Breathe. I tell myself as I drive through the night. Its pouring rain and I can barely see in front of me. Breathe. I say it over and over to keep myself from crashing. I can’t see as it is and me crying doesn’t help much. Almost there. I think to myself. Almost there.
As I swerve into Jake’s driveway I can see everyone is asleep. Well, everyone but Jake. Even with the rain and the tears streaming down my face I found a rock small enough to hit but not break his window. I threw the rock hard enough that even I could hear its impact and I saw his shadow move towards the window. He looked out curiously and saw me – soaked and all outside his house.
I hadn’t seen her in weeks. Hadn’t talked to her in days and now she is right outside my window. She is soaked and she looks upset. What happened? She was supposed to be at the dance. Homecoming actually. Why would she be here?
She’s crying. I can tell by the way she is breathing. Her make- up is running from both the tears and the rain. Her dress is well soaked and as for the shoe’s, I wouldn’t suggest wearing them again. My girl is destroyed. What happened? What did he do to her? What did he do to her? I think about it more and more and become angry, furious even. She is still outside.
I open the window and hear her crying. How it pains me to hear her cry. She sees me open the window and whispers to me.
“Can I come in?” she whispered.
“Meet me at the front” I reply.
I walk down the stairs as quietly as possible and reach the door. Without hesitation I open it. As soon as the door opens Joanna is in my arms. I wrap them around her protectively. Oh how I never want to let her go again. How great it feels to have her back in my arms. I look at her and nod upstairs. She follows me without an argument.
When we reached Jake’s room he gives me an old t-shirt and pair of sweatpants. I go to change in the bathroom and when I come back, he looks at me expectantly. He wants to know what happened. I can feel it. He is sitting on the bed waiting for me to sit next to him. He won’t hurt me. He never has.
I sit next to him and curl into his arms as I start crying again. He just holds me. He knows what to do. I feel safe in his arms.
“He’s an Asshole” he whispers into my hair.
“I know.” I cry.
We sit like this for a while and then I drift off. I feel him move and go to the guest bed across from me. Before he does that though, I feel the light brush of his lips on my forehead. That’s my Jake.
He hurt her. He hurt her bad. Oh I knew this would happen. I should have saved her when I had the chance. I should have told her how I felt the moment I met him. I saw it in his eyes. He only wanted a girlfriend for a while and then he would move to the next one. I didn’t have the heart to tell her then.
Boyfriend, meet best friend. I hear it over and over in my head. I should have stopped her then. I should have protected her. I failed as a best friend. I should have been the guy friend who told her what an ass her boyfriend was, but she was so happy. I couldn’t crush her. I loved her. I still love her. Right now she is fragile and I won’t let her go this time.
As I lay in the guest bed watching her I know what I have to do. I have to tell her how I feel. I have to keep her with me. I have to protect her. Just not now. When she is better. When she isn’t as hurt. I won’t let her get hurt again.
“Jake?” She whispers into the darkness.
“Please don’t leave me.” She whimpers.
“I won’t ever leave you Jo.”
With that last sentence I walk over to her and get in the bed. I hold her tight all night long.
When I wake up he is gone. Its nine a.m. My head hurts. My voice cracks when I whisper Jake’s name. He left. As I think this he opens the door.
“Morning Jo.” He says carrying water and an Advil.
“Morning Jake.” I whisper as I graciously take the items out of his hands.
“I had Emily call your mom pretending to be Susanna. She thinks you’re at her house. My parents think you came at eight to tell me about homecoming. Emily has some old clothes you can wear and do everything else you need to do.”
He doesn’t respond. He just smiles. It must be nice to see me suffer. After all I did just stop talking to him before homecoming. I was a really huge jerk to him.