The Jealousy Game

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Chapter 14: Heartbreak

Noah’s POV

I didn’t mean to start the fight.

I had been on my way home, wallowing in self-pity at the fact that Marley and I weren’t talking to each other, when I had spotted Logan flirting with another girl. The fact that Marley would choose that douchebag over me had sent my nerves on end. Couldn’t she see how bad he was?

I had rushed over and clamped a hand on his shoulder, dragging him away from the bleached-blonde girl who was chewing gum obnoxiously and twirling a peroxide-curled tangle of hair around her finger.

Logan spun around, and an arrogant smirk had played around his lips when he saw it was me. “Well, look who it is. Didn’t think I’d be seeing you again.”

“Why would you say that?” I had snarled, my hands fisting instinctively at my sides as I stared into the cool, arrogant, lifeless eyes of Logan Hawkins.

“Aren’t you and Marley over?” Logan said. “It wasn’t like she even liked you in the first place. You were just a rebound, right?”

He knew he had hit a sore spot. I knew we only started this in the first place as a way of her getting back with Logan. What Marley didn’t know was that I was with her just to sabotage their chances of getting back together. I knew how he treated her, and I was determined to do anything to make sure Marley wasn’t hurt again. She deserved better than a heartless prick like him.

I know we’re enemies, but she was once my best friend, and I still cared for her deeply. I didn’t want her to be used again.

Which brought us here. Where I was now planning to kick Logan’s ass for doing this to Marley when she was still obviously in love with this d-bag.

Logan stepped forward, obviously sensing he had hit me where it hurt. “But she wasn’t a rebound for you, was she? You fell in love with her without meaning to. And it kills you deep inside that you know that she doesn’t reciprocate those feelings. That she still loves me.”

I thought back to the kiss we had shared two days ago. The kiss that couldn’t be explained away by crowds and acting to be a couple. We had been alone. She didn’t have to.

But she did.

And then she’d gone and taken it all back and broken my heart. Because maybe it was true. Maybe I had fallen for her. But there wasn’t a goddamned thing I could do to stop it from happening. By the time I had realized, it was too late to do anything about it.

All of the pent-up frustration in me suddenly released, and next thing I knew I was pummeling Logan into the ground.

Eventually people had started to gather as the fight progressed. I knew people had camera-phones out and were yelling things at us and chattering excitedly, but it all seemed to fade away, taken over by a rage that could only be explained as protectiveness and utter jealousy. I threw punch after punch in anger, trying to express without words how much I hated him. How much I thought Marley deserved better.

I was just about ready to finish off the little piece of dirt when Marley had jumped in front of him, trying to protect him.

Protect him. The guy who had just been flirting with another girl moments earlier.

I was protecting her.

But did she care? No. She wouldn’t step out of the freaking way and let me finish what I started.

I had seen her heart break, watched the way she regarded me with fear. She was scared of me.

I had scared off Marley Adams. A girl who had seen me brutally tackled in football games, seen me in tense arguments with my friends, seen me at my worst. And had somehow always been around.

It was no secret Marley hated violence. She was very weak-stomached and couldn’t handle violent shows. So this little unprecedented show of ferocity had sickened her.

But, more than that, I realized that I had disappointed Marley Adams. A girl with the kindest heart and most beautiful personality in the world, forgiving of everyone and able to see the best in every single person.

That was the girl I had managed to let down.

And, all of a sudden, she wasn’t the only one whose heart was breaking.

Marley’s POV

I hate waiting rooms.

They smelled strongly of hygienic detergents, it was all white plaster and crying relatives, nurses in pink scrubs walked around everywhere with clipboards, and sick people roamed through here.

The whole place smelled clean, but too clean, trying to cover up the diseases and sicknesses that would normally permeate the air.

Right now I sat by myself in an uncomfortable plastic chair against the wall, clutching a hot coffee and waiting for a nurse to come and collect me and update me on Logan’s condition.

None of Logan’s relatives had shown up yet, so right now it was up to me to be told everything until someone showed up.

I took a sip of the terrible coffee and grimaced at the taste. There were no sugar sachets available, and no milk, so I was stuck with a bitter, stark black coffee. I sat back and rubbed my temple where a headache was beginning to form from all the stress.

“Ms. Adams?” I bolted upright and stared at the pretty nurse. She had on the tennis shoes and matching scrubs, and her dark blonde hair was tied into a twist. She held a clipboard and was staring at me with upraised, light-green eyes.

“Uh, yes?” I said, standing up and staring at the nurse, setting the coffee cup down on the wooden table next to me.

I felt oddly formal standing there, hands crossed politely in front of me, and I shifted uncomfortably on my feet, feeling out-of-place in the strange, alien waiting room.

“Logan’s awake, and he’s asking to see you,” the nurse said. Her voice was high-pitched, but seemed very serious for her age, the voice a mother would use when disciplining or chastising her child.

I looked around at the waiting room, not spotting any of Logan’s friends or families. I glanced at the clock reluctantly.

“Are you sure? Is he well enough?” I asked.

She nodded. “He’s fine. A cracked rib, a few bruises and cuts, but other than that, he’s fairly healthy. The police will have to question him about what happened, though.”

“Will the person who did this be arrested?” I asked, following the nurse down a beige corridor and making sure not to mention Noah’s name. I didn’t want him to get into trouble.

“Depends if Mr. Hawkins decides to press charges or not,” she replied, standing in front of Room 348.

She opened the door and gestured for me to go in. Slowly I made my way inside, and the nurse left us to have privacy, closing the door softly behind her with a definitive click.

Logan was staring at the ceiling, and swallowed thickly as he turned his head and spotted me. “Marley,” he croaked. Despite his situation, his lips lifted into a smile.

I stepped forward to his bedside and stared down at him. He seemed so fragile, lying down there. Pale and innocent.

“Hey,” I whispered, taking his hand, which had multiple tubes hooked up to it.

“I didn’t know if you’d stay or not,” he admitted, looking into my eyes deeply.

“Of course I’d stay!” I said, shocked he’d think any different of me. “You were hurt, and I wasn’t gonna leave you like that.”

“Thank you. Have my mom or dad arrived yet?” he asked, blinking up at me and squeezing my hand slightly.

I looked down at the scratchy hospital blanket that seemed to be issued in every single hospital. “No, Logan. Not yet.”

He chuckled, but I could tell he found no humor in the situation. “That’s just like my mom and dad. They’d rather finish their paperwork than rush to the hospital and make sure their son is OK.”

“Maybe they’re stuck in traffic,” I said gently, searching for an excuse on their part. “I’m sure they’ll be here soon.”

But I knew that they probably wouldn’t. Both of them were lawyers, but unlike my parents, they didn’t make the effort to spend time with Logan. I had watched him scream and rant so many times about how much he felt like they didn’t love him; like they didn’t treat him like their kid, but a business associate. He hated the distance he had between his mom and dad.

“Right,” he muttered, but he didn’t believe it.

“I’m here, though,” I offered, smiling down at him. “Isn’t that good enough?”

He nodded. “It definitely makes up for it.”

I laughed and gently ran my fingers over a bruise on his forehead that looked incredibly sore. Deep inside, I knew it was my fault that they had fought. I was the reason Logan was like this.

Logan captured my hand and played with my fingers, bringing the tips to his lips and giving them soft butterfly kisses. I didn’t pull away, but stared into his eyes, which never left mine.

“Marley, please be my girlfriend again,” he whispered, eyes pleading. “I’ll treat you right this time. I promise. Just trust me.”

Under possibly any other circumstance, I might’ve said no. That was because of my feelings towards Noah, which still hadn’t gone away. But he had put Logan in this hospital bed, and it made me wonder just what else Noah could do that I wasn’t aware of.

But here was Logan, promising me that he would treat me right, and I still loved him. Feelings like that don’t just go away.

Slowly, I nodded. “Yes, Logan,” I whispered. “Yes, I’ll be your girlfriend.”

And for the first time in a long time, I saw him give off an actual genuine smile that still had the ability to make my heart melt.

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