Broken Hope (ON HOLD)

Just one second after a truck smashed into her mother’s Volkswagen, Hope Callian collapsed in the middle of her science class, screaming in pain. An hour later, her mother was dead, leaving Hope as an orphan.
Now, almost 4 years later, Hope is living with her aunt in Elmira, New York.
Hope has one rule that she swears she’ll never break: Don’t love anyone. Hope has discovered something terrible about herself: when someone she loves dies or feels extreme pain, Hope feels it, too.
She does a good job of following her one rule...until Peter Hannetty arrives in town. He’s mysterious, stubborn, and insanely attractive. All of the other girls flock around him like love-struck birds, but the only girl he cares about is the only one who refuses to love him: Hope.
Will Hope break her rule for Peter? Or are they destined to suffer from untreated desire?

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6. Chapter 5

Peter doesn’t speak to me for the rest of the day.

    That’s fine by me. I never wanted to talk to him, anyway.

 

    But I can’t help realizing that there is a part of me that misses our conversations.

    Once I realize that, I scold myself. I can’t let myself get close to him!

 

    It’s a bit late for that.

 

    Scowling, I resist the urge to bang my head against the grimy bus window as that thought invades my mind.

I will not let it happen. I won’t let him get past any more barriers.


 

I manage to uphold this resolution for almost a whole week, thanks to the silence that has fallen between us. Apparently, what I said about my mother shook him up a bit. Is he surprised that I have nightmares about her?

I suddenly remember the dream we shared, and my cheeks redden. My pencil suddenly spins out of my hand, skittering across the desk to land on Peter’s paper.

I freeze.

 

For a long time, Peter does nothing, and I barely breathe. Finally, he pushes the runaway pencil back over to my desk, silently and without sparing a single glance in my direction.

 

“Sorry,” I whisper, voice barely audible.

 

Silence.

 

I sigh and go back to completing math problems.

    

    After the bell rings, I hear his voice, low and husky, sliding over my shoulder as I grab my bookbag:

    “You’re welcome.”


 

    “Hooooope. Why.”

    “Why, what, Izzy?”

    “Why did you have to chase him away?”

    “I didn’t do it on purpose, Iz.”

    She pouts. “You’re just saying that to make me feel better about you.”

    “I’m serious, Iz. I don’t know what’s up with him.”

    She sighs dramatically, turning her gaze to the center of the cafeteria.

 

    Peter has joined the dark side. He’s sitting at Lauren’s table, smiling and laughing with the rest of those beautiful, perfect bitches and assholes.

    His eyes suddenly meet mine, and my heart catches in my throat.

    

    Time stops, just for a moment, as I gaze into the pure-blue depths of Peter Hannetty’s eyes.

 

The gaze is abruptly broken as Lauren places a small, red-nailed hand on his cheek and pulls his face towards hers. I can’t look away as she plants her lips on his.

Pull away, Peter. Please, pull away. I plead silently.

He doesn’t pull away, and instead lets the kiss last for a good thirty seconds before Lauren finally pulls back with a satisfied smile on her perfect pink lips.

Tears prick my eyes.

Before I even realize what I’m doing, I’m on my feet and storming out of the cafeteria. Izzy’s voice reaches toward me desperately, but I ignore her startled concern.

    I can feel Peter’s eyes on the back of my neck long after I’ve turned the corner and gone out of the sight of the cafeteria.

    I stumble into an empty stall in the girl’s bathroom and collapse against the shaky, puke-green stall wall. Tears spill from my eyes.

    What the hell is wrong with me? Surely I don’t...like Peter?

    My heart pounds in my chest as the image of Peter and Lauren, lip-locked, flashes through my brain over and over again.

    Oh, my God.

    I do like him.

    I like Peter Hannetty.

    And there’s nothing I can do about it.


 

-+-+-+-

 

    I stay in the bathroom for the rest of lunch, ignoring the occasional clamor of other girls fixing their makeup and hair, making sure everything is perfect. They gossip as the primp, and I come up in the conversation more than once.

    “Did you see that Hope girl?”

    “You mean the freak? Yeah, she, like, ran out of the cafeteria crying her eyes out.”

    “I heard that she has a major crush on the new guy, Peter Hannetty.”

    “Oooh, she must have found out that Lauren claimed him. Hope has lost all hope!”

    They laugh, and I grit my teeth.

    “Poor little freak. Who could ever love her, anyway?”

 

    Who could ever love her, anyway?

 

    The question sticks in my mind, looping through my head along with the image of Lauren and Peter for the rest of the day.

    Physics and Econ are awkward and cold as I try not to look at Peter, try not to scream at him for letting Lauren dig her claws into him.

 

    The bus ride home is torture.

    A gaggle of girls and guys in the back of the bus keeps throwing balls of paper at me. I uncrumpled one, and found a message:

    Peter Hannetty would rather be eaten by wolves than be seen dating you.

    After that, I don’t read any more.

 

    Izzy calls me as soon as I get home.

    “Hope, are you okay?”

    I drop my bag on my desk and flop onto my bed. “Yeah, I’m fine, Iz.”

    I can feel her silent disbelief pouring through the speakers. “Are you sure? I mean, I saw the thing with Lauren and Peter-”

    “Izzy, I’m fine! It’s nothing.”

    She falls silent again, and I’m just about to hang up when she suddenly says, “You like him.”

    It’s a statement, with zero doubt to be heard or found.

    For a long time, I don’t answer. Then, finally, I say, “Yeah. I do. I like him, Izzy. I like Peter Hannetty.”


 

-+-+-+-


 

    When I come into school the next morning, I’m exhausted. Any chance of sleep was destroyed by the my usual nightmares and still-circulating soundtrack of “Who could love her” and PH+LH.

    As soon as she sees my face tired face, Izzy thrusts her coffee into my hand. “Here. You need it more than I do.”

    I manage a small smile. “Thanks, Iz.”

    She grins back. “Hey, what’re friends for?” Her eyes suddenly narrow as she spots something over my shoulder. “Speaking of which...”

    Izzy suddenly storms past me. I turn, curious. Once I realize where she’s heading, I almost drop the aromatic mug of coffee.

    Izzy stops barely a foot away from Peter Hannetty and taps his shoulder. He turns around. Lauren, who is now behind him as Peter turns, sneers at Izzy. Peter’s eyes widen, and he opens his outh to speak. Before he can say anything, Izzy holds up a finger - her middle finger.

    “Listen up, Blondie. I don’t care if you’re new, and I don’t care what your opinion is on society’s bullshit. But no one, and I repeat, NO ONE, disses my best friend the way you did. You completely stop talking to her, and then you go and leave our lunch table to sit with a group that you very clearly stated are just a bunch of ‘posers and drama queens’, after saying that you preferred our company. Oh, and then, after giving that big, fancy speech on how you wanted true love, not hormone-driven relationships, you go and give the school’s ‘queen bee’ a nice big smooch in full view of my best friend, who is extremely confused as to why you’re suddenly giving her the cold shoulder when she’s done nothing wrong.

    “I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, but if you’re planning on breaking my best friend’s heart, you better find a new character to fuck with, because she’s not available.” Izzy turns on her heel and storms away from the shocked boy. “Asshole,” she tosses over her shoulder.

    All I can do is stare and blush furiously as Peter slowly moves his gaze from Izzy’s back to my face. My cheeks heat up even more when our eyes meet, and I quickly turn away.

    “You’re welcome.” Izzy says as she rejoins me at our lockers.

    I just look at her, unable to say a word.

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