THE FIRST DAY of classes seems to go by in a blur. I can’t seem to focus on anything the professors are saying. My mind continues to wander about the stressors going on in my life and how the past couple of days I’ve felt worse than I have in a long time.
Literature is my last class of the day, and after getting nauseous from looking at the amount of work on the syllabus we finally get dismissed, all of the other students complaining about the project we have due at the end of the semester as we pile out.
My eyelids feel heavy as I begin to make my way across campus. I hardly got any sleep last night. I found myself tossing and turning, picturing brown eyes and tear stained cheeks.
The worst part about today is that I have to go to the gym with Dion and Cameron after school. I would just bail, but I’ve bailed for the past two weeks on them and they’ve already threatened me twice now.
Our house from campus is only two blocks or so, my body already feeling the tiredness I’m about to feel at the gym. I would give anything to take a nap.
“Yo!” I call out, slamming the door shut behind me. There’s a bunch of laughter coming from the kitchen, so I slide my sneakers off and head down the hallway, yawning as I do so.
Dion is standing over the stove as he peers down at some cookies, the blonde girl from the party giggling as she looks at him. “See?” She presses, nudging him gently. “It wasn’t that hard. Was it?”
He looks down at her and smiles, but it’s not the devilish smile he normally gives girls. This smile is genuine. Pussy. I smirk.
“Look what we have here.” I grin widely, setting my backpack down onto a barstool by the island. “Baking cookies?”
Dion gives me a death glare, almost warning me not to fuck this up for him. I now know that this girl is no longer just a one night stand for him. He actually wants something with her. He wouldn’t bake with a girl just for sex. Even if she is a virgin.
I whip my head around to find Elena holding a charger in her hand. When she sees me she doesn’t act like she left me alone in a bedroom with a hard on. She just flips her long hair over her shoulder and raises her eyebrow up at me. “Problem?” She smirks.
Does she not even remember what happened? She’s acting like a cocky little bitch right now. If she thinks that she’s going to make me seem like the weak one she’s clearly mistaken. She’s a challenge that I’m going to win eventually.
“None whatsoever.” I smirk back, cocking my head slightly to the side. I let my eyes burn into her and purposefully graze down her body. I see the way she gulps, the way she brings her hands to her hair to straighten it out. She’s not fooling anyone. “Couldn’t stay away for long I see.”
“Nice try. I left my charger here the other night.” She says, straightening her shoulders. She’s got this little polka dot navy blue dress on that reaches just above her knees. I can’t help but let my mind wander to how it would make her feel if I just pulled her into the hallway and ran my fingertips up it.
I’m not sure why she’s acting as if nothing happened. Maybe she honestly doesn’t remember it. I almost like that idea more. I’d rather her not remember me telling her that I’m sober.
“I’m going to go take a shower before the gym.” I smirk at her. “You know, before I get all hot and sweaty...”
“You’re repulsive.” She bites on her lip to keep herself from smiling and crosses her arms over her chest. “Are you ready to go Amelia?”
“Yeah.” She says, picking up her keys from the countertop. She looks at Dion before her cheeks go completely crimson. “Uh, I’ll see you tonight I guess?”
“Yeah. You guys will have a blast. Our movie nights are awesome.”
“Since when are girls invited to movie night?” I seethe. I’m mainly annoyed because he invited Elena when he knows I’m trying to keep my distance. Isn’t he the one who told me to be careful?
“What?” Elena is the one who cocks her head now towards me. “Afraid to be in the same room as me?”
“As if.” I roll my eyes.
“You guys are both invited.” Dion reassures them and begins to lead the way down the hallway to the front door. “Don’t let Xavier scare you off. He’s always a dick.”
“Not always.” Elena says, her eyes locking with mine.
Okay, so she definitely remembers.
She continues looking at me, and in this moment I know that she’s feeling sympathy for me. She remembers that night. She remembers our conversation. She remembers everything that I don’t want her to.
I’ve never felt vulnerable before in front of anyone, but as those brown eyes burn into me I feel my ego beginning to shrink. What the fuck is it about this girl? Why did she have to be at the party the other day, and why is she now hanging out with all of my friends?
“I’m gonna go take that shower.” I mutter. I don’t let Dion explain himself, I don’t say goodbye to any of them, instead I leave them all at the bottom of the staircase.
“I told you that I couldn’t chug it!” Rodney laughs hysterically when his beer goes all onto the kitchen floor. Cameron and him smack hands as I roll my eyes and put my face into my palms. Honestly, fuck this. It’s not even worth being here tonight.
“You guys are fucking stupid.” I groan. “I’m going upstairs.”
“Why?” Rodney asks. “We’re watching Die Hard. It’s like, the greatest movie of all time.”
“I’ll pass.” I say. I’m tired anyways. The gym was brutal.
“Just let him go.” Cameron mumbles under his breath when Rodney tries to call me back. “He’s just pissed because Elena is coming over and he can’t seem to get her pussy for the life of him. He’s pissed because I hit what he can’t.”
My fists clench at my sides, my jaw tightening slightly at his words. I will not flip out on him. I haven’t lost control of my anger in awhile, and I don’t plan on starting now over fucking Cameron. He’s not worth my aggression.
Dion looks at me and doesn’t look away because he knows that I have the potential to crack his skull open right now. He doesn’t know who the fuck he’s messing with.
Before I can even think of a snarky remark to say back to him the doorbell rings, causing an awkward silence to fall over all of us. Dion gives us all a warning glance before he heads down the hallway to let them inside, but my eyes don’t leave Cameron.
My phone starts vibrating in my pocket, and I fish it out while still giving him a death stare. “You’re lucky.” I spit when I realize it’s my mom.
“Hey.” I say, pressing my phone between my shoulder and my ear. I open up the fridge to grab a water bottle, cracking it open before I take a huge gulp.
“Honey, how are you?” She asks me. “I haven’t heard from you since you’ve been back at school.”
Despite what I’ve done, my mom has always seen the very best in me. She thinks I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but after what happened I don’t think that I’ll ever see myself as anything but a piece of shit.
“It’s alright. How are things there?”
My mom begins to ramble on about a garage sale that she’s having this weekend when Elena walks into the kitchen. I feel her eyes focus in on my chest. She’s staring at the cross tattoo she was so infatuated with last night.
“Honey?” My mom asks.
“Oh, sorry.” I reply, fixing the waistband of my jersey shorts. Elena is making me feel uncomfortable. I mean, I know I have a nice body, but her mouth is practically watering when she looks over my abs. I raise my eyebrows towards her and she immediately looks away, biting on that fucking lip of hers.
“I’m wanting you to come home for Christmas break.” She tells me, which captures my attention.
“That’s months away.” I groan. “Dad doesn’t even want me there.”
“You know that’s not true. When will you let this go Xavier?”
I can feel the anger rising inch by inch. Between my mom, my past, and Elena’s fucking gaze on me it’s making me so infuriated.
I clutch the phone closer to my ear and lower my voice, hoping that everyone won’t hear me. “You can act like he’s fine after what happened, but you know he isn’t. This summer he hardly spoke two words to me, mom. He hasn’t viewed me the same since it happened.”
Sniffles echo through the speaker, making me let out a frustrated sigh. This always happens. She tries to get me to come home, I tell her why I don’t want to, then she cries. “He doesn’t hate you.” She tells me again. “It’s just hard for him to talk to you after...everything.” She sighs again. “He’s trying, Xavier. He loves you so much. We both do.”
Why are tears in my eyes right now? I quickly blink them away and grip the phone so tight that it might break at any given second. All of the memories I have tried to forget about come into my head, but on top of the memories are the new ones.
“Dude, what the fuck’s your problem?” Rodney asks. I realize then that my phone has flown across the room. Everyone is staring at me in shock, but Elena isn’t. She’s trying to analyze me. She’s trying to analyze the conversation that I know she was listening in on.
I don’t know where Dion is. He and Amelia haven’t gotten into the kitchen yet. The one person who knows how to calm me down isn’t here. Instead all I can see is red.
Doing the one thing I know how to do best when I lose control, I reach over to grab my phone, head down the hallway to grab a jacket off of the hook, slide on my sneakers and head out the door.
I run my fingers through my hair and pull a little bit on the ends to clear my head. It doesn’t work. I’m finding myself having all of these thoughts flooding into my head all at once, and no matter what I do to try and forget about them, I can’t.
I see blood on my bathroom floor, I see Dion standing over me screaming, I hear Mia crying, I see Mia with blood covering every inch of her.
“Fuck this.” I mutter and blink away more tears. Reaching into my pocket, I open up the GPS to find the nearest bar.