|Time and Change
Author: Spicydreams62 PM
Erika was too self-centered and Jake was too busy. They had a final fight and he walked out. Now she's determined to change but he's determined to stay away... One.Shot RewriteRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 2 - Words: 10,192 - Reviews: 30 - Favs: 90 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 02-28-10 - Published: 04-05-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2656059
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Time and Change -- Rewrite 2/28/10
"Erika, come on sweetie. You can't stay in your bedroom for the rest of your life," Kayla Turret, my twin sister told me softly.
"What life?" I moaned from beneath my covers. "My life is over. It was over when Jake dumped me."
"That happened two weeks ago! Please, please, please get over it," an irritated voice begged.
"Shut up, Hayden," I cried. Hayden Jones has been my and Kayla's best friend since kindergarten when it took her no longer them five minutes to figure out how to tell me and Kayla apart.
Kayla and I are identical twins and have had the same flaming red hair and slightly creepy light green eyes since birth, so it's rare for someone to see the difference. We're also the same height (a mere 5' 4" –we're very petite in a cute way) and have the same facial bone structure.
"Don't be mean, Hayden. She's still in love with him-" Kayla started but I cut her off.
"But he doesn't love me so why does it matter? God, I hate boys."
"He does love you-"
"No he doesn't. He never told me he did."
"Well you love him, but did you ever say anything?"
I stayed silent; I had been waiting for him to say it first. I guess it's a good thing I kept my big mouth shut.
"Anyway, as I was saying; he loves you…he's just…" Hayden looked towards the ceiling while she tried to figure out the right words.
"Sick of me?" I offered pathetically. "But why? I love him and…and…my life is over."
No one responded and after a moment or two I pulled my blankets down and stared at my two best friends.
"What's going on?" I asked. Kayla bit her bottom lip and glanced over at Hayden who shrugged. "Guys!"
"Okay, well…you see, you know how you skipped school today?" Kayla asked and I sighed.
"Well, duh. What's the point of school when my life is-"
"Yeah. Over. We know," Hayden broke in as she rolled her brown eyes. "Anyway, Kayla and I were in class and seeing as how it's the first day back after spring vacation, people were of course gossiping about your breakup."
Of course, I muttered dryly in my mind.
"And we kind of found out why Jake dumped you," my eyes widened at my sisters words. Two weeks ago, Jake and I had gotten in a fight over the same thing we always fight about: I always think he's too busy for me.
Which is totally 100 percent true! Even his best friend, a troublemaking womanizer named Kyle, had told him that he should probably drop an activity or two in order to find time to actually be with me. Jake plays varsity sports year round (soccer in the fall, hockey in the winter, and track in the spring) and he's also the student body president so he's always fluttering from game to school fundraiser and back again.
Anyway, two weeks ago, our spring vacation started and I was really excited because senior spring was officially about to start, and I had just gotten into UC Berkeley (all the way across the country) which has basically been my dream school since forever. Jake had gotten in too, and with soccer scholarship so I basically couldn't be more proud of him. I kind of felt like I was on top of the world and I was just really excited to spend vacation with him because winter term was kind of brutal for both of us; his hockey games and practices took up most of his free time and I spent a lot of my free time at the local animal shelter volunteering.
So, on the second day of vacation Jake had to do some indoor soccer training stuff and so I decided to spend my day at the animal shelter. He promised to pick me up at seven (when the placer closes) and so when seven o'clock rolled around, I walked outside the shelter and waited for him.
And I waited.
And I waited.
And I waited.
Until finally, I got up the nerve to call him. He didn't answer his cell and so, after a few more calls, I rang Kayla. By that time it was like, 8:30 and she was pissed because we were supposed to baby-sit our twelve year old cousin together and instead she was stuck doing it alone. Of course, because my sister loves me, she did come to pick me up and take me home where I proceeded to spend the night watching movies with her and Shannon, our cousin.
The doorbell rang at around eleven o'clock and I went to go answer it; I was slightly surprised to see Kyle standing there.
"Oh good," he sighed, relief evident in his voice when he saw me. "Erika, you need to call Jake right now -he's totally freaking out."
"Really? Good. He should be," I grumbled and Kyle rolled his eyes.
"Look, it's not his fault. Some of the guys invited us to a party and we left the party to pick you up at seven, but you weren't standing outside the shelter and so after like a half hour we left because we figured you got out early and caught a ride with your sister, but then you never called Jake so we figured you didn't get home safely. Jake's checking out the shelter again and sent me here."
"Number one –I called him. I keep telling him he needs a new phone –one that actually receives all the incoming calls! And second, what do you mean I wasn't standing outside the shelter? I waited there for almost two hours!" I cried, outraged.
"Not true. The only people there were the homeless ones."
"Homeless people…what are you talking about?"
"Well, it is a homeless shelter, isn't it?" At Kyle's words, I felt my blood run cold.
They drove to a homeless shelter. Not the animal shelter. I've been working at the animal shelter for over three months now and it's something I absolutely love and yet Jake doesn't even know I work there?
I said goodbye to Kyle and later that night I called up Jake. He was livid but so was I. We got into a huge fight because I accused him of not paying enough attention to me blah blah blah. The next morning he was at my doorstep and he broke things off.
"We're two completely different people," he had said. "You're quiet possibly one of the greatest things I have but right now, I need to focus on sports and working with our student body and you…you have your own life. I really am so sorry," and he kissed me on the cheek and left.
What kind of crappy break up is that?
And not only is it crappy but it's also completely and utterly…heartbreaking. He didn't tell me what I did wrong and he didn't tell me if I had any hope for our future and he didn't tell me if he loved me (I'm guessing he didn't). The worst part is that he didn't even tell me what I wanted to know the most:
Why does everything else always come before me?
At that thought, I choked on a sob and felt my head fall into my hands just as Hayden told me:
"Everyone thinks he broke up with you because you're too self-centered."
"I'm not self-centered," I whispered, surprise evident in my voice.
"Well…actually…" Hayden looked away and shrugged. My jaw dropped and I turned my head to face my twin sister; she too avoided my gaze.
"Oh come on, Kayla! Don't tell me you agree with them!"
"It's not that I agree with our classmates per say…it's just, I mean you do have a tendency to sometimes make it all about you-"
"I do not!" I argued, my voice harsher then I wanted it to be. Kayla sent me a disbelieving look.
"What about the time you made mom bake you three cakes for the school bake sale instead of working on that project she had to get done for work?"
"Oh, come on! Mom was stressed anyways and baking was a way for her to distress, so technically, I was helping her," I countered.
"Oh, please, Erika," now Hayden was speaking, "how about the time when you made Kayla pick you up from the movies when she was supposed to be at her boyfriends art show?"
"How was I supposed to know that Jake was going to cancel on me last minute for some stupid student council meeting? Plus, she broke up with that guy a week later so who cares?"
"You could have walked home, it's not like you live too far away," Hayden pointed out and I rolled my eyes.
"I was wearing my new Jimmy Choo Forest gladiator sandals -I wasn't going to walk home in $795 shoes!"
"Are you even listening to yourself? Erika, okay…remember last year, when I was competing in New Englands for softball, but you were competing in it for tennis the same day? Mom and dad came to you matches but they had to leave before your last match in order to arrive in time to see me play, but you threw a fit and pouted and complained until they agreed to stay and watch you. They missed my game altogether," Kayla's voice was serious and seemed uncaring, but I detected the bit of hurt that still lingered.
"…okay, that was bad," I admitted. I wanted to point out that our aunts and uncles were at her game, but I realized that they couldn't substitute for our parents. "But can you really say that I'm self centered? I mean, I volunteer at an animal shelter, for Heaven's sake!"
"You only started volunteering there because you didn't have enough community service hours to graduate," Kayla kindly pointed out. "Erika, I love you and I think it's great that you loved the shelter so much that you're still volunteering there, but let face it: you are a little more self-centered than most. However, it's not like you mean be that way! It sort of comes with your being the oldest child…"
"I don't believe this. My twin sister and my best friend are attacking me in my darkest hour!" I cried, feeling tears pushing back against my eyes.
"No, Erika, don't be like that. We love you…" Hayden tried, her voice switching from accusing and annoyed to comforting and loving.
"But Jake doesn't love me," I whimpered.
"That's not true, sweetie…he's just confused."
"There's nothing to be confused about. I'm an overdramatic self-centered brat and he hates me."
Hayden and Kayla sighed.
"Listen, Erika. Being self-centered or selfish isn't too bad; plus there are some girls who are so much worse then you-"
"I don't want to be self-centered!" I wailed dramatically. "Tell me what to do so I can stop!"
"You can't just stop being-"
"Oh! How about at this week's school fundraiser at the park, right? Kayla, you're in charge of the fair thing, right? Let me help! I'll…I'll…oh! I can be in charge of the booth where people can adopt animals!" I exclaimed excitedly and I saw the look of apprehension on my sister's face.
"Erika…I love you but…well, it's kind of a huge responsibility-"
"Please Kayla…please?" I was horrified to hear my voice break on the last note but apparently so were my two best friends because immediately they both nodded.
"Alright Kayla but please don't screw this one up…"
"I thought you didn't want to talk about her," Kyle accused and I rolled my eyes as I tossed the soccer ball back and forth between my hands.
"I was just asking if you know what's up. I mean, she wasn't in school today!" I defended. I bit down the nervousness and worry and I felt building up in my stomach. I really shouldn't even be asking about her –after all, she is my ex-girlfriend.
The term almost made a little bile rise to my throat.
"Well, I don't know what's wrong but I'm sure it's nothing. Erika's a big girl and she can take care of herself," Kyle eventually responded.
"But she shouldn't have too," I whispered automatically. I should be taking care of her.
"What was that?" Kyle spoke up and I shook my head.
"Nothing. Alright; the break is over. I'm going back into the net. C'mon."
"Jake, we've been out here for hours. I'm sick of soccer."
"You can leave but I'm staying here."
"You work yourself too hard, man. You're gonna burn out."
"I'm fine," I snapped. "Now just kick the ball." Kyle rolled his eyes before he kicked the ball into the corner of the net where I promptly jumped to stop it. After a few minutes of silence, Kyle spoke up.
"So, seeing as how we're on the topic of Erika, I was just curious as to what your relationship thing is."
"We're not seeing each other; I thought that was clear," I told him firmly.
"So then…you won't mind if I make a…pass at her, right?" By his tone I could tell that he was completely serious.
"Actually, I would mind. We're not dating but you still can't touch her," I growled before throwing the ball back at him with a little more force than necessary.
"Dude, chill. She's too overdramatic for my taste anyway," he informed me and I rolled my eyes.
"She's really not as dramatic as you seem to think."
"No, she is. You're just too blinded by love to see it."
"If she was excessively dramatic, she wouldn't have so many friends," I pointed out, ignoring the last part of his sentence.
"Girls are freaks and they tend to worship drama-prone girls. Gives them something to gossip about," my friend informed me and I shook my head.
"And since when have you been the expert on the female race?"
"Seven days in a week, seven girls a week to study. Eight on a good week."
"Depending on how you look at it, maybe." I shook my head at his words and threw the ball back at him.
"Whatever, come on. Kick the ball again!"
"Nah, I can't. Look, man –I gotta get home. You should probably get going too." I glanced at Kyle and nodded before he grinned and turned to walk away. "Don't forget to get out of here soon!" He cried.
"Don't worry; I will!" But somehow I think we both knew I'd be out here practicing for a very long time.
"Oh my god; this is so heavy," I muttered and I lugged a box through the long aisle of booths. The booth where I was going to chill with the animals was kind of a far walk down and I could feel the box taking a toll on my strength and willpower to do a good job.
"You're doing a good job with that box, Erika. I'm actually kind of impressed," I rolled my eyes and laughed lightly at Hayden's words. She and Kayla have been constantly checking on me to make sure the booth is coming along and to make sure I'm not slacking off.
Their lack of faith in me is truly amazing.
Thankfully, Hayden's slowly been noticing my dedication to change my self-centered ways but unfortunately, from the rumors I heard flying around the school for the past two days, no one else has noticed.
"It's only been two days! Give it time," Hayden had tried but I shook my head at her words. There was another rumor going around saying that big-bosomed Bettie was going after Jake.
And another rumor was that he wasn't totally refusing her advances. I was devastated for a few hours before I finally pushed away my despairing thoughts with the sheer determination to get him back. I mean, I love him and Kayla keeps telling me he loves me too, so as soon as he sees me not being a total self-centered brat he'll definitely want to be with me again, right?
Anyway, after I had that epiphany, I had (on a whim, of course) sent him a Facebook message.
It may seem kind of weird to do this over Facebook but I haven't seen you in the past couple of days. Not that I'm complaining. I mean, I get it –you have other stuff to worry about and I totally respect that. :) I just wanted to let you know that I've been thinking about you and us and I realize you probably meant it when you broke things off with me a couple of weeks ago but…I'm not so willing to let us go (and I don't mean that in a creepy stalker way at all).. I'd really like to talk to you so if you could meet me by the fountain in the park tomorrow at like, 6ish that'd be great. I'll have to help start the set up for the fundraiser thing and so it'll take like a couple of seconds to get there. I really hope to see you there… :)
I haven't told Hayden about the message because I know she'll rip me apart for it. I haven't even told Kayla. I just want to see what happens first…I really want him to want me again. I'd back off when it comes to his busy schedule and everything! I just want my Jake back; is that so much to ask?
"Erika? Can you hold this in place while I hammer the nail into the wood?" Sherry, a girl who was helping with the actual set up of the booths, asked me once I had made it back to my booth. I glanced at my watch and bit my lip; my watch read 6:00…
"Well, I'm actually-"
"Never mind," Sherry sighed and waved her left hand away as if she was expecting a negative reply from me. I felt my face flush red when I realized that may have been a selfish of me and so, slightly annoyed, I instantly did what she asked me to do and I felt a little pleasure and a bit offended at her surprised yet pleased look.
Helping Sherry actually only took about ten minutes and afterwards I jogged of to the fountain. I heard voices coming from it and worried that maybe Jake had left (if he had shown up at all) and instead some flirty couple had taken refuge behind the fountain- what the hell?
Jake had his hands on the back of busty Betty's waist and his lips were pressed against hers. Her own arms were wrapped around his neck and as soon as I processed what was happening, I felt sick. I let out a small gasp and watched as Jake opened his eyes and his beautiful hazel eyes took in my green ones. He pulled away from Betty and she looked confused for a minute or two before she noticed me and scurried away; her face almost as red as my hair.
I watched her go for a second before I took a deep breath and turned to Jake who had made his way to stand in front of me.
"You could have just messaged me back saying no; I didn't need to see that," I croaked, trying to keep all traces of pain out of my voice. Unfortunately, my voice was a little wispier and more watery then usual so, obviously, I wasn't doing too good a job.
"I never planned for you to see that. You were late and she just…she showed up…" he told me, a slight strain in his voice. I bit my lip and looked away. I was going to cry. I could tell I was going to cry and so I tried to speed this conversation up.
"So I guess there's nothing to talk about, huh?" I managed and Jake sighed. He reached for me but I shook my head and moved back a step.
"I just…I meant it when I said I didn't think it would work out, I really have to focus on soccer," he told me softly.
"What? And so dating Betsy is so much less time consuming then dating me?" I let out a little sob, hating myself for it.
"Oh, baby don't cry-" I ignored the way his voice oozed with worry and heartbreak –it was obviously an act.
"I'm trying to change. I've been trying to change," I told him; my voice as shaky and watery as my flowing tears were.
"You shouldn't have to change; I was crazy about you the way you were," he told me tenderly.
"Was, as in past tense though," I continued to cry.
"No; its fine, Jake. I'll…I mean, I'll get over it, right? I just…can you just answer a question for me real quick?" I spluttered and I didn't give Jake time to respond. "Why is it that everything else comes before me? Why couldn't I ever come first?"
"Erika…"he seem surprised at my question, "I'm sorry, Erika." He moved towards me to offer me a hug but I shook my head, turned around, and rushed away. "Erika!" Jake called, but he didn't chase after me…and in the end, that's what hurt the most.
"They're not dating, so shouldn't that be of some consolation?" Kayla asked and I shook my head as I leaned against the mirror. We were currently in the girls' bathroom and I was sitting on the counter as we skipped lunch. Usually Jake doesn't come to lunch –he spends most of his lunch periods playing soccer in the gym- but today (the day after out little meeting at the fountain) he decided to show up.
And busty Betty was clinging to his arm like it was her favorite new cleavage enhancing bra.
"So what? They're just f-buddies?" I asked dryly, keeping the bile from rising to my throat.
"I heard he refuses to go that far with her…"
"For now," I whispered and when I felt the onslaught of tears threatening to come again, I turned my head away from my sister and started counting the number of tiles in the walls.
"Erika, he loves you-"
"Stop saying that!" I hissed, snapping my head to face her. "You keep saying that and I keep listening and Jake keeps proving you wrong! He doesn't love me. He never did. He never will, okay? My God, just let it go." I jumped off the counter and stormed out of the bathroom.
I was maybe being irrational but honestly –I didn't give a damn.
After the first few thousand times, a girl gets sick of hearing her sister and best friend try to convince her that her ex-boyfriend is still in love with her. Especially when no "I love you's" had ever been exchanged before. And especially when he has turned her down –twice. Oh, and especially when he has a new hook up buddy.
After a while, all it does is make everything hurt so much more.
I didn't know where I was going until I found myself outside and standing on the steps to the school entrance. I bit my bottom lip and glanced at the doors; to skip or not to skip?
Oh, who am I kidding? I don't have the guts to skip.
I turned around, fully prepared to make my way back into the school when I smelt smoke. I turned a little to my left and walked over to the railing. On the ground, his with back against the wall, Kyle was leaning with a cigarette in his hand.
"You shouldn't be smoking," I told him after a moment or two. He shrugged but didn't respond. His lack of response irked me: I wasn't use to him ignoring me. "You know, we haven't talked in what? Three weeks?"
"I've been busy."
"Like I haven't heard that one before," I grumbled dryly, thinking of my ex-boyfriend. Still, Kyle didn't answer. "If you guys really live by the whole stupid 'bros before hoes' thing, then please just let me know now so I can stop wasting my breath." When Kyle didn't respond, I let out a scoff and turned away.
"You hurt him too, you know." I stopped short and turned back to face Kyle who had thrown the cigarette to the ground.
"What?" I asked and Kyle grabbed onto the railing and with an impressive amount of grace and flexibility, he flung himself over it so that he was facing me.
"You hurt him too. All the time. Granted, he's kind of a busy body, but he was always thinking of you and he always felt guilty for having almost no time for you. But he tried and yet it was never enough for you." Kyle coolly told me.
"I tried to make it enough; I tried to not complain as much as I sometimes wanted too!" I defended weakly but Kyle merely shook his head.
"And while that may be the case, you can't deny that you happen to always be a little overdramatic."
"I know that," I commented wryly, but I couldn't deny the hurt I felt, and so I looked down. "But I can't help that."
"And also –you were just doing it- you have a tendency to make things all about you. Do you ever take a moment to step back and think about how these seemingly unimportant personality flaws may be affecting your relationships?" I took a deep breath when I felt my knees go a little shaky. I crossed my arms tightly and felt the wind blow my red hair in my face; the scarlet strands were mixing with a few drops of salt water. "I've known you since freshman year and you have yet to change at all."
There was a silence as Kyle waited for me to respond. I knew what I wanted to say, but I was having trouble actually forming the words.
My heart pounded in my ears and I suddenly found my mouth moving on its own accord.
"But can't anyone see that I'm trying?" I asked, feeling a little…broken, for lack of a better word. I glanced up and watched as Kyle's facial expression changed from one of indifference to once of sympathy.
"Erika…" he told me as he scratched his head. "I…I mean…maybe I made things sound a little worse than they actually are…listen, classes are about to start. You had better go."
I nodded and quickly made my way into the building, leaving Kyle all by himself.
"You did WHAT?" I groaned and glanced over at the blonde kid who had yelled.
"Don't yell, Jake. It's bad for your health." He flipped me off but I ignored him because I actually kind of meant it. Jake looked like he was about to fall over. He had bags under his eyes, slow movements, and a weary voice; his yelling was the most emotion I've seen/heard him express in days. Lately Jake's been doing nothing but playing sports. Hockey, soccer, track –he does it all. All day, every day –literally.
He wasn't nearly this bad when he was with Erika and I was having trouble deciding if his new behavior was due to his not having Erika anymore or it was because he once did have her.
"No, what did you say. You can't…shoot, Kyle. What the hell was running through your head when you were talking to my girlfriend about me-"
"Ex-girlfriend," I stressed, I held back a grin when he glared at me. "And I only told her the truth. That she hurt you too because no matter what you did, she never thought it was good enough."
"Because it wasn't good enough! Don't you get it? I was so busy with everything else in my life, that I barely had time for her and she was suffering because of it. I didn't even know that she was working at an animal shelter, for God's sake! What would have happened if she didn't get a ride home with Kayla? What if she got lost or some guy started to mess with her? I couldn't…wouldn't let her deal with it anymore. She needs someone who can put her first all the time."
"Wait, hold the hell up," I ordered. "You broke up with Erika because you think she needs someone who'll put her first?" Jake nodded and shrugged. "It's a good thing you're a total jock, because you're dumb as a brick."
"Not true." Jake defended himself; he prided himself on having a B+ average…of course, that grade average was slipping since he no longer had Erika to tutor him through his tougher courses.
"Why don't you just quit being student body president? Or quit the track team? Or how about you drop a few of your numerous club president positions? You're already in to college, you know how to make time for her." Jake shook his head.
"I can't change who I am."
"Why not? She's changing for you."
"No she's not. Shut the hell up, Kyle.
"Jake, you need to listen to me. This stupid girl-"
"Watch it," Jake growled in warning and I held up my hands in mock surrender.
"Sorry; this silly girl," Jake nodded –it was better than stupid. "Is apparently trying to stop being so self-centered because she wants you back."
"Her being self-centered isn't a problem. Well, at least it's not a problem I wouldn't be able to handle. Her changing is not going to bring me back to her…I meant it when I told her I needed to focus on my life!"
"But that girl is your life!" I hissed, taking Jake by surprise. I shook my head and took a deep breath before continuing. "I may never understand why, but you're different when she's around, Jake. You're calmer. Nicer."
"Girly-er?" He grumbled but I ignored him.
"And you never looked like you were about to fall over from pure exhaustion."
"I'm not doing anything differently," he snapped, "whatever activities I did before Erika and I broke up, I'm still doing!"
"Yeah, but the difference is that she's not here to make you stop. She balanced your shit out, Jake. Face it –without her, you're a mess."
"I don't have time for this. I have track now." Jake got up and moved to leave the locker room.
"Fine, whatever. But the next time you see your ex-girlfriend, just humor me and watch her. See if she's acting any different to you." But by the way Jake didn't respond and by the way he just continued to walk away, I couldn't be sure if he heard me or not.
I shrugged. Whatever; it's not my problem.
"Erika, I really need you to come and arrange this stupid animal jungle thing for your booth." I groaned at Hayden's words.
"But I really don't want to do anything right now," I whined.
"Erika! The fair is tomorrow night, and you're the one who wanted this responsibility!" She snapped and I let out an annoyed huff before I stood up and started to help Hayden arrange everything. "Look, Erika. If you don't want to do this then please just tell me now so I can let your sister know ahead of time. This whole thing will turn out to be a disaster if you back out tomorrow afternoon or something…"
"I'm not going to back out!" I snapped back. "I'm just tired and…lazy."
"What? It's not like I'll change overnight." She rolled her eyes at my words and went back to the little jungle gym.
I need to do a good job on this booth. Its obvious that Kayla and Hayden don't have much faith in me and I guess it would kind of kick ass if I was able to prove them wrong.
"So…I heard The Guy," 'The Guy' is who we refer to Jake as, "isn't planning on bringing Busty Betty to the carnival."
"Good," I replied dryly. "At least he has some consideration for my feelings."
It was no secret that Jake and I met at this carnival thing during our freshman year. He was with some of his soccer buddies and they were being idiots with a soccer ball that Jake had just won at one of the booths and they were juggling it as they walked. Of course, when the ball got to Jake, one of his friends thought it would be funny to hit him in the back. Unfortunately, this caused his reactions to go crazy, and instead of lightly tapping the ball, he kicked it with all his might…and it soared straight towards my head.
I was leaning against a brick wall and talking to Hayden so when the ball hit me, my head kind of smacked against the wall and I, of course, fell to my knees and tried to blink away the sudden blue spots forming in my vision. Jake rushed over and basically joined Hayden in making sure I was alright before Hayden stood up and began to totally bitch Jake out. I got her to tone everything down and after that, Jake and I got to talking. We became good friends and during the summer we became, like…super close and he eventually asked me out during our sophomore winter.
And then he broke up with me during our senior spring. What a love story.
"But Erika, he also stopped getting with Busty Betty all together!" Hayden supplied.
I blew out a bit of breath as my red hair was picked up by a sudden burst of wind and pressed into my face.
"That can't be true; Busty Betty's bust is too good for any guy to even consider ending things with-"
"No, it's true!" Hayden cut in. "I saw her crying about it during history. I would have felt bad about it if it weren't for the fact that she's kind of a whore. With big boobs which could possibly suffocate me if they so chose to."
"Hayden, stop!" I cried but couldn't help but giggle at her words. Busty Betty's bust probably was impressive enough to suffocate tiny Hayden.
"Just sayin'…maybe he realizes that he really, truly, loves you!" I snorted.
"Hayden, it's been what? Four weeks? I'm pretty sure Jake's made his final decision. Unfortunately, I'm not part of said decision."
"Oh, baby-" She began, her voice softening a little.
"No, it's fine." I told her swiftly. "Really! I mean…time goes on and things change, I get that now," I added when I saw the way her eyes swished away from me and back again.
"Are you sure, because I once heard about…never mind; I have to go anyway. I'll see you tomorrow night, right?" I nodded and smiled before she leaned over to hug me.
"Saturday afternoon and this booth plus you and me. Sounds good. See yah, m'dear."
"I didn't see anything differently." I threw my cigarette to the ground and saw Jake standing next to me, his arms crossed and his sunglasses covering his eyes.
"Well maybe if you took off the sunglasses…" I offered and Jake barely reframed from flipping me off.
"Erika. She didn't seem to be acting differently."
"That's weird. Even I've noticed that she's being helpful to other people and shit."
"Well, yeah; I've noticed that too but it's not anything new. She's always been that way. Am I the only one who ever was able to see anything other then her sometimes being self-centered?" Jake angrily muttered as he ran a frustrated hand through his blond hair. I shrugged because…well, yeah. I'm pretty sure that other then Erika's sister, he is the only one.
Jake sighed and after a second or two he shook his head.
"Well she doesn't concern me anymore. I have a track meeting tonight and I need to concentrate on that."
"Tonight?" I asked with a raised eyebrow. "So you're gonna miss the carnival thing? Don't you go, like…every freaking year?" I asked and Jake shrugged.
"I went the first year because I wanted to find out what it was like. I went the second year because Erika wanted to go and that's when we started dating. The third year we decided it might as well be tradition to go together annually."
"Even after that disastrous first year?" I watched at Jake's face heated and turned red. The first year at the carnival was when he and Erika met; unfortunately, it wasn't exactly under the best circumstances. "She had a bruise on the side of her forehead for a week!"
"And I felt horrible," Jake groaned.
"Yeah, well at least her history with Owen didn't start off so badly-"
"Owen? Her history with Owen? Why the hell should that matter?" Jake suddenly asked, his eyes blazing with curiosity.
"You haven't heard? Oh yeah, you spend all your time playing, thinking, and talking about sports now. Of course your wouldn't have hear-"
"Alright! Owen Johnson is planning on asking Erika out tonight during the fair."
"That can't be true. Don't screw with me, Kyle…"
"No. It's true. I swear. You know how long he's liked her."
"Well, yeah but I never thought…" he groaned and I watched him bang the back of his head against my bedroom wall. "What an asshole."
"Well, why the hell shouldn't he make a move? You two are over," I pointed out as I eyed my open window; if Jake gets really upset, what the probability that he'll jump? Then again, I've snuck out of that window plenty of times -it's not high enough to kill anyone.
"I don't want him to ask her out. I don't want anyone to ask her out-"
"Well then, you're just going to have to suck it up and deal because-"
"You didn't let me finish!" he snapped and I rolled my eyes but shut up. "So, I'm going to get her back."
"Good luck with that. You have too much shit going on tonight for you to find the time to beg for forgiveness from your ex. Let's count things off, shall we? Number one, track meeting. Number two, you have to meet with some soccer coach dude for a few minutes. Number three, you have to meet with the parents of some prospective hockey star whose thinking of coming here next year. And, foregoing all the rest of your commitments; if you ever do get to the carnival, you won't have time to see Erika. You have to go visit all the booths for the clubs that you're president of and you'll have to make nice with everyone, seeing as how you're the student body president and all." Jake was staring straight ahead at my dark blue walls and he remained silent. "See? The truth of the matter is that you have a 5% chance of beating Owen to Erika. Sorry, man."
Jake shook his head and got up off the wall.
"Look, I've got to go, man. Alright? I'll figure things out. See yah later." I didn't watch him go but appreciated his closing my bedroom door. I stretched out on my bed and placed my hands behind my head.
Something tells me he's going to have a lot of trouble 'figuring things out'.
"So everything's going well, right?" I sipped my coffee and held the phone to my ear as Kayla's voice rang through.
"Well…yeah." I mean, my coffee is really good.
"Good. And whose manning the booth now?"
"Rebecca Hertz; she let me take a Starbucks run."
"Alright, but the animals are all settled there, right?"
"Every last one."
"Good. And I wanted to apologize ahead of time for little Rocky; I didn't realize the puppy would be so much trouble." My hand froze on my coffee.
"Rocky?" I breathed as I quickly went through all the animals that I brought from the shelter to the fair. Rocky, a restless but friendly chocolate lab, was definitely not one of the animals I brought back to the fair.
"Yes, Rocky. You know the little lab? You did get him, right?"
"Ohmigod, Erika! How can you NOT have him! He's the youngest puppy we're selling and we already have tons of people lining up to adopt him!" Kayla shrieked.
"I know; shit. I'm on my way to get him now."
"Just…just hurry up, Erika." Kayla hung up on me, and I shoved my coffee into the trashcan as I ran out to my car. I revved up the engine and made the short drive to the shelter where Rocky would be waiting in the back house with all the other animals that I had picked up earlier. Rocky was, in fact, in the backhouse and in a cage where his head and ears were folded down in boredom.
My heart broke for the poor baby; he'd been isolated for how many hours? I carried the cage to the car but felt bad for keeping him in the small space for so long so, once I had closed the doors, I let him out of the cage and let him sit in my lap.
I kept the windows up as I drove back to the park because Rocky kept moving and I was afraid he'd just jump out of the window.
"Okay, Rocky. I need you to be a very good boy, okay? There are lots of people here and it rained last night which means that if you run away or do something equally stupid; I'll be slipping and sliding all over the place and bumping into people left and right and we don't want that do we?" Rocky barked at me. "We're here because you may have a better chance at finding an adoptee here." He barked again. "I'm sorry baby; I want to take you home with me, but I can't." Rocky barked once more before he went over and scratched at the door handle. Instantly, not wanting his new claws to scratch up my car, I opened the door.
And of course, because Rocky's a crazy dog, he sprinted from the car.
"No! Shoot! Rocky!" I yelled before I slammed the car door and ran after the puppy. He ran through the crowds of people who were barely moving out of the way for him.
"Rocky! Come back here!" I screamed as I made a sharp turn and felt my leg slip in a puddle of water. My eyes stung with tears as my knee hit the cement.
"Erika-" I heard someone gasp but I ignored it, jumping up and running after the dog once more. I spotted the chocolate lab running through the grass and with a sour look and a moment's hesitation, I ran through the grass after him. The mud clung to my foot but I was gaining on him; I bent down to catch him as I ran but he then took a totally random turn and I fell into the grass.
I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. But first I had to catch that stupid dog.
And so I took off again. Someone was definitely chasing me and calling my name, but the muddy grass and random puddles were effecting the chaser more then they were effecting me.
"Rocky! Come on, I need you to come here right now!" I demanded and I stumbled once I reached the pavement. Thankfully, I didn't go down again, but I felt as though I might as well have. My red hair clung to the side of my face and my left knee was throbbing with an unthinkable pain but I continued to chase the puppy down.
I watched as Rocky stopped running away and instead jumped onto a booth; I cringed again when I saw him jump towards a freshly baked cherry pie -one of the many pies the Culinary Club was selling.
"Rocky, no!" I yelled, but it was too late. His face was covered in cherry pie and as he tried to eat more of it, the small dog ended up falling into the pie. The culinary club people were glaring at him angrily. I sighed and limped the short distance to them. "I'll pay for that," I offered quietly and they silently passed me the pie which held the small puppy. I reached into my muddy pockets for my wallet but someone placed a ten dollar bill in front of me.
"I've got it," I looked over and felt my face darken when I realized that no amount pain would ever be able to block out the adrenaline that always seemed to rush through my body whenever I saw Jake.
He offered me a small smile as he paid for the pie and I nodded tiredly at him.
"Thanks," I mumbled before I turned away and took a deep breathe. It was going to hurt like no other to walk back to the booth. I heard Jake behind me but ignored him as I slowly started to limp back to the booth I was supposed to be at.
"Shit, Erika," I heard Jake whisper. "You shouldn't be walking like that…how badly were you hurt when you went down on the pavement?" I groaned at his words.
"You were the one who was following me?" I asked.
"Wait, you knew someone was following you and you didn't even stop to talk to said person?" He responded.
"Well, I was kind of busy catching this one," I sighed and looked pointedly down at the smaller than average dog who was looking from the sides of the pie. "That people that adopts you won't know what hit them," I whispered to Rocky. He barked and wagged his cherry-pie covered tail.
"Yeah, I saw that…I can't believe you chased him down. You looked…well, ridiculous."
"It's can't always be all about me," I told him, tiredly.
"Well…yeah, but still." He shrugged and didn't say another word but I felt him watching me as I limped along. "Here, let me help you-"
"Just let me carry you-"
"Well, can I at least hold the dog for you-"
"I'd rather you didn't."
"Are you really that attached to the dog?"
"I want to adopt him myself but my mother is allergic," I spoke with a sigh.
"Look, Jake." I finally said. We were pretty much at my booth and I turned to face him for a second or two. "I don't know what your problem is but I really need you to just go away and leave me alone, okay? Thanks." I turned away from him and headed to the back of the booth.
"Didn't you just say it can't always be about you?" He asked and I stopped walking but didn't turn around. Rocky squirmed in the pie and tried to jump out but I held him in place. I felt Jake walk up behind me. "Please, Erika. I just need…I just need you," I raised an eyebrow (not like he could see it), "even if it's just for a few minutes. I want to talk to you." After a few seconds, I nodded. "Alright, can we talk at the fountain?"
"I'd rather not," I told him and Jake moved around to face me. His face showed a look of confusion.
"Why no-oh. Right." I gave him a tight smile and nodded. Had he not been making out there with Busty Betty a few days go?
I took pity on the defeated look on his face.
"Just come into the booth with me; it's time for Rebecca's break, anyway." Jake nodded and followed me into the booth. The booth was actually more like a tent held up by some complicated wooden structure; inside, animals were playing around and having fun. I noticed, with a happy smile, that a little over half of the animals that had been there when I left at the beginning of the fair, were now gone.
Rebecca looked desperate to leave and when she saw me, her whole face lit up.
"Thank God. I don't know how you handle these animals…oh my god, thank you for finally showing up again. I'll see you at school on Monday!" She hugged me before running from the tent, making sure to close the flap behind her.
I placed Rocky and the pie down and Rocky jumped out of the pie while a bunch of the other small pets ran to eat what was left of it. One of the smaller dogs couldn't get into the pie and I so I picked him up and dipped my finger into the cherry dessert before letting him suck on my finger. He didn't have sharp teeth but I could feel them coming in as he chewed on my finger; he was obviously about to begin teething. I carried the small dog with me to where I saw Jake sitting in a corner.
"You're good with animals," he told me as soon as I sat, his eyes wide and bright. I shrugged and the small dog continued to chew and tug on my finger. "I really can't believe I didn't know that," he whispered and I squirmed, feeling a little awkward.
"You look tired," I eventually said. And he did. His eyes still shined but the area around them was dark and a little bruised looking. He smiled and shook his head.
"Yeah…I've been busy," he told me and I looked away.
"I figured you would be."
"No, Jake. It's fine-"
"But it isn't!" He interrupted. "I shouldn't be so busy all the time. I wish I wasn't but…but I was, and I lost you because of it."
"You didn't lose me, Jake. You let me go."
"But I didn't want to. I wanted to be selfish and keep you but…but I couldn't."
"There's nothing wrong with being selfish," I told him because…well, because I would know. "If you had been selfish, maybe we wouldn't be here in this position."
We both stayed silent for a moment before he finally mumbled:
"Well, I feel like a dick." I sighed and squeezed my eyes shut before I opened them again.
"Jake, why are you here?"
"I'm here because I made a stupid mistake and I'm owning up to it." I groaned and rubbed my forehead. "Erika, I get that I shouldn't have ended things. It was stupid and I should have handled things better-"
"There was, and is, no way to handle things better," I interrupted, hating myself for stopping what I've been wanting to happen. "You don't have time for me and my being your girlfriend really isn't enough initiative for you to go ahead and switch your life around so that you do have time."
"That may be true,"
"Of course it's true," I spoke with a roll of my eyes. I looked over to the door of the tent and smiled at the person who just walked in.
Owen Johnson's Chesnutt brown hair brushed his pale forehead and his probing grey eyes sought out my green ones. He flashed me his traffic-stopped smile that more than a few girls regularly found themselves fawning over.
Owen Johnson's beauty was almost grand enough to shield Jake's sudden stiffening from me.
"So I heard there were pets for sale?" he asked and I grinned at him.
"Adoption. Not sale," I corrected. "And-"
"She's currently on break," Jake interrupted, causing me to look over at him in surprise. His hazel eyes were narrowed at his varsity track teammate, and his voice was threateningly cold. "And so, if you want to run on the 4x1 relay this year, I suggest you scram and let Erika enjoy her break."
Clearly confused, Owen hesitantly nodded before he offered me another smile.
"Text me when you're off break, okay?" he asked and I nodded.
"Of course!" His smiled widened into a grin and I heard Jake scowl next to me as Owen left. As soon as he was gone, I turned in complete confusion to the man sitting next to me.
"What the hell is your problem?" I asked him, my voice strained. Jake shrugged.
"He was so obviously hitting on you," he grumbled as he crossed his arms. I scoffed.
"And why does it matter? You're not my boyfriend anymore, Jake." His eyes dimmed and he looked down when I said that. "And even if I was, we've already established that my being your girlfriend simply isn't enough for you to switch around your schedule and make time for me. You're too busy and I'm not enough."
"But your forgetting an important factor in the equation," he told me with a small, tired smile, but he wasn't looking at me: his tired eyes were trained on Rocky who was roughhousing with some other dog.
"And that is?" I took the bait.
"Maybe you're being my girlfriend isn't enough, but the fact that you're my girlfriend whom I love is."
I accidentally wrenched my finger from the puppy's mouth, gaining a whine from him. I placed another finger in his mouth and kept my green eyes trained on Jake.
"Excuse me?" I asked.
"I love you. And I should have said it sooner…I should have realized it sooner."
"Jake…" I started with shake of my head.
"Please take me back, Erika." He pleaded, his hazel eyes looking tired and desperate. "I don't function properly without you. When I'm eating or in school or doing homework, I'm thinking about you. The only time I'm not thinking about you is when I'm playing sports!" he cried and I looked away. Does that explain his recent ridiculous sport schedule that I've heard so much about through the grape-vine? "I mean, I tried to forget you…" Busty Betty. "But that turned out to be a total flop." Good. "And I'm glad because frankly, I don't want to forget you. I love you, Erika. I love you and want to be with you and I'm sorry."
"Jake, I'm sorry too." I whispered and was a tiny bit shocked to feel a tear fall down my nose.
"You don't have any reason to be sorry."
"But I know that I'm kind of over-dramatic and selfi-"
"You're not, Erika. Well, I mean you are. But your over-dramatic tendencies are more funny then they are annoying and I've honestly never seen you as a selfish person. Sometimes you can be a little self-centered but it's never bothered me."
"But it should." I whispered and he shook his head.
"It doesn't, Erika, There's nothing wrong with you and it kind of pisses me off that you think differently," he told me honestly. "I wouldn't love you if I thought there was something terribly wrong with you," his voice was starting to waver a bit. "And God, I'm so sorry you thought that I thought something was wrong with you, because I never thought that. I love you and I screwed up, but I'm going to fix things starting right now. I want you as my girlfriend and I won't let you date Owen and I don't want you to think you're anything less than perfect and I love you. I love you, Erika and I'm sorry." His voice was hoarse by the end of his little speech.
"I love you too," I rushed out as I moved my right hand up to wipe at my eyes. Jake laughed a watery laugh and I felt him wrap his arms around me a moment after the dog jumped out of my arms.
"Good, so I'm going to make more time for you," he told me as he kissed my head.
"You don't have to-"
"Yes, I do. When you asked me why you were never put first...I don't think I've ever felt worse in my life because you were right. I hardly ever put you first and I should have…so I resigned from four of the six clubs that I'm head of."
"It's something I needed to do. Plus, I'm graduating soon and we're already going to Berkeley together, right?"
"You mean you still want to?" I asked and Jake squeezed me tighter.
"Why wouldn't I?" I shrugged.
"Well, it's not like you only had sport scholarship offers from Berkeley…I kind of thought, when we were broken up, that you…you know." He shook his head at me.
"Nah, Berkeley is where I want to be. You're going there is just a big plus. And I'm talking colossal big." I smiled into his shirt.
"And so our plans are still on?" I asked and he nuzzled my neck.
"Of course. Living in the dorms during our freshman year and an apartment together during our sophomore year…of course, we'll have to find one that allows pets and stuff."
"What?" I asked as I pulled away from him.
"For Rocky, of course. I'm sure my mom won't mind taking care of the dog during our freshman year but I'd rather he spend the rest of his life with you and me."
He's going to adopt Rocky. Ohmygod, he's going to adopt Rocky!
"You're going to adopt Rocky!" I yelled happily before I tackled him in a hug. He grinned and let us fall back; unfortunately, this led to a bunch of little animals running over and trying to get in on the playing but we ignored them.
"I love you," I whispered and he smiled before he took the back of my head in his hands and tangled his fingers in my red hair.
"And don't you forget it," he told me before he pulled my head down and kissed me to seal the deal.
Review? I've been dying to edit this and I'm so glad I did, because I like it a bit more than I liked the original. :)