Despite everything, through all the obvious and overwhelming tension, I have Luke on my side. We haven't told the boys what's happened yet-not that I want to keep it from them-it just hasn't came up yet. After talking, Luke and I curled up in the bed and eventually fell asleep. I know I'm being selfish, I just didn't want him to leave me. He stood to leave, but stayed with me, instead-because I'd asked him to. I know being around me hurts him. Being around him hurts, too, knowing what I've messed up. What I've missed out on. What I'll never have. But I love him, and having him near me makes me feel like at least one thing is right. But it's still wrong, and in my heart, I know that. My head still says otherwise, because all of me is selfish, and he stays, because I ask.
The boys, oblivious about what's happened, and obviously confused and curious, woke us up for school and we'd all gotten ready. The car ride was deftly, all five of us silent and time everlasting, despite how close the school really is to the house in reality. I sat next to, or rather, practically on top of, Luke the whole way. An arm around me and rubbing my back as I lean against his chest, arms hanging onto one of his like dear life depended on it. His head leans on the window, staring out of it. I stare out the window, too, avoiding the glances I feel being thrown our way every few seconds. I watch Luke's eyes dart to and from them.
We pull to a stop in the parking lot. I open the door and sink to my feet, trudging toward the school without waiting up. Luke catches up and walks beside me, silent and stiff. We both pause at the same time. The boys give us a weird look, pushing around us and breaking off to get to their lockers. Jake leaned on mine, waiting for me and smirking. Luke throws his arm around me, holding me close and glaring. I pull on his arm.
"Come on, Luke. He's not worth it, let's just get to our classes."
Everything seemed to be going fine. I got to class without interruption, and spend five minutes just staring at the white board. Still, I spoke too soon. Five minutes into opening hour, there was a loud bang out in the hall. The teacher scooted his feet off the desk and moved to see what the commotion was. He didn't make it that far. The screaming came first. Every classroom surrounding the hall seemed to evacuate, filing out into the hall to see what was going on. Usually, I would stay in my seat, keep staring bored at the wall. Why would I care about some stupid teenage argument? Students shoved one another to see the tiff. They shouted back, encouraging it. They oohed, ahed, and even chanted "fight!" But over the roar of encouragement, in the beginning of the initial fight, when the yelling started, that's when I recognized the idiotic voices. Now I find myself elbowing my way toward the front. I emerged just in time to step in and block the blow of a fist aiming for a face.
"Dammit, Alisha! Get out of the way." I knew Luke was pissed, but the pained, disappointed way he looked at me just now made me want to back down. Instead, I stood my ground. I stepped aside, gave him a look, like "go ahead" and watched, arms crossed. His jaw ticked. I was playing a dangerous game here. He could re-swing the punch at any time, but he doesn't. You can't have everything both ways. I know that. But we're still both trying here. "He's not freaking worth it!"
"That's right," I glare, "he's not worth it. It's not worth the trouble you'll get into."
"Any trouble I get into is worth it, if it's for you. I'm trying to help you! Dammit, I can let him get away with---"
"What is going on here, Mr. Hemmings?"
He looks at me. He wants to say something, wants to very badly. I shake my head no.
"Nothing, sir," he sighs in defeat. I almost felt bad. I'm a pacifist, but it still took everything I had not to wrap my arms around him in pity. To apologize for not letting him fight.
"That's right, Mamma's boy. Nothing." Jake sneers the words quietly, for only us to hear. He stayed leaning on the lockers behind us, just smirking. I'd just saved him from Luke's deserving wrath, yet the smugness just doesn't stop. Before, I'd found his sense of humor funny and attractive. I'd encouraged and participated in it. Now, I see the annoyance of it, and know it for what it is. Arrogance. This time, I couldn't stop the blow. Would I have, though?
"You're getting it now," Jake smirks, still full of himself, even though his pretty face, well, isn't anymore. He goes to walk around us, but the principal puts up a hand to stop him. "You three, my office! Everyone else, back to class."
"Sir, Alisha didn't do anything---"
"She appears to be the root problem, Luke. Is she not?"
I'm suddenly pulled back, and it takes me a second to figure out that I'm in Jake's arms. "She's my girlfriend, sir. Lucas is jealous of what he could never have."
"I'm not jealous," he spits. "You don't deserve her!"
"She loves me!"
I finally broke away, glaring all as hell. I was done. My fuse finally broke. "I don't love you! I never did! All you were, was a best friend I was afraid to lose! Which, was of course, before I knew what an ass you were! You're a pig, you disgust me!" I could have stopped there, but I didn't. "You don't need me, you never did! And now, I don't want you. Either of you! So just stay out of my life. Both of you."
Now it was my turn to walk away. To ignore what was being shouted behind me. To not care about the consequences.