She doesn’t ask me where I’m taking her, and I can only silently hope that I’ve made the right decision. I can barely hold onto my own rage as my grip of the steering wheel tightens by the second.
How could he do that to her?
I glance over to see her sobbing quietly as she stares out the window. I clench my jaw and hot air shoots out of my nostrils.
How could he break her heart like this?
At a stoplight, I turn to study her. She sits slumped in her seat and turns to look at the red light towering above us. I look at her hands, one balled into a fist, covering her mouth, and the other resting on her lap. As the light turns green, I reach over to grab her hand, holding it in mine.
She looks at me with wide red eyes, and I give her a reassuring smile. Her fingers feel cold in my warm palm. Is she cold?
She looks like an angel in her skirt and I realize that I rarely ever see her in anything but jeans or shorts. I want to ask her, but I don’t, knowing that silence is best for her right now.
When we finally arrive, she had her eyes closed and her head resting on her headrest. I park the car and turn over. She has her eyes opened again, probably from sensing the lack of motion.
I lead her out to the shores. At this time at night, no one would be here, especially near the residential areas. The roaring of the waves send chills down my back and as I turn to her, she was already staring out at the barely visible horizon.
“Okay, this is gonna sound a bit creepy,” I suggest, “But you can scream all you want and no one’s going to come out and complain. I know you must be really upset so I figure it’s a good way to get it all out.”
She doesn’t respond, and instead, just stares at me with a blank expression. I purse my lips, concerned about the lack of anger. “Or you could throw rocks at th-”
“AAAAAAAAAHHHHH,” she screams into the ocean, holding both her hands up to her mouth to aim her shouts, “SILAS, YOU ASSHOLE!”
Every word required a heavy inhale to supply, and when she finished her screams, she falls to her knees and starts sobbing. I get on mine and hold her against my chest. Her arms fall limp on her lap and as she continues her screams, she muffles them with my chest, which grow warm from her desperate cries.
Silas was kissing Pam. He was returning her actions and he was almost just as naked as she was. I wish I could punch his mouth off of his face.
We stay on the sand for a while, but soon, I start to feel her shiver under my hold. The ocean breeze is too cold for her, so I pull her up and into my arms. She looks at me with sad eyes and I start to hope that she runs out of tears to cry. He’s not worth it.
I walk with her into the beach house, knowing that the owners are gone. It seems they’re always gone. I practically always have the place to myself, and they even stock it with food for me if they need me to have longer stays.
As we enter the garden, Tammy notices a bench on one of the inside edges of the gazebo, between two columns and she turns to me with a puzzled look.
“The owners changed some things, but they kept the roses, lights, and stereo. There’s a bench now and even a small heater.” I point at the small accent table next to the bench. She nods and I lead her to the bench, where we sit quietly, surrounded by twinkle lights.
I plug my phone into the stereo and turn it on shuffle, landing on Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol as the first song. As I turn on the heater, I start to wonder where it had gone wrong since the last time we were here. Maybe it was wrong for me to have let her go to him, but at the time, it seemed like he was right for her, no matter how much it hurt for me to admit that.
She tilts her head and leans on my shoulder. With the tiniest voice, she mumbles, “Thank you, Damon.”
I shift to have her rest on my chest and my arm around her shoulders. She quietly complies and I feel my chest get wet from tears still on her cheek. Maybe if we talk, she could get her mind off of it.
“Hey, Tammy?” I almost whisper.
“Yeah,” she answers, hoarse from the screaming.
“Why do I rarely see you in skirts and dresses?” It was the best question I could come up with and the last thing I thought of.
“Because of Natasha.” Her reply was simple, but carried a heavy question mark and dumped it on my face.
“What? She had control over what you wore?” I can tell that she senses the anger that grew in my questions. She wraps her hand over mine, the one resting on my lap.
“That’s over now. We straightened things out.”
I realize now that I barely knew anything about her past and a lot of her life didn’t make sense to me, but I never asked. I didn’t want to push her, but it now bothers me.
“Won’t you tell me what happened between the two of you?” My tone implies that I half expect a no, but instead, she just heads straight into it.
“When we were in sixth grade, Nat started acting strange. She kept trying to kiss me, to get a little too close, and forcing me to do things I didn’t like. It reminded me of,” she swallows hard, “something that happened to me the year before, with a man, a friend of my mother’s. I was getting flashes of memory from a more violent time every time I saw her, so I had to stop being friends with her.”
I try not to think of what had happened to her and that man, but the more I try to avoid the thought, the more it creeps up on me, breaking my heart over and over. She must have been so hurt, so afraid, and lonely. I turn my hand over to wrap it around hers.
“She mistook my leaving her for an act of homophobia and became bitter about it. I don’t blame her. After all, she did stop when I asked her to. I just couldn’t get the flashes out of my head until much later. But by then, it was too late.”
My arm around her shoulders tightens as I kiss the top of her head. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know all this happened to you. I’m sorry I had to bring it up. Have you told anyone else?”
“I told Natasha,” she says as she sits up, and pursing her lips, she considers continuing. “And Silas.”
I can’t help but feel a pang of jealousy hit the pit of my stomach. I get that this is sensitive information, but did she really feel uncomfortable with telling me? Why Silas first?
“But,” she turns to me and her gaze melts away all the bad thoughts in my mind. She’s precious to me and I could never let any jealousy take away from what I feel for her. “I’m glad I told you.”
I hold my breath, reminding myself that I can’t kiss her, no matter how much I wish I could. She needs time and space. I wish I could tell her how I happy I feel when I see her smile. Or how nervous I get around her, when she looks so pretty. I wish she knew how much she meant to me.
I pull her back into my chest and we stay that way until we both fall asleep.
I wake up to the sound of her gasping.
“What time is it?” She pulls out her phone and gasps again. “It’s 4 in the morning, Damon. I need to get home before my mom wakes up or she’ll turn me into hamburger meat.”
The drive home remained silent as I feel her staring at me. Finally, as I turn into her neighborhood, I ask, “What? Is there something on my face?”
“How do you look like that, having just woken up?” As I stop in front of her building, I turn to see her blinking at me.
“What do you mean?”
“You look good. Why do you look good? When I wake up, I look like a frog with a twitchy eye.”
I laugh as I slip out to go open her door. She takes my hand and slides down from her seat onto her feet, inches away from me.
I take a deep breath as I reach up to hold her face. “Tammy, I know you’re hurt and I know you need time and space.”
Her eyes soften as the look into mine. The warm chocolates melt my heart.
“But you deserve to be treated so much better, like a princess, like a queen. And when you’re ready to be loved, I’ll be right here.”
Her eyes start to water as she looks at me, a look of awe crossing through. She reaches her hand up over my hand on her face.
“I wish I had chosen you.”
I wake up with a constant pounding in my head. I am slow to open my eyes as I feel the morning sun burn my face. I blink at it and turn away, only to see a sea of red curls in bed right next to me. Pam.
Panicking, I lift the sheets that cover my body. The only thing I have on are my boxers, which have an open flap that allows very easy access. My breathing falters as my eyes flick to the side and see that Pam is wearing only her bra and underwear.
What happened last night?
Why does my face hurt?
I carefully slip out of bed and head toward the bathroom. To my astonishment, I have several bruises on my face, especially my jaw. I poke them, wincing at the pain.
“Good morning,” Pam says as she stretches her arms.
“What happened last night,” I demand.
“We had sex. Duh.”
I shake my head and struggle to hold back my shouts, “I was drunk, Pam! I did NOT WANT THIS.”
“Well, like it or not, it happened,” she gets up out of the sheets and walks over to touch my arm gently as she coaxes, “Silas, we belong together. You have to know that by now.”
“I have a girlfriend,” I growl.
“Tammy? Oh, I don’t think she’d want to be your girlfriend after she saw us hot and heavy last night.”
“WHAT?” I grab both her shoulders in my palms and shake her.
“We were kissing-and you’re a good kisser by the way-and she just rudely barged in like it was her house. She should know better by now if she wants to be successful in the future as the help. Then that tall blond guy ran in and hit you, poor thing.” She reaches up to caress my face but I flinch at her touch.
A part of me, the dumbest part that I’ve grown ashamed of, is somehow relieved that this happened. Not on my behalf, but on behalf of my parents. Surely they’d be proud that this happened. I’m not, though, and it confuses the hell out of me.
No. I shouldn’t be relieved. I should be worried. I should be punished.
I run downstairs to look for my phone. Tyler walks up to me and I can already tell that I don’t want to hear what he has to say.
“Hey, buddy! Nice job getting Bigtit Pam! I was worried for a while there that you were whipped by that Asian chick,” he cheerfully says as he rests his hand on my shoulder.
I brush it off. “Her name is Tammy.”
In my car, I constantly call Lane, she doesn’t pick up and I fear that she has given up on us. Anyone in their right mind would.
I had lost my virginity to Pam, the girl I wanted least in the world, while the girl I wanted the most gets her heart broken by none other than yours truly. My breathing becomes uneven and my hands are shaking as I try to hold onto the steering wheel. Arriving at her place, I quickly approach her front door, but I hear another car door close. I turn to see Damon running toward me. He tackles me onto the grass.
“What are you doing here, huh,” he yells between punches, and I don’t even try to block them, “You don’t get to come here anymore!”
“I just need to talk to her!” The pain hits me in waves and it feels good to distract myself from the cloudy feeling in my gut.
He grabs me by the collar and pulls me up to his face.
“You’ve done enough to her. She’s hurt and she’s probably still crying in there. Leave her alone,” he spits and drops me on the ground. Walking away, he doesn’t turn back, probably knowing that I would leave.
I’m sorry, Lane. I don’t deserve you.