Troubled Sincerity

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Chapter 10 | Finally

“I can’t believe you did that.” Lucy deadpans.

“Did what?” Riley dishes for details.

“She told Mark she didn’t want to be with him, and that she had Dylan.” Lucy scoffs.

I roll my eyes.

“I mean hey, Dylan is hot.” Riley shrugs.

“You do realize that Mark is head over heels for you, right?” Lucy turns to me on the couch.

“Oh really? Because not five seconds before I talked to him, he was kissing all over Jessica.” I blurt as I send a glare to my best friend.

“That could mean anything.” Lucy replies casually.

“Yeah, it means Mark and I were never going to happen, not for real anyway.”

I lean my head back against the couch and sigh. My mind is a mess, but hey, at least I have my pride.

“Well I’m team Dylan all the way.” Riley announces.

“We know.” Lucy and I both say a little too harshly.

“You should just date him yourself Rie, that way Naveah here can chase Mark.” Lucy wiggles her eyebrows, clearly satisfied with how she used Mark’s last name in her sentence.

“Please, Dylan is in love with Naveah.” Riley rolls her eyes. “Besides, I don’t need a boyfriend right now.”

“And why not?” I question.

Riley only shrugs. “I like being single.”

“Nobody ever truly likes being single Rie. Everyone eventually wants someone to call their own.” I say sadly.

“Whatever. If it happens, it happens.”

Riley then gets up to leave the room. We hear her bedroom door shut and both Lucy and I share a look.

“I think we struck a nerve.” Lucy sheepishly smiles.

“I think you might be right.” I nod.

“Seriously though, you’ve never been one to just stand down when it comes to what you want, and I know you want Mark.” Lucy says suddenly.

I give her a defeated look. “I just don’t think I can handle another heartbreak. You don’t understand Luc, when Mark threw that cup at me and kicked me out of his hospital room, it killed me. You remember how I was. I didn’t want to do anything all summer, but my mom talked me into going on that trip with you guys. What if I’m chasing the boy who can never be caught?” I frown.

Lucy nods in understanding. “I get what you mean. It’s hard.”

“You have no idea. I see him on campus all the time. My stomach still tightens whenever I look at him, Luc. I don’t even want to admit this, but that doesn’t happen when I look at Dylan.”

Lucy’s eyes widen. “Then why are you with him?”

“Because. He’s who I should be with. He helped me so much this summer. He broke me out of my shell and made me forget about Mark. He’s not just the guy I’m with, he’s my friend. I care about him, and I know he cares about me. I owe it to him to at least give him a chance. Right?”

“I guess.” She finally agrees. “How about this?”

“Hm?” I look at her.

“Give Dylan a month. If after a month you look at him, and your stomach still doesn’t tighten, then you tell him you’re both only good as friends.”

I think about her proposition. Is that a good idea? I shouldn’t be testing Dylan, or myself. Although, if it’s right then it’s right… but if it’s not right, I should definitely know that for a fact after a month.

“Okay Luc. I’ll give him a month.” I nod.

“Great! In the meantime, I’ll try to figure out what’s going on between him and Jessica.” Lucy grins madly.

I laugh at her. “You’re insane.”

“Yeah, but you already knew that.” She winks before leaving a big kiss on my cheek. After that, she gets up to go check on Riley.

I think I should give Riley some space. She seemed a little weird whenever we talked about Dylan. I don’t want to upset her or something. I’ll talk to her about that another time.

As I’m finding something to cook for dinner, there’s a knock at the door.

“I’ll get it!” I shout.

I walk over and yank the door open. “Connor…? And you brought, Marissa?” I look between the two of them.

“Can we come in? We brought pizza!” Marissa smiles wide.

“Uh, sure.” I eventually nod, stepping aside so they both can enter.

At least now, I don’t have to cook dinner.

“What’s up?” I question once we’re all seated at the dining table.

“We wanted to talk to you about Mark.” Connor begins. “After you walked away, he seemed really upset.”

My insides churn. “Why? I just told him the truth.”

“Naveah, I don’t think he’s with Jessica anymore.” Marissa finally says. “I saw her in the bathroom at school and she was crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said that all men are douchebags.”

“That doesn’t necessarily mean they broke up. Mark can be an ass.” I shrug.

Connor laughs.

“I don’t know. Those were, ‘my life is over’ tears.” Marissa replies.

Suddenly, there’s a small bubble of hope resting in the pit of my stomach.

“You really think they’re over?” I raise an eyebrow.

“Only one way to find out.” Connor says, “I know he’ll be on campus tomorrow in the library around ten.”

I nod with a smile. “Thanks guys.”

They both smile back at me just as Riley and Lucy come from the back of the apartment.

“What the hell is Satan doing here?” Riley says rudely. He gaze is locked on Marissa.

“Relax Rie, they came to warn me about Mark.” I explain. “Besides, Marissa and I have put the past behind us. I have her in one of my classes and we actually sit together.”

“Why is this news to me?” Riley’s eyes widen.

“Peace offering?” Marissa holds up the big box of pepperoni pizza and I notice Riley’s lip twitch.

She’s hungry.

“If you won’t accept, I sure will!” Lucy suddenly shouts before reaching for the warm pizza. “But any funny business out of you, and it’s back to the swamp in which you were born.”

Marissa glares at Lucy while Connor tries his best not to laugh. I, too, hold in a snort.

“Whatever.” Marissa rolls her eyes, soon after gracing us with a small smirk of her own.

It takes Riley a few minutes, but eventually her stomach over powers her brain and she reaches for a slice of pizza.

“This means nothing, I’m just starving.” She mumbles while shoving the piece of pizza into her mouth.

“Sure thing Riley.” Marissa smiles.

We spend the rest of the evening hanging out and talking. Riley eventually lets her guard down around Marissa, and Connor tries his best to handle the four of us girls.

We end up watching a movie, and Marissa and Connor both decide to crash on our pullout couch for the night.

All seemed well with the world, and I knew that I needed to talk to Mark properly tomorrow morning.

I need to get this situation handled one way or another.

| Mark’s POV |

After what happened with Naveah earlier, I don’t even know what to think. I’m physically drained and my mind is a mess.

I can’t believe she just did that. Just dismissed me so quickly, like I was nothing.

Fuck her.

I don’t need that in my life. I deserve much better than her.

I’m sitting in my common room, when there’s a knock at the door. I walk over and when I yank the door open, I’m surprised to see Jessica.

“Before you yell, I just came to get my things that I left here.”

Her voice is tight and void of any emotion. Her eyes are bloodshot and her face looks a shade paler.

Did I do that to her? Good, at least I’m not the only one who feels like shit.

I step aside and motion for her to enter.

“Thanks.” She mumbles, before walking into my part of the room and going through my drawers. I see her pull out a few pairs of her underwear, along with a few of her shirts and pajama pants.

Once she has everything stuffed into her bag, she turns and looks at me.

“Got everything?” I ask dryly.

She only nods.

“I’m sorry about earlier. I thought I was doing the right thing, but turns out you’re not the only one feeling worthless tonight.” I shrug.

Jessica’s eyes slightly widen at my confession. “What do you mean?” She asks softly.

“It’s not important. I’m just sorry for hurting you, okay?” I sigh.

Jessica nods, but doesn’t go to leave. “You want to talk about it?”

I watch as she takes a daring step closer to me. She’s now within arm’s reach.

“I really don’t feel like talking at all.”

I take another step closer to her, and she turns to place her bag on the nearby chair.

“I don’t either, to be honest.” She admits.

Finally, we’re only inches away from each other, and I reach out to her.

I pull her into me as she finds my lips with her own.

The kiss is wrong, but heated. It’s full of sadness and longing. She wants me, and I want Naveah, but neither of us can have who we want.

We take this as an opportunity to have our final goodbye. Yes, goodbye sex is a real thing.

We go at it for hours, until it’s too late for her to go back to her dorm. She spends the night one last night, and as she lays on my chest, I can’t help but feel my heart break that she isn’t the blonde I’m weak for.

And she never will be.

The next morning, I wake up early so I have time to get to the library before one of my classes.

Jessica decided to go with me, and I didn’t object.

We never talked about what happened last night, but honestly, I’d rather have Jessica’s company than no company at all.

If that makes me an asshole, so be it.

We’re both browsing through the shelves when I hear my name.

When I hear that voice.

I turn around to see Naveah staring at both Jessica and I. When Jessica reaches for my hand, I make no move to remove it.

Naveah zeroes in on our hands and sighs.

“Can I help you?” I ask harshly.

“No, I guess not…” She trails off, slowly starting to turn around.

Something inside of me begs me to not let her leave.

“Wait.” I say loud enough for her to hear me. She stops dead in her tracks and I frown at Jessica as I remove my hand from her grasp.

I walk over to Naveah just as she turns to face me.

“What?” I ask.

“It’s nothing.”

“Clearly it is.” I push for the truth. Her eyes are sad, as if she’s realized something.

“Well Connor said that I shouldn’t worry about Jessica and that I should try talking to you again, for real this time. But it’s obvious that he was wrong, and that you’re still with her.” She says a little too harsh.

My mind is spinning. I can’t keep going through this same shit over and over again.

“So, I’m just going to go.”

“Oh for fucks sake!” I shout angrily, before I do something even I didn’t think I could do.

I step forward and aggressively grip the back of Naveah’s head, immediately pulling her into a kiss. When our lips finally meet again, after so long of being apart, it’s as if they’re pulsating with happiness at the reunion.

I forget that we’re standing in front of Jessica. I forget that we’re standing in the middle of the library. I forget everything.

The only thing on my mind is how amazing it feels to have her lips pressed to my own again.

The kiss is so tense, and so full of passion, I lean into her as I pull her closer to me. I let a small grunt escape my lips after we finally pull apart. I rest my forehead against hers and look directly into her soft brown eyes.

I’m confused when I see tears.

“What’s wrong baby?” I ask gently.

She softly shakes her head. “Why did you do that?”

“Because dammit Nave, I needed to.” I say quietly.

I peck her lips once more, and before she has time to respond, she’s being ripped away from my grasp.

Not even a second later, a fist is connecting with my jaw.

I stumble backwards, and finally look up to find Dylan.

“What the fuck?” I shout.

“I don’t want to see you anywhere near her again!” Dylan shouts.

“Oh piss off, mate!” I sarcastically roll my eyes, making it clear that I’m making fun of his accent.

“Dylan why would you hit him?” Naveah shouts angrily, and I’m surprised that she’s sticking up for me.

I grin at a glaring Dylan.

“Because I saw him kiss you Naveah!” Dylan shouts harshly. “Are you telling me you wanted it?”

Both Dylan and I stare at her for what feels like forever. Her mind is a mess; I just know it by looking at her.

Her eyes move back and forth, between Dylan and me.

She’s choosing. She’s choosing right here and now.

I find myself holding my breath.

“I,” She lifts her head and stares directly into my eyes as she finally says, “Yes.”

I finally get my lungs to work as I breathe again. My eyes widen and my smile is now genuine.

“Yes I did.” She nods again, taking a step toward me.

My mind and my heart are soaring.

I glance at Dylan who looks ready to kill. I completely forgot that Jessica was still standing behind us, watching the entire scene unfold. I don’t have the guts to glance back at her. I’m a coward for that.

“You’ve got to be bloody kidding me. So two days ago when we fucked, that was just for fun?” Dylan blurts out, and all the air leaves my lungs again.

“It must have, Dylan,” I hear from behind me and my stomach drops, “Because Mark and I just fucked last night and I know for a fact it was just for fun.”

I turn around to gape at Jessica who looks pissed off.

Both Naveah and I look at each other again, unsure of how the other is currently feeling.

We both just had sex within forty-eight hours of our kiss, but the kiss still happened.

Is that for a reason? Or are we both just completely fooling ourselves?

“You two were fucking meant for each other apparently.” Jessica seethes as she storms around us and out of the library.

“Naveah, what the fuck?” Dylan says again, gaining her attention.

“I-I don’t know! I don’t know what to do here!” She shouts in desperation.

“It seems you’ve decided, love. I wish you both nothing but the best.”

I can hear the passive aggression in his tone; he means none of those words.

Dylan leaves in the same direction that Jessica went.

“Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?” Naveah whispers.

Tears have since fallen down her cheeks, and I have to physically stop myself from reaching forward and brushing them away.

“I don’t fucking know.” I sigh.

“That kiss; tell me you felt what I felt?” Her glossy eyes snap up to my own, and she holds my gaze until I respond.

“I did.” I nod. “I fucking did Nave.”

She lets out what almost sounds like a sigh of relief, before she takes a daring step toward me.

“I’m going to have to ask you both to leave now.”

Both Naveah and I snap our heads toward the librarian, who looks completely shook at what she just witnessed.

I take Naveah’s hand in mine and pull her out of the library. Once we’re outside, I yank her around the side of the building. It’s just us, nobody else around.

“Mark, I think we should sit down and talk-“, but I instantly cut her off.

“Shut the fuck up.” I growl before I yank her to my chest and kiss her again.

She’s stunned at first, not moving an inch, until finally she wraps her arms around my neck.

I feel her dig her nails into my back as she pulls me closer, and it just about turns me on.

The pure feel of her need to be as close to me as possible, sends me into a high I never knew I could feel, better than any cigarette or joint I’ve ever smoked.

This high is real, and it’s life changing.

I finally have my Nave.

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