XXI - The Past Is The Past
It was late Saturday morning, and I had a rough plan of what I was going to do with the whole situation.
And that rough plan was really rough... because there wasn’t one. I sat on my bed once I got changed and grabbed a yoghurt from downstairs to serve as breakfast, staring out the window to Maddox’s house. Maddox and his brother, Mason.
I got up and opened my closet, searching for Maddox’s hoodie and searching the pocket until I found what I was looking for. With a smile, I pulled out the scrap piece of paper, with Mason’s number scrawled on it. “In case of emergency blackmail,” he had said jokingly. Tapping it into my phone, I paused before calling in thought. It sort of was an emergency, and if anyone knew Maddox, it would be his older brother. I entered it into Messaging and texted:
“Hi, it’s Esme :) a girl called Kayleigh Skyla sort of crashed Beth’s party yesterday, Audrey and Seb weren’t at all pleased to see her drag him away. They gave me an overview of what happened back at his old school. Advice?”
It didn’t take more than a minute for him to respond:
“The girl’s bad news and so is her boy toy Jared - Maddox didn’t wanna cause any more drama if he said no to her apparently, when he mentioned it briefly last night. Beat him up about it tho ;) dw, I’ll try to give him a nudge 4 u Essie, lemme no if u need anything.”
A few minutes afterwards, a Face Time call came through from Audrey, with Sebastian hovering in the background.
“Hey, Esme! You okay? Sorting things out?”
“I’m trying to,” I answered her with a light sigh, “Mason said that Maddox didn’t want to cause any more fuss if he said no to her, and-”
“That’s not much of an excuse,” Audrey pointed out, “I mean, the guy ditched his date. How do you feel about it?”
I glanced to the side, thinking. It was definitely the wrong time to be interrupted if what I thought was going to happen was actually going to happen. And I guess I did feel kind of annoyed by Kayleigh; the way she pretty much had Maddox wrapped around her little finger. Audrey had insisted that he didn’t feel anything more than a sort of friendship towards her - but any girl could take it a different way, with how he was. Maddox was a good guy at heart, but I could see how the intentions didn’t always bring good results - especially in Jared’s case.
“I don’t know. I mean, it was annoying,” I confessed, lying back on my bed, “and at that moment I didn’t know what to think. It was... well, sudden. But I do think his good intentions just... backfired a little?”
"A little?! Esme, the girl’s a horror. She’s never got a nice word for anyone. Always gossiping, starting trouble - I was sure him moving would break the connection between it all, but clearly not.” Audrey rolled her eyes, running her fingers through her dark waves.
“The best thing to do is talk,” Sebastian spoke up, sitting beside his sister, “to Maddox, I mean. Try and get some understanding between the two of you. Then you can try to help him to sort out all of this.”
My eyes widened slightly, and I sat up. “Do you think that’s what he wants? For it to just get sorted out?”
“Course it is,” Sebastian agreed, “she a pain in the ass. No one likes that.”
A knock on the door downstairs got my attention, and I got up, glancing at my phone.
“Uh, I have to go, someone at the door...”
“Give us updates!” Audrey said before ending the call. I put my phone down on my bed before going downstairs, unlocking and pulling open the front door. And in front of it was Maddox himself, a half-smile on his face.
“Hey, Es. Uh, can I come in?”
I nodded with a small smile, opening it wider as he walked in and then shutting it behind him. “Come on, let’s go upstairs.”
I pushed open my bedroom door, moving my phone to my bedside table and sitting on my bed, picking up a pillow and placing it on my folded legs. He sat opposite, his expression holding slight awkwardness and guilt.
“I’m sorry about yesterday,” he said, his green eyes looking straight into mine earnestly, “I didn’t wanna cause any more drama turning her down. I didn’t expect her to be there at all, and... I just didn’t want to drag you into this any more than I needed. You don’t deserve to get caught up in the situation.”
I nodded and smiled. “It’s okay. I sort of got filled in when I went home with the girls.”
He gave a small smirk and rolled his eyes. “Audrey,” he said knowingly and nodded. “But I... I am sorry, Es. That was a stupid move.”
“You don’t need to apologise,” I reassured him, “I get it. You know, Sebastian was right - you are, you know, a good guy.”
Maddox raised a brow. “I’m what?”
I smiled slightly and shrugged. “You’ve got good intentions. You told me, yesterday, about looking out for your friends and family. And what you did, trying to help Kayleigh back at your old school... it was because of that. But you’ve got to understand that nothing will get sorted out if you keep letting her walk all over you.”
“I know,” Maddox responded, breaking the eye contact as he looked down to the bed for a few moments, “I know, but if I said no again, it’s just gonna escalate the problem. And, you know, maybe Kayleigh isn’t all bad. She defended Jared because he gave her a threatening look.”
“Come on, Maddox,” I said gently, “she’s obviously stretching ‘friendship’. Look, if you don’t mind her being around and stuff, I’ll leave it, okay? I just... I don’t want you getting in more trouble than you did at your old school.”
“Don’t mind? Esme, I hate it just as much as Audrey and Sebastian do. I know she’s annoying and stirs up trouble. But I don’t want any more issues right now. Half the reason I moved here was because of her and Jared. I wanna be rid of them. But it’s too risky. I mean, GCSE’s are just around the corner, and I’d prefer not to mess with my chances. Might not seem like it - I mean, I’m not stressing or anything, but I don’t want to have to deal with more hassle, you know?”
I nodded, watching Maddox in understanding. He was being open and honest, genuine with what he was saying, his usual casual-cool attitude dropped for a while. Maddox Cole was a bad boy in many ways - but he was still a boy, and he still had feelings, as does everyone.
“There is a way to deal with it and be done with them,” I told him, and he looked up at me with interest instantly, “but it’ll take some guts, and you’ll have to swallow a little pride. But I’m positive it’ll work.”
“Sort something out with the principle of the school,” I said after taking a deep breath. “Arrange a meeting with you, Kayleigh, Jared and maybe even Audrey and Sebastian too. They were there, weren’t they?”
Maddox blinked, his expression unreadable. “You think I should get the headteacher to set up a meeting with us all, and tell him what really happened?”
I nodded, biting my lip nervously.
“Tell him what really happened and make some sort of agreement so Kayleigh and Jared back off?”
“Well... yeah. The head’s got the authority and all to handle it, hasn’t he?”
Maddox pulled a face, shrugging and flicking his blonde hair out of his eyes. “That’s snitching.”
“It’s not,” I insisted, “it’s the only thing I can think of that’ll solve it.”
Maddox’s sage green gaze stared into mine, thinking it through silently. He still looked slightly doubtful.
“You think that’ll do it?”
“Will...” he broke the eye contact again for a second, hesitant, “can you come too?”
I smiled and nodded. “Sure.”
He properly smiled then. “Thanks, Es. No one hears about this though, okay?”
I laughed and nodded. “Okay. Don’t worry, it’ll work. The past is the past, you know.”
He nodded. “I should probably go talk to my dad about how to go about it. I’ll keep you posted. Tell Audrey and Sebastian, okay?”
“I will.” I stood up with Maddox, following him downstairs. He halted in his tracks when he got to the door, turning back to me.
“Thanks, Essie,” he said - then pulled me into a hug. My eyes widened and a blush smeared itself over my cheeks, but I hugged him back, his dirty blonde locks brushing against my face as I breathed in his soft, sweet boyish scent.
He pulled away and smirked, winking at me. “Don’t shy out of coming. Not even for math.”
I rolled my eyes, smiling. ‘And the moment’s gone,’ I thought to myself.