Chapter 22: Realization
After an hour of lying on my bed, listening to Noah whisper my name over and over again from his window to mine, I knew I couldn’t just lie around moping. It was too depressing. And his voice was driving me slightly nuts, making me want to run over there and throw myself into his arms and let him explain everything to me.
After we had talked today, he had tried multiple times to gain my attention and earn back my trust. He called, texted, tried to catch my attention, and even left a note in my locker. But I couldn’t face him right now. The memory was too fresh, and it especially hurt after everything I had been through with Logan and Daisy. I know I didn’t know the whole story and how there were two sides to every store and such, but right now it just hurt so much, and I couldn’t face it right now.
So I got up and dressed in a camisole, yoga pants and sneakers, tying my long brown hair into a ponytail and grabbing my headphones and phone.
I wasn’t one for exercise, but I had once heard that running was a good way to sort out your thoughts. Might as well give it a try. Lord knew my thoughts needed sorting out.
Luckily I got out the door without being met by one of my family members, and I began running. I didn’t look at Noah’s house as I ran, instead turning on a loud rap song that got my adrenaline pumping, and started sprinting.
Pavement disappeared underneath my shoes as I let my legs and arms pump and navigated through the winding streets. My breath came heavier and harder and my thighs began to hurt, but I didn’t stop. I had so much to sort out, but I could barely think about it without wanting to collapse into a heap and sob. I knew that if I let myself think too much about the whole situation, it would just destroy me. So I kept running.
The wind whipped through my hair, and the bass seemed to make my whole body tremble and my heart pump faster. My breaths came quicker and faster. As one rap song finished and faded into a new one, I continued to run. Houses passed by me, and instead of waving and greeting people out tending to their gardens like the old Marley would’ve done, I just pretended I didn’t see them and kept running. My chest felt heavy and every part of me was sore, but I just couldn’t bring myself to stop.
I made my way to the school, where the front was deserted and all doors were locked, since school had ended three hours ago. Then I spotted two figures standing to the side of the brick building, looking as if they were involved in an intense conversation.
Daisy and Logan.
Curiosity got the best of me, so I rounded around the building and slowly crept up behind them like a stalker, where neither of them could see me. I hid behind a thick tree and peaked out.
I pulled out my headphones and turned down the volume on my phone, before straining to hear them.
“So she fell for it?” Logan was asking, his voice low and determined, and his brown eyes wide and curious.
Daisy nodded, looking pleased with herself. “Yeah. You could hear the arguing all the way from the treehouse. She blames him completely. They’re over.”
I froze. What was going on? This couldn’t be about Noah and I… could it? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“Even though it was cruel, it was still a genius plan,” Daisy admitted. “I mean, seducing him into cheating on her, knowing she was coming over? What a way to split them up! The bitch never saw it coming!”
I felt like the breath had been knocked out of me. Logan had made Daisy seduce Noah into kissing her, knowing perfectly well I was on my way? I couldn’t believe it! How could he do that to me? How could they toy with my feelings as if it meant nothing to them? As if I weren’t even a human being who felt emotions?
I had had just about enough, and stepped out from behind the building, smirking to myself at their matching shocked expressions when they noticed me walking towards them. Who knew I had such awesome ninja-spy skills.
“Yeah?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. “Well, this bitch is smarter than you think.”
Daisy’s small mouth dropped open, and Logan’s eyes widened. Even though my heart beat wildly in my chest, I didn’t let them see the sadness in my heart. Even though I had uncovered their plan, it didn’t change the fact that Noah had still played into their hands. He had still kissed her, and he didn’t try to stop it until he spotted me. He was as much to blame as the rest of them.
“Did you honestly think I would never find out?” I continued, stepping towards them. “Wow, you really don’t have any confidence in me, do you?”
Daisy opened her mouth to say something, but seemed at a loss for words. Logan just stood there silently, watching my face for expressions, his brown eyes curious, but not apologetic.
“What did he offer you to do that?” I asked, turning to Daisy. “You know what? Don’t answer that. I probably don’t wanna know that.”
“Look, Marley—” Logan began, but I cut him off.
“I’m not finished,” I snapped at him venomously through clenched teeth. I had never spoken like that to someone before in my life. It felt good. Really good.
He snapped his mouth shut, and his nostrils flared as he stared at me. It wasn’t like me to stand up to him like this. But he didn’t interrupt me.
“I mean, I guess I underestimated you, Logan. Here I was thinking you would come to accept the breakup and we could all get along. But I guess I was too naïve. But I see it all clearly now. You use and abuse people to get what you want. You’re nothing but a manipulator. You’re smart, I’ll give you that.”
“What are you gonna do about this?” Daisy blurted, her eyes wide and her face looking scared.
I turned to her. “What am I gonna do about it? Nothing. I’ll let you off on a warning this time.” I stepped towards her, trying to be as menacing as possible. “But if you try another stunt like this again, I will ruin you. Do you hear me? I will rip back those manicures and fake hair extensions and make-up, and expose the ugly, worthless, cheap girl underneath.”
She nodded. “I-I promise it won’t happen again.”
“Get out of here before I change my mind,” I told her, and she quickly scurried off. I didn’t know I could be that scary. It felt good; I felt empowered.
Logan turned to follow her, but I stopped him. “Logan? I’m not finished with you yet.”
He turned around to look at me. It was as if he was looking at me in a different way. I had stopped being the innocent, mousy, naïve Marley and was now being a stronger, tougher version. And I loved it.
“You’re not getting off as easy as her,” I told him, stepping forward until we were practically chest-to-chest.
“What are you going to do?” he asked, his eyes flashing.
I tapped my lip, thinking it through. He posed a good question. What was I going to do?
I turned around. “You’re going to forget about me and Noah. You’re going to pretend you don’t know us and that we never existed. You’re never going to talk to me, Noah, or my friends again, or so help me God, I will make your life a misery, even if it’s the last thing I do.”
He looked down at me with smoldering eyes, as if thinking this through.
I got up on my tippy-toes and whispered, “Don’t act like I’m giving you a choice, Logan.”
He gritted his teeth and took a step back. “Fine.”
“Leave before I decide to do something worse,” I said, dismissing him like I had Daisy. I was so through with being the nice Marley that everyone walked all over like a freaking welcome mat. It was time to stand up for myself.
Logan looked like he wanted to stay, but one death glare from me convinced him to leave. He stalked off with his hands in his pockets, keeping a lot more dignity with him than Daisy had done when she scurried off like a frightened mouse.
I sighed and leaned against the brick structure, closing my eyes. Pretending to be that merciless, threatening girl was not me at all, and to be honest I felt awful about pretending to be her.
It wasn’t me.
Finally, I peeled myself off the building, when a voice stopped me. “Wow, that was impressive.”
I whirled around to see Noah standing there, leaning against a tree-trunk. I gulped and looked him over. “What are you doing here?”
“When you jogged past my house, I followed you. And I must say, that little show you put on was impressive.”
“I don’t wanna talk to you,” I told him, turning to leave, my fists clenched.
“Marley, wait,” he said, stepping forward.
“What?” I snapped, my voice coming out a little sharper than I meant it to. I didn’t care how rude I sounded. Noah deserved it.
“I wanted to tell you that I was about to push her away when you saw us,” Noah said. “She kissed me and I was so shocked that I didn’t know what to do. Then I went to push her away, but it was too late. Look, I love you. Don’t let Logan get between us.”
“How can you ask that of me, Noah?” I asked. “You still kissed her. I can’t… I can’t forgive you that easily. It doesn’t work like that.”
“Give me a chance to make it up to you,” he begged.
I shook my head. “I’m sorry, Noah. You cheated on me. Whether you initiated it or not, you still kissed her. I can’t forget that, Noah. I’m sorry. I just… I need time.”
“So, you’re just gonna let Logan win?” he asked.
I felt the breath leave me, and I shook my head. “Honestly, Noah, I think no one wins in this situation. We all ended up heartbroken.”
And with that, I walked away, leaving him behind without a second glance.