Chapter 8: Shawn
“Get in the car,” Xavier tells me before pointing to the passenger side of his Wrangler. I glance over to my Grand Cherokee and feel the keys jiggle in my pocket, calling my name. That is my prized possession, one of my children, I don’t want to neglect Betty and leave her here to not cruise in the street as she loves.
“Why can’t I just drive my car?” I ask with a small pout. That makes it easier so I can leave.
“Do you think I’m stupid?” I was really, really hoping. “If you ride in my car I know that there’s less of a chance of you trying to leave school early. I know you might try to walk home, but that makes it a longer bit of time and energy wasted.” Damn bastard forcing me to go to school when I don’t want to while taking his car.
“Well, what about Aaron, who’s going to be with him while I’m in school. Mom’s got work and so that means I spend time with him,” I say with a small smile, assuming that exempt me from going to school. I know it makes me at a low point to use my own child as an excuse, but I don’t want to deal with pain in the ass teachers or students. I also don’t want to see my heartache right now.
“He’s going to Cody’s; Jen said she’d watch him without a problem,” Xavier’s got a proud face as he stands even taller than usual as I just scowl. “Now go get him so we can go, we’re running on my time, not yours… if we ran on yours we wouldn’t be going anywhere.” Damn right we wouldn’t. My eyes roll to the back of my head as I let out a groan and move back to the house with my backpack in my hand.
I pull my house keys out of my pocket before pushing the key into the lock and turning it to push the door open so I can go inside. The moment I’m in my eyes land on Mom holding Aaron as he cries on her shoulder, the tears soaking her shirt.
I drop my backpack in the middle of the floor and step on it. My steps are wide and quick as I make my way over to them. Aaron’s eyes move to me as we stare at each other, tears still streaming down his cheeks. I can feel the tears pooling in my eyes just by looking at him as my hand moves to rub small circles on his back.
“What’s wrong?” I ask while taking him from Mom. I continue rubbing his back as I hold him in my arms. Mom nods to me as I place a kiss on his bed of curls as I allow him to cry on my shoulder; I always will allow him to cry on my shoulder, the same goes for his mother. “I can’t make anything better if I don’t know what to fix. Please tell me what’s going on so I can fix the problem,” I plead with him as I continue to hold him.
Those small arms hold me that much closer as the tears become more ferocious.
“I-I just want Mommy.” My heart breaks at that as I sniffle and hold him closer. I’d rather get punched than have him like this.
“Trust me, I want her too. More than anything actually, so so bad I want her back in my arms but I promise you that on Friday you can go to her. I’ll speak to her about it today, alright?” Aaron nods into my shoulder.
How the hell am I supposed to do any of those things? Amaya doesn’t want to speak to me and I’m gonna have to hold a conversation with her about taking our son back when I’ve had him for just two days. And how am I going to react to seeing her?
I’ll have him until the end of the week which I guess I’m okay with if it makes him happy. I hate the idea of him leaving me, but it’s not about me, it’s about keeping him safe and happy. Making sure Aaron has everything that he needs, I come second in the equation as I always will when it comes to our family.
“You okay, bud?” I ask while turning him in my hold so that he’s practically sitting on my arm; I wipe his tears away. It would seem that he and Amaya both are my heartbreakers and heartmakers. I’m not very surprised about that.
“I’m okay,” he whispers before pointing to the backpack that I threw on the ground to come rushing over to him. “You going to school?” I nod while moving over to the island in the middle of the kitchen to grab Aaron’s Flash backpack that is full of all the supplies he needs for the school day. Xavier had to have left it there for me. I take it into my hand before moving over to my green and black one to throw it over my shoulder. “Why am I going?”
“We’re going to take you over to Cody’s house since Jen, his older sister, said she’d watch you while we go to school.”
“Doesn’t she have work or something?” Aaron asks with a raised eyebrow.
“Well actually, she’s home from college for the next week and a half; she goes to Columbia University in New York,” I explain to him before saying bye to Mom as he does the same. We head out to the car and I open the back door and shake my head when my eyes land on his carseat. Well damn, Xavier really did think all of this through.
“Wasn’t that on your college list?” he asks as I place him in the seat and proceed to buckle him in.
“It was and still is,” I tell him as I close the door and go to the other side of the car so I can sit beside him.
“If you and Mommy don’t make-up before it’s time to go away and you were to get chosen to go to college, will you go?” I close my eyes tightly as his question runs through my head. Aaron basically just asked if I’d be willing to leave him if things stay on the shitty path I’m on with Amaya and I’s relationship.
Xavier pulls out of the driveway as he pretends not to be interested in the conversation. The truth when it comes to college is that almost all of the boys have it planned out and Xavier, well he’s been asking me if I was willing to go to New York with him since last year. Hell, when he first asked I was ready to pack my shit and go, I mean, Amaya and I weren’t together and I had no clue that Aaron is mine. But times have changed.
Am I willing to be a seven-hour flight away from my family? It’s not just my son and girl of my dreams that I’d end up leaving behind. That means Mom, Grandma and Grandpa, my cousins, my aunts and uncles, would I truly be willing to say goodbye to all of them?
Shit, I still haven’t even told them about Aaron. Why haven’t I told them yet?
“Daddy?” Aaron asks while sitting up in his seat just a bit to take my hand with his small hand. And it’s weird just how his hand being in my own can direct my thoughts. My answer is already set in my mind.
I look into those eyes and see the question repeat in them.
“No, I don’t think I can ever leave you. It doesn’t matter what’s going on with me and your mommy; I could never be that far from you. That’s thousands of miles away. I love you and Amaya so much that it’d kill me to be that far from either of you.” A small smile appears as he gives my hand a squeeze and refuses to let go. Yeah, I could never leave him or Amaya. I need him just as much as he needs me.
“I promise. I’m not going anywhere; I’ll always be right beside you until the day I take my final breath,” I say before bringing my other hand to his hair that begins to fall into his eyes. I’d make that promise a million times over.
“What if Mommy does?” he asks with soft eyes.
“If she does what?”
“W-What if one day mommy doesn’t want us? What if one day she doesn’t want me any longer? What if she goes out and doesn’t come back? That’s what Brooke said her daddy did when she was a baby, and then Mommy’s daddy too, and your daddy. What if Mommy does too?” I move as close to him as his carseat will allow before awkwardly wrapping my arms around him for some much-needed comfort.
“Don’t you ever think like that. Amaya might not be here at the moment, but that doesn’t mean she’d ever leave you. We all know what it’s like to be left behind, she would never allow you to go through that too. Ain’t that right, Ave?” Xavier makes an mhm noise.
“She wouldn’t ever, that’s not her. I’ve known her since I was your age, it was just a bit after her dad left and she was heartbroken. I know that she was still hurt even a few months ago, but when she met him again that pain slowly began to go away. I just know she’d never make you go through that.” Xavier doesn’t say anything more after that as I only nod to him. Aaron looks to me and I can just feel that instead of him staring into my eyes that he’s now staring into my soul.
“Amaya isn’t the type to leave. She has always been there when you need her and she’s gonna continue being there. A secret about your mommy is that she’ll never let anything get in her way when she’s determined. Right now she’s determined to protect you and do whatever it takes for that,” I say as I try to force the image of Amaya out of my head that tries prying its way back into my mind. It never goes away. She’s always in my head and the images that usually end up there, well all I’ve got to say about those is that I don’t regret any of them.
“Then is she protecting you too?” Xavier makes a noise in the front seat.
“What are you talking about?”
“I know Mommy separated the two of you, I just don’t know why. She always has a reason, but I don’t want her to be gone like that. Why do this when it makes you both sad? You both were happiest when you were together, now you cry, I cry, she cries, what the point in any of this?” he asks while making his anger and frustration towards the situation known in his tone. I can honestly say that I feel the same exact way, but I don’t want to show that with him. Not now and possibly not ever.
“The point is to stay afloat when I’m just about ready to drown. I don’t know how I’m supposed to tell you this, but you need to know.” I look away from him and towards the windshield as the streets fly past us. I’m surprised there hasn’t been any stop signs or red lights. “Our lives aren’t like any other stories you and I have ever read. The truth is, sometimes we don’t always get what we want. I’d do anything for your mom, which she should know by now… but maybe we aren’t meant to happen.
“I’m not giving up, not by a longshot, but if the time comes when she decides that I’m not what she wants for her, then that’s okay. One day I’ll be able to laugh and joke around though I know she’s the one I’m gonna want forever. Maybe she’ll decide it’s the best time for us much later down the line or not.
“The point is, that sometimes a happy ending doesn’t have anything to do with getting the girl. In the end, not all can land themselves in the position of receiving all that their heart desires to have. A journey and heroic acts don’t always get all you could wish though if that person works on it, then they can possibly get what they want.” I feel Xavier’s eyes land on me through the rearview mirror, but I only try to ignore his eyes. He wouldn’t pity me, he knows how much I fucking hate it.
“That’s so sad,” Aaron whimpers out.
“I know bud, but it doesn’t have to be. One day me and everyone else are going to get our happy endings. I’m still young, as are the majority of people around us. We’ve got time and a whole heck of a lot of motivation,” I tell him in as hopeful of a voice that I can muster up. I hope he believes me because I’m definitely having trouble believing myself over that.
“You know something that people say?” Xavier butts in and I find a smile spreading across my face to the point that it almost hurts. I’m glad I’m free from all the sad talk for now. “The best things happen to those who wait.” His eyes stay on the road as I see him relax in the slightest. “You can think of all that could happen when it’s the perfect time for what you want and need, when you finally get what you want, you’ve just got to appreciate it with every bone in your body.”
“Uncle Avier’s got a girlfriend,” Aaron begins to chant out in a sing-song voice, nothing like how sad it was just moments ago. Thank you, Ave for that one.
“No I don’t, not yet anyway, but I do know who she’s gonna be.” I smile. I’m glad he’s found Charlie. I know he won’t give up on her anytime soon, and she’s cool. I’m just not too happy about Bethany becoming part of the family.
“Is she nice?” I notice Xavier’s lips being tugged upward into a smile.
“Yeah, she is, but she’s also got some kick to her. A very big kick to her.” I let out a small laugh. I guess us Harper boys have a type.
“Not necessarily, Amaya’s got more of a punch to her. They are similar in the way of them always putting those whom they care about first.” Just as the new light in Aaron’s eyes had appeared for just a moment, it already goes out and I can only imagine what’s roaming through that head of his.
That’s when it hits me, the night in Amaya’s house when I found her bleeding as he apologized over and over again. I can tell the same thoughts that float around in my head are now flowing all throughout his head. Half of the things that he’s been through no child should’ve ever had to be seen, especially since he’s just four.
Amaya brought him into this world, and seeing her in that position just had to be traumatizing, I mean, I know it had to be since he still has nightmares over it. Hell, it’s permanently stuck in my head too. I know Amaya’s had a few nightmares over it too; she’s woken up clinging to me multiple times. I’ve had to rub her back as I whispered in her ear, trying to get her back to sleep.
But now she doesn’t want me there when she wakes up or falls asleep.
“Aaron, look at me.” Those eyes fill with tears as he looks up to me. “That wasn’t your fault. She will always choose to protect you. You are always going to come first in her life, no matter what it does to her, or me,” I mumble out the last part. “It’s her job to put you first and it’s going to be until her final moments in this world.”
His head droops downward as I just take his hand in my own, knowing that if I say anything else it wouldn’t change a damn thing. All I can really offer him is compassion in his time of need. I only wish that I could do more.
The rest of the ride is dead silent as we make our way to Cody’s house. Xavier hops out first with me following close behind, holding Aaron’s bag and closing my bag. I move to take Aaron out of the car. The moment his feet land on the ground they drag just a bit before I take his hand in my own.
“Big house,” Aaron mumbles out while we walk towards the stone structure.
Flowers rest in a garden that rests in front of a window near the entrance to his house. The smell of roses meets my nose and I can’t deny the fact that this place does smell good, along with those shrubs that are slim cut.
I love that Cody never allows the money to get to his head; he actually hates having all the money. I mean, Xavier and I technically do have money, but we don’t accept it in our lives. Any money that’s been given to us we’ve thrown back to Dad without a second thought. I don’t want that life for me if it changes my morals as it’s done for my dad and to Cody’s.
“It’s a mini-mansion,” I tell him with a soft smile; his head slowly nods. Xavier and I walk in step with each other to the doorstep before Aaron tugs on my hand, trying to pull me in the direction of the flowers. I hold him where he is. “No wandering, you don’t want to get pricked by any thorns.”
“Okay,” his voice is small. We make our way to the door before I ring the doorbell.
“Remember to behave, alright?”
“I will,” Aaron’s voice meets my ears before the door gets pulled open.
I feel a tug on my hand when Cody’s dad stares down at Aaron. His eyes are the same deep pools of brown as Cody’s, but his deep brown hair is combed to the sides mostly on one side than the other with a bit of gel in it. He stands in a charcoal suit and tie, most likely heading to work.
“Hello, Mr. Asher,” Xavier and I say in unison.
“Aaron,” he tells him in a small voice.
“Ah, so this is the Aaron I’ve heard about. Not very impressed,” he mumbles the last part out, but I hear it. My jaw clenches just a bit as I hold Aaron’s hand just a bit tighter and he moves just a bit behind me. “I thought you were more responsible, Shawn. I guess the apple falls far from the tree with you and your father.” I narrow my eyes as I feel Aaron’s eyes on me.
“It does… very, very damn far,” I say, now ignoring the fact that Aaron’s still here. “I’m not like my father, neither of us is. Don’t assume anything when it comes to me or you’ll be living a major life of disappointment. It’s not nice to make assumptions, sir.” I hear a snicker from beside me before I smile.
“What are you doing here?” My mouth opens to answer but I close it when footsteps sound from behind him.
“They’re here because I agreed to watch Aaron,” Jen’s voice meets my ears.
“Why wasn’t I made aware?”
“Because you aren’t ever home and you don’t try to speak to anyone about anything unless it means speaking about Jen staying home,” Cody butts in, now making his appearance known. His arms cross over his chest as he looks to me for a moment and nods. Mr. Asher turns to face Cody and I can tell he gives him a look since Jen shakes her head.
“Dad, go to work, you guys don’t need to go at it this early in the morning, especially not in front of the young child.”
“Alright, alright, goodbye,” he says before walking past us and taking one last look to Aaron as he moves to hide behind me and Xavier. The feeling is definitely mutual. We watch as he disappears behind us and hops into his Range Rover that I could never imagine spending all that money on.
“I’m sorry about him,” Jen says before I shrug it off.
“Don’t be. You aren’t him and you don’t have a fixed idea on me being anything like my father.” She only nods. I choose then to ease Aaron from behind me, his hand still holding my own. I notice her crouching down to his level as her deep brown hair sways just a bit from the movement, those eyes now moving to rest on Aaron’s.
“I’m Jen,” she says in a gentle voice while holding a hand out for him to take. Aaron stares at her for a few moments before letting go of me to step closer and take her hand.
“I’ve heard, and I guess we’ll be spending the day together, huh?” A small smile spreads across both of their faces before Aaron nods and I can just tell Aaron’s in good hands with Jen. I’ve never really questioned her capability though since she used to babysit for the block and that had to do with a lot of stuck up kids too. Jen will easily be able to take care of him.
“Thank you for watching him on such short notice.”
“You don’t have to thank me. Just keep watching over this one,” Jen says while nodding her head in the direction of Cody; I smile.
“I always will, he’s like a brother to us,” I tell her before moving to Cody who smiles at me. I clap him on the back and pull him over to us. “You’re stuck with me until my last day boys. And when we’re in school I’ve got your backs just like you’ve got my own.” Xavier and Cody both smile to me.
“Alright, let’s get going before it starts getting weird,” Cody lets out a small chuckle.
“Okay,” Xavier and I say in unison. “Stop doing that.”
“No, it’s not,” I answer as Xavier stays quiet. Aaron lets go of Jen before coming over to me and wrapping his arms around my waist. “Bye bud, see you at the end of the day.” His head nods as he lets go of me.
“Bye.” He moves over to Xavier and Cody before giving them hugs too. I love seeing how they interact with each other now compared to October 23 when Amaya and I got back together; it’s a completely different relationship. “Tell Mommy I said hi?” I bring a hand to his hair before slightly ruffling it and making sure to smooth it over after.
“Of course,” I say with a smile.
“Alright leave, you can’t be late,” he says while taking his Flash backpack from me. My hands go up in surrender.
“Okay, jeez. I’m leaving,” I say before Cody and Xavier move to my side. “Thanks again for this Jen.” She only nods and I sigh as Xavier and Cody drag me off in the direction of the car. I make sure to take a seat in the back as I did earlier. “Sooo, did she go to school yesterday?” I ask while staring down.
“Yeah, she did, but she ended up sitting at Charlie’s table during lunch and barely said a word to any of us.” I find myself nodding.
“I’m not too surprised by that. And I want you guys to know that I don’t want to make you guys choose between the two of us. I want you to be friends with each other and still spend your days with her if she opens up to you, alright?” I ask.
“Yeah, we’ve got you,” they say in unison.
“Alrighty then,” I say before wiping my eyes. I swear I’m so done with all the tears. It’s not even eight in the morning yet.
“Don’t get all emotional on us, it’s gonna be enough on you going to school and having to speak to her. You’ll definitely end up crying then too.” He just might not be all so wrong about that.
The rest of the car ride is dead silent and when we finally arrive at the school I could feel Cody and Xavier’s eyes on me, waiting for me to explode. And maybe they will get that blow up that they expect, who knows, all I do know is that I’ve got to walk up to Amaya and speak to her about Aaron sometime during the school day.
I can’t think about the fact that I miss wrapping my arms around her, or that I want to kiss her. I can’t think about telling her that I need her and want to work things out. I can’t think about telling her anything really, only what Aaron needs as I will always place him ahead of myself. That feeling of abandonment that he feels right now was once a part of me, it still is slightly. The only person that has picked up on it though is Mom.
There’s another thing that Amaya doesn’t know about me.
The worst part is that she has placed that feeling there with me and she’s the only one that can fix it, nobody else. I wish these cuts were just on the outside, then I could put a band-aid on to make it better. But that’s not how this works. It’s going to take more than a band-aid to fix my problems.
My only hope is that Aaron never feels this, though heartbreak is an unavoidable part of life that every single one of us goes through at least once. I just hope it doesn’t sting him this bad.
“Shawn, we’ve got to go in. The bell rings in five minutes and I need to talk with Dylan,” I nod in understanding. Cody is the type of friend where even if he has things to do and people to see he won’t leave until you’re ready to go at his side. Dylan also happens to be this type of friend and the one that understands our problems.
They actually do make a good pair when you notice how quick Dylan can calm someone down and Cody gets heated a decent amount of times. It’s like that- it was like that with Amaya.
“Alright, let’s go,” I say in a small voice. I don’t allow anything else to be said before I get out of the car with my backpack in hand. The door closes behind me as I start walking over to the front of the school; almost everyone’s eyes land on me as I stare forward. The whisperings are already starting along with repeating everything that has happened with Amaya so far. I hate that she not only broke up in front of me but broke up with me in front of all these people.
A hand moves to rest on my shoulder and I look over to it before looking to who the hand is attached to.
“Hey Dyl,” I say in a weak voice.
“How you hanging in there?” he asks while ignoring all the prying eyes of those around us, but I can’t do it. What I can do is get angry and be dead silent until I have to speak to Amaya, the boys at lunch, or getting Aaron from Jen.
“Shit.” I’m sticking with the one-word responses.
“That’s understandable. Look, I wanted to make sure you were okay since everything around you might seem to be tumbling downward though it’s going to get better. Amaya’s been in the slumps a bit too.” I look up to Dylan with just a bit of hope in my eyes, but not visible in any other part of me.
“Yeah?” I ask with a raised eyebrow.
“Y-Yeah she… is right over there…” My head whips around to look around before I see her walking in just a pair of her regular ripped jeans and a sweatshirt… my old sweatshirt from when we were originally dating. I’m glad to see it on her, at least I know she would still like my hoodies. I wonder if she still sleeps in my shirts.
Her smokey eyes are covered by sunglasses and her hair is in a messy bun on the top of her head which she literally never does. I remember the last time her hair was up like that, she said she hated it since it made her feel like a ballerina. She doesn’t like ballet though she can move when she wants to. Her favorite type of dance is hip-hop, and when those hips move side to side, damn, all I want to do is hold onto them as they swirl… or she can swirl on me. Goddamn, I’d love that.
“Amaya,” I gasp out.
As though she had sensed me those eyes move in my direction and I just wish those sunglasses would go away so I can look into those eyes. I want to know if she’s as sleep deprived as I am or if she feels worn out in the same way that I do. Her eyes usually reveal her emotions and if I looked into them I could see it all. But it’s also in the way she moves too.
“I guess Shawn’s available now,” I hear a girl say in a giddy voice. I shake my head.
“That he is, but he’s only got one girl on his mind and he always has.” At least that person knows. I don’t see why nobody else notices that Amaya is the only girl that I want.
“Patricia Rathlon and Alyssa Friedrickson were so lucky,” I find myself with a slight smile tugging at my lips at the attention I just wish Amaya would be giving me instead.
I have no clue why so many girls want to kiss me, I mean, I’ve only kissed three girls, and Bethany doesn’t make the cut because that kiss wasn’t consensual. I sure as hell didn’t want that shit. I also don’t get why I’m all that popular, like, what the hell have I actually done? I used to be the kid that everyone picked on, as were Jonah and Amaya, I was a bit of a pushover back then. Too sweet that it ended with me getting hurt a whole hell of a lot. Hell, Amaya’s had to constantly stick up for me up until we were about eleven or so. I remember the day actually. Not the date, but what happened.
Archer Jacobs, a piece of shit eighth-grader, came along when I was joking around with some of the older kids as I was just a sixth grader, but they found me funny. I think he was pissed since he never was able to make them laugh in the ways that I was doing just by being myself, but he had a well-known name.
All the sixth graders avoided him because of his reputation of not giving a damn about whatever happened to him and fighting. Just an all around douche bag, I’m sure he learned everything from watching the bullies in TV shows and movies, and for some reason, we all were scared of him. Well actually, Amaya wasn’t scared, but it’s almost impossible to get her scared after all she was enduring at home, plus the extensive training she had refused to open up about. But we knew about it to an extent.
Anyway, Archer walked up to me with his damn Justin Bieber haircut that almost all the girls had a think with back then, weird. His hands were in his pockets before he casually asked me if I was an idiot or not, told him no and he yanked me out of my seat. Holding me up for everyone to see, and I was horrified, to say the least, but when he was about to hit me I made sure to hit him first which caused him to drop me.
Aside from my being put down, I hadn’t realized that I knocked him out until everyone was yelling it out around me. I guess it was my fear that saved my ass that day, not to mention he was so embarrassed he transferred out of the district two days later. I also ended up taking his place at the top of the food chain, gaining the respect of those around me as just a little sixth grader.
Hm, I guess I do remember how I became Mr. Popular, but what I don’t understand is how I managed to maintain that position even in my freshman year of high school. My second fight came up towards the end of the school year, though I was on the football team, but not the varsity team. I only got into varsity mid-sophomore year.
But something I don’t get the reason for a hundred percent honestly is why some people still want to speak all this shit about Amaya or give her looks just because she’s a mother when she told her story. She made it clear what was going on with her, but then they look at me as though being Aaron’s dad somehow makes me even hotter. That just seems like complete and utter bullshit.
“He’s a normal person, Xo.”
“One of the hottest people in the grade, actually, and if you can’t see that then you’re blind.” I shake my head as I tighten my grip on my backpack and look around to see if I can get even a single glimpse of Amaya.
When I get that glimpse I notice her standing beside Charlie, lost in a conversation and I just watch her lips move. Her hand rests on her hip as she gives Charlie her undivided attention in a similar way to what she’d do with me and the boys when it’s a serious conversation. I wonder if she’s talking about me. Wouldn’t be surprised.
Why the hell does she have to be so damn gorgeous? How couldn’t she be? She never has to even try to impress me. She’s just that good.
Charlie looks over to me before a sad smile appears on her face, her eyes switch between me and Amaya for a moment or two before she winks at me. Why did she wink at me? She goes back to speaking with her for a few more seconds before moving to walk away, but she looks over to me one more time to jerk her head in the direction of Amaya.
I give her a curt nod before she turns away to walk over to Xavier who is beside Ace, right in front of the school building so they can be the first to get in.
Come on Shawn, you’ve got this. It’s Amaya, she was your best friend before anything else. You’ve known each other since the first day of kindergarten, don’t be a bitch about it. Just do it.
I take a deep breath before sighing and jamming my hands into the pockets of my khakis as I swiftly move over to her. I make sure I’m there before she notices I’m even coming so she doesn’t have the chance to run away from me. I can’t let her run.
“Amaya,” I say with desperation in my voice that has never once been there before.
I notice a small smile appearing but it’s gone in a single second, but it told me what I was dying to know, she misses me. She’s happy to see me though she might want to hide that away from me, I just wish she won’t go back to denying it when I had to work my ass off to get it to show again the last time.
“Shawn, go away,” she says before turning away from me.
I shake my head and take her hand into my own as I fight that electric feeling that courses all throughout my body as I pull her to my chest. It’s almost as though she’s sparked me back to life and I just want this feeling to stay this way for the rest of my life. I don’t ever want to let it go, not when it makes me feel so good, not when she can make me feel so good.
“Fuck off.” My heart aches as I ignore what she said and only hold her closer.
“I can’t. I can’t ever let go of you. Not when I’ve just gotten you back, please baby. I can’t do it. Don’t try to make me.”
“Don’t call me babe, baby, or love anymore. Don’t call me anything outside of my name.” Her eyes are hard and emotionless. “And you can let go, you should do so. You only make this worse, and you did this. You might’ve worked your ass off to get me back, but you gave me up real quick. Now how hard is it for you to grasp the fact that I just don’t want you anymore?” she growls out the last part before my eyes narrow just a bit.
“I wouldn’t ever give you up like that. I’m going crazy.”
“Welcome to my world, Shawn. It’s a cruel ass place that sucks to be in sometimes. When all the beauty disappears, and the flowers quit blooming, where the hell are we? Is this the world that we choose, or is it what we've made it? You and I both have helped to burn this place to all hell, my heart going with it.” I stare at her as though she’s a stranger. Did I do this? Stupid question, I know I did this, but she’s right. We did help to burn this place, love burns, but it can bring upon new flowers. Replace all the scorned ones. Make the world beautiful and precious.
I remove my right arm from around her to instead bring my hand up to her face to take her sunglasses off. I need to look her deep into her eyes right now, I want to see my damage. I want to see the girl I broke, the strong spitfire that used to stand before me, now telling me with a metaphor what’s running through her head.
The girl I love is tearing apart before my very eyes all because of me.
“I did help to burn this place to the ground, I helped to fuck up this place, but it did the same to me. I watched the burning, I felt it in me, I watched the once beautiful flowers burn until it was nothing but ash. That flower was me, twice actually, but I got burned, dangerously burned to the point where water couldn’t fix me.
“I couldn’t grow a damn bit. I was stunned. I knew that I was soon going to die, I was prepared. I couldn’t give a damn, all I wanted was for the pain to disappear, for the color to come back to my life instead of the ash. I heard you going through the same thing, and I was angry at you for hiding it, but I was doing the same. I felt that same pain in me, and I’m scarred mentally and emotionally, my body may be one or two, but I lied. Not all of my scars are from playing with you and the boys, some are from my own personal issues, and I couldn’t let go. I became addicted in the same way I was and am to you, it was my clutch.” I can feel my eyes watering as I watch Amaya’s reaction to my confession. I told her when I was refusing it just yesterday, but why I honestly couldn’t say.
All I can say is that she is angry as hell with me and fighting my hold on her, but I make my hold even tighter. I know she won’t make too much of a scene since she hates it when all eyes are on her, so I guess this is okay for now.
“You do want me, Amaya, you’ve made that much clear. You want me so bad that it actually hurts. The same exact way that I feel towards you. I fucking love you, and nothing in the world is going to change that much. I’m sorry. I’m so damn sorry for everything, and you have to believe me when I say that.”
I can see those eyes get darker, so damn dark in the way they’ll get when Derrick is mentioned. That look has never been used on me before, not even at her dad’s house when I made that comment.
“If you loved me, you would’ve said all of this already. You could’ve told me when I ended up telling you, instead you wanted to get all mad when I said I did it. You said I could’ve said it on the day we had our first kiss after the break-up the last time. What the hell is wrong with you?” she asks while pushing me away from her. I stay silent.
“Tell me already! What the hell is wrong with you?!” I get a look of all these other kids staring at us but she ignores them, her eyes only on me, furious. “You have too many damn issues. And how the hell could you let her fucking kiss you?! That’s not what love is, you weren’t even thinking of me when it happened!
“I have way too many damn problems in my life that I have to worry about! You aren’t about to be on that list anymore,” her voice is dangerous and that’s another thing she’s never once used with me. That sadness that was once there now disappears and turns into such fury that I really don’t know if she’d do anything to me. But I can’t forget how much I love her. I couldn’t ever.
“But Amaya, you were all I could think of. You’re all I ever can think of.”
“Well sure that makes me feel a million times better,” she says sarcastically while rolling her eyes.
“Please Amaya. What do you want me to say? I know I made a big ass mistake, okay? But I can’t let you go, I’m so sorry, all of this has been fucking with my head so damn much that I can’t let it go. I can’t let go of this, what we have, or you. I just can’t forget.”
“I want you to. I want you to forget all about that damn relationship, I’m not about to go back down this road. I’m done with you. Forget about the moments we laughed. Forget about your arms around me. Forget every damn moment, because I can’t trust you. Not when you kissed her, and not when you lied to me for so damn long. I’m done with all this shit, especially when you’re the only one able to hurt me this way.” She looks away from me and doesn’t even try to take her sunglasses back. “Keep your distance, and I mean it.”
“If I have to ask you again it won’t be nicely.”
“But I-” Those eyes look at me venomously, looking at me with complete disgust. I hate that look.
“Need to shut up and stay the hell away from me? I was thinking the same exact damn thing, now go screw around with some other girl’s heart. I. Am. Done. With. This.” She turns to walk away from me but I grab her once again.
“And what the hell is that supposed to mean?” I find myself losing the small grip I have on this conversation which definitely isn’t a good idea, but I have no control over it.
“My world doesn’t center around you and I don’t have to answer to a damn thing you have to say to me. I can’t even look at you right now.” She makes a grab at the collar of my shirt to pull me closer with that anger still not diminishing. “You’re an asshole, but don’t forget what I told you before, I can be a stone cold bitch when I want to be, and you aren’t exactly on my good side any longer. You’re just lucky that you and your family have done a whole hell of a lot for me and Jonah, I’m fine with everyone else, but you, not so much.
“Now go find someone else who cares, because that’s not me anymore.” Amaya shoves me back before I stumble for a moment or two as I watch her walk away from me with that stride of hers. That stride that I love oh so damn much and that stride that if I could spend every single day of my life walking with it wouldn’t be long enough.
Damn, I’ve really messed up this time.
“Hey Shawn, how’d that go?” Xavier’s voice meets my ears before I let out an exasperated sigh. When the hell did he even come over here?
“You couldn’t hear her yelling at me? I’m sure everyone else did. She hates me, she actually hates me. I don’t even think we’re friends anymore, actually, I know we aren’t.” He gives me a sad look but only nods slowly as he knows I definitely won’t want to speak about it.
“Well did you speak to her about Aaron?” he asks with a raised eyebrow. I force my head to look up to the sky before counting to ten in my head.
“Me being the idiot that I am, forgot to do it in the span of time of me trying to get her to forgive me and having her yell at me for things that I should’ve told her about when we were still together. Now I’ve got to speak to try to speak to her again sometime during the day; I already made the promise to Aaron that I will be keeping no matter if it means me getting verbally or physically abused by his mother.” When he laughs I hit him in the back of the head before his hand goes to where I hit and lets out a whimper of pain.
“You do know she won’t hit you, right?”
“I call complete bullshit, she was hitting me even when we were still a couple, imagine what she might end up doing to me now that we’re the way we are. You said it yourself, she has some kick to her.” I sniffle before turning my head to the side just a bit to blink away the tears that want to stream. “Damn, now let’s go, we don’t want to be late to class today, because if we are I’m going to just go home or spend time with Jen and Aaron.” My shoulders slump down as I find myself walking into the school building with her sunglasses still in my hand.
“Well you can’t ditch, we’re having a pop quiz in Mr. Hedley’s.”
“How can it be a pop quiz if you know about it?” I ask while turning to face Xavier as I go through my locker that is beside Amaya’s. I know she isn’t coming here so I take my time since all she wants is some space from me.
“Well, Cody got bored yesterday and was sitting in Hedley’s seat doing an impersonation of him when he saw that we were getting one today.” I nod slowly. Why the hell did it have to be the day I come back?
“Sounds like fun.”
“So… what class are you going to try to speak to Amaya in because it doesn’t seem like she’d go somewhere alone with you to talk and she isn’t sitting at our table.” I shrug my shoulders before a thought comes to mind.
“Good choice, you know he still doesn’t like you right?”
“Am I supposed to give a damn? I mean, he’s a piece of shit and so the feeling is mutual; plus, we aren’t going to be seeing him again after the school year’s up unless he’s still working here when Aaron’s in high school.” Xavier shivers at the thought before I let out a small laugh and take a pack of gum out of my locker to instead shove it into my backpack.
“You ready to go now?”
“Yeah, I’m ready. Now remind me where we’re going first?”
“You weren’t here for a single day, how the hell do you manage to forget?” I only shrug my shoulders as I did earlier. “Espanol con Senora Muniz.” I let out a groan as he begins to drag me in the direction of the Spanish classroom. When we get in there I see all the seats almost full but the back row is left open for me and the boys.
I take my usual seat with Xavier sitting right beside me, Dylan and Cody sit to my left talking about something but I just stay quiet, not really wanting to get involved with anyone.
Mrs. Muniz walks into the room with a gentle smile in a usual sundress, exposing her legs. Her deep black hair pulls back into a high ponytail. She’s the teacher that half of the teenage boys have a thing for when they don’t have a girlfriend, but I never really could understand having a crush on a teacher.
She takes a seat at her desk before looking up to us, still smiling. Only a minute goes by before a ring of aquís go through the room as she takes the attendance. When she gets to my name, I say the same, but allow myself to stay dead silent for the majority of the class. That’s until she comes out with the beach ball of truth.
Rules of the ball, when it comes to around and lands in your hands you have no other choice but to open up about something that’s going on in your life. We do this almost every single day, but today I’m not in the mood for it and of course, with my luck she tosses it to me first.
“Adelante Shawn, pareces algo en tu mente,” she says in a kind voice, but I shake my head. I don’t want to go ahead, and there is something on my mind, but that doesn’t mean I want to admit that to the class.
“Creo que estoy bien. Próximo.” I don’t think I’m good, not at all actually, but once again, doesn’t mean I want to speak about it in front of the class.
“No la próxima. Sabes que tienes que irte. Todos lo tienen.” I let out a groan before tossing the ball up in the air and catching it a few more times.
“Me quedé en casa ayer queriendo estar con mi hijo en vez de tener los ojos de todos en mí con lástima en ellos. Tuve a la chica te amo me dijo que ella no quiere ni siquiera. Otra vez. Sin una maldita cosa que hubiera podido hacer,” I find myself choking at the end as the boys each look to me with sad eyes as does the whole entire room. “And that’s the same damn look I’m talking about. I’m going to the bathroom,” I sigh out before tossing the beach ball over to Xavier.
Mrs. Muniz doesn’t even try to stop me but instead just nods.
And it’s hard for me to grasp, almost every single word that I just said in Spanish was taught to me about Amaya and almost every word spoken was about her. Why did I have to leave the house where I could’ve been safe from all of this, where I could’ve been with Aaron. I wasn’t ready for any of this.
I make my way out of the classroom before wandering the halls for just a bit to calm myself down, only after three minutes or so of that do I actually go to the bathroom. I move over to a sink and run my hands under the warm water, bringing it up to my face to wash away all the pain that I know is going to be permanently stuck with me if I don’t fix me and Amaya.
I grab a paper towel to wipe the water off my face that I am sure has tears in it too; I throw it away when I’m done to instead reach into my pocket and pull out my phone. My eyes stare at it for a moment or two before I even decide to turn it on and go to my messages. I read the last one she sent to me. I love you and be careful on that drive. If something happens I want you to call and tell me alright. I can’t lose you. 😘😘😘
A small smile appears on my face at that before I read more.
What do you want to eat for dinner?
I can’t tell you much about dinner, but I can say that I want you for dessert.🤫 I had sent her in reply.
You know you’re an idiot, right?
The idiot that’s with you, correction. I’m gonna be that idiot for the rest of our lives and one day we’re gonna have 👶 #2 to prove it. Until then, 👉👌?
Nothing for you.
Please baby? It’s been so long, and I need something here. 😢😭😭😭🥺
Fine. I’ll be there at 5, okay? I want to spend a bit of time with you and Aaron before dinner which I know you will make perfectly as usual. Love ya.
I love you too and see you later.
At this point, I can feel the tears streaming down my cheeks, but there’s nothing that I can really do about that. I want so damn badly to go back to this version of us. I want her to want me around, and to actually show it. I hate us being like this.
Can you please forgive me for not telling you about my cutting? And about the Bethany thing, I can’t live without you. I find myself hitting send without even thinking about it, and it doesn’t take me long to see the ellipsis that tells me she’s texting her reply.
What part of distance didn’t you get? I close my eyes tightly.
Shawn, no. This doesn’t work for me and it’s not working for you. I can’t just keep putting my heart on the line like this. Distance is what I need. Leave me in peace now. I read her text and this time I sigh.
Fine… I’ll try. But it’s only because I love you. The text comes back as read but she doesn’t say a word back to me so I just shove my phone in my pocket and make sure my nerves are calmed enough to get through class without having a mental break down. I don’t know how well that plan is gonna work for me, but I guess I’ll see.
I get through the majority of the school day by just keeping my head down as I wait for Mr. Rafton’s class. I honestly have no clue as to what’s going on with half of the people around me, it kinda reminds me of when I’m sitting in the back of Rafton’s class and he’ll be talking about nothing important or rambling on with his lessons that he makes sound way more complicated than they actually are.
Everything’s better actually when he shuts his damn mouth and just puts the equations in front of us. That’s the moment where it all just comes flowing through my brain before I rush through everything to somehow maintain an A average that nobody really knows I have. There’s not an explanation for it really, but I do appreciate that it happens so that I don’t have to pay attention at all to pass the class and to ace all the tests.
By the time we actually end up in his class, I can feel myself getting all sick and queasy. It feels so weird and I hate it because of how the feeling ended up there. I mean, once upon a time that feeling was good, one that I got when she was walking into the room, but when we broke up for the first time and were still going around making out.
I was in love with her, and I think she was able to tell from that first kiss. I was hooked on her, and whenever she entered a room my eyes would always fall on her. I can’t get enough of that girl, and now, well, I still can’t get enough of her, but she doesn’t have that same smile that was once there. She doesn’t have that light in her eyes either. That’s one of the hardest parts of all of this actually.
I shake my head before cracking my neck. Focus Shawn, this is for Aaron.
I walk into the classroom with the hood of my jacket on top of my head along with my hands in my pockets which has become the new norm of the day. My eyes are droopier than they were earlier, making it known to all that I barely got a good night’s sleep. Today compared to what I was just half a week ago is ridiculous. This whole situation is actually, but things wouldn’t be this way if it weren’t for that stupid kiss.
I hate myself for ending up here. I’m an idiot and now this is my punishment, the heartbreak, the pain of her walking out on me. That happy ending is going to be near impossible for me to get, but I’m not about to forget this. I can’t forget the high she puts me on whenever she kisses me or says that she’s in love with me. That’s what’s keeping me moving forward.
My eyes land on Amaya who sits in the corner, isolated from everyone else, me mostly, and I know she doesn’t want me anywhere near her, but that doesn’t stop me from walking up to her and taking the seat to her right. Those eyes never lift up from the desk as I just sit there staring at her for a few moments like the damn weirdo I’ve become.
“I uh- I need to talk to you,” I find myself saying in a small voice before she takes a deep breath and forces those eyes up to me.
“No, you don’t. There’s nothing to talk about; I told you what I need and you said you’d at least try to give me that much. Why the hell do you keep trying to talk to me? What the hell do you want from me, Shawn? What do you want?” her voice raises just a bit to reveal her anger and frustrations towards me but I don’t so much as flinch.
I can feel people’s eyes now resting on us, but I couldn’t care less. My eyes don’t leave Amaya as I make it known just how unfazed I am.
“Do you know how hot you are when you’re angry?” I ask with a charming smile.
“Is that all you wanted? Really?” she practically growls out; I shake my head.
“There’s a whole hell of a lot that I want from you, for starters, your love, affection, and trust back but I know that last one is going to take a long ass time to get back, which is completely reasonable. Just know you’re the only person I want to kiss, touch, and fall asleep with at night.
“I want your time. I want to be there for you when I see that your sleeping and have a nightmare. I want to be there when you end up waking up in the middle of the night with those tears because you’re scared. I want to make you know that you’re so unbelievably strong and that everything is going to be alright. I want to take all your problems away and make them all better. I want your forgiveness for what went wrong with us and for my keeping that secret when you told me you were going through the same exact thing.
“But for now, that doesn’t matter, what matters is that I need to speak to you about the fact that our son cried to me about thinking you were possibly going to leave him,” I tell her with my voice stands emotionless. Not even a full second goes by before those grey eyes go wide as day and she grabs the front of my shirt, pulling me towards her.
“I would never leave him,” she tells me quickly. I nod to her before taking my hands to the ones with a death grip on my shirt, I pull them off and hold them for just a second. My heart rate increasing as I stare her down.
“I know you would never leave him, me and Xavier both tried to explain that to him, but he’s a bit hard-headed as are the two of us. His argument was that you’ve already left him right now, so he wants to go home with you. Although I’m alright with spending time with him, if he wants you I think you should take him. I want him happy and right now he wants to either be with us together or you,” I sigh at the end knowing that I won’t be with her or Aaron for a while, but it’d be selfish of me to keep him with me when he wants Amaya.
“Alright, I’ll be over to get him on Friday,” I nod my head.
“Can you get him after my game? He told me he wants to go and I want him to be there too.”
“Are you talking in my class?” Rafton’s voice booms through the room. Damn.
“Is that a yes?” I continue with the conversation.
“Excuse you,” Rafton’s voice meets my ears again.
“No, excuse you. Can’t you see I’m having an important conversation here? Damn, so rude,” I say before scoffing as I look to Rafton. Everyone’s eyes go to me as I fold my arms over my chest. “You wanna get back to your lesson now, or do you want to be nosy? I mean, we all already know this, it’s not like we haven’t been doing this for the past three weeks.”
“Would you like to come in front of the class and teach?” I stand from my seat and walk to the front. I take the marker from his outstretched hand along with grabbing the book full of math problems that he was getting everything from. I place the hardest one I see on the board before answering it with my work present.
I move the marker to under everything before writing, ‘you really thought I couldn’t do it, shame on you,’ and make sure to sign my name under.
The whole classroom’s eyes go to me as they look shocked, but I see a faint smile on Amaya’s face before I smile back. “So Ms. Wolff, you wanna answer my previously asked question?” Almost everyone looks to her, trying to find the missing details of our conversation.
“Yeah, that works.”
“Are you gonna be there?” She throws her head back before letting out a groan. I turn to look back to the whiteboard to do more math problems, this time switching it up. “Just say you will. If not for me for him or Ave.”
“We’ll see.” That’s better than a flat out no.
“I’ll take that,” I say before turning back around and moving over to Rafton who glares at me. I thrust the marker into his hand. “I’m not all that bad of a person, Rafton. You, however, can be a major tool, and I think you should try fixing that about you. Now maybe it’s because you are frustrated in some ways or… hm, I don’t know. But something I do know is that if you want to be a shit-stick, you at least have to be one of the best at your job. And well, that’s not you.”
I walk over to the back of the classroom to grab my things before shoving them into my backpack.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“Mr. Orreia’s office.” Yep, it’s gotten to the point where I’m going to the damn guidance counselor, I can’t go to Mom just yet since she doesn’t know about the break-up. All she knows is that Amaya and I aren’t on speaking terms right now.
I don’t give anyone time to say anything before walking out of the room and to Mr. Orreia’s office where I’m going to have to give away all the details to what’s going on in my life. How fucking fun is that?