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.


6. Chapter Six;

Nolan and I are sitting in the living room, both of us crying uncontrollably, when Lily calls. I pick up, stuttering a "hello?" into the phone.

"What on Earth is wrong with you, Ireland? Why are you crying?" She’s speaking frantically and quickly. Like with Nolan, Lily had always been the more emotional one of the two of us. So, me crying, like with Nolan, was a big deal to Lily.

"It's just that mom found out about Emily and Nolan and then grounded us and Emily broke up with Nol and Chris is dead and Declan kissed me and is expecting me to tell my parents about him and I and it’s not fair- “I’m rambling, crying so much that I’ll be amazed if she can actually make out what I’m saying. And she must, because she cuts me off.

"You can't really blame either of them for that, Ireland," she says firmly. But this doesn’t help. This makes me angry. She's my best friend, who is supposed to be on my side. I need her right now and she’s siding with Emily, who she hates, for obvious Nolan-related reasons, and Declan, who she’s never even met. This makes me cry harder.

"Whatever, Lil. I'll talk to you later," I say, sharply, and hang up the phone without waiting to hear a response from her. Immediately, I feel bad. I’ve never shut Lily out like this before.

"She's right, you know," Nolan says from beside me, wiping a tear from his cheek, clearly having heard every word Lily said. I roll my eyes his way. "I shouldn't have expected Emily to be so okay with this. I basically just put mom before her in my life and just expected her to deal with it." 

"Nol, it's not like that and you know that," I say pointedly, expecting him to realize that we know what sort of life we have and we're okay with it. Emily did know what the deal was when she and Nolan started dating. She couldn’t blame anyone but herself, if we’re being honest here. Why was I the only one who had been able to see that?

"But it’s exactly like that, Ireland. Emily doesn’t want to date me now and the only person who'll ever date you if you don't stick up to her is Mathis. And that's only because he's loved you for like three years," he argues. His crying has subsided, and he’s calm now.

"Shut up, Nol. And Mathis doesn't love me." Neither of us speak for a moment, sitting in a heated moment, waiting. I think hard about this. No guy has ever shown interest in me before, but I had always figured it was because of Chris, not because I wouldn’t be allowed to date them. Even in the “not really dating but dating” middle school years, no boys expressed that they would like to have me as a girlfriend. I always thought that it was because who would want to date me, when gorgeous, amazing Lily was standing right beside me? I internally groan at myself, realizing that Nolan is right. If I want even the slightest chance with Declan, we have to stand up to mom. "You're right, Nol. We've got to do this, huh?"

He pulls out his phone and hovers his thumb over my mother's contact, before looking at me. "We're really going to do this?" I see the worry in his eyes. The bond between him and my mother is as strong as the similarities in their looks. He's dreading this, I know, but he loves Emily. I nod slowly and he presses her name. The phone begins to ring.

She picks up after the fourth ring. "Hello, Nolan!" she exclaims, "What brings you to calling me?" I can actually hear the smugness in her voice. Does she want us to not be happy? Would she rather be so right and have us miserable? I know she thinks love is fake, but that doesn't mean that we should also. Then I realize, she’s been telling us straight to our faces all of these years, she doesn't love us. She doesn't love anyone.

"Mom," I say, allowing her to know that I'm here, too.

"Oh, am I on speaker?" she asks, but I know she already knew that she was. She's not surprised at all that we're calling her.

"Nolan loves Emily and he's going to date her. And I'm going to date Declan," I say firmly. Nolan begins to cry again. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s relieved, scared, or worried.

"I see," she says, slowly. It goes quiet for a moment. I don’t intend to speak, and Nolan seems to know that she’s planning out what to say next. "I must say that I am extremely disappointed in the two of you. If this is what you really want-"

Nolan cuts her off, "It is, mom. It's all I want."

"Then I expect you two to be out of the house before I get home," her voice is cold and distant, but maybe it always has been, maybe this is the person she always was, but we just couldn’t understand it. She hangs up, not waiting to hear another word from either of us.

Nolan and I look at one another, rather shocked. "She doesn't love us, Nolan. It's just me and you."  He nods, slowly. It’s always been just me and Nolan. "What do we do?" 

"I don't know about you, Ireland, but I'm going to go pack up my bedroom. We're going to call Emily and ask about moving in with her." He formulated this all so quickly. Would Emily even want to speak to him? She had seemed so upset with him during lunch.

I shake my head, "We can't impose on her like that."

He rolls his eyes at me, "Stay here then, Ireland. Push away Declan like you did to Christian and Mathis. Stay here. But I'd rather us stay together."

I'm confused and shocked, and frankly unsure how we got ourselves into this position. The last ten minutes went by quickly and are basically a blur to me. I guess that’s how life is, though, you never really understand what’s going on when it’s happening. Hindsight vision is always twenty-twenty. Always crystal clear. But I follow Nolan upstairs anyways and sit on his bed while he calls Emily, still crying.

It actually kind of surprises me when Emily picks up the phone right away, and how willing she is to forgive Nolan, seeing as she was very upset with him at lunch. They make up pretty easily, which is something that I wish Lily and I could do.

In fact, I ignore all of the countless number of calls I get from Lily throughout the night and also the next day, ignoring her texts, and don't actually speak to her until Nolan picks up my phone and makes me talk to her. I huff, "Hello?"

"Jesus, Ireland. You can't just ignore me like that," she shouts, clearly frustrated with me. I don't speak for a moment, thinking of what to say. "Ireland?"

"I'm sorry, Lil. I didn't want to talk because I was mad that you're right,” I admit, feeling my face turn hot because I’m embarrassed. “I told my mom that I'm going to date Declan."

I can hear her breath hitch through the phone, "And?"

I look around Emily's bedroom from the futon I am sitting on, noticing how girly it is compared to my bedroom back at home. I notice the few bags of clothes I have sitting in a pile in the corner of her bedroom, along with the one photo frame that I’ve kept for two years. "She kicked me out. Nol, too."

She gasps, "Where are you now?" 

"Emily's, for now. I hate that I feel like we’re interrupting their lives, though. Like, this life isn’t mine. Plus, I haven't even talked to Declan about this all yet." 

She's silent for a moment, "Anyway, I've been trying to get in contact with you because I've got some great news!" she exclaims. “That’s why I was calling the other night, too, when we talked.” 

I'm about to ask her what it is when my phone indicates that I have another phone call coming in. I see my mother's contact come up and sigh. "Sorry, Lil. My mom's calling me. I'll call you back later."

"Yeah, okay," she says, and I can hear the sadness in her voice.

"Sorry, Lil." And I hang up, and choose to answer my mother's call. 

Before I can even speak, she is shouting. "Where the hell are you, Ireland? Your brother is ignoring my phone calls and you are only seventeen, you little bitch. You get home immediately."

"You told us to leave if we wanted to date, so that's what we did." 

She laughs, satirically almost, "I didn't think the two of you were that stupid."

"We're both in love," I say, not fully believing that I am, but knowing for certain that Nolan is. And he matters more than anyone else to me. 

She has no sympathy in her voice. "Ireland, you're far too young to be in love," my mother says to me. "You're only seventeen." And then she hangs up. 

I sit back on the futon, having just realized that I stood up when my mother called, and sigh to myself. I'm most certainly not in love, and completely unsure if Declan is even worth this, but I did this for a reason, so I bring myself to put on the tiniest bit of make-up and walk to his house.

I feel rather nervous when I knock on his door, unsure of what made me feel like this couldn't wait until school tomorrow. After all, it already is nearly seven, the darkness beginning to make itself present around me. A woman, who I presume is Declan's mother, opens the door. She doesn’t look like Declan at all. Her hair and skin are both on the dark side, and her eyes are brown. She’s quite short, whereas Declan is quite tall. She seems startled, as if no one ever visits them. "Oh, hello."

I smile, slightly and awkwardly. "I'm, uh, I'm Ireland. I was wondering if Declan is home?"

Recognition comes across her face, "Oh, yes, Ireland! Come on in, he's upstairs."

I walk into the giant house and follow her up a spiral staircase that connects the ground floor to a balcony. “My name is Amanda,” she explains. “I’m Declan’s mother. I met your father at the church and he is just the kindest man.” This is probably the most expensive house in our city, I think to myself, marveling at the sheer largeness of the house. She leads me to his room, which is on the second floor (and by no means the top floor) of the house. I'm even more nervous when she knocks on the door. "Declan, someone is here for you!" 

I put my hand on the door handle as she walks back toward the stairs and she gives me a slight wave, a smile present on her face. I think to myself that I could make a run for it, and he might never even know that I was here. Taking a deep breath, I turn the handle, pushing the door wide open, revealing Declan’s bedroom. It’s smaller than I imagined, and far messier than I thought that it would be. He sits up on his bed immediately, "Hey, Ireland." Concern crosses his face as he stands up. He’s hesitant and doesn’t move toward me. "What are you doing here?"

I think to myself for what seems like years but can only be a few seconds about what to do. “Ireland, are you okay?” I can either chicken out and leave right now, or explain to him what happened. I decide to do neither. It’s the first time in my life that anyone has ever treated me with love and affection. The first time that anyone has told me that they want me. Christian never did. So, I take a leap of faith, and hope that this is the right thing to happen. And I walk over to him, his curls are tousled and his eyes are still filled with concern, and I gently push him back onto the bed and kiss him.

"What about your parents, Ireland?" he asks when we- finally- pull away from one another.

I feel uneasy, my stomach tightening, "They know." 

He smiles, "That's great, Ireland! Can I go meet them, then?"

I look at his gorgeous smile and wish that I could stare at it forever, instead of destroying the happiness that I had felt for the last twenty minutes. "They kicked me out for it, Declan." 

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