It wasn't easy. I sat through the dinner with Dee, my mid elsewhere as I tried to concentrate. I tried to listen, but I just kept seeing those words in Bruce's diary. I'd been with Todd for a long time, and this was how he repaid me.
'Right. What gives?' Dee asked, her hands wide as she questioned me.
'I'm sorry. I just have alot on my mind..I've not been sleeping too well either.' I lied, unsure why I wasn't admitting the truth. Dee's eyes softened with sympathy as she nodded.
'I know, I get it. I'm the same, so tired. That's why I was like, I need to see my girl! Life gets in the way sometimes, but I feel like when I see you, it's like no time has passed at all. I love you so much Harps.'
I wasn't sure if it was her kind words, or just the feeling of emotion I was struggling with, but I decided to tell her what was going on.
'So, long story short I ended up at Bruce's house.'
Her eyes nearly popped out of her head as I shook my head, holding my hand up.
'Not like that.'
'Bruce as in, Bruce Patterman? As in, your boyfriends best friend? Ooh.' She slurped on her milkshake as she waited for me to continue.
'Yes, him, but no. Not like that.' I repeated sternly, as she laughed.
'Alright, but why did you end up there?' She looked puzzled as she licked her straw, strawberry milk dribbling down her chin. I handed her some napkins, sighing as I did.
'Because Todd said I was annoying, and I was pissed because I'd already given up my day for him. So I told him to go to bed and he did.'
Dee wrinkled her nose up, her green eyes narrowing.
'But how did you get home? He lives miles from you. Didn't he offer to drive you?' She sounded appalled, and I shook my head sadly as she pursed her lips.
'Dick. Do tell me how you ended up with said best friend.'
So I filled her in on the ride with Mandy, and explained how I had ended up in his room. She watched me in awe as I told her about the diary, and the contents.
'You're shitting me. He keeps a diary?'
'That's not the point.' I argued, pulling my hair into a loose ponytail. The cafe was getting warm, and I didn't think the conversation was helping with my body temperature. 'I was wrong to read it but...' I shrugged with embarrassment as she nodded.
'So what happened?' She finished her milkshake, pushing it to the side as she leaned forward, her sleek curls tumbling over her shoulder. She wasn't a stunner by any means; but she only needed to speak and you would be entranced. Her voice was beautiful, and whenever she was drunk she would sing. I wished I had recorded it just so she could hear herself, and see how good she was. Dee wanted to act, as did most people in town, so she worked hard to go to college to study drama. With a voice like hers she would only need to be heard by the right person and she would be snapped up. She reminded me of Lana Del Ray.
'He caught me.' I bit my lip as my cheeks burned, her mouth dropping open. I told her what had happened, leaving out the part where he got close to me, because that wasn't relevant. He did that to get his diary back.
'So what are you going to do now?' She asked, her eyes glinting wickedly. I knew that look, and I felt anxiety in my stomach.
'I don't know. But I'm not staying with him knowing he's been doing that. Bruce hates me too, I bet he loved seeing me hurt. I won't be his problem now will I.' I said sadly as my phone vibrated on the table. Todd's name flashed up as Dee frowned.
'Don't answer that. What a dick.' She seethed as I yawned.
'I'll have to speak to him sooner or later. School tomorrow.' I stared in the distance, wishing I had just called the dinner with Dee off. I was irritated with Todd, and annoyed with myself for reading Bruce's diary.
'Well don't take any shit. I know people, if you want him kneecapping.' Dee offered, picking up her phone as though to dial someone. I bit back laughter as my phone rang again. It was him.
'I'm going to have to get this. I have to speak to him.' I sighed as Dee nodded.
'That's ok. Just remember. No shit.' She leaned over and kissed me on the cheek, her familiar perfume comforting to me. I answered the phone, hearing Todd's voice immediately.
'I can explain.' He whined, as I shook my head. 'Bruce told me you read something in his diary. It didn't happen, I swear to you.'
I watched a black car glide into the parking lot, and I wondered why it seemed familiar.
'Well you aren't going to admit it are you?' I snapped as I paced in front of the cafe. 'Why would he write that Todd? Give me one good reason why I shouldn't hang up on your sorry ass right now.' I felt hot tears slide down my cheeks as I heard him pause, and I hung up on him. What a loser. After all these years together, this is how he treated me. Not even an iota of respect-
'Final year. Are you ok?'
I jumped at the voice, deep and gravelly. I wiped my eyes furiously as I turned to see sleek black car guy watching me with concern.
'I'm fine.' I snapped, annoyed. I didn't even know this guy.
'You're crying. Outside of a cafe, on your own. You're far from fine. Come sit with me.' He walked over to a wall beside the cafe, clearly where the staff had sneaky cigarettes on their lunch breaks, the floor was littered with stubs. I sank down beside him, no longer caring that he was a total stranger.
'A guy?' He said quietly, leaning forward on his knees as he glanced at me.
'Of course. You're all assholes.'
He laughed then, and shook his head.
'Nah, we're not. Not all of us. It's like me saying all you girls are psychos.' He smirked then as my mouth fell open in shock.
'Aren't you meant to me making me feel better?' I asked, twisting my phone over and over in my hands. He reached over, putting his hand on mine suddenly, causing me to tremble slightly. His eyes were a deep green, framed by thick long lashes that were the colour of coal. It was the way he was looking at me, like he was staring into my soul.
'I barely know you. Except that you're in your final year and your boyfriend is an asshole.'
I glanced back at his hand on mine, retracting mine slowly as he smirked, moving his away.
'You're also a good girl. Let me guess. Boyfriend is a star footballer, hot as fuck and a bit of a bad boy. He been cheating on you?'
I felt like he had inside knowledge, my brain whirring as I tried to nod my head.
'Its cliche, so just a good guess. Was I right?' He asked, raising his eyebrow as he gazed at me. My eyes flickered away from his, and found their way to his body which was incredibly toned, his muscles straining against the thin t shirt he wore. I saw tattoos coming out over the cuffs of his wrists, and I almost moaned out loud.
'What's your name, final year?' He said softly, his emerald eyes moving away from me, leaving me feeling exposed suddenly.
'Pretty name. I'm Zach. Do you remember me? Little sister...'
I nodded, realising I had shifted towards him.
'Yes. Look, I'm sorry I was a bitch. I'm just...so fed up. I better get going, I've waisted enough of your time.'
I stood up, smiling at him politely as he grabbed my hand, whirling me back towards him as he stood to his full height. I gasped as I fell onto him, my hands on his hard chest as he steadied me with his hands on my hips.
'Look at us, getting all intimate after one conversation.' He teased as I moved away from him quickly.
'Listen-' I started, my tone stern.
'No.' He said simply, his hand returning to my waist as he pulled me closer to him, my body moving without any instruction from my brain. I tried not to stare at him as he licked his lips. 'Sorry, but I just wanted to say this. Whoever that guy is, its massively his loss. You are spectacular, really.' His finger grazed my chin as he tilted it to the side. 'Delicious actually.'
'Excuse me, but I'm actually trying to get rid of men, not introduce more.' I huffed, moving away from him as he smiled, pushing his hands into his pockets.
'I'm sorry.' he said again, and I realised my heart was thumping at the images my brain was conjuring up. 'But if you ever need a distraction, I'm an amazing date. Honestly, I am.'
I laughed despite myself and he winked at me.
'She's laughing! Yes!'
'I've got to go. I need to go and...' my voice trailed off as I saw a car pull up. 'Oh my fucking God.' I muttered as Zach raised an eyebrow and followed my stare. Todd and Bruce got out of the car, both stopping as they saw me and Zach standing down an alley next to the restaurant. Todd's eyes narrowed, staring at me with a hostile expression. My heart ached, but my anger bubbled in my veins.
'Is that...?' Zach began as I felt my fists clench beside me. I didn't even think as I grabbed his neck, pulling him down to me as I pressed my lips against his. He tasted of something sweet, and my hands ran through his hair as he slid his arms around my waist. I'd never kissed anyone other than Todd, and I was pleasantly surprised. We broke apart, and I couldn't help but glance to where Todd and Bruce were standing. Todd was glaring at us, his face puce as he walked towards us.
'Harper? What are you doing?' He hissed as he reached us, pulling me away from Zach. Zach frowned as I pulled my arm away.
'What am I doing?! Whatever I like! It seems to work so well for you.' I snapped angrily pushing him in his chest as his eyes narrowed, catching my hands in his as he stared at me sadly.
'It didn't mean anything. Who is this? Does he know you have a boyfriend or is he just figuring it out now?' He glared at Zach who held his gaze confidently, before I spoke.
'You're not my boyfriend anymore. Zach, can you take me home please?' I said, as Zach nodded, holding his hand out for me to walk in front of him. Todd watched us warily, as I saw Bruce leaning on the bonnet of the car, his eyes dark. I avoided his gaze, stomping over to the black car, as Zach unlocked it.
'I mean, I wanted a burger but I'll settle for a kiss like that anytime.' He joked as I sat in the car, tears falling down my cheeks as he stroked then away with his thumb. 'Hey, come on. No one is worth your tears.'
I nodded silently, my sobs racking my body as I asked him to just drive. He started the car obidently, easing it out of the car park as I tried to hide my face. I didn't want Todd to see me crying. Or Bruce for that matter.
'Tinted windows.' Zach murmured as he rubbed my hand, squeezing it as he did. 'I've got an idea. I swear it will stop you crying. Just say yes.'
I nodded, just wanting to end the pain I was feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew now there was no going back. Todd was too proud to ever forgive me for cheating on him; double standards anyone? I didn't even think when I kissed Zach, I just wanted to cause Todd the same pain I had felt.
I wondered where we were going, as I saw the town fade away out of the window as Zach manoeuvred easily through the streets. His car smelled insanely good.
The kiss was insanely good.
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