"Aurora!" My mother knocks on my bedroom door. "Get up! You were supposed to be up for practice hours ago. Now if you don't hurry up you'll be late for class!"
Ugh. I pull the covers over my head.
Fifteen minutes later I finally drag myself out of bed and shuffle into the bathroom. I look like a wreck. My hair is a disaster, my skin is pale, and my eyes are red and puffy from crying all last night. After I'd walked away from Theo I immediately found Hannah. As soon as she saw my face she got Eva to drop us off at her house, then Hannah drove me home.
I managed to keep the tears at bay when Eva was around, but as soon as it was just Hannah and I, the waterworks fell. Hannah cursed Theo the entire drive, gripping the steering wheel so hard I'm surprised she didn't tear through the leather covering. She offered to stay with me until my mother returned home from work, but I told her I was fine and just needed to be alone. I spent the rest of the weekend alternating between crying and binge watching my comfort show, Gossip Girl. My mother was barely home, she'd been picking up extra shifts at the restaurant and at the bar, so thankfully she wasn't around to see my pitiful state. I wasn't prepared to answer any questions or try and lie.
Fast toward to this morning. My head is throbbing and I reach into the medicine cabinet, grabbing the bottle of aspirin. After taking two and washing them down with water from the tap I begin to brush my teeth.
Stupid boys, I brush angrily and spit. Screw him.
I hop into the shower and turn it up as hot as I can manage. The shower is filled with steam as I close my eyes and tip my head back, letting the hot water cascade down my face and body. I stand under the spray until my mother starts banging on the door and demanding I hurry up. Then I quickly soap up and wash off before stepping out of the shower and wrapping myself in a fluffy towel.
Back in my room I change into leggings and a sweater, pulling my damp hair into a low bun. Then I slip on my shoes and grab my coat, backpack, and duffel bag before heading out to the kitchen.
"Finally," my mother says when I emerge. "Grab a piece of fruit and let's go, there's no time for breakfast anymore since you decided to sleep in."
I grab an apple from the fruit bowl and follow my mother out the front door. The entire car ride she complains about how I wasn't up early and that I can't afford to start slacking off. I don't need her lecturing me on top of everything else, and by the time we arrive at school I'm ready to chuck my apple at her and scream. Without saying goodbye I grab my stuff and get out of the car, slamming the door shut. There's no time to stop at my locker so I just have to carry everything with me to first period. I barely make it on time and slide into my seat just as the bell rings.
As Mr. Batachelli drones on and on about classical literature, my phone vibrates on my desk. I pause doodling in my notebook and flip it over to check the screen.
Hannah Banana🍌: where were u???
Me: bad morning
It only gets worse from there. In ballet class we're working with our partners again, and Simon and I just can't seem to get in sync. Our movements are either too early or too late, and he almost drops me during a presage lift.
"Shit," he curses, clumsily catching me and setting me on the ground. "Sorry."
"It's fine," I smile tightly. Across the room Lucy smirks. When we have a quick break to get water, she glides by me.
"You should be careful," she coos in a singsong voice. "It would be très tragic if you happened to have a little accident."
I glare at the back of her head as she skips away, giggling to herself. When class is finally over I'm relieved. I'm hungry, tired, and cranky. I quickly stop by my locker to drop my stuff off before heading to lunch.
I blow out a breath and turn. Theo is standing there, rocking back and forth on his feet. I roll my eyes.
"What do you want?" I couldn't deal with this right now.
Theo runs a hand through his hair, which looks even more disheveled than usual. "Can we talk?"
I stare at him. "No." Then I slam my locker shut and walk away. Of course he follows, and I quicken my pace.
"Stop following me!" I hiss.
"I would if you'd just listen to me." When I don't stop Theo catches my arm and I whirl around to face him.
"Why should I listen to you?" I glare at him. "So you can give me more vague answers and half truths?"
"I'm sorry," Theo says, and he looks and sounds genuinely sorry. "I want to tell you the truth, more than anything."
"So tell me," I step closer to him and place my hand on his chest. "Why won't you even give us a chance?"
Theo takes my hand and wraps his fingers around mine. I exhale and look up at him. "I want to," he murmurs. "More than anything. You're so beautiful and strong and I don't deserve you."
"That's not true," I whisper. "You are just as deserving of happiness as anyone else," my eyes meet his. "I could be a slice of happiness. If you let me."
Theo's gaze searches my own before dropping down to my lips. He leans in and my eyes flutter shut, my heart beating so hard in my chest I'm afraid it might pop. I don't care that we're standing in the middle of the hallway in plain view, and there are more than likely a few nosy students watching us.
The only two people who exist in this moment is Theo and I.
His lips touch mine and for one single moment time stands still, as if pausing to capture a perfect moment.
Then the rug is yanked right out from under me and I go crashing to the ground.
Theo pulls away. He drops my hand and steps back. "I can't do this," he shakes his head.
My eyes fill with tears. I try and blink them back but it's useless. They fall anyway. "No Theo," I sniffle. "I can't do this."
Then I quickly turn around and hurry away.
In the bathroom I splash my face with water and try to regain my composure. Swallowing, I lift my head to stare at my reflection in the mirror. My eyes are red and glassy and the tip of my nose is red. I stare at myself until my face crumples and I lower my head, sobbing quietly. My phone vibrates on the counter next to me but I can't even stop crying long enough to check it.
The door to the bathroom swings open and I jump, quickly wiping my eyes and sniffling. "Hey..." I turn to see Priyanka shut the door and lean unsurely against it. "You okay?"
I stare at her.
She chews on her lip, seeming to be having an internal debate about something before walking over. Still, she keeps a few feet between us. "I saw you with that guy in the hallway...was that your boyfriend?"
I turn away. "No," I reply, lifting my chin up in the mirror. "He's nothing to me."
"Oh. I'm sorry."
I start yanking paper towels from the dispenser and run them under the water. "There's nothing to be sorry about."
Priyanka stands there silently as I pat my face with the towels. Once I'm finished I grab more paper towels to pat it dry. Then I take a deep breath and square my shoulders.
"Thanks for checking up on me," somehow I manage to force a smile.
"Yeah, of course. I know we're not close or anything but if you ever want to talk..." she lets the sentence hang in the air.
"Thanks. I'll see you at practice?"
"Yeah. See you then," Priyanka gives me a small smile and wave before leaving he bathroom. I stare after her for a few moments before grabbing my phone.
Hannah Banana🍌: hello???
Hannah Banana🍌: you coming lunch or not?
Hannah Banana🍌: ???
Hannah Banana🍌: why aren't you answering
Hannah Banana🍌: where are u???
I check the time. There's only a few minutes of lunch left. No time to find Hannah and explain everything. To be honest, all I want to do is go home. But if I go to the office and say I'm sick, they'll call my mother. And that's a shit storm I don't have the mental capacity or energy to deal with right now.
I sigh. Guess I'll just have to stick the rest of the day out.
"Where have you been! I've been worried sick all day!"
I clamber into the passenger seat of Hannah's car after practice and shut the door. "That's a long story."
"Well good thing we've got nothing but time. I'm hungry. Are you hungry?"
My stomach growls in response. I hadn't eaten anything but an apple all day.
"I'll take that as a yes," Hannah laughs. "Okay. Panera or-"
"I want a fat, juicy cheeseburger. And a milkshake."
Hannah grins. "You have no idea how long I've been waiting for this day."
Hannah drives us to her favorite diner, Sandy's. It's like stepping straight into the fifties. Black and white checkered tile floors. Cracked red vinyl booths. Even a jukebox. Hannah and I select booth in the corner with a nice view outside. A waitress skates up to us, wearing a red and white polka dot dress, her blonde hair done up in a beehive. She had a birthmark on her upper lip and bright blue eyes.
"I'm Caroline," she cracks her gum loudly. "I'll be your waitress for the evening. Are we ready to order or do you need a few more minutes?"
"A few more minutes please," Hannah says. Caroline nods before skating off.
"I can't believe they serve food on skates," I shake my head. "There's no way I'd be to do that."
"Same. I'd be fired on the first day for spilling food on a customer."
I look over the menu, deciding on Sandy's classic cheeseburger meal. It comes with a side of fries and a shake of your choice. Caroline comes back to take our orders and menus.
"Alright," Hannah shits in her seat. "So what's up? What happened this morning? And how come you weren't at lunch?"
I decide to tackle the easier question first and explain how my mother was mad that I didn't get up early to practice in the morning before school. Hannah rolls her eyes.
"No offense cause she's your mother and all, but she seriously sucks."
I rub my temples. "Yeah, she does."
"Okay. Well what about lunch? Why weren't you there?"
I bite my lip as my heart pangs painfully. "Theo came up to me at my locker...he wanted to talk."
Hannah clenches her jaw but gestures for me to continue.
"I was mad and didn't want to listen at first, but then he was all apologizing and saying he wanted to tell me the truth. He said he wanted to be with me and we were about to kiss, but then all of a sudden he pulls away and says he can't," I laugh hollowly. "Whatever that means."
"I'm going to kill him," Hannah states calmly. "The next time I see him, I'm going to run him over with my car."
"I just wish he would tell me why," I say. "Why can't we be together? And if he can't tell me, why won't he just leave me alone?" My voice cracks. "Why does he keep toying with my emotions?"
"I'm sorry Aurora," Hannah reaches across the table where my hand is resting and squeezes it. "He's a fucking idiot and not worth your time."
"My mother was right. Boys are a waste of time. I just need to focus on school and ballet," I nod resolutely. But even with my new resolve, my heart aches. Is this what heartbreak feels like? Theo was the first guy I truly let into my life and felt something for, and he took my trust and feelings and stomped all over them.
I wish I never net him.
boys are stupid sometimes