"Hey, are you awake yet?"
My eyes snapped open and I quickly sat up. I immediately regretted that decision and laid back down, groaning.
"Hey. Don't make sudden movement. He knocked you up pretty good. Are you okay? Try to sit up slowly."
The voice sounded nothing like the Brian's. I decided listening was my best bet right now and attempted to sit up right. When I was comfortable in the half-sitting position I put myself in, I slowly cracked my eyes open. A boy with brown eyes and black hair spilling out of the grey beanie he was wearing stared back at me in concern.
"Who the hell are you? Back up. Space," I grumbled. He backed up a few steps and sat on the ground. Once my eyes were used to seeing light again, I peered down at the boy curiously.
"Wait a minute... you're that annoying kid who ran in front of Scott's car today!" I realized, pointing at him and faking a smile. He rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly.
"Well, not really. It was actually three days ago. You were out cold for a while," he explained. My eyes widened. Wait, three days? No, no, no, no, no.
"My dad! I have to get back to my dad! He's going to kill me!" I panicked. I jumped up off of the couch and stumbled towards the boy's front door. I quickly stood and ran over to me.
"Hey, stop. Take it easy. That guy did a number on you. I'm sure your dad will understand. Lay back down before you get even more hurt," he said. I couldn't think right and my head was spinning. I think I nodded because he steered me back over to the couch.
"My dad? My dad. Dad's gonna kill me..." I slurred, leaning back against the couch pillows. His eyebrows furrowed.
"No. He's not. You're okay. I'll text him. Do you have a phone?" he asked. I shook my head and groaned at the headache it caused. I think I dropped it. I'm not sure.
"What'd he do to me? Brian... what'd he do?"
"Brian? Is that the guy's name? What about the other boy? What's his name?"
"Yes. The bigger guy was... not doing good things to you and there was a smaller boy who was recording," he explained in disgust.
I blinked slowly.
He chuckled. Is he laughing at me? What'd I do? Am I crying? I reached up to wipe my face.
"You're funny. Are you sure you want to see what he did?"
Oh. Yes, please. I stared at him, waiting for him to show me, but he never made a move to. I tilted my head to the side in confusion. He chuckled again.
"I asked: are you sure you want to see what he did."
I knew that. Did I not respond? I'm sleepy. So sleepy. I closed my eyes and let my thoughts take me to places I didn't want to be. She was there. I miss her so much. Please.
I woke up screaming.
"Somebody help! Help!" I yelled, squeezing my eyes shut.
"What's wrong? What happened? Are you alright?" somebody shouted.
"She, help! She needs help!" I pleaded, grabbing onto the person's arm and burying my face into it, refusing to open my eyes. Don't cry. Don't cry. Oh god, please! Don't cry!
"Hey, hey, hey. Shh. You're alright. You're okay," the person soothed, rocking me back and fourth.
"Is she okay?" I croaked out. The person rubbed circles on my back.
"Who? Is who okay?"
"Is she okay?" I repeated. There was silence for a few seconds. Don't cry.
"There's nobody here, but us. You're okay. Open your eyes. Look at me. You're okay," the person commanded. Having no strength to protest, I cracked my eyes open. Brown eyes and a grey beanie came into view.
He smiled. I looked around me. He was cradling me in his arms. My hands were bunching his shirt up. No tears were on my face. Good. No crying. No tears. She doesn't like crying. She doesn't like tears.
"Who are you?" I asked, sitting up and backing a couple few away. I realized we were sitting on the floor. My headache was gone.
"My name is Theo. What's your name?"
I stared at him in horror. I had just been clinging onto him. Oh no. I'm not vulnerable. I'm not weak. I don't cling.
"I'm not weak!" I yelled. His eyes widened in surprise.
"No! I didn't say you were! You're actually quite the opposite of weak. You just had a full blown panic attack in your sleep and didn't get hurt."
"It wasn't a panic attack! I swear! Don't tell anybody!" I exclaimed, looking towards the door. If I ran, I might be able to get away. I was a pretty fast runner, anyways. I slowly stood up, him copying me.
"Okay. It wasn't a panic attack. Did you have a nightmare? Are you okay?" he asked, concern swirling around in his brown eyes. I hated it. Nobody worried about me. Nobody cared. He shouldn't care. I hate him.
"Get away!" I screamed when he took a step closer to me. He backed away immediately.
I stared at him nervously, then bolted for the door. I swung it open and darted away from his house. I ran and ran. I didn't stop until I saw a bus stop. I looked behind me and saw nobody, so I decided to sleep there. School tomorrow. There was a party. I didn't go. Three days. She hated being late. She hates me.
The next morning, I woke up early, hoping to catch the bus. I put a smile on my face as I climbed into the vehicle and took a seat. When my stop was called, I exited the bus and began the short walk to school. The bus stop didn't stop at school. It couldn't. I couldn't be seen taking the bus anyways. A yellow Lamborghini pulled up beside me and honked. I jumped, startled, but smiled when I saw Scott roll his window down and motion for me to get in. I gave his car a hug before clambering inside.
"You didn't come to the party, dude!" he said. I smiled.
"Yeah, sorry. My dad needed help with work. Gotta help the old man out sometimes you know?" I replied with a laugh. He gave me a confused look and a smile.
"You never responded to my text though. I said I'd pick you up and you weren't home when I showed up. Your dad was, though. Said you were 'out'" he said, making air quotes.
"Yeah. I was 'out'," I copied him with the air quotes, "running work errands for him."
He nodded and turned the music up.
And every time she takes my hand
All the wonders that remain become a simple fact
"I love this song!" I exclaimed. "You were out of my league. All the things I believed. You were just the right kind. Yeah, you were more than just a dream," I sang along with the radio. This was her favorite song.
He smiled at me and I smiled back. He pulled up to the school as the song ended and we stepped out of his car. We made small talk about school and annoying teachers as we walked to first period. Laughing, I pushed the door open to my locker and grabbing my books. Thankfully, I don't take any of my school stuff home so I didn't need to go home to get it this morning. As I shut my locker, somebody yelled.
"Hey! It's you!"
I turned my head to see the boy from yesterday. Oh no. I forgot he went here. I'll just have to pretend. I smiled and waved.
"Yep! It's me! Who are you?"
"Theo. Remember?" he asked, running up to me. I cocked my head to the side.
"No? Wait. You're that dude who ran in front of Scott's car!" I said.
"You've already said that! Do you seriously not remember anything?" he asked. I shook my head in response. The bell rang and Scott called me over.
"Hey, I might catch you later. Bye..."
"Bye Theo!" I said, smiling and waving. I ran over to Scott, leaving a confused boy behind me. Scott raised an eyebrow at me and I explained that he saw me and introduced himself.
"Ohh. So... where were you all weekend? You ignored all texts and calls from me!" he whined. I laughed and nudged his shoulder as I pushed the classroom door open. We stepped inside and scanned the room for a good place to sit.
"I lost my phone, Scotty. Haven't had the chance to go get a new one, but I'll be sure to give you my number when I do or when I find it," I promised, settling for a seat near the back. Scott plopped down next to me throwing his books in his desk with a loud thump.
The lecture started. We were learning about the sky today. Specifically the night sky. I loved the night. She loved the night. It was so interesting. The sky was so big, but two people who lived nowhere near each other could look up and see the same stars. I loved the stars. We look up at the same stars, and see such different things. It's amazing. She loved the stars.
"Christian! Are you paying attention? You know we have a pop quiz on this shit later, right?" Scott said, bringing me out of my thoughts and back to reality. She hated swearing. I nodded and began to take notes.
When first period ended, the two of us began to pack up all of our things. The next four periods went by quickly enough, and lunch period approached . I didn't get to bring food or money to school this morning, but it was okay. I smiled as Scott laughed at the story Beckett was telling him.
"Hey, man! What'd you bring today?" Bennett asked me. Beckett and Bennett were twins who looked nothing alike. In fact, they were quite opposites. Bennett's curly blonde hair contrasted with his dark blue eyes, while Beckett's wild mop of brown fluff hung in front of his heterochromic green and brown eyes. Light freckles dusted Beckett's cheeks while Bennett's were bare.
"Nothing," I replied, shrugging my shoulders. "I've got to use the restroom. Don't get fat before I come back." I joked with a wink. Scott hit my arm lightly and pushed me away.
As I walked out of the cafeteria, I saw somebody else stand up out of the corner of my eye. Theo. Pretending I didn't see him, I made my way to the boy's bathroom and washed my face.
"Do you not remember anything, Carson?"
"Christian," I corrected.
I frowned at the weird name and looked up into the mirror to try to see him. I spotted him leaning against the wall. A red beanie was sitting on his head. He raised an eyebrow and took a step closer to me. Tensing up, I decided to take a step back.
"Why are you afraid of me standing close to you?" he asked. I shrugged.
"If that's what you want to think, I'm not going to stop you," I said with a smile. I tried walking away but he put his arm in between me and the way out. Taking a deep breath, I turned to face him. I tried to ignore the close proximity.
"Why are you acting? I can tell that that's a fake smile. You completely broke down at my house, left without a word, and now you're here smiling like you won the lottery. What is going on with you?" he asked, searching my eyes which were focusing on the wall behind him.
"Nothing. I have no idea what you're talking about. This is only the third time I've seen you: on the road, in the hall, and now," I listed. His eyebrows furrowed in frustration.
"Why are you being so difficult! I'm not going to tell anybody that you had a panic attack! It's not your fucking fault!" I winced.
"Look, I've got to go. My friends are waiting," I said, firmly pushing on his arm and exiting the room. I walked back to our lunch table and sat down.
"So what'd Theodore want?" Beckett asked me. I raised an eyebrow.
"Theodore? He told me that his name was Theo."
I guess that made sense.
"That's his nickname. So what'd he want?" Bennett asked.
"Oh? Are the twins getting nosy?" I teased, smiling. "Nothing. Just asked me for my name. He called me Carson."
The twins and Scott laughed.
"Nice. Okay, Carson. Wanna head to the park after school?" Scott offered. The twins looked at me for an answer. So they were also coming. I looked over at Theodore's table and saw him pointing in my direction and talking to one of his friends. His friend nodded.
"Hello? Christian, you coming?" Scott asked again, waving a hand in front of my face. I laughed, swatting his hand away.
"Yeah, yeah sure. I'll have to tell my dad first though," I agreed. All three of them nodded.
"I'll drive you and wait outside. I'm sure he'll say yes. You're basically always free," Scott offered and I accepted.
I hope he'll say yes.
[November 22, 2020]