Chapter Twenty Two: History repeating itself in too many ways
I stared at Scott from across the bonfire. It was an odd feeling of déjà vu, remembering how I flirted with him just the year before, when he was the new student. Now, Mia was flirting with him, despite their romance being months deep, the flame was still burning like the flames flickering in front of my eyes. I directed my attention to the guy on the right of the happy couple, and saw another couple. Steven and Jeanie. Their arms were intertwined and when Steven caught me staring, he suddenly backed away. Was it as awkward to be around me with someone new? Because that's definitely how I felt when Jordan tried to plant a kiss on my cheek as Scott spoke about starting senior year, while Mia playfully tickled his sides, so his words were struggling to come out normal.
"It's going to be so badass. Us. The seniors. Right guys?" Scott managed to let out without an interruption from Mia.
I let out a short laugh and rolled my eyes. "Badass? It's still high school. When are we done yet?"
Jordan wrapped his arms around my entire body, lacing his fingers together and pulling me into his warm embrace. "You're so funny Cass. Enjoy it while it lasts. College is no picnic." He snorted out a sarcastic chuckle.
"What does that even mean? No picnic? Who says picnics are even that fun?" I said, thinking out loud. The picnic I just took in that day was no day of joy, and I found myself dreaming up ways to get Jeanie's skinny little claws off of my ex-boyfriend, which naturally I resented myself for.
I rolled my eyes at my boyfriend, but he didn't see it. I laid back on the towel that was resting behind my body. It was filled with sand and it felt rough and grainy against my upper back. I straightened out my blue tube dress so it covered me down to below my knees, and closed my eyes shut. I felt a hand on my stomach and knew it was Jordan cozying up to me. But I didn't open my eyes again for some reason. Instead, I just wanted to fall asleep, and never wake up to see this nightmare again.
"What's wrong?" Jordan asked for about the millionth time that day, and though it was evening now, and the dark set over the beach, I could still see his concerned black eyes in the night.
"I need to take a walk."
"Want me to walk with you babe?" Jordan inquired.
I shook my head abruptly. "Nope. I'll be right back. I'm just going to get my jacket from the car."
"I'll get it for you," Jordan was quick to say.
I didn't want to sound aggravated when I replied, so I took in a breath and easily said, "I'll be right back."
I could hear the waves all the way back to the truck. I had Jordan's keys in my hands, and I jiggled them anxiously at my side. I didn't need my jacket. The heat from the fire was enough to warm my arms. But I wanted to get away, and the only way was when they all finally decided it was time to go home, and I wanted to pretend everything was normal. I wanted Jordan to think I wasn't uneasy around my ex.
unlocked the doors, and opened the passenger side. I found my velour hoodie on the floor, and reached for it. It felt hot from the sun boiling the interior all day, that ninety degree weather that turned my nose pink. I could feel the sun and wind burns on my face, but I didn't mind it. My lips were a little chapped, so I grabbed my cherry lip gloss in my purse and applied it. I caught my breath when I heard a voice behind me.
"Cass," Steven spoke gently and in a whisper. Almost as if he was afraid Jeanie would hear it from this far away.
"I'm supposed to be getting Jeanie's jacket too."
"And?" I hissed.
My wrist was cuffed with his strong hand. "And I need to talk to you."
"Why?" I muttered low, avoiding eye contact when I turned around to face him. The parking lot was quiet except for a family loading up items into their SUV across the way. I wished I could escape with them, like a runaway.
"Because, this isn't you. Jordan isn't you Cassie."
"Who am I then?" I demanded.
"I know what you're doing. Stop trying to make me jealous. It isn't working," he huffed, his voice monotone and his expressions unreadable.
The nerve he had! Wasn't he trying to make me jealous? "Maybe you're trying to get me jealous! Get over yourself Steven. I don't care about what you think." Lie. What a terrible lie.
"I just don't get it. Why him? Did you have to pick someone completely opposite of me?"
He was right. Jordan was opposite of him; he was into school, loved to surf, drove a truck. Steven hated school, would rather play his guitar or shoot hoops and loved to race in his sports car.
"What's it to you? Jeanie is nothing like me!" I shouted louder than I wanted to. "She's blonde and stupid! All she cares about is her idiotic brand names. If I hear Gucci one more time I'm going to scream!" I threw my arms into the air sarcastically.
Steven's eyebrow twitched up and then out of nowhere, the space between us was closed and I felt his amazing lips on my own. At first I tried to fight it, but I couldn't deny the feelings that never left me. But then a horrible thought came to mind. His mouth was recently on Jeanie's, and that sickened me.
"Back off!" I said too loud and started to slap his chest with both of my hands, feeling his familiar body.
"Because. You're with Jeanie now. Remember?"
"You're right…"Steven turned away. He didn't even object after that. "I'll leave you alone now. Jeanie…is my girlfriend. I think the past caught up with me today. I just needed to remember you again. To kiss you again. I missed you, but you're right."
What the hell was he talking about? See, this is why Steven wasn't at all like other high school boys. He was so deep, so poetic. He could turn this shitty disaster into a piece of art, could title it, "The past caught up," and sing it in front of a crowd of twenty thousand. But there was no audience. Or so I thought. Jordan stormed up to me, grabbed the keys from my hand and walked around to his driver side. No words were spoken. At least, not yet.
"Jordan…um, how long were you standing there?"
He didn't answer me, instead, he started the car and slowly started to back out, with the passenger side door still open.
"Jordan! Please, talk to me," I demanded.
Finally, a word came out, "I want to leave now. If you would like me to take you home, I can."
The gentleman…even when angry.
I felt that old friend of mine creep inside of me; guilt. "What about Mia and Scott?" I asked.
He just glared at Steven who was standing a foot away from me. It was the most temperamental I saw Jordan in the short amount of time I knew of him, and it would be the last time, I knew.
"He can take them. Get in now Cassie before I run him over," Jordan spoke shortly.
I hopped in unwillingly, and turned to see Steven gone. The next ten minutes, I got an earful of Jordan's disappointment, followed by some awkward silence. He saw the kiss, he heard everything. He knew I wasn't over Steven. I should have disagreed, but I found myself owning up to his allegations.
"You're right. I'm not over him. And it was wrong to date you while I tried to get over him." More silence from his side. "So, this means we're over, huh?"
Jordan just nodded his head while he bit his bottom lip, as if that would suppress his rage. He pulled up to my house seconds later, and while I got out, I tried to say goodbye, and thank him for all the fun he gave me, for all the compliments he gave me in that month. I said I was sorry, but he was already speeding away. We ended the same way Steven and I ended. I kissed an ex boyfriend. I wanted that pattern to end right then and there.
I sluggishly crept up the staircase. My parent's bedroom door was cracked open, and I could see the television light flicking from scene to scene in their otherwise dark space. I found my sanctuary at the end of the hallway, just a few more steps and I was there.
"Another one bites the dust, huh?" I heard Kyle ask me when I past him in the hallway. I tried to defer my tears until I reached my bedroom door, but they were already flowing. My brother is such as ass.
"Screw you Kyle. What? Were you watching me? Does it make you happy to see another guy dump me?" I said in response.
Kyle's smile dropped. "Sorry. I didn't know you liked him that much. Just a guess. I just saw him drive away angrily."
I stopped at my door, Kyle was entering the bathroom just across from his room. My room had my own bathroom fortunately.
"Yeah, well, he isn't the one I'm crying about," I sniffled and slammed my door.
I walked across the street to see Mia. It was the week before senior year. I hadn't seen much of Steven since that day at the beach. I still thought of him, naturally. I didn't know what he was up to, and I didn't dare to ask Mia or Scott. I kept a low profile, going on a quick weekend trip with my parents to Palm Springs, focusing on my new school year coming up. It was nice for once to just focus on me, and not a boy. All year had been about boys, and I was over it. Not to say I would never date again, but I wanted to be happy without a relationship, and surprisingly, I was getting better day by day. That year was filled with drama and so much more, but I would never take it back. How could I? I had learned so much. And of course, I loved. I learned what it felt like to be one of those girls that was adored. Even if it was short lived.
I had my first day of school outfit pre-selected and approved by Mia, so she wanted my opinion on a new dress she would wear. I rang the doorbell and heard a male voice laughing as the person came near. I expected Scott. I mean, that would make things a lot easier. But it was Steven, and he grinned huge at me, his eyes shining at me playfully.
"Cassie. Hi," He scratched the back of his head somewhat nervously.
"Where's Mia?" I asked as I passed him, ignoring his greeting.
"We're upstairs," he simply replied.
I wanted to turn around and go back home. But that would have been too obvious to Steven. I was moving on, even if he thought I hadn't. Well, he was right. But, he didn't have to know about that.
I felt Steven behind me as I ran up to Mia's room. The door was open and she smiled brightly at me, her blonde hair curled.
I looked around and noticed one person was definitely missing. Jeanie.
"So," I sat down on Mia's bed. "Where's this wonderful dress I keep hearing about?" I asked.
Scott cleared his throat. Mia giggled.
"What? Where's the dress?" I asked again.
"Look, don't get mad, but, we knew you wouldn't come over if you knew Steven was here," Mia replied.
I didn't deny it. "And?"
"He has something to ask you," Scott added.
Steven smiled huge. It caught me off guard and I tried not to squirm on my bed when he sauntered over with his hands in his pockets. He stopped right in front of me and I looked up at him in bewilderment. He had to ask me something? Why?
"Cassandra Maguire…will you go to the movies with me and get a cherry Icee?"
I started to laugh. Really hard. Was he serious? "Is this a joke?"
Steven shook his head. "The movie starts in thirty minutes. We only have so much time Cassandra Maguire."
"What are you talking about Steven?" I asked, a little perturbed.
"It's been three years today."
"Three years since what?" I asked. I looked at Mia but she bit her nail and kept her gaze on Steven's serious face.
"Three years since our first date. Three years since we shared that cherry Icee. And three years ago, I was about to move away to San Diego. You know what that means?" Steven knelt down so his eyes were right in front of me. Those enticing hazel eyes that changed their hue according to shirt color. Today, they were the greenest of green.
"You wrote it all down in a diary to remember it?" I snickered.
Steven's face didn't shift. "It means three years ago, at the age of fourteen, I fell in love with you Cass. I didn't know it then. I didn't know what that feeling was in my stomach. But now that I know… how can I live without it?"
I felt my eyes sting and happy tears made their way out of my eyes. "I love you too Steven. But…"
"What about Jeanie?"
"She went back to her bottle," Steven's serious face stayed intact.
I started to laugh again, wiping the tears away. "Steven…I'm so sorry. About everything. I didn't want to mess it all up."
"That's all over now Cass. Just say yes. The movie won't wait for us."
I drew in a deep breath, as if I needed time to think it over. I didn't need time at all.
"Only if I get to hold the Icee, Steven Johnson. And this time, I won't turn away when you kiss me," I smiled.
Steven seemed relieved when he sighed, "Deal."
This next school year, I promised myself, would be completely different. I knew it already was as Steven and I held hands while walking to our shared English class. It was familiar, and something was making me nervous, but that's how I always felt on the first day. A lot of it felt the same. Such as the heavy English book in my hand, the cold door when I opened it to see those tired summer faces looking right back at me. If I hadn't had met those seven boys the year before, who knows what would have happened. But it brought me back to Steven Johnson…the original boy. And I hoped it would stay that way.
Steven and I sat next to each other. Just like last year. I gave him a kiss across from our desks. His lips were soft as always.
I heard the final bell ring, and it took a lot to distract me from Steven's love. Our teacher, the same from the year before, told everyone to settle down.
The class quieted. Mrs. Long started to talk about her summer, and how she had a huge family reunion. Steven wrote he loves me in big words on a blank piece of paper and shoved it toward my desk. I giggled softly.
Then the door swung open. Everyone's eyes darted to the one that caused the interruption from Mrs. Long's boring story.
"Sorry I'm late," The voice spoke smoothly. He didn't take long to look over at me. He spotted me out immediately. Then a smirk followed.
I felt my heart beat quick in my chest. That feeling of nervousness, that feeling of something about to happen, was finally there. Jordan Ellis.
I looked over at Steven, as Jordan took the seat on my other side. The side that wasn't taken.
Jordan's lip curled up when he snidely said to me, "You thought I was in college huh? Looks like I wasn't the only one who got played."
"What?" I muttered in disbelief.
"Miss Maguire! Silence, please. Let's start this year off smoothly," Mrs. Long ordered. Smoothly, huh? Looked like history was oddly repeating itself.
Author's Note: It's done! Almost a year later exactly. Ironic considering the title of the story has a year in it. Thanks to everyone for reading and to a certain reader that urged me to continue. I needed that extra push! :)
This leaves it open for a sequel...or you can imagine what happens haha. I'm so happy I completed it. Now I just have to complete the other ones.
Internet hugs- Katie