“So what are we going to do?”
I sit silently in front of an academic advisor. She clasps her hands together over the desk. She pulled up my grades from last semester on the computer screen.
I twiddle my fingers, looking like a complete idiot.
“You never submitted anything. You never wrote any of your finals. So, you failed the winter semester. Before you make any decisions, do you want to tell what exactly happened? Because your first year, you were acing all of your courses.”
She scrolls up on my transcript.
“I got distracted,” I answer pathetically. She stares at me, waiting for some elaboration. I shake my head and shrug. “Some trouble. Stuff.”
“As a result, you only have two options,” she explains, “You can register for upcoming summer courses. It’ll be intensive courses, but you’ll be under probation. If you do well, then the department might be able to reintegrate you back into your program. Or maybe if you find college too stressful—and it happens—you could take a break, and apply next year when you’re more ready.”
I nod my head, understanding how bad I messed up.
“Um, I’ll do intensive courses.”
“Alright. Go online and check for the courses that are being offered in the summer.”
I keep nodding.
“What am I supposed to tell my parent?” I complain.
Mara sips her Starbucks.
“Just don’t,” she advises.
“The whole reason why I’m even here is because I promised them I would do well in school. And now, I’ve done the opposite.”
“We hate school. What can we do?”
“You’re not helping.”
“Come on! Who needs a career, when you have Judah buying you everything and taking you around the freaking world?”
I scoff, “Judah’s gone.”
Besides, it isn’t all flowers and rainbows. His job compels him to not only do the worst, but to leave me lonely. I try to fool myself into thinking he’s on a simple business trip, but past memories slap me back into reality. Stop it, Rosalie. Judah is a gang leader.
Mara gasps, “Where’d he go?”
“He never tells me,” I sigh, “He hasn’t texted or called in two weeks.”
“Aw!” she squeals.
I frown, “What?”
“You miss him. It’s written all over your face!”
“Shut up,” I groan.
“Poor Ro,” she notes.
“Yeah,” I sigh, “Poor me.”
Mara and I head to the movie theatres and watch something to help me get my mind off my worries. I feel helpless and annoyed with myself. I can’t remember what my life was like before Judah. Now, I can’t seem to breathe without him.
We separate ways, once Mara reaches her dorm. I walk across the street and head towards Judah’s house. My mind remembers the days he’d to follow me up the hill, and when he’d randomly pick me up and take me places, and the kisses we shared in between. 5 months. It’s been 5 months since we’ve locked eyes for the first time. Though, it feels like a lifetime.
I stand by the bus stop in the middle of downtown. I check my phone for the time.
A couple of Rolls Royce vehicles line up on the curb, across from me.
The driver pulls the door open and a wealthy looking man comes out. Rough looking gang members hop out if the other cars. They all seem to be heading into a bar or something. I was going to ignore them and stare back down at my phone, but my eyes catch a familiar tousled head among the group.
I look longer. Judah?
I quickly text him.
Are you back?
He doesn’t reach for his phone, until he steps inside the bar. I watch his back disappear.
Okay. He saw it. But he doesn’t reply. I bite my lip, because the bus comes.
I let it pass me, and decide to cross the road.
I walk up to the bar and face the bouncer. This isn’t the best idea. It’s not like he can text me back, he’s busy. I groan to myself. He could’ve answered yes—he made me wait two weeks. It’s the least he could do...
Suddenly, the older wealthy man walks back outside, looking side to side.
He spots me right away. My legs stagger, making me back up. His rigid face doesn’t forgive me for bumping into the expensive car. I turn myself to walk away.
“You’ve been doing your jobs sloppy, Judah.”
I stop in my tracks. So Judah is there. I did see right. I hold my breath, as my head spins back around. I get a good look at him. He stands tall, wearing his leather jacket and ripped jeans.
“I beg to differ,” Judah slowly steps down the pavement, pulling his hair back.
The two of them stare me down in damning silence. The wealthy man fixes his red scarf over his shoulders, frowning. His eyes then divert to Judah, completely forgetting about my existence.
“Some say it’s because of your girl. I’m starting to believe them,” he mumbles with a strained voice.
“Don’t bother, boss. She’s not important.”
What the hell? I scoff and look to the side. My hands roll into hard fists, ready to punch everyone. But I don’t dare to move.
“Not important. So why do you keep her around,” he motions his chin towards my way.
He answers with a straight face, “She’s a good fuck.”
My expression twitches into a grimace. I’m standing right here. How could he say that? How could...
Men behind them snicker. Why is he humiliating me and putting me down? The men take my arms hostage.
“So I can shoot her?”
Judah’s boss pulls out a shiny golden gun from his coat. His leather gloved hands smooth its surface. Tears brim below my eyelids. I desperately look to Judah for help, but he doesn’t look at me.
Not only am I speechless, I also can’t move.
“Why?” Judah shrugs.
“For you to be less distracted, Judah,” says his boss.
My eyes land on Judah. Confusion plagues me. His gaze finally lands on me. But it’s cold.
My heart then stops. I feel as though my life has been cut short. He’s bluffing. They must be bluffing. My anxiety skyrockets. I have nowhere to run, no one to turn to.
His boss makes a click sound with his gun, before pointing it right at me. He aims at my head. I wanted to cry out and throw myself on the ground, but I was frozen.
Judah voices, “What’s the real reason you called me here.”
His boss lightly grins.
“I need you to come with me to Colombia,” his boss answers.
The boss nods and sends for the car with a snap of a finger. Some of his men stay behind not sure what to do with me. But they look to Judah.
“Get going sweet cheeks. Sexy Colombian girls are waiting for me.”
His guys laugh. I try to pull my arms out of their grip. A blast of anger boils within me.
I just stare at him, completely and utterly disgusted.
There must be a reason he’s acting this way. Maybe it’s because his boss is there and he doesn’t want to jeopardize his leadership, I don’t know. But this isn’t the Judah I know. I try to find some explanation. I try to search in his cold grey eyes.
“But Judah. I really thought that...”
“What? That I actually cared about you? Face it, you were a good pussy to ride, nothing more.”
I’m shaking to the core. What is happening?!
My eyes cast down to the pavement. I can’t look at him anymore. I don’t have the strength to face him. My vision is blurred. I can’t tell what’s real and what’s not. As soon as I open my mouth, I watch him roll his eyes.
My voice trembles, “How could you?”
He walks closer to me and stares down at me. His smirk appears and torments me.
“Why are you giving me that look? You think I love you? Love isn’t for someone like me, sweet cheeks. You were just something I could play around with. Don’t feel bad. The girls before you didn’t.”
The guys behind him laugh, as they let me go and all climb into the cars.
“Judah—” I choke.
He gets inside the driver’s seat and never looks at me again. I scream.
I crash at Mara’s dorm for the night. I had to tell her that Judah was still away and that I didn’t feel like being alone. I tried my best to clear my head all night, but I never slept.
Early the next morning, I got up and headed straight to his house.
Now, I stand in front of his door. I knock on the door as hard as I could.
The door swings open and Judah manifests himself. I stare at him, and my nostrils flare. I’m still angry. A cigarette suspends from his lips.
“What’s going on?” I blurt.
“What are you doing here?” he asks in a sigh, slouching on the doorframe.
My forehead and brows tremor, because it’s difficult to look at him and to level my mixed feelings. There’s no boss, and there’s no gang members. So there’s no reason he should still be so cold towards me.
“I want to know what happened last night. Why did you do that? Why did you say—”
“Do I have to repeat myself?” he asks me, furrowing his brows, “Get the fuck out of here.”
Tears make their way back into my eyes. My head gets hot with what feels like a chronic fever. I really want to believe that this isn’t real—that this isn’t happening.
“Please, Judah. Tell me the truth...”
His brows stay low. His hand opens the door wider, revealing two barely clothed women sleeping in his sofa. So, this is the truth.
I roughly wipe the tears off my face. I stare at the tattoos on his chest, recalling who he really is. I beat myself up internally for thinking that he ever felt something for me. I beat myself up for trusting him. My mouth turns dry. I beat myself up for letting him touch me, kiss me.
I never thought he’d hurt me.
“You asshole!” I shout to the top of my lungs.
“I said get the fuck out of here,” he leisurely says.
My hand reaches up to slap him. But he grabs my wrist and slams it against the frame. I shriek in pain and tug my arm back. I could no longer control my tears running down my cheeks. I guess I’ve been lied to the whole time. This is how things really are.
Judah yells at me, “Fuck off, Rose!”
I slap him again, before taking a breath. He clenches his jaw and his grey eyes darken. I don’t know this man. And I never did.
“I never want to see you again,” I hiss hardheartedly.
Judah’s face stays turned away from me. I trudge down the steps and fold my arms, shaking.