Ch. 11 - Not Love
“What are you trying to say?“, he questioned with uncertainty.
“I said kiss me, Cyrus. If you don’t, then I will.“, I responded, seeing his eyes darken.
“You’ll regret this, Xia.“, he said, his voice strained from trying to hold back.
“That’s for me to decide.“, I said, taking off my mask and pulling him down by his tie, before placing my lips onto his.
It took him a few seconds to fully process the situation we were in, but once he did, he put a hand behind my head and kissed me back with even more urgency.
He slid his tongue against my lips, asking for entrance, and I gave in, accidentally letting a small moan slip from my mouth. I felt him smirk against my lips at the sound, but he pulled away shortly after, leaving me flustered and panting for air.
“Why’d you stop so suddenly?”
“Otherwise I won’t be able to hold myself back.“, he said, his eyes still clouded by lust, probably mirroring my own.
“What if I don’t want you to hold back?“, I asked, my mind focusing on nothing besides the way his lips felt against mine.
“Oh but you will. You’re not thinking properly right now, you’ll regret it later because it’s still too early for that.”
God damn it, I hate that he’s right.
“Well then...what are we right now?”
“I don’t know yet, but what I do know is that I don’t want you to be anybody else’s. I hate seeing guys flirting with you.“, he answered with jealousy coating his words.
Hot, I thought to myself.
“Cyrus, I could say the same thing about you.“, I said, recalling all the times female students have shamelessly thrown themselves at him in front of everyone.
“Don’t worry babygirl, I don’t give attention to any of them.“, he chuckled while playing with a strand of my hair. “But you already knew that, didn’t you?”
“Mhm, but if I keep seeing them doing that in front of me, I might just snap.“, I said, my voice low. “I don’t play nice, that's already been established.”
“And that’s why I started liking you.“, he winked, making me scoff, but I couldn’t hide the smile that lined my face.
We were in the car, heading home, and it was silent until Cyrus spoke up.
“By the way, tomorrow the teachers from the art department will be announcing a camping trip to you guys, and will make you pick out a color from a jar to easily sort you guys into groups of six.”
“And?? What’s the catch?“, I questioned, knowing he wasn’t someone to be interested in what goes on in different classes or departments of the school, let alone spreading their information.
“Each group of six will be assigned to a certain teacher based on the color they picked, and I’ll be one of those teachers that are going. Pick the color purple tomorrow.”
“Okay.“, I said softly while looking down, trying not to show just how happy his words made me.
Cyrus noticed and smiled to himself, ruffling my hair while his eyes were still on the road.
“Stop messing with my hair.“, I mumbled, trying to look annoyed.
“But you like it.“, he retorted back, making me huff and turn to look outside the window.
The next day, just like Cyrus had said, Mrs. Davis announced a camping field trip that the entire art department was going to go to in three weeks.
“This will be a great opportunity for you guys to observe different parts of nature and incorporate it into your artwork. You will be given a daily assignment during the four-day trip and each one will have a specific objective you’ll need to fulfill.“, she began. “But first, I need each of you to pick out a folded, colored piece of paper from this jar. Also, don’t open it until I tell you to.”
“For what?“, someone from the class asked.
“You’ll find out after you each have one.“, she answered. “Since I always start from the front of the classroom when passing things out, I’ll start from the back today.”
Yesss, I won’t have to be scared of there not being any purple ones once she reaches us.
“Guys.“, I whispered to Jay and Livie. “Pick out a purple one.”
Even though they were confused, they still listened to me anyways.
“The people that have the same colored papers, go find each other and stay in one spot.“, she said, watching us all comply. “Now you guys can open your papers.”
Just like the rest of the class, I opened mine, smiling knowingly when I saw Mr. Moreau written in the center.
“The people you guys are standing with will be your group for the entire field trip, and the teacher who’s name is written on your papers will be in charge of your group.“, Mrs. Davis revealed, hearing a mixture of both groans and cheers as a reaction.
“How’d you know that she was going to group us like that?“, Livie asked me.
“I have my ways.“, I laughed quietly.
Soon it was time for chemistry class again, and for some reason, I had a bad feeling about it today.
Right off the bat, I came to learn that Cyrus was actually in a meeting during this class period and wouldn’t be back until half-way through the class, so there was an old lady in his place. An old lady who was dozing off on the desk, not caring to teach the class or pay attention to us.
Like usual, Nathan blocked my path again, probably trying to get on my nerves.
“Move, Nathan.“, I sighed, not wanting to argue again.
He looked like he wanted to ask me something, but one look back at his friends at the lab table who were smirking at us, his demeanor completely changed.
“I heard little miss feisty over here left her house quite recently.“, he taunted out loud, gaining the attention of the rest of the class. “Or maybe they’re the ones who didn’t want her anymore. Who knows?”
“Nathan, stop talking.”
“Awww, why? Are you scared of people finding out about how problematic you truly are?“, he mocked, smirking to himself when he saw that he was succeeding in getting me riled up.
“Don’t do this right now.“, Blaine intervened from his seat, giving Nathan a warning look, but I told him to stop interfering.
“I told you to not push me, didn’t I?“, I asked Nathan, trying to control my anger, but his next words managed to poke at the emotions I’ve been keeping locked away since middle school.
“Why, Xia? It’s not like I’m saying anything wrong.“, he confessed cockily while his friends were snickering to themselves. “You’re a bitch to everyone for no real reason, even your own little brother. I’m sure you’re the one that made your parents hate you to the point where they kicked you out because they grew tired of you. I think I know why you always cover your face too. Because just like your personality, your face is probably ugly now too compared to back then.”
“Nathan.“, I glared, not showing how much his words actually hurt me. “Shut the fuck up...right now.”
“And if I don’t? What are you gonna do, huh? I don’t even believe that you’re the same Xia I used to be friends with in middle school, because you clearly have anger issues and don’t know how to be nice to people anymore. Let’s forget everyone else for now, but what about me? We used to be close friends, so why the hell do you act like you hate me so damn much? You act like I fucked up your life or some shit.”
“That’s because you did.”
“What do you guys think you're doing?“, the substitute teacher asked, waking up from the commotion.
“Oh pleeease.“, Nathan scoffed at me, flat out ignoring the sub. “I did nothing to you, you’re just trying to get attention by making me look bad so that people feel bad for you, isn’t that right? I didn’t give a single reason for you to ever dislike or leave me, I was the best thing that ever happened to you back then.”
“Maybe it’s because I was in fucking love with you, you asshole!!”, I yelled, slapping him in the face before I stormed out of the classroom, leaving him there in shock as the rest of the class let out quiet gasps.
I was walking wherever my feet would take me, and ended up at the end of the hallway. I pulled down my mask and gasped for air, trying to compose myself and stop myself from crying.
"Xia, stay there!!", Nathan exclaimed, rushing over to where I was standing.
I turned around to the opposite direction in order to run away, but I realized that it was a dead end. So I was about to go down the staircase to my left, but Nathan pulled me back before I could.
"Let me go, Nathan!!", I shouted, trying to push him away.
"No! First you're gonna explain what you just said back in there."
"I don't have to explain anything to you.", I said, feeling my eyes getting blurry.
"Xia...please.", he pleaded, his voice desperate.
"Why? So you can go make fun of me with your friends again? Stop acting like you care all of a sudden."
"I do care, Xia, I swear I do. I always have. I was just trying to rile you up because my friends were watching and they wanted me to bother you."
"So you'll go and bother or bully anyone just because your friends want you to? Because you want to seem cool to them?", I asked, seeing him silently put his head down in shame. "Exactly, that's what I thought. You can't even defend yourself, because you know better than I do that I'm right. And that's the exact reason I left you."
"What do you mean? I was nothing but sweet to you in middle school."
"What people show on the outside isn't always the truth, is it? I was in love with you since the first month of sixth grade. You were the only good thing in my life, you kept me sane and distracted me from the shit starting to go on at home. You were the reason I was able to stay as a bright and cheerful person who was nice to everyone. I learned how to stay positive from you, but I didn't know that being in love with you would hurt so much. In eighth grade, I've heard you talking to your then group of friends multiple times about how you were staying as my friend just because I made you feel better about yourself. I heard you agreeing with your friends every single time they were talking shit about me, saying things like how I was just a nerd who doesn't deserve to talk with a popular person like you. How I was supposedly annoying, clingy, and was using you to make people like me."
"You...y-you heard us?", he asked, his eyes widening in guilt. "How many times?"
"Enough to know just how much I was worth to you, and what you saw me as.", I confessed, harshly wiping away some fallen tears.
"Xia, you misunderstood, I promise! I never meant a single thing I've ever said to them or agreed with them about, trust me."
"Trust you? How can you expect me to trust you after all of this? That sounds ridiculous, even from you."
"I swear Xia, I really never meant anything I said back then or the things I've said in the last few weeks. I just do it to either get your attention, or because my friends wants me to."
"You do? So that means you forgive me? That you'll start talking to me again like the old days?", he asked hopefully.
"Don't be foolish, Nathan, it's disgusting.", I spat. "I know damn well that you did all of this because of your friends, but quite honestly, I don't care about why you did any of it. Because at the end of the day, it doesn't change the fact that you still did it. You can't take back all the things you've already done. You let them fucking control you and hurt other people, both in middle school and high school, and that in and of itself is a strong enough reason for me to hate you."
"But I love you, Xia.", he whispered. "It wasn't just you who was in love with me. I also secretly loved you, and I still do."
"Love? That's not love, Nathan. And if that's what love is to you, then that's quite unfortunate and I hope you reflect on that, because it's complete bullshit."
"Please...don't do this right now. I know I fucked up big time, and I'm sorry okay? I'm so fucking sorry, and I'll stop doing things like this. Just come back to me like the old Xia you used to be. Give me a chance to prove myself to you."
"It's too late for things like that, don't you think? And stop expecting me to return to the Xia I once used to be, because that's not ever gonna happen. If you don't like the me right now because I'm cold and don't give a fuck about anyone, well that's your problem. You broke me first, Nathan. And right now, I'm telling you to get the fuck out of my life and stop bothering me, before I do something bad."
"Xia, no...", he begged, feeling his eyes gloss over as he tried coming closer to me.
"Stay the fuck away from me Nathan, you've already hurt me enough.", I cried in frustration, but he continued taking steps towards me, trying to reach for my hand. "Don't fucking touch me!"
"Didn't you hear what she said the first time? Or are you deaf?", I heard a voice interrupt.
I looked over Nathan's shoulder to see Cyrus standing a few feet away, anger evident on his face.
Oh my god, did he hear everything?
"What's going on here right now?", he questioned, making me internally sigh in relief because I didn't want him to find out this way.
"Just take me away from here please.", I whispered in a shaky voice.