Going under, p.33
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       Going Under, p.33

         Part #1 of Going Under series by Georgia Cates
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Page 33


  When I pulled into the drive, I didn’t see a yard full of cars and it was a welcomed site for my eyes because I was long overdue some time without Rita and her horde. After going into the house, I turned on some music and got into the shower. I let the water run over me until there wasn’t one drop of hot water remaining when I finished, which didn’t take long.

  I dried off, tied a towel around my waist and walked toward the kitchen, enjoying the freedom of being in the house alone. As I entered the living room, I suddenly realized I wasn’t alone at all when my eyes found a petite little auburn haired girl in an East Franklin cheerleading uniform sitting on the edge of the couch in my grandmother’s run down trailer.

  She belonged in this place as much as a beautiful butterfly belonged in a mucky swamp and I felt ill just from the realization of her being in this dump I called home. “What are you doing here?”

  She nervously ran her sweaty palms over the skirt of her uniform. “I followed you home after the game. Please, don’t be angry. I want to talk to you. I have things I need to say. ”

  I remembered Forbes’ words and said, “I thought you weren’t feeling well. ”

  “That’s what I told Forbes so I could get away from him,” she explained.

  “So, you’re back to that place? Oh, that’s classic! You’re lying to your boyfriend so you can sneak away to go slumming and see the skank,” I sneered.

  “We wouldn’t be back to that if you hadn’t broken up with me,” she replied as if she still believed we had a real relationship.

  Dammit, this wasn’t fair. I had already hurt her once and I shouldn’t have to do it a second time. “Don’t be disillusioned into believing it was a real breakup because we were never a real couple. ”

  She put her hands over her heart. “The pain inside here tells me it was real. It still tells me that it is and I won’t believe otherwise. ”

  Now wasn’t the time to cave. “Your mistake,” I said, dryly.

  She shook her head as she said, “Our relationship may have begun as a game to show Forbes what you could take from him, but it turned into so much more. ”

  I shrugged. “Really? Because it sure doesn’t look like much to me. ”

  “You ended it because you were scared,” she accused.

  I threw my hands in the air angrily. “Scared? Scared of what? Forbes?”

  “No. You were scared of me finding out the truth about you. ”

  “And what is the truth about me?” I yelled.

  “You didn’t want me to know who you were, where you lived or that my mother is or was your counselor, but I need you to listen very carefully to what I’m about to tell you. I know who you are and I love you with all of my being. I see where you live and I choose to be here with you. I’m not running away and I don’t care about what led up to you becoming my mom’s patient. The only crazy thing about this is us not being together. ”

  So, she knew I was a patient of her mother’s. “You don’t know anything about me, Claire. ”

  “You’re wrong. There may be things you didn’t allow me to know about you, but you weren’t playing a game when I sat next to your hospital bed and you told me how scared you were. I saw the real you when you looked into my eyes and told me that you had fallen in love with me. ”

  It was time to end this and there was only one sure fire way-the truth. “Everything you think you know about me is a lie. ”

  “There’s nothing that will change the way I feel about you,” she pleaded.

  “Can you love a liar? How about somebody with a criminal record? Can you say it has been your life’s aspiration to fall in love with a drug dealer?”

  Just as I suspected, she didn’t have a response for that. “You want the truth so badly, I’m gonna give it to you. I’m going to do you a favor and give you the short version. I grew up in a trailer park in Collinsville with an addict for a mother and I’ve never met my dad. I’m not really even sure she knew who he was. My mom, Twyla, was a drug dealer and she used me to infiltrate the school to deal to kids my age. ” I pointed to my shoulder and said, “I didn’t get this scar from surgery. I got it this summer when a man came into our house and killed my mother in front of me, then shot me. He thought I was dead and I would have been if my little brothers hiding in the closet hadn’t come out after he left and called for help. Ozzy and Harley were taken by the state and were tossed into the foster care system, but I’m lucky because I get to see them occasionally. The good news for me is that I have Rita, a grandmother willing to take me in, but only if I sell drugs for her. That’s right. You guessed it. Rita is a pharmaceutical sales rep also. ”

  Claire was silent.

  “I don’t want to be like this, but it’s who I am because I don’t have a choice. Even when I get out of here after graduation, I have to figure out how to get Ozzy and Harley out of foster care and take care of them. There are things on my plate that no eighteen year-old should have to worry about and taking me on means taking on my problems. So, you see? You don’t want get mixed up with a guy like me because the only place I can take you is down and your mother knows that. That’s why she told me I had to end things with you. ”

  She came to me from across the tiny living room and stood silently in front me, staring at me. I swallowed hard as she looked into me eyes and I waited to hear her tell me how she couldn’t be with someone like me.

  She looked down from my eyes and reached out to touch the scar on my shoulder. She ran her fingers across it with the softest touch, then leaned forward and placed a soft kiss there. I shut my eyes, squeezing them tightly as I relished the touch of her lips on my skin again after going so long without it. She looked up from her kiss and said, “I want to make all the bad things disappear for you. ”

  “I wished you could, but the bad things in my life aren’t going anywhere soon and that’s why we can’t be together. I won’t make you a part of this. ”

  “It’s too late because I’m already a part of this,” she argued.

  I shook my head as I pursed my lips. “No! You’re wrong. I won’t let you be my fault. ”

  She grabbed my face, forcing me to look at her. “We can make this work. ”

  I reached up to my face and put my hands on top of hers to pull them away. “No, we can’t. Your mother knows everything about me. She won’t allow us to be together. ”

  “It’s not her decision,” she yelled at me.

  I grabbed her by her shoulders. “I won’t let you turn your back on everything for me. I’m not worth it. ”

  “You have no idea how wonderful you are. You’re so selfless and it’s me that doesn’t deserve you. If my mother knows everything about you, then surely she must see that, too. ”

  “I highly doubt that,” I laughed.

  “I don’t, not even for a second,” she said as she reached on her tiptoes and began to kiss me. She ran her fingers up the back of my neck and into my wet hair as she squeezed me tightly against her. Her kisses became more intense and she began to walk backwards, pulling me with her toward where my bedroom would be.

  “What are you doing?” I asked, but she grabbed my hand and pulled me down the hallway toward the bedrooms.

  She stopped at the first door and asked, “Is this one yours?”

  I nodded because my head was too fuzzy to answer her and she walked into my room, then stood by my bed waiting for me to join her.

  She was making it so easy to forget about the reality of our glum future, and in that moment, I neglected to think of anything but having her back in my arms as I closed the distance between us. I took her in my arms and stroked my cheek against hers so lightly it tingled. I moved my lips across her face and they followed the path leading to that special place on her neck that she loved for me to kiss. I heard her moan softly and I slipped my hands up the back of her uniform top to stroke the bare skin on her back.

  She began to back tow
ard my bed and fell backwards, pulling me with her. I laid perfectly still, as did she, since my towel was dangerously close to being lost in the tumble. She searched my eyes for any clue as to what my thoughts were, then said, “Make love to me, Jessie. ”

  I took a deep breath, then blew it out slowly and grabbed my towel as I rolled off of her. “I can’t. ”

  We laid side by side staring at the droopy ceiling over my bed as it threatened to cave at any minute and she whispered, “Did I do something wrong?”

  I continued staring up because I couldn’t look at her. “No, you’re absolutely perfect and you deserve so much more than this. Your first time should be special and this is the complete opposite of special. You can never take it back once it’s done and I don’t want you to ever look back on me as a regret. ”

  She rolled off of her back and laid on top of me, reaching for the towel barely around my hips. “You are the only thing I need to make this perfect for me. ”

  I grabbed her wrist. “I’m not going to sleep with you in this run down house trailer like some random whore. ”

  “Ugh!” she screamed. “Jessie, you have this concrete idea of what perfect should look like and it’s based on what everyone else says it should be, but what if my idea of perfect is something totally different?”

  “What is your idea of perfect?” I asked.

  “It would be perfect if you spent every night after this remembering how it felt to have me in this bed with you. It would be perfect if you went to sleep every night remembering how it felt to have me under you for the first time. Perfection would be you never wanting another girl like Gretchen because you can’t forget how you made love to me. ”

  She truly had no idea what she did to me. “I could never want anyone other than you because you have ruined every other girl in the world for me. ”

  As I laid there considering the idea of how to make this work with her, I heard a pounding on the door and sat up on the bed. “Stay here. Don’t come out no matter what. Got it?”