Stay Strong

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Chapter 8

That Monday as I pulled into the parking lot at the school, I saw Vanessa and Bryson waving at me from beside Bryson’s car. I got out and walked over to them, adjusting the bookbag on my shoulders.

“Hey guys,” I yawn, rubbing my eyes.

“Hello, sleeping-beauty,” Vanessa remarks with a grin.

“Who else would it be?” I throw back with an exaggerated flip of my hair. We all burst out laughing at this.

“So,” I pause, looking around the parking lot, “where’s Sonia?” I see her car but I don’t see her.

“Oh...,” Bryson pauses awkwardly, running his fingers through his blond hair. I cross my arms and wait for him to continue at his own pace. “She...isn’t going to be hanging around you for... a while.”

“Oh? I guess I don’t have to ask why,” I state bluntly. I hid my hurt behind indifference. But it wasn’t just hurt, it was an annoyance. I didn’t get why Sonia was acting like this. I really didn’t. But if this was how she was going to be, then I wasn’t going to say anything to her until she realizes that she is acting like a brat.

“Let’s talk about something less depressing,” Vanessa chirps.

“Agreed,” I mumble.

“What did you two thing of the movie?” Bryson asked.

Vanessa and I share a look before we grin at Bryson. “We loved it,” we say in unison. Bryson shakes his head and shutters before stating, matter-of-factly, “You two are weird. That movie was scary as hell.” We shrug it off.

“Well,” I roll my shoulders, “I better get to class. I’ll see you two at lunch.” I walk off, waving at them over my shoulders.

On my way through the halls, Sonia bumps into me. Well, when I say bump, I mean that she hit me with so much force that I knew that she meant to do that.

“Oh! Just the person I wanted to see,” she smiled up at me, white teeth shining.

“What did you need?” I ask, polite.

“I won’t be able to watch Candice,” she states, throwing her hair over her shoulder, “for a while.”

“How long is a while?” I ask though I knew this was coming.

“I don’t know. But probably for the next few weeks,” and then she mumbles under her breath, “maybe months.”

I roll my eyes at her theatrics and tell her that it’s alright, that I understand. “I’ve got to go to class,” I say over my shoulder as I walk away.

I honestly didn’t understand why she was acting like this. Not in the slightest. I sigh and walk into my first class of the day hiding how much her behavior hurt me. I guess my mother was right. Some things are strong enough to destroy love. Even if it is in the form of friendship. But this time it was jealousy, not fear, that has pushed someone out of my life.

Later that afternoon, I called Eddie, letting him know that I would be a few minutes late because I had to take Candice to Lorelai’s. He told me to not make it a habit and I told him it would happen only once.

When I dropped Candice off at Lorelai’s, I told our grandmother nothing about why I needed her to watch Candice for a while. I left after kissing Candice on the head and telling her I would be back soon.

When I finally got to the diner, Eddie came up to me and asked me if I knew why Sonia quit. I had frozen at that, before telling him that I didn’t. Sometimes, human behavior makes no sense to me.

With a slightly heavy heart, I begin my shift.


The next day as I was getting out of my car, reaching for my bag, someone came rushing up to me. I look up as I closed the door and stared into Landon’s gray eyes.

“What’s up?” I ask, noticing that he was breathing really heavy as if he had just run from the other side of the parking lot. As I looked into his eyes I saw a little bit of sadness and distress there too.

“I am so sorry,” he rushes out, wrapping me in his arms, hugging me to the point I thought he might break my ribs. I tried to ignore the smell of his cologne as I tapped his arm, gasping out that I couldn’t breathe. He let me go and stumbled back a step.

“What are you sorry for?” I ask, confused. I adjusted the bag on my shoulders and hooked my thumbs through the straps, letting my arms relax.

“About how much responsibility you have had to take on. Are...are your parents not able to take care of Candice?”

I froze, my arms falling uselessly to my sides.

“You heartless bastard!” Lorelai screamed in my head.

“He told me to get rid of you,” my mother’s somber voice echoed right behind Lorelai’s.

“I found you,” Hector’s voice slithered through my head, making me shudder.

A body full of stab wounds. A bloody knife. A bottle of alcohol. My scar began to ache and my hand unconsciously wrapped around it as the images I tried to keep buried roared to life. I felt cold and clammy as a deep ache throbbed in my chest. It honestly felt like my heart was being squeezed. I blinked back tears.

“Aspen?” Landon rested his hand on my shoulder. The feeling of his warm hand snapped me out of my thoughts. I looked up at him, a little dazed. But when I saw that he had a sad, worried look on his face, my anger skyrocketed. My blood felt like it was boiling and my face was heating up. Only a few people would know that information. And I had a strong feeling I knew who had told him.

“Who told you that?” I snapped. He flinched as if I physically hit him.

“Sonia,” he says timidly. I can’t stop the scoff that passes through my lips.

“I appreciate your concern. I really do. But Sonia had no right to tell you that. Now, if you’ll excuse me,” I hiss, not angry at him but at the brat that told him.

I stormed away from him and I must have looked like I was ready to murder someone from the way the people cleared out of my way. I wasn’t really seeing my surroundings, only looking for one person and one person only.

I saw her blonde hair peeking out from the passing crowd. As I made my way over there someone stepped into my way. I looked down, annoyed and beyond angry.

“Aspen,” Bryson whispers, grasping my shoulders.

“What?” I snap.

“Aspen, calm down. What’s going on?” Vanessa asks, laying her hand on my arm.

“I. Am. Going. To. Kill. That. Bitch,” I growl, trying to get out of their grip and continue on my way to beat the hell out of Sonia.

“Aspen,” Vanessa and Bryson gasp at the same time. Now they were dragging me into an unlocked, empty classroom. And when I say drag, I mean they were pulling both of my arms with all their might to get me away from Sonia, who’s blonde hair flashed between people like it was taunting me.

They manage to force me into a desk and instantly, Vanessa is pacing and Bryson is making sure I don’t get up.

“Tell us what happened?” Bryson asks in a calm voice.

I stare at him for a moment before answering, “That bitch spilled.”

Vanessa stops in her tracks, turning to face us, eyes wide with anger. Bryson was much calmer, “What did she say and who did she say it to?”

“She told Landon about how I have to take care of Candice,” I hiss between clenched teeth.

“Did she tell him about why you have to?” Vanessa asks.

“I don’t think she did.” I think back to the words Landon had said. “No. No, she didn’t.”

“Then calm down before you go and do something that you will regret. Talk to her when you have a clearer head,” Bryson states, laying his hands on my shoulders.

I look up at him again. They both know I hate people finding out about my past because all I get is their pity and sad looks. Both of which do nothing. Maybe I was too proud to accept pity, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want it.

But, I took deep breaths and slowly calmed myself down. With the amount of effort it took to not march out of that room and bang Sonia’s head against a wall, I should have gotten a gold star or a medal.

I shake of Bryson’s hands and stand up. “I’m good now. Thanks.” I was still mad. I would be mad until she gave me a reason as to why she said anything, to begin with. And if that reason wasn’t valid I would probably still be mad at her.

I take another deep breath before heading out of the classroom. I passed Sonia on the way and she looked at me she smiled sickly sweet and Bryson and Vanessa tensed, ready to drag me away again. But I simply returned the smile with a one of cold humor.

I headed to lunch, running a little bit late because I had to talk to my teacher for a minute. When I walked outside with my lunch I saw Sonia talking with Landon and one of his friends. Both of them laughing at something. I figured now was as good a time as any.

I sat my tray down on the table where Vanessa and Bryson were sitting.

“I’m going to go talk to her. You have permission to drag me away if you have to,” I smile coldly as I turn and stalk towards the table she was at.

“Sonia. I need to talk to you,” I state bluntly. She looked at me then rolled her eyes.

“I am busy,” she snaps at me.

I ignore her and the way Landon was staring at me and force out the words without yelling, “I said I needed to talk to you. So come on.”

She looks at me up. The look in my eyes must have made her listen because she heaved a great sigh and got up from the table.

“What?” she asks, bored.

“Why?”

“Why, what?” she fakes confusion.

“If I have to spell out what you did, then you are hopeless,” I hiss. She scoffs and crosses her arms over her chest, her brown eyes full of disinterest.

“It wasn’t like I told him everything. So chill. No need to act like,” she gestures to me, “that.”

“No need, huh?” I mumbled. Funny. She’s acting like she has some claim over Landon when he wants nothing more than to be left alone by her. I pinch the bridge of my nose and sigh through clenched teeth.

“I don’t care what you told him. You shouldn’t have told him anything,” I growl. She steps back before laughing.

“It’s not a big deal, Aspen. It’s been three years. Get. Over. It,” she says with disbelief coloring her voice.

I stare at her blankly. For the second time, that day images flashed through my head. “Get over it?” I scoff.

“Get over it?” I say again, my voice getting louder with each word before I lowered it to a harsh whisper. “It wasn’t a breakup, Sonia. I saw my mother’s dead body. My sister was three years old and I was thirteen when my step-father attacked me. Giving me this,” I spit out as I raise up my arm to show her the slightly raised scar that ran from the back of my hand to my elbow.

Sonia flinches but tells me with a cold voice, “It’s been three years. Stop using it to get pity from others.” She walks away, leaving me stunned.

“Stop using it to get pity?” I repeat to myself before laughing sadly. I found it interesting that she told me to stop using it to get pity. The only people who know about what happened was Vanessa, Bryson, Sonia, Lorelai, and Candice knew a little but she doesn’t remember much.

As I walked back to Vanessa and Bryson I told them coldly, “Guess what, guys. I use my past to get pity from others.”

Vanessa’s head whips to the side so fast I thought she might have broken her neck. She was busy glaring at Sonia while Bryson was picking at his food, mumbling something under his breath.

If anything, this proves what I thought. My friendship with Sonia was over.


A/N:

Here’s another chapter.

Feel free to leave comments on any mistakes you see and I will try to fix them. If you have any question’s feel free to ask them.

See y’all next time! Bye Bye!

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