Author's Note: Yup, yup… this is the last chapter! I have to admit I'm getting a little emotional knowing that the story is finally over. I can't believe I also finished this chapter so soon.
Anyways, I'm not going to waste any more time talking. Go ahead and enjoy the final chapter of Bad Luck!
LOOKING ahead, I found myself standing in front of an all too familiar door. It was dark, polished and had a golden doorknob. Next to it was the doorbell and my hand was trembling as I was seconds away from pushing it.
Pull yourself together, I chided, wiping the sweat from my brow with my opposite hand. I couldn't help it. I was so nervous from all of the things I had to say, all of things I would have to confess. I was never good at talking about my feelings. So how could I talk about them to someone who was so important?
I tried not to think of any of the negative consequences. I had already decided, in my head, what the worst scenario would be. Even though I convinced myself that I would be able to handle it, I was still scared that I wouldn't.
But then I remembered how I promised to fix things. I had said I would turn everything around for the better with utmost confidence. And even though that confidence seemed to be hiding somewhere, I knew that what I was about to do was necessary.
Honestly, I wasn't sure what reaction I would get. Still, I was ready to push the doorbell. I took a deep breath and reached for it but, before I could press the button, the door opened.
I blinked twice, staring at the door as it moved before me. I was amazed to see the very person I was looking for happened to be standing in the open doorway.
And that's when I panicked.
"Th-there you are… I was, I was looking for you!" I sputtered nervously.
"Well, you found me. This is my house, after all," he said, giving me an odd look.
"Well, y-yeah… yeah…" I trailed off, realizing that he was still giving me a funny look. "I-I wasn't standing out here long, I promise. In fact, I-I was just about to ring t-the doorbell. I wanted to talk to you about something."
Of course, that was a blatant lie. I must've been standing outside of that house for at least five full minutes.
Jake continued to stare at me oddly, his eyebrows knitted in confusion. I wondered what he was thinking. He probably thought that I was a freak or something… not that I didn't act like one.
"What did you want to say?" he asked me, finally.
There were a lot of things I wanted to say. But instead of getting into all of that, I decided to start with the basics.
"Sorry for being stupid," I apologized.
He blinked in surprise.
"And I'm sorry for any problems I may have caused you," I added. Strangely, the words I wanted to say were coming out easier than I thought they would. "And I really, really hope we can move past this."
He only stared at me. I could tell he was thinking things over, processing the whole jumbled mess I had inserted into his head and trying to find some sense in it. I only stared back worriedly.
"I suppose that's fine," he said, his gaze lowering. "Though, honestly, I didn't think you would be the one to apologize. If anything, I thought I…" He trailed off. He didn't have to finish his sentence, I knew what he was about to say.
"How is any of this your fault?" I had to ask. It didn't make sense how I could put him into this mess and he felt that he would have to be the one to apologize for it. He looked at me with the same disbelief.
"I'm sorry for the way I reacted," he replied, as though it was obvious. "I was freaking out over something I shouldn't have!" His words were rushed; he was so quick to explain himself. But when he realized how frantic he sounded, he simmered down and looked at his hands. "But I guess that doesn't matter now… we're both sorry. So let's forget about this."
I never felt so relieved. Somehow, I knew he would understand. After all, he was my best friend. All of my feelings of dread and worry seemed so silly now.
"Thanks," I said smiling. To my surprise, an awkward smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.
Feeling joyous, I turned around and began to head back toward my house. I got maybe halfway down the steps before Jake said something that made me stop in my tracks.
"I want you back."
Frozen in place, I heard a dull thumping in my ears. It must've been the sound of my heartbeat. I slowly turned around, staring at him in disbelief. There was no hesitation in his eyes, so unlike the last time I had spoken with him.
When I found myself unable to say anything, he spoke instead.
"So what is it, then?" he urged, probing for an answer. "Or am I just being too forward?"
"Jake…" I began, not really knowing what to say. I reminded myself to be strong. With a heavy breath, I decided to tell him the truth. "Jake, I didn't come here to get back together with you. I just don't want things to end between us like we're enemies or something. And maybe, if you're willing to try, we can be friends again and act like this whole thing never happened."
His expression changed, his eyebrows furrowing and his eyes peering at me in disbelief. He seemed betrayed, confused and distraught all in one. I hoped that expression wouldn't haunt me forever.
"I'm sorry," I apologized quickly, hoping I hadn't ruined everything for the umpteenth time. "I can't do it."
There was a moment of complete silence. Then he clenched his jaw.
"Well, can I at least know why?" Before I could answer, he kept going. "I didn't run you off again, did I? I really am sorry for how I acted that day. I just couldn't wrap my mind around the situation. But I really, truly thought over things and I realize that I really want you back. If you're worried that my heart's not in this then don't. Because, trust me, it is now."
I sighed heavily. Didn't he realize he was just making things more complicated than they already were?
"Jake, it's not like that. That sounds great and all but… well, that's not the problem."
"Then tell me what is!" he insisted, his voice holding an edge to it. I frowned, realizing that I was changing the subject.
"I just… I can't be with you," I said frankly. "I used to love you and, sometimes, I think I'd still like to feel that way. But when we were together, I realized the dream was better than the reality. The time I was happiest with our relationship was when we were friends, just friends. I just didn't appreciate our friendship as much as I should have at the time but, now, I realize how important it is to me."
He looked away, annoyed.
"Well that would've been a better thing to realize beforehand," he muttered resentfully. I looked at him ruefully. I wished he could just understand that there was no way I could've gotten to this point, to realize that we were truly "better off as friends", than to have gone through that entire train wreck of a relationship. Still, there was no real reason to be angry so I calmed down.
"I'm sorry for dragging you into this," I admitted. Feeling somber, I looked down at the step I was standing on.
As though thinking my exact same thoughts, Jake asked, "So what are we going to do now?"
"I want to be friends," I replied.
"It's not that easy," Jake argued. "What's going to happen to me or you? Are we supposed to pretend this never happened?"
"Well, I would like that but… well, you make it sound impossible."
He shook his head in disbelief. By his response, it seemed that he did think it was impossible. Maybe it was impossible but were we supposed to give up? I didn't want that.
"So, what, are we going to be enemies then?" I challenged. "Is that what you want?"
He stared at me, shocked.
"No, of course not!" he argued. Immediately he bit back his tongue, stopping himself from saying anything else. I guessed that he had some regretful things to say.
"I'm sorry," I apologized again, shaking my head. "But I just can't give you anything else."
I turned around and finished walking down the steps. I headed toward the main sidewalk, trying to fight back the emotions I was feeling. I knew that if I kept walking, I was going to regret how things turned out.
"You didn't answer my question!" he yelled suddenly when I was already halfway to the main sidewalk. I turned around and saw him run toward me. He stopped when he was next to me. "What's going to happen to you?"
At first, I just stared. Then I scoffed, trying hard not to laugh.
What was going to happen to me? I had been asking myself that for quite awhile now. If I was supposed to know what was about to happen, I should have learned it by now. Instead of saying this, I just shook my head and decided to be honest with him. He deserved to know a particular piece of crucial information.
"I'm going to go back out with Zack," I informed.
"What?" he said incredulously. He stared at me for a second before lowering his gaze. He looked slightly betrayed. "You're going back out with that guy? Since when?"
"It's nothing official yet," I explained quickly. "But I'm going to try and talk to him so we can get back together. Now that I realize you and I can't be together, I really want to try being with Zack again. I feel like he and I will make it."
"But we can be together again. I want to this time."
"Jake," I said, unable to help laughing underneath my breath. "You don't mean that. Really, you don't. We're just friends and that's all we will be. If we weren't friends, you wouldn't want to be with me anyways. You wouldn't date any guy at all."
"Didn't I already tell you? It wouldn't be like that. I'm not even like that anymore," Jake muttered.
I stared at him, surprised.
"Wait, what?" I asked, wanting to make sure I understood him correctly.
He just shook his head.
"It's fine, don't worry about it. We'll be friends. Whatever you want, it's fine."
He didn't sound fine, not to mention what he had said bothered me a lot. Was he suggesting that some part of him was kind-of sort-of gay? If it was true, I genuinely wanted to help him talk about it. Judging by the look of his face, though, he really just wanted to be alone.
"Jake, are you angry at me?" I asked suddenly.
"Angry at you for what?"
"For… I don't know… just angry at me for anything, anything at all."
"Maybe a little," he admitted, which disappointed me. "But I can't blame you for it. I think, in the end, I'm not angry… just sort of jealous."
I stared. He was jealous of Zack? That seemed so silly. The only reason why Zack and I argued and broke up was because Zack was jealous of him.
Then I couldn't help but wonder how many times I was jealous over Jake's girlfriends. Maybe that had been silly as well. I couldn't help but smile. Everything that he had done to make me upset or jealous had all been silly, in the end. He was my friend. He never tried to hurt me. He was just trying to look out for his self, to be happy. Just like what I was doing now.
I couldn't blame him for anything.
"Can we try to be friends again?" I asked again, more hopeful this time.
"Yeah," he said, though he sounded unsure.
I wasn't sure if he was sincere or not. Still, his uncertain promise was better than nothing. I was about to leave when another thing crossed my mind.
"Jake, can you promise me something?" I asked. "I know it's a lot to ask for, but it's important."
"What is it?" he asked.
"Promise me that you'll take the time to find yourself. And please be more open," I said. He stared at me, confused. I didn't give him a chance to ask me what I meant—I left before he could say a single word. The entire time I was walking away, I wished for a lot of things. Mostly, though, I wished that he would be happy.
No matter whom it was with.
Sitting at my computer desk, I worked diligently to finish writing a certain letter. Once it was done, I signed my name and sat up straight. I stretched—a gesture that my achy joints definitely needed. After bending over the piece of paper for so long, I think my spine was rearranged. I looked down at the letter I wrote. It seemed so short but it took me hours to come up with it. There were no right words to say, nothing that could simply be written down.
I took the piece of paper, carrying it with me to my bed. I laid my back on the bed and read over the letter I was going to give to Zack.
I wrote you this note because I can't seem to talk to you in person. Every time I try to speak to you, you run away. I guess I don't blame you but, at the same time, I really wish you would understand how badly I've been trying to get a chance to speak to you.
I really just want to apologize for everything. More than just that, I want us to speak to each other again. And this time, I don't want us to argue. Its funny how, just as you left, that I realized how much I really liked having you around.
I don't like not being able to talk to you, whether it's something serious or just plain dumb. I hate not being around you or your friends and family, even though you can all be kind of crazy at times. What I also can't stand is…
It went on and on but when I was only partway through, I stopped reading. I just couldn't bear to go over it. I couldn't believe that I was actually going to give him this letter. It seemed too personal of a thing to even write down. To send him such a thing also seemed like it would be embarrassing.
I covered my eyes with my hand, trying to hide my embarrassment. But then I gasped lightly and moved my hand away from my face, staring in wonder at the moisture on my fingertips.
Was I actually crying over a guy? What was I, some thirteen-year-old girl?
If I wasn't humiliated before, I certainly was now. To stop my crying, I tried plugging my nose and holding my breath. It stopped my crying but I ended up getting the hiccups.
My eyes narrowed. I hated hiccups, almost to the extent where I forgot about being sad.
I turned on my side, barely holding onto the piece of paper in my hands. I let it dangle in my fingertips over the edge of the bed before finally letting it fall onto the carpet below.
I stared at it as it fell but remembered the promise that I had made. I promised I would do this, no matter how I felt. It didn't matter if I felt embarrassed or pathetic or sad or whatever. I was going to give him the damn letter. Chances are he wouldn't like it. But I had to do it, for my own sake.
Damien and I both stared down at the letter which was sealed into an envelope. I held it tightly in my hands, afraid of letting it go but knowing, at the same time, that I was probably ripping the edges with my suffocating grip. Damien let out a long, heavy sigh.
"So what does it say?" he asked. I peered cautiously at all of the other students walking past us. None of them were paying any attention but, still, I worried that they could hear me.
"Exactly what a person would expect in an apology," I confessed. "There's nothing original about it. In fact, it's probably the worst I've ever written. But I have to give it to him."
"Oh," he said, blinking. He stared at it again. "You could've picked a better envelope, at least. The one it has looks all business-like."
I looked down at the envelope as well. It was plain white. Then I glared at Damien.
"It's a serious letter not a birthday card. What kind of envelope did you expect?"
I grimaced at the thought of my letter, the one bearing all of my heart and feelings, being shoved into a small, glittery, lavender-colored envelope with a Hallmark sticker keeping it shut.
"Anything but that one," Damien said casually, shrugging. "But I guess it doesn't matter. The envelope isn't important, it's the letter inside of it. Do you think Zack will listen?"
I didn't know if it would work at all. Probably not but, at this point, I was willing to try anything.
"You don't think it's girly, do you?" I asked worriedly. Damien looked at me, confused.
"Huh?" was all he said.
I blushed, embarrassed, remembering how I got tears in my eyes the night before. Sending a love letter was something only girls did. Even though it wasn't exactly a love letter, it was still pretty close. I felt like I was doing something stupid.
"Never mind," I said quickly. "I'm just going to shove it in his locker when he's not around."
That's right, I told myself, nodding. Just get it over with.
"Hmm, yeah. I hope it works," Damien said, patting my shoulder. Before we were about to go in separate directions, he spoke up. He said rather bluntly, "And, yeah, writing a letter is kind of girly."
I stared, shocked, and opened my mouth to speak but he had already walked away. I glared down at the stupid envelope.
I had a feeling that this was just a bad idea.
Still, I had to try something. Everything else I've done to fix things with Zack hasn't worked. I couldn't get him to listen to me long enough for me to tell him how sorry I was. At least this letter was a way for me to get all of my feelings out before he could push me away.
When I got to his locker, no one else was really around, so I quickly shoved it in at the top. I then hurried so I could get to class on time. Just as I was about to turn the corner, I noticed Zack walking past me. I stopped, my eyes widening. Once he disappeared, I peeked around the corner and saw him standing at his locker.
He was entering in his combination. A feeling tugged at the back of my mind, a feeling that was warning me to get out of there. I almost didn't want to see his reaction to my letter. I'd rather wait and find out later.
Regardless of how I felt, I stood and watched as he opened the door to his locker. At first I thought he wouldn't notice the letter but, suddenly, something fell at his feet. I noticed the white envelope and knew it was my letter.
I almost started to sweat. He bent down and picked it up, peering at it suspiciously. Just then I realized I never put a name or address on the envelope and worried that he would think it wasn't for him. I slapped my forehead. How could I screw up on something so stupid? What if he just threw it out and didn't even bother to read it, all because I screwed up over a stupid name?
But he did read it. He ripped the top of the envelope and pulled out the letter. My heart's pace began to quicken.
He unfolded the letter and, at first, there didn't seem to be any reaction from him at all. I think he was just looking for a name. His eyes fell to where I signed my name. Judging from his expression, he seemed to be confused and slightly irritated. Maybe this whole letter thing was a bad idea.
He scanned over it and began to close the letter. My jaw dropped. He barely even read it! Was this really as much of a chance he was going to give me, a barely read letter?!
I wasn't even sad. I was just angry that he was being so unfair. I felt like going over there and shoving my letter in his face until he had no choice but to really look at it.
But just as he was about to finish closing it, he opened it again. I blinked, watching as he started reading over it again for the second time—slow enough to read all of the details. His expressions shifted several times over reading the letter, all of which were completely unreadable. I didn't know what to think of his response.
Once he was done reading it, really reading it, he closed it for good. He folded the letter neatly, shoved in his pocket and shut his locker. My heart almost leapt for joy. Maybe he had finally decided to hear me out. But then I saw him walk further down the hallway. He emptied his pockets, including the note, and threw it all in the trash.
I could only stare, disappointed, at the trashcan. Zack had disappeared far down the hallway and was probably already on his way to class. The halls were beginning to clear up and I should've been in my classroom a long time ago if I hadn't gotten distracted.
Sighing heavily, I slowly inched toward the trashcan and fished out the letter. If the stupid letter was going to get thrown out, I decided that the author should at least have the rights to do it himself.
I shoved the letter in my pocket and decided I would throw it out at home. I started to head toward my next class, trying to shake off my bad feeling.
I was hurt, ready to give up, but then I remembered what I promised myself: I would be perseverant.
I wasn't going to quit trying just yet.
"Ow, harsh," Damien said sympathetically when I told him what I saw. He looked at me sadly. "That sucks. I wish things had worked out better."
We were sitting in my kitchen. I was staring down at the letter pitifully. I was going to shred it later since there was no point in keeping it around anymore.
"Are you going to give up?" Damien asked.
"I promised myself I wouldn't," I confessed. I frowned. "Though, honestly, I think I should. I really don't think I stand a chance."
"Don't give up yet!" Damien sighed. "Things will work out eventually, I know they will."
"But what if they don't?" I asked worriedly. I felt distraught. So far, my plan to make things better hasn't been working. Already I had nothing but disappointments. I had been able to talk to Jake and, even though we both promised we were okay, things haven't really changed. He was still withdrawn. And now it seemed that, no matter what I did, Zack was never going to take me back. I had already told him in that letter how I felt and, judging from his response, he really didn't care. I balled my hands into my fists, trying not to let my emotions get the better of me. It was hard not to, I was so scared and worried that nothing was going to work out. "What if I'm just wasting my time?"
"You can't break your vow," Damien insisted. I sighed.
"But I don't think anything is going to work. I'm running out of ideas and options," I argued. I looked down at my fists. "Besides that, I really don't think things would work out even if I did have good ideas. Neither Jake nor Zack want me back. Aside from that, my luck is just plain horrible."
"Don't berate yourself," Damien warned.
I didn't say anything back. I just kept thinking about what I had said about my horrible luck. At first it seemed really true and I even felt sorry for myself, thinking that I just couldn't get anything done because it was part of who I was. Then I thought things through.
Isn't that my real problem? I wondered.
Maybe Zack and Jake weren't really the things bothering me. Maybe the only thing that was sick of me was me.
Damien was right, I was beating myself up. I had made up this stupid concept in my head that I couldn't get anything done right so I would think that even before trying anything. I blamed everything on me and my luck. When I thought about it that way, it seemed I was giving up too easily.
It was hard for me not to criticize myself or even feel optimistic. But on the other hand, I simply can't live my life if I continued doing that for the rest of eternity.
It wasn't the people in my life I needed to change. It was me that needed to change.
There's no such thing as luck. Things happen for a reason, even reasons I can't explain. And everything bad that's happened in my life wasn't because of misfortune, it's because I let it get to my head.
"What's wrong?" Damien asked, snapping me out of my thoughts. He frowned. "Are you thinking about quitting?"
"No," I decided. "I'm just gonna keep trying. I promised I would."
I looked at the space ahead of me, my eyes not really focusing on anything in particular. Maybe now that I was willing to take more responsibility for the things that happened, maybe I could finally start to turn things around.
As usual, I had acted on impulse.
I don't know what possessed me to lie to my parents about having to study at someone's house when I was really planning on stopping by Zack's. I just wanted to use the car. But I said it anyways, without planning things out, and when I had my parents' permission I took the keys and started driving.
It wasn't until I was on the road that I began to truly think about what I was doing. I was being stupid. How would I even know if Zack was home? I couldn't just show up out of the blue and expect him to invite me in so I could apologize and confess my feelings. Besides, hadn't I already tried to tell him how I felt? And I knew perfectly how well that attempt worked out, it had been thrown straight into the trash.
Still, despite all of this, I just kept driving. I'd come up with something, maybe something at the last minute. And maybe none of it would work, maybe it would get thrown straight back into my face. But I still had to do something. Otherwise it would haunt me forever.
I pulled up in front of his house, parking in the street. I quickly looked in the mirror and adjusted my bangs.
"What the hell am I doing?" I muttered when I realized I was just sitting in the car, fixing my stupid hair. I should've been on my way inside. I got up, shut the car door, locked it and shoved the keys in my pocket.
I headed up Zack's front steps and rung the doorbell. I waited for someone to answer.
I don't know why I never considered that Zack might be the one to answer. I guess I had hoped it would be someone else, imagining it to be Kale, Rich or even one of Zack's parents. But the door opened to reveal Zack.
Cue brain malfunction.
"Uhmm…" I said. I hadn't planned anything to say so I just stood there, my eyes wide.
After standing there for a few seconds he finally looked at me, annoyed.
"What's with that look? It's like you came over to my house and you're actually surprised to see me," he said incredulously, staring at me wide-eyed "What, did you expect someone else?"
I looked at him, embarrassed.
"Yeah," I admitted. "It seems so."
He rolled his eyes and disappeared back into his house. He left the front door open. I stared, blinking. I poked my head in and saw him standing at the bottom of the stairs, giving me an odd look.
"Are you coming in?" he asked.
"Are you inviting me?" I replied.
"Well, yeah. That's what you want, right?" he responded. "Why else would you come here?"
I just stood there, surprised.
"If you're not coming in then you can at least shut the door, you're letting in all of the hot air…"
"No, I'll come in," I said quickly so he wouldn't change his mind. I walked inside and shut the door behind me, taking off my shoes swiftly. I saw him roll his eyes.
"It's like his brain melted or something," he muttered to himself, even though he was still loud enough so I could hear. Still, I didn't say anything. At this point, I was thinking that my brain had melted too. I was acting like an idiot.
I just couldn't help it. I didn't expect things to work out this way. The whole situation was strange. In retrospect, I should've planned out what I was going to say. In fact, I hadn't planned a single damned thing that entire trip. With a sigh, I realized that one of these days my impulsiveness was going to get me into a lot of trouble… if it hasn't already, that is.
He was walking upstairs so I followed. We were halfway down the hall when a door opened. I saw Kale come out of her room. She was texting on her phone and when she passed us, she said:
"Hey Zack. Hey Aiden." Then she stopped in her tracks, realized what she said, and looked at me in surprise. "Aiden?"
She seemed surprised. Funny how I felt the same way. It was like I had seen an old ghost or something. We both stopped in our tracks and stared at each other with stupid looks on our faces.
"Did everyone just get dumber today or something?!" Zack barked, annoyed by the hold-up. He ran a hand through his hair, frustrated.
"What are you doing here?" Kale asked, ignoring her brother.
"I stopped by," I answered. Kale looked at me, surprised, before looking at her brother and then back at me. A flash of recognition went through her eyes. It never ceased to amaze me how much she understood and how well she could pick up on things.
"He's not worth coming back for, you know," she warned me.
"Don't you have somewhere to be?" Zack grumbled.
She glared at him before walking away.
"I guess I'll see you guys later."
She disappeared down the hallway and I continued following Zack to his room. Even after she left I kept thinking about her. When Zack and I finally were in his room, he shut the door and looked at me tiredly.
Earlier I had wondered what I was going to say. This time, however, I didn't even have to think.
"You threw out my letter," I blurted out.
There was a strange tone in my voice. It sounded betrayed, lost. I felt a pit of discomfort and bitterness in my chest.
He only stared at me, surprised. I was surprised too. Could I really be this resentful? I expected to feel a lot of things but certainly not this. I had to admit it was a bit… overwhelming. I thought I would be able to handle myself more calmly than this but I couldn't help acting this way when my feelings were still hurt.
"How come you won't even give me a chance to explain myself?" I accused. My tone was more demanding than what I expected.
He just gave me a sympathetic look, one that made me even more upset than before. That wasn't the response I wanted. Was he really so upset with me that he wasn't even willing to argue anymore? Had I really fallen to rock bottom and was now just sad and pathetic?
"Don't look at me like something that has to be pitied," I whispered harshly. I didn't know what else to say. The letter was a bad idea. Coming here was starting to seem like a bad idea. I was contemplating turning around and just leaving… at least until I calmed down. But it seemed as though I had already come so far and now it was too late to back out.
I just looked down at the floor bitterly. I heard him groan in discontent and watched as he rubbed the back of his neck, looking annoyed.
"You're a pain in the ass," he grumbled. He stated it matter-of-factly, no sense of anger or sadness in his voice. My eyes widened. "I let you into my house. If you still don't get that I'm giving you a chance to speak, then you really are stupid."
I was shocked. Though, really, it all made sense. I blushed, feeling embarrassed for how I acted.
"Did you really read it?" I asked. I had to make sure, even though I saw him look over it. "My letter, I mean. Did you really read it?"
He stared in surprise.
"Well… yeah," he admitted, sounding uncomfortable.
"Well what did you think?" I interrogated. "I said I was sorry. Do you forgive me?"
He looked a bit lost. Then he shook his head and sighed in annoyance. I felt a pang of despair, worried that this was the moment where he told me he didn't forgive me.
"Man you're annoying… aren't you the least bit concerned about how I feel?"
"Of course I am," I responded. He took me by surprise. How could he even ask that? Of course I was concerned. How he felt was an important matter to me. If I didn't care, why else would I be here?
"Yet you don't even bother to ask how I feel?" he challenged, looking at me skeptically. "You just showed up, out of the blue, and now…" He trailed off.
I fiddled with my hands, trying to figure out a way to respond to that. Was I just supposed to ask him what was up? Now didn't seem like the time.
"I think the reason why I didn't ask is because I already know how you feel," I confessed. "You're angry at me. I understand why, though, and I don't blame you. My feelings for you and Jake were conflicted. I still think it was uncontrollable but I really shouldn't have dragged you into my mess. That's why I'm sorry. I didn't apologize just because we argued and because we weren't together. I apologized because what I did was wrong."
"I still think there's more to it than that," he said. Then he added, "But I'll admit you're right. I was angry."
"After you and I split up, I tried being with Jake and things didn't work. Then I realized that I really want to be with you," I confessed.
"That's the problem!" Zack said with a huff. "I'm not going to be treated like your back-up plan! That's the only reason why I was angry in the first place!"
"I know!" I insisted. "I promise you're not my back-up plan! I'm the one who broke up Jake. We just weren't compatible! When I was with him, I realized my relationship with him was nothing compared to when I was with you. He and I are friends and it needs to stay that way." I sighed heavily. "I'm sorry that I had to go through him to figure that out. Trust me—I'm still paying the consequences for it. But, really, I promise you that I don't want us to be together just because I'm alone. It's because I actually want to be with you. You're a lot of things but you're not a back-up plan or anything degrading."
There was a pause and a brief silence as everything sunk in. Zack stared down at his feet for a few seconds.
"I have a lot of anger. I can't just drop all of that resentment so I can be with you," he said.
My shoulders slumped slightly.
"I guess I understand," I said. "I don't like it but… I understand."
I was dissatisfied that our relationship was going to end like this. But Zack went on to speak, letting me know there was more to all of this.
"On the other hand, though… that entire time we were separated, there was a few times where I hoped you would speak up so we could be together again. But every time you tried to apologize, I didn't want to listen to it. I didn't think things were going to be any different if we went back out," he confessed.
I thought about all of the previous times I tried apologizing. After a bit of thinking, I realized he was right. Things wouldn't have been different. When I tried apologizing to him, it was before I realized Jake and I weren't meant to be together. I had still liked Jake. If we had gotten back together then, I never would've discovered exactly how incompatible Jake and I were. Then what? Zack and I probably would've broken up a second time.
Overall, it seemed all of these complications were meant to happen. I couldn't believe it but I was actually grateful that Zack and I had broken up. If not, I think I would've chased after Jake for the rest of my life. If that had happened, things would've been even worse.
"You're probably right," I told him. "But if we tried, I'm sure we could change things now." I caught what I was saying and stopped, lowering my gaze and quickly adding, "Well, I mean, if you wanted to, that is. We don't have to try again if you don't want to."
"You're more trouble than what you're worth," he told me bluntly.
I stared, feeling a bit heartbroken. Those words were probably very true but they still hurt me a lot, especially when it was coming from the guy I wanted to be with.
Even though I had promised I would be perseverant, I couldn't handle it anymore. Maybe I would try again in the future but, right now, the rejection hurt so much that I never wanted to see Zack again.
I backed away, ready to leave without even saying goodbye. I reached for the door and opened it, nearly escaping when a hand pushed the door shut again. I stood in place, shocked, and stared down at my hand that was still wrapped around the doorknob. Then I looked at the hand that was stopping me—Zack's hand.
I felt tears that I hadn't noticed before still hot in my eyes, threatening to spill. I was afraid to turn around and face the guy who both rejected my feelings and stopped me from leaving. It didn't make sense to me. He turned me down, it was painfully obvious. Couldn't he just let me go? What more did he want from me?
I let go of the doorknob but made no motion to face him. I couldn't face him, not now. I felt so stupid for believing that I could fix things by just changing my attitude. Clearly it wasn't enough.
"You're annoying, impatient and stubborn," he said, each insult making me flinch. "Sometimes I even wonder how I even managed to put up with you..."
"Then don't," I said, shaking. I didn't want to listen to him hurt my feelings anymore. "Just let me leave."
My hands itched for the door. I needed to get out. Still, he ignored me and his hand was still placed firmly on the only escape route.
"…but I can't let you leave," he whispered. It shocked me how much his tone had softened. "Even when I try, I can't. Even after you left, I never stopped thinking about you."
I looked ahead, shocked by what I was hearing. Skeptical, I turned around and faced him. I stared at him in curiosity and wonder, trying to figure out if I was listening to his words correctly. I was comforted by a smile, a smile that I hadn't seen in a long time.
"Trying again seems like a good idea to me. If you're up to it, of course."
His last sentence must've been a joke but I was so brain-dead that I couldn't even tell the difference between joking and being serious.
At first, I didn't know what to say. But I knew the answer—of course I wanted to try again.
"Hell yeah," I breathed, unable to come up with anything else. He stared at me for a second before laughing at my response. Even before he could finish his laughter, I went and shut him up by kissing him. After recovering from the initial shock, he kissed me back.
It was like being home again.
I wrapped my arms around him, almost afraid to let him out of my grasp, and I promised myself that I would make sure he would never regret making this decision.
I had missed him so much, more than I even realized until that moment when I kissed him. The passion I felt for him in that kiss was something I never expected myself to feel. Normally I was so despondent to everything around me. I wondered what it was about him that made me feel this way.
It really had been a long time since we were last together. I could tell we both wanted to make up for the time we had lost. I wasn't the least bit surprised when things got a little out of hand… After all, we were finally reunited and we were happy. Of course we'd get a little excited.
We sat down on edge of his bed, kissing and touching. I can't begin to describe how happy I felt that we were finally back together. I wanted to enjoy every minute of this. Naturally zealous, Zack's kiss was becoming a little overwhelming. He pushed against me so I tried to lie back.
Of course, just like everything else in my life, whenever things start to turn out better than I expect something has to happen.
This particular time, it was the back of my head hitting the headboard.
"Ow!" I hissed loudly, cutting off our kiss and completely ruining the intimacy of the moment. Zack seemed surprised too.
"Sorry," he said. I wasn't worried about his apology. I was worried about the stinging I felt. I must've hit my head on the corner because it hurt a lot. I rubbed the back of my head in pain. Suddenly feeling something moist, I made a face.
"Are you okay?" Zack asked slowly, noticing my expression. He stared at me with worry in his eyes. Not wanting him to worry about me, I tried to shrug it off.
"Oh, it's fine, I just hit the back of my…" That's when I looked down at my hand. My fingertips were red. My eyes widened when I realized it was blood. Zack looked down at my hands and his eyes widened too.
Jesus Christ, I was bleeding from the back of my skull!
"I'll go get something!" he declared, jumping up and running off before I could say a word. By the way he ran off, he almost seemed excited.
"Wait, it's really not that—agh!" My words were cut off when, suddenly, my head throbbed. I winced and tried to hold the back of my head. Mostly I felt impatient. I didn't want to have to worry about my bleeding skull. I wouldn't care if I had been scalped, for crying out loud. I just wanted to go back to what we were doing.
I heard Zack shuffling through drawers in the bathroom across the hall and when he returned he had a first aid kit. I stared hopelessly.
Then I was annoyed.
Okay. Whatever. I had to give up already.
Fuck it. Fuck it all. Fuck optimism.
I did have bad luck.
Zack got on the bed and started tending to me with such great care that I blushed, taken aback by the attention. It was then that I couldn't help but think that… well, even if I did have bad luck—even if it was for the rest of my life—I'd be fine.
So long as I had someone to help me through it.
A/N: So maybe the ending was kind of corny but the original one was much, much more dramatic so I had to change it. I wanted to end it on a funny, happy note… Hopefully most of you will be satisfied with it.
This story ended at 330 pages and took me approximately two years to finish. I have a feeling the spin-off will be a lot shorter. Honestly, I would prefer it that way… 330 pages is way too long for such a simple story.
Once again, I would like to thank all of readers and reviewers for their support. I hope to see many of you for the spin-off! Oh, and the sequel as well!
As I might've mentioned before, the spin-off is going to take place through another character's perspective. But for the sequel, Bad Influence, it'll be in Aiden's point-of-view once again.
After I reread and edit the first chapter of the spin-off, Bad News, it will be posted. So expect to see it in a few days!
Bye for now.