Unfinished Business

Abby is the kind of girl who keeps to herself. This year, her senior year, everything changes, when her worst enemy, Nicole, decides to play with her old tricks again. Abby has shut that part out of her life completely. Or so she thought. Do you think she has what it takes to make it out alive in time to graduate? Or will she crumble? just like the last time it all happened.

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3. (Abby, Jason, Nicole, and Casey)

Even though Nicole sits all the way across the room in our Chemistry class, with her boyfriend on one side and, Ashley, her best friend on the other, she still finds those tiny ways to sneak herself into my thoughts and ruin my day. I don’t let her see that she annoys me so because that is exactly what she wants. I just sit there and pretend that her voice is an annoying gust of wind that will easily disappear if I will it to hard enough. I push her out of my thoughts and turn my focus on something else. My mother comes to mind and I see her horrified face from when I saw her after school yesterday, cleaning like a maniac. What kind of appointment could she possibly of had that was so important for her to miss work? She never misses work and I know this because she is always gone and on double shifts. I’d be surprised if I even remember what her job is because she is never home to just sit down and talk with. I don’t care what we talk about. Anything would work. I just miss how close we used to be.
“Ok,” Our teacher’s voice booms throughout the classroom and everyone, including myself, jolts up in surprise, “I know I am kind of late with this stuff, but it is time to assign everyone to a lab partner.” Oh, great, I think to myself. Everyone else must be thinking the same thing I am because I suddenly hear the whole class groan in unison. I am probably going to get someone I don’t even want to be in the same room with and I am going to be stuck with them for the rest of the year. The teacher starts pairing up people and I watch everyone’s looks show they feel about their given partner. Some jumped for joy to their assigned partner; some nodded in a way as if to say they were ok with the choice, and some rolled their eyes and banged their heads onto their desks in annoyance. I listen for my name, hoping for the best.
“Abby,” He says, and he looks up from his paper and glances around the room as if he forgot where I sat but finds me sitting anxiously in the corner.
“Yes, Mr. Puckett?” I say politely, hoping that if I am nice enough that I will get at least a little bit lucky today.
“Your partner for the year is Jason.” You have got to be kidding me. Jason and I both look at each other and I look away quickly, and bang my head down on my desk just like all the others who weren’t as lucky today as I was. I don’t move. I just sit there with my forehead on the desk and hope to God that this is all just a big, very vivid dream, but to no avail. I peek over at Nicole and Jason with my head still on the desk and see them both just as upset as I am. Everyone around me has moved to an empty lab table so I gather up all of my belongings and do the same. I think Nicole would be a better lab partner than Jason. Everything that happened between us is his fault. He could have said no, but did he? Not at all. Now every time I look into his big blue eyes all I see is someone who lost me forever. I can’t even recall what I ever saw in him. I shake my head a little as if it will get him out of my head and sit down at the vacant lab table in the corner of the room where I will be able to observe everything in peace.
It takes a while for him to come over to where I am, but eventually he does. Before he actually gets to my desk though, I see him talking with Mr. Puckett and him giving Jason a stern shaking of his head as if to say no to his question. He probably asked for a different partner. I know that is what I would have done, but he beat me too it.
When he walks over and sits down I just look down at the binder in front of me, avoiding his big, blue eyes. It’s silent for a while and every now and then there are those awkward moments when we glance up at each other and meet eyes but quickly look away. I can tell that he wants to say something to me, but he just can’t seem to find the right words. He could have started by saying that he is sorry, but I don’t think he thinks the same way so I just sit there. The class period is almost up and then I can leave and never come back, until tomorrow at least.
“Abby…” He says my name but drowns out the sentence as if he changed his mind. I don’t say anything. “Umm…” He says again.
“Just stop.” I say to him. He looks up at me, surprised, and just sits there staring at me. I don’t want to talk with him. We have nothing to talk about.
Then the bell rings and we both leave, without saying another word.

~~~~
She totally hates me, I think to myself as we leave our chemistry class. I don’t know what to do about this. I feel horrible about what I did and I regret every second of the memory of it and if I could go back in time and fix everything then I would. But I don’t think that is possible yet, so I am stuck with what I have, her hating all my guts.
I stand outside of the classroom’s door, waiting for Nicole to hurry it up and meet me, knowing that if I don’t that she will ***** at me. She will probably ***** at me anyways because Abby is my lab partner for the rest of the year. It’s not like I planned it to be this way, honestly. I am leaning against the wall by the door when she walks out. Not Nicole, but Abby. Her long, auburn hair blows with the wind and falling against her back. I wish I could see her beautiful eyes, but she is probably trying to avoid meeting mine because all I see when she walks by me is the back of her head. I don’t care. Even the back of her head is beautiful.
When Nicole walks out she pulls me into a hug that I don’t want but take anyways. When she finally pulls away, she looks up at me upset but angry at the same time. I just know that she is thinking of something to say that will just give me a headache for the rest of the day. She is just waiting for the right moment.
“Ok, here is the deal,” She starts off with, and I cannot help but roll my eyes just a little but, “If you and Abby are stuck being lab partners for the rest of the year, then I do not want you talking to her. At all.” She steps back and crosses her arms over her head as if she knows that she is in charge of what I do and say.
“Ok,” I say in a sort of questioning tone. She just looks at me as if I am just supposed to automatically understand her reasoning right that moment.
“I’m serious Jason. We did what we did to make her wish that she could talk to you again, Key word being wish. Promise me that you won’t talk to her at all.”
“Ok, fine,” I give in to her demand after she looks at me with pleading eyes for a long while, “I won’t talk to her, but I mean that will be kind of hard to do because she is my lab partner.”
“Just don’t talk to her.” She says to me, followed by a kiss on the cheek and she then leave me there and is off to her next class.

~~~~

“He got who!?” Ashley yells throughout the cafeteria. Thankfully, the people in our lunch period are super loud and didn’t hear her all that much, otherwise that would have been a bit embarrassing. I am also thankful that the annoying girl across from us moved to a different table because then she would have heard everything I just explained and would have told the whole school, just like she tried to do with my other secret. But she never found out about that, so I don’t have to worry about it.
“Yeah, of all the people in our class, that dumb teacher just had to pick those two to pair up. For the rest of the year.” I put a bit of emphasis on the “year” part. We both are sitting back in out chairs, arms crossed when we talk, making my tone get angrier and angrier by the second. I have to do something about this. She can’t be his partner. She just can’t and I will make sure of it.
“Well, there is nothing that you can really do about it now.” She glances over at me from eating her lunch as if to make sure of it and that I don’t do something stupid, “Right?” She clarifies. But as far as she knows, I won’t. It’s quiet now and I think that is the end of our conversation until Ashley speaks up.
“Hey,” She says making me jump in my seat, “isn’t that the girl that totally jumped us in English?” She point over to a girl sitting next to Abby at her lonely table. I squint over in that direction to see if it really is her and it in fact is.
“Oh my God,” I say in surprise, “that is totally her. What was her deal? She totally flipped on us when we started talking about Abby.
“I don’t know. But it looks like she is friends with Abby now.” She just looks at me again as if I am secretly plotting something. I work so hard to make sure that Abby has no one and now this witch moves on in and makes friends with her? I don’t think so.

~~~~

I am sitting with Casey at our usual lunch table. I’ve been hanging out a lot with Casey lately. Ever since she sat down with me that one day last week, she has been coming back every day since. We eat lunch together every day. I see her between all of my classes, most of them anyways. We even talk on Facebook and Twitter almost every night, even if it is about nothing important most of the time. I have forgotten what it is like to have a best friend. After the incident with Nicole, I thought I was just slowly dying inside, and I still kind of feel that way, but Casey is helping me get through it even if she doesn’t know it yet. I kind of like having that warmth of her friendship inside me again; I feel like that emptiness has been filled.
I look over at Casey to see her nibbling tiny bites out of her peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She never finishes them, I found out. She eats about one-thirds of the sandwich, then throws it away as if it gets old. I never knew why, but I just figured that she just didn’t eat that much.
“Hey, would you like to come over to my house this weekend?” She asks me in the midst of the silence. I just look at her kind of confused. “What?” She says to my look.
“Nothing. It’s just…. I’ve never seen your house before. That was kind of random.” She giggles a little.
“Well, my parents are going to be gone all weekend for their anniversary and I don’t want to be alone with my brother for that long. He gets kind of annoying after a while.” I hate to think that I only want to go over to her house just to see her brother, but I can’t help myself. He is just always on my mind. After thinking it over in my head a couple of seconds I answer.
“Sure! I would love to. You can just text me your address later and I will come. I think my mom will be gone too so it will be nice to not be alone,” I say in reply, “so your brother will be there too?” I ask without thinking.
“Yeah, why?” She just looks at me with yet again, another confused look on her face.
“No reason.” I say, short and quick. It’s quiet again, minus the chatter the surrounds us in the cafeteria. I sit there and play with my food during the silence until she breaks it again.
“So, I heard that you got partnered up with your ex-boyfriend as lab partners in Chemistry.” She says this when I am mid chug in my drink, making me choke on it a little out of surprise.
“And where did you hear that?” I say, demanding an answer.
“Oh, just these girls in one of my classes were talking about it. I don’t know who they are. So he is your ex?”
“We never dated.” I say, short and quick, again.
“That’s not what I’ve heard.” I don’t want to talk about this. I promised myself that I wouldn’t ever again. But what am I supposed to do, just yell at her till she stops? That would be wrong. I guess I will have to face it sometime, right? So why can’t it be now.
“What is that supposed to mean?” I don’t mean to sound snappy when I say this. I guess it is just a natural reaction by now, but by the look in Casey’s eyes, I can tell that she knows it bothers me. She continues anyways.
“There are just a lot of rumors around this school and most of them involve you and this p-” I stop her right there, just when I start to feel the tears build up in my eyes. I wipe them away as discretely as possible to avoid any sudden looks from anyone around us. I can’t do this. I thought I could but I can’t. I just can’t.
“Can we not talk about this now?” She can tell that it bothers me a lot, but stops talking instead of continuing more, which I am totally happy about.
“Sure,” she says, “But I am here if you ever do.” I want to tell her, just not with hundreds of witnesses around us to sit and watch me vent my feelings. Maybe I will tell her everything that happened at our sleepover this weekend. That is, if I don’t get distracted first.

It smells of lavender. Casey’s house is small but it feels big enough for everyone to have room. I walk inside just after Casey and place my shoes to the side so I don’t dirty up the place, and I gently set my backpack, with my sleepwear, toothbrush, and computer in it, onto the steps next to me. Pictures of her family cover the wall. I see a picture of two middle aged people standing next to each other, one woman in a white dress and a man in a tuxedo. I imagine that it is their parents just after they got married. A couple pictures over I see a little girl and boy posed as if they are throwing sand at each other’s faces as they sit in a big sandbox. It looks to be Casey and her brother. There are many more like this. There is one picture that catches my eye though; it is of her whole family and they look so peaceful. It looks like it was recently taken with a blue back drop. I stand there and stare at the picture, admiring its simplicity.
“Oh, um, is this you and your family? It’s a good picture.” I say once I realize that Casey was staring at me the whole time.
“Yeah, that’s us.” She just shrugs and leans up against the wall as we look at it and make conversation.
“Are you hungry? I know I am. What do you like to eat?” She says after a couple seconds of silence. I imagine this is how she always is after a long Friday at school, so I just go with it.
“Oh, I will eat almost anything.” I say. She nods at me in approval as if I answered correctly.
“We have nuttybutty’s, apples, bananas, chocolate chip cookies-“I stop her.
“I’ll just take an apple.” She tosses one over in my direction. I catch it with no problem. She responds with a “Good catch” giving me a warming smile and I can just tell that she already has something on her mind.
“What’s wrong?” I say, half way knowing where this is probably going to end up after I abruptly ended our deep conversation at lunch just a couple of days before this.
“Nothing.” She responds, but I can tell that it’s not true.
“Is this about those rumors?” She looks over at me as if I caught her in her little act.
“Yes,” she says, “I just don’t like hearing all these rumors and not knowing if they are true or not. But I understand if you don’t want to talk about it just yet. I won’t force you.” It was then that I knew I could trust her. She didn’t force the true story out of me like everyone else tried to do. I can remember so many people, claiming that they were my friend, but really just wanted to know what went down. I hated them so much. It’s a relief to know that she doesn’t care if I don’t talk about it.
I start to think back to why she started hating me, Nicole, but no real reason comes to mind, just the horrible day when she turned against me. I imagine that she turned against me long before that, but at the time I didn’t realize it until that certain day.
“Well-” I start, but I’m interrupted by a noise from the front door being slammed shut, “Um, Well? It’s kind of a long story.” I reply, trying to delay my answer.
“We have all night!” I can tell that she really wants to hear it all. She really wants to know the reason. I am afraid that if I tell her that she won’t like me much anymore. That’s what has happened to everyone else in my life. I just tell them what happened and they disappear out of my life forever. I haven’t told mom about this feud because I am afraid that she will disappear also and I don’t think that I could live anymore without her in my life to help me with my other problems. I turn around to see a figure moving in the doorway, startling me.
“Oh, don’t worry, that is just my brother.” Oh Great, I think to myself.
“Hey, bro!” Casey yells to the Alex at the front door as he throws all his stuff down onto the living room floor. He is wearing an oversize aeropostal shirt a darker shade of red that compliments his skin tone and jeans that fit just right for his body. He rips his jacket off as if he is about to die of heat exhaustion and walks over to the kitchen, straight to the fridge. He reaches in and grabs a mountain dew. “What? Not even going to say hello to my new best friend.” I hear a sigh as he turns to where we are sitting, but when we meet eyes he doesn’t say anything. He just stands there, dumbstruck.
“Hello,” He says to me. So many thoughts run through my mind now. Why is he staring at me like that? Is there something on my face? He probably thinks that I am really ugly. No one every looks at me like that, especially guys like him. Wait? What do I mean by ‘guys like him’? Do I think he is hot? I have never met someone like him, yes, and I have never felt this way before, but do I really like him? Do I have my first real crush? What am I saying? We don’t even know each other that well, and I am already talking of crushes?
“Um… hello” I say real soft. There is a silence that fills the air. I am lost in his eyes again.
“Why do I feel a bit of awkwardness in the air?” Casey blurts out. I know that is wrong to think of my new, best friend’s older brother this way, but I just can’t help it. His features are almost perfect, but it’s those imperfect features that draw me in.
We haven’t looked away from each other yet.
“Hello? Earth to Abby!”
“Oh, yes?” I am snapped out of my daze to see Casey staring at me, kind of irritated.
“Um, right. Well, why don’t you show me your room?!” I change the subject.
“Ok, sure. It’s right upstairs.” She grabs my hand to pull me up to her room and when I turn around I see that Alex is still staring intently at me, smiling. I smile and get a small wave back before he disappears from sight.

~~~~

“I guess I will go take that shower now.” Abby exclaims to me. She walks over to her bag and grabs her clothes and washroom caddy.
“The shower is literally right outside my door, on the left.” I point out my bedroom door and motion to the left as if I am pointing to the bathroom.
“Thanks! Do you have a towel I can use?”
“There should be some under the sink.” She nods at me as if she understands and head out the door. Before disappearing completely she says, “Ok, I should not be long,” and then she is gone to take her shower.
Once I know that she is fully in the shower and washing herself, I sprint down the stairs, in the darkness of the night and almost falling on my face, bursting into Alex’s room. The room is dark, and forgetting that it is almost midnight, I turn the lights on.
“HEY!” He yells at me in the doorway, “I’m tryin’ to sleep over here.” He yells at me. I watch as he sits up in his bed, slowly, and opens his wide eyes trying to adjust to the sudden burst of light.
“Sorry, I came to talk to you about something while Abby’s in the shower. I forgot that is was 12AM though.”
“Talk about wh-… Wait, Abby’s in the shower?” His eyes drift on into a daydream kind of look. I walk over to him in bed and sit next to him, lightly slapping him on the shoulder when I do.
“About THAT, dude.” His face shows that he is completely clueless as to what I am talking about.
“What are you babbling on about now?” I give him a look as if he should automatically know what I mean.
“I can see it in your eyes. You like her and I knew you did right when you first looked into her eyes.”
“Wait, I like who? Casey, we have only been here about two weeks and you already think that I am ‘in like’ with someone. Who could I possibly like right now?”
“You like Abby! I cannot let you do that to yourself again. I mean, do you even remember what happened with you and Brittany? She was the BEST thing that happened to you and the next thing you know-“He stops me right there by putting his hand in my face.
“I’m not the same person that I was back then. I’ve changed.”
“Listen to yourself! ‘I’ve changed’? No one, not even you, changes overnight.”
“Overnight? Casey, it’s been a whole year. The whole reason we moved here was to get a fresh start. How can I get that if you won’t even trust me? You can trust me when I say that I never want to be that same person ever again.” I hate to say it, but he’s right. I think to myself. There HAVE been a lot of changes since then, but it’s still a lot to ask of someone. I just don’t want to see him in that much pain ever again. It was hard enough the first time, and watching it a second would just be torture. But then again, Abby really doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would do such a thing. I just sit there for a while contemplating the possibilities in my head before answering.
“I guess you’re right…” I say.
“Of course I am, but most of all, I GOT HELP. Most people wouldn’t even think of going there. Most people would rather kill themselves first before getting to the point of help. Most people would rather stay with it. Most peo-“I stop him.
“Ok, I get it! Please don’t let me think of those things; it’s just too depressing.”
“But, I have changed, and you know it. Ever since she has been out of my life, it’s like she took the old Alex right on along with her and left me.” He gestures to himself.
“That true, but-“
“BUT, what!”
“I just don’t want to ever see you in that much pain ever again.” I pull him into a hug before standing up and tucking him back into his bed.
“Don’t worry about me. I am not going to ever let history repeat itself.” He whispers over my shoulder and into my ear. I walk over to the door and turn the lights out, whispering a “good night” into the darkness of his room before closing the door behind me and heading back upstairs.

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