A/N: This is a story written for the Some Kind of Wonderful prompt marathon. It is in response to Prompt #3: "You were supposed to come after me. That's how it works. I leave and you come after me. Why didn't you come after me?"
Don't Blame Yourself
Jordan Reid had always been a jerk and I'm pretty sure that he always will be one. Even now that I was dead and buried underground, he still continued to be a jerk. I loved him, though, when I was alive. I couldn't see why, now as I watch him from my perch on his desk chair. Yes, he is good looking with his dark hair lightly highlighted with blonde, his muscular build, and his six foot frame. Being handsome, though, doesn't make you a good person.
He was the boy who had stolen my heart back before I died at the age of seventeen. He hadn't been much of a romantic and I can only remember two dates that we went on without any of his friends. How it had all happened, I wasn't sure. I remember that one day I'd just been admiring him from afar and then the next I was his girl. Being his girl hadn't been as much fun as I had hoped for it to be, that was for sure.
I now watch as he stares out the window, his phone vibrating nonstop next to his bed with requests from his friends to hang out, but he doesn't move. He just stands there in his soccer uniform, watching as the rain pours down outside. I know what the specific meaning of this day is and why he is moping around. Slowly, I stand and move across the room so I am standing next to him.
It's the anniversary of my death and he still blames himself. Underneath all of his layers, he is broken and is unable to escape the guilt and pain he feels. Poor children at the high school are only the victims of his pain, which is why I still consider him to be a jerk, but everyone knows what happened that day. He knows, too, but he refuses to realize that maybe there was something he could have done.
I reach for his hand and watch as a shudder goes through his body. He can't see me, but he can feel the coolness of my hand passing over his. When his head turns to the side slightly and I meet his eyes, I am sent back to my seventeen year old self, back when I was still alive.
Rashelle Smith sat at the lunch table with her best friend Susan Gable, half heartedly listening as she went on and on about how sweet her boyfriend was. Rashelle's attention, however, was across the cafeteria where Jordan Reid was currently throwing peas at an oblivious freshman girl. He and his friends were close to dying from trying to hold back their laughter. For a brief moment, Jordan's eyes met hers and he flashed a sly grin. She felt herself smiling back at him, unable to help herself.
"Rash, are you even listening to me?" Susan asked. Rashelle drew her eyes away from Jordan and looked at her friend. Susan was an average looking person, she supposed. She wasn't overly pretty, but she wasn't ugly, either. She was, though, a huge science geek and that pulled her reputation down and it didn't help that she was also dating the captain of the science club, either.
"Yes, of course I'm listening to you," Rashelle replied even though she hadn't been. Susan eyed her for a moment before she launched back into her story and Rashelle's eyes slid back to Jordan. She could never tell Susan about her and Jordan's relationship, she just wouldn't understand.
The bell rang a few minutes later, cutting Susan's story short. Rashelle watched as the red head wove her way through the crowd on her way to class and hung back, taking her time gather up her trash and books. Whenever everyone had left, she felt an arm slide around her waist and looked up into the pale blue eyes of Jordan Reid.
"Hey," she said softly as he kissed the top of her head.
"I don't have long, I can't be late for class again because Coach is going to bench me if I am," he said. She smiled and nodded. "There's a party after the game on Friday, I want you to go with me, alright?"
"Alright," she said and then bit the inside of her mouth. She hadn't really meant to agree, she hated parties. They were full of people that she didn't know and she was always left alone. However, from the look on Jordan's face, she knew that she'd made the right choice.
"I'll meet you outside the locker room after the game," he said, kissing her on the lips softly before he turned and walked out of the cafeteria. She wrapped her arms around herself as she watched him go and couldn't hide the smile on her face.
Rashelle sat in the stands inside the soccer stadium with Susan, who had a science book stretched across her lap as she examined the model on the page. She hadn't wanted to go to the game with Rashelle, but had reluctantly agreed after Rashelle had pointed out that she'd gone to countless science fairs for Susan, she owed her this. Susan, though, kept saying how she didn't understand Rashelle's sudden interest in soccer.
Rashelle leaned forward and rested her elbows on her knees as she watched Jordan kick the ball back and forth between him and his best friend before scoring a goal. So far, the panthers remained undefeated with only three games left in the season. She couldn't believe that. In three weeks, school would be over and summer would begin and then it would be her senior year. The school year had flown by after Jordan and Rashelle had begun to see each other in private.
After the game had finished, Rashelle waited with Susan outside of the locker room, listening to the cheers coming from inside over their winning streak. She watched as the team began to eventually drift out in twos or threes, each of them discussing the good moves the other had made and the victory party at the captain's house.
Eventually, the dark haired boy walked out and paused when he saw Susan with Rashelle.
"Hey," Rashelle said, pushing off the wall she'd been leaning on and walked over to him. He relaxed once he seemed to realize that he'd asked her to go with him to the party. Jordan took her hand in his and squeezed it lightly. "Susan, this is Jordan. Jordan, this is my best friend Susan." Jordan looked at Susan and they stared at each other.
"Really, Rashelle, you couldn't do any better than him?" Susan said coldly as she stared him down. Jordan scratched back of his head and I was left between the two of them dumbly. "Remember how I told you that the reason I switched schools was because of a bully?"
"Yeah," I said slowly, glancing at Jordan.
"He was the bully," she said and turned away.
"Wait, Susan!" I called as she walked away. I rubbed my temples, leaning against the wall. Jordan stuffed his hands into his pockets and was silent, a smart move on his part. I had to say that it was probably one of the smartest moves that he ever made. "I should have listened to her more."
"Don't blame yourself, Rashelle," he said finally, reaching for me. "Come on, let's go to the party and forget about this." It was wrong, but I allowed him to pull me away and to his car. I should have stayed and gone after Susan, who had been my best friend all through high school.
I turned my back on her like she did me.
I stood beside of Jordan near the table where they'd set up the beer pong game. Already, he was throwing the ping pong ball at empty cups, waiting for his opponent to stop flirting with Jordan's sister. I kept urging him to leave before he became too wasted because I didn't have any other ride home. The party wasn't fun, and it wasn't taking my mind off of Susan.
Turning away, I walked into the living room where it wasn't as rowdy. A soccer game played on the TV where a few of the non partiers sat, staring intensely at the screen. I sat down next to a boy that was in my English class and watched with them, trying to determine what exactly everything meant. It was a few minutes later that the couch shifted as someone sat down next to me. A blonde haired boy sat there with a can of beer and I could smell it wafting off of him.
Trying not to show my disgust, I shifted so that I was sitting closer to Jacob, the boy from my English class, and farther from the other boy. I could hear Jordan's cheers from the kitchen and others egging him on and I begged for him to come out to where I was. Although there were plenty of people around me, I felt uncomfortable and I could feel the goose bumps spreading across my arms.
Whenever Jordan finally entered the living room, I slid past the boy and walked over to him, tugging on his arm. He looked down at me. "What?"
"Can we go?" I asked, my eyes darting to the boy again, who quickly turned his head as our eyes met.
"We haven't been here that long," Jordan told me, oblivious to the way the boy made me feel.
"Please, Jordan," I begged. He cupped my cheek in his hand and kissed me softly.
"Thirty more minutes and we can leave," he replied and then released me. I turned to watch him disappear into the kitchen.
Thirty minutes came and then turned into sixty. Finally, I gathered up my things and told Jordan's sister that I was going to walk home. It was a reluctant thing to do considering that I lived on the other side of town. I figured I would take the bus, though, once I walked the mile it took to get to the bus stop.
The air was warm as I walked, warm enough that it wasn't necessary to wear a jacket. I allowed the warm breeze to blow over my face and through my hair lightly. I was so absorbed in this that I didn't notice the footsteps behind me until it was too late.
Before I was able to scream, a hand clamped over my mouth and dragged me into an alley of the darkened town. I fought against my attacker, but the person only tightened their muscles, immobilizing me as they threw me against the cold pavement. Pain ricocheted through my head as it made contact with the pavement and I looked up at the hooded figure, unable to move.
"I've been watching you, Rashelle Smith," the figure said, speaking with a low voice. "Every day I've sat and watched you in school, out of school, sneaking off to that Reid boy's house late at night, every hour of the day I've been watching you." The figure lowered its hood, revealing the blonde from the party. I opened my mouth to scream for help, but no sound came out. He crouched down in front of me and it was then that I could see the gun sticking out of his belt. "I'm jealous. I'm jealous that my cousin gets all of your attention and I do not." He reached out and stroked my cheek lightly, pulling a whimper from my lips. "I'm going to make sure that he can't have your attention if I can't have it, either."
It has been a year since I was murdered and even now no one knows who did it. Jordan is oblivious and the same boy who murdered me is now staying at his home. The pain that I have caused Jordan is there and what would he do if he is to find out that his cousin is the one who shot me in that alley? I didn't want to think about it.
"You were supposed to come after me. That's how it works. I leave and you come after me. Why didn't you come after me?" I whisper to him even though I am aware that he can't hear me. "You could have saved me, Jordan. I could have still been with you if you had just come after me." A tear silently runs down his cheek and I find myself reaching out to wipe it away, forgetting that I am unable to.
"I'm sorry, Rashelle," he whispers, resting his head against the window pane. No one knows how much he had loved me when I was alive. He is a jerk, he truly is, but he is a loving jerk.
The door opens and a red haired girl steps inside. He doesn't turn because he already knows who it is. Susan wraps her arms around him from behind and I begin to think that this is one good thing that has come out of my death. He and Susan have made amends and are now dating because of my death. Both of them had been grieving and leaned on each other for support. His bullying her was put aside and they discovered a love for each other.
I have been with them every step of the way and I will be there when they get married, which is a sure thing, or so everyone says. I will not abandon them even in death because I am still in love with both of them as they are still in love with me.
"I forgive you, Jordan," I say softly and for an instant, his eyes are on me. I know that he cannot see me, but a shiver runs through my body and I know that love is still buried deep within. "Please stop blaming yourself. It wasn't your fault."
"I still love her, Susan," Jordan says hoarsely. Susan nods, closing her eyes.