Agape

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Nobody fucks with my Ellie

Chapter 4

Ella:

How is it that people actually feel at ease in public around strangers, or even at school? If only that were the case for me but sadly it’s not. The only thing that is somewhat manageable, is soccer practice at the end of the day. When I play, I get lost in the feeling it brings me, it almost feels like I belong.

I don’t remember the last time I felt like I belonged. A sense of belonging is a feeling most people crave to have, and for a long time, the feeling was vacant to me, lost almost. The world kept spinning while I felt stuck, glued into place. Then one day something bizarre seemed to happen, I met someone who peeled the glue off and helped me learn how to simply be again.

My life is molding into something new, I’m healing but am still struggling. The worst part is getting through the school day, it’s hard despite what others must think. Being as shy as I am, I find it hard to talk to people whether it’s teachers or other students.

You’re always more conscious of what you’re doing or how you look in others' eyes. If you’re like me then you hate drawing attention to yourself in any way. So you refrain from raising your hand, you’re super quiet and only speak when spoken to. I never willingly strike up a conversation, nor will I volunteer to participate in something unless asked to.

Most people don’t understand because they don’t feel the fear that shy people do, they don’t feel the anxiety of saying the wrong thing or not being able to think of a response. This is a daily occurrence for me, I can’t do anything without overassessing it first.

If I don’t know how to do an assignment I won’t ask the teacher for help, the thought of it terrifies me. That’s what it’s like to be shy, to live with anxiety. You feel it all the time and you can’t control it either, you have to put on a fake mask so everyone thinks you’re alright when really you’re actually far from it.

As I sit in class I think to myself if I decide to chew gum, when will I be able to spit it out? It’s not like I’ll just get up in the middle of class so everyone can watch me, instead I calculate in my head what period would be best to chew it.

If I pop the gum in right at the beginning of the period, then I’ll be able to spit it out when class is over, when nobody is watching me. Then I think, will that be too long to chew the gum? Will it go bland in the middle of the period? Then finally, I decide not to chew it at all because debating about it just makes me indescribably nervous for no reason.

This is me, these are my thoughts that never seem to end. If you could visually see into my head, you would see a bunch of cords tangled up into a knot that could not be undone.

Messed up, right? A broken record that can’t play its music anymore, that’s how I feel. I’m a person who doesn’t function right when it comes to society and how normal people act. No, I don’t have autism but I might as well.

One thing I’m grateful for is that Declan can’t see inside my mind, if he could I’m sure it would upset him greatly. My innermost thoughts are my perspective on all things including myself, what he would see is all the confidence I lack. After all, a broken record is no good to anyone.

Sometimes I wonder how Declan sees me through his eyes, surely he sees me differently then what I perceive of myself.

As I sit in history my arms are folded, crossed over my chest firmly. If I don’t sit like this my hands will fidget. So when my arms are together crossed close to me, it feels like I’m holding myself together so I don’t end up falling apart.

Usually, I rely on Declan as my security, but he can’t be with me all the time. Unfortunately, we don’t have many classes together, which in turn forces me to be independent. It’s not something I’m exceptionally good at but deal with it nonetheless.

History is not a favorite subject for me, I don’t fancy it one bit. Paying attention to things that don’t seem to matter much is excruciatingly strenuous. In short, my body is physically in this class but mentally I’m elsewhere in my own world. Scenarios that won’t ever happen usually conjure up in my head at this time, some are entertaining others not so much.

My hand instinctively mimics the notes the teacher has on display for us, but in all reality, none of what I write down actually gets stored in my brain. I skim the knowledge, write it, and then forget it. A daily routine that I have no intention of fixing.

My history teacher drones on, if not for the notes I’m sure I would be dozing off. I sit stiffly in my seat, one hand holding my paper down and the other scribbling. So badly I wanted this period to end, to see D’s face, to see him smile down at me. He is my safety and for that, I will always need him.

Being with him and seeing his smile was like seeing the sky during the time of twilight.

The teacher, Mrs. White begins to start calling on us randomly. As a result, my heartbeat becomes erratic under my rib cage.

Don’t call on me. Don’t call on me.

The chant repeats in my head over and over again.

My hands slowly become slick, sweat moistening my palms. I have no idea what the answers are to her questions, I wasn’t even paying attention.

Luck is never ever on my side, and this is proof. “Ella.”

My head shoots up, my eyes widen in terror. Oh God, she just called my name.

“What city was the first capital of the United States?” She asks her and everyone else’s eyes on me. My cheeks are flaming with more than a mild feeling of heat.

I don’t know the answer.

My eyes quickly scan the notes, but nothing is registering. My sticky hands are trembling against my jean-clad thighs. What am I supposed to do? Declan would know, but he’s not here.

A sudden loud noise crashes in the hallway. In an instant, all the unsettling stares are off of me and are instead stuck on the classroom door. Mrs. White to gazes at the door puzzled.

Another loud noise reverberates, the sound of something being banged into the lockers. Then there’s shouting, it’s loud too. As soon as I hear the voice, recognition hits me like a brick wall. It’s Declan. My Declan and someone else are shouting.

“Shut the fuck up before I do more than just mess you up!”

In seconds I’m up from my seat and out the door, Mrs. white calls my name but I pay no attention. Nobody will get in the way of me getting to Declan.

The anxiety I was feeling doubles, along with that a faint feeling settles in my stomach. What is happening? Why is Declan involved? Is he hurt? Worried thoughts run through my head as I run out the classroom door.

I freeze, the scene before my eyes shocking me.

Declan and another boy who I think is named Noah are going at it. Punches are being thrown, blood is splattering, and Declan’s face has a look full of peer hatred and disgust.

My heart stops.

Each punch he throws is hard and accurate, he blocks Noah’s punches with little to no effort. His tall height is clearly an advantage over Noah’s shorter one. Anyone could tell Declan was the dominant in the fight.

Noah’s punches looked weak and off-kilter, when they collided with Declan’s skin there is no visual effect.

A punch to the kidney has Noah doubling over, a kick to his knees has him collapsing completely onto the floor. A gasp of air leaves Noah’s lips, the pain he is experiencing is obvious. His eyes are swollen, leaking with unwanted tears. A stream of blood runs out of his nose and down his lips.

They were sputtering words at each other that were incomprehensible, but you could tell they were spiteful.

Without thinking I start sprinting over to them. “Declan.” I cry.

He doesn’t seem to hear me, blinded in his anger. He looks so so mad, he’s going to be in so much trouble. He needs to stop, he’s already done enough damage. What caused this? What caused my Declan to do something like this?

“Declan stop.” I cry louder, getting real close to him, not caring about getting hurt. I needed to bring him back, I needed him to wake up from his anger because right now he was lost in it.

Now I’m right next to him ready to jump in front of Noah if need be. “Declan look at me.” I plead with everything in me.

His fisted hand stops in mid-air right in the middle of its punch. I try again. “Stop D, please.” I murmur, my own watery eyes leaking. Not caring, I take my arms and wrap them around his very tense torso. “Please,” I say again, my dampened cheeks smearing the soft material of his shirt.

“Ellie.” His rough fury filled voice still manages to say my name with that gentleness he only seems to use with me.

I tighten my embrace, my head falling into his heavy breathing chest. His heart thumps loudly against my ear. “I’m here D.”

Mrs. White comes running over towards Noah. “Oh, dear.”

Her presence diminishes right as Declan’s arms fall around me, his hold is tight as he pulls me impossibly closer. His rigid form steadily softens.

There are tons of people watching us, taking in what just happened and what is currently going on now. Their profound gawking doesn’t matter though not right now, the only thing I can think of is Declan holding me. As much as I always need him, it was his turn to need me. He needed my comfort right now like I always need his.

“Where’s your stuff, Ellie?” Declan whispers into my hair.

I glance up at him. “In the classroom.”

He nods his head, taking my hand, and begins to walk towards Mrs. Whites's room. “Hey, where are you going?” She yells. “You can’t leave, you have explaining to do.”

Declan takes a quick look back but keeps walking, he squeezes my hand tighter as we enter the classroom. I gather my stuff and messily throw it into my book bag, Declan takes it slinging it over his shoulder.

I don’t question him, now’s not the time. “Come on, we’re leaving this shit hole.” He mutters, plowing through the crowd that has seemed to gather in the hallway, pulling me along with him.

“DECLAN ANDERSON TO THE MAIN OFFICE.” The overhead speaker booms, still we keep moving towards the exit. Declan is ignoring everything, he’s in so much trouble and he doesn’t seem to care.

I can’t be mad at him because I don’t know what happened or what caused it. I refuse to believe there wasn’t a motive, someone or something struck a nerve that shouldn’t have been toyed with. This was the result.

We push through the exit and take long quick strides to his vehicle. I’m at a slight jog next to him, as he continues his fast pace. Like always he opens my door for me and then gets in on his own side. Declan wastes no time putting the key in and switching gears to drive, then we’re off, leaving school right in the middle of the day.

I fiddle with my thumbs as I decide how to ask what was wrong, what had happened. It’s not that I’m scared, it’s just that I don’t want to be unsentimental. “Are you okay D?” I murmur.

He glances at me, a small frown painting his lips. The gesture makes me sad, I don’t like it when Declan frowns. “I’m the one who beat him up, Ella.” He mutters.

My teeth nervously bite my bottom lip. Ella, he said it, not Ellie or Lil’ one. “But are you okay?” I whisper, trying again. “Are you upset with me?”

His head swings my way looking dumbfounded, he then concentrates back on the road but not before resting his hand on my thigh. “Why would you think that?” He asks, trying to pay both the road and me attention. “Why would I be mad at you? You did nothing wrong.”

“I don’t know.” I mumble. “You were just so mad.”

“Baby.” He sighs, and my heart melts. “Just because I’m mad, doesn’t mean it’s at you.”

His hand searches for mine, when found he entwines them together. We sit silently, not speaking before I decide to ask again. For some reason, I just desperately needed to know. “Are you okay though?”

He raises my hand up to his lips, pressing a kiss right on top. “When you’re with me I am.”

I smile a big cheesy smile. This was my Declan, the Declan who could always put a smile on my face with no effort. As our skin touches, I couldn’t help but notice his scuffed up knuckles. My fingers slowly trace the newly formed cuts and bruises.

“You know I love you, right Ellie?” He asks, a vulnerability to his voice. I glance at his beautiful face, worried. “Of course I do D.”

Still watching the road he says, “He said something about you Ellie, Noah did.” He tells me, his voice lowering into a growl. “I just...He...He fucked up.” I squeeze his hand giving him reassurance, “He was fucking with you, and that was his first mistake.” His emerald orbs meet mine just for a second. “Nobody fucks with my Ellie.”

That was all he ended up telling me, but that was enough. His words replay in my head, specifically the ‘my Ellie’ part.

*

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