After hanging up with Dawn, I laid in bed until around three in the morning. I finally got up when I saw the time on the clock next to my bed. I couldn't sleep.
I looked through my window at Sage's house, and into her bedroom window. Her lights were off. I wondered for a second if she was awake, lying in bed like I had been.
Dawn had thought she was in love. Turned out it wasn't. Or maybe it was, and she had fallen in love with the wrong person. Megan and Craig were definitely the kind of love I wanted to believe in… but Megan had cheated on him. Were they still in love?
Frustrated at my constant stream of thoughts and unsure of what all this meant, I walked out of my room.
Sage had rejected me. I'd told her how I felt, and she didn't want me.
Why did this hurt so much? Why did it bother me as much as it did? Why didn't she love me?
I threw on a hoodie that I had laying on the couch. Then I grabbed my keys and rushed out the door.
I got in my car and sat there for a while, my hands gripping on the steering wheel, itching for somewhere to go.
Somehow I knew where I wanted to go, and it wasn't hard for me to decide.
Maybe I was feeling rejected, or maybe I just wanted to see someone I knew actually wanted me to love them. I don't know.
But I found myself throwing rocks at someone's window like I was some loser trying to get a girl to sneak out with him. Maybe I was.
Finally the light turned on. The window opened.
Her eyes found me in the dark.
"Jake? What are you doing? It's almost four in the morning!" Gina whispered at a high volume.
"I don't know! I just needed to talk to you!" I yelled back.
"Shhh!"Gina smiled and put her finger to her lips. She motioned down to indicate she was going downstairs to talk to me.
I waited a couple of minutes until she opened her front door.
"What are you doing here?" She asked, but there was smile on her face. Seeing it, I knew she still loved me. There was something in the way it met her eyes and how I knew it was the one she wore only for me.
"What does it feel like?" I asked her.
She looked at me confused. "What?"
"To love someone like you say you love me. What does it feel like to love someone?"
She smiled a little less brightly. "Come inside if you want to talk about this."
I followed her in and closed the door. She led me into her living room and sat down on one of the couches.
I sat next to her.
"Where's this coming from?" Gina asked.
"I can't really explain. I just need to know," I replied.
She was quiet a moment.
"I guess it feels like… sometimes when I'm talking to you, or having sex with you… it's like I'm constantly giddy. I'm always feeling like being around you is the best thing to do. And then sometimes it feels awful, because it makes me feel bad. I get jealous for no reason of people you spend your time with, and I miss you when I don't want to. "
I didn't say anything, taking what she said in.
"And whenever you make me laugh, I don't always know if I'm laughing because what you said or did is funny or it's because you specifically said or did it and you want it to be funny…"
"I guess… everything is heightened when you're around," Gina said.
I thought of Sage. It was exactly like that, only not. I felt like everything was heightened with her. But yet, it wasn't, because I was so comfortable around her.
"I think I get what you're feeling. Kind of," I replied.
Gina grabbed my hand. I wasn't sure she understood that I wasn't talking about her. I wasn't sure if I wanted to tell her I wasn't.
She pulled me into a hug. "You don't know what it feels like to think someone doesn't love you back."
I embraced her tighter. I understood perfectly.
Gina looked up at me, searching my eyes. Then after a brief hesitation, she kissed me.
This was thing with Gina. She was so easy to be with. So simple.
She loved me and I knew that. There was no doubt on my end. But for her, she was constantly wondering whether I felt the same way.
I knew how that felt.
I ran one of my hands through her hair and kissed her back.
"Where were you this morning?" Craig asked Jake when he sat down at our table in the cafeteria.
I was wondering the same thing. When I'd gotten into Craig's car this morning, he didn't wait for Jake to come out of his house. As soon as I'd gotten in, he'd started the drive to school.
Apparently, Jake had left him a text telling him he didn't have to pick him up last night.
"I just had some late night inspiration for some song lyrics and knew I wouldn't want to get up until later," Jake replied. "Figured I'd give you the heads up."
"Lyrics?" Megan looked interested. "Are you going to share them with us?"
Jake looked nervous. "I think maybe I'm going to hold off. They're definitely a rough draft."
Craig and Megan looked at me with looks.
I shrugged. As if I knew what was going on with Jake. I was still trying to make sense of our whole relationship.
"Anyone hear from Dawn?" I asked, deciding to change the subject.
"Yeah, she called me last night. I think she's going to come back to school after a couple of days," Jake said.
"Wait, she called you?" Craig asked, accusation set in his voice, as if he didn't believe it.
Jake smirked. "You know, Dawn doesn't always go to Sage or Megan when she wants to talk."
"Yeah… but why you?" Craig asked, looking offended that Dawn had chosen to call him.
"Who cares?" I stated. "I'm just glad she's okay."
After lunch, I had my class with Megan. Modern Fiction. Funny how I had never noticed before that guy Matt was in that class too.
Upon seeing him, I turned to Megan who was seated near me.
"I don't know how to ask you this without you thinking I'm a total bitch, so I'm just going to ask it…"
Megan looked at me confused. "If you want to ask me something, go ahead. It's not like we're not friends."
"Did you cheat on Craig with Matt?" I asked.
She turned red and shook her head. "I didn't. Matt is a jerk who doesn't know how to mind his own business."
"What does that mean?" I asked. Was she trying to say she really did cheat on Craig? Jake had seemed pretty sure of himself when he'd said that she had.
Megan looked around at the other people in our class, then back at me. "Do we have to talk about this now?"
"Yes," I replied.
"Fine—" She started when our teacher Mr. Kehoe started talking.
The class read aloud from the book we were analyzing until the bell rang.
Megan rushed out the door, but I ran to catch up with her. I pulled on her elbow lightly.
"Tell me what's going on," I said, trying not to seem judgmental or accusatory. I could tell whether she had cheated on Craig or not, the whole situation was upsetting to her. And she need to talk about it.
Megan sighed. "I guess it's going to come out at some point. I cheated on Craig. I don't know what I was thinking except that I'd always been with him. I wanted to know what it was like to be with someone else."
I didn't say anything. Just nodded.
"Oh god," She said, tears starting to well up. "This is going to be bad, isn't it?"
I didn't want to lie to her. It was true that I had been friends with Craig before they had started dating. But Megan had become one of my best friends too. She was part of the gang.
And that was exactly why something like this could cause some major damage.
"Look, we all love the both of you. I'm not taking sides. You're human. I don't like cheating, and I'm letting you know now that what you did isn't going to go over well. But it's better if you tell Craig before someone else does," I said.
"Do really think so?" She asked in a small voice, rubbing her nose.
I nodded. "I got to get to going, but you know what you need to do."
As I started to walk away, she stopped me. "Don't you want to know with who?"
I shrugged. "As long as I don't know him."
Megan looked down, ashamed. "It was Nate."
I tried not to express how I was feeling, but I couldn't. My eyes widened in shock.
"You have to tell Craig."
Even if it was going to divide our whole friend group up.
"Alright, seriously dude. Stop staring at her."
I looked at Craig. "What are you talking about?"
Craig sighed. "Please. Gina is in the same gym class as us. She's over there in her cute little gym shorts that have 'princess' on her ass. I think it's safe to say you're staring."
He was right. Gina did look pretty fine in those shorts. But that was definitely not the issue here. I was trying to figure out what to do now that I'd spent that night at her place.
Were we back together? Did I want to be?
"I'm a guy right, I can't help it," I replied, hoping Craig wouldn't pick up anything deeper.
He grinned. "Just remember that ship has sailed."
"Can I ask you a question?" Craig looked at me somewhat seriously.
He was making me nervous. "Go ahead."
"What is up with you and Sage today?"
"What do you mean?"
Craig gave me a look that said our avoidance had been obvious. "Today you guys barely spoke to one another. And then you didn't want to ride in the car with us this morning… did you guys have a fight or something?"
"Not exactly," I replied. I quickly tried to think of something else to say as an explanation. "We just have been hanging out too much, I guess."
"Since when have you guys gotten sick of each other?" Craig asked.
"I don't know," I replied. "Never, really. But things change."
Wasn't that the truth.
I waited outside of school for the rest of the gang to meet up so we could all figure out where we wanted to go. But something felt off today, and I didn't feel up to facing anyone in the usual friend group.
Megan and Craig would be awkward to be around now that I knew the truth about Megan's cheating. And Jake was being weird all day after I told him I didn't want to have sex with him anymore. Even though the jerk had said it didn't change our friendship. And to add on top of that, I couldn't tell him that Megan had cheated on Craig with his brother.
"Must be nice to have a clique," Dylan said as he walked from the school's front doors toward me.
"Isn't much of one lately," I replied.
He angled his head and stared at me as if he had some magical power to figure out what was wrong. Finally, like he'd decided on a point of action, he grabbed my hand and started to walk.
"My friends might wonder where I'm at," I said as we walked.
"Text them and say don't wait up for you," Dylan said.
"What's going on?" I asked, smiling slightly at how absurd he was being.
"You tell me. I think it's time you and I went on a fun day," he answered and led me to where his car was parked.
Funny how when he said that, I heard fun date. Was that what I'd wanted to hear?
"Alright guys, seriously, don't be dicks," Craig says to the three of us.
"Us? Dicks?" Dawn points to me and Jake. "I don't think you have to worry about Sage and I. Jake's the only one that owns one."
Craig rolls his eyes as we all laugh. "Seriously guys, I really like her. Just be cool, okay?"
"Why are you so concerned? We're nice, cool people, right?" Jake says with a smile.
Craig doesn't smile back. "Yes. You guys are. But not when it comes to meeting significant others. We do not have a good track record."
I nod. "He's got a point guys."
"Well, if you didn't bring girlfriends to practice, I wouldn't be such a bitch," Dawn replies.
Jake and I nod in agreement.
"We're not in the band to make you look cool, man," Jake says.
Craig's new girlfriend walks into the garage and we're all silent. It's pretty obvious we were discussing her.
We all give her an once-over. She's really pretty. There's a bit of a homemaker type of attitude about her. I feel a little bad that Craig's put her in this situation. Buts she's not the first.
Craig tries to break the awkwardness. "Guys, this is Megan. Megan, this is my band. Dawn, Jake, and Sage."
The three of us give her a hand wave in greeting as we tune our instruments. There's only the sound of our tuning as the situation stays awkward.
"Alright, so how many girlfriends have failed this test?" Megan asks.
We all start laughing hysterically as she's the only one to ask us this.
Jake looks at me and winks.
"She's a keeper," Dawn says with a laugh.
A/N: Well, last I'd updated, I had graduated from high school. Now I'm in my senior year of college. Whoa-ho. I was looking over some of my stories and found my way back to this one. Just A Little Miss sent me a review and made me remember that it needs to be finished. I've already started the next chapter. Apologies to everyone who's followed this story and waited literally years to find out the rest of Sage and Jake's story.