~The dawn is breaking, a light shining through. You’re barely waking and I’m tangled up in you. I’m open, you’re closed, where I follow, you’ll go. I worry I won’t see your face light up again. Even the best fall down sometimes, even the wrong words seem to rhyme. Out of the doubt that fills my mind, I somehow find you and I collide~ Howie Day.
Chapter Theme Song: 'Collide' by Howie Day.
Tate approaches me while I pack my textbooks into my locker. He has a palm tucked in his pocket while he forks the other through his hair.
“Hey, Rain.” His tone is low and skeptic, and I glance at him curiously. He looks nervous and jittery, a similar expression to the one he had the night he drank that drugged liquor.
I narrow my eyes. “Are you okay? You look weird.”
“I-uh heard what happened with Jace.” He begins. “I saw the video as well.”
I am aware that the whole school knows about that by now. I kept getting inquisitive glares all day from people. To say it wasn’t annoying would be a lie, but I am used to being scrutinized.
“I am sorry,” he continues.
I look at him in confusion while I shove my math textbook in. “Why are you even apologizing? Yeah, Jace is your friend but what he did has nothing to do with you.”
“Yeah, it does.”
I tilt my head to the side as I close my locker, turning to face him. “How?”
“Well, I…” He pauses, running a hand over his face. “The thing is, I knew about Olivia ordering him to mess with you, and I didn’t tell you about it.”
I blink my eyes at him, and he itches his temple in guilt.
“I know I should have said something, and I am sorry. It’s just that—It’s not easy to snitch on Jace. My Dad works with his Dad, so it’s kind of complicated. If Jace’s father refuses to do business with my Dad, then my family could potentially go bankrupt. His Dad has a lot of shares in my father’s business, and although I hate his guts, I can’t do anything about it. It’s just hard having to deal with someone just because your…”
I don’t hear anything else as my eyes drift behind him to Ansel’s figure. He’s moving toward the exit of the halls. His knuckle is hurt, will he be riding his bike today?
“Are you listening to me, Rain?” Tate drops his brows, glancing behind him to see what I am so intently focused on.
“Uh, yeah…it’s whatever Tate, really. Just forget about that, alright? It’s cool, I gotta run.” I hurry off and he turns around, scowling at my back.
“I was gonna ask if we could hang out later?”
I turn to face him while stepping back. “I can’t. I got tons of homework; I’ll see you around.”
He nods in disappointment as I turn away and hasten down the hall.
I step out of the school’s building, scanning the parking lot for any sign of Ansel. I spot him at the gates, unchaining his bike from the fence. Great, he hasn’t left yet.
I sigh in relief. The wind is brisk and strong, flurrying my hair around my face as I prod over to him.
He looks up and as soon as he sees me, his face brightens. I smile, squinting my eyes from the evening sun as I come to a stop in front of him.
“Are you going to ride home?”
“Yeah. Tim says the café will be closed this evening, so I’m just going to head straight home.” His gaze drops to my feet. “How’s your ankle?”
I shrug, glancing down at my boots. “A little better, I guess. How’s your hand?”
“It’s fine.” He grips onto his handlebars and the deep pink bruise on his knuckle pains my heart.
“You know, I drove today…would you want a ride home?” I suggest, using a hand to push my hair from my eyes.
Ansel twists his lips, seeming skeptical. “I wouldn’t want to trouble you; I mean, your stop comes before mine.”
“It’s not a bother, I have nothing to do this evening anyway.”
I know I told Tate that I have tons of homework, but honestly, I don’t and even if I did, I’d always make time for Ansel.
His lips lift in a smile. “Okay, thanks.”
I pull up to the gates of his house in no time, the gravel on the road croaking beneath the tyres. As usual, his neighborhood is lively. Kids are running around, and people are hanging out on their porches. It’s vibrant.
“Thank you.” He beams at me as he unsnaps his seatbelt. “I’ll see you at school tomorrow.”
I nod my head as he unlocks the door and gets out, swinging his knapsack over his shoulder. He opens the trunk and retrieves his bike, returning to the window of the front seat.
“Get home safely.”
I watch him as he pulls his bike with him in the direction of his house. It gives me a slightly bitter feeling. Being around Ansel is the greatest joy for me, and whenever it is time for us to part ways, there is always a heaviness in my heart.
Damn, Rain. You got it bad.
As if reading my mind, he halts his footsteps and turns around. He positions his bike at the gate before returning toward the car. I straighten my spine, attempting to act casual so it doesn’t appear I was inwardly puling about his departure.
He splays his arms over the window, then jerks a thumb behind him. “You want to come inside?”
I nod, probably a bit too fast since Ansel chuckles lightly. “Come on.”
I smile, unsnapping my seatbelt.
We stroll into his house. Ansel drops his bag onto his couch while I glance around the compact living room. His house is comfy and homey; there is always this feeling of bliss whenever I come here. The room is peaceful and quiet since we are the only ones present.
Ansel’s back is turned to me while he unfastens his tie, hauling it from his neck.
“Alex normally gets home around five. My twin brothers sometimes arrive at six, or later, depending on if they meet up with friends or not.”
“Oh…okay.” My eyes are glued to him as he begins to undo the buttons of his dress shirt. He pulls it off his body, his white tank now revealing his strong arms. I observe the way the muscles flex in his back while he reaches down to slip his shoes off. He has a nice built. He motions to turn around and I dart my gaze elsewhere.
“Oh, I got you something.” He smiles.
I watch him curiously as he moves off to the kitchen. He returns in no time with a tub of ice-cream in his hand. My face lights up automatically as I look from the container to him.
“I bought this for you, considering you didn’t get to finish having it the other night.” He extends it to me. I stare at it speechless for a while before slowly retrieving it from his grasp.
“I was unsure of the flavor, so I ask the lady at the ice-cream shop for some help. I recalled that it was this green one with some chocolate thingy. And it tasted a lot like mint.”
I look at the label, it is the mint chocolate chip flavor. He did get it right.
My eyes burn with gratitude. It is pathetic to get emotional over a tub of ice-cream, right? But it isn’t the ice-cream, it’s the thought; the fact that he went out of his way to get it for me.
My heart swells with so much gratefulness that it is so hard to contain. There is an uncontrollable urge to hug him, to show him how happy I am that he considers me this much.
I place the tub on the table beside me, and Ansel scratches his neck. “Is it the wrong flavor? If it is, I’ll just get you another one when—”
I spring into his arms unexpectedly, pulling him into a hug. The force knocks us both onto his living room couch as I hold him tightly against me.
The gratification is so overwhelming that I am not thinking straight about my actions. Ansel is caught off-guard as he lies flat, my body pinning his against the soft cushions of his sofa. I snuggle my head against his chest, closing my eyes tightly as they burn with appreciation.
“Thank you…” I mutter.
My ear is pressed against his chest, and I can hear the perfect rhythm of his heartbeat. His body rising and falling as he breathes.
“You’re welcome, Rain,” he whispers.
The sound of his voice somehow brings me back to a state of clear-headedness, and I instantly realize how forward I am being. My body is pressed against his, and my legs are trapped between his thighs. The position would easily be misunderstood by anyone who steps into the room; it looks extremely intimate.
I lift my head and meet his eyes. There is silence as I stare back at him. Up close, his orbs resemble the ocean, rustling with so many frequencies and current.
The look we shared in my room that night returns with an intensity ten times stronger. I can feel the tension, and he probably can too. I swallow hard, gesturing to move away when he grabs a hold of my arm, pulling me back ontop of him.
My chest crashes against his, and our faces are inches away. I open my mouth to say something when he presses his forehead against mine, his breathing suddenly irregular.
“Don’t pull away…please.”
My heart rate rapidly increases and my breath hitch in my throat as I feel his nose bumps against mine. Our lips are dangerously close, and I shut my eyes, getting lost in the thick tension and vehemence between us.
It’s like the whole world has disappeared and it’s just us two. The only sounds I can hear is of our unusual breathing and my heartbeat furiously pumping through my eardrums. At this moment, I realize that my feelings for him have probably reached its magnitude.
“I like when we’re this close…” he mutters, his breath hitting my lips and sending a shiver down my spine.
I swallow the lump in my throat, struggling to form words. “Me too…”
The door to the house suddenly thrust open and I pull away from Ansel in a swift. Alex and the twins; however, already caught onto the scene and freeze in their stances.
“What were you two doing?” Alex looks amused, his lips stretching in a grin while he looks from me to Ansel.
Aiden chuckles, stepping in past his brother. “What did it look like to you?”
Arden smiles. “Did we interrupt something?” He waggles his brows, and I shake my head quickly, feeling the evidence of humiliation racing to my cheeks.
“No, no, we weren’t doing anything.”
“Why are you guys home so early, Aiden?” Ansel sits up. His expression is composed despite his brothers walking in on us…doing whatever that was.
“Well, we decided to ditch our last period,” he replies, carelessly throwing his knapsack on the ground.
“Actually, he’s trying to ditch this girl at school, who he slept with, but hasn’t responded to her text messages in a week,” Arden adds. “Being the complete whore he is.”
Aiden glares at him while Alex squints his eyes at Ansel’s knuckle. “What’s wrong with your hand?”
Ansel shrugs. “It’s nothing, I fought today…”
I lower my eyes remorsefully. He did that for me.
Aiden, who’s about to light a cigarette, squints his eyes. “With whom?”
“Some guy at school…”
“Should we pay him a visit?′ Arden narrows his eyes. “Because no-one fucks with my brother.”
“No, it’s okay, I think he has gotten enough beating.” Ansel chuckles. “I have to write a two-page essay on why it is important not to fight in schools.”
“I’ll do that for you,” Alex says readily. “I’ve written plenty of those, I’m an expert, plus your hand is bruised, so leave it to me.”
Ansel nods. “Thanks.”
I smile a little. Ansel lives quite lovingly with his brothers; I admire the bond they share. It is something that I may never have. If my mom learns that I fight at school, she’s the type that would readily side with the perpetrator.
I have my ice cream, then we all start to watch a movie while Alex begins working on Ansel’s essay. The movie is an action thriller, it’s my usual choice of genre, but I can’t seem to focus on it. I pull my attention to Ansel instead, who’s laughing with his brothers at a scene in the film.
My mind is absorbed with what happened earlier while we were alone. The static between us was intense and strong and at that moment, I felt so connected to him. I wonder what would have happened if his brothers hadn’t—
He looks at me, and I am caught red-handed staring at him. My cheeks heat up and I dart my gaze back to the movie, not seeing when his lips pull back in a genuine smile.
The door opens and everyone looks in its direction to see Alaric strolling in. Sam is next to him and as soon as she sees me, she waves excitedly, a huge grin on her face. “Rainey!”
I smile. “Hey.”
“How come your home from work so early?” Aiden questions while Alaric crashes on the single couch across from the one we are seated on. Alex is on the floor, scratching his head while he attempts to write the essay. Clearly, he’s having a hard time. So much for being an expert.
“Well, I punched a customer in the face.” Alaric sighs. “So, Eddie advised me to leave early, get some of the steam off.”
“Ansel got into a fight at school today,” Arden informs. Alaric looks at Ansel, his brows furrowed. “With whom?”
“The same guy that was at Club Naked the other night.” Ansel states.
“That motherfucker, he deserved that shit. But, damn, I hate when you fight Ansel, I’d prefer if you leave all the dirty work to me.” Alaric says, frowning in his chair. “Next time, give me a call, alright?”
Ansel just nods, but I have a feeling he wouldn’t call Alaric if something like that happens again. He seems to like fighting his battles on his own.
Sam sits next to Alex, peering at the paper he’s writing on. “What are you doing?”
“It’s Ansel’s essay.” He responds. “On why it’s important not to fight in schools. Honestly, this is so pointless. Violence should be in schools. If a guy messes with you, it is only right he gets punched in the face. How else will he learn his lesson and back the hell off?”
Alaric is now tapping away on his cell, his lips forming a smirk while he jerks his legs. Sam sees the elation on his face and gets up, plodding over to him. She sits on the arm of the sofa he's sitting on.
“Who are you texting?”
Her question pulls everyone’s attention and my heart leaps on her behalf.
Alaric sighs. “My boss.”
Unfortunately, Sam doesn’t believe his words this time. “Your boss? You’re smiling, Alaric. You’re not texting your boss.”
“So, I can’t smile while texting my boss?” Alaric retorts. “Don’t be silly, babe.”
“Don’t be silly? I am being silly? You’re being shady Ric, who are you texting?”
“Let me see your phone.”
The boys all look guilty, including Ansel, whose expression is mixed with sympathy. I lower my eyes from the scene, it’s too heartbreaking to watch.
She reaches for his phone, but he hauls it from her reach, a line appearing between his brows.
“Sam, will you stop? You don’t trust me at all, do you?”
“No, no I don’t. Because you refuse to show me your phone. If you are texting Eddie then show me, Alaric.”
Alaric eases up to slip the cell into his back pocket, but Sam grabs his wrist. “Let me see.”
“Sam,” he hisses. “Stop acting all psycho, alright?”
Her eyes well with tears as she slowly releases him, dropping her gaze to the floor. Alaric thinks she has given up and proceeds to shove the cell into his pocket when she grabs it from his hand in a swift, moving away from him.
“Shit…” Aiden mutters.
Alaric blows his cheeks out, laying his head back while he presses a palm over his face.
She gazes at the screen and I watch her expression morph into one of complete heartbreak. Ansel sighs from beside me and Alex lowers his head.
"I miss you, baby?” She recites the words she read, looking at Alaric with wide eyes, tears spilling from them.
Alaric takes a deep breath and gets up, moving toward her. “Sam.”
“Who’s Bee?” Her lower lip quivers and I can see her hands trembling as she grips the phone in her palms.
“Babe. Come here—” He reaches out to her, but she pulls away, shaking her head.
“Tell me who is Bee, Alaric?!”
“Fuck, I can’t watch this…” Arden gets up, quickly disappearing into the kitchen.
“She’s…she’s just some girl,” Alaric replies. “She’s no-one, okay? I love you, Sam. I love you so much, just please know that.”
She scoffs, her eyes red and puffy. “You don’t love me, you’re an asshole, I hate you!”
Alaric’s expression softens at her words, the hurt visible on his features. He seems to genuinely love her, but I can’t understand why he’s cheating on her.
“You don’t mean that,” he says softly, more to himself than to her.
“Yes, I do!” She shrieks, shoving him in his chest. His muscular body barely budges from the impact, so she tries again, using both fists to hit his torso repeatedly.
“I hate you!” She cries. “You’re an asshole, I wish I never met you! I wish we never met! I hate you so much…”
Alaric grabs a hold of her hands, pulling her into his arms and wrapping his arms around her shaking body.
“I am sorry, I am so sorry, Sam…” He presses his lips against her hair. She sobs softly, attempting to continue her assault against his chest but failing, since his strong arms are tightly wrapped around her.
“Why did you do that to me?" She pules.
Alaric sighs, closing his eyes. “I can't explain it to you right now, but I had to, babe. I had to do it. Just know that despite it all, I love you and—”
Sam finds the strength to tear away from his grasp. Those aren’t the words she wants to hear. “You had to? Really? That's your excuse? You’re so full of shit, Ric!”
He sighs in distress, running a hand over his face. “You wouldn’t understand, Sam.”
“I wouldn’t understand?” She shakes her head. “What is there to understand? You cheated on me, Alaric.”
Ansel gets up as Sam presses her face into her palms, sobbing softly. He gently grips her arm. “Sam, hey, it’s okay.”
“An, did you know about this?” She raises her head, her eyes filled with melancholy.
Ansel opens his mouth to respond but decides against it, sighing instead.
His silence causes disbelief to transform her features, and she looks at Aiden who’s staring back at her with a culpable expression. “Did you know about this too, Aiden?”
He itches his eye in guilt, lowering his head from her.
Sam nods bitterly, stepping back. “You all knew about it…I should have known, you all cover for each other even when it’s freaking wrong!”
She throws Alaric’s cell at his chest, grabs her bag and storms out of the room. Ansel rakes his hair back, and Alaric crashes on the couch, running a hand over his face.
“Aren’t you going to chase after her?" Alex questions, concern laced in his tone.
“I’ll call her tonight…” Alaric mutters, staring at his jeans. “I’m giving her some time…”
I feel bad for Sam. She’s always looking out for me, so it makes me unhappy to see her this heartbroken. I get up from my spot and run out after her.
She storms through the gate, her hands pressed against her mouth.
I scurry behind her. “Sam, please, wait!”
She turns to look at me, crying softly. “Yes?”
I sigh, shifting my weight. I don’t know how to offer consolation to people, but Sam has been super nice to me, so I can’t sit and watch her leave in so much pain.
“I am sorry,” I say. “I really am.”
She sniffs. “Did you…did you know about this as well?”
I press my lips together, dropping my gaze to the pavement.
Yes. I did.
My silence is enough of a response. She covers her eyes with a palm. “Even you knew…why was I so stupid?"
“No, no you aren’t Sam, please don’t—”
"I have to go." She turns away from me and scampers down the street in tears. I push my hair back, a sigh leaving my lips. My heart hurts on her behalf.
^A/N: Hi😊Thank you so much for reading💜If you like my story, don't forget to hit that like/heart at the bottom. Lots of love!💜
P.S: I love these two chapter theme songs so much, have a listen if you can! Stay tuned for more❤