I’m falling in love with you part 1
I slept in my own bed thanksgiving night. No not slept, I was wide awake most of the night too busy staring up at the ceiling trying not freak out. In the morning Harrison asked why I hadn't come down to the basement like the other nights. I blamed it on being exhausted from an amazing day but that wasn't quite the truth. I didn't want to admit it but what my sister had said had bothered me. It bothered me a lot.
On the flight home I sat next to Taliah again. She chatted to me the whole flight home, too busy with her ramblings to notice I was only nodding and agreeing in the right places. My mind was elsewhere.
I'd made a promise to myself all those weeks ago that I wouldn't get too comfortable here. This was supposed to be temporary. I couldn't stay with Gran as she could hardly care for herself and I didn't have any other family. Moving to America was supposed to be a way to kill time until I was 18 and free to make my own choices. I'd been cold about it all forgetting that I am not one of those people that can easily shut their feelings off. I've gotten comfortable. Everyone here has gradually become people I want to stay in my life for as long as possible but that wasn't supposed to be the plan. That makes it harder to go through with eventually going back home.
The whole flight home I thought about how I'd come to a crossroad in mine and Harrison's relationship. I could either bow out now or continue full steam ahead. Thing was me being indecisive in nature meant a lot of the time my hourglass ran out of sand before I'd made up my mind.
The weekend we were back in California Harrison wanted to hang out with me. I used the excuse of needing to catch up on homework which he believed without reason not to. The first Monday back at school he texted me throughout the day only getting one-word answers from me as a reply. He wanted to know what I was doing after school but I told him I had to go to the library. I sat there long after everyone had gone home trying to kill time before I was satisfied that it was safe now.
It was on Tuesday that he confronted me. I was walking into school with Taliah and had made it all the way to the front steps when I saw him waiting by the front entrance. He looked up just as I noticed him and nodded for me to come over. Knowing there was no way of getting passed him without talking I said goodbye to Taliah and walked up the steps.
'Have I done something wrong?'
'What? Of course not, no.' I made out like that was the most insane thought ever but I couldn't meet him in the eye.
'Do you regret what you told me?' This broke my heart. I hated what I was doing to him and I felt like a bitch, but this was my coping mechanism.
'No.' I said adamant. That was one thing I was sure on.
'I've just been a little distracted lately.' I didn't mean to seem distracted but it's hard not to when there's several things constantly running through your mind.
'Ok..I just feel like you've been avoiding me.'
'I haven't been intentionally.' Lie. 'I've just been worried about my physics test that I have on Friday.' Not a lie.
Thankfully his expression softened.
'Don't worry about it. You know as long as you try your hardest that's all that matters.' He wrapped his arms around my shoulders as his kissed the top of my head.
'I can always help you study if you like?'
I didn't deserve him. He was too good for me, whereas here I was being selfish. Somehow, I managed to make it to Friday without making a decision. At this point my friends were noticing I was acting strangely too. They tried to involve me in conversations but I wasn't listening and ending up saying the wrong thing when they looked at me expectantly. I noticed them glancing at each other but they didn't immediately say anything. When they eventually questioned it, I blamed the physics test. I don't think I managed to convince the girls but they didn't say anything, only words of comfort that they would help me pass.
When I got out of my physics exam on Friday, I felt one little weight lift of my shoulders. I really had been worried I wasn't going to pass but now id got it over and done with I knew I'd done better than I thought I would. Thank god for Xavier's brains and willingness to help a friend. I was walking down the hall on the way to my locker when I was ambushed.
'Come on get your soccer kit, we're heading to the field.' Tom stood in front of me arms crossed with a hard expression. I couldn't pretend I hadn't expected this. I'd missed practice last night which was a no no in Tom's rules unless you were unconscious in hospital.
'Tom it's lunch time.'
'I don't care. If you've got something better to do than practice then lunch is not important either.' I didn't have a chance to protest as he had his hands either side of my arms and was leading me against the crowd towards the girls locker room.
'Meet me outside in five.' He said before opening the door and pushing me through it.
I knew there was no point trying to leave. He'd only find me again and force me back to the field. Like a willing prisoner I got changed and headed outside where Tom was waiting. Firstly, he made me do five laps and by the time I was three in the rain started. I knew this wouldn't put him off so I carried on. The rain got harder as I made my way through circuits bringing back memories of numerous times being caught in the rain without an umbrella in England. I was at the point of exhaustion when the sodden grass made me slip and fall on my butt. Both Tom and I were drenched and at that point I couldn't ignore the real reason he'd brought me out here.
'Are you ok?' He asked as he walked over to where I was sat on the cold floor. Not only was I soaking wet but now I had mud all over me.
'No Tom I'm not.' I ground out. 'Just get on with saying what you want to say!' I didn't mean to snap but I really did hate being outside in the rain.
'Ok what is your problem? Is this your way of breaking up with Harrison by ignoring him? Because you can't ghost him forever.'
'What? No I don't want to break up with him.'
'Ok then explain what's going on? Don't think people haven't noticed, they're just trying to tip toe around it. Plus, don't you think this isn't fair on Harrison? The poor guys been going over what he's done wrong. Which I'd like to add is driving me nuts.'
I knew he was right. It wasn't exactly like I felt great about what I was doing. Sitting on the grass completely drenched and knowing Tom is too stubborn to give up was what broke the camels back. I sighed softly and glanced at him.
All of a sudden, his expression softened and he walked over to sit next to me. The ground squelched as his butt hit the mud making him pull a face but he didn't complain.
'Did he do something?'
'No no of course not!' I rushed. The was no way I was even going to let that be a thing for more than a second. 'I'm not scared of him, quite the opposite actually.'
He furrowed his brow whilst looking at me like I'd gone crazy.
'You're not making any sense Evie.'
I stared into the bustling cafeteria which could easily be seen from where we were sat on the field. The rain storm almost made it pitch black outside, compared to the harsh yellow cafeteria lights that partly shone onto the field. My brain was mostly filled with what I was about to say however a small part was hoping that from the cafeteria I hadn't been seen falling on my ass.
'I'm falling in love with him Tom.'
The 5 second pause was a giveaway that of all the things he thought I was going to say, this wasn't one of them.
'Well that's great news...is it not?' His expression quickly changed from ecstatic to very confused when he saw my unenthusiastic demeanour.
'It should be but..see the thing is..I'm scared of getting my heart broken. I only really managed to deal with the heart break of losing my family, I don't think I could go through that again. I don't want to lose him but the whole idea of him scares me.'
We lapsed into silence. I thought Tom was going to make some apology and let me leave but he surprised me.
'Ok, sorry I'm going to give you some tough love here and I'm saying it because I'm your friend and sometimes friends have to be brutal.' I held my breath and then nodded for him to continue.
'When are you going to stop self-sabotaging? You know you didn't deserve what happened to you so stop treating yourself like you do. I'm sorry for your loss Eve but you're not being fair to yourself if you completely shut your feelings off. Life can be shit sometimes and I can't promise you won't ever have any more heartache but I can promise you'll never be happy if you continue doing this to yourself. Plus, you'll be the one responsible.'
It felt like a slap but was honestly refreshing to hear.
'Yeah sorry I'm not good at this kind of stuff.' he said scratching the back of his head sheepishly.
'No you are. You said what I needed to hear and you were being honest. You're right, I'm making a massive mistake.'
'Yep. You two are good together. I've known him since we were kids and I've never seen him so happy before.'
I had an outer body experience, wondering what the two of us looked like sat there having a heart to heart in the pouring rain. Knobs, that's what we looked like.
'What do I do Tom?'
'You be honest with him. He'll understand as soon as you explain. Maybe wait until after school though.'
'Why?' I turned to him to find his eyes on my hair.
'Well no offence.' Says everyone when they're about to offend you. 'But you kind of look like a drowned rat. I think it'll work in your favour if you make a bit of an effort.'
'Great. Thanks for the confidence boost.'
'You're welcome. That's what I'm here for.'
Even if I'd wanted to speak to Harrison at school, I wouldn't have been able to. Tom texted to say he'd gone home early as he had frees this afternoon so tonight it would have to be. Annoyingly I had to wait until Taliah had finished extracurricular psychology but she was giving me a ride home so really, I couldn't complain. I sat in the library pretending to do some work when really my leg was jiggling as I went over in my head what I was planning on saying. By the time we eventually got home and had dinner it was around 8 and Tom was messaging me like crazy.
I quickly got ready, telling Lindsay that I was meeting up with the football guys and then headed out. Tom had offered to pick me up but I didn't mind the walk. It wasn't far and after the torrential rain earlier the sky was now a beautiful purple and the temperature had gone back up.
As I turned into his street, I saw Tom standing outside his house. He tapped an imaginary watch making me roll my eyes.
'I'm not that late.' I said when I got close enough to him.
'You're not that one who's had to cancel their plans tonight because someone took so long.'
'Hey that's not fair. I didn't ask you to cancel them.'
'I know but I wanted to play Cupid.'
'Stop complaining then.'
He jumped down from the wall he'd been sat on and flashed me a grin.
We walked down the path from Tom's parents front garden and he led me over to a gate at the side of Harrison's house. He opened the gate and we walked down some steps that stopped outside wall length patio doors.
'Here we are, now knock.' He whispered.
I stood outside the doors with my hands at my side.
'It doesn't look like he's in.' The curtains were drawn and only a small slither of dim light was creeping out from the bottom.
'He's in. I texted him.'
I was about to use some other excuse when.
'Oh stop being a wimp.' Tom loudly knocked on the windows and ran over to the gate leaving me rooted to the spot. Did he just knock down ginger and then leave me to own up to it?
'Tom!' I angrily whispered but he was gone. It wasn't that I was going to wimp out I just wanted some time to give myself a pep talk, however I'd just been thrown in the deep end.
At first I thought I was right with my initial comment, that he wasn't in his room but then-
'Dude I've told you, use the front door.' Harrison pulled back his curtain and unlocked the door before realising it was me standing outside. He paused for a moment before slowly sliding the patio door open.
'I would've but I wasn't convinced you'd answer.' I tried to sound light-hearted but the butterflies in my stomach made it come out forced.