Devon’s brutal words were pounding hard in my head and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get rid of them. The tumult in my conscience was difficult to deal with and restlessness bore into every inch of my flesh. The pang within me was growing every passing minute.
Is that what you do? Blame someone else because you don’t have the guts to face the truth....
I squeezed my eyes shut. I hate you, Devon Parker. I hate you for doing this to me!
I tried to call up Luke numerous times when I got back from school but all was vain. His phone was switched off. There were no calls or messages from his side.
Like every night, I dropped him a sweet good night text but he didn’t revert. This wasn’t something new though...he never replied to any of my love messages....
So what if he didn’t? Luke surely read my messages daily and smiled. And even if he didn’t, it was okay. Because I won’t give up on us just like that. I’ll continue to hold us together because I believed there were beautiful things to come our way. And I’ve always learnt to never give up on relationships no matter the trying times....
It was exhilarating to play soccer with my Daddy on that bright sunny day. His loud cheers when I kicked the ball across at him filled my heart. And his funny footwork to score a goal always got me into peals of laughter.
“It was so much fun, Daddy!” I grinned widely as we sat down on the grass when the sun sank below the horizon.
“Same here, honey,” he smiled lovingly at me.
“I cannot wait to do this again with you! Do you think tomorrow will be great for another round of soccer?” I asked eagerly.
“No, kid. Tomorrow will not be great. Infact, no other day will be great.”
“W-What do you mean?”
“Today was the last time I played soccer with you. I’m going away forever, Eleanor. I’m leaving you. Don’t try to see me ever again.”
That crushed me. “W-Why? What-What happened? Did I....Did I hurt you in some way?”
“You hurt me since the very moment you were born. I stayed around with you longer than I should. It’s time to finally break all ties with you.”
My face paled when he rose to his feet and started walking away.
“No, Daddy, Please!!” I screamed after him, tears gushing down my eyes, “Please don’t go!! I’m sorry!! Come back!! Daddy, NO.....!!!”
I sat up bolt upright on my bed in that dark room with a pounding heart.
I got out of bed and went downstairs to the kitchen. Taking a box of Ferrero Rocher out from the freezer, I sat with it at the counter. Unwrapping one round chocolate at a time, I savored them very slowly.
Daddy loves you, Eleanor. He will never leave you, no matter what. Your head is a factory which produces shit. There’s nothing to be worry about.
I stacked the box of Ferrero Rocher back into the freezer and went back upstairs to my room. This time I was greeted with a sound sleep the moment I hit the bed.
Clad in a pair of blue denim jeans and a white tank top, when I stepped out of my house the next day to go to school, I happened to see the front door of the house adjacent to mine open too. And out stepped Devon. I was unprepared when our gazes met.
The memories of the previous day flashed in my head and I looked away. I was glad that around the same time Adam pulled up outside my gates along with Stef and Josh. I got into the car with my friends and we drove past Devon to school.
But Devon blocked my path in an empty hallway in school. I didn’t look at him and tried to walk past him but he took my hand and caged me between the wall and him.
“You’re crossing your limits, Devon,” I said fiercely when our gazes clashed and so did our breaths.
“No, I’m mending my mistakes,” he said in an assertive tone, his rugged breathing fanning my face, “I’m sorry for my conduct in the Locker Room yesterday. I’ve no intention of taking my words back but the way I spoke to you could surely have been civilized.”
I stared at him in outrage and disbelief. “Are you sure you’re apologizing ’cause it doesn’t sound like one?!”
“I don’t know how to be respectful but---”
“And you don’t even know what a meaningful apology is.”
“I’m trying!” he pointed out, his eyes piercing intensely into mine, “I suck in expressing myself but I’m genuinely sorry. I won’t tell you this won’t happen again but I can tell you I’ll be better at apologizing the next time. ”
“You know what? I don’t care a damn what you say to me since it doesn’t affects me a bit,” I said, releasing myself from him, at the same time wishing that my words were indeed true, “So you can go about saying whatever shit you want and then present your so-called apology, I couldn’t be bothered.”
I walked out of there with my nose in the air.
Damn Damn Damn!!
I cursed myself throughout the length of the corridor I walked to get to my class. I was that fucking annoyed with myself. I didn’t know why Devon’s words had been screwing me so much. And now that he apologized for it, I was feeling relieved from the ache.
He didn’t even apologize properly for God’s sake and still it oddly made me feel better.
What the effing is wrong with me?!
In that vagueness of my mind, I heard a voice call out my name from behind. My hands curled into fists and I yelled as I turned around.
“Stop following me you---” I stopped midway realizing the person wasn’t Devon as I thought.
“Luke?” I blinked blankly. “W-When did you come?” I fumbled.
“Right Now?” he raised an eyebrow, studying me with curiosity. “Who’s following you?”
“N-No No No No one,” I shook my head vigorously.
“Uh..actually..” began Luke, shifting uncomfortably on his toes, “Can we talk?”
“Yeah, sure..” I said.
He looked relieved and took me aside where there was privacy. “I’m sorry, Eleanor,” he said guiltily, “I didn’t want to hurt you..... Shouldn’t have reacted the way I did. Shouldn’t have lost my cool over such a petty issue. This won’t happen again, I promise.”
“I understand, Luke. It’s okay. “I said, giving his hand an assuring squeeze. “It’s a hard time but we’re gonna get out of it.”
“It’s not a hard time. That Parker dick is nowhere close to me. He can only dream of replacing me as the quarterback,” he said, refuting his insecurities, “but you know what the best thing is?” he said, snaking his hands around my waist and pressing me to him.
“What?” I smiled, wrapping my arms around his neck.
“You’re the best girlfriend in the world,” Luke whispered on my lips. We were just about to have a liplock---
“You’re not kissing her, Thomas.”
Luke and I heard that razor sharp voice filled with warning. Shocked by the suddenness, we drew our faces apart and saw Devon standing stood a few feet away with a clenched jaw and eyes resembling burnt coal.
What the hell!
Why can’t he just fucking stay away?!
“You’re intruding our personal space. Fuck off, douche,” Luke spat.
“You’re stepping on the space that belongs to none but me,” said Devon with icy calmness, “I’ve had enough. Now back off, Thomas. Eleanor is mine.”
The command in his voice sent chills down my spine which was difficult to shrug off.
“I shouldn’t hear that ever again,” Luke gritted his teeth, taking a threatening step forward.
“Go Away, Devon,” I said in a tough voice, holding back Luke.
Devon chuckled. “Why, sweetheart? Am I making your arse of a boyfriend look more fake than he is?”
“Luke, NO!!" I shrieked but it was too late---Luke had already lunged towards Devon and grabbed him harshly by the collar.
I clamped a sweaty hand on my mouth as I stood paralyzed with fear.
“How dare you call me fake, you scum??” said Luke in a voice that shook with masculine rage, “Mind your tongue before you fucking lose it forever.”
“You must come up with better threats for a later date, quarterback, ” ridiculed Devon, casually releasing himself from Luke’s gruesome hold, “because I’ll do whatever it takes to be with Eleanor,” he added with a raw intensity in his voice.
I got my frozen feet moving and stepped between the two boys, taking Luke a good number of steps backward before he could punch Devon in the eye.
“Eleanor is my girlfriend!! If you try to touch her or even look at her, trust me you don’t want to know what would become of you,” spewed Luke, his eyes flashing in anger and hatred.
Devon remained as nonchalant as ever as though he was dealing with a pestering toddler. “Eleanor and I had got really close in the swimming pool once---”
“What rubbish! That’s a complete lie!” I retorted, shell-shocked.
“---everything that happened between us inside the pool is indescribable,” said Devon, smiling slyly at me.
“Don’t listen to him, Luke! He’s making up sordid stories. Nothing of that sort happened!” I denied strongly, appalled by Devon’s falsity.
Luke fixed his cold, grim eyes on the other boy and spoke, “You don’t have to worry about anything, Eleanor. I know this bastard is speaking nonsense.”
I hugged Luke, feeling happy and relieved. “I’m so grateful that you believe me and also in both of us, Luke,” I whispered against his chest.
Our hands linked as I parted from him. Devon never appeared this cold and hostile when I turned to give him a look of disgust. His orbs were spitting out lava and his hands that were curled into lethal fists at his sides were trembling as though to contain the raging storm inside him.
When he spoke, his eyes were dark and frosty as he fixed them upon Luke, “Eleanor will be my girlfriend very soon. You can only hope that I’m kind enough to let go of the quarterback position for you.”
Devon walked off there. I felt my blood boil in anger. How the hell could he speak like that as though I wasn’t there??!
“I’m so glad you trust me, Luke,” I told him when I met him at the campus later that day, “Devon can try a million times to create misunderstandings between us but he can never break us. I’ve nothing for him.”
“But there’s no question of trust here,” he responded, looking at me in amusement, “Don’t tell me you actually thought he likes you!”
I was totally unprepared to hear that. “Why can’t he like me?! What’s wrong in me?” I blurted out, feeling offended. Wait, what?
I’ve no reason for Devon to like me. Thus, I’ve no reason to feel hurt by Luke’s words but I bloody am. What the hell!
I immediately wished I could chew back what I said but Luke didn’t seem like he heard me.
“It’s simple, Eleanor,” he spoke, too engrossed in his own line of thoughts, “Parker is coming after you with the sole reason to make me mad. He wants me to lose focus from my training so that he can easily replace me as the quarterback. His plan is to just use you to distract me, Eleanor. But he won’t succeed with his cheap tricks!”
My mouth hung open in shock and my breaths lost strength hearing that. Use me? This is definitely possible. Why didn’t it cross my mind before? Is Devon pursuing me only to be the quarterback?
I don’t know why this idea was horribly stinging me for no reason. I felt as though a hard rock had jammed my throat. I had been a fool to not have thought of this earlier. But it makes no difference to me. I couldn’t be bothered even if he pretends to like me. I didn’t give a damn before as well. So nothing has changed. Absolutely nothing.
“If he didn’t have this hidden motive, he would have gone for his type of girls, not you,” said Luke in an obvious tone, “So let me know if he troubles you anymore. That asshole will have it from me.”
“Y-Yeah,” I smiled.
The rest of the day I didn’t feel good. I couldn’t define the uneasiness I felt but it was growing on me and making me fidgety. When I gathered my books and walked out of the classroom after the last class for the day, Kelly blocked my path with that nasty smile of hers plastered on her face. She was flanked by two of her cronies as well.
God, I can’t take so much of bullshit in one day!
“Heard that Devon has almost replaced Luke as the new quarterback,” she began in her annoying bitchy voice. “Poor Luke. Poor you too for being stuck with a loser boyfriend. Devon and I will soon be the hottest couple in school.”
“Believe me, I will be in the front row and clap for both of you incurable humans,” I drawled, my lips curling in distaste.
Kelly scowled at me. “I honestly don’t know what got Luke so interested in you that he actually asked you to be his girlfriend over me,” she spoke crudely, ” You’re nothing compared to me. I’ve a hot body and you’re beyond shapeless. You don’t even have average looks, let alone being good-looking! Thank God Devon is not the one to be so blind to commit the same pathetic mistake as Luke.”
Those words damaged me. No matter how much I tried, I-I couldn’t fight back....
“Kelly, I think she is Luke’s pretend girlfriend. She must have agreed to do sexual favors to him in return and maybe to his friends too,” said one of her cronies, eyeing me maliciously.
“Possible,” Kelly laughed cruelly, “Although I doubt who would even want that from her.”
The three of them burst into a ridiculing laugh. Pain slashed my being. I wanted to cry....
“I think you dirty your panties every other second, Kelly, because there is so much of shit inside you.”
I heard Stef’s sharp, strong voice and she simultaneously came from behind and stood alongside me.
“I mean you’re so vulgar that guys would rather enjoy puking and pissing on your shitty boobs,” Stef added gleefully which erased the laugh off Kelly’s face.
“Exactly. And, to our dear cronies,” Adam flanked me from the other side, “if you really wish to be tails all your life, then go find a dog instead of sticking to a Donkey like Kelly.”
“Adam, how can you get the animal wrong?” Stef asked him, “She’s an Ass.”
“Bingo,” Adam laughed, as he and Stef did a hi five in front of me.
“Although I think a dog would rather spit on these two tails than having any of them stick to its buttock. Both are so yuck!” Stef wrinkled her nose pretending to get a bad smell.
That automatically got me into peals of laughter. Kelly and her cronies were left fuming so bad that their expressions were worth watching. Having nothing to fight back, they walked away swaying their hips in sync.
“I love you guys!” I said, hugging both of them. “Thank you so much for being there for me,” I whispered between their shoulders.
“Always, El,” said Stef fondly near one of my ears.
“You’re not weak, El, we’re just a bit of add-ons,” said Adam in my other ear, “You can count on us.”
“Definitely,” cheered Stef.
I pulled back and looked at both of my best friend with admiration. “Seriously, you guys should undoubtedly be girlfriend-boyfriend. You slay together!”
The moment I finished saying that, Stef and Adam looked at each other blankly and blushed equally hard after that. How frickkin’ cute!