Chapter 2: New Neighbors
I need something to do. I was beyond frustrated to the point where my car looked brand new. How could I have been so foolish? I thought that she would come back here and want to pick up where we had left off as much as I did, but no. She was completely focused on keeping me as far away from her as possible.
After a year of absolutely nothing from her and me trying desperately not to go making a fool of myself by just showing up, and I still get treated like a side dish. I get that what I did was wrong in her eyes, but she said she understood. Plus I paid her mom back every cent. I didn’t know that she was going to take off with it, but I was trying to do right. I just wanted to show her that it was never about the money, it was always her.
I had a decision to make now.
Do I continue to be persistent in my pursuit for her heart or do I just give up and find someone else to focus on? It’s not like I’m lacking in the girl department. She wasn’t around and neither was I. I’d be a fool to think that I was the only one to taste her and she’d be foolish to think that I’d just continue to wait. She really was just as insatiable as me in the bedroom and together we could go all night. Or maybe I should just change my approach.
She says she just wants her friend back. I could do that. Being me made her fall in love once, why wouldn’t it happen again? Or maybe she was just over me and that was a fact that I had to accept. Either way, maybe it was good that I learned to be her friend again. I missed her more than I knew was possible. I missed her in a way that differed from how I missed Natalie, but it still hurt the same.
I never wanted to lose either of them, but clearly we can’t always get what we want. I needed to get my frustration out. Kissing her made me feel like I had fire in my veins, but she made it clear that wasn’t a feeling that I was going to feel again any time soon.
“AHHHHH!” I screamed, kicking my tire. I needed to get the aggression out and working out wasn’t helping anymore. Pulling out my phone, I texted someone that I knew could help me relax a bit.
Dave: Hey baby, what are you doing?
Analisa: Just getting out the shower.
Dave: Feel like seeing me tonight?
Analisa: I thought you had some big family thing going on that you couldn’t get out of.
Dave: It got canceled. I’m all yours baby.
Analisa: I don’t know if I believe you David, everyone knows that Maria is back.
Dave: Then you should know that she and I are just friends. Our families planned a welcome back, but things came up and it was postponed.
Analisa: Are you sure the two of you are just friends?
Dave: Bye Lisa, I don’t have time for the insecure.
I rolled my eyes fishing through my contacts for another certifiable good time. Maybe one that I didn’t go to school with who knew the intricate complications that were Maria and I. How did she know? I had no fucking idea, but she did. Smiling as another number came into sight, I was interrupted by a big ass moving truck parking in front of me. Since when were we getting new neighbors.
After my reunion with Dave, a shower was definitely something I needed. My entire body just felt hot and sticky and I needed to get rid of it as soon as possible. It didn’t help that I ended up taking a whole lot longer than necessary because I couldn’t get him off of my mind. He was right though; I hadn’t found someone who’d take the time to learn me. Not like I’d ever give them the chance too. No one was allowed to get too close to me any longer, and although I found one guy who seemed possible, I was too afraid that he’d hurt me also.
When I left here I vowed never to again be the sad sack little bitch just letting everyone walk all over her. The one too afraid to go after what she really wanted. I sighed, how was it that life only kept getting harder. Did it ever take a break? In my case, it didn’t. All I did was get one betrayal after another. Instead of my mother manning up and apologizing, all she did was up and leave. As if saying ‘sorry honey, I was wrong. I want to fix our relationship’ was too hard of a sentence for her to spit out of her mouth.
Then again, maybe we were better off without her. Life was just a little bit easier, no one stood around just waiting to criticize everything about me. Dad, although he was sad and frustrated, seemed to have more money around allowing him to do and get a lot of the things that she wouldn’t let him. He wouldn’t though, because now all he wanted was his wife back and for his daughter to no longer hurt. Shaking away the thoughts, or at least trying to, I put on a pair of all black booty workout shorts and a red tank top with ‘sexy’ written in black across the chest. Paired with my all black thigh high socks with red stripes to match and some black gym shoes. Finally, putting my hair up in a ponytail. Maybe going for a jog would help me put my guard back up again. Coming into Dave so soon and the unexpected kiss definitely had me shook.
Just as I was getting ready to leave out my room, I heard my window open. I groaned before turning to face the intruder.
“Mickey, you can’t be doing this.” I sighed.
“I don’t care.” he grunted as he lifted himself inside. “We need to talk and I’m tired of you just walking away from me.”
“I don’t have time for this.” I spat turning around and rolling my eyes,
“Damn it Minnie.” he growled before grabbing me by my arm and spinning me back around. I gasped as I ended up pressed up against his chest. “I said we need to talk and I do not feel like playing games with you. Not anymore.” he spat as I just nodded my head in agreeance. I took the moment to sit her and study him. He looked fantic at best. He kept glancing at me and then looking away. As if realizing just how close we were, he uprighted me before stepping away. I was actually a little hurt. Why was he being so hot and cold all of a sudden.
“Mickey, what’s going on? Why are you freaking out?” I asked, starting to worry. He being like this was how we had sex in the first place.
“Minnie I am so sorry. I really am.”
“What in the hell are you apologizing for?”
“I didn’t tell you everything about me. In fact I kept the worse thing to myself.”
“Worse than accepting money to be my friend?” I asked cringing at the amount of pettiness coming off of my words.
“Worse than paying all that money back and your mother using it to skip town.” he snapped back. I deserved that. It still pissed me off, but I deserved it.
“What’s going on?” I sighed, sitting down on my bed before inviting him to join me.
“I haven’t told you everything about myself Minnie. About who I was after Natalie’s death.” he groaned. I could see he was tortured by this memory, but I wouldn’t pass judgement until I knew the entire story. I’d already learned that lesson once before.
“Then tell me Mickey. I’m here. I’m listening.” I all but whispered.
For a moment we just sat in silence. I studied him as he stared at the wall. Before I could even blink my eyes, his lips were on mine. My arms didn’t hesitate to wrap around his neck as he pulled me onto his lap straddling him. I could feel his hands pulling my hair tie lose as my hips took a stand of their own making me grind against him.
“Talk later.” I shushed him, pressing my lips harder to his. Already I was tired of fighting this desire only he seemed to ignite within me. I needed this as much as he did.
“Can talk later.” I growled grinding against him harder. For a split second I was airborne before landing safely on my bed.
“Damn it Maria listen! I just wanted to kiss you one last time before you officially hated me for whatever amount of time you deemed fit. As I was saying after Natalie’s death I was depressed. I believe everything everyone was saying. I drank. I smoked. I did whatever it took to ignore and not feel. Almost got kicked off the team it was so bad. Almost ruined my life completely. That year someone moved to town. A family of four. A mom, dad and twins. One boy. One girl. They heard the rumors, but she wanted to see for herself.”
“You have an ex, so what?” I shrugged, now pissed that I was horny for nothing.
“You’re insufferable you know that?” he snapped as I rolled my eyes. I was used to his tantrums by now. “The point is, it took a lot of work to get back to me. It’s because of her that I learned to work on my anger. Well, it wasn’t like I had a choice.”
“What the hell are you talking about David?”
“I hit her okay!” I yelled his voice sounding more ferocious than I’d ever heard it. It actually scared me, making me backup a bit as I stared at him wide-eyed. Did he really just say what I think he did?
“Mickey no.” I whispered tears coming to my eyes. I really had no clue who this person was anymore. I don’t think I ever did.
“Look, you don’t give tequila and weed to someone with anger issues; but still somehow I got them. No one was home. I hadn’t even gone to school that day. I was wallowing in my own self pity every negative playing in my head. No one cared that I witnessed the whole thing. No one cared that it gave me nightmares. No one cared that he threatened me. No one cared about me and I was pissed. Music was blasting. I didn’t even hear her come in. she got to nagging me about how I should be in school. Her voice kept getting louder but it just sounded like ringing in my ears. Then I heard it. She was saying Natalie’s name. Calling me pathetic for being in love with a dead girl who just wanted the captain of the team. It pissed me off. I stuck her. Then I did it again. I kept hitting her as she begged me to stop. In my intoxicated state it felt good to alleviate the pressure I felt, but once I was sober I felt horrible. I begged them to press charges. I begged them to lock me up. I begged her father to put a bullet in my head, but my mom managed to talk them down to anger management and community service. A lot of both. When it came close to me finishing both her parents and Natalie’s parents thought it was best that we moved and start elsewhere. I agreed with them and that’s how we ended up here.” his face was wet with tears. He showed genuine remorse, but I was completely shocked by what I heard.
“Why are you telling me this now?” I breathed.
“Because they just moved across the street Minnie.” I didn’t even know that I gasped until it hit my ears.
I just stared at him. I thought my life was bad, but it seemed like his fuck ups were following him like crazy. I didn’t know what to say to him. It’s not everyday a six foot five, godlike creature stood in front of me with tear stained cheeks and pouring his heart out. When he was like this my heart went out to him. I didn’t fear him, what could happen or the everlasting feelings between us. He was simply my Mickey and he needed me. Getting up from my seat on the bed, I walked over to him and wrapped my arms tight around his waist.
“You aren’t your mistakes Mickey, you are so much more. Please don’t let them cloud who you really are. Don’t let them define you.”
“The kind of mistakes I’ve made are defining Maria. Maybe, it’s who I really am. Maybe-”
“Stop. Damn it Mickey you aren’t a bad person. I know bad people. A bad person is someone who drugs people and forces them to have sex and uses it against them. A bad person is someone who saves a girl, then pretends to be into her because she and her best-friend are their next target for their sick game. A bad person is someone who pays the first person to speak and treat their child like a normal human being, just to be their friend. A bad person is someone who doesn’t believe their child and instead of admitting they were wrong and trying to fix everything they leave. You aren’t like any of them Dave. You aren’t a bad person.”
“I’ve done bad things though Minnie and there’s nothing I can do to change that.” he sighed, sitting down on the bed the weight on his shoulders making it too hard for him to continue standing.
“Yes, you’ve done bad things, but did you learn from them? Have you continued down that path? Have you done it again? That is the difference between a mistake and a bad person. By definition you are mistaken by your mistakes. A mistake is an action or judgement that is misguided or wrong. You had lost your best-friend in the process of being scared for your life and it led you to make some poor judgment that no one tried to get you help for. Your misguidance led to a year of build up anger, guilt, remorse and regret and anyone who said the wrong then would’ve unleashed. It could have been anyone Mickey, but unfortunately it was her. It led to you waking up and you got up and you became the loving person that you are once more. You piss me off to no end and yes for a moment I hated you, but it was never about you. I was mad at the fact that my mother saw me as so pathetic she would actually stoop so low. I was mad that you accepted it and although I knew the reality, I rather hate you than admit that I still had feelings for you. It was easier being away thinking that I was over you and still hated you.”
“It was easier having you away thinking that you hate me, but things are going to change Minnie. I want to make it up to her however I can, but her family hates me. They are going to realize who their neighbors are and try to persuade you to stay away from me. It’s all you’ll hear about. I’m dangerous and shouldn’t be trusted and blah blah blah.” he was up and pacing the room again. I groaned as I grabbed his arm and stood in front of him. Without my heels I could truly see just how tall he was over me. Nearly a full foot.
“I know who you are. You are my Mickey and nothing nor no one can change that.” he smiled and finally seemed to relax a bit as he leaned over to put his forehead on mine. I closed my eyes enjoying the little surges of electricity flowing through my body from the simple contact. I truly missed being this close to him, being able to freely express things that normally we wouldn’t with anyone else. I miss being able to be who I was. “Thank you for taking care of the kids while I was gone.” I smirked finally opening my eyes to see him trying to hold back a laugh.
“What kind of father would I be, had I not?”
“As bad as their mother.” we both laughed as he pulled me into a tight hug. Sighing I melted into his touch and silently wished that we could just go back to the way that it used to be, before secrets were revealed. Before we weren’t us anymore.
“So, what do you say to us having a taco date? It’s been too long since our last one.” he asked being the one to break our hug.
“I’d love too.” he grabbed my hand as we journeyed from my room and down the stairs, ignoring the curious look of my father whom I hadn’t noticed was here and out the door.
“When does he leave?”
“Tonight apparently. You’d think he’d want to spend some time with me since I’m back and all, but no work comes first.” I snapped a little sore about the situation. Another reason I feared coming home was because I knew my father blamed me for my mother leaving, but that was not something I wanted Dave to know just yet. I didn’t want his image of my father to change.
“He didn’t believe you’d come. I don’t know why, but that’s what he told me.” he whispered as I held my head down trying not to cry. Only for a moment did I pause. First I heard my name and then I saw punches. Phoenix?
It was all happening so fast. I couldn’t believe my eyes and I had no clue what to do, but what feared me was the look in his eyes. Maybe I had been wrong about him.
My phone hadn’t stopped vibrating since I’d noticed them and it was giving me a killer headache. I knew he saw me when I tried to dip away. It couldn’t have been anyone but him. No one else from their family would be texting me like this.
Then again it could have been one of my many hookups. Or maybe Analisa was texting me like a manic stalker trying to apologize for her accurate assumption and seeing if I still wanted to come over. Whatever the reason it was still annoying. I finally get my Minnie back and for some reason the fates won’t ever let it just be simple for us. Something always gets in the way.
“Maria?” came his voice confused from the sidewalk. I guess he was on his way to meet the new neighbors, but then he saw her. I was curious as hell how they already knew each other, but I knew she’d tell me whenever she was ready. Then I noticed him noticing me and everything changed. I saw the rage and jealousy in his eyes and that really pissed me off. Clearly she had better taste than that. “Get away from her you fucking psycho!”
So many emotions filled me at once.
A bit of relief.
Then I was being hit and all I could see was red.
I never thought of Phoenix as the type. When I first met him he was so sweet and shy. I actually gave him a chance because he reminded me so much of the untainted version of Dave. He was just as tall and muscular. His long blonde hair complimented his olive skin. I later found out that he was mixed and although I loved the way he looked, I loved Dave’s look more. The more I hung out with Phoenix, the more he reminded me of what I had left back home and it was killing me. Inevitably I broke up with him.
It was easy. I just stopped calling, texting and responding and he quickly caught the hint. It never crossed my mind that they could possibly know each other. Looking back I’d ignored all the signs, especially the biggest one. He’d told me more than once where he lived. If I had been paying attention I would have noticed it was the same one Dave had named during our conversations.
“David! Dave stop hurting him!” cried a voice from behind me. That must have been her. The sister. She sounded terrified and even I could hear the tears in her eyes and she pleaded for Dave not to kill her brother.
I was still stuck.
Dave looked animalistic as he defended himself. Phoenix had gotten in a few good licks, but something he did made a look I’d never seen from Dave cross his features. He definitely wasn’t my Mickey anymore and looked as if he was enjoying the violence. He stood over him fist flying over fist making blood spray across Phoenix’s face.
I was scared and I was a little turned on.
I’d never seen someone like this before, but I also felt more confident than ever before that Dave would protect me at all cost.
Still as animal-like as he was, his true self shined through. He must’ve heard the same fear as I did in her voice because he stopped as soon as she screamed at him. He may have been calm, but he was still pissed. It was understood, I’d be pissed too if someone attacked me out of nowhere.
“He attacked me Persephone.” he spat. “I was defending myself.”
“I told him to stay away from you after we first realized it was you. I told him to stay away.” she cried. I stood trying to decode their body language.
Dave looked like he was stiff. He almost like he was forcing himself not to make any sudden movements so he wouldn’t scare her, but she wasn’t scared. She almost looked like she missed him. It almost looked like she was more pissed at her brother than she was Dave.
“Clearly he didn’t listen.” he groaned. “Come on Maria.”
I followed behind him but I kept looking back. She had tears in her eyes as she helped her brother up. Dave was still ridged in his stance as he headed towards his truck. As petty as this sounds, a very big part of me was jealous of the exchange. I wasn’t going to lose Dave to anyone anymore. He was mine and mine only.