Nate wasn’t there to drop me to school this morning. He called me to tell me he was busy, but I knew that wasn’t the real reason. I could hear it in his voice when we spoke. Other than that, I hadn't spoken to him since our encounter on Saturday. To be honest, I hadn’t spoken with anyone since then. Aunty Steph came home later that morning, but I barely acknowledged her. Just like I had ignored all of Abby’s calls. It was all because of the undeniable guilt that was eating at me. I felt so guilty for not being able to say I love you back to Nate. Although I was pissed with him, I knew what I had said hurt. Saturday was all I could think about the whole way to school. As I arrived, I couldn’t help but let my eyes drift to the four boys standing just outside of the school.
One of them was unfamiliar, but I knew the other three like my own reflection. There stood Justin, Ashton and Nate. Yeah, he was just that busy. I didn’t even care why they were hanging out, I couldn’t care less about Justin’s enemies. Or Nate’s. Rolling my eyes to myself I walked inside school, barely prepared to face another day of Justin hanging out with me like he was my friend.
“So, Cassidy, what’s with you and Justin?” Jennifer Austin, the schools gossip queen, asked. I sighed, I had barely taken my seat in first period and I was already being harassed. This was why I skipped school on Friday.
“Justin who?” I asked in a bored voice, opening my textbook. She gasped in shock like I had punched her.
“You’ve got to be joking. Justin as in Justin Bieber. You know, the sexy guy who sits next to you in every class?”
“No sorry, I haven't really noticed him before. Is he new?”
Jennifer looked at me as if I was insane.
“Aw, Cass babe. You scar me.” Justin smirked, kissing my cheek as he sat down beside me. Disgusted, I wiped my cheek with my sleeve.
Jennifer leant over towards Justin, giving him a perfect view of what her school shirt was hiding. Her desperate nature around Justin made me want to throw up. She had never been the slut of the school, nor was she a prude. Did she really have no one else to obsess over? Then again, almost every girl was acting that was toward him.
“It’s okay babe, don’t worry about her.” Justin said. I looked towards him, irritated.
“How many times do I have to tell you not to call me that? I have a boyfriend, you even know him! I don’t understand why you can’t just leave me alone –“
“He was talking to me.” Jennifer glared at me. I turned to Justin for confirmation, only to see him watching me with raised eyebrows and an amused smirk dancing on his lips.
“Oh.” I replied. I could feel my cheeks burning up as I busied myself with my pens.
“Ok class, settle down. Today we’ll be revising some basics, considering most of you did poorly on the pop quiz on Friday.” Miss Extrum said, looking around the room. “For those of you who were absent on Friday,” she continued, looking pointedly at Justin and I. “You will be doing the test today, in the library. It won’t take the whole lesson, as it’s fairly short.”
Justin and I exchanged glances as I remembered Friday’s events.
“Sure Miss, of course Cassidy will do the exam.” Justin said, handing me my books and motioning for me to stand up.
“I meant you as well, Mr. Bieber. You weren’t available on Friday either.”
“Oh I can assure you Miss, I was very available on Friday. Just not for activities involving math. If you had said activities involving you I might have showed up.”
I stared at Justin incredulously as the rest of the class burst into laughter. It was not an unpopular opinion that our math teacher was young and attractive, being only 26. She had long blonde hair and brown eyes and if she wasn’t a math teacher I would have sworn she was a model. I waited for him to be sent to detention, for some sort of anger to be expressed, but the only change in Miss Extrum’s expression was a faint blush appearing on her cheeks.
“Just come and get your paper, Justin.”
“Sure.” He winked and walked to the front of the class, grabbing my paper too. “C’mon, Cass. We have to work hard for Miss Lovely.” He smiled innocently at our teacher before walking straight out of the class room. Deciding it easier just to follow him, I too walked to the front.
“I’m so sorry, on his behalf.” I said to Miss Extrum before following Justin’s path. I closed the door behind me, bumping into a strong chest as I turned around.
“Oh I’m sorry-“ I cut myself off, glaring up at the idiot. “Actually, no I’m not.”
“Are you sure about that, cutie?” Justin muttered.
“Yeah, I am.” I moved sideways and continued walking to the library. I felt Justin’s presence behind me, following me.
“That was a stupid stunt you pulled. You’ve barely been here a week. I can’t even believe you skipped school on your first week back-“
“Well, I saved your ass, didn't I?”
My cheeks heated up in embarrassment. “I didn’t ask you to do that.”
“Wow. You sure do sound really appreciative. It’s not like I risked my life or anything.”
“Shut up Justin.”
“You don’t even have the decency to answer Abby’s calls. Or to thank me or Ashton.”
“I’m going through a shit time, so I’m sorry if I wasn’t running to see you after that night.”
“Oh, but seeing Nate was alright? Even though he was the asshole that put you in danger, and we were the ones to get you out of it?”
“Don’t you talk about Nate to me. You know nothing.” I stopped short in the hallway, as did he.
“No, you don’t know anything. You could have died in that place if it wasn’t for me. God damn, do you even know what I would have done if you died, Cassie? If you went down just like Emily, all because Nate got you involved in our stupid fight? You’re in danger and all you do is sit around and pretend like everything is fine, like there’s nothing wrong. Well you know what? Because you’re with Nate, there are a shit load of people on your ass wanting you dead purely for revenge against him.”
“You’re all talk Justin-“
“No, he is. You don’t see shit because I’m protecting you from it all-“
“I don’t need protecting!” I screamed, “I’m not a little girl, I can take care of myself!”
Justin ran his fingers through his hair urgently and walked quickly toward me. I flinched in fear.
He’s going to hit me.
He cornered me against the lockers, my face directly at his neck. He slammed his fist against the locker next to my head (probably crushing our test papers), the noise echoing off the walls and tiles of the empty hallway. I jumped and my breathing quickened, I was scared as shit. His hand stayed beside my head, making him loom over me.
“You’re not a little girl, obviously. That doesn’t mean you can fight, or take care of yourself. Friday night, you broke down when you heard those guns. What if that happens again and I’m not there? If Ashton or Nate or whoever you think your hero is, isn’t there? You’re alone?” He lifted my chin and looked me in the eyes. Now my breathing was fast for a completely different reason. I felt my eyes widen and slowly a blush rise up my neck. “I can’t let him – or me – be the reason something happens to you. I’m going to look out for you whether you like it or not, because I care about you. I can’t let you get hurt, cutie.”
His hold dropped from my chin and he stepped back and just like that he dropped the subject. “Now, lets go do this test.”
“Hmm?” I looked up from my staring competition with the floor and met Miss Extrum’s gaze.
“I asked you to meet me because I wanted to talk about this. Both of us, not just me talking at you. I know it’s only the second week of school, but you completely failed. Your records show you’ve always been an A student in most of your subjects, the occasional B in math…what caused this?” My stomach dropped, seemingly to my feet. I felt like I was going to be sick. I failed?
I shook my head. “I’ve just been distracted. I’m sorry, I’ll do something to make it up I just have been going through some things,” I snorted. “they’re completely petty but-“
“Cassidy, if something is going on at home… I know you don’t live with your parents...”
“No, it’s not that.”
“Then what's the problem? Someone at school? Whatever it is it can’t be petty if its having this effect on you.”
I cleared my throat. I had Miss Extrum as a teacher last year also, I could trust her not to embarrass me, right?
“Nothing important. I’m just… struggling.”
She studied me and shook her head. “Well, whatever it is I hope you get over it soon because I don’t want your grades to suffer, especially during senior year.”
I nodded. “Yes Miss. Can I go now? My Aunty is waiting to pick me up.” A complete lie, but I needed to get out.
A liar and a failure?
“Sure. If there’s anything I can help with, let me know. Have a good night.” I smiled politely and rushed out of the math class room.
How pathetic. Failing a test? Stupid. So, so stupid.
I shook my head violently as tears welled in my eyes. I ran desperately out of the school and down the stairs of the parking lot. My throat was burning, closing up and suffocating me. Tears were threatening to spill from my eyes. The wind blew against me, throwing my hair in all directions. I was a mess.
My vision became blurry as I ran faster and more urgently away from the stupid school. That's what did this to me. My bag was heavy on my shoulder, flailing around as I ran. I scampered, darting between people and along streets. I reached a park which held the edge of a woodland. I looked around. No one in sight, thank god. I toddled in between tree roots and small creeks until I saw a an old, huge tree. It must have been hundreds of years old. I sat in the vine and moss covered roots that lied on top of the ground, not caring where I was. My breathing was erratic and choked sobs cut through my throat, demanding to be felt.
“I failed. I’m a failure. A teacher wanted to speak to me after school because I failed.” I choked out in between tears. Even I could hear the distress in my voice. Tears continued to pour down my face until my head ached and I wanted to throw up. I sat until my breathing became somewhat normal and I could only hear the call of birds, the rush of water, the wings of insects and the sounds of the occasional animal running around. I lent back and rested my head on the tree trunk, closing my eyes. The sounds around me relaxed my mind and reminded me of my father.
“You look like such an angel when you don’t have hate blazing in your eyes.” A calm voice stated, scaring the shit out of me. I bolted upright, my eyes wide, only to see nothing in front of me. What. The. Fuck. “That's the only emotion I see when I’m around you. Except maybe when I had you against the lockers today, you looked scared and a little bit…excited.” My breathing hastened.
“Justin?” My voice wobbled. “Where are you?”
I stood up with shaky legs and tried to look around the tree. Nothing.
“You run real fast, cutie. Even with a bag full of books. You surprised me. Have you been training since we ran from the cops and away from that party or was I just not paying attention? I thought you were a nerd.”
“Did you follow me?”
His voice held a smirk, I could just picture his face. “Maybe.”
“Where are you, Justin?”
“Sit back down at the tree and close your eyes like you were, and I’ll show you.”
“Just do it.”
I tried to follow the direction of his voice, but it was impossible. I huffed and rolled my eyes before sitting as I just had.
“Whatever you do, don’t open your eyes until I tell you to, got it?”
I heard the crumpling of leaves, the breaking of twigs. Footsteps getting closer and closer.
“I trust him, I trust him, I trust him.” I whispered to myself. Justin wouldn’t hurt me, he told me he wanted to protect me earlier today.
I could feel someone close to me, almost examining my face. My breathing was choppy, I was freaking out. The smell of Justin calmed me a bit, but not much. I could feel his breath fanning my face and the shadow he was casting over me.
“Calm down, cutie. It’s just me. Don’t you trust me?”
“I trust you.” I muttered.
“Keep your eyes closed.” He mumbled. I nodded slowly. Before I could react, Justin had my hands pinned above my head, and something metal and sharp held against my throat. I wanted to open my eyes, but fear consumed me and made me still. My breath caught in my throat and I felt tears building up behind my eyes.
“What are you doing, Justin?”
He said nothing to answer me, only moved closer. I could sense his presence right above me. Sobs escaped my throat in broken sections.
“How would you get out of this, cutie?” His voice was teasing, taunting me, and only made me cry harder.
“I don’t know.” I sobbed, lifting my head upwards to get away from the knife he held at my throat. His grip on my arms were firm, and I wanted, no needed, to get away fast.
“Don’t cry, babe. Just think. How do you get out?”
I shook my head, but that was a mistake. The knife was sharp, and made tiny cuts along my neck. I cried harder, but Justin didn’t relent.
“Open your eyes, if you want.” He mumbled, his lips near my ear. I wanted to move him away, to get away, but I was stuck. I opened my eyes to see Justin less than an inch away from me. He didn’t look evil, but our predicament said otherwise.
“Why do you want to kill me?” I sniffled.
“Cutie, I don’t want to kill you.” His voice became rougher as he held the knife harsher against me. “Now, how would you get out?”
“I don’t know.” I moaned in fear, in pain.
“Come on!” he growled, intimidating me. “Think of it like a math problem, solving this will get you out. How would you get out?”
My hands shook with anger as I hissed and glared at him. “I failed.”
“I know. How would you do it?”
“Stop asking me!” I screamed, but he only pushed the knife further to my throat. His eyes gazed into mine as I tears spilled down my cheeks.
“Don’t make me angry, I have a knife to you.”
“Thanks for that, Mr. obvious.” I spat, despite my tears. I was scorching with anger, he had come here only to tease me about my result.
“Use your anger, how would get out of this?” He again, put his lips near my ear, “How would you, say, turn this around?”
I closed my eyes and hit my head against the tree. Why was he doing this?
I tried to get my hands out of his hold, but he was too strong. My shoulders and arms began to ache, but I just couldn't think.
‘How would you, say, turn this around?’
How could I do that? He had me stuck. I swallowed and I felt the knife dig further into my skin.
Think. THINK. THINK HOW TO GET OUT!
Justin wasn’t sympathetic to my situation, all he did was dig the knife harder into me. He wasn’t going to give up any time soon. I opened my eyes and he was still there, lips less than an inch from mine. I had the stupidest idea in the world, but it was worth a shot…right? I flicked my eyes towards his lips, and he caught on straight away.
“Don’t think so, cutie. That won’t work on me.”
Turn it around, get out of this.
I became suddenly aware of Justin straddling my legs, but not resting on them. Before he could even think of what I was doing, I lifted my knee to knee him in his… special place. Just as expected, he dropped my hands and the knife. I grabbed the knife and stood up, while he was glaring at me from his crouched position from the floor. I held the knife in a ready to stab position to his chest.
“Did I turn that around well enough for you, Bieber?” I growled, rage and resentment coursing through me. He smirked, before yelling, pain evident in his voice despite his facials.
“Ashton! You guys can come out now!”
“What are you-“
I cut myself off. There, in front of me, stood Ashton, Nate and the other guy from this morning, each of them with smirks of their own.
“Well done, baby. I didn’t think you’d be able to do it, but that was hot.”
A/N: Hi everyone! This was a really long chapter (3000 words omg) because I know the others have been short. There will probably be this in someone else's point of view (or not lol idk) because i reeaaally want to explain why Nate is hanging around, now twice, with Justin when they're supposed to hate each other. I hope you guys all had a lovely week and weekend. Keep commenting and sharing... i love all of you and your support. xo