All about you (love hat.., p.12
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       All About You (Love & Hate series #1), p.12

         Part #1 of Love & Hate series by Joanna Mazurkiewicz
Chapter nine



  I run through these memories in my head knowing that I shouldn't torture myself like that. Dora already knows what happened to me on Saturday night. I haven't seen her since Friday. She came back home when I left for a lecture in the morning. She has been texting me all the way through my Criminal law class, demanding I see her for lunch. As soon as the lecture is finished, I walk to the canteen. I know that if I keep ignoring her, she will just keep nagging until I tell her everything, so I might as well get it over with and talk to her now.

  Throughout the weekend I've been getting more and more Facebook notifications. And people were laughing at me during the class lecture. Guys have been asking me if they could rent me for a night. I tried to ignore them and just get on with my day, but it's difficult to behave as if nothing happened. Oliver confuses me. He made so much effort to humiliate me in my new environment, and then he kissed me. His behaviour doesn't make any sense. It's like he wants to show me what I lost two years ago. Maybe this is just a part of his plan. His kiss finally took all the pain away and for a few seconds I felt like I was myself again—before the party, before Christian hurt me.

  “There you are,” says Dora, sitting at my empty table. People are still laughing when I walk by, but my best friend glows. Obviously her trip to London with Jacob went well. “Let's go somewhere quiet where we can talk properly.”

  “I'm fine here. Besides, I'm starving,” I reply, shoving a large portion of sausage casserole down my throat. Food helps and I'm doing everything I can to look like I'm not affected by what’s going on around me. If Oliver sees me in a complete meltdown, then he will know that he’s won.

  Dora arches her eyebrows, giving me one of her irritating stares. “How are you holding up, India? I go away for a weekend and next thing I know you let him humiliate you again. You should have known that it was a setup, because you and I have done the very same thing. Remember the Halloween party?”

  “I'm fine. So stop making a scene. Of course I remember it,” I hiss, ignoring other people in the canteen who are staring at us like they’re expecting some kind of confrontation. “But I had no idea that Alexander was only doing what Oliver asked him to do. You told me yourself to go out and enjoy myself.”

  “Yeah, it's not your fault, but you should have told me that Alex asked you to dress up. I thought he just wanted to take you out.” Dora looks even more upset than I am, and I don't get it. She usually never showed any empathy towards anyone else, especially me.

  “It's done now. My pictures are all over Facebook. Oliver might have humiliated me, but I'm not planning to leave,” I tell her, chewing my food.

  “I thought that he was joking about this whole bet. I didn't expect him to take this that seriously.”

  “What? You warned me yourself. After what I did to him in high school it was obvious that he wasn't joking.”

  “Yeah, I know, but I just thought that he would play with you. Maybe I should talk to Jacob and tell him to talk to Oliver. He can make him stop, you know.”

  “Don't you dare, Dora. Oliver can keep crushing me how ever much he wants. But I'm not weak. Can’t you see I'm fine? I don't care what other people think about me. It's Braxton, not Gargle. They will get bored eventually.”

  “Maybe, but what about your reputation? If you want to find a date—”

  “Dora, stop it, will you?” I say, a bit louder than I intended. “Oliver is a tool and I told you that I'm not interested in dates. I don't want to talk about this anymore. I mean it.”

  She doesn't respond but stares at me for a couple of minutes like she’s expecting me to start crying. I need to get out of here before the rugby team shows up ruining my lunch. The truth is that I'm not fine. I hate that people could see me in my underwear at that party. I hate that all the girls are pointing out how fat I am. Dora has a perfect figure. But I'm athletic, not skinny like other girls.

  “Are you sure that you’re all right? People were writing pretty nasty stuff on Facebook,” she asked quietly.

  “I'm good, so can you please stop asking me? Let's just change the subject. Tell me about your trip to London.”

  The panic finally floods away when Dora starts talking. Oliver will keep pushing me to the edge, but I'm stubborn. I will keep trying to gain his forgiveness. As Dora goes through what she bought and what she saw in London, I form a new plan in my head. It's time to talk to Oliver and tell him the reason I treated him like he was no one back in high school.

  When I finish my lunch, I tell Dora that I have to run to class. During class lectures I make notes, but I can't concentrate well enough. Am I really ready to tell Oliver what kind of brother he lost? Am I ready to go through this nightmare again?

  Christian didn't have an excuse to treat me viciously, but I should have seen it coming. Whenever his mother was going through a crisis, he kept running off, leaving Oliver and me to deal with her.

  It's early afternoon when I’m finished with classes and I know that Oliver has a training session today. Dora complained to me in her morning text that Jacob chose to go to training rather than to see her. Dora can be overwhelming sometimes. She expects too much from guys, and Jacob should already know this, but he doesn't seem to mind.

  I walk to the sports centre, which is on the other side of campus. My hands are shaking and I start doubting myself, wondering if this is a good idea after all. I need to clarify what he wants from me. He kissed me, and that always has some consequences.

  I decide to wait for him outside. His training should be finished soon. I play this scenario in my head, thinking if I'm brave enough to explain everything, that he will understand.

  What if he refuses to talk to me? What if he won't believe me?

  I stand there for twenty minutes before I see a few guys coming out of the hall laughing. I spot Jacob, who walks out with Oliver. My heart starts thumping in my chest for several seconds and I stand there immobile. Jacob spots me first. He tells Oliver and his eyes move to look my way. My heart is beating so fast and hard now that I can't catch my breath. It has to be now or never. He hasn't got a choice; he has to tell me what kind of game he was playing with me. I'm not the India from high school. It's time to swallow my pride and face him.

  I started walking towards them, playing this whole conversation in my head.

  Jacob shakes his head, and a few other guys are glancing back at me.

  I hear them say, “This is the chick from the party.”

  “Yeah, the one Olie wants to end.”

  I stop in front of them, but Oliver ignores me, looking away, then he starts walking in the opposite direction.

  “Oliver,” I say, “are you going to run away or are you going to face me like a man?”

  He stops few meters from me. Jacob glances back and forth from me to Oliver. A few other guys turn around to see what’s going on.

  “Jacob, did you hear anything? Because I most certainly haven’t,” Oliver says, his back to me.

  I have to do something, knowing that he’ll keep ignoring me like this forever. His hair is damp and he looks so sexy. It still amazes me how much he’s changed. I swallow hard and take a step towards him, but Jacob grabs my hand, looking tense.

  “India, I don't think it's a good idea. Don't do this, for your own sake,” he whispers.

  I pull away and move toward Oliver. “Fine, if you want to do this here, then I don't have a problem with that. I bet that all your buddies would be happy to hear what I’ve got to say about your dead brother.” I pitch my voice loud enough for everyone to hear.

  He turns his head slowly towards me and when our eyes meet I feel like I'm going through an asthma attack. My breathing gets heavier, more laboured. The images from Saturday night pass through my mind rapidly: Oliver lips are on mine again and I want more.

  “You got one minute, Indi,” he snarls and turns around, walking back to the sports centre.

nbsp; Jacob gives me a look that says I shouldn't do this to myself, that Oliver will only humiliate me more. I ignore him and walk after Oliver. My pulse is racing and sweat gathers over my forehead. He stops by the door and keeps playing on his phone, still ignoring me.

  “I want to know…what was that about the other night?” I ask, trying to sound indifferent, but my tone is like a scowl.

  “Indi, I thought that you had something important to say. I have other things to do, like I need to go and take a piss,” he growls, not taking his eyes off his phone.

  “I asked you a question. What was that about the other night? Why did you kiss me?”

  He smirks and insults me again. “I didn’t consider that kissing. It was more like trying to teach someone how to do it.” That comment hurts the most because he’s saying that he didn't feel anything, that it was just his game. I fold my arms together observing how different he is from Christian.

  “You kissed me, Oliver, so stop pretending that it didn't happen.” I feel like I want to shake him and tell him that I treated him like garbage because his brother was a sadistic psycho. Christian hurt me and now Oliver is doing exactly the same.

  He finally lifts his beautiful blue eyes and looks at me, but he is so empty. There is nothing in his eyes of what I expected to see: no despair, no regret, and not even warmth. “I just wanted to let you taste what you will never have. I'll never look at you the way I look at other women, because in my eyes you're just a piece of trash with no feelings.” He moves his face closer to mine and his eyes burn with bitter anger and deceit. For a moment we stand there looking at each other.

  I fight to keep back the tears, to let him see that he’s won. This conversation is now over. I can't bring myself to tell him. He is not worth it.

  “Keep doing what you’re doing, Oliver, but you won't win. So let's see what else you got because I will be here for as long as it takes, whether you like it or not. You are just like your brother.” Then I turn and walk away, wiping the tears off my cheeks. He doesn't get it, and maybe he never will understand what I mean by that, but right now I don't care. From now on we are enemies, and if he ever tries to touch me again, I’ll be ready to push him away. I won't be the same India from high school, but I won't be weak anymore.

  After seeing Oliver, I walk home feeling numb and deceived by my own mind. Christian and my gloomy past will hunt me down for the rest of my life.

  This was supposed to be easy, telling the truth, redlining myself from the past. Fixing everything was part of my new character that I began to grow into. The old India wouldn't take his insults; she would have struck back and slapped him. I'm not that person anymore. It's easier to walk away if you are not wanted than to fight back. His insults are part of me now, so it doesn't matter. If I could fix the past, I would have told him straightaway. I wouldn't keep anything to myself.

  But that part of life is over. The old Oliver is gone and the new one is like his brother—monstrous and cold. It's time to move on. My feelings for him were never real.

  Chapter ten

  Lies and pain


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