Too Young

Ireland's parents had always told her and her brother that love doesn't exist, which led to the rule of them not being allowed to date. Choosing to disregard her parents decision, she finds the first person who makes her feel special, Declan Johnson. But, while looking for the love she's never received, she becomes a victim.

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5. Chapter Five;

“Declan, please talk to me,” I say. No response. I sit next to him Monday morning, and sigh, thinking that after Friday night, this is not how I Had planned things to go.

From the moment that we exited the kitchen, things did not go very smoothly. Mathis's mother came home unexpectedly, to find ten kids sitting (and eight kids drinking her alcohol) on her living room floor. This got every single kid a call to their parents, which did not bode well for Nolan and me. 

The worst thing is that this should not have been a hard punishment for Nolan and me because our parents knew that we wouldn't ever be drinking. However, Mrs. Queen did indeed tell my mother that Emily is Nolan's girlfriend, which we tried feverishly to deny, but my mother is smarter than we give her credit for, and Mathis’s mom knew for certain that Emily and Nolan were in a relationship. We arrived home that night to a very angry mother, who, first, yelled at Nolan. "You know that you are not to be dating. Who is this Emily? And how long have you been dating?" 

"For about six months," he confessed after about half an hour, his voice had been low and it was the second time that week that I had seen Nolan cry like a young child. 

"Did you know about this?" she had asked me. 

Before I could say anything, Nolan insisted to her that I didn't. He had kept it a secret and that they only flirted around in public- that they didn't act like a proper couple. But I knew better. I had to be there for Nolan. We were in this boat together, whether we liked it or not.

"I knew," I stated, fully confident and unafraid of what might happen. Nolan nudged me harshly, but I understood what I was doing. If it hadn't been for him standing beside me, I would have been in his position yesterday. Because, I was at the party with Declan, who Nolan knew that I went out with and covered for me. Nolan, really, was my only family.

She sighed, and angrily looked at both of us. "You two understand that you are not allowed to be dating?" 

We both nodded at her, sadly and solemnly. Both of us expressing that we knew that we were not to be dating and would not be doing so anytime soon. Though, we both knew that this wasn't true at all.

We said sorry, even though we weren’t, and because neither of us typically break the rules, she settled on our punishment being a week of grounding. Though she would not be home, nor would my father, she would have surveillance cameras set up in the kitchen and living room for the week. To be honest, I’m fairly certain that they’re already set up. She’s actually insane.

Simple rules, I know are in order. We are now to be home by 3:30 each day after school- which actually gives us much more leeway than she realizes- and we are to stay in the kitchen or living room until eight in the evening, which allows us time to be showered and in bed for nine o'clock.

I bring myself away from my thoughts and look over at Declan, "I'm sorry I didn't tell you about the dating thing." He looks over at me, almost surprised that I spoke again, but does not reply. I’m surprised, too, I’m not really one for confrontation. "It was wrong of me," I confess, "But I was still unsure where we stood. I didn't even know if Friday was a date or if it was just friendly!" I complain to him.

"Oh, so I was the only one feeling like we have something going on?" He asks, moodily and visibly annoyed.

"No," I hiss, more quietly as I realize some people around us are aware that we’re having an argument. I sigh, yet again, and try to make my voice sound more clam. "I thought so, but didn't know how you felt."

He doesn’t speak for a minute. In the week that I’ve known Declan, I’ve come to realize that he doesn’t speak if necessary. He’s quiet and stays to himself. Finally, he speaks. "Fine, then meet me after school, by our lockers, and we can talk about being real together?" I eagerly nod, glad that he understands. My happiness quickly fades away when he starts talking again, "That means your parents knowing." He’s looking straight into my eyes, and I realize that, for whatever reason, this is important to him.

Declan doesn't sit with us at lunch. And Mathis notices. "What's up with him?" he asks, nodding in the direction where Declan is sitting with some of the kids from the football team. I roll my eyes in Declan's direction and the turn back to Mathis.

"He wants to be with me, but only if my parents know, which obviously isn't a good idea," I reply, feeling slightly torn. "I mean, look at Emily and Nolan." We glance down toward the opposite end of the table where Emily is crying, Nolan trying to console her, saying that they will be just fine.

"I mean, I'd be with you behind your parents back," Mathis says, so coolly, so casually that I almost don’t catch it. But, before I even have time to react, adds, "If I liked you, I mean."

I nod, and burst, thankfully, "See, I just don't understand why Declan can't see that. I don't make the rules. But, whatever, you know?"

He shrugs, agreeing with me, and says curiously, "So, what do you think you're going to do?"

I’m quiet for a minute, thinking about what I should do, and I know that my decision has to be made quickly, but still with a lot of thought. "Tell him it can't work like that. At least, not right now." I say, unhappily. 

Of course, I'd love to be like other teenagers and have a lot of time with my boyfriend and have dinners at my house with my family, but that can't happen. And I don't find it fair that Declan expects me to have to do this. I mean, I got grounded simply for knowing that Nolan had a girlfriend. 

"Do you like him, like a lot?" Mathis inquires, and I shrug in response, gaining a few seconds to decide on my answer.

"I'm into him, for sure. But, we're a while off from dating, you know? We met a week ago. I guess I want to date someone I know better." As I say this, I realize that it's true.

Mathis smiles at me, his green eyes somehow just as intense as they always look, even when he’s completely comfortable.

I look down at Nolan and Emily and listen to them. "I thought w-we'd work, ya-ya know?" Emily sobs.

Nolan places his arms around her comfortingly. "I know, we will. We'll just stay super low for a while."

It's not like we're Emily and Nolan, who have been together for a while. We aren't in love like they are. I'll be okay.

Then Emily abruptly stands up, knocking her chair over, and our entire table turns to look at her. She looks furious with Nolan, her eyes puffy and red. "No, Nolan. You need to stick up to your mother for me," she says, stiffly. She looks at the rest of us and her eyes land on me, before she looks at Nolan. "Or else we can't be together. I'm tired of this." 

I had decided to miss going to my locker after school. Declan had not spoken to me at lunch, in band, or in study hall. When the bell rang to dismiss us, he lept up quickly, and practically ran out of the room, avoiding me entirely. I had planned on not stopping at my locker, that is, until I realized that I was so excited about discussing this with Declan that I had put all of my stuff from before lunch back into my locker. When I spot him leaning up against his locker, much like Nolan had been a week before, I realize that we'll have to talk at some point, so why not now. "Hey," he smiles when I approach, as though he hadn't been ignoring me all throughout the day. 

"Hey," I don’t smile. "Congrats on first chair," I say, awkwardly, thinking about how I had been selected as the lone piccolo player, which upset Maya a lot, but she the tested with the flutes, and won first chair easily. Still, her congratulations to me was rushed, and even though we still sit beside one another, she didn’t speak to me the rest of band class.

"Thanks," he says, trailing off, strangely. "So, have you thought about what I said this morning?"

I feel like rolling my eyes at him, obviously I had been thinking about it all day. "Yeah, I just feel like we're bit far off from dating, right? Like, we don't properly know each other yet." My voice is low and even. I’m trying to make it sound like I don’t really care, but I’m pretty sure that he sees right past this façade.

He actually rolls his eyes in my direction. "I don't want to get to the point where I really want to date you, more than I do now, and then not be able to," his stance is solid, and I realize that he put a lot more time into thinking about this than I had been allotted. 

"I don't know, Declan. I like you, right? But, it might be a lot with Nolan just getting into trouble and..." I trail off, unsure of exactly where I'm planning to go with that sentence. 

Instead of becoming flustered, Declan surprises me, by leaning in and kissing me, full on the mouth, his curly blonde locks tickling my face. My first kiss. The one I had always imagined belonged to Christian, taken by Declan. I don’t say anything. Declan waits for me to grab all of my stuff out of my locker, slides his hand around mine, and we turn to walk toward the parking lot, where Nolan sits in his small, red car crying. I’m completely unsure about how I feel.

"What's wrong with you?" Nolan asks, dissing his own sadness because, unlike him, I’m not sensitive. I never cry. So, when Declan stops me at Nolan’s car, planting a kiss on my cheek, and I begin crying as soon as I sit down, it’s probably surprising.

I shake my head slightly, and mutter, "Christian." And that's all I have to say before the memories of him fill my mind entirely.

Nolan and Christian had become best friends during their sixth-grade year, the same year that I had met Lily. We all became a tight-knit group because we were only a year apart and, to be fair, Christian and Lily had worse home lives than me and Nolan, so they spent a lot of time at our house. 

While Lily's parents only recently divorced, which wasn’t a surprise, Lily said she had been expecting it for years. Christian's father was completely out of the picture, and his mom was seemingly uninterested in anything that he did.

Last year, Nolan had a really bright idea that we should go drinking at this local outdoor club. Toward the end of August, the weather in Pennsylvania becomes impossible to truly know, so he thought that we should all go and hangout there. Lily and I had already succumbed to the pressure of getting fake I.D.'s, though we hadn't used them before this night, and Christian was newly licensed, with an old beat up car he had bought. Even though we had said no multiple times, there was no doubt that we were going to go. 

At first, the night was fun, I remember.

Christian and I had been dancing and screwing around, in our typical flirty way. And we laughed as Lily and Nolan kissed each other, neither too sure of what they were doing. At the age of sixteen years old, did we really know what we were doing? Apparently not.

“Ireland, I love being with you,” Christian had said. He was sitting up against me on some old, dusty couch that was placed up against the side of the warehouse. “You’re so much fun to hang out with.”

When we finally had to go home, Christian got behind the wheel of his car. Up until this point, I hadn't thought that there would be any problem about this. But I knew when we sat in his car: I had hardly drunk anything. I felt sober. I should drive. "Christian? I think I should drive," I told him. His words slurred together in one mess as he replied that he was fine enough to drive. I insisted again. Still, he drove. 

We were nearly home when I finally felt myself let out a breath of relief that I didn’t even realize I had been holding. We would be fine. We hadn't been pulled over by the cops. He was driving just fine. Lily and Nolan were in the backseat, laughing and cuddling up against one another. I had looked over to admire Christian, just for a brief moment. His blonde hair falling in crazy waves that landed at his shoulders and a smile present on his face. This is the way I will always remember Christian.

I brought my phone up to take a picture of him, and turned to face me, completely disregarding the stoplight that we had just passed through. He said something to me. I still don’t know what it is that he had said. A pick-up truck smashed into the driver's side, because we didn't stop. Because I was looking at Christian.

I had been dreaming about Christian, and we kissed. He told me that he always wanted to be with me. He told me that he loved me and Nolan. I woke up in the hospital to find out that Lily had multiple fractures to her left side, Nolan's ankle had been smashed, and my left side was deeply cut by some glass. And Christian was dead.

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