Angel

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Chapter 9. Moving On

There was a pounding on my bedroom door. It was eleven o’clock at night. Who in the hell? I jumped out of bed in just my boxers. I threw open the door, and my eyes widened.

“Mia?” I asked. I rubbed my eyes and looked at her again to be sure of what I was seeing.

“Can we talk?”

“At eleven o’clock at night? You couldn’t like swing by earlier?” I asked in disbelief.

“As if my parents were going to let me,” she muttered and shoved past me.

“How the hell did you get here?”

“I took my mom’s car,” she said. “They’re asleep.” She stepped further into my room.

I watched as her hips swayed. From the way she walked, I had a sense of déjà vu. She was pissed at me, I could tell. I closed the door and turned to face her tiredly. I had hardly slept the past couple of nights. This was the first time I had spoken to Mia since the incident with her dad.

Mia had tried texting me the past couple of days, but I ignored her.

“Why are you ignoring me?” she asked.

It wasn’t like I wanted to ignore her. It seemed instinctual, like survival. I was not going to survive this girl and her dad. I didn’t know what to do at this point. I was so into her, but also into the idea of not having her dad up my ass every day.

“Look, Mia, I like you, but,” I stopped. I couldn’t finish the sentence. I looked down and shook my head. It sounded as if I was breaking up with her, but we were never even together.

“So, it’s over? Are you like breaking it off with me?” she asked. She sounded out of breath.

My eyes pierced hers. It was hard to hold my cold expression in place. I snorted. “What? We were never even together, Mia. Look, you’re a pretty girl, but I’m not going to put up with your dad. It isn’t worth it. There are plenty of pretty girls who don’t have psychotic fathers.”

My words came out like daggers. It was the meanest and coldest I had ever acted toward her. I understood what she meant by breaking up. That is basically how I saw it too. We had been seeing each other. It just hadn’t gotten that far. A flicker of hurt flashed in her eyes. I was treating her like she never meant anything. It hurt to do it. I wanted to take it all back, but I couldn’t. For the sake of my family and my own sanity, I couldn’t.

She bit down on her lip and looked away. She sniffled and looked back up at me. Tears rolled down her cheeks. She wiped them away. “Is it true? Did my dad find Cocaine in your car?” she asked. Her eyes were filled with disgust.

I could tell she was hoping I would say no. However, I was willing to hurt her and lie. I was going to do whatever it took to keep her from coming back this time.

“Yeah,” I said simply. I pursed my lips and shrugged.

She shook her head. “God, you are not who I thought you were. I can handle a pothead, but a cokehead is a different ballpark. You act so levelheaded some days. The next day you are something horrible. You are no better than Ricky,” she sneered. “Don’t ever speak to me again. I mean it this time.” She stormed past me out of the bedroom.

I hated it. I didn’t want her to be disappointed in me. I was not on cocaine. I would never do anything that idiotic. I was never one to mess with hard drugs. They repulsed me. It hurt me to hurt her. It angered me to make her think that way of me. I hated that she compared me to Ricky. I stood there for a long time before I finally sauntered back over to my bed. I was tired, but my head was so full of what happened I couldn’t sleep.

***

After Mia and I broke it off, my entire demeanor changed. I was careless and exhausted. I worked more than I played. I hadn’t spoken to Mia in over a month. School started a couple of weeks ago. I saw her around school from time to time. I quit sports and focused on work.

Mom came into the study. “Hi, baby,” she said. “Why are you up so late?”

“Hey, Ma,” I murmured. “Just couldn’t sleep. Thought I’d catch up some of your paperwork for you.”

“Angel, you have to sleep once in a while,” Mom sighed. She sat down on the couch across from the desk. “Is this about, Mia?”

I shook my head fiercely. “Don’t talk about her, Mom,” I warned.

“Angel, I get it, but you were probably better off. Ademar would not have stopped,” Mom said softly.

My fist slammed down on the desk, and I glowered at my mom. I rose to my feet. “I said don’t talk about her,” I spat. “What I gave up was difficult enough. I don’t want to be fucking reminded.”

“Maybe if it hurts that bad,” Dad’s voice took both of us by surprise.

Mom and I both looked up at Dad.

“Maybe it is worth giving it another chance,” Dad said.

“If you are going to take the chair, that isn’t a wise choice. Cops and Latin Kings don’t mix,” Mom argued.

“How do you know, bebita? It’s never been done,” Dad argued. “We wound up together, and it wasn’t as if we were supposed to.”

“That is different,” Mom said sharply.

“How is it?” Dad snapped. “We were forbidden to be together because we were supposed to lead together. I was born to follow you and be your right hand, beneath you. Instead, I’m practically equal to you. There were rules, and we broke about every single one.” Dad glowered at mom then turned to me. “What is meant to be, will always be, Angel,” Dad said.

“No,” I said. “Mom is right. It would never work.”

“How do you know? You didn’t even try. If it hurts this much, you won’t be able to ignore it forever. You will find a way to make it work. You’d give up that fucking chair if you had to. Only you can decide that. That doesn’t mean it has to be that way, though.”

“I want the chair,” I growled.

“And her,” Dad added.

I couldn’t deny it. I did want her. I wanted every little bit of her. “She’ll never accept what we are,” I argued.

“She could accept anything if she truly cared for you the way you do her,” Dad said.

“I don’t think you can have both,” Mom said. “But if you figure out a way that won’t ruin what we built, then that is all that matters, I suppose. Don’t be surprised if you have to choose,” Mom murmured. She left the study after she kissed Dad goodnight.

“Mom won’t give it to me,” I sighed.

“She will if you find a way to make it work with Mia and Ademar,” Dad argued.

“Why am I so crazy over a girl I barely know?” I asked my dad.

He sighed and shrugged. “I’m not sure, but I understand it. I felt the same way with your mother and still do. We don’t always see eye to eye, but we work it out. Your mother and I have broken every rule over the years. Love tends to conquer everything.”

“I don’t love,” I stopped. I don’t think I do–I thought to myself.

“Are you sure?” Dad challenged.

It left me speechless. I had no clue what to say.

“You’ll figure it out, Angel. Just... be careful. I’m telling you now, ignoring it could be far more dangerous than owning up to it.” My dad turned and walked out of the study.

I slowly sank back into the chair. Great, Mia or the chair? Mia or my family? Dad seemed to think I might not have to choose, but I thought he was wrong. It wasn’t like she was going to forgive me anyway. She would never believe that her dad planted drugs on me.

After I finished the paperwork, I went up to bed. I laid there, replaying the words of both of my parents in my mind. My eyes were heavy, but they couldn’t seem to close. I let the memories of Mia leak into my head. The muscles in my chest tightened as I thought of her. Usually, I tried hard not to think about her. I hated talking about her. It was too painful.

The hours of the clock moved slowly. I was still wide awake by the time the alarm went off. The light was starting to pour through my windows. I got out of bed and showered.

***

Everyone was already downstairs by the time I got downstairs. I grabbed a cup of coffee and drank it quietly. When I was finished, I sat the cup in the sink.

“Ready?” I asked Jesse.

“Yeah,” he said quietly.

We got to the school and headed inside. The halls were filled with students and teachers. I caught a glimpse of Mia. I started to approach her without thinking about it. I had no idea what I was going to say. My steps faltered when I saw Mathew Gibson approaching her.

He grabbed her arm and spun her around.

My blood boiled so hot it felt like acid, burning me. She is not yours–I chanted to myself.

She smiled at him as he spoke. The smile didn’t touch her eyes, but she stood on her toes and pecked him on the lips.

Mathew smiled at Mia before he turned and strolled away from her.

I stood frozen just several feet away. I hadn’t known that she was seeing anyone. It completely changed anything that I considered doing.

Mia suddenly turned and was facing me. Her gaze caught mine. Her lips parted in surprise. Her surprise was probably due to the fact that I hadn’t looked directly at her in over a month.

I was always careful to look at her when I knew she wasn’t looking at me, until now. There was this strange look in her eyes. The look a child has when they know they got caught doing something they shouldn’t. That was ridiculous, of course. She was free to see whoever she wanted. She did not belong to me, but some jealous part of me wanted to scold her as if she did belong to me. I gave her a solemn smile and turned to walk into my class, which I was just a few feet away from.

The rest of the day flew by, and I didn’t see Mia again. By the time the seventh period rolled around, I was surprised she didn’t come into class. I only had two classes with her seventh period and eighth.

I was under the impression that Mia had left school for the day. I hadn’t seen her since this morning.

Emily was in a somewhat grumpy mood today, too, I noticed. She wouldn’t speak to me. She was probably mad at me for hurting Mia, which was well deserved.

After I got home, I decided to work out. I had nothing better to do today. As my fists were colliding over and over again with the punching bag, I heard footsteps.

“Be careful, you might break that thing,” Jesse said and laughed.

“What do you want?”

“Man, I want to know why the fuck you don’t just grow a pair and tell her the truth,” Jesse growled. His words took me by surprise.

I spun around to face him. “What?”

“You heard me,” he said sharply. “This is ridiculous, man. I see what it is doing to you! Have you looked in a mirror lately? I’ve seen corpses in better condition than you. You’re fucking miserable, and it makes all of us miserable.”

“Stay out of it, Jesse,” I growled. I turned back to the punching bag and ignored him. I couldn’t talk about her. I couldn’t think about her because god knows what I would do if I did. She moved on. That is what I wanted, or at least that is what I told myself.

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