It was in seventh year when Luke Hemmings walked into my homeroom class. His hands were shoved in his pockets and he had a deep frown indented into his features. And Mrs. Langston made him introduce himself. I remember exactly what he said, because he broke my heart thirty seconds later. His voice was slow and shaky, with a hint of an accent.
“I’m-uhm-I’m Luke Hemmings. I’m twelve… I just moved to Sydney from Adelaide. I have two brothers and my favorite food is pizza.” And the class laughed at his bit about pizza. I didn’t, though. Mrs. Langston directed him to sit next to the girl he thinks is the cutest, and the class went insane, the girls pushing their chests out and making puppy dog faces as he scanned the class, grinning slightly. I didn’t make an effort to look desirable, I was too focused on the dimples in his cheeks.
He stared at me for a brief second, and my heart sped up. I wasn’t sure why, though. I had high hopes that he would chose the seat next to me, but he opted for the one a few seats to my left. The one next to Madison Brown. Rolling my eyes, I stared at my best friend Kaylee. Of course he chose Madison Brown. She’s the most popular girl in seventh year. Kaylee went on the rest of the day telling me that she thought he’d sit next to me. She wouldn’t shut up about it until lunch, When we sat with Calum, Michael, Steph, Ella, and Ashton brought Luke to sit with us. Part of me hated Luke for choosing to sit next to Madison Brown. I didn’t talk much in year seven lunch anymore.
In year eight, all our friends were rushing to get dates and kiss people. Kaylee had paired off with Ashton, the boy I’d been in love with since year two, and didn’t care how much it hurt me. But I didn’t say anything. I waited until I got home and cried every night. Cal and Steph started going out just because he said she was pretty and Jake Wilson is dumb for not seeing that. They were both lonely and decided to be lonely together. Ella and Mikey fell into each other because at a party one night he kissed her and she never got over it, so they eventually started dating. It was just Luke and I, everyone claimed that we should go out, but we hardly got along. Let alone saw each other that way. The night I found out about Kaylee and Ashton, I told dad I was running away, it was the year mum ran away, too. Of course he didn’t believe me. He knew that when I got hungry, I would come home for dinner, and that’s what I did. But as I ran down the street, I grew tired and thought it best to stop at the park and rest. I was only there for a few minutes, when a boy sat next to me on the swings. It was Luke. He gave me a small smile, the one that made me angry.
“Hey.” He quietly spoke, as if he was unsure whether he wanted to talk to me. “What are you doing here?” He asked. “It’s getting dark.” I scoffed, rolling my eyes.
“I’m running away.” I blandly stated. “Why are you here?” He shrugged.
“Mum and dad are fighting.” He looked at the children playing with their mothers. The sun was beginning to set, and most children were being forced to leave. “Why are you running away?” He asked slowly, looking at me again.
“Because Ashton and Kaylee are in love.” My voice cracked, a few tears falling out of my eyes as I angrily wiped them away.
“You love Ashton?” He inquired. I nodded. Silence struck us for a long while, until the park was completely empty besides us two. “Romy, can I ask you something?” He blurted out, almost immediately regretting it.
“I guess.” I let out a forced, dry laugh.
“You hate me.” He said.
“That’s not a question.” I spat.
“Why?” We both held irritation in our voices.
I allowed mine to disappear after taking a deep breath.
“You sat next to Madison Brown on the first day of year seven.” I crossed my arms, holding the grudge. Luke laughed.
“If I knew she was going to be such a bitch, I would have sat next to you.” His blue eyes burnt into me as I picked at the straps of my backpack. “We should go home.” Luke said. “I’ll walk you, it’s dark.” He stood, waiting for me to comply. It dawned on me how tired, hungry, and cold I was. So I stood up and began walking with him. “Are you cold?” He asked when he saw that I was rubbing my arms.
“A little.” I muttered, only for Luke to peel off his sweater and hand it to me. It smelt like him, it was warm. I quietly thanked him.
“Why do you love Ashton?” He asked me out of nowhere.
“I… I don’t know. He thinks I’m pretty… And he gives me attention. No one else does.” Luke sighed.
“Well, maybe you shouldn’t love someone who goes out with your best friend.” He grumbled, causing me to bite my lip. Luke flipped his hair out of his eyes.
“He’s the closest I’ve ever got to being kissed… He’s the closest I’ll ever get again. No one else would even consider kissing me, I’m never going to be kissed.” I told Luke the real reason why I love Ashton as we got to my door. Luke stared at me with his hands shoved in his pocket, he stared at the floor for a second before looking at me, grabbing my face swiftly and pressing his lips against mine. Without thinking, I kissed him back. When he pulled away, his eyes immediately fell to the ground. I bit my lip.
“Don’t tell anyone.” He mumbled.
“I won’t.” I promised. That was the day Luke and I started to actually get along.
Year nine was the year I finally got a chance with Kevin Lutz. Kevin was in year twelve and had a car… He was the most beautiful boy in the school, and he chose me. He asked me to the school dance, and five minutes before he came to pick me up, Luke spilt ice cream on my dress. I came over to his house so his mum could do my hair and makeup, since my mum wasn’t around. I spent the time waiting yelling at Luke and trying not to cry, but when Kevin showed up, he told me that he was taking another girl to the dance and that girl was Madison Brown, because she put out more. I was crying so hard, that Luke’s parents and brothers decided to go out for a bit, and Luke was left alone to deal with me while I was in hysterics. Luke decided not to go to the dance and to stay with me while I cried. He ditched our friends and lent me a shirt. That night, I learnt Luke’s shirts fell to the middle of my thighs, and he has a knack for comforting crying girls.
I hated year ten with all my being. It was the year when all my friends seemed to fight with each other, and Luke and I were chastised for keeping the fact that we had kissed a secret. Kaylee found out and told the others. Year ten was the year I started going to parties and drinking with my friends, the year I lost my virginity. It was also the year when Luke told me he hated me for trying to ruin my life, and that I’d be better off if I ran away when I was thirteen. That night, I took so many pills that I had to go to the hospital and I was held under psychiatric care for seventy two days. When I got out, Luke was in tears and begged me to forgive him. After him begging and apologizing for three days, I agreed to forgive him and he tried to kiss me, but Kaylee came in the room and Luke didn’t try anything again. Later that year, Luke told me he kissed the girl of his dreams. That girl was Madison Brown.
In year eleven, Luke asked Madison Brown out, and she hung around our friend group obsessively, and everyone hated her but Luke. Luke said he was in love with her, he cut his hair because she said it would look sexy, and pierced his lip so he’d look cool enough to be with her. None of us had the heart to tell him that she was scum, so we let it play its course. Luke called me in the middle of the night. He was in hysterics and his parents were out of town. He begged me to come over, even though it was nearly two. When I got there, I had let myself in and saw Luke crying in his bedroom. He was dressed in athletic shorts, no shirt, and his eyes were swollen and red.
“S-She left me.” He sobbed as I sat next to him. “She’s been seeing somebody else, Romy! She left me for him!” Luke’s face was buried in his hands. “How could she do that?” I wrapped my arms around him as he cried into my shoulder. I wasn’t sure how to comfort Luke, or why he called me in the first place. Why not Ashton? Or Calum or Mikey? Why me? My grip loosened as he pulled away from me. Before either of us could speak, he crashed his lips against mine, to which I responded immediately. I kissed him back, but as he attempted to move on top of me, I lightly pushed him away.
“Shit, I’m sorry, Romy.” He apologized as he fisted his hair. “I’m just… I don’t know what to do.” He cried. As I bit my lip, Luke stood up and he punched the wall.
“Luke!” I scolded, standing up and pulling his arm away from the wall. Luke jerked away, pulling at his hair. “Luke.” I whispered.
“Goddammit!” He sobbed. He sat on the edge of the bed, crying into his hands, and when I sat next to him, he began to sob into my lap. “I-I love her s-so much.” He stuttered. I began to lightly play with his hair in hopes to calm him down.
“Do you remember year eight?” I asked, he nodded slowly. “When I claimed I loved Ashton, but he only saw me as a sister? And he started going out with Kaylee and I was crushed. But, the thing is, I got over it. Yeah, I wanted to run away, but I got over it. The point is… That you’ll get over her, Luke. You’ll realize how horrible she is and-” he cut me off, snapping up and yelling at me.
“She isn’t horrible!” He yelled. “Don’t talk about her like that!”
“Luke, she’s been tormenting me since year one!” Luke rolled his eyes.
“She’s never said one bad thing about you!” He denied. “You’re just jealous of her! She’s an angel, Romy! Why can’t everyone see that the way I do?” He stood, pacing quickly around the room.
“Luke.” I attempted to set my hand on his back, but he pulled away, staring at me for a brief second, and leaning down and pressing his lips against mine for the second time today.
“Luke, stop.” I pushed him away again. “I’m not going to be your booty call.” Rolling his eyes, he turned away from me, scoffing.
“Then why are you here?” He snapped. I quietly gasped.
“Is that why you called me?” I asked. “So you can have a quick five minute jerk off while you complain to me about your ex? Contrary to popular belief, I’m not the worlds personal whore, Luke! And I thought you respected me enough to know that!” Without another word, I grabbed my coat and began storming off.
“Romy, wait!” Luke called after me, chasing me down the stairs. He caught me by the time I reached the bottom, whipping me back to face him.
“What?!” I screamed. “What!” He bit his lip, playing with the small piece of metal in his skin.
“I’m sorry.” He mumbled, staring at the ground. I knew it wasn’t sincere.
“Fuck off, Luke.” I spat, pulling my arm out of his grip and leaving his house with a slammed door. Luke and I made up a few weeks later when he’d got over Madison Brown, and he was finally normal again, well… Somewhat normal. He became cold and distant towards me and everyone else in our friend group. Everyone started fighting again, and by the time summer hit, we were all sick of each other. Kaylee and Ashton broke up, so did Cal and Steph, Mikey and Ella. None of us saw each other until school rolled back in.
It’s year twelve, now. Our final year of primary school. Our friend group had paired off once again, but things were still tense between Luke and I. We kept what happened in year eleven private, as we were just glad things seemed normal again. I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t freaked out that night, but there is no going back. Luke still seems broken and I wish more than anything to take him away from whatever pain he holds onto, to make it stop, as I am finally coming to terms with my feelings for Luke. Of course, I’ll never tell him or our friends, they’d certainly make fun of me.
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ღ Elliana ღ