When It All Falls Down
Chloe happily crushed on Matt, never expecting him to notice her. But when he does, she is split between the wishes of her soon-to-be-stepbrother; Matt's enemy, and the wishes of her own heart. When it all falls down, who will she choose and whose heart will she break?
As usual, I was sitting in the cafeteria by myself, stabbing fries mercilessly. I put an elbow on the table, flicking my black hair away from my eyes before tucking my hand under my cheek, trying to ignore the laughter and chatter around me. I shoved food into my mouth, feeling the food slide down my throat, mom's words ringing in my ears, "Chloe, you have to start watching your weight!" I snorted, rolled my eyes and defiantly popped a fry into my mouth.
I had decided a long time ago not to take any of mom's words to heart. She was just another drunk. Okay, a slight exaggeration, but she did like to drink when another one of her flings ended.
I sighed softly, the boredom spreading over me. I glanced at my watch; thirty more unendurable minutes of lunch. I opened up my backpack which was seated beside me and pulled out my latest read.
I had just been pulled into the dark and twisted tale of a murder mystery when a high-pitched screech (was there any other kind?) of laughter resonated around the cafeteria. I rolled my eyes, distractedly looking across the aisle and five tables down to where Adrienne Reynolds and her boyfriend Dylan Everett sat, groping each other. I nearly choked on a fry. My face twisted with disgust and I looked away quickly in fear of scarring my poor, innocent eyes.
My eyes scanned the page I had been reading a short while ago, trying to find the place where I had left off before I had been so rudely interrupted. My thoughts drifted to Dylan Everett; resident heartthrob. What with his sleek blond hair and his amazing blue eyes, 'those oh so delectable abs' (Aimee Saunders words, not mine), it was hard for him not to be. Gosh, if it hadn't been for a few weeks ago, he and I could have happily ignored each other for the rest of our school career. But no, my mom just had to get with his dad and now we were practically having dinner every night somewhat like a pseudo-family.
I wasn't taking it seriously though; mom would get over her latest love (coughlustcough) interest and move onto the next specimen as she usually tends to do. In another few weeks, before school lets out I'm sure, mom would have forgotten Mr Everett and Dylan would stop saying 'Hi', and 'Hey!' to me in the hallways. I sighed; depressed. For a few weeks people had noticed me, had realised that this person should be acknowledged by us because Dylan Everett acknowledges her.
Could life get any more twisted? I glanced down at my novel and brushed the question away with a roll of the eyes. Well, I had enjoyed being noticed (even if it was just a 'Hi' or a 'Hey') for these few short weeks. Invisibility isn't always enjoyable. I was a person too you know. It'd all end soon, not that I was that bothered by it.
Shaking my head, trying to push the thoughts out of my head, I got up, taking my tray with me and took one final glance up. Matthias James (or better known as Matt by his friends and acquaintances, but not by me) had just entered the loud, bustling cafeteria (which suddenly quietened considerably), closely followed by his gang.
My breath caught. God, I was stupid. Why did I have to have a silly crush on the one unattainable guy in the whole of Woodside High? Not that no other girl had one as well. It was just that, where other girls actually had a chance, my chances were slimmer than nil. My eyes, with a will of their own, scanned him slowly.
From his messy, just-got-out-of-bed golden hair that brushed the nape of his neck, I imagined his dark green eyes which were behind the dark sunglasses he was now removing (it was obvious that they'd just come from lunch outside), passed over his whole 'delectable form' (my words, though Aimee Saunders may have also thought it) before glancing at his face again. The thought of Aimee Saunders must have brought me back to reality because I jumped slightly, realising that I had been standing in the aisle like the dunce I was (not that others weren't-standing, that is-but I was alone in my standing) and that Matthias's cool green eyes (his sunglasses resting atop his forehead oh-so-sexily) were sweeping the room; obviously looking for someone. It must've been Dylan's lot he was looking for, because they made any excuse to fight, and the whole thing with Adrienne was just another stupid reason. I turned and walked away, dumping my tray in the pile. I left the cafeteria, but not before having a somewhat paranoid feeling that someone's eyes were following my exit.
I pulled out relevant textbooks and notepads for my next lesson, humming a tune under my breath. It was a well known rumor that Adrienne Reynolds and Matthias James had made out at a party about a week ago. I hadn't gone myself (obviously) but the school grapevine was somewhat trusty. The tension in school was stretched to its limits- it was a well-known fact that Dylan Everett and Matthias James were enemies-and the student population was split down the middle depending on whose side they were on.
But more important than the fact that Dylan and Matthias had reached a new stage of enmity; was that my heart had been broken. I had locked myself in a stall that Monday break and cried my eyes out. It was really sad. Not that Dylan's girlfriend had deceived him, but the fact that I felt so broken and empty inside. And Matthias didn't even know who I was! What a fool I am.
Of course every guy in school (whether taken or available) wanted Adrienne Reynolds. Okay, so I admit; she was somewhat nice from what I'd seen of her personality. She was head cheerleader, but wasn't the typical bitch you found in other schools. She took school seriously and actually had substance in her brain. I only knew that, because she was in my English class, and was quite smart at it too. It was worse that she was nice because it was harder to hate her. She was undoubtedly beautiful; with long auburn hair that fell to her waist and large hazel eyes that spoke of an innocence that I was sure she didn't have. She was tall and had the curves of a model. Gosh, I thought as I entered fifth period English, I wish I had a body like that. Then at least Matthias James would spare me a glance.
Students started to file into the class, talking amongst themselves and flicking bits of paper at each other. The teacher, Ms Schwartz, had yet to show. I reclined in my seat at the back, looking out of the window beside me. It was at times like these, like just before a start of a lesson or changing for Phys Ed when I felt most lonely.
Ms Schwartz had once told me that I was capable of great things-okay it had been a dream-but I've always thought that if it weren't for my shyness, I could have accomplished a lot of things, things other people found so simple. I hated the fact that I'd never be able to fulfil some of my dreams because of this stupid boundary between myself and the rest of the world.
Pulling myself out of my thoughts, I blinked as I saw Dylan Everett (Adrienne not attached to his side this lesson surprisingly) coming towards me, his followers loyally following their master. I smiled at my thought and turned slightly nervous when Dylan smiled back. He took the seat beside me. I was about to inform him that Sherry Peters sat there, but said girl had just come in, given a squeak of fear and taken the first available seat she could find.
"Hey," he said amiably.
"Hi," I answered. I looked away from his slightly smiling face and instead at my clammy hands.
"So, how's life?" he asked, obviously trying to start a conversation. The fact was that we had nothing in common. Or nothing I knew about, at least.
"It's…okay," I said. Gee, that was smooth.
There was a moment of silence and I looked at him, his blue eyes striking.
"Well," he prodded. "Aren't you going to ask me how I am?"
Yes I know; I'm a great conversationalist. I'd had at least five conversations with Dylan before, each more uncomfortable than the previous; I've always had a difficulty talking to people. Mom thinks I'll grow out of my shyness as I get older, but hello, I'm seventeen.
"How are you, Dylan?" I sounded like a robot.
"I'm cool," he replied. And don't we all know it, I thought bitterly.
"Anyway, my dad called, he says he and your mom want to speak to us, so I have to take you round to ours straight after school. Alright?"
I nodded, but not before frowning.
Dylan sighed beside me.
"Hey, I'm sure it's nothing. If I know my dad, he'll dump your mom and just wants an audience."
The way he said it was so cool and calm, as if he'd said it to a thousand people before me (which I was sure he had), but really, did he have to say it? And so normally as well? It was then, right at that moment, that I realised that my mom really loved Mr Everett, she'd told me so. Of course, she'd said that about every other man she'd been with, but I had a sneaking suspicion, something that told me that this was something more. Dylan's words angered me on behalf of my mom and I made this evident in my expressions.
"Look I'm sorry Chloe, but that's just the way my dad is," he said tiredly. I hoped not, as Ms Schwartz scurried in late, for the sake of mom's poor heart.
Out in the student parking lot, I leaned against Dylan's Porsche. I waited for him impatiently as other students passed me by, sometimes calling out to their friends or revving up their engines, making me jump. I shifted my heavy backpack, before realizing how dumb I was to not have put it down a long time ago. I dropped it onto the the hood of the car with a sigh and brushed some hair from my face, closing my eyes, dreaming of home and my bed. I didn't really do much, but I was always tired lately; probably the stress of school.
Dylan, being as popular as he was, had the pick of the parking space he wanted, which meant that the front doors were visible from my spot. When I opened my eyes, it was to see Matthias James, surprisingly alone, coming down the steps, bobbing his head along to the music on his iPod and jingling his keys in his hand. He hadn't seen me yet, but the blood instantly rushed to my face. It was the second time I'd seen him today, something that didn't usually happen. I was the only person left in the car park, except for a group of boys smoking and laughing at the other end of the car park. He called out to them.
No matter what he was doing or how he was dressed, he was always handsome. I'd fervently been hoping he wouldn't notice me (I wouldn't know what to say or how to act). Matthias; meanwhile had started towards his car, a Corvette, running a hand through his messy blond hair, when he glanced over in my direction. I saw the frown cross his face (he looked so cute!) before it quickly disappeared. If I died right now, I'd be a happy woman. He had noticed me!
My knees felt weak and my innards felt as if they were melting. I'd never felt so ill. God, what was happening to me? After a moment of hesitation on his part, which surprised me; I'd never thought Matthias James to ever be hesitant, he made his way slowly towards me. This felt so surreal. Matthias James was coming towards me. Unsure, I looked behind me to see if there was anyone else he could possibly be heading over to, but no, the place was empty.
"Hey," he said lightly in that husky voice of his, stopping just in front of me. My palms were sweaty and I wiped them discreetly on my shirt, feeling uncomfortable.
"H- Hello," I answered in a mumble. Gack, I'd so wanted to make a good impression, but I'd turned into a blubbering mess. What must he think of me?
I couldn't bring myself to look at his face, if I did; I knew he'd know that I liked him. Yes, I was that easy to read. My eyes flew around the parking lot, never resting.
"I'm Matthias." Of course he was Matthias, like the whole world and its wife didn't know that. "D'you need a ride or something?" He asked kindly.
"Um, no thanks…" I said, over the moon that he had even asked me, but slightly worried that he had asked a stranger if they wanted a ride. I shifted slightly. "I'm just waiting for…Dylan…Dylan Everett." Could I have been any more of an idiot? Of course he knew the name of his own enemy!
There was a small silence in which he studied me with his green eyes. He was so beautiful. I gave a mental dreamy sigh. Maybe he was trying to think of a reason why I would be waiting for Dylan Everett. I smiled uncomfortably.
"You're Chloe right, from my History class?"
I nodded, elated inside. He recognised me!
"Yeah, I'm having trouble with that class. D'you think you could-"
"What the hell do you think you're doing; talking to her!?"
I practically jumped; Dylan's voice like a sharp knife. Matthias spun around, all of a sudden guarded.
"I'll talk to whoever I want, whenever I want, Everett," Matthias growled. I was surprised at the hostility in his voice.
"Not this girl," Dylan returned, his blue, ice-like eyes flashing. I shivered. His words seemed to hold more meaning in them than I could gather, because they glared at each other for a long moment before Dylan snatched me by the arm and led me to the passenger side of the car. I glanced shortly at Matthias who nodded at me, before being prodded into my seat. Then, confused, I heard Dylan and Matthias share some whispered words to each other, no doubt threats, before Dylan opened his door, got in, slammed his door and sprouted off a colorful string of words. I gulped.
"Damn, Chloe, don't talk to that guy," Dylan said, gripping the steering wheel tightly as we drove off, the tires squealing. I wanted to ask why I shouldn't and why he had been late anyway, but Dylan seemed to be so moody, let alone angry that I thought better of it.
"Trust me," he said later, as we pulled into his garage, "He picks girls up and chucks them away with a click of his fingers. He's a bastard." I thought it might have had something to do with Adrienne. Dylan made sure I agreed with him before he stepped out of the car and slammed the door. I looked at myself in the side mirror, and sighed. My hair was lank and a boring black (Could black hair be fun?), it was tied in a messy ponytail, wisps escaping annoyingly. My eyes were nothing special, just gray. I stepped out of the car when Dylan barked at me "To get the hell out!" Why was he still so damn angry?
No, I thought, Matthias would have forgotten me by now. I sulked all the way upstairs and into the family room.
Mom was sitting on the leather couch; legs crossed and was brushing away non-existent lint from her short black skirt. Her dark hair was coiffed into an intricate bun and her light blue eyes glittered, her face was made up. Her back was straight, and she looked nervous.
I wondered what was so important that she had to tell me right this instance. Michael, or Mr Everett as I called him, was sitting beside her, a small smile on his usually stern face. Dylan and I exchanged looks before taking seats across from them; I dropped my bag onto the floor. I could hear the clock ticking loudly in the silence before Mom asked cheerily,
"Hello dears, how was school?" that smile on her face never vanishing.
Dylan just grunted, so I lied and said, "Good."
"Um…" I said, hoping this would help mom to get to the point.
"Well, the reason why we called you here," Mr Everett started, his hands shaking slightly, and stopped.
"Just tell us dad," Dylan said with a roll of his eyes, he was seated beside me, obviously expecting a break up, tears and lots of shouting to ensue.
Mom stood up, her heels clacking on the wooden floor. "The thing is…" I nodded and raised my eyebrows, hoping Mom would take the hint and continue. "Michael took me out to lunch, you know, to one of those restaurants by the river and we had such a nice lunch, I'll never forget it, and the show afterwards, it was just-"
"Mom," I said. "Please. We have lives to live." Well, not really.
"Michael proposed." Dylan and I jumped up from the couch simultaneously. What? Did I hear right?
"And what did you say?" I cried.
Michael took Mom's hand in his. "And I accepted," Mom said happily.
It would be over in less than two months.
a/n: Let me know what you think: any thoughts and constructive criticisms are appreciated!:o)