“Alana, what happened between you and Xavier?” Kendra asked as we were calculating trigonometry together on my bed.
“What do you mean?” I lifted my eyes to her from my note.
“Why is he not driving you around?”
“Well, obviously, he’s not born to be my chauffer. And I think he’s just giving me my own space,” I answered.
“Yeah but,” she squinted her eyes up at the ceiling and stared at it speculatively as if she would find all the answers there. “Things has been seemingly quite weird between the two of you lately. I don’t know. He seems like he’s shy to face you or something. Yeah!!” she suddenly exclaimed, “I totally noticed that he can’t look at you in the eye anymore and when he does stare at your face, he look like he wants to cry, seriously.”
Why would Xavier want to cry looking at my face?
I swear, somebody need to do something about this girl.
She lightly chuckled along, shaking her head, looking back to her note from the ceiling, “But really, I swear, you guys behave absolutely weird around each other. Yeah, you sit together and talk but there is still something... Something... I can just smell the fish. What happened?”
“Umm,” this time it was me looking up at the ceiling, wondering and looking for answer and guidance like it was a holy mother. I don’t know what was so attractive about the ceiling that both of us kept looking at it every now and then, even as we calculated trig, when we go kinda lost.
Why would Xavier not be able to look at me in the eye?
I admit, Kendra wasn’t just rambling. I told you she’s smart. Even I could sense some sort of distance between me and Xavier ever since he kissed me and I...
Oh, that’s it! It’s the kiss.
Kiss is poison. Worst is a slap.
“What is it?” the scarily demanding voice brought me back to earth from the enlightenment in my mind.
“Ummm...” I chewed on my lips wondering if I should tell her.
It was not like I didn’t trust her. I do. Kendra is a whole packet of trust for me. I was just afraid of her reaction.
Deciding to tell her, I begged meekly, “Promise me you won’t hit me.”
“What is it this time, Alana?” I wanted to scramble away from her when her wild, dark eyes demanded.
“First promise me.”
“It depends,” she stated firmly.
“It’s umm... It’s...” I hesitated.
She was staring at me attentively, watching every twitch and wince on my sheepish face.
“What?” She shook her head anxiously.
“Xavier kissed me,” I squeaked and pressed my eyelids close tightly, scared to see her reaction.
Then it was quiet... as if the universe had just dissolved to nothingness... In fear of my best friend Kendra. I slowly peeked open my eyes. With a hand over her gaping mouth, she was goggling at me, her eyes almost popping out of the sockets.
“Oh my God, Alana. For real,” she breathed slowly, letting down her hand.
“Alana, oh my gaaaawwwddddd,” springing to her knees, she grabbed my shoulders and shook me like I was passing out and she was trying so hard to bring me back to life, “Oh my God. I don’t know what to say!”
Thanks heaven! She didn’t make me her punch bag. She just shook the life out of me... Very sweet.
She was now smiling widely and almost as luminously as the moon. I’d never seen Kendra this excited about anything and so it was puzzling me why she was so happy and excited.
Resting back to the bed, she sat crossed leg and asked me interestedly, “So what happened next? Did you kiss him back?”
“I slapped him.”
Her jaws dropped. Really. And I began to laugh. Seeing all the rare reactions Kendra put up, I was actually feeling so proud at the moment. I mean, Kendra reacts like this once in five years.
“You did not,” she glared at me and my laughter fled at once at the sight of her face.
“Why did you?!”
“I was angry at him that time!”
She shook her head again, confused.
“It’s like this...” I said and told her everything that happened that day. From Xavier fighting with Jason, to David with broken glasses because he was in a fight too and why I was so angry till the part he kissed me and how I slapped him instead of kissing back.
“Oh,” she nodded, “But why were you that angry?”
“I don’t know!” I exclaimed, “I don’t know what really happened to me. I just... I just didn’t like it. I didn’t want him to fight. And David too, he fought. Both of them on the same day! I mean, is that even acceptable? And Xavier,” I dropped my shoulders sighing disappointed, “I just wanted him to stop fighting,” I whispered more to myself, away from Kendra’s gaze.
“Awww...” Kendra pinched my cheeks, “You cute little, Xavier’s Mongrel. You love him.”
Xavier and Love in the same sentence with regard to me was freaking me out for some reason and the thumper inside my chest was beginning to rock like concert, much to my displeasure.
She laughed, “Don’t you get it?! You. Love. Him. You. Love. Xavier!!!” She shouted loudly and I thanked God that dad was still at work.
“No! Kendra. It’s not like that. I don’t love him! Well, not that I hate him... You’re.. You’re getting it all wrong. Okay, I admit, I care about him. But I’m not in love with him.”
“Whatever makes you sleep at night and dream about Xavier,” she laughed again.
“Okay. Okay. Whatever. It’s your choice. And although I would really be happy to see you guys as a couple before I die - I mean, he’s head over heel for you, Alana! - It’s right that you slapped him. Why is it so hard for some boys to understand that they should not kiss a girl when unwanted?”
“Yeah. That’s the thing. But I’m also wondering why he kissed me all of a sudden.”
“Yeah. He isn’t the kind of person who would kiss a girl just like that. I mean seriously, he’s female starved. The only girl I’ve seen him go out with is his sister, Claire and Alex. And Alex is completely Platonic. There’s nothing going on between the two besides friendship. I don’t know why he kissed you like that. Maybe something triggered him or... I don’t know,” she said falling back on my bed, studying the Xavier-kissed-Alana-all-of-a-sudden phenomenon with me.
“But you know, Kendra, I feel really bad for all that I said to him that day. None of it was his fault. I was such an ass,” I sighed, laying down beside her and staring up at the white Holy Mother.
Kendra held my hand which was on my stomach and reassured me, “Don’t worry. He’ll understand. That guy’s a genius.”
I laughed. She laughed too. She was right. Xavier knows and understands almost everything but then again, he’s not Jesus.
So I said, “I hope,” feeling better anyhow.
“Did you like it?”
“Oh God, Kendra!” I covered my face with both palms and felt them start to burn like fire.
“You totally do,” I could hear her smirk.
Pulling my hands off from my face, I turned to her sharply and told her with a straight face, “It was pretty good.”
At first, she was surprised by my boldness but the next moment, both of us were rolling on the bed chortling wildly like retarded hyenas.
I could be anything with Kendra.
As we lay talking more, Kendra’s phone blew up with her ringtone Sweet Child of Mine by Guns and Roses, giving me a small panic attack. Reaching out for it and lying frontally on the bed, she tucked her tongue to the side of her cheek and raised an eyebrow at me before she answered it.
“Who?” I asked.
“Xavier.” I felt a thud on my chest at his name. Probably because we had been talking about him all that time.
That’s weird. Why would Xavier call Kendra at this hour?
“Yeah?” she lifted the phone to her ear.
I watched her listen to the other on the line. Her face faintly changed to a frown and then composed again. I frowned with her when she did but didn’t know how to compose with her when she did. First reason, Kendra rarely loses her cool. She was the kind of person who wouldn’t scream even if an axe murderer show up in her room in the middle of the night. Second reason, It was Xavier who called up. He was bad news.
When she disconnected the line, I asked her, “What’s wrong?”
Not what happened. Something was definitely wrong.
“Umm...” she pulled, “He said Jacob’s at St. Stephen’s.”
Now that’s bad news.
My face instantly distorted and I panicked, “What happened?”
Kendra shrugged, “No idea. He just told me to come around and contact his parents or something. Probably he was into some bash up.”
Jacob? Jacob in a bash up?
“Is he hurt?”
“Where is he? Xavier.”
“He’s there at the hospital. We should go.” She closed the notes.
We dropped David to Harry’s house since dad was still at the hospital. When we reached St. Stephen’s, Xavier was sitting on the bench outside the emergency ward. He frowned deeply when he saw me but said nothing. He didn’t look good himself either. He’d been fighting too. I could notice the ferocity still persistent on his face. His expression was so stern and razor sharp that I felt like I would get cuts if I did tried to touch him with my finger tips.
He stood up from the bench and acknowledged us both with a nod and stared at me straight into my eyes. I swallowed nervously. He was not a bad person but, really, when he looked at me with that look, even I also got scared. I’m also a human who knows how to be afraid.
Without a saying a word at me, he turned to Kendra and said, “Have you contacted his parents?”
“Yeah. They’re on the way.”
“I’m leaving, then. He’ll be fine.”
Kendra nodded, “Yeah, sure.”
“What happened?” I asked.
He looked at me dead in the eye, said nothing and walked away ignoring me. He wasn’t happy.
What’s his problem?! I only asked him a simple question, a very simple one and he shot me that look.
I followed him. He looked over his shoulder but not meeting my eyes and continued walking away. He was so acting like an asshole. I followed him till the parking lot where he stopped near his beastly looking black motorbike of which model I still don’t know.
He looked at me and demanded, “What do you want?”
“I wanna know what happened.”
“Don’t ask me what happened... especially what happened to him.”
I saw him clench his teeth and his eyes growing darker, his fists balling into hard rocks. And I noticed the bruises on his knuckles.
“Why are you even mad at me?”
“Why are you even here?”
“Because I heard Jake’s in the hospital! And now I wanna know what happened!”
“I told you to not ask me what happened to him!” He shouted.
“God. What’s wrong with you? Did you beat him?” I frowned, getting irritated.
He frowned deeply and his eyes pierced furiously right into mine. But there was something more than just anger in his eyes, more like disappointment. He looked away from me to somewhere off, breathing sharply.
“Xavier,” I demanded.
“Yes! Okay! I beat him till he passed out! Happy now?!” he shouted irritatedly.
“What?” I couldn’t believe my ears, “How could you... Why did you?! You said you won’t beat him!!” I shouted too, anger steaming out of me.
“I changed my mind.”
Fisting my hands, I clenched my teeth as firmly as I could to contain the rising rage. It diffuses and boils along with my blood like lava.
“Xavier!!!” I raked my hands through my hair and screamed his name with all my might, with all my anger.
He beat Jacob. He beat him till he passed out. Is that even human?!
I could feel the stunned eyes of every single body in the parking lot shifting towards us but I didn’t care. We didn’t care. We just continued the stare off challenge.
“I really hate you now,” I hissed and at this point, I was already crying as I said it.
His face hardened more than it already was, his eyes darkened more than it already was. The border of his eyes reddened too. He was not only angry now. He was furious.
“I never was anything to you anyway,” he remarked.
Without another word, he climbed onto his black beast and drove off just like that... leaving behind him a trail of deafening roar... and pain.
A felt a sharp pang in my chest, somewhere deep down.
He didn’t show up for class the next day. And I sulked away the whole time. I was angry at him, that was why I sulked and because I was angry at him, I sulked even more. The same reason why I sulked was eating my heart out. It didn’t feel right though it was literally and logically and theoretically right to be angry with him. BUT....
Why does it feel so sickeningly wrong?!
And it basically effects everything, every single shit. None of my math calculations turned out correct. Everything was just wrong. I couldn’t pay attention in class. I kept staring at the empty chair beside me and people and their staring eyes seemed to be accusing me of some crime I didn’t commit.
I hate my life. Nothing is working the way I want it to. But I still don’t feel like moving back to East Port. Los Carlos is slowly killing me but I don’t wanna leave. Why? What is with the people here?
What is happening to me?
What is it about Xavier that’s making me this way?
I was feeling very unhappy. I didn’t even want to keep looking at the empty chair on my right.
It was like some sitting device that keep chirping, “Hey, look at that Mongrel, all alone with shit all over her face.”
“Are you okay?” Brittany asked me as we sat at our usual table in the cafeteria, “I’ve been watching you since morning. You look like your dog died.”
“I’m fine,” I said and met Kendra’s observant eyes narrow into mine.
I looked away.
Connor and Matt and Scott and Hunt, all came and sat with us, pulling up chairs from anywhere around.
“What’s up!” Matt settled down beside me and smiled brightly.
Why do you have to look so happy, Matt?
Connor sat on the chair next to Kendra putting an arm around her shoulders, as nature has made it.
“Why isn’t Xavier turning up?” Kendra asked them and flicked her eyes at me.
She knew I was curious and unable to ask.
Matt shrugged, “I don’t know. Haven’t seen him since school yesterday.”
“Same here,” Hunt said.
“Yeah. But why do you ask?” Scott asked.
“Just asking.” Kendra shrugged.
“Hmm,” he nodded and then pulled the corners of his lips to a big fat smirk, “Oh, I think I know why? Someone’s lonely.” He brought his sly eyes towards me.
I glared back, “Who is?”
“Someone. Just someone. It could be anybody,” he smirked again and I could literally see a fox in his place. The others chuckled.
“I heard he’s changing school,” Connor said.
Suddenly, I felt like I was burning in hell.
I whipped my head his way.
“What the fuck?” Kendra swore.
“Why would he?” Brittany countered.
The boys simply stared exchanging confused glances at one another.
And me... Oh well... I was quite proud of myself at the moment that I had successfully suppressed my reflexes and didn’t literally scream in the cafeteria... Though I mentally did. My heartbeat started to race like a limping horse. I could feel my body heating up... not in the good way. I waited for Connor to say something.
This can’t be. Why would he?!
Oh God, is it me?
I don’t want him to. At least not this way or... not at all.
Connor smirked and then winked at me, “I’m just kidding.”
I wanted to eat him up alive. I glared dead at him. That wasn’t funny.
The boys laughed.
“Fuck you,” Kendra muttered.
Brittany rested back in her chair, sighing in relief.
Matt said, “Even if he was really planning on changing school, he wouldn’t leave this way. At least, he’ll drag his Mongrel along with him.”
“Hell yeah,” all the boys agreed.
Kendra and Brittany smiled.
Scott nodded at me vigorously as he stuffed his mouth with Brittany’s fries, “Yeah. Exactly. He won’t go anywhere without you.”
My heart began pulling up all the crazy moves inside my chest yet I grumbled, “I’m not his oxygen pipe.”
“You just might happen to be,” Hunt replied.
I replied nothing. Suddenly, the world had become so quiet.
I felt my chest tighten as the word sank in... in my heart.
“Anyway, here’s the thing,” He began, “You’re gonna be missing us a lot. We’re gonna be lost for about two weeks,” he grinned.
“You’re going on tour?” Brittany asked excitedly.
“Yup! You’re smart,” Hunt pointed his index fingers at her as if she’d won millions and millions of dollars in a reality show, “We’re leaving this evening after school. We’ve taken leave from the Principal. Now, we’re rolling!!” he declared with undeniable excitement.
I smiled for the first time in the day, “That’s great. Enjoy.”
Soon, my face fell as I realized... touring for two weeks means I won’t be seeing Xavier for two weeks.
Isn’t that a little too long?
Why do I even care. I’m supposed to be happy about that. I’m angry with him.
My life is a bunch of buts.
The wild chattering for the tour began in full throttle of excitement. Brittany was almost jumping off from her chair. The boys kept flattering her about the whole thing. I heard them laughing but... I spaced out and kept thinking about Xavier. Nothing in particular but just about him. Suddenly I was feeling so empty and lifeless and lonely.
“Try not to miss him too much,” Matt leaned in and whispered in my ear.
No one else heard him but me. I looked at him. He looked back at me. He wasn’t kidding. I drooped my eyes on the table without a word.
After class, Kendra walked with me to my car. Brittany had left.
“Did you guys fight again?” she asked me.
“He beat up, Jacob!” I said getting angrier.
“You talking ’bout last night?” she frowned.
“Nah. I don’t believe it a bit.”
“He told me that himself.”
“But why would he beat Jacob?!”
“Because... Be...” I deadpanned, “Because I like him, Jacob.”
“Oh,” she wasn’t freaking out.
And that was worst. It was embarrassing. I couldn’t stand to look at her. If it was some other guy, then it would be completely normal, some teenage crush... but it was not just anyone. Unfortunately, it was Jacob, our mutual childhood friend.
“And Xavier likes you. That’s obvious,” she stated, “But I still don’t believe it though, we all know Xavier likes you but... I just can’t... It’s quite hard to believe it. Do you really think Xavier would do that?”
That was the ultimate answer that came to my mind yet I answered, “Whatever.”
After school, I went to Jacob’s place to see how he was doing. I rang the bell and as expected, he answered it. He appeared with bruises and purple spots above his eyes and anywhere else and plasters on his nose. He looked really bad.
“Hi,” I gave a rueful smile.
“Hey,” his eyes smiled and he opened the door wider to let me in.
I stepped in and look around the house. It’d been so long since I hadn’t been here. I suddenly missed mom. She used to bring me here and that was how Jacob and I became friends.
“It’s been quite some time since you’ve been here,” Jacob closed the door behind me.
“Yeah,” I looked back at him, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, not bad,” he answered, “The problem is I find it quite hard to smile.”
He made me laugh. I cracked up that very instant.
“No. Don’t laugh. I can’t laugh,” he chuckled painfully.
It just made me laugh more. With the plaster on his face, he couldn’t smile like he always did. There is no Jacob without a charming smile. It was funny how he couldn’t smile now yet sorry.
He led me to the living room and I sat down on a couch in front of the TV. He flopped down next to me making me gulp.
I looked at him and said observing his bruised face, “I really hope you’re not that hurt.”
“I’m fine,” he reassured me, “Happens sometimes.”
I nodded. Boys.... Happens most of the time.
“Jake, who did this to you?” I asked.
“The biggest asshole in the Street.”
Really. I was starting to think Xavier didn’t.
“I can’t believe he really did,” I muttered angrily. “He told me he wouldn’t.”
“What? You’ve met him?” he flustered.
“Of course, we share some classes too.”
He still looked confused.
Forming a crease between his eyes, still looking confused, he said, “No. He’s not from Greenwood. He’s from Spencer’s. Who are you talking about?”
“Xavier. Isn’t he the one who did this to you?”
“No. You got it wrong. It was not him. It was Damien. If Xavier hadn’t...”
“But why did Xavier tell me that it was him?”
Jacob shook his head, “I don’t know why he said that but it was not him. Damien and three of his boys cornered me. If Xavier hadn’t showed up, only God knows what could’ve happen to me. Damien is pure savage. I passed out.”
“You mean, he actually helped you?” I asked slowly.
I bit down my lip from screaming.
I sprang up from the couch, “I have to go. See ya later.”
“I’ll see you later,” I said hurriedly and raced out of the door to my car.
I had to see Xavier before he leave for the tour.
God! Xavier, you’re driving me crazy!
Please be there. I prayed.
I started the car and managed to call him as I drove at the fastest speed I could manage. It went to voicemail.
My heart was burning like wildfire as I drove and kept glancing at the time on my phone screen. I knew, I was late but I still hoped that some miracle would happen and he would still be home.
I pulled up at the neat driveway in front of the large and beautiful mansion. My eyes still widened as I took in the view.
Nervously and anxiously, I breathed and rang the bell. Biting my lip and tapping my feet anxiously on the tiled floor, I waited with prayer. The door opened. My heart jumped.
“Hello dear?” an aged lady answered the door.
My heart sank.
I’m too late. He left already.
“Hi,” I answered and asked, still hoping (I refused to give up), “Um... Is Xavier home?”
“Oh. I’m sorry. He left about an hour ago for the tour.”
Something inside my chest cracked. It hurt.
“Oh,” I mumbled disappointedly and dropped my gaze to the floor.
“Are you...” she leaned in closer and studied my face, “Alana?”
“Yes. I am,” I presented a warm smile as I looked up to her, “How did you know me?”
She smiled waving a hand over her face, “Oh... You’re exactly how he described you... very beautiful like he said.” She cupped my face, caressing and I blushed. “He would’ve been very happy to see you here. Oh, how stupid of me. Come on in!” she opened the door wider for me, “I’m his grandmother. Call me Allie.”
Such a warm lady. She reminds me so much of Mrs. Clayton and... Xavier.
“Nice to meet you,” I said blinking back tears that were starting to flood my eyes, “But I’ll just leave. Thank you.”
“Well, he’s not here but you can hang around.”
“Maybe some other time. Thanks,” I tried to smile but my voice cracked and I began to step back.
“Well then, I’ll tell him that you came,” she smiled again.
I nodded, “Okay. Thank you” and turned around.
I couldn’t stand to look at her. Looking at her made me wanna cry because she resembles so much like Xavier, deep brown eyes and the smiles that are so full of life.
And how often does he talk about me to his grandmother that she could identify me so easily?
When I reached my car, my eyes were blurred by tears. I got inside and drove out, slowly pulling deep breathes.
I looked back at his house once and and wiped away the tears that had trailed down my cheeks.
Why did you say it was you, Xavier?
Please come back soon.
I’m sorry, Xavier.