Taking You For Granted

Oliver had always been around, and so he would always be around... Just, as a friend. That's all he was, she swore to herself. But, when something terrible happens she's forced to take a new look at her longest standing, never changing relationship.

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7. hanging by a thread

Staying with the Galaviz's felt natural. Just like being with Oliver felt natural. I felt like an idiot for having put this off for so long.

What sucked was having people gawk at us as we walked beside each other between classes. Oli's shoulders were almost always stiff as we walked, his hand tight around mine and his backpack slung on one shoulder like he was ready to drop it the moment he needed to defend me.

It was flattering and revolting at the same time.

My Oli was sweet in his nature, goofy and yielding to almost everyone and everything. Seeing him ready to fight just made me angry. Not at him, but at everyone else.

The vandalism on my locker was renewed every morning and scrubbed clean by the end of the day. The janitor had gotten the approval to paint the locker, but you could still make out the scraped word, recessed in just another layer of paint. I gave up caring.

Me. Evans made good on his promise. He changed the seating chart of the class to put my desk by the door and Eddie's at the farthest corner in the front of the classroom, closest to his own desk. He kept Eddie busy, too, and I wondered if he'd eventually run out of ways to distract him.

Finally, Friday came. The last day before spring break. The plan was to drive down to Austin immediately after school so that we could meet with the attorney in the morning. After that, Oli and his mom wanted to take me camping for a few days. I had never been, so I was excited.

Oli met me outside of my final class and kissed my cheek upon seeing me.

I smiled and took his hand as we walked down the halls and exited the school.

We found his Jeep in the parking lot, but something felt wrong.

Eddie stepped out from around the back of the Jeep, his friends in tow. The sight of him didn't make me scared anymore, just sick and angry. Only a wimp would steal a girl's free will.

"What are you doing here?" Oliver's voice was calm, like he'd expected something like this.

"I know you've got Evans keeping me away from you. Do you think I'm an idiot?" Eddie growled at me.

"Don't talk to her," Oli demanded, still eerily calm.

"What else did you tell him?" Eddie asked.

I saw, now that I could stand to look at him for longer than a second, that the bruises on his face were a lot worse, even as they were healing, than the ones Oli and Will had sustained.

He looked scared, even as he stepped toward me. Not scared of Oli, but of me. Of me and the information I had.

Oli's hand came out in front of me and blocked Eddie from getting any closer to me. I put my hand on Oli's arm to lower it, standing my ground.

"I'm glad to see all it took for Galaviz to finally nail you was to rescue you," he spat at my shoes.

I had always thought he was nice, if a little cheesy. I couldn't believe such a monster was buried under that facade.

"Eddie," I finally spoke up. "Take your friends, leave us alone, and get out of here."

"Oh, so you will talk to me," he smirked and grabbed my chin.

I slapped his hand away. I almost didn't see Oliver launch at him, he was so fast. He tackled Eddie. I tried to pull him off of Eddie.

"Oli, stop, he doesn't deserve it!"

Hands grabbed my arms and pulled me away from the fight. The school's security ran towards us. Mr. Evans was there, too.

The security guards pulled them apart.

Eddie smirked through a bloody nose, blood between his teeth. He seemed satisfied and my gut dropped.

Oliver's left eye was already swelling up, and he was holding a hand over his ribs.

Both were standing, breathing. There was no winner, so why did Eddie look so smug.

"Care to explain what's going on?" The principal was walking briskly in our direction.

"We were admiring Oliver's Jeep," one of Eddie's friends said. "He just attacked Eddie out of nowhere. Guess he didn't like Eddie talking to his girl."

The principal eyed the friend with irritation, like she hated this. Like she had an idea of what had really happened.

"You both know the policy for fighting on school grounds," she grumbled. "Mr. Galaviz, you're suspended from school for the week following spring break. Mr. Zimmerman, come see me in my office right now. Security, make sure that Oliver leaves school grounds within the hour."

She turned and left, followed by a smiling Eddie. His friends left me go and followed him. Mr. Evans stuck around with the security guards.

Oliver looked completely unsurprised by any of this.

"That was a terrible trick," Mr. Evans said. "But an obvious one. I can't believe you fell right into it."

"What are you talking about?" I asked and went to Oli's side, trying not to freak out over his exponentially swelling black eye.

"He wants to make it look like we fought over you at the party for a completely different reason," Oliver coughed on a couple of words. "Like I beat him up out of jealousy, not because he tried..."

He trailed off and leaned against my shoulder. He felt so heavy suddenly, and I realized he needed my support to keep him standing.

Mr. Evans sighed.

"Take him home," he pointed to Oli. "Patch him up. I'll see you in Austin tomorrow morning."

"You'll be there, too?" I asked.

"And miss out on bringing down this longstanding corruption?" He asked. "Not a chance."

I drove Oli home. He said his ribs felt bruised, but it wasn't anything more serious than that. He called his mom to tell her what happened so that she would t be freaked out when we got home.

It didn't help.

"Oliver Horacio Galaviz," she griped as she placed ice on his eye. "I can't believe you let that boy goad you into another fight. Do you want to die?"

"I would have won," he defended himself.

"I'm talking about death by my hands, young man," Carolyn clarified, but anxiously placed a kiss on his forehead anyway. "It sounds like June was defending herself just fine, anyway."

"He touched her," Oli sounded so angry. It sent a shiver down my spine.

"Well, you gave him exactly what he wanted."

And that was the final word.

It was true.

There was no way he would have gone any further with the security in the parking lot. He was waiting for Oliver to make a move.

Carolyn and I loaded our things into her car, an old '98 Ford Explorer that Oliver had kept running somehow. Oliver laid out across the backseat to sleep while I took the front passenger seat to chat with Carolyn, help with directions, and keep music playing.

We made it to Austin I just over three hours. Eight o'clock.

We unloaded our things into the hotel and I helped Oli into one of the two queen sized beds in the room.

"I'm sorry," he said quietly.

"Why?" I asked.

"I probably just ruined everything," he answered.

I shook my head and ran my fingertips through the curls at the edge of his hairline.

"Thank you for wanting to protect me," I said. "I just don't want to see you get hurt anymore. Let's not worry about it for now and enjoy the week."

He closed his eyes against my touch. The swelling had gone down a bit. I leaned down and kissed him. He smiled against my lips.

"I kind of still can't believe it," he said when I sat back up. "I can't believe you're finally with me."

After hearing so many people suggesting that Eddie had claimed me, or that I belonged to him... it was nice for Oli to say I was with him, not that he possessed me.

Even though I would argue that I had, in fact, given my heart to him.

"Believe it," I smiled.

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