The Angel,The Devil,The Nerd

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Chapter 46 - Facing the cobra

a/n:  I'm not too sure about how many chapters are left,I mean,I thought I'd cut it off at 50,but I can't squeeze everything I plan in four chapters,hence,I'm asking you advice...would you rather if I finished it with a cliffhanger and then continue it with a sequel or would you just want me to keep adding chapters here?

let me know what you think about the chapter :)

CHAPTER 46 - FACING THE COBRA

NATALIE'S POV

Amazingly, we arrived punctual at school. Apparently, we're still the hot news of the week, so when our peers saw me hopping off Eric's car and then him coming to wrap his arm around me, as usual entangling his fingers in mine, they were still dumbfounded. It's easily explained when you think that, these days, I've heard girls whispering that they were sure he was hanging around me only because I was the last one missing, the last notch on his belt, the belt that counted pretty much all girls in our school.

What irked me more weren't their assumptions, but the thought of my boyfriend having bedded pretty much all girls in this darn school. It's maddening, because now I'm bound to pay more attention to those girls that normally eat him alive and wonder when and if he actually slept with them.

Hence, unable to resist, once we were in front of my locker, Eric waiting for me to settle my things, even though, our first period was Gym, I wasn't able to bite my tongue as I asked: "Eric, have you seriously bedded all girls in here?"

His eyes practically bulged out and I sighed, knowing that was a clear sign of confirmation. A bit demoralized, I closed my locker and moved away, mumbling that it didn't matter, even though it was a bit of a lie, because for as much as I'm trying to convince myself that he loves me, while those other girls were just one-night-stands, it's still maddening that he's had so many other ... let's say conquests before me.

I'd barely made two steps that I felt Eric wrapping his arm around me, leaning his temple on mine as he, amusedly, admitted that all those rumors about him being such a player, they were all fake, just a consequence of his being the school's bad boy, but in truth: "Tallie, I've barely slept with a dozen girls, imagine the whole school."

I frowned. A dozen might not be much, but it's still a good number ... "A dozen?" I repeated as we walked to class, complete oblivious of the looks we've been receiving from our peers since Monday and that I'm starting to wonder if will ever stop.

Eric kissed my temple as he confirmed: "I'm not the player they picture me as, baby, I can assure you. Besides, I've spent the last two years on and off with ..."

He didn't finish the sentence, but I filled in with a sigh: "Dana."

A bit guilty, Eric confirmed, but quickly reminded me that it was nothing with her, she's always been no more than a booty call. I grimaced at the word, but he kept going: "Tallie, even if I slept with her, it was to forget you."

Oh, that doesn't help. It means she's the one girl able to make him forget about me. It means that, if there's one girl that could ever try to steal him from me and succeed, that's her. But I shook my head to remind myself that he loves me, not her. He's never felt anything for her, I have been, as he keeps telling me, gripping his heart since eight years. Eight long years. He's been loving me for eight long years. Not even Miss Dana Perfectly Perfect Langley can beat that. Hence, I gladly let myself smile as I sank in my boyfriend's arms while we walked towards the gym.

I ignored the whispers of the girls around me as I got changed in the lockers room, but when a girl from my Creative Writing class approached me and slyly suggested me to get lost soon because Dana and her minions were on their way here and, rumor had it, she hadn't been acting on her begrudging me all week simply because my boyfriend was always with me and she knows better than to provoke his bad temper, but, always rumor had it, she wanted to catch me solo and have a "little chat" with me ... a chat that, the girl was sure, would end all but good.

I argued that I'm not afraid of Dana anymore, the girl grinned, congratulating with me for my nerve, but if Dana Langley wanted blood, blood she'd have, so, Annie, that's the girl's name, suggested I get a move and go back to the safety of my boyfriend's arms, considering he was the only one able to protect me from his ex's rage.

More than recoil at the girl's suggestions, I frowned at her use of the word ex, so I asked her about it and she told me that, it's certain truth, Eric and Dana have had a thing going for a while, Miss Perfection herself confirmed it, so, you see, I more than treaded on her toes, I stole the one boy she truly liked, hence, she pretty much wants to rub my face off.

I'll admit that made me nervous, I mean, she's been my nightmare for years and while I feel like I'm becoming stronger thanks to Eric, it's still a bit scary to face her ... but I did my best not to show I was nervous. If she's coming for me, I'll be here waiting for her. I am stronger than I know, both mom and Eric tell me, hence, I will face the cobra and win. This time she won't have me crying my heart out. No way.

I made it just in time to get ready before she entered the locker room. When I entered the gym, Eric was nowhere in sight, so I guess he was still getting changed. There were a few kids in there, mostly chatting among them, amazingly, they didn't notice me, well, not till I felt arms around me from behind ... right then, all eyes focused on me, but I didn't bother, I simply giggled as Eric squeezed me against him, placing a sweet but romantic kiss on the back of my ear, which is, I found out, another one of his favorite spots.

"Feels like ages since last time." He commented and I giggled, gladly sinking in his arms as I leaned my head on his shoulder, giving him the go to claim my lips as his, the smile easy to feel in both our mouths.

As he deepened the kiss, I turned around in his arms to better enjoy it, but, unfortunately, we were soon interrupted: "No making out in my gym." Coach Nichols chastised us as he walked by. "You have three seconds to pull away before I make you do 70 pushups."

I pulled back abruptly, the thought of harder work to do not at all appealing, making Eric chuckle, so that I lightly punched his chest and he winked, smiling. I guess that our peers were truly shocked to see the school's bad boy so cheerful, because they wouldn't stop gawking ... till he turned around and glared at all of them, which had them cower back in their little shells.

Coach Nichols was still there, watching us, surprised, and I blushed when he commented: "Watson ... I did tell you to stick with Rivers to make him change his attitude, but I didn't mean become his girlfriend ..."

I was only thankful he hadn't been too loud in his comment, but Eric grinned as he wrapped his arm around me again, squeezing me against his side as he responded: "Well, coach, she realized that letting me kiss her was the only way to make me behave, so here we are."

I narrowed my eyes at him, elbowing him in his stomach, but the coach laughed, shaking his head as he muttered something I didn't catch while moving to the middle of the gym, ordering us to reach our mates.

I could feel Dana, who'd popped out of nowhere, digging a hole in my head when Eric entangled his fingers in mine, kissing my hand as we moved towards the middle of the gym, waiting for the coach to talk. She didn't quit one second, I guess either taking advantage of Eric being distracted or simply not caring if he got mad or not. After all, she knows all too well he'll never lay a hand on her. If anything, he might snarl a little, but he wouldn't go much further, not with her anyway. Gee, the thought of them together still haunts me.

Eric looked at me funny when I shook my head to delete that scenario of them together, he asked me if everything was ok and I smiled, truthfully when I gazed at him, because I reminded myself, for the thousandth time, that she might have had him first, but it's me that he loves. Me.

We started with our usual warming up, which had us split in couples, me and Eric being obviously inseparable, especially considering we had been paired up already since weeks by the teacher himself. I'll admit that, this time, touching my boyfriend felt really different. Since we started dating, even while hiding it to our peers, we particularly enjoyed the warming up, because it'd give us the chance to have our hands on each other without attracting attention, but now ... now his caresses had something more sensual in it, which had me keeping a crimson face all the time, especially as I recalled this morning in the shower ...

Coach Nichols then informed us we'd play volleyball, but, he was in a good mood today so if anyone wanted to propose something different, now was the time to talk. Before anyone could say anything, Dana raised her slender hand and argued about volleyball being boring because we play it often, while Dodgeball seemed more interesting ...

My spider-senses already told me she was up to something but I kept my cool, even when, her eyes snapping to me being comfortably in my boyfriend's arms, who was hugging me from behind, placing tender kisses on my hair now and then, Dana glared at me, so furiously that, had she been a robot, she would have blown up my head.

I guess that, she's already on war footing with me, hurling my happy relationship with her ex in her face doesn't really help, but why should I hide? Eric and I have spent weeks keeping out thing a secret and now that we can finally shout it to the world that we're a couple, I'm not gonna cower in fear because his ex doesn't agree.

Coach Nichols mulled over her idea for a moment, rubbing his chin as he scanned the gym, scrutinizing each one of us. Normally some people would invent excuses not to play, but since he's been assigned to this course, there is never a soul sitting on the bleachers, because he's pretty severe, so doesn't allow anyone to slack off. Remember? Even Mr. Badass Eric Rivers here was forced to join since the beginning. Even though, he then confessed me that he didn't bother. He joined because the coach paired him up with me.

Now, Dodgeball teams consist of six players each, but we were 20 more or less, so there would be a few people benched, but Dana suggested we make rotations, so for everyone eliminated, somebody that had been benched joins, till there are no reserves left and we go by elimination. Coach Nichols argued that this way it'd be too long, so we'd make teams, those who remained out, he'd find something to do for them and they'd play next time, because he wants nobody to slack off, remember?

Now, team making. I sad we're 20 more or less, we girls are kind of outnumbered, boys being more than a half of the class, but some of them are such slouches in sports that it's like we're even anyway. Coach Nichols blindly scanned his list and picked a second name for the captain of one team, the first one being Dana because hers was the idea ... this thing stinks more and more.

The name the coach picked was Liam, our quarterback, Dana's ex boyfriend, on whom she cheated with Eric, by the way (yes, he told me this too). I know Liam for being one of those idiots who threw my bike in the dustbin in sophomore year, have been loathing him since, especially because he's the perfect definition of hateful jock. He's just so arrogant, so conceited ... duh, why do I even care.

The point is, I was sort of doomed, I think, considering none of them would pick me, hence, I was ready to work out with the other five kids that would be left out, hoping the coach wouldn't be too hard on us, but, surprisingly, I heard my name being called ... I glanced at the two captains that were standing in front of the rest of us, beside the coach and Liam gestured for me to get a move. Wait ... there are plenty of his sport pals here and he calls my name first of all? Me? I'm not too bad at sports, I think they might have seen that, but considering Liam barely even knows me, how comes he ...

"Eric!" That hateful and venomous female voice called. I gritted my teeth almost instantly, knowing she'd done that on purpose ... let me guess, she's in cahoots with her ex Liam, isn't she? Of course. They're friends now.

I was still in my boyfriend's protective arms, but coach Nichols soon called us back to reality, ordering us to reach our captains. Grudgingly, I moved, but before letting me go, Eric kissed the back of my ear, whispering that everything would be fine, yet I knew he was sensing, just as I was, that there was something rigged in all of this.

I took my place beside Liam, who, honestly, towered me, being even taller than Eric and more pumped, but certainly not as handsome, and I clenched my fists so forcefully that my nails were digging in my flesh as I noticed what a lascivious smile-wink Dana sent to my boyfriend. Much to my amusement, though, Eric didn't respond, just rolled his eyes, clearly annoyed.

The two captains called other names and in a few minutes the teams were complete. Much to my dislike, I ended up with three football jocks, Liam included, and two cheerleaders. Yay. The other team was pretty much the same. As predicted, the "losers" were left out. Now it really stinks.

I don't think they called my name simply because now that I'm Eric Rivers' girlfriend I count something in this school. They called my name because the cobra is planning something and I'm sure it's nothing good.

Liam gathered us all around him to explain us his strategy, as if we were going to war, duh ... but Dana did the same and my blood already boiled when I noticed her bitchy hand touching my boyfriend even too much for my liking ... ok, she's only trying to provoke me. Calm down, Natalie. Calm down. You're superior. He loves you. She was just a booty call. Hence, I focused on our captain and his mastermind plan: don't get hit, hit the most you can. Wow, Liam, such a strategist your are ...

Once everybody was in position, we started. I never liked Dodgeball, it's too crude for my liking, but I've always been good at dodging the ball (pun unintended, I swear), doing my best at surviving without being hit but also kind of never hitting anyone.

Yet, this time ... my hands kind of itched to hit a specific person. Especially as I could see her shamelessly fondling my boyfriend every time he scored a point ... I know, I know, she's only trying to provoke me, but still ... it's freaking maddening! Because every time she touches him, my stupid brain gives me scenarios of them doing the deed and ... ughhhh!

Now and then, during breaks, Eric was glancing at me if everything was fine, to which I always nodded, thinking it was quite stupid to show him I was effected by ex's stupid tricks to irk me. Somehow, some way, I got to be one of the four kids left on the field, the other one of my team being Liam, our opposites being, guess who, Eric and Dana.

When coach Nichols gave us a few moments to catch our breaths and eventually come up with a strategy (again, as if this was war, duh ...), I nearly smashed my jaw for how much I was clenching it while watching that bitch brushing my boyfriend's arms here and there as she talked to him, I bet pretending, about their strategy.

I barely even heard Liam beside me explaining his own idea, I just stared at those two at the other side of the field and when Eric made eye contact with me, I couldn't hold back my scowl, so he quickly pulled away from his ex. Not that he was doing anything, he'd just been there listening to her, pretty annoyed, but still ...

I nearly lost balance when Liam patted forcefully on my back, offering me the ball to start and telling me that if I had such blood thirst as my face suggested, I should probably start with the bitch that was trying to steal my boyfriend. Words that Dana suggested him to say, I bet, so I didn't fall in the trap.

We all positioned once again and when the coach flipped a coin, Eric spiked the first ball, I bet purposely missing Liam for a pure miracle. Miss Perfection didn't miss me, though. Lucky thing I caught it, even though my hands hurt a little. So that's the game she wants to play, huh? I guess I was wrong, she does want to get physical with me.

I could hear our peers that had been benched rooting for this or this other team, well, mostly for Dana, but I was startled to hear my name too from a couple of girls, and when I turned around I saw Annie, the girl that had warned me in the lockers room, along with a redhead I've never seen, giving me thumbs up and mouthing something that I didn't quite understand if it was "waste that bitch" or "taste that quiche", but I'll go for the first one because the latter doesn't make any sense. Well, good to know I've got fans anyway. To my displeasure, the rest of the girls divided their rooting between Liam and Eric, a couple of them even acting like groupies on a concert ...

It was Liam's turn to spike the ball and he aimed at Eric, but missing, something tells me purposely, something I did too, but while aiming at my nemesis ... I'm not a violent person, but I put all my strength in that blow, out of anger, hence, I let the ball only skim the top of her blonde hair, a few more kids starting to root for me as even Dana was startled.

The game went on like that for a while, with all four of us purposely missing each other, but me and Dana playing the 'I could hit you badly but I won't' game, both of us never aiming directly at each other but always with such force that, was the ball to hit us, we'd be knocked down. I guess I never made this strong, but then, cheerleading isn't that easy as it seems apparently. Coach Nichols got tired of our game, though, so he ordered us to get real if we didn't want to get detention after school for not committing.

He'd just said that, that Liam took the chance to spike the ball so forcefully and so directed at Eric's face that, hadn't he dodged it, it would have broken his nose at least. My teammate grinned and winked as I glared at him for that, but worse was the blood-freezing look Eric sent him ...

All our peers caught their breaths in their throats, some whispering that "it was not sane to nudge the bull", and everybody awed when Eric smirked devilishly, preparing to spike the ball ... it missed Liam's family jewels by poor chance, I swear. Everybody could see that, the ball was so fast that Liam couldn't even move and it passed a mere inch below his crotch. Dana grinned at that, I sent a reprimanding look to my boyfriend instead and he shrugged at first, but then nodded, relaxing a little.

Liam beside me smirked as he commented, out loud even: "Lost our balls for the little saint here, haven't we, Rivers?"

I would have thought Eric would snap, but he quite simply smirked as well as he retorted: "At least I had them. You never even grew them, Jacobs." I'll admit that made me chuckle a little, even if it was mean, so I covered my mouth as the whole gym rumbled in a laugh. I wondered why didn't coach Nichols intervene, though, isn't there supposed to be something like fair play?

I barely caught myself before a powerful blow shot by Dana hit me, though. I was able to dodge it for a pure miracle and when I looked up I noticed a pretty angry Eric barking against her words I didn't catch. Overall the game went on like that for a few moments more, with me and Dana playing kill each other, Liam trying his hardest to eliminate Eric, Eric shooting powerful blows but never hitting Liam, on purpose ... to keep him in the game and not leave me alone.

Yet coach Nichols seemed to notice that, so he reprimanded him, which had him shoot a less powerful blow that plainly hit Liam in the shoulder, but not really hurting him. I guess Eric knows all too well how to dose his strength.

So, I was left alone against my boyfriend and his ex. Yay. It was a problem because I didn't want to hit Eric and he didn't want to hit me, so overall he either aced against the wall behind me or sent me balls I could dodge all too easily. His ex didn't agree, though ... because every ball she sent me was harder and harder to dodge and a couple nearly knocked me over the head. I was getting tired, though, my breath was getting a little heavier, but I could have a moment to rest when it was Eric's turn to hit because he never even tried to eliminate me.

At this point the game would go on forever, though, so I sent him an apologetic look when I prepared to shoot another ball and he picked up on my trail of thought, nodding and winking at me, not even moving to dodge the ball when I shot it towards him, even though, it was a really calm blow that barely made it to reach his arm, and only because he stretched it voluntarily to be hit.

Everybody awed when he headed to the bleachers, the cobra and I remaining alone on the field, her smirk promising nothing good. It was a real duel, and when coach Nichols suggested us to get closer to each other, so that we could finish sooner, I got in range of ear for her mean comments she showered me with, repeating me how I was a loser and that just because Eric had been so merciful to date me while knowing no one else would have had the guts to, I shouldn't think that I was worth something or even more, that I was worth him.

I did my best to ignore all of those jabs, focusing on winning the game, but what really ticked me off was her last comment: "You know he'll come back to me, don't you, Watson? He needs a real woman and you're just a little girl. As soon as he realizes, he'll come back to me."

I gritted my teeth so much that I was almost smashing them, but I found the nerve to simply shoot the ball, catching her off guard, hitting her in the shoulder, unfortunately not to badly, and winning. Ha! Props to me.

Yet, just as the coach whistled to signal the end of the game and declare me winner, I was glancing towards the bleachers, at Eric, who was sitting there and smiled at me, winking, all of a sudden I felt the air in my lungs running out and I dropped to my knees ... the ball that had just hit me in plain stomach falling slower than usual, as if it had pierced my lungs and now was going back to its shooter.

I barely heard the coach yelling at the responsible that she was punished, I looked straight into her cold blue eyes as I found it hard to breathe properly, so much that I felt like fainting, and in a moment I felt arms around me, Eric pulling me up, ready to take me to the infirmary, I guess, while he yelled against his ex and her stupid tricks, but I was tired of cowering.

As soon as I felt like I could breathe again, I freed myself from my boyfriend's grip, ignoring his grumbling that I should head to the infirmary because I was pale. I'm tired of hiding. Time to face the cobra.

She was still there in the middle of the field, grinning victoriously, her friends around her. I'm not one to make a scene, but I had been repressing my comebacks for too long, now it was time to spill it all out: "Good shot. Bravo." I started sarcastically.

People around us were murmuring about their things or about the reasons why Dana hated me like that, coach Nichols was yelling Dana was punished. I continued, unaffected: "You think this means you win, Langley? You are so wrong. Everybody knows you're just a bitch that claims to be the queen of the school while in truth, you're nothing but a whore that's given is around like it wasn't hers. I don't know why everybody fears you, why did I fear you. You're just a panicky bitch whining over spilt milk. Because that's why you hold it against me, don't you, Dana?"

I don't know what got into me, but I grabbed Eric's arm as I presented him to her and the whole class like a trophy, coach Nichols clearly interdicted. "You hold it against me because he picked me. But you fail to realize that he never even wanted you!"

I ignored Eric calling my name as he tried to hold me back, the whole gym utterly silent, I guess everybody was bewildered at my sudden boost in courage. What surprised me was Dana remaining silent all the time, just clenching her jaw, probably waiting for her moment to humiliate me, but no, this time I wouldn't let her. It was my turn to make her cry. Does that sound mean? I don't care. I'm sick and tired of her tricks.

"You can play all the games you want, Dana, but you'll have to face the truth at some point." I snatched my arm from Eric's grip as he was trying to hold me back while both me and his ex were advancing towards each other, till we got a few inches from each other, in slap range, to be clear.

"You know all too well that he only used you while with me it's serious. You know as well as I do that he loves me but never even felt anything for you. You were just a booty call for him. I ... I am his girlfriend. You were his past, his pathetic past, I am his present and future. Now, who wins?" I couldn't hold back the smug grin wanting to erupt.

She smirked, her eyes narrowing, as she spoke in such a venomous tone that she truly looked like a cobra ready to poison me: "You think you win only because he's with you now? Watson, do you really think he's being serious? Come on ... you were the last notch on his belt. He's gonna have fun for a while then dump you. Like he always does with all his booty calls-"

"Like he did with you." I cut her off, making her eyes become slits for how much she was narrowing them. I could hear Eric calling me, but I didn't listen. It was time to set scores.

"You know he used you to forget me. You know that all you've ever been to him was a pathetic fix. He called you when he wanted sex. When he wanted to take his mind off me." I smirked, unable to retain myself, as I concluded: "Tell me, Dana, how many times did he call my name while he was with you?"

That sent her over the edge. I felt the sting of the slap before seeing her hand moving, I swear. It was so strong that it made me turn my head and it stung as much as I never knew a simple slap could. I raised my hand to return her the favor before I could think it through, but Eric held me back before I could hit her.

Angrily, I slipped away from his grip, and just as she was turning around, coach Nichols repeating that she was on double detention, before I could think it through, I grabbed her arm, made her turn around and ... my fist collided with her nose before I could stop it. I punched her. I punched Dana. And I didn't even regret it. Not right away.

The awareness of what I just did plainly hit me only when she cupped her nose with her hands, screaming that I'd broken it and that she was bleeding. There, I took a step back, suddenly conscious of the brutal act I'd just scored. Some people were applauding me, her friend's were shocked, coach Nichols was yelling I don't know what.

As I stepped back, I found myself hitting Eric's hard chest and I turned around, only to see disappointment in his eyes, which only enhanced my sense of guilt. I don't know why I did it. She just provoked me and teased me and after all these years I was tired of her mean attitude towards me and her saying those things about Eric only playing with me ... it all cut deep.

Eric didn't say anything, neither did he shake his head in disapproval, but I could read it in his eyes that he was disappointed and it made me want to cry, but I held tears back, trying to be strong.

I yelped when coach Nichols grabbed me from my shoulder, just as he did with Dana, who, now I could see, even if she was still cupping her nose, wasn't bleeding at all, so I didn't hit her that badly after all ... yeah, it's not an excuse, I know, but really, I don't know what got into me.

Coach Nichols dragged us out of the gym and directly to the principal's. There you go, here crumbles down my sterling reputation for having never been punished.

***

That stupid clocked kept ticking uninterruptedly. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Ughhhh! Where was I? Oh, but ... in the detention room. For the first time in my life. The principal made us, me and Dana, skip our morning classes, having us just sit here, under the severe gaze of coach Nichols, who, first thing after the principal sent us here for the whole day, made us sit face to face and discuss our problems.

When that didn't work, because neither of us talked, he renounced, saying he'd try again after lunch, which we are barely able to get anyway, and only because it'd be illegal to force us to skip it.

The principal was overall magnanimous. He only condemned us to a whole day of detention and, of course, our parents have been informed. I had to endure the disappointed looks of both him and my mother, who couldn't believe her ears when he told her about what happened.

Dana's mother seemed unaffected instead. She barely even looked at her daughter, as if she was a sickening animal. I guess that's where the girl got her haughtiness. I did hear them fighting before Mrs. Langley left, though. Couldn't hear what they said, but Dana looked both flustered and furious when she reached me in the detention room.

Now, I was counting the minutes before noon, when we'd be allowed to walk to the cafeteria and get some lunch, which we'd eat in this same room anyway. I wonder what kind of punishment is this. Principal Roberts justified his being sort of lenient with our having a perfectly clean record, saying he hoped that being treated like the jailbirds we behaved as in the gym would teach us not to cross such limits anymore.

Yeah, he is weird like that. Eric told me he's been having him help Mary in the library because he thought that forcing someone like him in such a quiet place would be torture.

When the bell finally rang, I leaped to my feet, as hungry as ever, but coach Nichols sent me a glare, silently ordering me to wait for him and my "jail mate" before going out. You see, we were to be treated as convicts, so we couldn't go to the bathroom alone, we couldn't move a single finger without the coach knowing it.

Of course, our phones were confiscated. We couldn't read or anything, not even do our homework. We could talk if we wanted, but only to settle the issues between us, so we didn't. Hence, I spent the whole morning staring at the wall or the clock, not even staring out of the window was allowed.

The walk of shame to the cafeteria was awful. Our peers kept staring at us, murmuring, not even Dana glaring at them kept them from it. In the cafeteria there were a few kids only, but we were allowed to skip the queue because we were with coach Nichols. He made us quickly retrieve our lunch and then we had to head out.

I barely got to see my friends and my boyfriend entering the place, Aisha and Kyle sending me sympathetic looks, Eric being more worried. I wonder if he's still so disappointed in me. Judging by the look he sent me, he wasn't mad, but neither glad. I guess we'll need to talk later.

***

Finally. After a whole day of doing nothing, absolutely nothing, we were free to leave. Coach Nichols tried after lunch to make us talk, but neither of us wanted to, so we kept going like that. As she passed me while heading out, Dana simply hissed lowly: "This is not over, bitch. Watch your back."

I shrugged it off, not really caring. Now, when principal Roberts explained our punishment, both mom and Mrs. Langley agreed, but my lovely mother didn't forget to inform me that I was grounded. Possibly for the first time in my entire life. Wow. I guess there is a first time for everything.

Because the principal's punishment was already tough, she didn't rub salt in the wound, so she only gave me two days, the weekend being free, but I was forced to come home straight from school, no working at Sophie's because I enjoy it, hence it wouldn't be a real punishment, especially considering my boyfriends spends a lot of time in there with me, and I'm supposed to do my homework only, no TV, no laptop, no phone.

I can have Eric taking me home from school and giving me a lift in the morning, but no more than that. I wanted to argue that it was too much for a simple punch and an enraged speech, but I knew I was wrong, so I kept it.

Now, I don't know if I expected it or hoped it, but when I came out of the school Eric was there, leaning against his car, waiting for me. I smiled, unable to retain myself. Maybe he's not that disappointed anymore? Well, he might be, but maybe he kind of got over it. I hope.

Wanting to be adult, I didn't run to him, just walked ... swiftly. When I reached him, I smiled, even if not to convinced, and thankfully he smiled back. I remained there awkwardly for a moment, kind of waiting for him to talk if he wanted to, but Eric said nothing, just grabbed my hand and pulled me in his arms to kiss me, muttering against my lips that he'd missed me. Gladly, I let him engulf me in one of his mind-blowing kisses. It seemed everything restored between us, well, if it was every broken, right?

I tried to talk about it with him in the car and he explained that he was disappointed, yes, but only because he knows I'm not a violent person and that, he would have never expected it from me. I argued that I was sorry but she really did provoke me ...

"Dana is like that. You should know it." He argued.

"Yeah, yeah, I know ... but I was sick and tired of her mean attitude towards me." Eric sighed, focusing on the road for a moment and I bit my bottom lip. "Are you ... mad at me?" I asked, unable to retain myself.

He frowned. "Why should I be?" I shrugged and he sighed. "Tallie, I am not mad. I was just ... disappointed. It's not of you to react like that, humiliate her like that, in front of everybody ..."

"She's humiliated me for years!"

"I know, I know, but still ... there was no reason to be like that." He sighed. "She cried, you know. I guess she held it back all day, but when she got out of school she cried."

I frowned. How does he know she cried? Before I could ask, he prevented me: "I saw her before you came out. She was doing her best to wipe tears away."

Ok, now I felt more than guilty. Yes, she's made me cry plenty of times, but still ... I always told myself I wouldn't stoop to her level and yet I did. I humiliated her in front of everybody, pointing out that she was pathetic for chasing someone that didn't want her. And she cried. She held back her tears but then cried. My ... I'm such an awful person! How could I do that? I know she did worse to me, but I am not her!

"The thing with Dana, she only pretends to be strong. In truth she's weaker than you'd think." Eric's voice took me off my thoughts and I looked at him, who seemed to be pondering. Wait ... he didn't ...

"Are you taking her defenses?" I asked before I could retain myself, even a bit aggravated.

He frowned, turning to me for a moment. "What? No. I'm just saying that she's not as bad as she seems. That's all."

"Oh, and you know that."

"Of course I know that. I know her better than anyone." I gritted my teeth. What exactly happened to "she was just a booty call"? Wasn't she just a toy? Now he knows her better than anyone? My jealousy alarms started ringing, telling me there was more to their relationship that he wasn't confessing.

"Don't take it wrong, Tallie. I've been with her on and off for two years. Of course I know her." Eric justified, just as the car came to a stop. I clenched my jaw.

"Wasn't she just a booty call?" I spat bitterly and he sighed.

"Yes, yes, she was, but ..."

I snapped my eyes to him, narrowing them as I crossed my arms. "But what?"

He sighed, gripping the steering wheel. "Tallie, I ..."

"Did you feel anything for her? Do you feel anything for her? Did you lie to me??" I raised my voice at each question and he closed his eyes for a moment. I waited for his reply, clenching my fists so much that my nails were digging in my flesh. The more he waited to reply, the more I knew the response ...

"So you did feel something." All of his "I've been loving you and just you for years", and now I find out the thing between him and Dana was deeper than he said. Why does he keep on lying to me? First the thing with Kyle, now this, and all of the secrets about his past ...

Part of me wants to doubt about the blind trust I have in him, but the other one keeps telling me that he must have his reasons for holding back, and yet ... he keeps on lying, he keeps things from me while claiming he trusts me blindly.

Sighing, tears prickling behind my eyes at the thought, I gripped the doorknob, forcing myself to hold back my sobs, just enough to simply announce: "Don't bother picking me up tomorrow. I'm walking to school."

That said, I stepped off the car, slamming the door open without really bothering about hurting his precious Betsy, and, knowing he'd try to stop me, I ran to my house, locking the door behind me, then running upstairs and crawling onto my bed, hugging my old teddy bear as I cried bitter tears.

I trust him blindly. He says he trusts me too, and yet he keeps on lying to me. If he lied about the real extent of his relationship with Dana, about how many other things did he lie? Maybe even about his feelings for me?

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