Look at the way he's stacking up the wood, like he's some type of macho man. Obviously trying to impress me. He's completely clueless that he's overrated in my mind. And his jeans are way too tight. You know, he's not as hot as he thinks he is with sweat dripping down his forehead. And his neck. And his chest. And- Stop it.

... News flash, Owen. We're history.


6. Six

Of course I don't want to stay away from him. I've moved on from the heartbreak. I'm more mature. I can handle a simple friendship with the guy without fighting or bickering. I mean, I don't think a friend would stalk his house for an hour like I'm doing right now. But who cares, he's not here anyway. 


I want clues. I need to know why he left school, if he's coming back. I swear its because of me, because of how I lashed out. Could that really drive a guy out of school? Owen wouldn't be stupid enough to become a dropout over a girl. Unless it was a special girl, I suppose. Special. Am I special to him? 

Stop it, Presley.

I'm starting to give up and I think about leaving from my squatted position. I'm across the street from his little old ranch home, staring. My lookout for any signs has been unsuccessful so far. But then an unfamiliar car pulls into the huge driveway. A clean white van, a new one I assumed. Not the bulky kind that kidnappers use, but the kind of van that a mom packs all the kiddies into after a soccer game. Owen gets out of the driver's seat and jogs around to the other side, giving me a chance to look at his features. His scruff is darker than usual, which means he hasn't shaved. His hair is flopping in front of his face, so today he probably didn't use any product like he usually does. I watch closely as he opens the door, and for some reason I expect a girl to slither out. His one night stand. I imagine the skinny blonde girl from last year. Yeah that's hot, he's driving her around in a mini van. Puh-lease. 

A woman is helped out of the car, but it takes me awhile to recognize her as his mother. Her skin is much paler than I remember, and she's moving as slow as an eighty year old. But she's only about forty six. She leans on him for support with a grimace on her face. It shows that she's feeling pain, and I start to desperately wonder why. I shove my thumbnail in my mouth. She's a sweet woman, and she always welcomed me into the house with no question and treated me well. I remembered how she spoiled Owen a bit, mainly because he was the last of 5 brothers who had all moved out already. My head snaps into vision as she gives him an order, "Wait a second, it hurts." His face changes into sadness as he holds her in place and waits for the pain to pass. I smile small when he kisses her hair and continues her up the driveway towards the house. I duck when he looks in my direction, but he sees me because I'm ducking behind nothing. 

A man comes out the front, one of his brothers I think, and they both help her up the stairs to the entrance. She cries out, making me wack my hand over my mouth in guilt. Owen leaves his brother to it, and his eyes search for me again. Once he finds me, he flicks his head as a gesture for me to go over there. I repeat his action, because I prefer him to join me across the street. 

He has a little smile creeping on his face, but its not real. "What are you doing here?" 

"I was just, um, taking a walk... it's a nice day out." It was actually freezing and cloudy. "I like this weather." He nod, and he knows I'm lying. 

"I saw you squatting and watching me." then he smiles. "What's going on?" I shake my head to answer his question because I'm embarrassed. I hope my face isn't pink. 


"Nothing? Then why are you stalking me?" I smile at his chuckle. I notice his brother come out again. 

"Owen, she wants you!" he shouts, giving me a familiar look. It's Gian, the friendly one. I mean, all of his brothers are friendly. Gian just seemed to approve of me the most. He's smiling.

"Alright, I'll be there in a second!" he yells back, almost with an agitated tone. I'm caught off guard when he hugs me. I allow my arms to grip his torso and my head to rest in his snuggle around my neck. 

"I just wanted to see if you were okay. You haven't been around so..." it becomes awkward, and I'm waiting for the hug to be over so I can say bye and run away. "Are you okay?" I sigh, letting go of him first. My words came out slow and subtle.

"Thank you for thinking of me, but I'm fine Pres." he sighs too. Then he leans and kisses the apple of my cheek, just below my right eye. "And you know..." he continues. "I think you were right about us. This whole thing," His hands move while he speaks. "I guess it is over." he sighs once again, like's he accepting the fact. "Maybe it just wasn't meant to be. You seem pretty over me, so that has to mean that I've gotta move on." He takes my hand and squeezes it. I squeeze back because I can't exactly pronounce words, and I don't want to try. "I'll see you at school." then he walks away, into the house and shuts the door. 

The real truth is, I want to cry. The way his scent is lingering there is making my eyes tear up. I'm not supposed to be upset that he feels this way. I'm supposed to be relived. Relieved that he's willing to move on like I have. But I realize that I'm not too sure if I want him to move on anymore. I dip a piece of hair behind my ear and walk home with my lip between my teeth. 


"Ms. Hazel, do you want me to use the decals on the frame for the first scene?"

"No, no, honey. Just go put together some fake food for the part with the dinner date." she shoos me off and I obey, making my way to the workshop to assemble the props. 

"Hey Brooks, get your hands off my meatballs." Owen creeps up, using a strong Italian accent. I got the joke. When he does that voice, he sounds just like his grandpa whom I'd only met once before. I shake my head and roll my eyes, settling the pasta (pale yellow yarn) on the plastic plate. The meatballs are little fluffy brown pompoms. He throws one at me, bouncing it off of my cheek. I gasp dramatically and toss a handful of yarn at him. He just laughs, but the smile is quickly erased when Hazel interrupts our fun.

"Enough!" She stomps her little foot. "Get working or I'll separate you." Owen responds politely with a yes ma'am and we hold our laughs in until she leaves. I organize the false meal and immediately start a new one.

"So how's your head?" He asks.

"It's good as new. Thanks for asking." I smirk, a playful gesture. He passes me another plate, and I take the opportunity to notice that he's shaved, and it makes me smile big.

"What?" he questions, a smile of his own appearing. 


"Why are you smiling like that?" he hip bumps me, trying to get an answer out. 

"I don't know." My head lowers. "You shaved." 

"Oh, you noticed." he looks up in mid-air like some kind of Fabio male model and poses dramatically. 

"Please, get over yourself." I laugh, hip bumping him back. We giggle for a second, finishing up the fake masterpieces. 

"Hey..." he calls out in a whisper. By now I'm already walking away to present the food to Ms. Hazel. I turn over my shoulder, plates in hand with my eyebrows up in curiosity. "Friends?" hes squeezing a flat football that he found on one of the prop shelves. 

I nod awkwardly. "Sure... friends." he winks. Then the bell rings, signaling our freedom to go home. I set the plates on Hazel's desk and go for my purse. Owen follows me out the door. 

"So what are you doing later?" Our new conversation is distracted when a guy with a tuba almost runs into me. Owen grips my side in time to yank me away. "Well, that wouldn't have been pretty." He smiles. Hes right, the instrument would've gotten me right in the forehead. The last thing I need is another injury to my skull.

"You know," I begin, forcing my hands to stop shaking. I have them tucked beneath my arms. "If you want this friend thing to work, you should probably stop flirting with me."

"I am not flirting with you." He acts surprised, like he had no clue what he was doing.

"Oh yeah? So what were you gonna say when I told you that I didn't have anything to do later?" 

"I was gonna ask if you wanted to go to the bakery." he scratches the back of his neck, feeling bashful. "As friends." he adds. 

I nod. "Of course, because that's what we are." He laughs, biting his lip after my comment. I observe when I see that his eyes are fixed on someone out on the front patio. I give a small smile when I notice Owen's chest puff out and his neck stretch more than usual. I don't hear anybody say anything, but when we pass the guy, Owen pulls me over so I'm not so close to -what seems to be- his enemy.  I didn't hear anything, but Owen certainly does. He gets in his face with no hesitation. 

"Something to say?" He growls, and I tell myself not to be scared. I recognize the guy as one of the druggies from the domino table at Kassandra's party. The guy just snickers under Owen's nose and looks at him dead in the face. 

"Nah, man." He responds simply, making me glare. 

"If you're talking shit-"

"What are you gonna do?" he plays, and the smirk never leaves his face. He likes this game. Before Owen can respond, he adds something, and he speaks too fast. "Watch out, don't scare your girl away again." They both look at me, Owen's face a bit more sincere than his opponent. He huffs. 

"Fuck off, Reese." he spits, and I go for his hand without thinking. I just want this to stop. We aren't holding hands, but our fingers are just kinda dangling. I look at this 'Reese' person as he puts a blunt up to his mouth.  

"Are you seriously doing that right now?" I squint, waving the smoke away. "On school property." He just laughs, like I'm the stupid one. And laughs and laughs and laughs. His next comment is completely one-hundred percent unnecessary and absolutely uncalled for. 

"Oh and let's not forget about your mom's vagina cancer!" Reese doesn't even have a chance to chuckle before Owen's hand leaves mine and smashes against his face. He hits him at least seven times within the four second span of him being on top of him. I just keep saying his name while trying to separate them. 

"Let's go!" My words come out in a roar when I finally get him up, and I push him to the parking lot. I'm feeling anger, and extreme guilt at the same. We don't look back at Reese or his friends or the crowd that had accumulated behind us. Owen's breathing is hard and I swear there are tears in his eyes. "Look at me." I say, only when we're far enough away from them. We're under a tree now in the shade, hidden in the back of the lot. He lets me look up at him. Not even a scratch on the boy. 

"I..." he bites his top lip with his bottom teeth in shame, hard. So I hug him, because I feel like it's the only thing I can do right now. I'm allowing my arms to wrap around the span of his chest. They travel to his neck when he holds my waist. I hear a sob in my ear but it's not loud at all. 

"I'm so sorry, Owen." I stretch to my tiptoes to rub his back while he sips quietly for air. I have this huge guy in my arms right now and he's falling to pieces. And I have a feeling in my gut that it's the first time he's cried about this, such a sensitive subject. Why does he feel comfortable enough to cry in front of me? It's such an unmanly action, especially to present in front of a girl. But here he is, in my arms. And my heart is crumbling for him in such a fluttery way. 

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