Chapter 9

"I lied.


It had been two weeks since Travis left and still I kept returning my gaze toward the note he had written me. His hand writing was like chicken scratch, as if he were in a hurry. The message was so short and to the point that it threw me off when I first read it. I actually turned it over the first time, thinking there had to be more to it than that. Of course, there wasn't. It was just those three words alone. He lied, but about what exactly?

My mind went over all the things he could have lied about in the past, but when I failed to figure out what I grew frustrated. Why did he even bother to write a damn note if he wasn't planning on elaborating? Did he just enjoy torturing me?

I even texted him about the issue and made an attempt at calling, but of course he didn't respond. He was back to ignoring me like usual.

"Why is he being such an ass?" I whispered to myself in frustration, while sitting out on the balcony on a cool autumn morning. I was wearing my light blue hoodie with a blanket draped over my legs. My homework was sprawled out on my lap, waiting for me to answer eighty questions. So far I was on question twenty-three. I should have been further, but the note kept distracting me.

"What did I do?" Trent asked through the screen door, causing me to jump. Realizing he had startled me, he quickly apologized. "Sorry Sweets. Didn't mean to scare you." He opened the screen door to step outside

"You didn't do anything," I assured him.

"What did I not do?" He asked, confused. Then his eyes lit up. "Oh wait. Is it the dishes? I forgot it was my turn to do them last night. Damnit. I'll go do that right now."

I grabbed his hand before he could head back inside. "No, you're fine. It's not the dishes."

He contemplated this, before his eyes lit back up again. "The garbage! That's what I forgot to do. You could've just told me. I would've do-"

"No," I said with a laugh. "You didn't do anything wrong at all. You're fine. I wasn't talking about you. I was talking about someone else."

"Oh ...," he trailed off. "Wait, so who's an ass then?"

I hesitated, before saying, "Travis." Yeah, I probably shouldn't be mentioning that name around him, but at least I was being honest for a change. "He lied to me."

Trent grew quiet at first and then said, "About ...?"

I shrugged. "No idea. He just told me he's a liar, but won't say what he lied about. I guess it doesn't really matter though. He's gone anyway." I quickly scribbled down an answer to the next question on my homework assignment and then stopped before reading the next. "But like... Why would someone come out and tell you they lied but then not tell you what they lied about?

"I don't know." Trent rested himself against the railing. "I kind of tell the truth all the time because otherwise I feel all guilty and bad about myself. Like years ago, when I was a kid, I lied to my mom during a game of Monopoly and won. I was stealing money from the bank whenever she wasn't looking and to this day I feel bad about it."

A laugh escaped me. "You still feel bad after all this time? Really? It was a board game. All kids do that."

"Yeah, but still," he went on. "Made me feel really bad. So bad that I told her, when I was like fifteen, that I lied and so we played another round. Then she finally won and I felt a little bit better. It was a life lesson, to never lie, unless it's a white lie. White lies are okay. Like if I get you a gift and you ask me what it is before opening it, I'd probably lie about that."

"I guess Travis didn't get that lesson as a kid," I let out, but then felt bad once I remembered how he grew up. Still, his bad past shouldn't be an excuse.

"You're angry," Trent said

I shook my head. "No, not really. Just curious what the lie was about."

Trent put on a playful smile. "Maybe he's a ninja and he lives this separate life, saving people. Or worse. He kills people and the only way to stop him is if this super hero comes in and tells him not to! Or ... Maybe he got bitten by a super spider and now he's Spiderman!"

"You're an idiot," I chuckled amusedly.

"Am I?" He asked. "That's just what a super hero or villain would want you to think. Speaking of Spiderman, who do you think is prettier? Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane?"

"Wait, which is which again?"

"Gwen is the blonde. Mary Jane is the red head."

"Oh, yeah." I bit my lip. "Gwen is way better. Not just with looks, but chemistry wise. Her and Peter I mean."

"See! I thought the same thing!" Trent shouted excitedly, causing me to jump again, though he didn't notice this time. "Royce told me I was crazy for thinking Gwen was better looking. He likes Mary Jane. He's strange."

"Not really. He said he likes red heads."

"So? I like brunettes, but that doesn't mean every single girl I see with brunette hair is better looking than every single girl with blonde hair. You gotta look at the rest of their features, you know?"

"Alright, but if every single man liked the same exact features on a woman, wouldn't that mean they'd have to fight each other for the same type of woman? Then the other girls would just be standing around, wondering what's wrong with them?"

Trent opened his mouth to say something, as if he had a great comeback for that, but then stopped himself. Slowly, he closed his mouth as a smile crept over his lips. "You're so mean."

"What?" I asked, surprised. "It's true! Like if every man on earth only liked girls with blonde hair and blue eyes, then all the brunettes and what not would be wondering what the heck is wrong with them."

"No, I meant about outsmarting me," he said with a smirk. "You're so smart that it's mean."

"Now you're just being silly." I glanced down at my homework, realizing that I was falling way behind. "I really need to finish this."

"You're telling me to leave?" He frowned.

"I laughed. "I'm not telling you to leave. I'm telling you to shut up for like thirty minutes so I can finish this."

"That's not very nice," he said.

"I'll be nice to you again in thirty minutes," I replied, scribbling down an answer to the next question. Then, thinking it was the wrong answer, I erased it before putting down the correct answer.

"Okay." He grew silent, turning himself around so he could stare off the balcony. I managed to answer about six more questions before he spoke up again. "Your mom called the house phone earlier."

My hand froze mid sentence. My mother hasn't called or talked to me in months, so this was news to me. "Oh my God, is she okay? Why didn't you say something sooner?"

"Hey, hey," he said gently. "Calm down. She's fine. She just called to say hi, but you were busy so I told her you'd call back."

I sprang up from my seat, knocking my homework to the ground and dashed over to the phone. I don't know why I was freaking out so much. I guess it's because I'm not used to getting calls from my mother just to say hi. Usually it's for a reason, like when my grandfather died or when something written to me in the mail went to her address instead of mine. It was never just to say hi.

"Hello?" Her voice answered.

"Mom, hey," I said.

"Oh, hi honey." She actually sounded fine. "How's everything?"

"Um ..." I trailed off, expecting to hear some crazy news about the house being set on fire or something. Yeah, I'm an idiot with my thoughts sometimes. "Good I guess."

"How's school?" She went on.

"Good," I lied. I didn't want to admit that I was miserable from all the pressure.

"That's good."

An awkward silence fell between the two of us.

"So, what's going on with you?" I finally asked.

She hesitated for a long moment.

"Mom? You there?"

"Yeah, I'm here hun. Sorry, I was just ... this thing on TV distracted me and I sort of ... you know."

Nope, I was wrong. Something was definitely bothering her.

"What's wrong?" I questioned.

"It's ..." She hesitated. "Your step father and I. I mean, Mark and I. We're getting ..." She trailed off, on the verge of crying. I knew what she was about to say anyway.

"Mom, it's okay," I said softly. Personally, I never connected with Mark. He wasn't a bad father figure or anything. He treated my mom very well throughout the marriage for the most part and never really bothered me all that much. I just didn't like him because, as a kid, he was filling my dad's shoes, taking his spot, which drove me to never connect to the guy. Even to this day I just couldn't connect to him as an adult. He was like a stranger because I put this wall up against him my entire life and refused to ever let him through. I'll admit this was immature of me, but I couldn't help it.

Still, I felt terrible for my mom. I could hear her sobbing on the other end of the phone. She loved the guy very much. Losing him now just seemed so lonely, being with a man all these years and the suddenly losing him. I couldn't imagine what life would be like without Trent.

At the end of her sobbing, she finally said to me, "He wants me to leave the house."

"Wait, what?" I asked, shocked. "Since when? That's your house, not his! We lived in that house for years before he came into the picture! Who does that asshole think he is?"

Trent was looking at me with concern, but kept quiet so I could finish talking to my mother.

"I know, I know," she said. "But with his job that he has now and me not working, he's been paying all the bills and so he's right. I should leave, not him."

"Mom, you're not thinking straight. You guys are married! Even with a divorce you still have rights to certain things, don't you?" I was no expert on legal issues like this, but I watched enough Judge Judy to know the courts can sort these types of things out to make it fair. At least ... I hoped.

"I don't know," she admitted. "I don't even care anymore. He can have it all if he wants to. To be honest I need to get out of this town, get far away from all of this chaos, and away from him." The way she said the last word, as if he was the worst person on planet earth, made me question.

"What happened?"

"That asshole." My mom swore, something she didn't often do. "He's leaving me for some bimbo that's nineteen years younger than us. Nineteen years younger! Oh sure, he can be old and wrinkled, but not his partner! Oh, no. His wife needs to be young and beautiful, so he can tell all the men at work how lucky he is. Yeah, we'll see how lucky he is when that bimbo realizes how stupid she is for marrying a man that much older than herself! She'll start running full speed and then he'll come crawling back to me..." My mother went on for several minutes, bashing Mark and how ungrateful he was for all the things she's done for him. "...won't take him back if he does! No way. Nah, uh. No way in hell will I take that ungrateful bastard back. He can go to hell for all I care!"

"What an asshole," I agreed, feeling enraged. "Does he really think people will look at the new girl as his wife or girlfriend? I mean, really now? People will think it's his daughter with that big of an age difference!"

"I know, right?" My mom said. "That's exactly what I told him! I said to him he can go ahead and marry a girl young enough to be his daughter all he wants and to have fun explaining himself to everyone who asks!" She let out a heavy sigh. "Anyway, I've decided I'm going to live with my mother for awhile until I get all this ... this craziness figured out!"

"You could come live with us," I offered. My grandmother was all the way up in New York City. I didn't want to see her travel so far if it was unnecessary. We had plenty of room. "Trent, do you care if my mom stays for like a month or ... longer?"

Trent hesitated, unsure of how to respond.

"No, no," my mom said. "Thanks honey, but I'm actually excited to head up to the city. I haven't been up there in years and my mom, your grandmother I mean, is getting up there in age. I think this is a good time to go see her. You should think about coming too. When was the last time you saw grandma?"

"Like, four or five years ago?" I guessed. Wow, it's been so long that I couldn't even remember. "I don't really know, but I can't hop on a plane to New York City now. I'm in school."

"I was talking about the summer?"

I sighed. "I don't know, mom. This is kind of sudden. I'll have to think about it."

In a whisper, Trent asked, "What's going on?"

I made a hand gesture to signal for him to wait.

"Alright," she said quietly, sounding disappointed in my answer. I couldn't let this bother me though. One minute I'm minding my own business and the next I'm being made to feel guilty for not springing on a trip to the big city. Summer time meant freedom, which meant more time with Trent. I couldn't just leave him behind during that time. I had to be with him.

Then again, my grandmother was getting quite old, nearing the age of ninety. Her doctors admitted how surprised they were at how strong she was, seeing as she had a heart condition that needed constant monitoring and she was on so many medications. Thankfully, she had her own personal nurse at home to take care of her. Not many people had that kind of money, but thanks to all the money she inherited from my grandfather before he passed it helped her out quite a bit at avoiding a nursing home.

Still, I stuck to my word. I'd have to think about it.

As time went on school grew more difficult. I was at the point where I had to provide my own patients for clinic, meaning I had to go up to people and beg them to sit in a dental chair, acting as my guinea pig, for three hours straight! It was easy at first because Trent had no problem sitting for me, nor did Royce or Zea. Even some of my former classmates from my general ed courses agreed to the idea, seeing as a cleaning was free for students and they were cool with helping me out. Once I finished them though I was struggling. I asked a complete stranger if he could help me out. He agreed to it, sounding really excited, but then never showed up for the appointment. That hurt my grade of course. Even though it's never a student's fault for no shows, it definitely puts a damper on your day because you fall behind all of your classmates.

I was beyond stressed out by the third no show that it was even starting to affect my relationship with both my friends and my boyfriend. I was so miserable to the point where I questioned if I was depressed and needed therapy.

"Hi. Raina." The cell phone was pressed up against my ear as I listened to the voicemail, my heart racing. "Yeah, this is David, your patient for tomorrow. Listen, I uh won't be able to make it. I know it's short notice, but um ... Yeah some stuff happened that I need to take care of so ... tomorrow isn't good for me anymore. I'm so sorry. I hope the professors understand and I uh ... I hope you don't get in trouble for me cancelling." A click sounded, ending the message.

For a short moment I just sat there, stunned. Then, in a fit of rage, I threw the phone so hard across from me that it smashed against the wall and clattered to the floor.

"What the hell is wrong with you people?" I screamed. "You make a God damn appointment and then cancel every single freaking time at the last minute! You stupid, no good-" I stopped myself by grabbing a nearby pillow and screamed into it. Thank God Trent wasn't here right now. He'd try comforting me and I just didn't' feel like being comforted. I felt more like I just needed to break everything. Yes, that's what I needed to do. I needed to break something to make me feel better.

No, no. Get it together. You're not a child. You're an adult. You can handle this.

I went to pick up my phone and realized I had shattered the entire screen. "Great." I swiped the phone and pressed the home button, hoping to turn it on.

Maybe I had to plug it in first? Nope. That didn't work either. Thanks to my temper tantrum I now had to fork up money for a new phone. Fantastic. Just what I needed, more things to worry about. Why didn't I just buy that fifty dollar cell phone case, instead of this cheap two dollar one that snapped off? Or better yet, why did I let my anger throw it in the first place?

I glanced at the clock. It was getting late. I better start studying. Sitting on the couch, I pulled out my massive text book that weighed a ton and began to read.

The days that followed didn't get any better. In fact, they actually got worse. I ended up failing a test for the very first time in I don't know how long. I forgot to hand in two homework assignments. And to top it off I got a "C" on my anatomy paper, even though I'm so used to getting an "A" when it comes to writing papers. All of this happened within the same week.

By the time Friday arrived I was a zombie. I couldn't sleep properly, partly due to stress and partly due to myself forcing me to stay up all night to study and get work done.

Trent was quiet in the beginning, but finally decided to speak up.

"I was thinking," he said one evening as we were lying down in bed, getting ready to fall asleep. Actually, he was the one falling asleep. I had a book propped up on my lap.

"What?" I asked, my voice slightly irritated only because I was so focused on studying that I didn't want any interruptions.

"Maybe you should go with your mom in the summer, to New York City."

Now he had my attention. I peeled my eyes away from my book and looked at him. "Why? You said you'd miss me."

"Well, yeah," he admitted. "But summer break is only a few months away. Why not spend part of the summer with your mom? Might help with the ... you know ... the stress you're under."

"Wait, are you saying I need time away or you?"


I snapped the book shut and put it to the side of the bed. "Am I crazy?"

He gave me a weird look. "I never said you were crazy."

"I'm asking you if I'm crazy. Have I gone crazy? I feel like I'm going crazy and did I tell you I failed a test?"

"Yeah," he said. "But I failed like so many tests that I've lost count! And I'm not crazy. At least, I don't think I am. Other people might think I am, but I don't think I am."

"No, I mean like I always get A's in school and now I'm failing tests and forgetting homework assignments and what not. And then I did go crazy because I broke my phone!"

"I broke my phone a bunch of times," he said.

"I meant on purpose. I wanted to break it."

"That's ... normal."

"You hesitated."

"No," he said a little too quickly. "I wasn't hesitating. I was just thinking of a good word and that's the word I came up with. Normal. You are extremely normal, Sweets. A lot of normal people break phones on purpose."

"I'm crazy," I said softly.

"No, you're fine. You're just super duper stressed out. It's okay to fail a test here and there. It means you're human. You'll pass the next one, I'm sure."

"I need to get away once summer hits, like you said."

"Give your mom a call then. Tell her you're coming."

"I can't just leave you alone for three months," I sighed heavily.

Trent offered a funny look. "You say it like I can't take care of myself. I'm not a dog, you know?" He let out a laugh.

I smiled. "No, I mean. Well, you know what I mean. I just don't like being away from you for that long."

"So you'll miss me then? That's so adorable. I'll miss you too. I'll miss the way you smell, the way you feel, your hugs, your kisses, your smile, that thing you do with your hair when you get out of the shower, your ..." He rambled on for about another minute, listing every single detail he'd miss.

"Oh, and those awesome breakfast sandwiches you make in the morning!" He shouted excitedly. "I'll miss that too."

I laughed. "I'll teach you how to make it then." On a more serious note, I added, "But really, that's why I don't want to leave. We'll miss each other too much and then my mom will drive me crazy after like the first two weeks. Then I won't want to be there anymore and will regret the whole thing. And as for my grandmother, she won't even recognize me! She never does."

Trent's voice grew soft. "Don't be mad, but if you ever got Alzheimer's and forgot who I was, I'd be next to you every day."

I smiled. "Like the Notebook? I cried at the end of that."

He looked confused. "What's the Notebook?"

"Never mind. Anyway, why would that make me mad?"

He shrugged. "Because I'm trying to get you to see your mom and grandmother."

Then it dawned on me. "Oh, so this is a guilt trip."

"You'll thank me for it in the future," he assured. "After your grandmother passes away, you'll be all thankful that I told you to go see her. And your mom too, she needs you, with all the stuff she's going through."

Damn it. He was right. If I stayed it meant I was only thinking about myself and no one else. I wasn't normally the selfish type. I'm usually a very caring person. I guess it's just been so long since I've seen either one of them that they were practically strangers to me. It was time that changed.

"Okay, okay. You win. I'll go."

The next few months felt like an eternity with the heavy amounts of continuous studying, homework, projects, and more patients cancelling. Thankfully I was saved one day when a classmate handed me her patient, telling me all her requirements were completed. She just brought him in for extra practice for herself. Her doing this allowed my instructor to sign off seven more skills on my packet, leaving me with only five more to go before the end of the semester. Needless to say, I was very thankful. I definitely needed the boost.

Eventually, I was able to get the entire packet signed off in every column, which meant I passed clinic! After all the tears, stress, and anxiety I was finally able to take a giant weight off my shoulders and be done with all of this!

Now the only thing I had to worry about were final exams. I studied like a maniac, so when I went to check my grades online at the end of the semester I was surprised to discover I passed with a few C's and B's. No A's were present, but I couldn't beat myself up too much. I passed and that was all that mattered. I could finally relax.

Author's Note: So, for those of my readers who stuck around, you're probably wondering where I went for the past year. Sorry for the super long delay. Long story short, chronic Lyme Disease (I won't go into detail) is a beach! Enough about that though. I just want to hear your feedback on the chapter. Let me know what you think please and I'll try my best to update a lot faster from now on.

Next chapter should be a little more interesting. I'm going to have some fun writing about NYC adventures! I'm excited because crazy stuff is ahead :D

I think Travis might be in the next chapter. We'll have to wait and see. I know my Travis fans are craving his return :)

Anyway, feedback? Love it? Hate it? Tell me please! I love you guys!