Chapter 26- I belong to Vaughn
This chapter is dedicated to Vicki18. Thanks for your overwhelming support
Vaughn remained speechless. I was mum and my Spanish teacher just walked out of the bathroom like none of this had happened.
He caused an entire tsunami and he ran to the hills for safety, leaving me on land to be swallowed by the waves.
I bowed my head in shame. J’son’s face was so tense his jawbones and blood vessels were bulging out.
But Vaugh. Lord have mercy Vaughn. I saw his heart in his hands and it was broken in so many pieces. He looked embarrassed, hurt, ashamed, sad, sorry and somewhat shocked.
J’son pat Vaughn on his back and left us in the bathroom standing there.
We could hear the voices of some students coming into the bathroom. Their manly giggles were getting closer and closer and as soon as they were in plain sight Vaughn shouted “Everybody move!!!!”, pointing his fingers to the door.
His voice was deep and it rattled the entire bathroom. His echoes could be heard from afar I am sure. The three boys scattered like sheep without a shepherd.
His behavior frightened me. Once they were gone, he looked at me standing there. My knees were already buckling and my hands were shaking. The only thing left was for the tears to drop on the floor.
“Jasmine…Why you wanna play me like that?” he said stuttering.
“You behave like a slut. No, a whore. But maybe it’s in your nature. I never saw you like that until now”.
His words cut through my inner most being. That word “slut”. But he was right.
“Let me have it Vaughn. I deserve it”, I said weeping.
He looked at me with disappointment but he never came near me. He stood there saying so many things to me that I don’t even remember.
“You are a pretentious woman….You are just like all the other girls…You have one vagina but want two men…You hated me for trying to use you…This must be pay back…”
Boy… Vaughn kept the insults coming fast and furious and all I could do was shake like a jelly.
Eventually Vaughn stormed out of the bathroom but not before telling me to stay away from him.
“You need not come near me. You and your nasty self” he spat.
I saw and felt the pain that Vaughn felt. His eyes became red even though he fought hard to hold back his tears. I knew he was speaking out of anger. I knew he didn’t mean any of these things. Or maybe he did. Whichever way I got what I deserved.
The entire school could find out about this if J’son spilled the beans. But that wasn’t even my concern. My mind was all over the place.
I had no idea where Mr. Enique was. Whether he had gone to class or home. I was caught between two strong men and a fragile heart.
My trembling knees finally gave in, leaving me to collapse on the dirty bathroom floor. It didn’t matter to me how dirty this floor was or how many footprints were there.
Coming to think of it, dirty recognize dirty. A dirty woman on a dirty floor. That was indeed a match made in…the toilet.
Anyway, I was facing two unequally unpleasant, dangerous and risky alternatives, where the avoidance of one ensures encountering the harm of another.
I rose from the cold semi-wet floor and brushed off my skirt. I know that I have a choice to make.
I am 17 for Christ sake. I should be going to the movies, hanging with friends, taking selfies and posting on Instagram.
I should be on tiktok expressing myself about stupid things like the Keto Diet or intermittent fasting.
Yet I am in the middle of a love triangle like some middle-aged woman with a messed-up life.
No 17-year-old should be so entangled in these adult situations.
Mr. Enrique used me as bate to make Vaughn jealous. He could have simply remained silent in that bathroom until the coast was clear. Was he so stupid that he risked his career over making a boy jealous? Why would he even do that?
Vaughn on the other hand treated me like some cheap dirt and now he wants a relationship. Yet when I behaved like the very dirt, he perceived me as from the beginning, he is offended.
I mean cut me some slack here. I have never had any male showing me so much attention before.
Remember I am not the average girl. I allowed my flesh to get in the way of my brain and I made a terrible mistake by leading these two men on.
Mr. Enrique is my teacher. He helped me when I was kicked down by Vaughn. He helped me to face the reality that my school will always have bullies.
He made me realize that there was more to life than hiding behind my shame.
He showed me that with a shoulder to lean on, the world isn’t as cold as we perceive.
Yes…Mr Enrique showed me that beauty is skin deep and the heart is what really matters.
He showed me that love has nothing to do with age and it doesn’t necessarily have to be planned but it can hit you by surprise.
He taught me to be brave. To be honest. To be wise. I love Mr Enrique and I will forever be grateful for his help.
But am I in love with him or just his gorgeous looks? Or is it just the attention that's getting the best of me? Or the fact that the teacher every girl dreams about fancies me?
And if I am in love with him how will this story play out? He could lose his job. Things could get complicated. I can’t take him home to meet my parents. I can’t ever see a future with him without drama.
Vaughn on the other hand. Sigh.
Vaughn taught me what real forgiveness is. He made me realize that even the worst of people can make a turn around. Vaughn taught me that bullies are really weak people, trying to gain strength by using aggression.
Vaughn taught me to never give up on someone, even if it seems they are out of your reach.
He taught me that love is no respecter of man and the heart goes after what it wants.
He showed me that a man who loves a woman will stand up and fight for her in the middle of the jungle. And even when friends turn their backs, that person's risks losing everything just to have you.
He taught me that love is possible, in spite of past hurts.
As I walked through the corridors of my school, I dried my tears to make it easier to see my way.
I had no idea where I was going. One thing was for sure, I wasn't going back into my class.
As I slowly made my way, I saw shadows of students busy living their normal lives. I saw them from the corner of my eyes. I looked straight ahead refusing to look on either sides.
It was like I was walking a lonely path.
I realized I was outside when the sun hit my face. I walk out of the school’s gate.
I heard nothing. Not even the sounds of the vehicles that were tooting their horns for me to get out of the way. Everything around me was dead.
My cellphone rang and I quickly picked up. It was Vaughn.
I was so happy he called. I needed to speak with him. I never got a chance to say anything while he cursed me and my entire generation in the men’s toilet.
“Jasmin…You need to make a choice. It’s either me or him,” he said.
Vaughn's voice carried so much pain. I knew it took a lot from him to make that call. I admired his confidence.
I was about to ask him for his location and whether we could meet to talk but he interrupted me.
“You need to choose by tomorrow”, he demanded.
I felt gravels in my throat. They were stuck there and I couldn’t talk.
“If you chose me, meet me under the almond tree a few blocks from the school yard”, he said and hung up the phone before I could respond.
My heart was already broken into pieces but now they were like sawdust. His words caused me to slow down my pace.
I squatted in the streets to prevent the imminent collapse of my body on the ground. I stayed there sobbing for several mintues, paying no mind to the onlookers who though I had lost my mind.
Then I felt a car behind me. The heat from the engine on my backside caused me to rise instantly. Vehicles were already backed up. People looked on with shock. Some concern and others were looking for something new to gossip about.
“Get in!!!!”. Mr Enrique said
I hesitated but there was something about this man that made it hard for me to resist him or say no to him.
I opened the door of his car and sat down.
“Buckle up”, he said, looking at me with such shame.
“I resigned from my job. I will no longer be teaching at the school,” he said.
I let out a loud “WHAT?????” holding my hand to my already failing heart.
“Yes…I can’t be your teacher and your lover at the same time. I did it because of you”, he confessed.
“But…”, then I just started to scream.
My loud cries made it hard for my teacher to concentrate on the road so he packed alongside the street, trying to reach out to comfort me.
"Jasmine I am in love with you. Ever since that day you crashed into me at school and I held you. I'm willing to let this job go. I am qualified. I will find another job. But I wont find another you", he said.
“Don’t touch me!!!...I screamed holding my head.
Take me to the psych ward already because I'm about to lose my mind up in here.
For a split moment I saw my whole life before me. From the time I was a child. I knew that this was a sign that perhaps my life was ending. But I didn't want to die in a car packed by the roadside.
I held my head like a crazy woman and started to pull my hair out. Strand by strand.
Carlos kept looking at me very frightened. Then slowly I started to regain my sanity. I looked at him and realized I wasn't in love with him.
It was a silly crush that most high school girls had on their teachers simply because it gave them a reason to feel relevant.
"Go back and retract your resignation because you are not my lover. I am not your woman. I belong to Vaughn”
I couldn’t believe that I actually said these words. It was like I wasn’t the one saying it but someone else in my head.
The pity and shame in his eyes turned into what looked like hate. I am sure there were other emotions but I didn't wait to see.
“And I will walk home,” I said, unbuckling my seatbelt and leaving Mr. Enrique’s car. Leaving Mr. Enrique’s space. Leaving Mr. Enrique’s life. For good!!!