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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7. Chapter Seven;

Monday morning seems strange.

Almost as though everything is off, though nothing actually is. Well, aside from the fact that I'm still sleeping under Emily's bed, on her futon. She's the biggest benefit of this whole ordeal, not Declan, but Emily. Though we've always gotten along rather well, it wasn't until we were both lying awake at about 1:30 AM on Saturday night (Sunday morning?) that we really began to talk. The best thing was that she didn't talk to me as Ireland, Nolan's sister, but she talked to me as Ireland, a friend. This is something that I'm extremely grateful for, seeing as I need new girlfriends. And on Sunday, her, myself, and Maya went out to lunch. 

I take my seat in homeroom, and I'm earlier than Declan, as per usual. I fiddle on my phone until he sits down, kissing my cheek quickly as he does. "Hey there, beautiful," he says, flashing his oh-so charming smile my way, instantly melting my insides. I find it strange that I get so giddy around him, thinking that this must be what love is. But, there's no possible way that I could love Declan.

Maybe it's just the thrill of defying your mother. I push the thought out of my head. Declan is wonderful. He's so intrinsically perfect and I find myself ecstatic whenever I'm simply thinking about him, which is, to be completely fair, pretty much all of the time since our make-out session and deep talk on Friday night.

I ended up staying at Declan’s house on Friday. It wasn’t intentional, but after we talked about my parents, kissed a lot more, and watched some videos online, it was late. So, I texted Nolan, saying that I would be spending the night, because I had no intentions of walking back to Emily’s house that night. Use protection ;), he had texted back, making Declan and I both laugh.

We laid in his bed for a while before I asked, “Are your parents okay with this?”

He had sighed, and said that they didn’t pay him much attention, and probably wouldn’t actually notice that there was someone even over. I didn’t mention the fact that his mom showed me to his room. Declan loved his grandfather, spoke sparingly of his mother, and avoided talking about his father altogether. I chose not to push the topic any further, and kissed him instead. I had been doing that a lot, kissing Declan. He put his hand on my hair, and started to comb through it with his fingers, while continuing to look at whatever he was looking at on his phone. I fell asleep that way.

"Hey," I smile back, now thinking of his plump, pink lips, my eyes going directly to them. I turn in my seat to face him properly. "How was your day yesterday?" I ask, seeing as I didn't text him much, or call him. I felt sort of bad. I've never been the kind of person who constantly has their phone at their side. I was usually always with Lily, Nolan, or Chris, and no one else ever needed to get ahold of me.

I get sad at the thought of Chris, now. More so than I had been before, and I just want to cry like I did when I first woke up in the hospital on that dreadful morning. It should have been my first day of high school, where Lily and I finally got to join Nolan and Chris until they'd graduate. Instead, it was the first day of my life as someone completely different from the Ireland who I had been before, someone now more quiet and sensitive. I think that maybe Nolan’s right. Maybe Lily and I should have grieved properly, instead of pushing the whole four years of friendship out of my life, and pretending that they never happened in the first place.

My thoughts are slowly taken to Lily, who I completely forgot to call back after I talked to my mother. I realize that I've been a bad friend to her, not just lately- but, especially lately- but since the accident. I cut off both her and Nolan in my time of need. Because I thought of it as my time of need. Nolan didn't love him the way that I did, and I thought that Lily couldn't possibly understand, but she could have. Nolan did love him. They had both been trying to reach out, but I found myself just pulling further and further away from them each time. Of course, Lily is still my best friend, but things have definitely been different. More tentative.

Declan snaps me out of my thoughts, and I hear the tail end of his detailed summary of his doings yesterday- something about lunch with his grandfather and a painful game of golf with his parents. "How was your day?" he asks, his smile still present on his face, despite having just talked about his parents.

Still slightly miffed in my thoughts, I mutter, "Great," before picking up my phone and composing a message to Lily, apologizing for how terrible of a friend I've been and asking if we can set aside time later this evening to video chat with one another. She instantly sees the message- I’m still not sure what to expect, because I haven’t memorized the time zone difference between the two of us, yet, but I know that Lily doesn’t sleep much either- and replies with a short "okay". It's clear to me that she is still upset, but I know that she appreciates my apology, otherwise she wouldn't have responded at all. 

"Are you okay?" I hear Declan ask me, with a concerned look passing over his face as he moves his heavy curls out from in front of his eyes. His curls are always falling in front of his eyes.

I nod, "I will be. I've just been a sucky friend to Lily lately. It's just so hard with her not being right here." I feel as though he could understand this. After all, there are bound to be some friends that he's having trouble keeping in contact with since changing schools. "Do you miss your friends from your old school?"

His answer is short, and his tone on the verge of angry. "No," he says, simply. I know not to ask any further questions, but my mind continues to race with wonder about why he doesn’t miss any of his old friends. Did he not have any? Did he leave on bad terms?

Declan walks me to class, holding my hand so tightly that it actually hurts a little, but I don't say anything. I know that I've upset him by asking about his old school, but I'm not sure why. It makes me think of his first day when he asked me if I was alright, and I got so angry. It's alright, I suppose that there are certain things that people would prefer not to talk about. We all have those things. Mine is Christian, his could be his old school. He stands near the doorway until I take my seat beside Mathis, who he almost glares at. This concerns me slightly because the two of them have seemed to get along fairly well up to this point, even if there had always been a miniature alpha-male contest between the two of them. 

Mathis also notices the glaring, because when Declan finally walks away, practically running to his trig class, he asks, under his breath, "What was that all about?" I shrug and let out a huff of air, just trying to listen as Mr. William’s lecture begins. We take notes for the day on how to prep and carry out our lab during our double period tomorrow, and near the end of class, break off with our partners to come up with a game plan on who will be performing what tasks to make the lab go as smoothly as possible. Just as Mathis begins to talk about how he shouldn't be the one to handle the lever on the Eudometer, (“I always end up twisting it the wrong way and ruining the experiment,”) I see Declan in the hallway once again, just passing by, but still looking in as he walks past the room.

Though it should come as no surprise to me, I'm shocked that Declan is standing outside of the Chemistry room before I can even exit it. "Hey, babe," I smile, though sort of uneasily. He smiles back- it's short and not meaningful at all. But, he grabs my hand anyways, in the same rough way that he had held it earlier this morning. I still don’t say anything.

"Why don't we sit alone today?" Declan asks while we’re standing in the lunch line. Today is chicken popper bowls, one of the only decent things that the school serves.

I turn around, confused, to see that his face is completely normal, as though he hadn’t said anything out of the ordinary. "You don't want to sit with our friends?" 

He nudges me forward slightly to indicate that the line is moving. "I'm just having a bit of a bad day is all, with you upsetting me this morning, and then you've been very buddy-buddy with Mathis lately, so I thought we could eat alone," his voice is casual, but the tone underneath is almost unnerving. I feel like arguing that I have known Mathis for years, and that I didn't mean to upset him, but I don't. Instead, I agree that we could sit alone at lunch today, if that's what he would really like. "It is,” he says, a smile present on his face.

Our departure from the table is evident, and I find that we receive many curious stares. From Maya, and Emily, and Nolan. But, mostly, from Mathis. His face seems more concerned than curious, though. I give him the same shrug that I gave him in Chemistry this morning. Declan is just having an off-day, and he needs some space. Surely, they can all understand that. 

"You don't need to keep making googly-eyes with your boyfriend," I hear Declan say, and I inwardly groan, and outwardly roll my eyes. 

"I'm not making googly-eyes, and you're my boyfriend," I say, cheerier than I feel. "I've known Mathis since I was three. We've worked together for about a year now, and we're just very good friends." I know that I shouldn’t feel like I have to explain myself, but I do.

He rolls his eyes back at me, "Whatever, Ireland." 

I continue to eat my lunch in silence because I know he typically doesn't act this way. He’s just upset, I continue to tell myself. He's nice, and sweet, and really likes me. When lunch is over, he smiles at me, grabbing my hand – gently, this time – and walks with me to the band room, asking me to spend the night at his house tonight, because he needs help with his trigonometry homework.

When I get back to Emily's house, Nolan begins to grill me about Declan, and I don't feel like answering his questions, so I explain that I have to go talk to Lily and apologize to her face. When I log onto the video chat, I notice that LilyLovesFF (Flying Fetuses, a band that we really love) is logged on already, waiting for me to call. I feel instant relief when I see her face appear on the computer, even if she looks upset. I immediately begin apologizing. It feels as though I have been blabbing for ten minutes when she finally stops me. "Of course I can't stay mad at you, Ireland." 

"So," I prep, "What's your big news?" 

"My dad is paying for you to come here after Christmas," she blurts, quickly and ecstatically. "I said that it's all that I wanted and he said done. I just had to call and make sure you can get over here and everything. You know, get a passport, a ride to the airport, that sort of thing." 

I begin to excitedly talk with her when I hear a knock on Emily's bedroom door. "Come in," I holler, hardly paying attention and continuing to talk with Lily on what we've been missing in each other's lives. 

"Whoa," she says, her eyes widening slightly. I look over my shoulder to see Declan standing with flowers of some sort, and a lot of them. I've never been into flowers so I only basically know what a rose looks like (thank you Beauty and the Beast). I smile at him, noticing the sad look on his face. 

“Hey,” I say.

"I'm sorry," he mumbles, quietly. "For being so harsh today. I just kind of was having a bad day, and I shouldn't have been mean to you." 

I stand up and hug him, forgetting about Lily momentarily. "It's okay, I forgive you," I whisper, barely audible, before kissing him. We're interrupted by Lily screaming at us through the computer, “God, get a room, you two!” 

"Oh, Lily this is my boyfriend Declan," I say, beaming. "And Declan, this is my absolute best friend in the world, Lily, who just told me that I'm getting to visit her in London after Christmas for a week." 

He says a polite hello to Lily before turning to me and saying he has to leave. “I’ll see you in a little bit.” His voice is light, and the kiss on my cheek is soft, but he’s got that same look in his eyes from earlier today, and I know that for some reason, I’ve upset him again.

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