Watered Down

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Chapter Thirty Four

“No.” They both snapped at the same time.

I looked back at Asher and his face was red and his eyes narrowed, then I turned to Theon and saw he had his eyes narrowed too, but not angrily like Asher, more like he was confused. “It is pretty obvious that you do know each other.” I huffed, crossing my arms. “Somebody had better get to explaining.” I looked between them and no one spoke, they only continued the stare down. “Asher?” I asked. “How do you know Theon?”

Asher finally looked at me and shrugged of all things, only making my blood boil inside me. “I don’t, I just though he looked familiar.”

“Are you not done lying to me tonight?” I yelled. “Seriously, every single thing that comes out of your mouth.”

“How could you do this to her?” Theon asked under his breath, his eyes wide like marbles as he looked at Asher.

Asher was immediately on the defensive. He took off towards Theon, but I interjected myself between them, one hand in the center of both of their chests. “What the hell, man?” Asher snapped over my head. “You want to talk about me?”

Theon was shaking his head again. “She loves you.” He whispered. “How could you toss her away?”

“Um, excuse me?” I said quickly. “I think you mean that I ‘loved’ him, and also I still have no clue what in the hell is happening right now.” I told them with a shaking voice and the hands to match. “Theon, what are you doing here?” I demanded, looking up into his sad eyes.

Asher pushed at my hand, bringing me back to him. “You know him, Serena?” Asher asked over me but I ignored him and so did Theon.

“Serena, I just had to see you, but…”

Asher backed up and brought his hand in a fist up to his mouth, looking like he’d finally figured everything out while I’m still left here wondering. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” He laughed. “This is your mystery island guy?” He asked me, then looked back to Theon, his fists clinched at his sides now. “Was that your game all along, you tricked me? Why? So you could steal my girlfriend?”

I raised my hand again. “Ex-girlfriend.” I snapped again. “And, Asher, what the hell are you talking about?” I demanded. “Have you met before or what?”

Theon looked incredibly nervous now, but Asher was beyond being pissed off now. “Oh, I’ve met him before.” Asher spat, shaking his hands out at his sides. “Although,” He said narrowing his eyes at Theon again. “He had green eyes then.”

I looked back at Theon and he brought his hands up to his hair, pulling them through it roughly. “Oh, god.” He groaned.

I stood feeling like for once time was completely frozen. Everything was going on around me, but for this moment I am frozen. My mind is frozen. My body is frozen. My emotions were frozen. I was just there, hardly even breathing, feeling the weight of their stares on me, but unable to process any of it.

Until, suddenly I did.

Everything unfroze and the answers all flooded into my mind. The secret job Theon has for Alana, the way they both disappear together before new girls arrive. The way that Theon talked like he knew who I was, long before it was ever possible for him to. Asher’s apologies, and his sudden boost in status.

I sucked a ragged breath into my frozen lungs and the pain shot through my body. I felt sick, then I realized I was going to actually be sick. I ran to the side of the dock and puked out my insides. From the sides I could see both boys step towards me, arms outstretched like they were going to comfort me or hold back my hair. “Stay the hell away from me!” I shouted, wiping my mouth without a care of how gross it was. “Both of you, stay the hell back.” My world was spinning as I sat up and I wobbled away from the edge, afraid I may just tip over and fall in the water.

“You never did try to save me when I fell overboard, did you?” I asked Theon, surprised that I wasn’t bawling my eyes out yet. “Because that was supposed to happen.” I said. “You’d planned it…with him.” I nodded to myself, limply pointing my hand over at Theon. “Did you even cheat on me?”

He shook his head slowly. “No, I lov-.”

I put my hands on both sides of my face. “Oh my god.” I yelled. “You are so full of shit!”

When I looked at his eyes, I finally did feel the utter betrayal. I should have been more hurt by Asher’s actions, but Theon has known the truth this whole time too, and he never did anything about it. He encouraged me to go home to the boy who had me killed so that he could be popular. “Serena, babe, I’m sorry.” Asher said and I turned to look at him, literally seeing him with a red haze around him because I was so irate at the fact that he has the audacity to do what he did to me, and still think he is going to call me ‘babe’.

“How could you do this to me?” I demanded. “You have no idea what I went through, all because of you!” I shouted and he looked back up towards the party, trying to be sure that no one was overhearing the argument. “All I went through was so that you could be this? You never used to care what people thought of you, or what you had or didn’t have. Now you’re just as phony as the rest of them in there.”

“Me?” He laughed. “I did this because I wanted us to be together.” He told me, throwing up his hands. “You were never going to end up with a guy like me.” He snapped. “Eventually your parents or friends would have gotten to you and you would’ve dumped me for someone from your side of town.”

I shook my head, unbelievably in more disbelief than I had already been in ten seconds ago. “You want me to believe you sold me to a witch because you wanted to be with me?” I snorted a laugh, then it shrank away as I stepped closer to him, narrowing my eyes. “I had to do things, Asher. Things no person should have to do, and I thought I was doing them for you.” I shook my head. “I thought of you, all the time, using your memory as something to help pull me through and this is what I get?” I asked. “You tossed me away like trash, and I almost died. For what?” I yelled. “For what, Asher? So you could have a nice house and car and have fake people to pretend to like you just because you have nice things?” I demanded. “That was why I fell in love with you, Asher. You didn’t care what I came from, or at least you were really good at acting like you didn’t. I thought you actually loved me for me, and not for my popularity or my family’s money. Oh, boy, was I wrong about you!”

“I did love you, Serena.” He told me, taking a step forward as I took one back. “I really did, and I mean that, but you don’t know what it’s like. Being with you was just a constant reminder of how inferior I am to a place like LA. The world bowed at your feet, but laughed in my face.” He said. “You were blind to it because all you care about is yourself. You say you loved me, but you only loved the idea of me. If I didn’t look like this, you never would have given me the time of day. I was just a charity case for you to rebel against your parents with.”

His face was red from not breathing and he spat with his words. An ugly trait I’d never noticed before this exact moment. “You’re an ass.” I said firmly, not able to look him in his hate filled aqua eyes.

He stepped forward and I shrunk away from his closeness, unable to move away any further without falling into the water. “And you’re an overly dramatic, spoiled little girl, who has no clue what the real world is like.” He whispered into my face. “I did this for you, but you’re too stupid to see when someone cares about you.”

I had no words, I was in shock at what he was saying and the domineering stance he was holding over me. I had never in two years seen this side of him, and frankly, it scared the hell out of me.

Asher turned his head slightly, then I watched as his eyes widened. Before I even knew it was happening, Theon had Asher by the collar, yanking him back from me, and then bringing his fist to markup squarely with Asher’s perfectly straight nose. He grunted loudly, and blood spewed from his face as Theon pulled his hand pack again, shaking it out, before bringing it back out at Asher’s face again. The final hit sent bloody faced Asher flying backwards, and stumbling off of the end of the dock.

I suppressed the feeling of satisfaction as I saw him come to the surface of the water, long arms whaling around awkwardly as he tried to get himself back over to the dock. I glanced behind me and saw some of the people from the party had finally caught wind of the commotion and were moving this way.

I grabbed up my shoes and bolted into a run up the dock.

“Serena? What is going on?” Marcy asked when I reached the backyard again, but I ignored her. “Who is that guy?” She called after me and I glanced over my shoulder to see Theon running after me.

I cut around the side of the house that no one was around, trying to avoid anyone seeing the tears that were about to spring free at any moment.

“Serena!” I heard him calling me. “Stop.” I kept running as hard as I could, but he closed the gap between us, grabbing my arm and pulling me back. “Serena, please.” He said, spinning me around to face him. “Serena, please, just stop!” He yelled, grabbing my shoulders and stopping me from fighting away anymore.

Here come the tears. “No!” I yelled at him, although I had already stopped. “You did this to me! Just as much as him!”

“I know, Serena, and I would have told you, but I couldn’t.” He said quickly. He let his hands drop from me, feeling sure enough that I wouldn’t run away, and he massaged his right hand with his left, the knuckles already a little swollen. “But you figured it out, so now I can.”

“Well I already know now!” I snapped. “You made a deal with my boyfriend to get me killed and to work for Alana. This is your fault too. I just wish someone was around to punch you in the face too!”

He held his arms up at his sides. “Go ahead.” He said, looking me right in the eyes for once. “Please, hit me as hard as you can, whatever will make you feel better.”

“Nothing is going to make me feel better, Theon!” I yelled at him, pushing him against his chest anyway, because it honestly did help a little. “Both of the guys I thought that I loved betrayed me.” I cried, still pushing. “I trusted you! I trusted you!”

Theon grabbed my hands in his and restrained me again while I tried to blink the tears out of my eyes that were blurring my vision of him. “Listen!” He said firmly, his honey brown eyes baring into my tear stained green ones. “You’re right, I should have found some way for me to tell you the truth, but I couldn’t. I’m so sorry, and I know that means nothing but you need to hear the truth, then you can go on with your life hating my living guts. Ok?”

I sniffled loudly and shrugged my shoulders. “Fine.” I snapped. “I suggest you talk fast, because I am done with you too.” I told him.

His eyes seemed to get a little sadder, and he avoided my gaze for a moment before bringing it back down on me. “I didn’t have a way to tell you what I do for Alana, but…Look, I lied when I told you I didn’t know who you were.”

“No kidding.” I said sarcastically and he sighed.

“What I mean is, I had seen you before.” He said. “That’s what I do for Alana. I scout the islands when she is in need of new girls and I find ones that look like viable options.” He told me. “I try to find ones that…Well, that don’t make me feel as bad about what I’m doing.” He explained. “I chose Cassandra because I saw her shoplifting from a store, I know it was a weak excuse, but that’s how I had to do it to not feel as awful as I already would about what I was doing.”

I pulled my hands away from him. “What about me?” I asked, pursing my lips. “What exactly did I do that just made you feel I was worthy of your death prize?”

Theon pulled his hands through his hair again and cursed under his breath. “Nothing, you didn’t do anything wrong, Serena. I was just jealous. I saw you and your friends out one night, all of you were laughing and walking around town like you owned it, throwing money around at all the shops. I thought you were…A spoiled rich girl.” He admitted sheepishly, his eyes on the ground between us. “I was wrong though, so wrong. That isn’t you at all.”

“A little late for that revelation, isn’t it?”

“Yeah.” He nodded. “But it isn’t too late for me to apologize.”

I held up my hand. “I don’t want your apologies, Theon.” I told him. “I want nothing from you.” I gasped through a sob. “Your apologies would be meaningless because after everything, you still let me come home to the guy that set me up in the first place.” I snapped then tried to turn away but Theon caught me by the arm again.

“No.” He said, pulling me in close to him. “You don’t understand.” He begged me with his eyes to listen. “You heard that guy say that I had green eyes when he talked to me, right?” He asked and I nodded slowly. “All I do is find potential girls, and then Alana controls me to make deals with people to get the girl into the water where she needs them. I never actually make any of the arrangements.” He whispered to me. “I seriously thought about warning you, but I didn’t know who it was that made the deal with me for you. It could have been your parents or one of you friends. I had no way to know.” He said shaking his head again. “I wanted to warn you, but I didn’t know who it was and the last thing I wanted was for you to come back to your life and be nervous and distrusting of everyone around you. You would have been constantly bothered with wondering if the person you are talking to was the person who betrayed you. That wouldn’t have been a life for you, always in fear.” He sighed looking squarely at me again. “I wanted you to have a chance at being happy, and I thought not saying anything was the best chance of that.”

I brought both my hands to my face, smearing the makeup off of my eyes without giving a damn if I look like a crazed raccoon or not. I just shook my head in my hands. I wanted to believe that Theon had good intentions, and that he really did try to protect me by not telling me. I wanted to understand where he was coming from, after all, I had done plenty of bad things too. I had reasons though. I knew why I did the things I did, and even if the reasons weren’t great, they were reasons none the less. I didn’t know anything about his reasons.

“Why?” I whispered, looking hopelessly into his eyes. I sniffled. “Theon, why would you do those things for Alana?”

Theon looked around and that was when I realized that a crowd was gathering at the backside of the house, everyone was watching us carefully, some even holding up their smart phones to record us.

Theon pulled me forward, ducking me under his arm and blocking me from people as he walked me swiftly towards the front of the house. “Hang on.” He whispered to me and I pulled away from him when we got to the yellow taxi parked at the curb.

“Stop trying to rescue me all the time. I’m not your problem just because you feel sorry for what you did to me. I don’t need your help.”

Theon sighed. “I’m not trying to make up for what I’ve done.” He told me. “I care about you, and I know I messed everything up in every way possible, but I want you to know the truth.”

“So tell me.” I said. “Why did you do it? What was so important that you would do the things that you do?”

Theon’s face fell, even more than I thought it could, and he opened the cab door. “It’s a long story, Serena.”

I hopped into the cab. “I’ve got time.” I snapped, sliding over so that he could follow.

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