The Bad Blood
J U D A H
I got my very first B+ on an exam yesterday.
It was... weird. I never cared about these things, never even gave it a try. But for the first time in my life, I was told that I could do better. People believed in me. People thought I was worth something.
These people were non other than Blondie and her friends. I mean, they just wouldn’t lay off my case. Gabe assigned himself as my personal study partner, Hallee kept me busy helping her out with the set for the play, and Blondie... well, we still did a lot of practicing on our own.
All these people, they didn’t even know me. Blondie didn’t even remember me. But they believed in me anyway. So finally, for the first time in years, I gave school a shot. And it turned out that I wasn’t a total dumbass after all. Which I must say, felt pretty damn good.
Anyway, winter break was coming and everything was on full speed now. We got a shitload of homework due, exams to take, and not to mention the play that was coming. Sure, it was a busy time for everyone, but Blondie and I always made time for each other.
Every time we saw each other, I had all these urges to just do things to her. It was hard to keep my shit together when I was around her. Things were going great between us and I didn’t wanna do anything to mess it up. But goddamn it, I wanted her to remember me before things get any further.
Sometimes I’d drop hints here and there, trying to jog her memory. It had been over ten years since we last met, so this wasn’t easy. I wouldn’t have remembered it myself it wasn’t for that incident at my house. She had absolutely no clue though, and I couldn’t blame her. I had changed a lot since then. Still, I hope that she hadn’t forgotten all about that scrawny kid that she always shared her lunch with in the first grade...
Maybe I could tell her after the play...?
I couldn’t wait to see the look on her face when I told her about it. Hell, she might even find it pretty damn cute—two best friends finding their way back to each other’s arms after years of being apart.
Like those shit you saw in them movies.
Today was the morning of the play, and I woke up realizing I hadn’t had a smoke a cigarette in a while. Somehow I had even forgotten about smoking, which was crazy. It was always something that I just do naturally, and somehow I had forgotten all about it in the midst of everything.
Getting off the bed, I raked my jacket pocket for my cigarettes. I remembered I had gotten a new pack a few weeks ago and I had only touched it once. I was expecting to open the pack and see that it was full—but no.
Instead, the inside of that pack was filled with these little stinking flowers. I was confused for a moment. I didn’t remember ever leaving my cigarette pack laying around for people to play pranks on me. But then I remembered the night we went to the waterfall...
Ah, she must have done this.
Normally I’d be annoyed when people touch my cigarettes. But this—I had to admit, this was low-key real cute.
Our show today wouldn’t start until 7 PM, but our call time was at 3 PM. We had to do some last minute rehearsals and get make up done and whatnot. I didn’t really mind though, I’d take any excuse to be able to spend an extra hour with Blondie.
By 2 PM, I was all ready to go. Ma had already left for her job and I was all alone at the house, as usual. I was making my way out the door and towards my bike, when I noticed something was off.
There were two cars parked several houses down to us. I had never seen those cars before and they looked too damn nice to be in this neighborhood. I stopped my tracks and studied the cars to confirm my suspicion, and I was right. The engines stopped as the car doors flew open and a group of guys emerged out of them.
There were about six or seven guys in total, and I noticed Cameron was amongst them. As they strode over to my direction, I noted the threatening look on their faces, all directed at me.
“Fellas, what brings you all to this side of the town?” I said jokingly, but they weren’t amused. And all of a sudden, behind all these guys, out stepped Blake.
“Hey there, Hudson,” Blake spoke and my body stiffened in response.
“Not so tough now, are you?” Cameron added, taunting viciously.
“What do you guys want? Don’t y’all have a field to run around in or something?”
“Don’t you have a stage to dance around at, fag?” Cameron spat back.
Blake put his hand up, signaling for Cameron to stop. Then he took a step closer to me, and I just stood my ground, allowing him to invade my personal space.
“You have some nerve coming back here,” he hissed under his breath.
He eyed me from head to toe, sizing me up. All the other guys just stayed behind, but they were ready to pounce at any moment. My fists curled up instinctively as Blake started circling around me.
"Judah Hudson,” his tone was mocking and laced in disdain.
“You changed your name. Took me a while to finally figure it out. I must say, you’ve changed a lot since the last time I saw you. Almost didn’t recognize you,” he said again, and I felt the tension in my body steadily rising.
“Finally, it’s about time. I was starting to think that this whole entire town had forgotten all about me,” I stifled a fake laugh. “Sorry I didn’t leave much of an impression the first time around,”
“Shut the hell up, Hudson,” he shoved me suddenly and I took one step back.
“Dude, relax. It’s been ten years. Aren’t we too old for this?” I joked, but he remained stoic.
“Still got no sense of humor, I see. Really need to work on your personality,” I said again and he shot me a deadly glare.
“Why are you back here? Didn’t we tell you and your whore of a mother to fuck off and never come back?”
That word associated with my mother always hit a nerve. Especially when it was coming from him.
“Gee, who knew you had such a dirty mouth? Didn’t your parents ever teach you any manners?” I snickered, causing his nose to flare and his eyes to darken.
“You really have a death wish, huh, Hudson?” he growled. The guys behind him shuffled to move but he put his hand up to stop them.
“Look, I’m gonna give you one last chance. Leave this school, leave this island, and I will spare you and your damn mother the humiliation,”
I wasn’t scared of the little shit and what he would do to me. But the thought of my mother being hurt again made my skin crawl.
“Oh and one more thing,” he paused for a beat as he looked me dead in the eye, “Leave Taya alone. She’s mine,”
“Blondie?” I snorted. I didn’t do it on purpose, but I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
So this was his motive after all.
“Sorry to break it down to you big boy, but the girl doesn’t want you,”
His body stiffened and his fists curled up in response. He was getting really agitated over this. He must really like her.
“Funny ain’t it? Somehow you ended up being the unwanted one in this scenario?” my voice was taunting him.
I thought I was doing a fine job getting into his head, but suddenly his body relaxed and a smile curved up his face. He shook his head and spoke, “Ha, you think you can fool me with that? You think I don’t know what you guys are doing behind my back? I know all about your little deal. She’s only hanging around you to make me jealous,”
My jaw clenched in response. That hit a little too close to home.
“You know Hudson, at first I didn’t remember you. Thought you were just random drama club fag. But after I saw how you kept trying to make a move on her, I started doing some digging. Lo and behold, I finally figured out who you are and what you’re trying to do. You only want her because she’s mine and that’s something you can never be. If you had kept to yourself and didn’t bother her, I would have left you and your whore of a mother alone. But you left me no choice,”
“You don’t deserve her,” I said through gritted teeth.
“And you do?” he stifled a laugh, “Don’t forget who you are. You’re nothing but filth,”
Suddenly the image of Blondie came to my mind. We were at the cliff and she said to me; “you’re a good kind of trash, Judah Hudson” and I remembered how her words made my heart swell. Yes, my heart. I didn’t even realize I had one until that day.
“She doesn’t know who you are. But once she’s figured it out, you think she’d still want anything to do with you?” his words dragged me back into reality again.
I didn’t answer him and I just glanced away. Honestly, I didn’t know the answer to that myself. Because maybe, deep down, I had always believed that if she knew who I really was... she wouldn’t want me. No one would.
“This is your last warning. Stay away from her,” and with that, he waved his hand to his guys and he turned around, walking away.
Fucking golden-boy couldn’t get his hands dirty, of course.
The guys all came and stood circling around me. Cameron stood tall right in front of me. He had that animalistic smirk on his face and his hands curled up into fists. The other guys were getting into position too, sizing me up, rubbing their fists, and trying to see if I was going to make the first move.
I should be fighting back, but I didn’t have the willpower in me to do it. So when the first punch came, I didn’t even dodge it. I just let them hit me, again and again.
I just don’t fucking care anymore.
I think I lost count after twenty. Twenty something punches, a few kicks here and there. At this point I just laid there on the ground, letting them have their way. I didn’t wanna give them the satisfaction of winning an actual fight with me.
“Fucking piece of trash,” Cameron spat on my face, before his shoe made contact with my jaw.
And that was the last thing I saw before I blacked out.
When I opened my eyes next, I could barely see anything at all. My eyes were swollen, my lip was busted, and my jaw was aching. Even taking a breath hurt like a bitch.
Using every bit of strength I had left, slowly I propped myself up on my elbow. My free hand then went to rub my head, only to find traces of blood there, still fresh.
Meanwhile, my phone was vibrating nonstop in my jeans’ pocket. I pulled it out and saw an alarming number of missed calls and texts. The time showed 6:30 PM.
Groaning lowly to myself, I got up and started walking towards my bike. Drops of blood trickled on the concrete as I made my way over. Sure, my body was aching, but that wasn’t what was bothering me. It was the aching in my head and heart that I could shake off.
Getting on the bike, I put the helmet on weakly, and wincing at the contact it made with the fresh wounds all over my face. Every inch of my body was burning in pain as I took in a few more deep breaths.
Now would have been a great time for a smoke.
And then I remembered what had happened to my cigarette pack and I could only laugh at my cruel fate.
And yet the show must go on.