Chapter 4

The 30 minute drive from the city to home seemed to drag on. I had my top down on my beautiful customized blue 02 GT; and nothing seemed to matter. I let the wind blow through my hair and I inhaled the scents of our diminishing summer. Ironically Nelly's "Hot in Herre" was blaring from the speakers. End of July is unbearable in the Midwest, the scorching temperatures getting up to 100 with humidity. Thankfully my dad let me keep my car when I left my mom's; I guess it was a consolation prize for him not being able to "fit me in" to his oversized home. A new mustang in our small town Flatville, was a huge deal and I love it. Interrupting my thoughts, Dani starts with her questioning.

"So what the hell happened last night?" Nothing but seriousness, and concern in her voice.

"It's nothing D, don't worry about it. How was your night with your love bug?"

Letting a frown seep through for a split second, "Come on Jade! Just tell me what happened!" She whined, almost with a pout. "You have got to stop bottling things up! I won't spill the beans until you do!"

She is being difficult but it makes me laugh. I know it kills her more than me not being able to tell me all the details of prince charming. She's right though she's my best friend, hell she's my family, she can help tell me what to do.

"Tommy came into the store. I thought he was coming in to see me since he wouldn't pick up his phone last night. It looks like he was playing it off as being worried. He claimed his "phone died," all though it was fully charged bright and early the second he woke up. He says his charger was at the house." Dani scoffed and mumbled something under her breath but I continue. "Tori walked up on us and you could see the guilt oozing between them. He had a hickey, and you know I hate those! So it wasn't from me. Anyways as he left he asked if I knew where to find her. He claims she left her purse there at Cole's because he hooked up with her. Of course I know he is lying so I told Tommy to get Cole in for a test. I told him Tori is crawling with diseases. He about died on the spot. After he left Bent scolded me; stressing about my weight. I know he wasn't happy we partied so hard last night. He says if we come in as drunk as I was this morning we are both getting write ups." Taking a deep breath after rattling that off so quickly, I take a sideward glance at Danika. I knew it might be a bad idea to bring up Cole since he broke her heart the same way Tommy does mine. It was only a month before she met Eli, but she seems so much better off.

"Jesus J! Just leave him," emphasizing on each word, "and his scumbag cousin! Why don't you see you can do so much better." Great here it goes, "I mean look at you and look at him! He doesn't deserve you! You're a knockout. You're smart, funny, you have so much going for you. What does he have? A bottle of liquor, and some charm? He is bad news and you know it! "

I sit there silently listening to her, and in some ways she is right. "He told Tori we weren't together, he said he couldn't be with a cow…" letting the words whisper painfully from my lips.

"HOLY HELL! HE HAS NERVE!" She screams. Oh man she is mad. Then she looks at me worriedly, knowing all too well the answer to her own question. "Jade, what did you do when she said that? Please tell me you ignored her. You know it's not true right?" I hear her pleading with me to see things her way, I can't.

I avoid the question. "I don't want to talk about it right now D, anything else, just not this." She shakes her head, she is so stubborn!

"You need to face the facts! Bent is right to yell at you about your weight. You keep losing and losing and it is because that dick thinks you need to be a -10. It's not healthy J. You are beautiful I wish you could see that. "I laughed; this is a waste of her time.

"Don't laugh at me Jade Marie! Do you have any idea how many girls are jealous of you? How jealous I am of you? I never told you that because it is so silly, you're practically my sister. I know that you aren't rail thin, but you've got better curves than any girl I know. Despite what Tommy thinks, a size 4 is not fat. You have killer legs that I wish I could have; and everything else about you is perfect. Well maybe except your hair." She teases but she's correct on that. "I just wish you could see how incredible you really are, inside and out. I know you think you love Tommy, and vice versa but you and I both know you are holding on to something that he let go of the second he took what he wanted. You don't need a guy to love you, I love you. Let me be here for you. You are my best friend Jade. You are like my sister. Please let me be there for you, you don't need him. He always just ends up hurting you!" I hear the tears in her voice and I can't look at her. She cries so easily, she's so emotional. Probably the most passionate person I know, but I know it is only because she cares. That means more to me than she will ever know.

"Danika, I love you too! I know you care, and worry. I promise I will figure this all out. Now please give me something to smile about and tell me about your Prince!" Knowing that I could finally side track her. She gushes for the rest of the trip home about how Eli told her he loved her this morning, and of course the details of all their morning workouts.

She deserves it.

I pull into the drive way of Danika's home. Well our home; I guess the only place that has ever really been a home to me. It looks like no one is here so it will be easy to fall asleep. The thought of being able to finally go to my own bed and just forget the past 24 hours makes me calm instantly. We trudge inside and I head down to the basement hesitating before my full-sized mirror. I flip my light on and stare at myself intensely. What is she talking about? I could lose another 10 lbs. at least; I am way too fat for being 5'5. The only curves I see is around my hips. I barely can fill a B-cup and it makes me look awkward. I stop analyzing my body and look at my face. I brush my unmanageable hair out of my face. My hair is just about as long as Dani's falling to the middle of my back. It is a deep chocolate brown, and that is the only thing I like about it. Thanks to my mom's gene's it is nothing but a thick mess. When it is humid my hair practically has a mind of its own insisting on making fizziness apart of my daily wardrobe. I grab the brush and pull out the tangles left from the car ride . As I gather my hair braiding it off to the side and out of my face, I look a little bit deeper. I have naturally tanned skin that never blemishes, and high cheekbones. Again another contribution from my mother, my two favorite attributes. My eyes though; a color I have never seen in anyone else naturally, gleam emerald. I have large eyes that take over my face and sit perfectly under my freshly waxed dark brows. My lips are fuller on the bottom, but they are proportioned well. My teeth are straight and white, thanks to years of braces. I know I am pretty, but I am average. It is stupid when girls lie and pretend they aren't. It is just something they do just to fish for compliments. I hate that. I am nothing that Dani described, I am just regular. If I was that desirable Tommy wouldn't do these things to me. Especially with the girls he picks. I have fine facial features but that is all I have going for me. Embarrassed with myself I scoff and throw a sheet over the mirror. Grabbing a black towel I cover my window so it will be dark inside. Before turning out the light I switch on a cd that Tommy had made me, singing along quietly to Foo Fighter's All My Life. I bend down under my dresser and feel on the floor until I find my pill bottle. I pull out an Ambien; swallow it without thought and I climb back on to my bed. I fish out my last joint from my Altoid tin can, and light up. I let the smoke fill me, surround me, and numb me, lately this has been the best feeling.

I finish my joint, getting through a few songs. I text Danika quickly "Going to sleep for a bit, -it's much needed! Phone is on vibrate. OX Love you."

Before I even hit the pillow my heavy lids drop.

((4 hours later – approximately 8:00 pm))

I hear arguing and I can hear Dani telling someone to leave. This seems interesting. I am still so groggy. I think I am asleep still. I might be having a dream. Just as I roll over trying to figure out what is going on, Tommy comes barreling into my room. I shoot up; shielding my eyes from the lights he flipped on. Crap, I forgot to call him to tell him I didn't need a ride. Danika is right on his heels still yelling at him. Once my eyes full adjust I see Tom staggering with a bottle of Bud in his hand. It looks like he already started partying. Before I can even address why he is here I question Danika.

"Are mom and dad home?" she stands there with her hands on her hips shaking her head no. Relief fills me. I am already such a burden on them they don't need to deal with any more of my problems. Returning the cold gaze Tom has on me, I subtly ask him.

"What the hell are you thinking? What is your problem?"

Danika interrupts, "I told him to leave. That he couldn't come in. I told him you were sleeping and to get his cheating ass out of here. I'm sorry J!" She looks down at her feet uncertain if I am mad at her. I look at her shaking my head letting her know it's okay.

"D, I'm good, would you mind letting me fix this?" She stares at me with hesitation. "Alone please? We won't take long; I'll be up in a few." Reluctantly she turned on her heel and walked out the door yelling up the stairs, "He is still a cheating dickhead though!"

Tommy never broke his gaze with me, or should I say glare? God, what the hell is his problem? He takes another swig of his beer and I smirk to myself.

"Do you really think you need to drink anymore? I can smell the booze all over you! What's your deal? Why are you barging in here causing such a commotion?"

"You think you have any right questioning me?" He laughs into his bottle taking another quick mouthful. "So Jade, when exactly were you planning on telling me about your boss huh? You think I wouldn't find out?" My face blanches. "I mean it isn't too hard to tell that you've been sleeping around; I don't know who would want you though for how prude you are!" His voice now is rising.

How did he find out? There is no way he could have found out! Chad would never say anything I know for fact he wouldn't! He can't risk losing his job. Eli doesn't talk in general, he wouldn't say a thing to ruin him and Danika. Dani, well there is no question as to whether or not Danika said anything. My chest tightens. Tori! Damnit! Panic sets in and I use it to fuel me.

"First off, if you are standing in my room acting like an asshole; then yes I have every right to question you. Danika's parents could have been home! You can't do things like this Tommy! Just because I don't live at home anymore doesn't mean I don't have rules!" Not even realizing I am screaming at him, "I know Rob and Shannon are rarely home; but when they are, they are my parents. I can't risk losing them too because you heard a rumor!" I have never fucked Chad. Yes I have slept in the same bed with Chad, but you know for fact I have not been with anyone else but you. How dare you accuse me of that and how dare you degrade me for NOT wanting to have sex! At least all I am doing is sleeping, unlike you! Maybe, just maybe, I would want to be with you if I didn't have to worry about catching something from some other girl, or worry about you cheating on ME all the damn time! How dare you question me Tommy? What right do you get questioning me when you know very well of all you have done!" Tears spring to my eyes; instead I let the anger take course through my veins and hide all feelings of another fissure in my heart.

Now Tom's face turns white. He must have really thought he had me fooled. I look up into his face and his eyes are big and round, filled with panic. Then he flashes a sardonic grin.

"There is no use denying it Tom. I know I may not know about all of them but I know of Tori, Bethany, Tasha, Lana. Shit, how many more do I have to list? What did I ever do to you to deserve this?"

"Oh cut the crap Jade. You can play as innocent as you want. I know you were up to something last night, don't put this on me. You want to be with that loser? Fine! Be with him! I don't want to be with your fat ass anyways, if you couldn't tell. If you lost some weight and weren't so shitty in bed I wouldn't have to find other girls to screw! Have you ever thought about that?"

Before I knew what I was doing my hand struck across his face. I have never smacked anyone in my life and I never thought it would sting this much but I am hoping like hell it hurt him more than it hurt me. He looks up removing his hand from the side of his cheek and I see my handprint imprinted in his skin.

"You dumb bitch!" I see his hand pull back and duck in just enough time to miss the bottle flying right at my head. The glass shatters all around me. I want to kill him! I hear multiple footsteps running down the stairs unaware of who is here. He is oblivious and he charges at me. Before he reaches me he is tackled to the ground. Eli! Thank god! Eli is on top of him delivering blows in my defense. I feel Dani pull me away across the hall and I watch her gaze upon Eli and Tom. She has fear and pride in her eyes. This is ridiculous. I can't let him fight my fight.

"STOP! Stop Stop Stop! I am sick of this, all of it, Eli, please get up. Go upstairs, leave him there." I take two steps at a time and open the front door. Marching straight to the truck, knowing his cousin would be waiting. Cole sees me and instantly looks worried.

"I don't know what you were thinking brining him here knowing he was drinking, but next time you better think because he is sitting him my room probably beat to a pulp. You have 5 minutes to get him and his belongings out of my house, and you better relay the message to him that I am done. He can go to hell; I never want to see him again! You hear me?" Without answering he runs into the house, a house he knows like the back of his hand. He catches Dani's eye as he enters the door, and before she can protest.

"Let him be, I told him to take Tommy. He knows neither of them are welcome here again."

I hear commotion and arguing downstairs and then more glass breaking. He is destroying my things! It takes all will power that I have to stay put. I just want him gone. He can destroy everything as long as I don't have to see him again.

He stomps up the stairs and doesn't look back. Cole follows close behind and stops before he walks out. "I'm sorry Jade, I didn't think he'd lose it like this. His dad went to jail tonight for Public Intoxication again. He was freaking out. We were waiting for you at your work. Tori seen us and told us you were at your bosses house. We drove by and didn't see the car so he wanted to come out here. I knew it was a bad idea but I didn't think he would do this." Without looking to see if Dani was around, "Please tell D I'm sorry too. I swear I didn't think it'd come to this." and then he was gone. It was absolutely surreal watching both of the Keen boys walk away from us almost as shattered as they left us. Almost. I shut the door and look up to see both Eli and Dani standing on top of the stairs looking at me with apprehension.

"Eli, I cannot thank you enough. Although I don't know how you are here? I thought you had to work, but thank you. Dani, I don't know what I'd do without you."

Danika skips down the stairs and flings herself in my arms, letting tears stream down her face. "I was so worried about you Jade! Eli read the schedule wrong, he closes tomorrow! He was already on his way here. I texted him as soon as Tommy showed up, I was concerned. I am so sorry." She sobbed in my arms. "I just didn't want anything happening to you."

I looked up at Eli, catching him rubbing his cut up knuckles. I mouthed a thank you to him again and I pulled away from Danika. "Look at me." Forcing her to tilt her head up towards me. "I am fine, and I can't thank either of you enough. I promise I am okay. I wouldn't be if it weren't for you two." I pull her back in an embrace so only she can hear me. "Now go give him a huge thank you, and stop worrying about me. I'll be fine." I pull back again smiling.

"Are you sure J? I can sit here and hangout with you."

I chuckle at her and shake my head no. "Go. I am going to clean the new mess in my room. I needed to rearrange it anyways," I joked. "Really though, I need some time alone." I force a smile. "Now go." I gently nudge her towards Eli. As they both walk away still uncertain if they should be, I stop them. "Oh hey guys, once more; thank you. I'll see you in the morning."

I walk back downstairs and I stop in the doorway of my room. I gaze upon what once was my bedroom and I realize it reflects my life perfectly. Glass is strewn everywhere. My nightstand knocked over, and everything on my dresser flung off. My mattress is lying sideways on the floor. Photos ripped up and tossed to pieces. It is a mess. It is an absolute complete mess. I take a deep breath, and slowly start to pick up the pieces. First thing I do is grab the cd Tommy made me and break it in half. I put in a new one blaring my theme song for the night. Fefe Dobson's "Bye Bye Boyfriend" saying everything I should have long ago. I start setting aside all that is left of Tommy to either burn or return later. Without realizing it I am picking up the pieces of my life and tossing Tom to the side. Just like he deserves.

Taking another deep breath.

"It is about time Jade." I say aloud to myself, and then I sing along to the music as I let the feeling of liberation wash over me.


*Note from Author:

Question Time

1) What could you suggest to keep you a little more interested?

2) What did you like/dislike about this chapter?

3) How did you feel about Tommy and Jade's fight?

4) Do you think Jade is going to let Tommy's comments on her weight affect her even more?

I appreciate all R/R. I will post questions after every chapter I write to try and keep you as apart of my writing as possible! I appreciate all the support! I actively read other writer's work and review as often as possible. So if you would like me to read and review anything of your's please let me know! I would be more than happy to!

As always, Thank you (: