Broken and screwed 2, p.24
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       Broken and Screwed 2, p.24
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         Part #2 of Broken and Screwed series by Tijan

  “I haven’t heard about you.” She raked her up and down.

  Beth grabbed her cousin and dragged her away, saying, “You didn’t know about Jesse either.”

  We heard Hannah grumbling when the door opened and shut behind them, “You think you’re so special because you did—”

  Angie bit her lip, smiling nervous at the same time. “They seem like good friends.”

  I shrugged. “They’re like me. We get along.”

  “They’re like you?”

  I caught the sincerity in her voice and my gut dropped. Just like that, I was reminded of the last summer. It was only four months ago, but so much had happened. There’d been so much distance by the end of the summer and there was even more now. I didn’t want to lie anymore. I didn’t see the point to it. I shrugged. “They’re broken like me.”

  She sucked in her breath and jerked to the side. Her throat started trembling and she was biting down on her lip, hard. As she glanced back, she flicked a tear away. “You were broken.”

  I frowned. “You knew that.”

  She shook her head quickly, one brisk movement. “You never admitted it. I felt it. I knew something was going on, but you never said.”

  “I told you about my mom.”

  “Because I knew! I knew about your mom and you never told Marissa. Your brother died and your mom tried to die the next year.”

  There was so much emotion in her voice. I heard the sob in her throat, but I refused to feel sorry. I heard the unspoken insinuation. If I had spoken up and told them what was going on, that still wouldn’t have made it better. Heaving a deep breath, I said, “I know you’re going to say otherwise, but you couldn’t have handled what was going on in my life.”

  “You didn’t even let me try!” Pressing a hand to her mouth, she tried to quiet her sobs. “Marissa told me that she saw you. I went home for break and stopped at your house a few times, but I ran into her at Eric’s house. He had a party. She said you looked good.”

  “She did?”

  She nodded, more tears falling free. Her chin kept quivering. “She did. She said some things hadn’t changed. You and Jesse were sneaking around again.” Glancing around, her smile was shaky. “I guess that’s not true anymore. You’re living here, huh?”

  “Yeah.”

  “I emailed you a few times. I should’ve called, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that. I just, I don’t know what I wanted.”

  “I don’t check my personal email that much. It’s been mostly my school email. I have the same cell phone.”

  “I know. After Marissa told me how cold you were to her, I figured the element of surprise was the best course. I don’t know. Stupid, now that I think about it. Whatever.” She took another deep breath. Her voice didn’t tremble so much. “I emailed Jesse, can you believe that? He told me that you’d be here and he said this was the best time to come. We came to town for the game. Justin wanted to watch Jesse’s game, you know, an old teammate and all.”

  “Justin’s here?”

  “No. He dropped me off. I told him I’d wait for you to come home. He’s at the game.”

  “So you’re missing the game?”

  She nodded. “God, Alex.” She shook her head, “I can’t believe it. You look…like you’re old self.”

  “I do?”

  “Yeah.” A tentative smile started to grow over her face. “You look good. You look almost like that party girl from our freshman year. Remember that year?”

  The hole in my chest closed off. It went to shelter where it was safe and protected. “No,” I answered. “I don’t want to remember that year. It was my last year with Ethan.”

  “Oh.” Her smile was wiped clean. “I’m sorry. I didn’t think about that.”

  I was growing tired of this. “What do you want, Angie?”

  “I wanted to see you.”

  I continued to stare at her. She was lying.

  Her shoulders drooped. “I wanted to see how you were doing.”

  There was more. I felt it from her.

  Finally, she admitted, “I wanted to apologize for last year.”

  There it was. I bit out, “Why?”

  She flinched from my tone, it was so cold. “I don’t think I was a good friend to you. I know I wasn’t a good friend to you. I made you break up with Jesse, then that last summer when…” Her words faded. She still couldn’t talk about it.

  No one could. No one understood it and even I didn’t, but I knew the cause. “Did Eric ever tell you about that night in my kitchen? When he came in and I was burning something?”

  She jerked a shoulder up.

  So he had.

  This was the moment; this was where everyone became so uneasy because this was the time when people didn’t want to hear about the amount of pain someone might have been going through. Hannah understood it. Beth understood it. I didn’t know how, but I knew they did. I knew something had happened so atrociously in their lives that they were changed. They would always be changed and that’s how it was for me. That letter shattered me and people didn’t want to admit that could happen. Because if they had to accept that it could happen to them as well and no one wanted to admit that fact to themselves.

  Angie grew up in a good family. She had good parents who loved her and a family that would be there for her so it made sense why she didn’t want to hear what happened to me. Why would she? Why would a person like that want to experience the pain that I had? Even if it meant being a good friend?

  I understood why Eric had been scared. I understood why Angie and Justin had shied away from me. They didn’t want to know the amount of pain that I’d been feeling so I kept to myself. They knew, but when I got that letter from my parents, I couldn’t keep it checked and hidden anymore. The pain was too much. It had started to mingle with rage until it became one and the same. It made me look different. It made me walk different. It made me act different, think different, feel different. It was like an arm had been cut off from me. I kept going, but I couldn’t grow another arm. Except for me, it was feeling loved. It was having a family. It was being supported. But it was gone, that letter just cemented it and I no longer had the ability to keep hiding.

  Angie would never understand that. So I couldn’t even start to explain it. Instead, I only murmured, “You’re off the hook.”

  “What?”

  “You’re off the hook, Ang. I know you tried to be a friend to me last year, but let’s just admit this. It was hard being my friend. I get it.”

  Her tears started falling again. She crumpled to the ground and began to rock back and forth. She just kept crying.

  I knelt beside her. I didn’t touch her. I wasn’t going to comfort her, but I knew she needed to be released. “I know you tried to be my friend. I think you did a good job, but with the whole mess of my family, I wasn’t a normal person. I’m still not a normal person. Pain and grief, loss and mourning, then being abandoned, a person can only take so much. Eventually, if they don’t get support or love, they’re going to fall under all those strikes, you know?”

  She started sobbing, deep gut-wrenching sobs and she buried her head in her knees. Her shoulders jerked forward with each sob.

  Frowning at her, she was the one crying while I had been the one hurting. It didn’t make sense to me, but I still said, “You have a good future ahead of you. I know that I was holding you back. I was like an anchor with all my stuff. I get it. I do. Beth and Hannah, they’re like me. They get it and they’re not scared to be around me. Neither’s Jesse. I get him, no one else does.”

  She looked up and wiped at her face. “Have you told him?”

  “About?” But I knew. It had never been put into words. I was still scared of what would happen.

  “Alex, I was at your house. Your parents were never there. I mean, come on. Stop playing dumb. Just say it,” she snapped.

  Reeling, not from her tone, but that she really knew. She actually knew. My heart began racing, pounding in my chest, an
d panic started again. It was rising.

  “We live in a small town, Alex.” She kept going. I tried to shut her out, but I couldn’t. “My mom’s cousin works at the law firm you’re parents used. I know about the stipulations on their stipend for you. That you can’t communicate with them? That you can’t even call them or visit them? That if you want to hear how they’re doing, you’re supposed to send an email to your dad stating your reasons for even asking in the first place. Are you kidding me?”

  I couldn’t hear anymore. I wanted to box my hands over my ears. My heart was trying to claw its way out of me.

  “I know, I know. Blah, blah, your fucking parents blah. They’re horrible people. They’ve been horrible to you. I saw them last weekend and I couldn’t stand it. I wanted to go over and smack your dad. I wanted to shake common sense into your mom and ask why they could do this to you? You haven’t done anything to them!”

  “I could’ve…” I couldn’t have. A storm was inside of me. I could’ve peed my pants and I wouldn’t have felt it, but I forced myself to stay there. Everything in me screamed to run, to hide, but I couldn’t. I stayed put. I stared straight ahead and I made myself hear what else she was going to say. Angie was going to rip the Band-Aid of denial I had put over myself. I had started to peel the ends away, but she was about to rip it all clear.

  All the agony from last year and summer was about come flooding back. My hands curled into my legs and I held on, waiting for it.

  “You were the most perfect daughter they ever could’ve asked for. Your brother died. You worshiped him. You gave your virginity to his best friend and I know some of that was because of Ethan. It wasn’t all about you and Jesse. I don’t know how, but I know some of that was about Ethan. Maybe you were trying to connect to another person who loved him like you did, I don’t know, but your parents should’ve been there for you. They weren’t, Alex!” Angie was shouting now. She was still sitting in the driveway and she was yelling, but it wasn’t at me. It was for me. “And your mom, come on. You really think she tried to kill herself? I don’t. I think she wanted attention. I think she wanted a reason to leave and to justify it in her head that she couldn’t care for her daughter anymore. I know those nurses that took care of her. They said she hadn’t taken enough to kill herself, just to put herself to sleep for a while. She’s the one who called the ambulance. She told the 911 operator to call her husband, but her daughter could not be told a thing.”

  I was faintly aware of a door opening, but I couldn’t look. The tears were blinding me now. Searing pain paralyzed me as I tried to breathe. The breaths grew shallower and shallower. I was struggling to breathe as the agony filtered in.

  Angie’s disgust came out, loud and clear, as she continued, climbing to her feet now. “And you never said anything! Why didn’t you say something? I would’ve been there for you. I would’ve gone to the counselor if I knew for sure. I didn’t know for sure. I thought maybe, but it took all last week to ask around. Finally, people started talking about it, but I knew. I knew something was going on. They were never home. Every time I came over, they were never there. And you could go anywhere. You came over all the time. You never had to call your parents for permission for anything. And that depressing house. I mean, seriously, Alex. They left you in that house? All alone in that house?!”

  I shot to my feet now. “I wasn’t alone.” My chest was being split open. A hole had formed and she was ripping it to pieces. “Ethan was there!”

  “Ethan’s dead!” she shouted back. “Newsflash, Alex! Your brother’s been dead for two and a half years now. It’s time to move on!”

  “What do you think I’m doing here? I’m trying, Angie.”

  Her face clouded over and more tears came. She began shaking her head, “I can’t. I just, I tried to be a good friend to you, but I knew something was wrong. I knew it, but you never said anything. I couldn’t be there for you if you didn’t tell me. Why didn’t you tell me?”

  “Because you couldn’t handle it! Your parents love you. Your boyfriend worships you. You don’t know what it’s like to feel as much pain as I did and to watch everyone else have what I didn’t. You don’t know what that was like.”

  “Because you didn’t let me,” she whispered, pressing the back of her hand to her mouth again. “You didn’t let me in. Why didn’t you let me in?”

  The truth slid free in me. I hung my head as I whispered, “Because if you had known, you would’ve left me too. I only had you.”

  “Oh my god,” she gasped, wrapping her arms around me. She jerked me against her and hugged me as if her life depended on it. “I am so sorry. I am so, so, so sorry. I really am. I am so sorry, Alex. You’ll never know how sorry I am.”

  Slowly, I hugged her back. I was clinging by the end.

  She began to rock me back and forth, smoothing a hand down my hair and back. “I don’t know if I would’ve been there for you, but I think I would’ve tried. You never told anyone. No one knew, not really. You got good grades. You were so damn perfect. Too perfect, but I knew something was wrong. I felt it and they were never home. I’m sorry I didn’t know until now. I really am sorry.”

  She held me and we both cried. I wasn’t sure what I was crying for, but it was the good kind.

  Angie left not long after our crying session. I was relieved. It wasn’t that I wasn’t grateful for her visit, but I could only handle so much. When I went back inside, Hannah and Beth acted like they had never snuck outside or overheard anything at all, but I knew they had. I was okay with that. This is why I was friends with them. When the game was done, Hannah got an invite from her sister to an after-party. She made a crack how this wasn’t going to happen again so they went. When Jesse came home later, I could tell he wanted to go too so I went with him. It was then that I learned their after-parties were something else. We drank out of gold-trimmed glasses. I got one with sparkles inside. That was also where I learned how much I didn’t fit in with the other basketball girlfriends. Was I one? Jesse and I hadn’t talked about it at all, we weren’t official, but I was family. I contented myself with that. I was Jesse’s family. No one else could take that claim from me.

  The night ended without any great event happening, which I was grateful about. My drama meter was full and tipping to the overfull capacity.

  Tomorrow was Ethan’s birthday.

  So when I woke up the next morning, the urge to drink hit me full force. A truck had run over me and it wasn’t from being hungover. Rolling over in bed, there was no Jesse beside me. The need for booze just doubled, but then the door opened and he came in. He was shirtless and his chest was glistening from sweat.

  “Hey,” he said. “We were shooting hoops outside.”

  “Yeah.” I headed to the bathroom. My senses were screaming at me to escape, to get drunk, to do something so I couldn’t feel anymore. Jesse would’ve understood. He was the only one, but it was too much. I missed Ethan. The sense of being cheated railed inside of me. He should’ve been alive. He should’ve been playing hoops with Jesse, not whoever had been. The anger in me was bitter. It was starting to boil up.

  I wasn’t in the shower long before Jesse came in. I felt him before I saw him. His hands touched my hip and he moved me back against him. Pressing into him, need surged within me. I gasped as he kissed my shoulder and trailed up my throat. My skin sizzled from the path he left. As his mouth lingered under my chin, I began panting. Molten lust was swirling in me, taking me over. I turned around and my breasts were flushed against him now. He pushed me to the wall and swiped a kiss over my lips. It was the faintest of feather touches. I was throbbing between my legs, needing him inside of me and I pulled his hips closer, grinding on his leg. His lips moved over mine as I felt him grinning. He enjoyed making me squirm. Growling, I tried to nip at him, but he chuckled and moved back. His hands anchored me in place, still to the wall, as he bent low. My eyes closed, I knew where he was going. As his lips touched my stomach, I gasped from the onslaught of new sens
ations. Desire pulsed in me, one with my heartbeat. It grew with each beat. His lips moved farther down and I arched my back out. I needed him now. I needed him in me.

  “Jesse,” I groaned. My hands twisted into his hair, keeping him in place and just holding on at the same time. “Please…”

  He was unyielding. Gripping my hips with both hands, he knelt down and his tongue dipped into me. A strangled scream came from deep in my throat. It was gargled and I was panting heavily for him. My lips were pressed to keep any more sounds from escaping, but I couldn’t focus. My hands moved and gripped onto his shoulders. My fingers kneaded into his corded muscles. I couldn’t do anything against the torrent of pleasure coursing over me. He was working me closer and closer. A moan slipped from me and then my body jerked. I shot over a last wave, climaxing as his tongue laved around me. He rolled back to his heels with a wicked grin. Gazing down at him, a feeling of elation through me, I couldn’t do anything more as my body continued to tremble.

  His eyes darkened and he lingered on my lips. Shooting back to his feet, he jerked my hips out from the wall and he slammed into me. I gasped again at the sudden push, but renewed need took over and my hips moved with him. He began thrusting, working both of us into a frenzy. This was what I needed. This would always take place over feeling or thinking. I just needed Jesse. I just needed him in me and all else flew away. He tensed as he grew closer to coming, then he gripped my legs and pushed us both over the edge together. A second explosion burst forth and I was helpless against it. Wave after wave came over me. I could only tremble underneath their power. Jesse held me up. His own body was trembling as well and then he pressed a soft, lingering kiss to my lips. He breathed
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