Going under, p.34
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       Going Under, p.34

         Part #1 of Going Under series by Georgia Cates
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Page 34

 

  She nodded as I got up. I quickly pulled on a T-shirt and flannel pants, then went to the door to find one of Rita’s customers.

  He stood rubbing his arms and stuttered when he said, “I need to see Rita. ”

  “She’s not here and she won’t be back for a couple of days. ”

  I could see he was having some pretty bad withdrawal symptoms before he said, “I’m needing a fix real bad. ”

  “I can’t help you, man,” I said as I begin to shut the door.

  He rammed his shoulder into the door I attempted to close on him. “You might think you’re not gonna help me, but you are because I know Rita has a stash somewhere in this house. ”

  We were struggling at the door when he suddenly began screaming and rubbing his eyes. I shoved him away from the door and slammed it, then saw Claire standing behind me holding her car keys with the a small can of pepper spray she just used on her keyring.

  With a shaky voice, Claire asked me is I was alright and I realized that this was one hell of a wake up call to remind me why Claire and I could never be together.

  I looked out the window and watched the man get into the passenger side of a car and leave. When the car was out of sight, I grabbed Claire by the arm and opened the front door. I pulled her outside and walked her to her car and said, “You’ve got to go and I don’t want you to ever come back. ”

  31 I’ll Take What I Can Get

  Claire

  I know that didn’t just happen. Yet, here I sat in my car outside Jessie’s house staring at the front door he just drug me through and knew it did. I was so close to having him back, then I watched him begin to slip from my grasp with a simple knock on the front door.

  I couldn’t bear to lose him again. I don’t think I could survive it a second time.

  I sat in my car in disbelief of the incident that just occurred and decided that this wasn’t over. I got out of my car and stomped back to the front door, but it was locked. I lightly knocked and called for Jessie for a few times, but he didn’t come. I pounded harder on the door and raised my voice, “Jessie, please let me in so we can talk about this. ”

  As I beat on the door, the fear of reality began to set in and tears rolled down my face as I beat my palm against the door and screamed, “Jessie! Please! I know we can make this work because I love you. ”

  I slid down the door like a lunatic and sat against it. I continued to beat on the door for the next hour as I cried in desperation, but he ignored me.

  A sudden gust of wind blew in, bringing rain with it, and I sat until I was soaked to the bone in my cheerleading uniform. It became apparent after a second hour of unanswered knocking that Jessie didn’t intend on opening the door for me, so I gave up and drove home.

  It was one o’clock in the morning when I walked through the door wringing wet. My mother was waiting for me in the living room and said, “You look awful, but I guess you should since you’re supposedly sick. ” I didn’t say anything and she continued, “Forbes called to check on you. I told him you were asleep. ”

  Again, I didn’t respond and she said, “Where have you been since you obviously weren’t with Forbes?”

  I could lie and avoid the whole confrontation, but I was ready to get it all out in the open. “You made Jessie break up with me. ”

  “Claire, come sit with me for a minute so I can talk to you,” she ordered.

  I did as she asked and fell into the chair across from where she was stretched out on the couch. She turned the television off and started, “You are my daughter and I love you. What I’m about to tell you goes against everything I stand for as a counselor, but you are more important than any oath I took. I know you love Jessie, but he isn’t who you think he is. He’s dangerous and no good for you. He’ll only hurt you. ”

  “I know what he has to do for his grandmother, but it’s not because he wants to. He told me everything and it doesn’t change how much I love him. I still want to be with him,” I pleaded to my mom.

  She rose from where she laid and sat on the edge of the couch. “Jessie is a nice boy and he has endured some horrific circumstances. It’s an absolute miracle he is still alive, but I won’t allow you to become part of his world. It’s simply too dangerous. ”

  I felt the fury within me growing. “I just love how the two of you have made all of these decisions about what’s best for me,” I yelled.

  “Jessie is smart and he knows your place isn’t with him,” she replied.

  “If you know everything about him, then you know he doesn’t want to do it and he’s only living there until graduation,” I explained.

  “We are not going to argue about you dating a boy that sells illegal drugs because it’s not happening. This topic is no longer up for discussion. ”

  I had to make her see. “He’s never had anyone to depend on in his life and look how he has turned out. He’s highly intelligent and so athletically talented. He is going to make something great of himself. He won’t always be like this. ”

  “Well, you’re not having anything to do with him while he is,” she insisted.

  “I’ll be eighteen a few months and you can’t stop me after that,” I screamed in a tantrum as I stormed out of the living room to my bedroom.

  I ran up the stairs to my bedroom and slammed the door. I prayed she didn’t come to my room to try to change my mind and she didn’t. It wouldn’t have done any good anyway because I wasn’t giving up until Jessie was back with me.

  My mom didn’t allow me out of the house the rest of the weekend for fear I would go to Jessie’s. It was a smart move on her part because that is exactly where I would have headed even if he locked me out of his house and ignored me while I beat and screamed at his door.

  Since I was homebound all weekend, I looked forward to school on Monday and I hoped Jessie didn’t skip. My muscles were tense with my jaw clenched tightly while I sat in my car waiting for Jessie because I knew what it was I had to do.

  I saw him pull into the parking lot and I scurried out of my car and knocked on the passenger side window before he came to a complete stop. He hesitated and I knew he was weighing the pros and cons of letting me get in his truck, but he leaned over to unlock the door and I jumped inside before he could protest.

  We sat in awkward silence for a minute, then I looked down at my hands in my lap. “I’m sorry about Friday night. I shouldn’t have come up in your house without you knowing. I guess that makes me no better than Forbes and I’m sorry I went all crazy on you like I did. ”

  I looked up and Jessie’s face was turned away from me, staring out the window of his truck. “I wish my circumstances were different, but there’s no way to change my reality right now. I love you with all of my heart, but I can’t have a relationship with you while I’m in the middle of this mess. You’ll end up hurt and I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to you. ”

  “I’m not afraid. ”

  He still wouldn’t look at me. “If I’m choosing between being with you or keeping you safe, I’ll choose keeping you safe every time. ” He turned to look at me and said, “Friday night was a real eye opener for me. I hate to think what might have happened if he had gotten past me. ”

  “I think I did a pretty good job of defending you and myself. Do I need to remind you I’m the one that sprayed him with pepper spray?”

  “Do I need to remind you that the only reason you had to spray him with pepper spray was because you were with me? In case you have forgotten, it was an addict that came into my house and killed my mom in front of me, then tried to kill me. ” He reached out across the truck seat and grabbed my hand. He squeezed it when he said, “I would never forgive myself if…” but he was unable to finish his thought.

  I was desperate to maintain any form of contact and I slid across the seat. I took his face in my palms and said, “Please don’t cut yourself off from me. If I can’t be with y
ou the way I want, I’ll take whatever I can get. ”

  He wrinkled his forehead. “Are you saying you want to be friends if we can’t be together as a couple?”

  I closed my eyes and put my forehead against his, not a friend move, but I didn’t care. I said I would take whatever he would give and I meant it. “I am if it’s all you’re willing to give me. ”

  I felt him shaking his head, causing mine to move with his. “I don’t know. ”

  I couldn’t stand the pain of going back to pretending he didn’t exist, but even worse would be him pretending I didn’t exist. “Do you really want to go back to the way we’ve been for the last month?”

  He put his hands on top of mine over his face. “I don’t want to go to anything but being with you every minute of every day, but that isn’t what’s best for you. ”

  He was quiet while he speculated on my proposal, then said, “I guess we can try it, but I think you should stay with Forbes because it will just make it more difficult if we’re both single. ”

  I shook my head violently. “No. Forbes isn’t the one I love and I don’t want to be his girlfriend anymore. ”

  “It does my heart good to hear that, but I think we’re setting ourselves up for failure as friends if we’re both available. ”

  I wanted to fail at being friends because I felt nauseated by the thought of him with another. “Does that mean I have to see you with someone else?”

  “No. If it’s not safe for you to have a relationship with me, it won’t be safe for anyone else either. I don’t mind because I can’t see myself with anyone other than you. ”

  I wanted him to be happy, but I was glad I wouldn’t have to see him with another girl. I thought of the pain he would experience from seeing me with Forbes and said, “It isn’t fair. You shouldn’t have to see me with Forbes. ”

  “I’m being selfish by telling you to stay with him because I know you don’t love him. If you were with someone else, I would be worried and constantly wondering if I was standing by and watching you fall in love with someone else.