutes ago. I'll see you guys at school."
"Bye Leo," I give him a hug.
"Take care of yourself," he says before pulling away.
"I will," I say.
"We'll talk later bro," Bryson says.
"Sure thing," Leo says and makes his way to his car.
Bryson and I stand there looking at each other. None of us say a thing. What should I say? Thank you?
"I hope you're okay," he says.
"I'm fine, thanks."
"I'll give you a ride," he says.
"My mom is_" I look at where her car was parked and realize that it's gone. I didn't even notice that she left.
"She left a few seconds before Leo," he says.
"Is she mad?" I ask.
"I don't think so," he says, "she's probably just disappointed 'cause she didn't find out about that dickhead from you."
"I couldn't tell her," I say.
"I'm well aware of that," he says.
"Oh," I run my hands through my hair.
"Why'd you run from me earlier?" He asks.
I knew he'd ask. I shouldn't have run away. That was so dumb.
"I didn't wanna be late for class," I say.
"Let's get you home," he says.
"Okay," I nod.