Chp. 24: "You worry too much."
Daniel sighs, as we pull up in front of the house. The car falls silent, Sebastian and Simon both sitting in the back feeling angry.
Or even betrayed...
After Travis and I found the others, we told them everything. Daniel, Simon, and Sebastian were about ready to kill Luka, but I convinced them that we should just go home.
Travis did the same, and left the party too.
We’re not sure what happened to Luka. Travis had hit him pretty hard, but when we went back to see, he was gone.
I sniffle, rubbing my face with my sleeve, more tears rolling down my cheeks. I unbuckle myself, gathering my things, “Thanks...”
I push open the car door but Daniel reaches over and gently stops me from exiting the car. I look over at him, and his jaw tightens, “Tiffany...just say the word, and Sebastian, Simon, and I will deal with Luka.”
I shake my head, “No, Daniel, that’s not necessary. That’s really sweet of you to say, but I don’t think that’ll much...it’ll only worsen the situation...”
Daniel’s brows furrow, and Simon chimes in, “Are you sure?”
“Honestly, Tiff, just say the word, and you won’t have to worry about him anymore,” Sebastian states, voice full of sincerity.
A slow smile spreads across my face, as I sniffle again, “Thank you guys, that really means a lot to me, but yes. I’m sure.”
They all nod, staring worriedly at me. I plant a kiss on Daniel’s cheek, and hug Simon and Sebastian. I step outside the car, closing the door.
Immediately, more tears stream down my cheeks, chin, and neck. I try to hold back my sobs, as I turn to walk into my house.
I can’t believe...I just lost a friend today...
I stare at my phone texting Travis seeing as he’s not here yet. I look to my other classmates as we all sit in the gym waiting for the buses to arrive.
It’s officially been 4 days since the incident with Luka. I haven’t seen him all week, and honestly it feels like such a relief. I don’t think I’m ready to face him after all that happened.
Everyone in school definitely knows about Travis punching him in the face and what he did. Everyone’s talking about it, and I’m the center of attention these last few days.
And no, I’m not enjoying it...
As soon as school started back, people rushed to me for more details about what happened, but Daniel, Sebastian, and Simon push them away. Travis, Stormy, May, Joshua, Christian, and Jamie do the same when we’re walking through the halls.
These days, I’m just hiding from people questioning me...
Anyway, today’s the school AP History Museum trip. The one that caused Luka to go crazy because Travis and I are partners for it.
The buses should be here within a few minutes, and Travis is no where in sight. He said he was here today, and yet he’s missing.
I sigh, pushing up my glasses. I look at my notifications again, waiting for him to text me, “C’mon, Travis, where are you????”
I turn around, and see Jackson walking my way. I smile, “Hey, Jackson!”
“Hey!” He says, standing in front of me, his long blonde hair tied back, “How’ve you been?”
I cringe at that question.
I’ve been better since the party but I don’t think Jackson knows about Luka...
“I’ve been...okay,” I state, awkwardly, and Jackson’s brow furrow with concern.
“Are you sure?” He asks, “I mean...I don’t want to make you upset, but I heard about Luka.”
Go figure, he knows...
I nod, feeling melancholic, “Yeah...I’m not surprised that you do...” Guilt fills his eyes, and he quickly says, “I’m sorry, Tiffany, I didn’t mean to make you sad...”
“No, it’s okay. I’m okay,” I reply, sighing. I pull at my t-shirt, “You don’t have to apologize.”
“But I truly am sorry. I just can’t believe he’d do that to you. I knew he liked you, but I never knew it was like that...” Jackson explains, shaking his head, “What an asshole...”
I smile, feeling less sour, “Thanks, Jackson. That really means a lot to me.”
“Of course!” Jackson smiles back, “I’m just glad I was able to brighten your day a bit.”
"ALRIGHT, EVERYONE!!! BUSES 18 AND 88 ARE HERE!!!" A teacher calls out.
The buses are here...
I look to my phone seeing one text from him.
I’ll be there. promise. I just have to do something first.
I raise a brow in confusion, and text back.
Whatever you’re doing, make it fast!!! Our bus is here!!!
“Isn’t Travis your partner for this project?” Jackson asks, and I nod, turning my phone off. “Yeah, he’s just running late. He’ll be here soon.”
What the hell is he doing that’s causing him to be so late??
“I said no.”
“Why!!! Who wouldn’t want to be in a Motorcycle gang?!” Joshua asks, dumbfounded.
“Me. I wouldn’t want to be in a motorcycle gang.” I state, truthfully.
Even though, Motorcycles are badass...
“Yeah, Josh, not everyone has a fantasy of becoming a motorcycle gang member except you,” Christian states, bluntly.
Joshua shoots him a look, “Motorcycle Gangs are badass, and you know it!”
Trust me Josh, I know...
“They’re really not...” Jamie chimes in, crossing his arms.
“Guys,” I laugh, gathering everyone’s attention. I stuff my hands into my pockets, “I didn’t just come here to tell you my answer to being asked to join a gang. I’m actually here to tell you that I’m quitting street fighting.”
They all gasp, shock written on their faces.
“Why?!” Joshua whines, frowning, “It was going good! We were kicking ass, and taking names!!! Why quit so suddenly?!”
“Yeah, this does seem abrupt,” Jamie agrees, thoughtfully. “Is there a particular reason for why you want to quit??” Christian asks, curious.
I shrug, awkwardly, “No, not really. I just feel like it’s time to hang up the gloves, ya know? It’s been fun and everything, but I’m quitting.”
Joshua sighs, disappointed, “Okay...I guess the almighty Reel Fighter is really gone now...” His bottom lip quivers, “I just wish...it didn’t end...like this...”
“So damn dramatic,” Jamie states, narrowing his eyes at him.
“Wait, there’s a match already set for tomorrow. We can’t just cancel.” Christian chimes in, and I nod.
“Yeah, I know. I’ll do that last fight, but that’s it.”
“This is so emotional...” Joshua cries out, clutching his fist to his chest. We all stare at him, as he continues to whine, “We was winning so much fucking money...”
“And spending it all in a matter of days...” Christian says in a matter of fact tone.
“Not to mention street cred too...” Joshua says, ignoring him.
“Not really...” Jamie disagrees.
“I really could’ve been in a motorcycle gang...but Travis said no...like the asshole he is...” Joshua says, looking toward the ceiling, forlornly.
“Again, not everyone’s goal in life is to wear a leather jacket, ride a motorcycle, and raise hell on the streets,” Christian states, shaking his head at him.
Joshua looks over at him, and frowns, “It’s not my goal in life!....It’s on my bucket list...”
“Of course it is,” I sigh, rolling my eyes.
Suddenly, my phone vibrates, and I pull it out of my pocket. I read the text notification from Tiffany.
Whatever you’re doing, make it fast!!! Our bus is here!!!
We’re loading the buses...
Just thought I should let you know, don’t freak out...
"Shit!!" I yelp, checking the time, “It’s 8:15!!”
“Hey! I gotta go! We’ll talk more about this soon!!!” I state quickly, before running off down the hall, shoving a few people out of my way.
Hopefully she’s not too upset with me...
I climb onto the bus, and students slowly fill in the seats. I take the near the middle, and slide in next to the window. I pull my phone from my pocket, and keep checking my messages.
He’s seen them, but hasn’t answered them...
I frown, and look out the window as more kids fill in. I look toward the school building, seeing if I can spot him anywhere.
As I look through the crowds, I suddenly notice Luka standing in line to get on the other bus. My eyes widen and my stomach drops. I quickly turn away from the window, staring forward.
I guess he is here today...
Hopefully I don’t run into him at all today...
“Alright everyone! We’ll be doing roll call so please be quiet until we are completely finished!!” My teacher shouts, and I look over at the spot next to me.
I knew he was going to miss the bus...
I look up at the seat next to me, a guy and a girl both staring at me. The stares at me thoughtfully, “You’re that girl Luka got all upset with, right???”
Yep, that’s me...
Heat rushes to my cheeks, as I adjust my glasses, “Um...why do you want to know?”
“Because everyone’s talking about you!” The guy says, and the girl nods.
The girl smirks, “For real! What did he do to you?? I heard he was jealous of you and Travis Reel hanging out! Is that true? How’d you manage to hangout with a guy like that? You do know he’s known for doing crazy shit like street fighting, and gang related stuff. Plus he’s an asshole. Isn’t your brother Daniel Green? Does he know about you and Travis hanging out?? Wait, of course he knows! You had a whole big spill in the middle of the hallway last week! What’s your name by the way?? I probably should’ve lead with that...”
I stare in awe at this girl seeing as she said all of that in one breath.
I open my mouth to say something, “I, um-”
“Tiffany Green!” My teacher calls out. I look forward and raise my hand, nervously, “I-I’m here!!” Everyone turns to look at me, curiously. People begin whispering things, and I instantly feel on edge. I sink into my seat, pulling my sweater over my face.
I hate this...
“Travis Reel?” The Teacher calls out, looking around. She shakes her head, “Not here...not surprised...”
“Or am I?” Travis cuts in, stepping onto the bus. Everyone stares at him, and I perk up to look at him over the seat. I smile, feeling less nervous.
I was afraid I’d be stuck on this trip with people who don’t want anything from me but gossip...
His teacher shoots him a look, “You’re late.”
“Really? I had no idea.” Travis replies, sarcastically.
His teacher narrows her eyes at him, and he simply smirks. They stare at one another for a long moment before his teacher sighs. She looks back to her attendance sheet, “Go find a seat...”
“Going,” Travis states, shooting her a wink. He then walks down the aisle, people watching closely. He eventually finds my seat and smiles as he plops down next to me.
"Hey~ ” He sings, nudging me. I narrow my eyes at him, “Where have you been?” His cheeks flush a little, “Um...places?”
“You could’ve missed the bus!”
“But I didn’t.”
“You were cutting it close on time.”
“Yeah. You should know that this is what I do already. Fashionably late to everything.”
I look at his outfit, and laugh, “I hardly call that fashion.” He smirks, mischievously, “Oh yeah? Like your outfit is any better.”
“It is.” I reply, confidently. He looks me up and down, “Right...”
After roll was called and everyone was settled in, we started down the road to the museum.
One by one we all walk off the bus. As soon as I step off, my jaw drops at the sight of the huge structure in front of me.
Toledo Museum of Art.
Travis stands next to me, and glances in my direction. He smirks, “You seem excited.”
I look over at him, smiling widely, “You bet your ass I am!! This place is going to be amazing!!!” Travis’s smile softens as he looks down at me, “I’ll take your word for it.”
Everyone makes their way inside the large building, I having a hard time containing my excitement. As we walk in, and we stand in the entrance.
I look around, noticing gift shops, and paintings. People walk past some with sovereigns, and other goodies. I notice statues and other art pieces. Travis stand close behind as I geek out.
“Alright everyone!!” A teacher shouts, gathering everyone’s attention, “You all will be split into two groups with tour guides!! And you may buy sovereigns if you wish!!! Please enjoy yourselves!! We’ll meet back here around 11:30!”
Everyone gets separated into groups, Travis sticking close beside me. We follow our tour guide who seems to be around our age.
“Alright everyone! Let’s get started!” He says, smiling. We move forward, and walk around the huge building. We stop at statues, and sculptures. And even the giftshop.
I might’ve overspent on a key-chain...
But 1 key-chain...
We see some pretty old artifacts dating back to the cavemen times, and the ice age. This includes clothing, and weaponry like arrow heads and what not. The more we walk through the building, the more I find myself falling in love.
Some time has passed, and we find ourselves at some paintings.
“And this painting depicts Great Britain in the early 1800s! This painting has been in our facility for decades at a time!” The tour guide explains, as everyone begins taking pictures. Some even posing with it.
Travis groans as the tour guide continues, I listening intently, “When is he going to shut up? He just keeps talking and talking and talking...”
“Travis, he’s the tour guide. It’s kinda his job.” I state, also taking pictures, “Don’t you think this is nice???”
“Yeah, but his voice...” Travis whines, laying his head on my shoulder, “makes my damn head hurt...”
I roll my eyes, “So whiny...”
“Now if everyone will just follow me, we’ll be going to the mobile part of the museum! And before you ask, yes, you may take photos in these vehicles.” The Tour guide states, as everyone gets excited.
We begin moving forward, and I follow along before Travis grabs my shoulder. I jerk backward, stumbling, “Whoa!” I whip my head around to look at him, glaring, “Travis! What are you doing??”
He sighs, letting go of my shoulder, “Look, Tiffany, I’m getting bored of this. I’m trying to enjoy it like you said earlier, but honestly the only enjoyment I’m getting out of this is seeing you enjoy it.”
My eyes widen as he continues on his little rant.
Did I hear that right???
I don’t think he realizes what he said...
He pauses for a moment, and suddenly smirks, “Wanna ditch the tour guide?” My brows furrow, “Ditch the tour guide?”
“Yeah! Ya’know, explore this place ourselves without the yapping tour guide,” He replies, rolling his eyes at that last statement, “They won’t even know we left the group.”
“I don’t know, Travis, that seems a little risky...” I reply, uncertain, “I mean, it’d be nice to be able to look around this place with no disruptions, but what if we get caught or something and get in trouble? They did say don’t stray from the group, and if you did you get in big trouble, like detention or-”
Travis just stares at me with this blank expression on his face, and I awkwardly stare back, stopping mid-sentence. This continues for a minute or two, and I finally asks, “What??”
“You worry too much, that’s what.” Travis states, face softening. He then grabs my hand, and holds it tightly in his. I blush as he says softly, “We’ll be back in time, promise.”
I find myself smiling back, and grip his hand tightly. We walk off from our group, and run toward the elevator.
2 Hours Later...
Travis and I walk down the sidewalk, ice cream cones in hand as we make our way back to the museum.
We basically toured the whole place. Or, the places I really wanted to see. There were a few times we almost got caught, but thankfully, no one seemed to notice.
We went everywhere, and I couldn’t help but take pictures of it all. I even got one Travis smiling since he “doesn’t smile” in photos.
After we goofed off, we left out of the museum and found an ice cream parlor. Travis paid for them, even though I was going to.
And now, we’re walking back. We have about 30 minutes left until we have to meet up with the teachers at the entrance area.
“If you had to pick between a cat or a dog, what would you pick?” I ask, licking my ice cream. Travis pauses for a moment, thinking, “Well, that’s obvious. Neither. I hate cats, and dogs.”
“Because, dogs drool everywhere, and cats are evil as fuck.”
“Not all dogs drool, and not all cats are evil.”
“Mhmm. Well, tell me this, Tiffany, what would you pick?”
“That’s a hard question! I love them both!!”
He shakes his head, “I knew it, you animal lover...” I lightly nudge him, “Of course you did, animal hater...”
We finally arrive in front of the building, and sit at a bench. We watch as people walk stroll by, and a soft breeze picks up. It becomes quiet for a moment, we both sitting in comfortable silence enjoying our ice cream cones.
I glance over at Travis, and smile softly. I glance to his lips, remembering the party and how we were basically making out. How it felt having his lips on mine, and how his touch felt like sparks of electricity.
It felt good...
So very good~
But after, he said he didn’t mean to...
I sigh, looking back to my ice cream.
Let it go Tiff, you both agreed to let that go...
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that night, even after everything that happened with Luka. After, Travis just started acting like none of that even happened. Which I find to be a little hurtful..
But then again, we both agreed that that was the plan...
Travis and I both look behind us, and find Luka walking toward us. My heart begins pounding, and I drop my ice cream cone on the ground. I jump up, and Travis does the same, hands balled into fists.
I step back as Luka stops in front of us, I now noticing the bandage on his nose, and bruises, “Can we talk?”