The Proposition

Anger can be easy to feel but for some it's easier than others to feel that raging spark ignite.

Alexandra Henderson has always fought a constant battle with her anger. Made worse by the cocky Evan Escott who won't leave her alone at her new school, her aggravation at her step dad Mark and the constant pressures she faces, can she still fight it? And can she, as several pieces of her past haunt her, let the past be a lesson and learn to move on? Can she help herself to find a place where she can be happy and free?

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21. Twenty-One

~Chapter Twenty-One~

When we got home mum and Mark were questioning me about what happened, even though they'd already done it in the car. They seemed anxious about me walking to school on my own tomorrow. I kept telling them it was fine, it would be light, but deep down I knew I was a bit scared about it to. 

I was very jumpy, the slightest sound made me look round in fear. I wished I didn't feel like this but I couldn't help it. 

As I finally managed to get away from the two of them I made my way to my room. I realised I never got to eat my ice-cream and it was still laying abandoned on the floor of Evan's hallway. I sighed, taking off the hoodie I was wearing and getting into bed. I was exhausted from what had happened, it felt like had run a marathon, a marathon with scary obstacles that was. 

My phone buzzed but I didn't get up to see what it was. I could do without the stress if it was Daz. I didn't want to speak to him, not now. I couldn't deal with it. 

I just wanted to sleep away how I felt. 

* 

My dreams were filled with murkiness' that night and I woke up several times scared that someone was going to break in and get me. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep and when mum called through the door that I was going to be late if I didn't get up, I contemplated just not going to school. 

I slugged myself out of bed, pulling out some random clothes from the wardrobe. I quickly went to the bathroom to shower, trying to wake myself up. It didn't work that well and I was still as groggy when I slipped into the clothes. 

I tied my hair up so I didn't have to deal with it and gathered together my school books to go in my bag. Once I was done, I exited the room and went down stairs. 

I didn't have time to eat breakfast even though my stomach was stabbing in pain from the fact I hadn't eaten in so long. Could really do with that ice-cream now. 

I called goodbye before I slammed the door shut behind me. No one called after me. They obviously weren't as concerned this morning about me walking to school on my own. I sighed, the caring hadn't lasted long. They'd forget what happened soon; I wouldn't. 

As I walked my way to school I kept looking behind me, paranoid that I'd see someone following me again. However, there was no one but the stray school kid walking to school the same as me. I still quickened my pace though, eager to be where there were more people. No one would kidnap someone in broad daylight, surrounded by people, would they? 

I told myself no but my heart wouldn't stop beating quickly. 

I was walking to my locker when suddenly I felt a grab at my shoulder. I almost screamed, jumping out of my skin. 

I turned on my heel abruptly. It was Evan. 

"Don't do that!" I exclaimed, feeling anger flood into me. I was in a sensitive, paranoid mood, I didn't need people sneaking up behind me. 

"Sorry," he apologised quickly and he actually looked like he meant it. 

He followed me to my locker. I wished he wouldn't. I wasn't in a fit state to hold up a conversation. 

I struggled to hold my bag and shuffle my books about as my hands were shaking. I was feeling sicker too. 

"Hey, let me hold something," he offered and he was sounding far too helpful. After yesterday I definitely thought better off him but in a school environment where he was usually cocky Evan, his kindness still felt wrong  

"N-no, it's fine," I stuttered out and I had no idea why I was acting like this. 

The world had become slightly blurry and I was breathing very fast. 

"Alex," Evan whispered gently, and I felt him take a hold on my arm. He steadied me. 

I cleared my throat, blinking to try and clear the faintness. 

"Are you alright?" He asked and he was sounding concerned again. 

I nodded my head but that only made me dizzier, having to rely more on Evan's arm to keep me upright. 

"I think you need some water," Evan commented. "Come on, we can get some from the canteen." 

"No," I managed to get out but my voice was faint. My bag was slack in my grip and I tried desperately to hold onto it. However, it fell from my grasp and my knees lost their strength again. 

Evan grabbed me with his other arm too, holding me up so I didn't hit the floor. 

"Alex, you really shouldn't be in school," he told me worriedly. 

I shook my head, trying to say no to his statement but I couldn't do it without feeling sicker. 

"Come on, you need the nurse," he said to me next, and I could feel him trying to guide me away. I used my last strength to stop him. 

I took in some deep breathes, trying to regain my balance. I needed some food, I was probably just feeling faint because of that. I tried to bend down to get my book again, breathing fast. 

Evan quickly pulled me up. "I'll do that." 

But I didn't want him too. I pushed my way in front of him, picking them up, the dizzy feeling still in me but my eyecoming back into focus now. 

Evan fumbled trying to help me. He put his hand on my back and I jumped. 

Before I could stop myself, I'd snapped, "get off me!" And stood up, holding my things to my chest in a protective way. 

He looked a little hurt. "I was just trying to help." 

"Well, don't," I replied and I could feel my anger bubbling. Yes, he was being nice but my anger doesn't seem to like being kept at bay for so long. 

I slammed the door of the locker shut, hurrying away. I felt guilty but tried to clear that from my head. I didn't need to think about that right now. I needed to find food so I didn't nearly faint again. 

Luckily this school had vending machines occasionally in the hallways. I made my way towards the music room where I knew they had one. As I approached I nearly did faint, but not because of sickness this time. 

It was the voice I heard. 

"Awesome, they never had these at Barton!" It was Daz. 

I peered around the corner, my breathe caught in my throat. It was him, standing in front of the vending machine, fishing out money from his pocket. His mum and the headmaster were a few steps behind him, clearly in some serious educational discussion. 

He must have been looking round the school. The head teacher always did the tours for prospective students. He'd given mum, Mark and I a tour when they were thinking about signing me up to go here. 

I was still frozen staring around the corner. I couldn't believe I was actually seeing him before my eyes. 

His curly mop of hair was hanging loosely around his face as usual, almost reaching his shoulders now. He needed a haircut, he always did, but he would never make time for it.  

Maybe if I just turn around now, he won't see me, I had thought it myself. But like everything seemed to be going lately, it wasn't my day. 

"Als!" Leanne's voice called behind me and this caused Daz to look round, dropping his packet of crisps. 

I turned, nervous that he'd seen me, to see Leanne beaming at me. She was holding her guitar. I really wished she'd never taken music so this didn't happen. 

"What brings you this way?" She asked me. I didn't take music after all. 

"Um," I stuttered, still aware that Daz was a little way away and staring at me. "Needed a snack." 

"Ohhhh right," she replied back and I suddenly found myself walking beside her down the corridor, towards Daz, not where I wanted to go. I wanted to run in the opposite direction. 

He moved out of the way of the vending machine. Leanne smiled at him. 

"Hey," she said brightly. She always talked to new people. That's why she talked to me when I joined. 

"Hi," he replied and smiled. His dimples showed up and I found myself wanting to smile at him having the same little features. I didn't though. 

"Are you new here?" She asked him and I was pretty glad she was keeping him from talking to me. 

I busied myself with the vending machine. 

"Well, potentially might be," Daz told her. 

"Oh, you should totally come here!" She exclaimed. She got way too excited about things. "It's great here." 

I saw her give a little nod at the head when he'd smiled at what she said, before turning back to Daz's mum. Thankfully, she hadn't seemed to notice me yet. Luck was on my side some times.  

I pulled my crisps out of the vending machine slot at the bottom. 

"Snap." It took me a few moments to realise that Daz had spoken to me. I looked up, trying to avoid eye contact, and looking at his hands. He was holding a packet of salt and vinegar crisps, just like I was. 

Leanne laughed way too loud for something which wasn't funny, nudging me on the arm. "Obviously a match made in heaven!" 

I wanted to disappear. She had no idea what she just said would make us both feel so awkward. That's what people used to say about us. 

I suddenly felt very sick again. I gripped the packet of crisps tightly. 

"Right, well I've got to go," I announced quietly, and I turned away. 

"Oh bye Al!" Leanne called. 

"Bye," I heard Daz add in casually. I felt like turning around again. Part of me wanted to scream at him, ask him why the fuck he was pretending nothing happened between us. 

Instead, I took the advice of the other bit of my brain which told me to walk off to English. It was probably better off that way. I couldn't exactly speak to him with Leanne there, she would pick up too much information about something no one else needed to know about. I didn't much fancy her spreading my history around. 

I sighed as I opened my crisps, feeling how awfully hungry I must have been as they tasted so good. I didn't even like crisps that much but right now I couldn't care less. I rounded another corner and before I could register what fully happened, I was on the ground and the remainder of my crisps flew up and down onto me like rather large flat raindrops. 

I brushed them off, winded and shocked by hitting the floor like that. 

"I'm so sorry!" the person exclaimed suddenly and I almost groaned. Of course, it had to be Evan. It was almost comical how he always turned up and crossed my path. This time, quite literally. 

"For god sake!" I yelled and I'd really had enough this time. I just wanted to be alone again but no, nothing would let me do that. Was it too much to ask to eat crisps in peace? Obviously yes. 

"I'm sorry," he was saying again, trying to help me up but I batted away his hands. 

"Get off me," I told him forcefully, pushing myself back and away. 

I hauled myself to my feet, looking at how hurt Evan's face looked again. 

"Why are you looking at me like that?" I snapped at him and he looked to the ground. Maybe he'd always looked like this when I was angry, I just didn't notice. Before I could feel too bad I reminded myself he was the one who always annoyed me, he was usually smirking. 

Just not this time. 

"Can't you ever leave me alone?" I found myself snapping again. I couldn't help it. My anger was surging back into me. 

"I..." Evan tried to speak but trailed off. 

"What, Evan? What?" I asked, sounding like I very much wanted to smack him in the face, because, well, I did. 

He shrugged and made to walk away. I pulled him back by his hoodie. 

"Don't walk away from me," I said darkly. He wriggled out of my grasp. 

Now he had started to look a little annoyed himself. 

"I just thought we could be friends, you know," he finally said what looked like had been the thought swirling in his brain for the last few minutes. 

I found myself sniffing with laughter. 

He looked me in the eye and suddenly I saw a new expression. He looked so hurt but also angry. 

"I helped you yesterday, does that count for nothing!" He snapped at me and he looked like he would have yelled if he didn't want to attract the attention of others. The bell had just gone so people were shifting around in the corridor. 

"I said thank you," I reminded him, my voice sounding distasteful and like I regretted it. 

Evan suddenly shook his head, looking like he was going to laugh. "I shouldn't have kidded myself." 

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" I asked him angrily. 

He tried to turn away again. 

"Evan!" I snapped. 

He turned back with a furious look in his eyes. "I've done things for you, I've been nice to you, I helped you... I thought it would count for some appreciation! Some kind of friendship." 

"You don't bargain friendships like that!" I replied through gritted teeth. 

"Really?" Evan snapped. "I thought being nice was a good thing, a nice thing, makes someone more appealing as a friend." He paused, still looking fierce. "Maybe you should try it." 

I couldn't believe that he'd said that.  

I felt the volcano inside erupting. I lost it. I just lost it. 

I'd hit him across the face before I could contain my anger. He looked shocked at first and then angry. 

"What the fuck, Alex," he shouted at me. 

"How dare you speak to me like that!" I screamed at him and angry tears were stinging my eyes. I balled my fists as blood pumped through my veins so fast. 

We'd attracted some attention now. People were staring, listening in. 

I lowered my voice. "I bet the only reason you helped me the other day was so you could score some 'friendship' points or something. If you didn't know me maybe you would have just left me out there!" 

"Alex, no," Evan said and he was holding his face in pain, his voice weakened.  

"Don't," I snapped at him, "don't say anymore." 

Evan winced taking his hand away from his red face. "I did it because I'm a nice person," he told me and I sniffed with laughter again. 

"Nice? You think constantly pissing me off is being nice?" I stabbed questions at him. 

He looked stuck with words before, managing to get out, "I was not trying to do that." 

"Well you did a bad attempt of not trying," I told him, mocking his voice at the end, my tone still angry and harsh. I'm surprised I hadn't walked off yet, but there was still anger to be released. 

"I'm sorry," he apologised but I couldn't hear it, couldn't take it in. 

"Fuck you, Evan, fuck you," I yelled at him. I was about to walk away but Evan caught hold of my arm, looking almost desperate. "Get off me." 

 I struggled in his grasp. 

"Alex..." He tried to speak. 

"Shut up!" 

I still couldn't get free. 

"Is there a problem here?" I heard a voice. It was Daz, and when I turned my head to look at him I could see he was glaring at Evan. I don't know how much he had seen but obviously enough to make him look like that. 

I wrenched my hand from Evan's slackened grip. 

"No, it's fine," I told him and Evan was stepping back. 

Daz came to stand beside me. "You okay?" He asked me and I nodded. Something inside me wanted to make me turn and wrap my arms around him, but I didn't. 

"I was just leaving," I said, suddenly finding myself gripping hold of Daz's hand. "Come on." 

The look on Evan's face was nothing I had ever seen before. It was sad and hurt and angry and broken all at the same time. Something tugged inside my chest but I ignored it, continuing to walk on, pulling Daz in my wake. I shouldn't feel sorry for Evan, not after what he said to me. 

However, a part of me was crying out to turn around and realise that some of what he said were things to think about... But my angry side wouldn't let me focus on that. That was the side that was holding onto Daz. 

I shouldn't have let it control me, but I did.

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