The Heartbreak Hotel
I had the weirdest dream last night. And it went something like this:
Once upon a time, there lived a princess trapped in a tower guarded by a mighty dragon. Prince Charming came along and he vowed to fight the beast in order to free the princess. But as Prince Charming was busy waging war against the mighty dragon, a sneaky jokester came and slipped through the shadows of the tower, until he found his way to the princess’ room. The jokester and the princess met and they fell in love. By the time Prince Charming had won over the dragon, he went up to her room, only to realize that he was far too late. The princess’ heart had belonged to the jokester…
“Yo sis, your boyfriend’s here!” Kai’s sudden yell woke me up into reality.
“Mmyeah, tell him I’ll be right down,” I mumbled against my pillow, my face still flushed into it.
“I’d use a comb if I were you,” Kai snickered, and I rolled my eyes in response. Whipping my head around, I found him leaning against my bedroom door with his arms crossed.
“Shut up,” I groaned as I threw a pillow over at his direction and he dodged it easily.
He stuck his tongue out mockingly and proceeded to walking away. But, a few seconds later he turned back around and said, “Hey sis,”
“You guys are good right? I know he’s Blake Harrison and all, but if he messes with you, you tell me and I’ll…”
“I’m good Kai. Thanks,”
“Yeah, I’m just saying”
“I got it. Thanks,”
He gave me a small smile and I just had to smile back. Kai could be a real pain in the ass, but at this moment, he was just too precious.
Don’t worry about me, little brother. I can take care of myself. I’m no princess and I need no protection.
Blake didn’t tell me he was coming over this morning, so I wasn’t prepared at all. I took the quickest shower I possibly could and pulled my hair up in a messy bun. After donning some light make up and an oversized sweatshirt, I made my way downstairs to see Blake having coffee with my mom on the kitchen counter.
“Hi,” I coughed awkwardly as I entered the kitchen.
“Hey, good morning,” he beamed as soon as he saw me.
“I didn’t know you were coming over so early today,”
“Well yeah, I just wanna see how you’re doing,” he paused for a beat before saying, “how do you feel?”
And by that I think he meant about yesterday. He wanted to know if I feel alright after… well, that. It was weird actually. I almost forgot that I had lost my virginity just yesterday. I had always imagined it to be something so big and grand, when in fact I just felt.... nothing.
“Meh,” I shrugged, “I feel like I could use some food though. Zippy’s?”
It was a hint, meaning let’s talk outside. I’d rather not talk about this in my kitchen where my mom would be listening.
“Alright then,” Blake nodded. He probably got the idea.
“See you later, mom,” I whipped my head over to my mom and gave her a quick peck on the cheek.
“Thank you for coffee Mrs. Williams,” Blake said politely before he followed me out of the kitchen.
“No problem. Have fun you two,”
We got into Blake’s car and we started our drive over to Zippy’s. It was just a normal car ride on a normal Saturday morning, nothing out of the ordinary, and yet somehow I felt different. It felt weird being around him. I didn’t even know why. It was almost uncomfortable, which sounded crazy, because after last night we should have been closer than ever before.
“So…” he trailed suddenly.
“So…” I replied.
He had one hand on the steering wheel, and his other free hand went over and grabbed mine. It was a normal thing that he’d do. He’d take my hand and put it on his lap as he drove. But I found myself cringing involuntarily at the contact, though I tried my hardest to hide it.
“Are you sure you’re okay? I feel like you’re being a little too quiet,”
“Yeah… I’m not sure what to say exactly,”
“Don’t worry. It was your first time. We have our whole lives in the future to figure it out, what you like and what you don’t like, and all that stuff,” he said softly as he started rubbing his thumb on the back of my hand.
I didn’t know how to respond to that, so I just gave him a small smile and nodded my head. In all honesty though, I didn’t think that the sex was the problem. It wasn’t because I didn’t know what I like and I don’t like, but it was because I do.
I know what I like and I’m just not sure that it’s… you.
But no! I have to like Blake! Because if I don’t like Blake, then I’ll have to admit that I still like the guy that didn’t like me back…
“So, uh, after I took you home last night, I came back home and I had a little chat with my dad,” Blake’s chirpy voice cut me off from my daydreaming. I whipped my head around to see him as he continued talking.
“You know how I’m supposed to do a campus visit to the Ivy League schools next week? Princeton, Yale, and all that?”
“Well I just convinced my dad to have you come with me. He said yes,”
“Yeah, he said it’d be good. Who knows, you might even like some of these schools and—“
“No, I mean, what? I’m not even applying to those schools,”
“And maybe you should,”
“No way,” I scoffed. “They’re Ivy League schools,”
“Don’t worry about any of that. I know a guy who can help you with the application and stuff. They can even write your essay for you, easy. And with the connections that my dad has, you’d be in—“
“But, Blake… I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I was feeling super uneasy with the way this conversation was heading.
“What do you mean it’s not a good idea? It’s the Ivy League, Taya,” he said matter-of-factly.
“I know, but…”
“Look, you haven’t even decided where you want to apply to. So why not have a look at them?”
“But they’re all the way on the other side of the country. I don’t know if I could just leave like that,”
“Oh come on, it will be great. You and me, the open road. You’re gonna love Princeton, they have the most amazing campus,” his eyes lit up as he continued talking about those campuses. I found my eyes wandering out the window, imagining what it would be like to travel with Blake, touring the best campuses on the East Coast. It all sounded so grand.
But also, it all sounded too much.
“Look, I appreciate you looking out for me and all, but please, I need to figure these things out on my own,”
“Sorry babe, I just thought you could use a little help. It’s almost February already and you haven’t even finished your college essay,” he paused for a second before he said, “You just seemed a little lost, that’s all,”
There was something in his tone that sounded like an attack to me. He thought I was lost and that I needed guidance. But for the last time, can everyone just stop trying to guide me or to protect me?
Can’t people believe that I can find my own way? Be my own person?
“Hey listen,” I said suddenly, in a firm and commanding tone. “I may not know what I want to study, where I want to go, heck I may not know who I am. But damnit Blake, I know what I don’t want. And I don’t want to be dragged all across the country just because you thought you know what’s best for me,”
“Taya, slow down. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that,” he said and he tried to give me his most reassuring smile, but I wasn’t reassured, not in the slightest.
“Blake, what’s my favorite color?” I asked point blankly.
“What?” he was taken aback. Clearly not expecting this sort of question right at this moment.
“Or my favorite food? Favorite song? What was the last movie that made me cry?”
“What? What are you talking about, baby?” he half-laughed as his darted to me and he looked very lost. He didn’t know the answer to any of my questions.
“Blake… Do you even like me?” I asked again, searching his reaction.
“Of course I do! What kind of a question is that?”
“No, I mean really like me? Because I don’t think you even know me. Because if you know me at all…” you would at least know how unhappy I’ve been…
“Babe, what are you talking about?”
“Blake, I don’t think I can do this anymore. I’m sorry,”
“What?!” he almost shouted, and the car came to a screeching halt.
He yanked his seatbelt open and turned to face me. His eyes were searching mine, probably wishing that I was just joking, but my face was dead serious as I spoke.
“Blake, I think we should break up,”
“Taya? Baby?” he pleaded. “You’re not serious are you? You’re breaking up with me… because I asked you to visit some schools on the East Coast together?”
It sounded bad when he said it like that… but that was pretty much the truth.
“I’m sorry,” I said lowly.
He looked at me with such disbelief on his face. He opened his mouth as if he wanted to speak, but he didn’t know what to say. No words came out. He must be in such shock.
I decided to use the momentum to take off my seatbelt and crack the car door open slowly.
“Baby, please, I don’t understand. Let’s talk about this,” he pleaded again as I took one step out of the car.
“What’s going on here?” he was frustrated, angry, and confused. Everything all at once.
“If you still don’t get… then you just don’t get it,” I took a deep breath and sighed, “I’m sorry, Blake,”
I didn’t see the point in talking about this any further. Clearly, this was a lost cause. Just because Judah wasn’t the guy for me, doesn’t mean Blake has to be. And if only I had realized this sooner, I would have saved myself a little less hurting.
“Oh and one last thing, I hate being called baby,” was the last thing I said to him before I closed the door shut on us.
“Do you think I’m being too dramatic, Hals? I mean, maybe Blake was just trying to be a good boyfriend…”
After I had left Blake, I decided to walk around town for a bit and called Hallee up. She was on a date with Jesse, but since I told her that this was an emergency, she left Jesse for a while to take my call.
“I think you should listen to your heart, Tay. You don’t have to feel guilty that you don’t feel right being with him,” she replied, and I was glad to hear that response.
“Even last night, I wanted so much for him to stop. I thought he’d know how much I was hurting and that I wasn’t enjoying it. But he never did,” those words tasted so bitter in my mouth as the memories of last night were playing in my head again.
“That really sucks, Tay. I’m sorry…” she paused for a beat before saying, “where are you right now? I’m coming over,”
“No! Do not leave your boyfriend for me, I’m fine,” I said reassuringly. Since Jesse was busy with college, they barely had any time for each other. The last thing I wanna do was ruin her Saturday date with my sob story.
“I’m getting a Big Mac and a large fries, I’ll be fine. I’ll see you on Monday,” I said again.
“Okay, fine, but if you need anything, you call me, okay?” Hallee made me promise that before we hung up.
Putting the phone back in my pocket, I took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. It was hard what I had to do with Blake, but I felt it in my heart that it was the right thing to do. My steps felt lighter as I now decided to walk on home, taking the long way around on purpose as I didn’t want to risk running into Blake on the way back.
I was just mindlessly walking down the straight, not paying too much attention to what was around me, when suddenly I heard a voice calling out to me.
“Look who I found, wandering around all by her lonesome,”
I turned my head around immediately and I saw a guy on a motorcycle, a few feet away from me. He flipped his helmet up and a familiar-looking face was staring right at me.
“You’re… a friend of Judah’s,” I noted. Max… was his name.
“More like his business partner, but yeah, that works too,” he chuckled.
There was something about that smile on his face that didn’t sit well with me, I couldn’t put my finger around it. He had one of those sinister and sneaky-looking smile, that was the best way I could describe it.
“You just can’t seem to keep away from here, can’t you?” he spoke again as he closed in on the distance between us.
It was only then that I realized I was walking through the rougher part of town, and we were standing not too far away from the alleyways to Castro’s. There weren’t anyone else around and I felt the sudden urge to get out of there, fast.
“Uh, I’m just… a little lost,” I took one step back and I was about to make a run for it, when suddenly and without warning, Max’s hand reached up and gripped the side of my arm roughly.
“Where do you think you’re going, princess?” He snickered, “You got my friend all messed up, you know? Toying around with his heart. Such a bad girl,”
“You better get your hand off me,” I spat as I squirmed and squirmed, but to no avail.
“Or what?” he challenged.
He got off his bike and stood tall towering over me. He was intimidating, but I tried my best to stand tall. I didn’t want him to know that I was totally and utterly scared of him. I had reasons to be scared. His built was big and muscular, so I knew for sure I wouldn’t win a fight against him.
“I always like the feisty ones,” he sneered as he cocked his head to the side.
“Let me go or I’ll scream,” I threatened, but he wasn’t fazed at the slightest.
“Scream all you want, princess. This is my territory. No one’s gonna do nothing for you,” his gaze turned fifty shades darker as he spoke, “And I like it when they scream too,”
As he was lowering his head down to me, my hand instinctively broke free and slapped him across the face, as hard as it possibly could.
“Bitch!” he snapped.
I was going to use the momentum and make a run for it, but he was too quick and he caught up with me in no time. Two strong arms wrapped me from behind and pushed me down to the hard concrete.
“Help! Let me go!” I yelled and squirmed, but to no avail. I tried to push and shove, but Max held both my wrists together in his hands.
“I’ve always wondered why Judah was so damn whipped for you. Like you got some sort of magical pussy or something,” he started laughing and it was the worst sound I had ever heard in my life.
This could not be happening! Come on Taya, fight! Find a way to break free—
“Max! Let her go!” suddenly, a loud, roaring voice thundered from from behind.
I forced myself to open my eyes and turned my head around. Through my blurry vision, I made out a familiar tall figure standing a few feet away from us.
Killing off the engine of his motorcycle, he then took one last drag of that cigarette hanging on his mouth, before pulling it out and tossing it on the ground. He moved slowly and cautiously, but there was power inserted with every step he took.
Meanwhile, the cloud of white smoke evaporated slowly from across his face, and I could see his dark, angry eyes staring straight this way.
Angry and beastly, like the lion that he was.