"Will you come over?"
"It's late. And what about your parents?"
"My mom doesn't care" I heard him sigh before replying.
"Ok I'll be there soon"
"Yeah so basically my dad is like the rich kid in school that wears polo shirts and khaki shorts and says 'my dad can sue yours.' And my mom is just kinda...there. She never really talks and most of the time she's not even home." Michael shrugged as he explained his parents to me. "What about yours? Drug dealers? Oh, oh! Undercover superheroes?" He was obviously tired. I laughed and shook my head.
"Not exactly. They're both lawyers, for the same law firm"
"Yeah" I awkwardly replied. "They're getting a divorce though so my mom might be going to another firm" His face instantly softened.
"I'm really sorry, Rory." I looked up to him and half smiled.
"Don't be. Just living with my mom will be better than hearing them fight constantly."
"I understand. My parents divorced when I was 9. I remember locking myself in my room and covering my ears or listening to music really loud to tune them out. I'm an only child too, so I had no one, really." I grabbed his hand, rubbing my thumb over his.
"I'm sorry, that must've been really hard to go through" I gave him a reassuring smile. "But I'm here if you ever wanna talk."
"Thank you. I'm here for you too." He squeezed my hand gently. I could feel the tension building between us. I moved closer to Michael so that are knees were touching. There was a line between wanting to kiss him and knowing it was a bad idea.
And I was sat on that line.
He took his free hand and brushed a piece of hair behind my ear. He looked into my eyes as if asking for permission. I answered by leaning in.
I kissed someone I met two days ago. I felt bad. I felt bad for Michael. He probably thought I was only kissing him to get my mind off of Luke. I felt bad for Luke, too. Even though we weren't together, I felt like I was betraying him. Just like he betrayed me. Michael pulled away and played with his hands.
"Im sorry." His cheeks became redder by the second. I softly smiled.
"Its ok." I leaned in again but he lightly pushed my shoulders back.
"Its not ok. You're just doing this because you're heartbroken. I don't know how I feel about you yet and I'm sure you're confused about your feelings for both me and Luke. I'm not going to let myself fall and get heartbroken by someone who only kissed me to get their mind off of someone else. I'm sorry, Rory. Text me when your mind clears and you can think straight. I know it's hard. Just try your best to figure things out, ok?. For me?" He kissed my forehead before leaving the room.
I leaned back and rested my head on the wall. Why did I have to be such an idiot?
Its been a week since Luke slept with Audrey. Its been a week since Michael and I kissed. Luke hadn't said anything to me since then. Michael and I talked a bit but it was blatantly obvious that everything was awkward between us now. I shouldn't have kissed him. I shouldn't have trusted Luke.
I walked quickly out of the school, trying to get away from Luke as quickly as possible.
"Please talk to me." Speak of the devil. I looked to my right to see Luke with a large bouquet of roses in his hand.
"I thought you didnt need me."
"Im really sorry about that. I wasnt thinking. I was upset and I immediately felt guilty after I said it. I know youre mad, you have every right to be. Audrey came onto me and-" I cut him off, recalling the events of the night it happened.
"Yeah cause winking and telling her you're happy to see her isn't flirting or giving her the impression that you're into her. I know you're sorry but you didn't have to do this. You didn't have to be the hero and 'save' me. I can handle Audrey on my own. Just promise me one thing. Never hurt someone like you hurt me." He stood there with nothing to say and a bouquet in his hand. I turned around to see that the busses had all pulled away. I sighed and began walking home.
"Hey Addy" I greeted her as she walked into my house.
"Hey" She bluntly said, crossing her arms.
"Is everything alright?" I asked. She rolled her eyes and scoffed at me.
"No. Everything's not alright. I know what you've been saying about me."
"What are you talking about?" She was my best friend. My only friend, really. I wouldn't talk about her behind her back.
"Addys a bitch. A slut. Im just her friend because I pity her. Does any of that sound familiar?" I stood there in awe. I barely talked to anyone in school and even if I did, I didn't have anything bad to say about Addy.
"Where is all of this coming from?" I was holding back tears, in fear of losing my best friend.
"Multiple people from your school. Audrey even told me. I didnt think you would stoop as low as talking shit about me to Audrey, who you hate the most." She sounded hurt and angry.
"You're gonna believe Audrey over me? Addy, you know I would never say those things about you."
"I don't know what to believe anymore." She opened my front door back up and began walking.
"Please don't do this" I followed her and pleaded.
"You're my best friend. Please believe me when I say I would never do anything to hurt you. You're all I have. Please." Her face showed no emotion. I couldn't read her at all and that made me even more concerned.
"Well, I'm sorry. It's not my fault you push everyone away." She didnt let me continue before getting into her car and driving away.
I lost my best friend. I lost Luke. I never had Michael in the first place and now I never will. I had no one.
My body started shutting down. I crumbled to the ground, hugging my knees to my chest. I became more grateful for the fact that I lived in the middle of nowhere as my sobs grew louder. Mascara streamed down my face to my chin until it fell into my lap.
I wiped my eyes and sniffled before attempting to stand up. My legs shook and my knees buckled from beneath me. I staggered towards the door. I walked in and made my way upstairs.
I felt alone. I felt guilty. I knew it wasnt my fault Luke slept with Audrey. It wasn't my fault Audrey sent those false text messages to Addy.
But Addy was right.
I push people away. And that is my fault.