Junior year , the infamous time of embracing the conclusion of the high school experience was met with nothing but smiles by the students of Westview high .
Although this was not the case with Jacqueline , she looked as if she would break down crying at any given moment , her year had been the sheer embodiment of horrific as her truth was ripped throughout campus as nothing less that a lie . .
Rene’ looked at Jackie with worry , the stress of going back to the scene of the crime had bought her blonde locks to shreds , her usually shimmering blue eyes were clouded with dismay . This all was understandable considering the circumstances ,
“Should we go in now, ?” Rene said as she twirled her black hair and biting her lip
“We should , shouldn’t we ? ” Jackie replied
“Yeah ” she responded
The two girls dragged themselves to the main lobby and than their lockers , they would receive the usual glances which made Jackie hold onto her books even tighter
“Oohh , I forgot to tell you , the cheer leading girls are coming over to my house for a sleepover - wanna come ?”
Rene said trying to change the subject and inspecting to see if even a remainder of her spark for cheer leading still existed. Jackie scratched her neck
“N-no i don’t think so ..”
“We could hang out together , just the two of us ”
“The girls always love the welcome party , we can hangout afterwards ”
Rene stretched a smile at her and whispered with an embrace “I’m here for you no matter what ”
The rest of the day had gone by in a normal fashion and Jackie was more than happy to fall back into her routine . She had a smile on her face as she said goodbye to Rene and ran back to her locker to change her books for homework . The satisfied grin on her face only verified her pride on regaining some structure in her days as she walked through the isolated lobby alone .
Just as quickly as it had appeared this warmth was drenched from her as she spotted a silhouette on the other end of the hallway , her breathing became erratic as her steps trembled , her hands opened her locker and quickly slipped back the books . Her vision started to cloud as she realized that the figure was standing right behind her - she turned around just in time for a hand to slam against the locker next to hers , caging her in .
She had forgotten how to breath as she looked at the captain of the football team who seemed to be decorated in his uniform from head to toe ,
“Huh , i can’t believe that all this fuss is about you - i somehow remember you being prettier but after seeing you this filthy - all of it was just a waste of time ”
Jackie pushed him away , a thousand thoughts floated through her head as she landed another shove towards him
“If you ever touch me again - ”
“Then what ? you’ll cry wolf again ” Sam replied laughing
“YO-You-” she staggered , her thoughts started to blur as he walked towards her
“There’s no one here to save you this time ” he said as her back hit the lockers , she wanted to punch him , to scream at him but her body was paralyzed by fear .
His phone buzzing pierced through the silence , jolting her out of her stance and she slammed against him , shut her locker and started towards her house “You know , i quit like seeing you this afraid of me ”
The final blow struck her hard as tears started falling down her face
She hated this , she hated being so miserable , she hated sitting once again in her best friends TV lounge , sobbing like a lunatic .“Are they pissed at me for eating half the pizza ?”
“Pft , noooooo ” Rene said in a prolonging manner
“You should go , be with them , i like this couch a looott ” she replied as she dug herself deeper into the sofa and nuzzled the soft jacket closer to her
“No its fine , we can watch a movie together ”
“Seriously no , i’m going to go to sleep anyway ..gooo”” Jackie said kicking Rene of the sofa as they both laughed
“Okay , sweet dreams ” she said as she kissed her forehead
The smile vanished as soon as she heard Renes footsteps retreating up the stairs , she put her head against the frame and looked at the ceiling as a lone tear escaped her eyes .
She put her arms through the back of the jacket as the familiar scent sifted through the air , even though she was confused why Rene would give her one of Xavier’s old jackets when he wasn’t even here anymore … The rabbit hole of thoughts lulled her into a deep slumber .
Xavier entered the house exasperated at how everything was exactly the same as he had left them , bone dry and judgmental . The people , the cafes and even the bars .
The door slammed close behind him as he reached out for his jacket on the coat rack while hanging his keys . His hand swatted through air where his jacket once hung , he was fuming
“Rene , that little shit ” he looked down the hallway and contemplated whether or not to storm up the stairs and make a show out of it as giggling simmered down the stairs .
The thought of looking at the cheerleaders again , alone was enough to give him the willpower to make him go into the room on the left and whip up a quick snack for himself . He made some waffles with the pancake mix and realized that his little sister had actually managed to shift every single item in the kitchen
“I leave the house for one year and my -” he grabs the waffle maker harder as he soaks everything in the sink
He couldn’t help but feel guilty for abandoning her like he had , they were only a year apart and were always close , when they’re parents were gone - when they’re family were intent on tearing the house apart , in ups and downs , even when Jacqueline literally came tumbling into their lives.
He carried his stack of waffles in the room across the hall as a sad grin stretched across his face , he had thought that he was doing everyone a favor by moving away and for a while it worked out but when Ren started to fall apart he had to come back .
He knocked off his shoes in the hallway and lightly walked into the tv lounge , the bright light of the television blinked across the room as his eyebrows knitted in confusion .
Xavier grabbed the remote and turned towards the sofa , instantly he slipped into a state of shock , the very thing that he wanted to avoid confronting was sprawled across his sofa , the soft blue velvet unable to support her craned neck - the blonde locks that he had for so long stared at were now tangled and the feelings that he thought that he had tucked away washed over him in a wave , her bright blue eyes , the way she ate ice cream - everything . He stood there looking at her until the waffle hanging out of his mouth finally fell into his plate .
He put the plate aside and sat on the floor and slightly smiled from seeing his jacket on her , the warm yet soft leather hugged her . A pang of guilt hit him instantaneously , his arm came under her neck as he put his other arm under her knees and picked her up . Jackie’s hair fell back as she pushed her chin closer to him , her slight snores now evident . His socks slid across the stairs as he went upstairs and walked towards his room at the end of the hallway crossing Rene’ , their parents and the guest room and opened the door on the right with his right foot and lay her down on his bed .
The dark themed room was relatively large but Xavier kept staring at her soft features forgetting the slight stage which his bed was on as he hit his foot with a jolt and laid her down .
He had been staring at the ceiling , lying down on the carpet on the floor as Rene came loudly into his room
“DID YOU BRING A GIRL-” she stopped as she looked at Jackie as looked at him pitifully as he raised his eyebrows
“One of the girls saw you”
as he scoffed “Your loyal gang as always ”
“Hey !” she started but continued worriedly as she walked towards the bed
“they-they’re are some things that i haven’t told you ”
He got of the floor and sat on couch on the corner of his room
“ we’ll catch up sis , don’t worry ”
“No - not ” she suddenly stopped looking down on Jackie causing him to look up and get up in a knee jerk movement
“What ?”he said as he came over to see her in a cold sweat .
Rene swallowed “I’m gonna tell the girls to go ”
she burst out of the room and he heard light chatter immediately after
Jackie’s actions became more violent as she turned around in the bed putting Xavier in an immediate state of distress - him not knowing what to do as she swatted in the air and whispered for help , her breathing paced into faster gasps .
He put his knee on the bed and put his hands around her as tears started streaming down her face ‘It’s okay ’ he whispered again and again into her ear
Her eyes opened and her immediate response was to push him away as the jacket constrained her , she opened her mouth to scream , Xavier placed himself on the ground and bought his eyes to her level
Her voice was caught in her throat as she looked at the one person she least expected to see ,
“Xavier ” she whispered as more tears started streaming down her face and her body shook with every sob
“What are you even doing here ?” she looked around “How did i even get here ” She started to smile and rub her tears away but he pulled her closer encouraging her to cry it out ,
Rene stood in the doorway and half smiled and wished that they would finally realize that the were in the arms of the love of their lives ,
She had seen them fall in love and when he moved away she saw Jackie break and than completely fall apart because of Sam . She finally coughed and entered the room as Jackie pulled away and almost apologized but Xavier stayed on the floor with his arm behind her as Rene winked at Jackie causing her to blush
“So what the fuck happened when i was gone ?” Xavier said immediately causing both the girls’ smiles to bleed into despair .
Rene bit her fingernails and looked at their dented corners acknowledging the habit that she had relapsed to in the past year as Xavier sat on his study chair looking completely and utterly confused glancing at Jackie who was now completely swallowed by the duvet covers
“What the actual fuck ” he said pushing the chair “What does ‘ NOT BELIEVING HER ’ even fucking mean
”Rene body blocked him from heading towards the bed ,
“are you okay ?” he asked Jackie
who replied in an abrupt nod of the head “It was a year ago , it’s fine .. it’s fine ” she replied
“Why didn’t you tell me ?” he said sitting on the foot of the bed “I’m - sorry if i made you feel like you couldn’t trust me anymore ” Rene looked at him in shock
“ You moved away , what was I supposed to do call you up and beg you to come back ?” Jackie said with a calm voice but the undertone of anger was evident , after all he had moved away without warning ,
“No but you could have told me , you know i’m always here for you ” He replied getting up as her saw her pull away the duvet and move away from the bed
Rene went out of the room as it became thick with tension and decided to call the only person who she knew could handle this
“Huh” Jackie scoffed crossing her arms “ you say that yet you ran away , ho-how am i supposed to know you don’t hate me , that you still want to be friends -”
“Jackie ” Xavier whispers stepping closer to her as her eyes started to tear up
“How am i supposed to know that you still like me” Jackie said as tears once again started streaming down her face “ that you can still stand me when- when I tell you that i love you ” she fell as her elbows met with her knees and she hid her face
She had said it again and he stood there looking at her just like had last year ,Jackie had stood under the tree house in Renes backyard and saw Xavier come out the back door with a pizza that he was trying to balance onto his hands while closing the door , She saw the way his bright blue eyes glimmered under the moonlight , he stumbled onto the ground and looked at her with the outline of a smile . Her heart skipped a beat and she knew that she was done for ,
“What ?” he said as she looked at him , putting the pizza in his mouth
“I love you ” she had whispered
Immediately she regretted it as the emotion drained from his face and he looked at her in pure shock he had gotten up and walked away , leaving her on the grass with only the remains of a heartbreak
She couldn’t look at the same expression on his face again and decided to storm out of the room but was shocked when the familiar hands came around her again
“I’m sorry ” he said “I’m sorry for being an asshole , for leaving when i should have stayed , when i should have told you , i’m sorry for not being here when you needed me the most ”
Jackie looked up and say remorse in his eyes which only infuriated her further but she didn’t pull away
“I’m sorry for not saying it back but do you still feel the same away ”
She looked in her lap as he held her closer , she wanted to lie and say that she had moved on and that the only thing she had been holding onto wasn’t even a glimpse of a future with him , she wanted to not be pathetic but she still whispered , slipping her last piece away
Xavier let a breath out and backed away to look at her He rubbed his neck
“I was expecting this to be more romantic ” he said almost shyly as he stood up and his large frame stood against the light
“I had this entire thing planned ” he helped her up “Jackie Fox , i am in love with you ”
she took a step back her eyebrows knitted in confusion
“I have been ever since the first time i saw you ”
“Bu-But..” she said as she looked in the doorway to see Rene and James tearing up almost as if knowing what was going to come next , Jackie was forced to look at the things that she had forcefully neglected
“I didn’t want to tell you , I-I couldn’t , I was prepared to date you in freshman year and i would’ve even married you if it was up to me ” He continued
“But do you remember last year i had a football injury and i had to go to the hospital ?” Jackie looked into his eyes remembering why he had stumbled out of the back door and not in his usual confident strides
“I had to go to the hospital ” he continued
“No ” she whispered smiling through tears , she remembered them running across the streets when they sneaked into the neighbors garden
“They told me ..”
“ don’t ” he had given her a shredded bunch of flowers for her birthday
“I have stage three lung cancer ” he said
“ No , you don’t .. this is a prank right ” she said remembering how he had punched the guy who had kissed her on the cheek on valentine’s day in the first grade
Looking at each of their expression she was overflown by a flood of emotions
“How .” she slammed her hand against him “COULD.YOU.NOT.TELL.ME.” as he glanced at her in utter shock , he had prepared himself for her leaving the house and never wanting to see him again , to avoid feeling the pain -which he understood -
“What? You’re the only ones who get to be there for me ?” she said “Did you think i would abandon you ?” she looked at him and knowing how all his thoughts were wired the reason fell to her feet He looked at her not knowing how to react
“Did you really think that I would love you any less ? ”
“I didn’t want to give you false hope and than leave you in the dust ” he said sniffling
“It WASN’T YOUR DECISION TO MAKE ” she half screamed
“It was mine and i made it ” she whispered
She got on the tips of her toes and pressed her lips to his almost immediately pulling away , blushing but he pulled her closer as he put an arm around the small of her back
James stormed in the door
“F I N A L L Y ” he screamed
Rene chuckled “I second that ”
Xavier had an entire grin dancing on his face as he walked into school the next day with his hands clutched against Jackies , the tremor of whispers shook the hallway but they were on cloud nine and not even Sam Connaway could pull them down .
Sam walked down the hallway as Rene and James slammed their lockers to meet them in the middle of the lobby
“Hey man , long time no see ” he said to Xavier as he glanced sideways at Jackie and whispered under his breath
“She’s not sore on the eyes but she can be a real pain in the ass when it actually comes down to it ”
Xavier craned his neck on the side and cracked his knuckles prepared to land a right hook on his face but before he could even process anything a fuming Jackie kicked him just hard enough to make him fall face first onto the ground
Xavier looked at her impressed and landed the first blow on the other guys of the football team coming at them , Rene pushed one of her infamous slaps across the other guys face as James tore at another one the quarterbacks hair as he cried out in remorse for the gel they had wasted on his red locks that morning .
Jackie looked around and for the first time in a year and felt pure happiness knowing that all of them had her back and no matter what might happen to Xavier they would always be there for each other .
Xavier went off to UCLA and continued to train in boxing wanting to be able to leave his mark there as well and continued to reassure Jackie that it would be fine if she decided to leave and she continued to hit him for it .
She joined him at UCLA a year later , he proposed under the tree house on Christmas Eve in sophomore year just as Rene and James had finally caved him into getting Chemo .
They got married on a beach junior year after he had dropped out of boxing as he stood with the support of a cane but still sported a huge smile as his slimmed down hands had once again given her shriveled flowers at the end of the aisle .
He had whispered in her ears after the ‘I do’s ’ and they had ran away , sneaking to their honeymoon suite leaving Rene and James to handle the rest
The same year Xavier went under the knife as Jackie took a pregnancy test in the hospitals women’s bathroom and cried , she told him the next day with a ‘Dad to be ’ t-shirt she had bought and than altered the previous night as he looked at her and kissed her all in one fluid motion almost toppling over the table Rene screamed upon finding out and insisted that they sell the house so they could move into an apartment .
Senior Year they both got admitted into the hospital and after too long a wait the three of them were checked out , Rene stayed with them that night as they sneaked of to the garden .
She had told him that he looked just like him with the black hair and blue eyes as she put her head in his lap and looked at the stars , holding his hand .
She had continued talking even when the rise and fall of his chest stopped , she wanted to look into the blue of his eyes just one last time , to kiss him , to get to know him all over again but her heart clenched knowing all too well that she couldn't as his hands fell limp in hers .
She didn’t go to the funeral but Rene and James stayed by her when she wanted to tear the will in her hands apart and felt that her career was the last thing that she should be focusing on , they looked after him and cried year after year until Jackie’s business pitch was finally sponsored ,
She was able to create an empire and was able to witness their son reflect the little things that he had done .
She never regretted staying with him , at times she felt that without the last years she would have been spared so much pain and hope but he had been a pillar to her and still was , he had given her the happiest moments of her life and without the qualities he had encouraged her to pursue she didn’t think she would stand there .
He had given her their son and she knew that he was destined to do extraordinary things .
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