Reluctantly Yours

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Chapter 6

I haven't seen Shane since I dropped him off at home on Saturday afternoon. He wasn't at school Monday, so I didn't get to see him, but when Tuesday came, I felt my heart trip over itself when I saw him in the parking lot while I waited for the first bell to ring. I tried to catch his eye as he walked across the lot, but he wasn't looking up until a girl approached him.

She was tall, and her head went to his nose. Her silky blonde hair was tied in a ponytail and I recognized her as one of the cheerleaders. Her name was Kaylee Simmons and she was one of the more popular girls in school.

She put her hands on his shoulders and pulled him down to kiss her on the lips. I now knew what they meant when people say that their heart dropped to their stomachs. I blinked rapidly to hold back the tears. I will not cry over a guy that I barely knew, but I wasn't going to sit here and take it either. I was literally saved by the bell and I jumped up when it rang and practically ran to my first class.

I sat in the corner, per usual and I stiffened when I saw him walk in. I locked my jaw and glared at the desktop in front of me. He sat down beside me, as if everything was normal. As if my heart weren't pounding right now, as if I wasn't feeling betrayed or jealous.

I heard his quiet voice murmur. "Bambi?"

I didn't move at all. I even stopped breathing for a second at the sound of the pet name. I pulled in a deep breath and kept my eyes on the desk, glaring at it like it had murdered my family. I wouldn't, could not, look at him. If I did that, then I would remember Kaylee's mouth glued to his and if I thought about that, I would break. I rapidly blinked, holding back my tears. My leg thumped up and down against the floor. I would have been shaking, but I channeled all the energy to my leg. It was like I wasn't controlling it anymore, it just bounced on its own. I gripped the pencil tightly in my hand.

He whispered my name again but I didn't look at him. Half way through whatever Mr. Tyler was saying, I heard him whisper my name once more and the pencil snapped in my hand and my leg stopped moving. I squeezed my eyes closed and took a deep breath. I imagined myself with a gun, pointing it right at Shane's heart and then, I pulled the trigger.

It felt so real and I snapped my eyes open. I locked my jaw again and stood up, gathering my things, marching out of the classroom just as the bell rang. My resolve was crumbling. I told myself that I wouldn't let him get to me, wouldn't let him hurt me. I could tell myself those things all I wanted, but it wouldn't change the fact that he had already done those things. I don't even know why I was so upset.

It wasn't like he was mine anyways. It was just a crush, a few stolen kisses, a few soft spoken words, and a few caresses. He wasn't mine. He never would be. I was going to shut myself down from him, ignore him, stay away from him. I wasn't going to give in. Ever. He was a player, but I would no longer be one of his games.

I kept walking down the hall, straight out of the building. It's okay to have an off day every once in a while, right? Today was going to be mine. I needed to collect myself and not let him trigger me every time I saw him or heard his voice. It should be easy to get over him, because there wasn't much to get over, but that didn't mean it didn't hurt.

As expected, Dad wasn't home yet. I went inside and locked the door back behind me. I needed this day off, so I could pick myself up again. I trudged up the stairs, and into my room as I flopped on my bed after closing the door and locking me inside.

It turned out that my day off was more like the rest of the week off. Dad didn't mind either, under the previous circumstances. He went to the school for me and got my assignments, telling them that I was sick at home with the flu. Jessie called on Tuesday, asking me what was wrong, but I just told her what we've been telling everyone, that I was sick. On Thursday, around lunchtime, while Dad was at work, I got a surprise at my doorstep.

I opened it and looked up to see Shane looking down at me. Without hesitation, I slammed the door in his face, but he jammed his boot in at the last second. I was certain that it probably scuffed his infamous Doc Martens. I wish it had done worse.

"Where have you been," he asked, stepping inside. I left the door open and turned around to face him. I didn't say anything as I looked down at his shoes. I wasn't going to look at him, but he didn't think I should avoid his gaze.

"Bambi, look at me," he said softly, but sternly. I just swallowed past the lump building in my throat. He took a few steps closer, his feet pounding on the hardwood with his heavy footsteps. He stopped directly in front of me, his fingers tilting my chin up so that I had to look at him. I shook my head away from his warm, familiar, large hand, but this time he cupped my face between his palms, holding me to face him with a force that I couldn't move away from.

"What you saw with Kaylee was nothing," he said softly.

"Why would I care what it was? Even if it was nothing, even if it was something, none of it is my business," I whispered. His adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed. His lips parted slightly and I wanted nothing more than to feel them moving against mine, but I wouldn't lose my resolve that easily.

Shane was not good for me. I've always known it, right from the beginning. He's bad boy material. He's a player, a criminal, and a manipulative piece of crap that I don't need. I've known that since I first laid eyes on him. With his rugged, sexy looks, his leather jacket, his combat boots, and even his motorcycle. He was the perfect stereotype. He would end up hurting me and I would have no one but myself to blame.

"Jazz," he whispered, his brown eyes softening like melted chocolate. "Please just listen, okay? There is nothing going on between me and Kaylee. She's been flirting with me in my trig class, but I didn't do anything to her or with her except reject her. I wasn't expecting her to kiss me and I didn't even want it."

"I didn't see you fighting it," I mumbled.

"You weren't looking either. You ran into the building, I watched you. I was looking at you. Not her, not her eyes, not her lips. I was only looking at you. You didn't even wait long enough to see me push her away because you were too much of a coward to face it head on," he said.

My eyes flashed to him as I felt a flare of indignation. How dare he call me a coward? Sure, I ran, but who wouldn't? If anything, that makes me braver because he has no idea how hard it has been to stay away from him, and I'd say that takes a lot of courage. I clenched my jaw and jerked away from him, opening the door wider.

"I think you should leave," I said in a cold clear voice. He wasn't breaking down my walls now or ever again. My walls were turning to brick and no one would break through again. I couldn't afford to let anyone get close to me again.

He stood there staring at me or a few seconds, his eyes traveling my face, pleading. "Bambi, I-"

"I said leave Shane," I cut him off. My control was slipping. I wanted to throw things, kick, scream, hit, or break something. He'd really see how crazy I was then. I watched somberly as he stormed out of the front door and slammed it as soon as he stepped over the threshold.

I stood there for a few seconds, staring at the closed door. My knees gave out and I slumped against the wood, not able to control my sobs. It felt like a part of me just left with him, but for my greater good, I couldn't let him be the one to piece me back together again.

Friday, I toughened up. I threw on my hoodie and jeans but stopped when I started to brush my hair. I should actually try and look put together. I could make myself seem more desirable just to show Shane what he's missing out on. Besides, look good, feel good, right?

I slipped back out of my clothes and looked through my closet. I wanted casual, but noticeable. I grabbed a stretchy, white, spaghetti strap tank, black leggings, and a black jacket with laces running up the arms, matched with some black ballet flats.

I ran the brush through my long, wavy black hair and pulled it up, using some of the leave in conditioner to form a sleek ponytail. I applied some lipstick that was a couple shades pinker than my normally plump lips, some winged eyeliner and lengthening, voluminous mascara.

I looked at myself in the mirror and found a wide smile on my face, showing my white, straight teeth. They were right. I looked good and I felt better than I had in weeks. I grabbed my phone and car keys then I was on my way.

I pulled into the parking lot, later than usual. I stepped out of the car after adjusting my sunglasses on my face. They were the kind that reminded me of the ones that you see cops wearing in movies. It kind of made me feel badass. I fixed my posture and straightened up as I walked across the lot.

I felt some people's lingering gazes on me. I have completely transformed from the shy, small girl that I was. Though I was still small, I kept my chin high, and my back straight, making my walk more confident and even adding a little sway to my hips, but nothing too exaggerated.

The bell rang and I walked in, heading towards Mr. Tyler's class. I pulled off my glasses and slipped one of the legs in my collar so that it hung from my shirt. It was kind of weird not to be shifting my gaze away from other people as I walked by, but it gave me a surge of power, which I reveled in.

I walked into the room and stiffened. Cooper was there, sitting in his usual desk, a few seats from mine. I didn't even know that he had been released. I locked my jaw and continued to walk to my desk in the corner. When I sat down, Cooper stood up and sat right next to me, causing my whole body to tense up and be on high alert.

You could barely tell by now, but you could still see the faint outlines of multiple bruises on his once good looking face. "Jazz," he said softly. I stiffly turned my head to look him in the eye, my jaw working. His eyebrows furrowed and there seemed to be pain all over his face.

"I need to say sorry. I don't expect you to forgive me, but I need to say it anyways. I'm sorry. You have no idea how trashy I feel about what I… almost did to you. I was drunk, and stupid and I don't even deserve to be in this room right now, but I just had to apologize. For everything."

I felt my muscles slowly relax. His words sounded genuine and remorseful and for a second, I felt pity for him. I held his stare for a few seconds, my eyes glancing at the crease between his eyebrows. It made him seem somehow childish, or troubled. I sighed and spoke softly.

"I forgive you Cooper. Just don't… expect things to be the way they were." His smile was tight, but it was there nonetheless. "Thanks Jazz. I can't say that or sorry enough to show you how much I mean it." I nodded once and just as I was about to ask, he answered my unspoken question.

"My mom bailed me out, though I still have to go to court and I'm on probation and I am nowhere close to deserving this freedom." He glanced down, as though he were nervous, his shaggy dark hair fell over his eyes. He looked back up again.

"Jazz? I understand if you say no, but… can we maybe start over? Be friends this time instead of lunch table buddies?" He gave me a small smile, which I tried to return. Even though he hurt me, he had his faults and so did I. I was willing to forgive him and give him a second chance. I don't think Cooper is really a bad guy. He just has problems, but don't we all?

It wasn't out of pity, or spite, or anything like that, but it was out of genuine kindness that I smiled and nodded. "Okay," I said softly. He grew a broad smile smile and held out his hand, which I shook. Then we were interrupted by a grumbling, menacing voice.

"Get the hell out of my seat Cooper before I put you on the ground again," Shane snarled. Cooper glanced up and obediently followed orders. My jaw hardened. I was back on indifferent mode. I kept my face neutral and looked straight ahead, crossing my arms.

"Why the fuck did it look like you were being friendly towards that bastard," Shane hissed loud enough for Cooper to hear. I looked sharply at Shane.

"That's none of your concern. I can be friends with whoever I want. I'm not your girlfriend so stop being all caveman possessive," I spat. He stared at me, his nostrils flaring.

"You could be my girlfriend though. No one's stopping you," he said. I shook my head in disbelief and scoffed.

"Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather shove a spork into my leg," I retorted. His eyebrow raised at the visual, but he said nothing else as Mr. Tyler walked in, beginning the lesson.

I listened attentively, not bothering to write notes because it was a review and I kept zoning out anyways. The bell finally rang and I stood up and moved to walk out, but Shane caught my arm.

"Why are you wearing that?" I quirked an eyebrow. So he was worried about my clothes now? He sounded like a nagging, overprotective boyfriend, but he wasn't mine. I shrugged and stared at him. Why did he care so much? I was about to ask this but I closed my mouth. I didn't want to stand here longer than necessary, so I didn't argue.

"Because I wanted to. Now let me go, I have a class to get to," I told him. His eyes traveled over my body, lingering in some places more than others. "Looks good on you Bambi. I like it."

I narrowed my eyes. What was he playing at? "Yeah. I like it too." With that, I walked away and let out a sigh of relief when he didn't stop me this time. I was on my way to my next period class, but I suddenly veered into the empty bathroom. I don't know why I had come in here, but here I was, standing in front of the mirror.

I felt lightheaded and it was like the room was spinning. I was feeling extremely hot, almost like I was on fire. I ran the cold water over a paper towel and patted my face, but it didn't help much, then I felt something wet on my feet.

I looked down and water was slowly rising above my ankles. I shuffled away from the sink, wildly looking around to see where the water was coming from.

The bathroom door was closed, which probably meant that it was coming from the outside, but how? I splashed over to the door, but it wouldn't open. I pulled and strained, but it wasn't budging. I pounded on the door, screaming for help.

The water was rising, almost to my knees now. I banged on the door, but no one was coming. Everyone was in class now. I pushed and pulled at the handle and yelled as loud as I could, but it was to no avail. I was trapped.

Suddenly, the lights cut off and I was left in the dark. I hated the dark, it scared me. Not the dark itself, but the feeling of it. It made me feel claustrophobic and trapped. Being stuck in the bathroom made it that much worse and the dark was where my imagination went wild.

Then I saw a glow on the far wall. I squinted my eyes and splashed over to it. When I was directly in front of it, it became clear and easy to see. The fluorescent neon green glow of the letters were large so that I could easily read it.

You're not going to escape Jasmine.

I read the words and scrambled back, falling and landing in the water, my backside now drenched. I closed my eyes and screamed like I never had before. Someone was trying to kill me and I was all alone in this bathroom. Then I heard the door swing open and the lights came on.

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