13 - Back to Nothing
The last two weeks were miserable away from Tucker. The cruise was fun but she would have rather stayed home. As the car turns down their road, she sees Tucker’s jeep sitting in his driveway. “Hey dad? Can you just let me out at Tucker’s?”
“Why? You don’t want to be home? We haven’t been home in almost two weeks.”
“Just let her out. She missed her best bud.” Her mom smiles back at her and it makes Chasity happy.
“Thanks!” She says excitedly as she exits the car. She tries to walk calmly toward Tucker’s house and contain her excitement. She is about to knock on the door when it suddenly opens.
Tucker smothers her in his hug. “I missed you.”
She cannot talk, much less breathe with her face smashed up against his chest. “You are smothering me.” She pushes away from him as she hears his mom talking behind him.
“Chasity. We are so sorry for your grandmother passing.” Tucker’s mom wraps her arms around Chasity consoling her.
His mom puts her hands on each of Chasity's cheeks as she breaks the hug. “Are you hungry? I will make you whatever you want darling.”
“No. We grabbed some food at the airport. Thank you though.” She looks over to Tucker, who is amused.
“Well you kids want some snacks?”
“Mom. We are good thanks.” He motions for Chasity to follow him to his room.
“Alright. Well don’t stay up playing video games all night you have school tomorrow.”
“We won’t mom.”
As she follows Tucker into his room, she suddenly feels him pull her toward him and closes the door. He kisses her and she realizes she missed him more than she thought.
It is nearly 9:00 p.m. when she puts her clothes on to leave. “What are you doing?”
“I have to go home. I can’t stay all night.”
“You could.” He pulls her playfully up next to him.
“No, I can’t. I haven’t been home in two weeks and we have school tomorrow.”
“Then at least let me give you a ride to school tomorrow.”
“Alright.” She remembers Stormy. “What about Stormy? Is she expecting a ride too?” She rolls her eyes at the thought.
“Oh yeah. Our cover.” He releases her. “I might have screwed it up with Stormy.”
“What do you mean?”
“She was so needy and annoying. I just couldn’t keep dating her.”
“So, you dumped her while I was gone?”
“So, who is your next prospect?”
“Chasity. This is stupid.” He sounds angry. “I don’t want to date anyone else.”
“I already told you. I do not want everyone knowing.”
“It would get weird. And when you left everyone would feel sorry for me being your dumped flavor.”
“Who cares what everyone else thinks?” He pulls her next to him now that they both have on clothes again. “This is about me and you.”
“Exactly. So, let’s keep it between me and you.”
“Fine. But I am not dating anyone else.”
“Then we can’t go on double dates.”
“You’re right we would be alone.”
“Tucker.” She pushes away from him again. “You leave in five weeks and I will never see you. I do not want that kind of life. Wondering where you are and if you are okay.”
“I thought the other day on the phone you had changed your mind.”
“So, you are just going to throw us away in five weeks?” He sounds pissed but she feels like it is him throwing her away.
“If that is how you want to look at it.” She slides into her shoes and opens the door. “Night Tuck.”
Monday morning, she sees Tucker pull in her driveway. She felt bad they had a disagreement last night. But is relieved she does not have to deal with Stormy anymore.
“Hi.” She tries to sound bubbly. He does not seem to hear her greeting as he begins to drive. She waits a few minutes wondering why he is the one mad. “Why are you mad? You are the one bailing on me.”
He stops the car in the middle of their street. “I know.” He nods knowingly. “And I hate you feel that way.” He lays his head back on the headrest. “I am sorry.”
“I am sorry too. I won’t make you date someone else but I still do not want people to know.”
“Thank you. I can deal with no one knowing.”
As they arrive at school, Trevor runs up to open the door for her. “Hey.” He kisses her on the lips briefly as she exits Tucker’s car. “I missed you. Can I walk you to class?”
He takes her book bag. “Thanks.” She looks over to Tucker and she can tell he is pissed off by Trevor. “See ya later Tuck.” He squints his eyes at her.
She knows Tucker is probably expecting her to dump Trevor but she really does like him. She feels he deserves a chance.
Tucker hates seeing Chasity with another guy. It pisses him off. He watches her walk away talking to Trevor. He hopes she breaks up with him today.
As he arrives to first period, he notices Chasity sitting next to Trevor instead of her old seat by him. What is she doing? He gives her a mad face as she looks up at him. She quickly looks away from him as he walks past her.
Lunch time arrives and as Tucker enters the cafeteria, he notices Chasity sitting with Trevor again. He stops for a moment feeling jealousy rise in him. Chasity should be eating with him at their old table.
He moves toward her unsure what he is about to do. As he arrives to her, Trevor slides over. “Hey. You want to set with us?”
He briefly looks at Chasity trying to hide his anger. “Sure.” She shifts nervously as he sits down.
“We should go on a double date again. You free Saturday night?”
Chasity smiles at Tucker as she answers Trevor’s question. “Tuck is actually single for once.”
“Oh. Has it already been a month?” Trevor looks toward Chasity and Tucker is not sure how everyone has kept track of his dating record.
“Yes. He leaves in five weeks so he has time for one more flavor.”
He finds her comment annoying. “I think I am done sampling other flavors for good.”
“Oh.” Trevor straightens up his collar as he talks. “Well. Alright. Good for you! I guess I never realized you were into… well. this side.”
Tucker feels confused for a second until he hears Chasity begin to laugh. “What? No. I am not saying I am gay.”
“Oh. Sorry. It just sounded like you were coming out of the closet.”
Chasity laughing causes him to laugh too. He knows no one else knows their secret.
“That was the best thing I have heard all day!” Chasity looks at Tucker and he just wants to tell everyone he is in love with her. He knows she would be mad at him though.
“I am glad this amuses you.” Tucker squints at her teasingly.
“It does actually.” She moves her tray forward as if she is done eating.
“I really am sorry. I did not think you were gay before. Your comment about not sampling other flavors just made me think...”
“Yeah. I got it man. It is okay. I will choose my words more wisely next time.”
“Well, I have to go to Mrs. Jones class early.” Trevor stands picking up his tray. “Are you finished?” He points at Chasity’s tray.
“Yes.” Her response makes him pick up her tray. “Thanks”
“Oh hey. I will take Chasity home today. So, you do not have to worry about giving her a ride.”
Tucker looks at Chasity waiting for her to say something but she just looks down at her hands on her lap.
“I don’t think that is necessary. She does live on my street.”
“But she is my girlfriend.”
Tucker looks at Chasity who is avoiding his eye contact. “Girlfriend?”
“You did not tell him?”
“Um...” Chasity looks nervous as she moves her hair behind her ear.
“I asked if we could be exclusive that night we went on a double date.”
“She failed to mention that.” Chasity’s eyes finally meet his, laced with an apology.
“I will see you after school babe.”
Trevor disappears and Chasity speaks quietly. “Sorry.”
“So, you are just going to keep him and hide me?”
“That was the deal.” She looks around as if she does not want anyone to hear.
“Fine.” He feels hurt by her more than anything as he stands picking up his tray. “I guess your boyfriend will be taking you home.” He stops next to her and her brown eyes make his heart ache. “This is only going to hurt someone in the end. Maybe even multiple people.”
She stands up next to him and he sees the hurt already in her eyes. “Me. It is going to hurt me when you leave.”
He feels bad realizing he already has hurt her. “Then spend the next five weeks with me and only me.”
He notices her looking around again at all the people. He knows she does not want people to hear as she speaks quietly. “I am trying to protect us both.”
“What does that mean?” She continues to look around reluctant to talk. “Come on.” He knows a place they can talk quietly away from everyone.
“Where are we going?” She asks as she walks next to him in the hall. He wants to hold her hand but he knows she would get mad.
He opens a closet door in the hallway and looks around to make sure no one sees them. “Get in.” She wrinkles her nose in disgust at him and it makes him smile from attraction. “Please?”
She walks into the small custodial closet that smells of cleaner. He has wanted to kiss her all day so he finally takes the opportunity as soon as he closes the door. “Is this why you brought me in here?” She asks as she breaks their kiss.
“No. You looked like you didn’t want to talk in front of everyone so this is a nice private place.” He releases her from his arms that were wrapped around her. “What do you mean you are trying to protect us both? It feels more like you are hurting us both.”
“We will both be hurt when you leave if we keep...” she pauses as if she is trying to think of what to say. “Screwing each other or doing whatever this is. No matter who knows or how we go about it.”
“If you would just try to have a long-distance relationship with me. I know we could make it work and we would both be less hurt.”
“I can’t emotionally handle that. Please understand?”
“So, what do you want? Us to stop screwing around or whatever this is?” She quietly shrugs her shoulders and he realizes she is trying to push him away. “I love you Chas.”
“I know. I love you back but this is more than just about love.” She takes hold of his hand. “Four years is a long time. We will be totally different people by then.”
“So, you think we should just go our separate ways in five weeks and just forget our feelings?”
She looks thoughtful for a moment as she is searching his eyes. “I guess that is what we need to do. Then who knows, after the four years, maybe we will find each other again.”
The bell rings and they hear students moving through the hall outside. “We better get to class.” He opens the door as he looks into her saddened eyes. Watching her walk away, he realizes he needs to keep away from her.
Saturday morning arrives and he hears a knock on the front door and Chasity’s voice down stairs. He knows she is coming to try and hang out with him. He jumps up and hurriedly gets dressed. “Tuck?” He hears her come in his room as he brushes his teeth. He had avoided her all week and he planned to continue.
He comes out of his bathroom fully dressed and purposely does not sound happy to see her. “Hey.”
“Want to hang out?”
“I am busy.” He keeps a cold tone toward her.
“You have avoided me all week.” He does not respond as he feels her watching him put his shoes on. “Why are you doing this?”
“Doing what? Giving you what you want?” He puts on an uncaring face as he looks at her.
“This isn’t what I want.”
“You don’t want to get hurt. So, I am making sure you don’t. By staying away from you.” He moves toward the door and gives her a hateful look. “That way when I leave, you should be fine. Later.” He leaves her in his room alone.
He feels his heart break having to be mean to Chasity. But he reassures himself it is what she really wants. He grabs his keys and has no idea where he is going. He really had no plans. He just needs to get away from her. He notices her step out on his front porch as he pulls out on to their street. She looks so sad and he misses her. He shakes his head telling himself to let her go as he speeds off down the street.