I'm baack!! I don't have any good excuse, which is the worst part of it all, but hey I'm here now, right? I'm planning to start rewriting this story but continue updating as well. I was rereading pieces of it the last few days and I've got to say, a lot of it is pretty embarrassing. Anywho, without further ado, here's chapter 17!

Chapter Seventeen

"What's up with you?" Adriana asks, nudging my ankle beneath the table to get my attention.

"Huh?" I look up and blink at her, trying to play cool when inside I'm a scattered mess of mixed emotions. "Nothing."

Adriana purses her lips skeptically. "You've barely touched your pizza."

A glance shows me that she's right and I pick up my slice and take a halfhearted bite. I chew slowly and try to stop thinking about it. He's not ready to be in a relationship with me… well would I really want to be in a relationship with him? Fuck. I don't know. What does it really even mean to be in a relationship with someone, or to be ready to be in a relationship with someone?

What I really can't believe is that all I said was "okay" … Okay! He basically tells me he doesn't want to date me only screw around with me … and all my dumb ass could say was okay?? Fuck.

"What'd he do this time?"

I swallow the bite I've been chewing for way too long and grimace. "Who?" I ask, playing dumb. I like to hope that if you avoid something long enough it'll just go away.

Adriana gives me a look. "Who do you think?"

"He didn't do anything," I shrug. "I've just got a lot on my mind." Adriana looks like she's going to say something but before she can I continue with another line of bullshit. "I should probably get going, my mom's gonna wonder where I am." I feel bad but I just don't want to talk about this with anybody, it's just plain embarrassing.

"Okay… well we'll see you tomorrow?"

"Yeah," I force a smile, "See you tomorrow."

"Seya man," Matt adds and I offer a nod.

Entering the fresh air of the street I let out a relieved breath. At least now I'm alone. Adriana and Matt always mean well but I'm not good at dealing with shit with people around. I'm not someone who likes to discuss their problems. It works best to just figure them out and move on.

The walk home is pretty short but I take it slow. No matter how hard I try I can't stop thinking about Griffin. I had really started to think he liked me… I feel like such a fucking sucker. I really am just another toy to him. I don't know why I let my guard down in the first place after Adriana's warning. I guess I just wanted so badly for it not to be true…

When I round the corner to my block the first thing I notice is my dad's car. My stomach sinks and my fists clench and unclench helplessly. I just … really don't want to go in that house. Mom shouldn't be back for several hours and god knows if Charlotte's home and even if she is… I glance desperately at Griffin's house. Fuck, I really need to suck it up and stop being so pathetic.

I open the door slowly and slip inside. A glance into the living room reveals Dad and another man that I've never seen before. Maybe if I just go really quietly – "Look who it is!" I freeze halfway to the stairs. "C'mere boy."

Shit. How bad would it be if I just ran up the stairs right now?

"Hey! You listening to me?"

Reluctantly I turn towards the living room.

His eyes are glazed over and he's clearly drunk, probably high. He sneers up at me with disgust and disappointment. "Where've you been?"

I shut my eyes and steel myself. "School." I don't know what he was looking for but apparently that wasn't it as he snorts and turns away.

"My fucking son," he mutters. "Queer ass son of a bitch."

His companion chokes on a mouthful of beer, grinning. "Doesn't look much like a son to me. Look at that pretty mouth."

His words and his tone make my heartbeat speed up, pounding loudly in my head as panic sets in. The man pushes a hand through greasy dark locks and grins a crooked smile up at me. "You ever tested out that mouth of yours, kid?" I want to throw up. Throw up and run away but my legs are locked and I can't move. I can't think.

"What the fuck." My dad mutters, frowning down at his beer. "Bunch of fags." Pushing himself up from the couch with a snarl he heads out of the living room. As he passes he smacks the back of my head and my neck snaps forward painfully.

The other man seems unperturbed. His tan skin crinkles as he attempts a warm smile. His teeth are yellowed and the front two overlap, making him look more threatening than before. I try to back away but my feet catch together and I stumble slightly.

"Well how about it?" He chuckles, watching me with dull brown eyes, glazed but interested. "I'll make it worth your while." From his pocket he pulls out a small baggy of white powder.

My face is burning. I try to look anywhere but at him but my eyes keep dancing back to his lazy smile and the little plastic bag in his hand. Nothing feels real anymore. "I can tell you want to," he coaxes.

I shake my head. No. No I don't want to. Not even a little bit. "N-no thanks." I say quietly, unsurely and fuck I want to kill myself. Just leave you moron.

"You sure?" He asks, giving the bag a little shake.

I nod and back away and this time I manage to make some progress.

"Next time!" He calls after me as I finally turn and make my break. I don't look back and I don't go up the stairs, instead I leave out the front door and into the evening air. I don't know where to go, just that there's no way I'm going back into that house until they're both gone.

I end up against the side of the house, a foot away from the border between our house and Griffin's but pretty much invisible to anybody deciding to leave from the front door. Clutching my knees to my chest I rest my head against them, focusing on the Jefferson's garbage cans across from me.

Everything is so fucked up.


My head jerks up at the unexpected voice. Mrs. Jefferson smiles at me, concern etched in her friendly eyes. She has a plastic bag in her hand that she drops into the garbage before turning back to me. "What're you doing out here?"

Her dark hair is cut short and frames her slightly narrow, pointed face. She and Griffin have the same face shape, I suddenly notice. I offer her a pathetic shrug instead of trying to come up with any sort of explanation. Even if I could come up with something convincing, I just don't think I have the energy to try.

"Are you alright?" She asks instead of turning and going back inside like I'd hoped. "You look a little pale."

"I'm fine." By the look she gives I know I'm not being very convincing. Well fuck.

"Okay… well tell your mother hi for me. Hopefully we can all get together soon." I nod in agreement even though it's a total lie.

The side door that leads into their kitchen shuts behind her and I let out a sigh. I should really move.

I don't though and five minutes later when the door cracks open again and Griffin slides out from behind it I curse myself silently.

He peers down at me soberly. "My mom said you were out here…" He says, almost looking awkward for once in his life. I watch him wordlessly as he leans against the side of his house and pushes his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans. "What's up?"

I blink at him, at his stupid fucking casual pose as he tries to play cool and act like nothing ever happened, and for once in my life say exactly what I want to. "Fuck you."

His eyebrows raise and his body straightens. "Okay… maybe I deserve that." He says slowly and I know this is serious. For once we're serious and there's no more beating around the bush and suddenly I'm afraid.

"Yeah, maybe you did." I mutter, pushing my chin into my knee. My teeth push together and an ache settles in my jaw and I feel a bit like I chickened out.

"Look, I'm sorry about everything but I never said I wanted anything more." I stare at him carefully through narrowed eyes. His hands are still in his pockets but his shoulders are stooped and a small frown is playing at the corners of his mouth. His dark eyebrows are knit together and somehow the straight line of his nose looks so serious.

"What was I supposed to think?" My words shake as my throat fights to shut around them.

The guarded expression on his face doesn't waver and he offers an almost-apologetic shrug. "I know I fucked up. I'd change it if I could."

His words hit me hard and suddenly I'm so fucking mad.

"My life doesn't just revolve around you." I grit out scratchily.

His face twists bitterly. "When did I ever say that it did?"

"You think the only reason I could be upset is because of you. You have no fucking idea."

"Then tell me!" He yells, throwing up his hands and shaking his head. "You're so fucking closed off what am I supposed to think? I can't even tell if you like me half the time!"

I meet his angry gaze for a moment before dropping my head and burying my face back against my knees. It's just too much. I hate confrontation. I don't know what to say and I don't want to fight. I don't even know how to fight. All I know how to do is hide.

I feel the first couple tears snake down my cheeks and I push my face harder against my legs. I really don't want him to watch me cry again. My dad is right. I am a girl.

"Dakota?" His tone has softened and I feel him approach. A hand lands on my shoulder and I stiffen under it. "Hey, it's okay," he says softly, sliding down beside me until our sides are pressed together and his arm snakes around me. "I really am sorry."

"Go away," I say thickly. I don't want to hear him play nice now that I'm crying. It's just too pathetic. I don't want to be that person.

"Not until you tell me what's wrong."

I pull away from him and stumble forward. I'm on my hands and knees before I manage to push myself off the ground and to my feet.


I stagger forward slightly before I manage to catch my balance and turn back to face him. "Everything!" I yell. "Everything is wrong! And you're just making it worse. So leave me the fuck alone." Tears chase each other down my face and my nose is running and I just want to disappear. Instead I turn and run.

I stumble over the decorative brick that separates our lots but catch myself before I fall. It gives Griffin the second he needs though to dart up to his feet and I only make it halfway across his lawn before he grabs me from behind. He wraps his arms around me and holds me tight as I try to struggle out of his grasp.

"Let me go," I sob pathetically, pushing and thrashing against him. He's too strong though. He's got the muscle of a swimmer and he's bigger than I am so when it comes down to it, it's hopeless.

He holds me tightly as I gasp out a few last desperate sobs and then it's silent. My breath comes hard and fast but as the seconds tick by and my anger and desperation recedes it slows and eventually my body goes slack against Griffin. His grip loosens and carefully he drops us to the ground and pulls me close.

"Fuck Girlie," he sighs into my hair, tightening his grip for a moment before loosening it again and resting his head against my shoulder.

"I'm sorry," I whisper.

"Shh. Don't be sorry. You have nothing to be sorry about."

I'm glad he can't see my face the way we're sitting. I don't think I could deal with that right now.

I'm trying to figure out the best way to get out of this situation when Griffin interrupts my thoughts with a soft whisper against my neck. "Please tell me what's wrong."

My body stiffens as I remember. Even if I wanted to tell him I wouldn't even know what to say. It's stupid anyway. I just overreacted.

"Please." He squeezes me against him. I don't say anything though and we're stuck in silence. I don't think he'll be willing to let this go and I don't think I'll be willing to tell him.

A door slams from somewhere behind us. I close my eyes and cross my fingers that it doesn't mean what I think it does and that even if it does they won't see me or say anything.

My dad's car is parked on the street though and there's just no way.

"What the fuck." My dad's gruff, angry voice carries over towards us. My eyes are still shut tight and I know my body is as stiff as a board. Behind my Griffin's body has stiffened as well and he's gripping me even tighter than before.

"That is so queer." This time his voice is closer but I still don't open my eyes. "Goddamn it Dakota."

The other man's soft chuckle chimes in and I want to disappear. I can't believe Griffin is hearing this. "I'm hurt kid that you'd reject my offer only to run to someone else."

I can feel an angry rumble in Griffin's chest and the last thing I want is more of a scene. "Please go away," I whisper, barely audible, my cheeks burning hotter than ever before.

My dad must of heard me though because he snorts loudly and delivers one last verbal blow of, "so fucking pathetic," before I hear them moving away.

Before long the car starts and I listen to it move down the street. My whole body is shaking and Griffin is stiff and silent behind me. At this point I'm just too far-gone to know what to do. It's all pretty hopeless anyway.

When we can't hear the car anymore and it's only us, sitting awkwardly in the middle of Griffin's front lawn, he finally speaks.

"Dakota," he says, sounding pained and so serious I want to cry, "I… what the fuck?"

Haha okay all this is definitely turning into one big embarrassing drama-fest. Hopefully you guys enjoyed anyway. And hopefully I will be back much sooner with an update. Lots of love to all of my reviewers!!

By the way, I've decided for now not to up the rating but I may at some point in the future.