Chapter Twelve - I Lie and Cover for Him
I knew something was wrong when throughout the whole English lesson the desk beside me was empty. He hasn't missed an English lesson since, well since he and I became partners. If I remember correctly, I don't think I saw his body, towering over students in the corridor. Worry began to sink in.
The lunch bell sounded and we were dismissed from class. I walked in a hurried pace to the benches where I always meet Bec and Lilly, this time though, they weren't there so I stood alone, surveying the premises. As my eyes scattered over the area, they fell upon a certain someone. Grave thoughts sunk in when he turned his face and from a far I could see black.
"Brooks!" I called out as a natural instinct, this scored me a few stares but in the end I didn't care because it got his attention.
He just stared back at me with a blank facial expression. He has spoken to me at school before but never in an area so vast, so public as the school playground. He was about 80 meters away from me so yes, I was shocked that he could hear my voice. Do I walk over to him? It wasn't really a question because the answer came when my feet began walking at a fast pace to the boy.
He didn't look approachable. He stood by himself, in the middle of the playground and hopeless me was approaching him. He didn't look away as I walked towards him, correction, speed walked. My heart was thumping, what if he didn't want to be seen with me? And why would he? I was a no body and he had a big reputation for chatting up with some bodies.
"Brooks." I almost whispered when he was right in front of me. His face was to the side so all I saw was his left side, the unaffected side. Still, his face remained blank.
"Brooks, let me see." I said softly yet firmly. He wouldn't turn his head so I decided to make him. I watched my shaking hand as it advanced to his now, pale face. When my fingers made contact with his skin, he winced at my touch. Slowly and carefully, I turned his chin so his right side was now visible to my naked eye.
My worst night mare was confirmed when I saw the dark purple shading from his eye lid, all the way down to his cheek bone. I gasped and he ripped his chin away from my grip. Now I was nervous and sometimes when I'm nervous I talk, fast, which is never good.
"If there is bleeding within the eye, that is called a hyphema and should be looked for any time you see a black eye. It can affect your cornea and your vision. In some cases of face or eye trauma, increased pressure inside the eyeball (called ocular hypertension) can occur, resulting in damage to the eye and eyesight if not treated." I babbled but he stopped me by putting a single finger to my lip.
"I'm fine, Teddy." He breathed but I didn't believe him. He removed his finger from my lip which now had an incredible tingling sensation.
"Who did this to you?" I trembled, afraid of the answer.
"It doesn't matter," he said, trying to brush off the conversation.
"Let me take you to see the nurs-" he cut me off by his booming voice quick sent me quivering.
"At least let me examine it." I said and finally he didn't object. As an impulse I took his hand and gently walked him over to the bench where my friends were now gathered. I was surprised when he didn't swab my hand away or grip it out, disgusted that I laid a hand on him.
"Hi." I said softly to my friends who mirrored each others expressions. They had half their sandwiches in their hands, which were close to their mouth and instead of taking a bite, their mouths hung wide open in awe.
Before saying a polite hello to my friends who momentarily have lost their tongues, Brooks took a seat while I rummaged through my school bag in order to find the ice-pack that I retrieved from the freezer this morning, in order to keep my yogurt cold. Gently, I wrapped my thin, lightweight scarf around it just so his face couldn't come into contact with such extreme coldness. I lightly pressed the pack on his cheek and he squeezed his eyes shut. The wound was fresh, that much I knew.
It was then that I realized the close proximity that his face was with mine. I stood over him as he was sitting but still, determining on the width between us, I think we were about 25.63 centimeters a part. Upon opening his eyes, he didn't flinch away from me, instead he looked up into my eyes and smiled.
"Thank you," he breathed out, his warm breath hitting my skin literally made goosebumps rise up from my arms.
"You're welcome." I replied back with a simple smile. But the question still remained, who hit him?
"You know," he said, resuming in his cocky tone. "People are staring."
My eyes raked over the school area and sure enough, just like he said, what felt like hundreds of pairs of eyes met with mine. I gulped, audibly before I averted my gaze back to Brooks.
"When people are staring like that, it's always polite to give them something to look at." Just as I was about to repeat his words inside my head and give him a confused look. I understood what he said as he leaned in.
Afraid to move a muscle, I felt him close his lips and gently press them against my cheek. He pressed there for a good five seconds before leaning out and smiling.
Oh my. A tingling sensation lingered on my cheek and my fingertips brushed over the area in which moments ago Brooks' lips were on. My breath hitched in my throat as I swallowed. Brooks just kissed my cheek. No boy has kissed my cheek besides my dad and my Nonno.
"I'll see you soon Al." He said, noticing the reaction he had on me. I just stared at him in awe and I nodded rapidly. I watched as he got up off the bench and walked away, just like that.
My heart sank a little as I watched him walked away but then it rose again at the thought that Brooks kissed my cheek.
He's kissed so many other girls cheeks, lips and neck, that was nothing.
I sighed inwardly knowing that the little voice in my head was right. I knew that to Brooks I'd never be more than his partner. By his partner I mean, just the girl in his class who got him his first A. As I pathetically watched Brooks' back muscles from beneath the thin white shirt he was wearing another figure caught my eye.
The question who hit Brooks? Was no longer a mystery. The new question was who threw the first punch? He walked tensely to where Tara was standing. Her hands clutched at her mouth in shock as he stared at her best friend who's lip was cut and who has a big bruise on his jaw.
My stare was cut short when my friends regained their tongues and questioned me. "You are the talk of the school you know that?"
"What?" I asked back with a confused look etched across my face.
"Good girl turning bad." Bec said, sounding as though she were reading a newspaper headline.
"What do you mean?" I quizzed, wanting to know everything they knew.
"Well it's not every day that a good girl gets a detention, actually it's never happened...until now" Lil said, taking a bite out of her ham, cheese and lettuce sandwich.
"Oh" I mumbled, looking back at Colt who was now having difficulties eating his food due to his bruised jaw.
Back when Brooks was at my house and Colton showed up, by the way the boys conversation went it sounded like the boys knew each other from beforehand but how? Colt is in the year above, also he's been gone for a whole year. So what's their history?
"Colton my boy, how lovely of you to join us." I wanted to gag at my mothers words of endearment. Colt being the boy she never had.
"Hi Mrs Binks, I'm terribly sorry to drop in on your family like this, imposing on your dinner." Good, you interrupted my crumbed lamb shanks. He makes me want to be sick listening to him acting so polite.
"Don't apologise bello, please grab a plate and join us." 'Bello' being a term of endearment amongst the Italian community.
"Thank you," he said, scurrying to the kitchen where he searched for a plate.
"Alex, get him a plate and serve him up." My mother hissed in a hushed tone so only us at the table could hear.
I groaned inwardly and pushed my chair out, causing the wood to screech against the tiles which scored me a glare from my mum. I rolled my eyes and advanced to the kitchen. Colton looked around like a lost puppy, which then led to me rolling my eyes again. I opened the cabinet, retrieving a flat plate which I shoved in his direction.
He chuckled, "Looks like I forgot where everything was in a year, thanks." What was with this guy?
Without replying I was about to walk out when a hand was placed on my shoulder. I snapped my head to Colt and sent him a scowl which then caused him to shuffle back. "Listen Ally," he began and I shuddered at the name Ally, this shudder wasn't like the shudders I get with Brooks. No, this shudder was one that made me feel unclean.
"I'm trying here, would you give me a chance?" He asked sincerely.
"A chance for what exactly Colt?" I shot at him which caught him off guard. "For me to trust you and then have you deceive me? Well I'm not falling for any of your plans." I retorted, walking out of the kitchen with pride.
I resumed in my normal seat and then noticed the only seat left for Colt to sit in was the one directly across from me. Great. He walked in, attempting to look unaffected by my words and he took the seat remaining. The conversation consisted of my mum talking so fondly and Colt sucking up. We were all shocked to hear my dad's voice interrupt, one that we didn't hear often. He usually stayed quiet since it happened. He is the softer one, let's us do anything because nothing phases him anymore. So that's why my mum had to step in and become the dominant figure.
"What happened to your jaw Colton?" My father asked, taking everyone by surprise.
"Yeah Colt, what happened?" I taunted, half because I wanted to really know what happened between him and Brooks, and the other half because I wanted to make him feel uncomfortable.
"Things got a bit messy in football practice, Sir." Colt said after clearing his throat. To me, his statement sounded rehearsed. Of course I knew it was a lie, but why was he trying to cover it up? Wouldn't he be proud saying 'I bashed the Bad Boy' but no, it lied to cover it up. Why?
"Have you had some ice on it?" My mum asked, slightly concerned as she nibbled on her boiled carrot.
"Yes Ma'am, Tara took me to the nurse's office." He said, smiling at my sister. Then his eyes slightly brushed over me but when he saw my glare his head shot back down to his plate.
I have had enough of this. "Mum, Dad," I still addressed him even though he probably wasn't listening. "I'm going to stay over at a friends house to work on an assignment. It will take the whole night as we have to observe for several hours, so yeah." I said, clearing my plate from the table.
"Does this happen to be the boy we were discussing beforehand?" My mother questioned and Colt's head jerked up.
"Maybe." I replied, walking into the kitchen.
"I don't know if I'm okay with the fact that you are staying over the night with a boy in the house." My mum said, shaking her head.
"Three boys actually." A masculine voice piped in. Colt. How did he know about Jai and Beau?
"Three boys?" My mum's voice shrilled. "No that doesn't sound like a good idea."
"But mum, it's for my assignment, one that I'm planning on getting an A for. So if you're concerned his mum is protective and she's keeping a close eye on her sons. Here is the address if you are so that worried and you can't trust me." I said in a huff, scribbling Brooks' address down on a napkin.
I ran upstairs, not listening to my mum's concerns. I grabbed a canvas bag from my cupboard and I placed a pair of flannel pajamas in it, my uniform and a few things needed for the next day, along with my school bag. Rushing down the stairs, I clutched my keys with my life. With a quick goodbye to no one in particular, I left with a huff.
I hadn't actually told Brooks that I was coming over and there really wasn't a reason that I needed to go over, yes, the good girl lied. I just needed to get out of there. My mum has always fancied Colt, that's why I never told her about him teasing me. Her perfect imagine of that boy has left a lot to be desired. She wants Tara to marry him, only because she can't marry him herself. She is convinced that that boy is nothing but a pretty face and good manners. That's why when she found out that I had a crush on him she was over the moon.
I really should have given Brooks my number when he pestered me for it, so now I could have called beforehand instead of showing up unexpectedly. I sighed after realising that I had already arrived in his driveway. Sighing once more, I locked my car behind me and I knocked on his door. "Hey Alex" a smiling voice said from behind the door.
"Hi Beau." I said quietly.
"Luke is at a um...well as he says, an appointment." My face fell as Beau spoke. Why did I feel like crying?
"Shut up." His booming voice said, pushing Beau out of the way. I smiled instantly when I saw him.
"Hi Al," he said cheerfully, causing my heart to flutter.
"Hey Brooks." We were speaking through a fly screen door so Brooks opened it, giving me room to walk in.
"Sorry about my stupid brother, what are you doing here?" He asked, carefully not to try and sound rude.
"Um well..." That was a good question. Why did my anger towards Colt lead me here?
"Things at my house got pretty hectic and..." I trailed off.
Brooks dismissed it, waving with his hands. "You don't need to explain." I found myself following him into the kitchen.
"Hi Gina," I said politely and once again I found myself hugging the Players mum.
"Stop molesting her." Brooks joked, pulling me away from his mother.
"You two, behave." She half warned, half said in a joking tone.
"Always," Luke's voice rang in a sing song tone as he led me to the lounge room.
"Wow Alex, you really must be good if he's coming back for seconds." My jaw literally hit the floor upon hearing this comment made by Jai.
"W-What? I-I Never-" I stammered on my words.
"And to think, people actually class you as smart when you can't even get a proper sentence out." Brooks teased, resting his body effortlessly on the couch.
"I am smart, douche bag." I found myself saying.
"Well your intelligence must be running thin, if you have resorted to calling people douche bags as a mechanism of an insult." I must credit Brooks here, he actually sounded smart.
"Oh please, at least not every second word out of my mouth is a swear word." I fought back, this boy really tested my patience.
"She's feisty, I like her." Beau commented but Brooks and I both ignored him.
"Now Al, did you really come here to pick a fight with someone you have no chance in winning against. Verbal or physical." He cooed, did he just declare war?
"I could beat you in any fight, physical or verbal." I retorted.
"I would really like to see that, it looks like you'd lose to a took pick sweet heart." He replied back, chuckling at his own words.
"Don't patronize me tough guy, and if you haven't learnt something I'll let you in on the biggest secret. Never underestimate the opponent." I was proud in myself that my words actually came out as deadly as a threat.
"With the single exception if your opponent is the Good Girl, Al over here, who is anything but unexpected."
"My visit here was unexpected." I shot back.
"Touché." He replied with a grin that was copied onto my lips. I think that was truce.
There were several claps that were given from the small audience we seemed to gather. "See Al, we work well as a team." He said, pulling me down on the couch beside me.
"Really, coming from you, there is no I in team." I told him.
"Ah," he said having me at my ends wits. "But there is a me."
"What ever, where's your bathroom?" I asked, feeling the sudden urge to relieve my bladder of toxins.
"Down the corridor, second door to the left." Brooks informed me, releasing his arm from over my shoulder which I didn't know that he was holding. That's why it was tingling.
I followed his directions which of course led me to the bathroom. Thankfully I relieved myself but of course, there was always bad luck. So that's why today I had such a low tolerance for the bullshit coming out of Colt's mouth. Usually I'm more patient but apparently, not this week.
Luckily the heavens saved me and I didn't have a mess, it came as a warning so I had time. I didn't even think that it would be my week so I didn't pack anything as I organised my toiletries. Great. I scanned the bathroom drawers, surely there would be something.
Just my luck, I got my period at the Bad Boy's house.
I heard footsteps outside the door so I took a chance.
"Gina," I whispered, my heart racing.
"Yes dear?" I sighed a sigh of relief.
"Um, Gina, I seem to have, well it's my week and I don't have anything." I whispered, trying to let the boys hear me.
"Oh, hunny there is a box of tampons in the third drawer." She informed me. But that's the thing, I don't use tampons because the whole concept of sticking it- I just rather not.
"Um, Gina, do you have any pads? That's all I use." I told her and I could hear sympathy in her voice.
"I'll get you some, it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes." She assured me.
*5 minutes later*
"Here love," she said, after pulling my trousers, I unlocked the door and thanked Gina for being such a life saver.
"Oh and Gina, could you maybe not tell Luke?" I asked politely and a sheepish look etched across her face.
"Sorry love, he was the one who went to the store and bought them." Her face was full of regret.
"Oh that's okay," I said, closing the door. I fell back and resting my head on the bathroom door. How could I face him now? This was completely and utterly mortifying.
I fixed myself up and I slipped out of the bathroom, afraid of bumping into Brooks and then having to discuss it. Imagine that? Discussing my period with Brooks.
"Sorry for the inconvenience." I apologised to Gina who was making the couch a bed.
A heard a groan from behind me. "Haven't we covered the conversation where you stop aplogising for every little thing," he exasperated.
"Right, noted." I replied, straightening out the sheets.
"You two, get some sleep." Gina said with a yawn. It was only 9:40pm and I usually went to bed at 10:00pm when all my homework was completed so it was understandable.
"Yes mum." Brooks said, allowing his mum to kiss him on the cheek goodnight.
"So, what do you want to do?" Luke asked when his mum was safely upstairs and by no means in eavesdropping distance.
"Sleep," I said even though honestly, I wasn't tired. For some reason I felt excited and so the excitement was keeping me awake.
"Maybe not." Brooks said, flicking on the TV to a low volume and sitting on what was now classed as my bed.
"What are you going to pull an all nighter?" I laughed at the crazy and completely random idea that popped in my head.
"And why not?" he asked, at my stupid idea.
"Because there is ten hours until school starts so sleep up, plus the whole concept of depriving yourself of sleep seems completely inhumane to me." I replied.
He turned the tv on to mute and he faced me with a surprised look on his face. "I know by now that I should not be surprised but please tell me that you have pulled an all nighter. He begged.
"I don't know how to respond." I told him honestly. Brooks stared at me with a crazy look in his eye.
"What?" I asked, desperately wanting to know his thoughts.
"Teddy, you just wait, these next ten hours will be the best ten hours of your life."
"What part of 'school tomorrow' don't you get?" I asked the crazy boy who dug through his kitchen, retrieving any form of chocolate, lollies or soft drink he could find.
"Oh no, I get that, what I don't get is how you survived seventeen years without an all nighter." he said, dumping all the contents in his arms onto the coffee table in front of me.
"Sixteen," I corrected him.
"What?" he asked, turning and facing me.
"I'm sixteen." I told him and he nodded.
"I'll be seventeen next week, on the 10th, which reminds me, could you look after Annabelle and take my shift, I'd owe you of course." I pleaded. The last thing I wanted on my seventeenth birthday was to have a crying baby in my arms.
"That's a Thursday night isn't it?" He asked, trailing off and I knew why.
"Oh..." I said awkwardly.
"Its okay, mum can look after her for the half hour that I'm gone." That's a bit harsh, he only spends half an hour with a girl who just gave him everything before leaving her alone. That to me is a definition of an asshole. An extremely attractive asshole.
"Okay." I said, composing myself, there was an awkward tension in the atmosphere but I tried not to notice it.
"Oh and Al, are you feeling okay and all? You don't need anything?" When he stressed the 'need' I realised what was happening and I was not discussing my period with Brooks. I could feel my cheeks turning crimson as I was really embarrassed.
"No, I'm fine, thanks." I said quickly.
He sighed. "I was absolutely mortified, I went to the store and I didn't know what to get, I didn't know they had sizes or anything." He laughed and I ended up laughing too, imagine, the bad boy buying a girl pads, that would have been a sight to see.
"You did well though, thank you." I said, sounding sincere and grateful.
"No problem," he said, beginning on the sour worms.
"So how did your parents take the detention?" He asked with a smirk on his face.
"All I got was a very big lecture on how my mum was disappointed in me. I was sent to my room to do homework and that was it" I told him, still surprised.
"Really? I was expecting a grounding." He replied, equally as shocked.
"Maybe if I get suspended." I laughed.
"That can be arranged." He said in all seriousness before smirking.
"My mum wanted to meet you, which is absolutely mental." I laughed. I don't know if you can get high on candy at 1:00am but if you can, then I'm pretty sure we were both high on sugar.
"What's your dad like?" He questioned, taking a big gulp of mountain dew.
"He is quiet and reserved. He doesn't talk much. He's been letting us do anything that we want, going out at what ever time, I haven't really taken advantage of that until now. He relaxes my mum when she's angry but he isn't the dominant figure anymore." I described to Brooks.
"What do you mean by anymore?" He asked.
"My grandparents, his parents, they died in a car accident." I said quietly. "It was a head on collision with a truck, they died almost instantly." I elaborated.
Brooks moved closer to him, wrapping his arm around my waist and squeezing me slightly. "Aw Al, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to- I didn't know." He said, not knowing what to say.
"It's okay, it was two years ago. My dad was driving and they were in the back seat. I think he blames himself and he still has traumatic stress, that's why he doesn't talk much." I told him and it felt good to finally tell someone, even if he wasn't listening.
"You don't have to tell me." Brooks informed me.
"I know, but I want to." I replied, resting my head on his shoulder.
"I'm sorry Al," he said, rubbing my arm slightly.
"It's okay. It's just hard keeping it all bottled in sometimes. I'm sorry I'm telling you even though you probably don't care." I found myself saying, the sugar high slowly wearing off.
"I do care and if you ever need to talk to someone about it, I'm here. I won't be your personal tissue but you now, you can always tell me. I'll even listen to the boring stuff." Was this the Brooks who makes sexual comments to tease me, the Brooks who landed me a detention and the Brooks who bought me pads?
"But if you tell anyone I will deny it and then personally kill you." He informed me, yep, that was Brooks.
"Deal!" I chuckled.
"Want to get to sleep?" He asked after my yawn.
"What about the all nighter?" I asked him.
"Maybe another night. Like you said, we have school tomorrow." He said, his thumb was moving in a circular motion on my arm which was soothing.
"Okay but we have to do it, an all nighter I mean, us to." I rambled on and he chuckled.
"Of course Teddy, get some sleep." He helped me up and tucked into the sheets.
"Good night Brooks," I whispered before he walked off.
He scratched the back of his head, I know he was contemplating something but he decided against it.
"Good Night Al."
He walked off and I was left with complete and utter silence, if you don't include the now loud clock ticking. I looked back on my hectic day and my mind was filled with questions. Why does Colt want me to forgive him so bad? Does he want to be friends? Why did Brooks succumb to sleeping? And what was he contemplating just before he walked off?
I didn't have my alarm clock so I woke up to the unpleasant sound of loud biting and chewing of an apple. My head shot up to glare at the person who dared to wake me. Non other than Brooks.
"Morning sleepy head." He said taking another bite of his red delicious apple.
"Morning," I croaked and got up groggily. I noticed he was showered, changed and dressed.
"Better quickly get ready Al because school starts in 10 minutes." A smug smile was plastered on his face as my eyes widened. Oh no. I was about to be late to school.
Rushing like a man woman, I showered, got dressed, brushed my teeth, skipped breakfast and combed my hair. I probably looked horrible as my uniform was crinkled from being in my bag all night but I used my blazer to cover it.
"Hurry up." I grumbled to him then realised, I didn't need to wait for him. I had my own car. Chucking all my stuff in the back seat of my car, I quickly slipped in and zoomed out of the driveway. He was in no rush as he happily walked down his front steps, slowly getting on his bike.
I made a quick stop at McDonalds, going through drive through and getting myself a mocca. Half chocolate, half caffeine. Either way, it kept my awake and was classed as my breakfast. I jumped out of my car and run through the corridor. Just my luck. The only day I'm late is the day that the principal is walking through the corridors instead, like most mornings, having his own nutritional breakfast at his desk.
"Alexandra Binks, how are you my dear?" He asked me politely.
I tried to steady my breathing so it didn't seem like I was running. "Good thank you Sir, and yourself?" I asked, gulping by the end of my sentence. Breathe in and out.
"Good. I see that you are running an errand for the teacher." He assumed and who was I to prove him wrong?
"Yes," I swallowed.
"Well, run along" He said. SAFE!
I walked past him but then stopped in my tracks. "Mr Brooks, late again. What is that? A suspension I think." The principal pondered.
I'm going straight to hell with all this lying. "Actually Sir, Luke was on the errand with me. He was just outside to see if the teacher we were looking for was on the ovals."
Liar liar, pants on fire. My own mind taunted me.
"Is that so?" Mr Glass asked skeptically and I nodded. Please believe me. Please believe me.
"Very well then, on with your day." He said finally after the suspense filled wait. Mr Glass advanced to his office and Brooks ran up to me.
"T-Thank was incredible." He said, completely loss of words.
"Thanks." I said, taking note of just how close Brooks was standing in front of me.
26.13 centimetres away from my face. "I have to owe you one," he said, his voice deep and husky and boy it made me shudder.
25.87 centimeters away from me.
23.49 centimetres away from me.
My heart beat picked up, thumping loudly from with my chest.
20.05 centimeters away from me.
Thump. Thump. Thump. He was looking at my lips, that much I knew because there was an obvious difference from when his eyes flicked up to meet mine.
18.61 centimetres away from me.
Was he about to kiss me? What do I do? I've never had a boy so close to my lips. Thump. Thump. Thump. I did what any normal teenage kid would do. I picked this trick up from all the romantic movies I watched. I closed my eyes and....THUMP. My heart beat pounded at the impromptu sound of the bell ringing.
Soon the corridors filled with students and Brooks and I were pulled away, lost in the crowd.