After we parked the car, I walked up to the door and rang the doorbell. A tall guy answered.
"Are you Jayce?"
"I'm going to ask you one time, to stay away from Audrey. She's an amazing person and honestly, she doesn't deserve the shit you put her through." I growled.
"Amazing? You mean stupid, useless, and worthless?" He smirked.
I glared at him in silence.
"Oh, no." Parker sighed.
"How fucking dare you? You're so fucking lucky to have someone like her in your life. Don't take her for granted and don't fucking abuse her, physically or mentally. You can't just ruin someone's view on love because of your own problems. Her life doesn't revolve around you, and it shouldn't have to. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but for fuck's sake, she's amazing and I would do any fucking thing for her. I don't give a second shit if you punch me or hurt me or even fucking kill me, because I care about her way fucking more than I could ever care about myself. Ever since she came into my life, everything has been better. And it's sad as fuck when you make a new friend and you have to ask if they are okay, because nowadays, the most amazing people are the ones dying inside. Don't lay a finger on her, okay, dipshit?! Before abusing someone and their way of thinking, maybe take a long fucking look at yourself."
He backed up and slammed the door.
I heard footsteps behind us and I saw Audrey.
Her car was parked next to ours and she stood, staring at me.
"Chase?" She asked.
"I told you to leave it alone."
"You were crying, Audrey. You were dying inside, and I couldn't let him keep hurting you."
She shook her head and walked back to her car.
She shut the door and drove off.
The next day at school, she stood in the same place as she did the day before. I walked over to her and she looked away as soon as she saw me.
She put her headphones on.
"Audrey, listen, please."
She didn't say a word.
I took off her headphones and looked into her eyes.
"Please listen. I don't like seeing you upset, okay? I don't want anything to happen to you. I know you told me not to get involved, I care about you too much to let you get hurt and just ignore it. I care about you more than I care about myself and I want you to be safe."
There was a moment of silence and then she collapsed into my arms.
She hugged me tight and cried on my chest.
"Why did he do that?" She cried.
I patted her back.
"It'll be okay. It's not your fault, Audrey. Some guys just don't understand what they have in front of them."
"I have to tell you something. Don't freak out, okay?"
I looked at her.
"I... cut myself..."
I rolled up her sleeve and there were cuts leading all the way up her arm.
"I'm sorry, Chase." She cried.
I held her tight.
"Shhh, it's alright, try not to do it again, okay?"
She looked into my eyes and we leaned in slowly.
The bell rang and we backed up.
"I, uh, have to get to class. I'll talk to you later." She blushed.
"Bye. Talk to you later." I said.
I sighed and went to my locker.
At work that night, I told Parker.
"So, you two almost kissed?"
"I don't know what to do, Parker. I've known this girl for less than a week, but yet, I can't get her off of my mind. I can remember the exact look on her face when we first talked. I was going to give her a tour and she had this adorable, confused look on her face."
"Tell her how you feel."
"It's too soon, and she just got out of a bad relationship."
"She's going to find someone else if you don't tell her, Chase."
"I just want to bang my head against a wall. I know she's going to find someone else, but it's too fucking soon. I do want to tell her, trust me, but she just got out of an abusive relationship and I don't think she trusts me completely. She's been through a lot, Parker."
Parker listened to me as I went crazy over Audrey.
"But God, her giggle is so cute, and her smile is the prettiest thing in the world. She walks with grace, and her voice is beautiful. Her hair is long and soft, and her sense of humor is just like mine. She's supportive, funny, and no, she's not perfect, but for fuck's sake, I don't care. I just want to hold her tight and make her feel safe and loved."
After about 10 more minutes of going on and on about Audrey, Parker sighed.
"Chase, if you don't tell her, I will."
"Do it, and I will chop off your balls." I said quickly.
Parker leaned back and nodded.
"She's all I need, Parker. She makes everything better and the funny part is, she doesn't even mean to. Whenever I'm around her, everything is brighter."
"Chase, listen to yourself. You two almost kissed. It wasn't just you trying to kiss her, she leaned in too. The least you could do is ask about it."
The next day at school, I walked up to Audrey, who was sitting on the bench.
"Audrey, we need to talk."
She looked at me.
"So about that almost kiss..."
"I'm sorry about that. It was a mistake."
I stared at her, my heart breaking.
"Yeah, yeah, a mistake."
The bell rang and she got up.
"Bye, Chase." She smiled and waved.
I stared at her as she walked down the hall. Why did feelings have to exist?
As I got home that day, I started packing.
"Chase, you aren't actually doing this, are you?" Clara asked.
"They won't even notice, Clara."
"Chase, you're my younger brother, I'm not letting you leave." She growled and stood in front of the door.
I glared at her.
"You're not my mom. She's in the other room with her golden son." I hissed.
"Stop being so childish."
"I'm not being childish. I'm just learning not to put up with this bullshit anymore."
I looked at her, "What?"
"We all used to be a happy family, you, Landon, mom, dad, and me. What happened there?"
"You can't fix every problem."
"No, Chase, I want to know."
"Things happen. Families fall apart. It's something that happens everyday."
"Chase, I am your older sister. I have watched you grow up. I have seen you take your first steps. I have seen you change, too. I love you, and I want to know what is happening."
"Nothing." I sighed.
I sighed and sat on my bed.
She sat next to me.
"I know you're a senior and you're going to move out soon, but the day that happens, is the day I lose my best friend. We have been there for each other during the hardest times, before Landon was even born."
I looked at her.
"When summer came and we would always spray each other with the hose, when you used to play little league and I was cheering you on from the stands, Christmas morning, when we ran faster than the wind into the living room, when you threw flour in my face."
I chuckled a little and a small smile crossed my face.
"You looked like a ghost." I laughed.
"Those are the times I've had with my best friend. And I don't want to lose you. Honestly, I don't even care about you moving out, as long as we visit each other. What I can't stand is that you're hurting."
I could feel my eyes tearing up. Clara stared at me, rubbing my back.
"Do you ever feel like no matter what you do, you're not good enough? Do you ever feel like everybody is just tolerating you? Do you feel like a reject?" I asked.
"Chase, you're the champion basketball player. You're popular, you have friends. You're more than good enough, and you're certainly not a reject."
"About a year ago, dad turned all... vicious towards me. Mom was always upset. Dad would glare at me, when I was doing absolutely nothing wrong, such as eating or brushing my teeth. He's just tolerating me, Clara. I can see the hate in his eyes, and hear it in his voice."
Clara looked at me, as tears were streaming down my cheeks now.
"And then... I met a girl on the first day of school... she made all the pain go away. I could be drowning in lava, but all I would notice is her. I don't know why I feel this way... she's different from all of the other girls I met. We almost kissed and when I wanted to talk to her about it today, she called it a mistake. And ever since then, everything has been feeling twice as worse."
"Chase, talk to her. Tell her everything you just told me."
"it's not that easy."
"Yes, it is. Go talk to her tomorrow."
As I left the house that night, I felt my heart beating out of my chest. Just thinking of telling Audrey how I felt made me nervous, but I had to do it.