Troubled Sincerity

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Chapter 14 | Playing Hooky

I jerk awake roughly as I hear a scream from the room next to mine.

I quickly scramble out of bed and rush out into the hallway. Riley joins me in the middle of the dark hallway, the same worried look on her face that mirrors my own.

We both look at each other, knowing exactly what was happening.

I quickly open Lucy’s bedroom door, and the both of us rush to either side of her bed. There’s sweat on her forehead, and her legs are thrashing around underneath her duvet.

“Lucy.” I say a little loud, trying to wake her up from her nightmare. I reach out and gently begin to shake her.

“Lucy!” I say a little bit louder, shaking her just a tad bit more.

“LUCY!” Riley suddenly shouts as loud as she can, and Lucy jerks up, immediately sitting up in bed rubbing at her eyes.

“What? What’s happening?” She sobs, tears falling from her eyes.

The moonlight shines into her bedroom window, showing us her tear-stained cheeks.

“Luc, you were having a nightmare.” I say calmly.

Both Riley and I sit on either side of her, as I reach out and push the sweat and hair away from her forehead.

She doesn’t say anything more, but allows Riley and me to comfort her. After twenty minutes, she finally falls back to sleep, no longer sweaty and a little more calm.

Riley follows me out into the hallway, as I quietly close Lucy’s door.

Once we’re both in the kitchen, Riley begins to speak.

“What do you think she was having a nightmare about?”

I give Riley a sad look.

“My guess is, her mother. She used to have these nightmares for a while after her mother passed away, but they’ve since gotten better and she hasn’t had one in a while. I wonder what could have triggered this.” I explain with a frown.

Riley frowns as well, walking over to get a water bottle from the fridge. We both looked at the clock and saw that it was only a little after two in the morning.

Yesterday Riley told me briefly about her date with Dylan, and how she had spent the night with him last night. I was really happy for the both of them, and made a note to find Dylan on Monday to tell him the same.

“I wish there was something we could do for her.” Riley says.

I could only nod in reply. “Me too. I’ve tried to mention therapy, but she won’t. Although, I’m probably the last person in the world to mention therapy, being that I rejected the idea after everything that happened with Mark.”

“Yeah, that probably wasn’t wise.” Riley snickers.

“Whatever. I mean it wasn’t the right thing for me, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be for her. She never talked to anyone about her mother. After everything that happened, we told her we would respect her wishes to never bring it up. I don’t think she’s ever truly grieved properly.” I sigh.

“I was still never told the entire story of what happened.” Riley admits, a frown on her face again.

“God… it was a devastating night. The group decided to throw a birthday party for Connor. Well, actually, I decided on a whim… one of the many ways I kept Connor in the dark about me and Mark.” I grimace, truly disgusted with how I acted last year.

Riley nodded, having heard majority of the background when it comes to Mark and I.

“Things were going good, until they just weren’t anymore.” I shake my head. Flashbacks of that night coming and going, though some of it was a blur. We have the alcohol to thank for that.

“Everybody was drinking and acting stupid. A game of never have I ever broke out, and someone said, ‘never have I ever cheated on anyone’. Of course, me being me, I drunkenly took a sip of my beer.” I explain.

“Prior to this game, Mark and I got into an argument because I was ready to tell everyone about our secret relationship, but Mark didn’t want me to. He had already told me before that we couldn’t be together and he was even at the party with Lucy.”

Riley watches me intently as I explain the events of that horrible night.

“After I took a sip of my beer, practically telling Connor that I had cheated on him, he lifted his beer and took a sip. I found out later that he only did that because he thought I only took a sip because I was drunk, not that I actually cheated on him. He said he didn’t want me to be embarrassed since the entire school was at the party.”

“Wow, he really is a good guy.” Riley states, and my stomach falls as I nod.

“Yeah, he was and still is.”

“Okay, continue.” Riley urges.

“Well, after that, I stormed away from everyone because the alcohol made me angry. Callie followed me to console me, and while I was too busy throwing myself a pity party, Connor and Mark were learning the news of Lucy’s mother.” My frown deepened.

“When Callie and I got downstairs, Lucy was fighting with Callie’s then boyfriend Red, for her car keys. Everyone was too drunk to drive, but luckily Marissa happened to crash the party, and she was sober. She took us all to the hospital and that’s when we found out that Lucy’s mom had unintentionally started a fire. Everything is a blur after that. The only thing I remember, the only thing engraved in my mind, is the screams of my best friend when she saw her mother lying on that hospital bed, dead.”

Tears start falling from my eyes, and Riley’s eyes are glistening as well. She walks over and gives me a hug, comforting me.

“There we were, partying and drinking, while Lucy’s mom was dying.” I sobbed. “It was horrible. Lucy was so brave and strong. She never faltered, never spiraled into depression, she just took everything as it came and kept her head up. She managed to keep her house and plans to live there after graduation.” I finally say, because Riley was only vaguely aware of all the details.

“The nightmares started a little while after that night, and they came and went pretty regularly. She started doing much better though, and hasn’t really had any nightmares until now I guess.”

“Wow, I can’t even imagine. I am so sorry you all had to go through that. I wish I knew you all then, I wish I could’ve done something.” Riley says, and I pull her in for another hug.

“There would’ve been nothing you could do Rie. There was nothing any of us could do. We felt so helpless and worried for Lucy. We weren’t sure how she was going to react after it finally sunk in. I guess maybe something triggered her and that’s why she had a nightmare tonight.”

“Well, when we wake up later, we should take off classes for the day and just spend time with her.” Riley smiles, and I immediately nod.

“That sounds like a great idea. I’ll call the school in the morning to let them know.” I smile. “But we should probably get some sleep, it’s almost three.”

Riley’s eyes widen as she realizes we’ve been sitting in the kitchen talking for almost an hour.


“Night.” I whisper as the two of us go into our separate rooms.

I lie in bed for a while, just staring up at the ceiling. Mark slept in his dorm tonight, since he and Greg needed to help each other study for an upcoming test. Apparently they both share that same class, and the teacher is supposedly a hard-ass.

I feel incredibly sad after explain the events of that night to Riley. Just the thought of losing my mother, gives me the chills. I honestly have no idea how I would react, or what I would do, had it been me in that situation. I can’t even begin to express the respect and admiration I feel for Lucy, seeing her overcome everything so strongly.

It just makes me feel so grateful, that we were able to work everything out after last year. I honestly thought I had lost her, but fate decided to work in my favor, though I wasn’t sure I entirely deserved it.

As if sensing my distress, my phone begins to vibrate as Mark’s picture appears on the screen.

I smile and reach over to grab my phone.

“What the hell are you still doing up?” I ask upon answering the call.

“I could ask you the same question.” He retorts, and I know he has a smirk on his face. “No, I just finished the last part of my pre-test, so hopefully I’m prepared for tomorrow. This class is kicking my ass, and yes I am aware that rhymed.” He chuckles.

I can’t help but smile, but due to the crying earlier, I give a short sniffle.

“Baby, were you crying? What’s wrong? Whose ass am I kicking?” Suddenly his voice is serious, all traces of humor immediately gone.

“I’m fine, it’s just…” I trail off, feeling sad again.

“What is it? You can talk to me about anything.” Mark replies, reassuringly.

“Lucy had a nightmare tonight, and so Riley and I were talking. I told her about what happened last year, during Connors birthday party… I don’t know, I guess just thinking about everything that happened last year makes me sad.” I sigh.

“Yeah,” Mark begins to sigh, “That night was terrible for all of us. I still don’t like to think about it. Especially since my mom almost had the same fate before I took her to rehab the first time.” Mark says into the phone.

My frown deepens at the memory of what Mark went through. It seems odd that the same thing almost happened to him, but I try not to think about it.

“How is she, by the way? I know you took her back to rehab not that long ago.” I slowly ask.

“Yeah, she called me the other day. I forgot to tell you. She seems to be doing okay, but I’m not holding my breath just yet.”

“Well, I hope she takes it more seriously this time around. I hate that she doesn’t value herself enough to want to stay sober. I wish she could meet a decent man and just be happy.”

“You and I both, baby.”

“I wish you were here.” I barely whisper.

“Yeah? What are you wearing?” I hear the playfulness in his voice, and already know he’s smirking.

“Clothes.” I deadpan.

“Ha. Very funny.”

“Actually, right now…” I trail off seductively, “I’m wearing nothing but underwear.”

“Oh yeah? Why’s that? Thinking about your man got you all hot and bothered?”

“Yep, that’s it Mark.” I chuckle. “Totally.”

“Is that sarcasm? Don’t make me come over there and teach you a lesson on manners.” His voice is husky and deep, but also gentle. It honestly does things to me, things I would rather not say.

“Oh, please do.” I smirk, though I know he can’t see it.

I hear him sigh into the phone. “Don’t get me going if you don’t intend to finish with me.”

My eyes widen. Does he really want to have phone sex, right now?

“And what if I do?”

I hear his breath hitch, before I just barely hear the sound of a zipper.

“Your dick is out, ain’t it?” I deadpan.

“How’d ya guess?”

I can’t help but giggle into the phone, trying my best not to make too much noise.

“Now, reach down into them sexy panties and touch yourself for me.” His voice is stern again, and definitely sexy.

“You want me to imagine that these fingers are yours?” I ask, my voice just barely above a whisper.

“Fuck yes.” His voice is quiet, but pleading.

“Ugh, Mark, why aren’t you here?” I sigh into the phone, suddenly feeling very sexually frustrated.

“Just pretend I am, baby. Now, reach down and softly rub against your thighs for me.” He instructs in a husky voice.

“Okay.” I obey his command, reaching down to caress myself for him.

“Slowly move your fingers up and tease yourself.”

I immediately obey his instruction, slowly spreading my legs apart for him.

I can hear movement on the other end of the call, and I know exactly what he’s doing, or touching rather.

“First thing in the morning, I want you to drive over here.” I demand into the phone, as I continue teasing myself just thinking about wanting Mark here right now.

“I have class tomorrow baby, and so do you.”

“Nope, I’m calling in. Riley and I are going to spend the day with Lucy, but I wouldn’t mind spending my morning with you first.” I smile against my phone, my hand still resting inside of my underwear.

“I think I can do that. Now, where were we?”

And just like that, we’re back to teasing each other over the phone until we both end up passing out. We both fell asleep with smiles on our faces, not thinking about anything other than each other.

I woke up the next morning, and got out of bed. After my shower, I got dressed and went into the kitchen to call the school. I informed them that the three of us, were taking a sick day, even though the woman knew we weren’t sick at all. She said it was fine, as long as we made up our work, and that she would let our teachers for the day know of our absence.

Riley joined me in the kitchen soon after, and I told her that the day was set.

Mark showed up about twenty minutes later, and Riley gave me a disapproving look.

“What? I just need him for like an hour.” I sheepishly smile as I drag Mark back into my bedroom, making sure to lock the door.

We spend the morning together, helping to satisfy each other’s sexual frustrations. I wish I could spend the entire day lying in bed with him, but I know that Lucy needs me today, and I don’t want to leave her hanging.

I say my goodbyes to Mark, since he still has a class he needs to go to today, and then shortly after Lucy finally wakes up.

Riley and I tell her that we called in for her, so that the three of us can hangout.

“Was that Mark that left?” Lucy raises an eyebrow at me.

“Maybe.” I shrug.

Lucy grins at me with a shake of her head. “Typical.”

“What? I have needs.” I sigh dramatically, causing the three of us to laugh.

“Speaking of needs, I heard that you spend the night with Dylan the other night.” Lucy turns to Riley.

“Nothing happened. I just didn’t want to be home alone and have to listen to this one all night.” Riley points to me with a scowl on her face, though still playful.

“Whatever. At least we all know what to expect.” I shrug.

“Alright, anyway, what are the plans for the day?” Lucy asks.

“I was thinking, girl talk session, then I set an appointment for us at the spa…” I trail off, listing the things I already planned for us. Both the girls were grateful that I offered to pay for everything, and I made sure they knew that I didn’t mind at all.

The three of us spend the entire day together, getting our nails done and Lucy even colored her hair, making it an even more vibrant shade of blonde.

After we pampered ourselves, we went to see a movie, and since it was a weekday the theater wasn’t even crowded.

I decide that as long as I have Mark and my friends, college is going to be the best time of my life.

I’ve had more drama last year, than I need for an entire lifetime, and I just want the rest of this year to go by without any problems.

One can only hope, right?

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