Even If.

"You'd love me? Even if it's not you who I choose?" I whispered to him.
"Even if," he swore.

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9. Seven.

Song for the chapter: Viva La Vida by Coldplay. Play when you see the # symbol.

I'm going to do a bit of this chapter in Finn's point of view, I hope you don't mind! I'm really excited for this!:)

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"You kissed her?!" Zoe hissed at me in disbelief. 



"Um, yeah," I replied and couldn't hide my smile.

Memories of the kiss from the night before flashed through my mind, and the butterflies returned just from thinking about it.

I could still taste her lipgloss on my tongue.

The way her lips melted against mine.

The electricity in the air.

The love.

I could remember exactly the way that when I was with her, every bad thing in my life disappeared.

All I could see was her.

All I could think about was her.

All I want is her.

"Finn! This is serious!" Zoe said, snapping me out of my problems.

"What's the big deal?" I asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Finn, this girl isn't like every other girl."

"I know, that's why I like her," I said.

"No, you don't understand-"

"What don't I understand?" I interrupted.

"She's hiding something," Zoe answered.

"What exactly is she hiding, oh wise one?" I stated. Note the sarcasm.

"She hasn't exactly told me, but I just know."

"Gee, that sure shows me," I replied sarcastically, which earned a small smile.

"Listen, Finn," her voice softened, "I can tell that she's been through tough times. Did you know that you were her first kiss?"

I stopped. First kiss? She must have read a lot of fanfictions, because she sure knew what she was doing for a first timer.

"Why do you think that she's never been kissed?" I wondered aloud.

"I have no idea."

"I mean, she's gorgeous, funny, interesting, easy to be around... What more could a guy want?" I said, puzzled.

"That's what I've been thinking. And she hates to talk about her childhood, but I don't know why. She's never mentioned anything about her family. Bottom line is, you need to be careful with her, okay? She's my friend and I care about her," Zoe said.

"I would never hurt her," I reassured her.

"Good. But you have to be ready for tonight. We're all going to go bungee jumping with her, meaning you and Jack are going to hang out with her at the same time," Zoe warned.

"I know, I got this all under control. Jack doesn't know about the kiss and I won't tell him. It'll be fun, like the first time we all hung out."

"I sure hope so," Zoe muttered.

*_*

Elizabeth's POV

"Alrighty! Let's make sure everyone is here!" I said brightly and pretended to read from a scroll, "Caspar?"

"Here!" He answered happily.

"Alfie?"

"Present!" he replied.

"Marcus?"

"HEELLLLLOOOOO!" Marcus laughed, imitating his video greeting.

"Tanya?"

"Here!" She smiled sweetly.

"Jim?"

"Here!" He smiled, hand in hand with Tanya, making my heart melt. They are the cutest thing, I thought.

"Dan!"

"Here!" He answered, trying to sound enthusiastic, though he was looking slightly ill.

"Zoe?"

"Hello!" She said in her sing-song voice.

"Joe?"

"Hey! That's me!" Joe laughed brightly.

Everyone had their eyes fixated on me as called the last names.

"Jack?" I said, and I half-smiled, just at the thought of him.

"Hereeee!" He joked.

"Finn?"

"Here!" He raised his hand, as if we were in school again. Memories of the kiss we shared from the night before flooded through my mind, and I could feel my cheeks turning pink.

"And sadly," I continued, "one member of our group has tragically returned to LA. Let's give it up for Sam Pepper."

Everyone burst into applause.

"Alright! Now, I'm sure that everyone is aware that I have now reached," I paused, "one million subscribers."

Everyone burst into even louder applause and added in cheers and hollers.

"Thank you, thank you," I said with a bow.

"And reaching one million subscribers only means one thing... I have to do something super amazing! And now, I gather you all here today, so that we can go.... YOUTUBER BUNGEE JUMPING!" I shouted and everyone cheered in reply.

"And now I hand the floor over to our instructor, who should be here momentarily," I said and craned my neck, trying to see if our instructor was walking down the street yet. He said he would meet us here.

"Who's our instructor?" Zoe asked.

"Good question. I have no idea who he is. I called the company, asked for their best instructor, and he said to meet him here," I answered, and joined the group in their cluster.

I am about to jump off the London Bridge.

THE LONDON BRIDGE.

No big deal.

I tried to play it cool as everyone started chatting about how nervous they were.

"Hey, is this the Youtuber party?" I heard a voice behind me ask. 

A voice that I swore I would never hear again.

I turned around to face the boy who ruined my life in high school.

The boy who almost killed me.

The boy who made me cry myself to sleep every night.

The boy who made me hate myself.

I was face to face with Luke Cramer.

*_*

"Luke?" I croaked, my voice losing it's composure, coming out an octave higher.

"Wait a second...... Beth?" he asked. I nodded, suddenly feeling afraid, the memories flooding my mind all over again. I expected him to gain the look of utter hatred and annoyance that he usually looked towards me with. I expected him to hurt me. I felt small, frail, and vulnerable- a feeling that I promised myself that I would never feel again. Suddenly, I was the fat girl with glasses again. The girl I swore I would never be again.

But Luke did the exact opposite of what I expected.There was no hitting. There was no look of hatred and annoyance. There was no mischieveous grin on his face. Instead, there was a smile. "Wow! Beth! You've changed so much! It's a pleasure!" he said and engulfed me in a hug. A hug.

"After everything you did to me, the first thing you do is give me... a hug? As if you deserved that from me!" I wanted to scream, but not a sound escaped my lips.

I escaped from the hug after a few seconds and glanced over to see my very confused friends. 

Jack cleared his throat.

"Do you... know him?" Jack asked skeptically.

"We uh... we go way back." was my genuis response, when my head was aching to scream this was the boy who ruined my life! This was the boy who almost killed me by having his little friend push me off the bleachers! This was the boy that made me cry myself to sleep! This was the boy who made me starve myself for days on end! 

"Well! Isn't this a lovely twist of fate! We have to catch up sometime! But first, let's get you all harnessed in! Who would like to go first?" he smiled. 

"ME! ME!" Caspar raised his hand and everyone laughed. Luke agreed, and as Luke began to explain the details of the equipment to Caspar, I felt a hand grab my arm and pull me toward the back of the group, and I was face to face with Zoe.

"What. The. Crap. Just. Happened?"" she whispered worridly. 

I decided not to tell her.

"What do you mean?" I played dumb, but I could hear that my voice came out slightly higher than usual. I am a horrible liar.

"Um, I don't know, perhaps maybe the fact that the strongest, most confident girl I know, looked as pale as a ghost and looked toward that hot guy with an expression of pure terror? Care to explain?' she whispered sternly.

"There's nothing wrong. I'll tell you more later, but for now, don't worry. Let's have fun, okay?' I told her, and she reluctantly agreed. I don't think I was one to tell her to have fun when I looked as if I were about to walk into my own death.

When I turned around, everybody was already putting on their harnesses.

Luke handed me mine. 

"You know what, I wasn't paying attention very well, do you think you can explain this to us again?" Zoe smiled politely. 

"I'll just help you guys do it. Alfie, can you help Zoe out while I help Beth?" he asked Alfie, and he nodded and started explaining the harness to Zoe. I wasn't sure how he knew everyone's names, but it was creeping me out. This guy had serious problems.

And now he was putting my harness on.

I froze while he pulled the elastic bands along my waist and brushed his fingers against the small of my back as he fastened it. Then, of course, he insisted on fastening everything for me. As he fastened the last one, he stepped awfully close and looked me into my eyes with a smirk as he buckled the clips, and I realized that he wanted me to be afraid. It made him feel like he had all power over me, and I wasn't going to let that happen. I wiped all the fear from my face, looked him directly in the eyes, and wore a smug expression instead, like I was completely fine, bored even. He was taken aback slightly by me reaction, and I smirked as he backed off and started explaining the procedures of the dive to us, assuring that we were completely safe and that it was virtually impossible to get hurt in the process.

During Luke's procedural talk, I glanced over at Jack and Finn, who were infuriated. It was obvious that they had just witnessed Luke's "performance" of putting my harness on, and they didn't like it.

"Alright, any questions?" he asked, and no one made a sound. "Then let's go."

*-*

#

I felt like my heart was about to burst out of my chest while we were walking to the middle of the bridge, where there was a crew of people set up, all from the bunjee jumping company I called.

Did I mention that I'm not a fan of heights?

As if I didn't already have enough troubling my mind, my heart raced as I clutched my helmet, which contained a GoPro inside of it for my footage. It showed what I saw, and also a shot of me. I borrowed it from Alfie, who has gone bunjee jumping before.

The only person in the group who seemed to be as worried as I was, was Dan. He looked like he was going to wretch over the side of the bridge.

"You okay?" I asked, though I already knew the answer.

"Not really, no," he chuckled slightly.

"I'm not either, I think I might puke on the way down. That would make a pretty good video, don't you think?" I joked, trying to lighten the mood, and it worked. Dan chuckled, and for a split second, he didn't look worried anymore.

"What's the deal with you and the instructor?" he asked in a softer voice, obviously not wanting the others to hear.

"We went to high school together. Let's just say that it was not pleasant," I replied.

"Jack and Finn are freaking ticked. The way that guy was basically eye-raping you. I could almost see steam rushing out of their ears."

"Eye raping?" I questioned. He nodded, and I chuckled. 

"It might not be a real thing, but it's the only word to describe what he was doing. He gives me the creeps," Dan admitted.

"Me too. I promise I'll explain eveything to you later, but for now, just act natural, and do whatever he says," I told him, though the latter request applied more to me than it did to him. 

"Thanks for doing this with me," I said and hit his shoulder playfully.

"No problem. I'm going to either puke or cry on the way down, but it'll be fun!"

*-*

It's hard to really describe the feeling of bunjee jumping, but the closest thing I could think of was to imagine someone pushing you off of a very steep cliff, but he saved you before you could hit the ground. That's what it felt like. I was the first to go, since this whole experience was my idea, and I decided to jump before my mind told me not to, and on the way down, I screamed like crazy, teared up a bit, and felt like I was going to die the whole time. It didn't help that my stomach butterflies weren't just butterflies anymore; it was like World War 3 in my stomach. But I survived. After I was being lifted up, I felt a wave of relief flood through me, and I mentally checked off "Go bunjee jumping" on my bucket list.

The real problem came when I was safely back onto the bridge, and I watched everyone else going. Luke wasn't a worker who stood on the platform, so he basically sat down and continued eye-raping me, from afar. I could feel his eyes burning a hole through my head as I watched everyone else go. 

After I had had enough, I turned around, to find that he was looking straight at me. No surprise there, I thought. His gaze seemed to say, you're freaking hot when you're not fat. and I looked back at him confidently, as if to say, back off, I'm not afraid of you anymore. He just smiled, shook his head, and looked away. I turned around triumphantly, only to feel his gaze on me again, just the same as before.



*_*

"You all are a fantastic bunch! Every one of you did great, and I hope you had a great time!" Luke smiled to everyone after we were all un-harnessed.

"Thanks, Luke," I tried to smile.

"Hey, Luke, if you're a friend of Beth's, why don't you come to dinner with us? I'm sure she would love to hear what you've been up to since you last saw each other!" Jim said out of politeness, and I felt like I would break down in tears. Now I had to suffer even more.

Luke seemed to have seen my expression fall. He smiled, but only I could see the mischieveous flicker in his eyes that he only got when he had something up his sleeve. 

"You know what Jim? That sounds delightful. I'd love to join you all," Luke said, and looked at me smugly. I glanced to see that Jack and Finn looked as if they were about to explode.

"Sounds great," I muttered and turned to lead us all to the nearest Nando's.

I could hear Jack and Finn whisper to each other about how "they didn't like this creep" and "I don't like what this guy has planned." and "who the crap does he think he is?". I could tell they didn't know I could hear them. I pretended not to notice as I chatted to Zoe about pointless things that didn't matter much. She knew something was up. But I didn't falter as we walked and made our way to the door of the resturaunt. We all piled in and ordered a table.

They showed us to a huge round table. Jack and Finn insisted on me sitting in the middle of them and that Luke should sit directly across from me. I disliked this situation even more than they did, but I had to admit, they looked freaking adorable when they were protective.

We ordered our food, and everyone seemed to have their focus on Luke.

"So, Luke, what have you been doing since you graduated?" Caspar asked.

"Well, for my gap year I went about and traveled all around Europe and Asia for awhile. When I got back, I had a football scholarship waiting for me, but I knew that I didn't want to go to University, so I turned it down and traveled some more. My parents told me that I should settle down somewhere, so I moved permenently back here and got a job doing something exciting. It hasn't been much, but It's been fun. I, however, am quite interested in what Beth has been doing since we graduated together," he smiled and rested his chin on his hand.

"After I graduated, I decided not to take a gap year and to take a scholarship for a school the was close to home. I studied English for 2 years and worked at various libraries, book stores, and places like that, but I was bored when I got home, so I started a Youtube. First there was one subscriber, and the next thing I knew, I hit one million subs, and it felt so surreal. After awhile of mental consideration, I decided to drop out of University, move to London, and go further into my music career. Nothing special, really," I laughed, despite of how uncomfortable I was. 

"That's awesome," Luke leaned back in his chair. Despite what he had said, I knew he really didn't care. All he wanted to do was make out with me.

Finn seemed to sense my discomfort, so he grabbed my hand under the table. It was a simple gesture, and nobody else noticed, but it meant the world to me. I ached to be with him again, alone, instead of here, with the boy who ruined my life. Finn held on to my hand, his fingers laced in mine, and I was instantly reminded of the day I spent with him and the kiss we shared replayed in my mind, yet again, though I already thought of it more than a million times a day. 

Then I felt Jack's hand on my knee. It was an even simpler gesture, and it made me remember the day we spent and how great everything worked out, and I was instantly reminded of how much I wanted to kiss him. And just by him simply putting his hand on my knee, and by Finn grabbing my hand, I was comforted and more energized and confident as well, in a matter of moments. I didn't dare look at either of them, knowing that they didn't know that the other was doing anything, but their actions made me feel 1000 times better, nevertheless.

Our food arrived, snapping me out of my reverie, and making me realize how hungry I actually was. We all ate, and chatted, and told jokes, and laughed, and I almost forgot that Luke was even there.

But he was.

"Hey Beth, why don't you tell Luke what you're planning to do now that you have a million subscribers," Alfie encouraged. I mentally facepalmed, but smiled, and agreed.

"Well, my video tomorrow will be the video of us bunjee jumping, but that's only a part of what I'm going to do. I'm going to make a music video next week, and the week after that, I'm doing a week of collaborations, like Tyler Oakley did. It's basically a month of me being absolutely nuts, but apparently people find that entertaining, so I'm cool with it."

"That's so cool. I wish I could do something like that," he shook his head. Everyone sensed that our conversation was over, and sprang into another one, trying to make me feel as comfortable as possible. 

After I finished, I was overcome with the need to pee.

I really needed to go, so I excused myself and walked over to the bathroom, and... you know... did my thing. I added a coat of lipgloss after washing my hands, fixed my outfit, and left the bathroom, only to fall into the arms of Luke, who was waiting for me.

"Oh, you scared me," I said, trying to hide my sheer terror.

"I was wondering if I could talk to you alone, outside," he offered. 

Now, I had to admit, I had seen it coming. I mean, it was as cliche as it can get. In the books, the scary guy always does something scary, and this didn't surprise me much. 

But strangely, I didn't feel scared.

"Why of course," I replied, my voice even and steady, something he didn't expect. He lead me out the side door of the resturaunt and out of sight from the passerby's on the street. Once, we were out of sight, he pinned me up against the wall and started kissing my neck.

In any normal situation, I would have struggled to get away, but I don't think you would understand when I tell you that when my neck is touched, I am immobilized. It's like my Achille's heel. I froze with panic.

"It looks like being on your own has been kind to you," he smiled.

I couldn't help but think about how good looking Luke was. There was a reason he was so popular. And this was it. Everyone wanted what I was getting right now.

"I've made some changes," I replied calmly.

"Too bad those Harries boys are latched on to you so tightly. This would be so much easier if they weren't here," he complained and planted a kiss on my neck.

I couldn't deny it. He was so good at making me feel small.

But I couldn't give him what he wanted.
 

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