Bully (Fall Away #1) - Page 84

Good. He knew that it was over. He’d gotten what he wanted. I was shamed and humiliated, and his job was done.

The texts, on the other hand, were from random people, most of whom I barely knew.

You look like a good f**k. Busy 2nite? One of the texts read, and I clenched the phone so hard that I heard it crack.

Do u do threesomes? This text came from Nate Dietrich, and I felt my stomach start to turn.

Everyone was laughing at me and hovering around that horrid video, no doubt launching it into cyberspace for anyone to see. Thinking of the dirty old men that would get off from seeing it, or all of the people at school who would look at me now and know exactly what I looked like without my clothes on made my skull ache and my eyes burn.

After two more disgusting messages, I steered the truck to the side of the road and opened the door to throw up. My gut wrenched, emptying everything I’d eaten today. Coughing, I hurled and spit up the last contents of my stomach and shut the door.

Snatching tissues out of the glove compartment, I wiped my face clean of tears and stared out the front windshield, not really wanting to go home.

Anyone who wanted to find me would start there. And I couldn’t see anyone right now. I really just wanted to jump on a goddamn plane and go to my dad.

My dad.

I exhaled and dropped my aching head to the steering wheel, forcing in deep breaths.

Son of a bitch.

There was no way my dad wasn’t going to find out about this. The video was probably all over the place by now. The school and other parents would find out, and someone would call my him.

How could I have been so stupid?! Forgetting for a moment that it was ludicrous of me to believe Jared and trust him, but I had sex with him at a party, in someone else’s house!

That damn phone of his. He’d placed it on the dresser to play music, but he’d really set it to record us having sex. He probably thought he’d have to coax me into putting out at the Beckman house when I’d actually coerced him. Or so I thought.

Everything was a lie. The way he kept me so close this past week, touching me and holding me. Every time his lips brushed my neck as he hugged me, and all the times he kissed my hair when he thought I was asleep.

All. A. Fucking. Lie.

I wipe my nose and pulled off the side of the road. There was only one person I could be around right now. The only person who loved me and couldn’t look at me with pity or shame.

My mom.

***

The narrow roads—almost like paths—of Concord Hill Cemetery were only wide enough for one lane. Thankfully, I was here on a Monday afternoon, so the whole place was empty and quiet. I breathed a tired sigh of relief when I picked out my mom’s grave from the road. There was no one around. I’d be alone, for at least a little while, to escape the world and what had happened this morning.

I climbed out of the car and pulled my fleece jacket over my head, shielding myself from the October chill. The cool breeze was pleasant on my face, though, which still burned from wiping tears. I didn’t have to see my face to know I was probably splotchy with puffy eyes.

Traipsing through the well-kept grass, I only had to pass a few graves before coming to my mom’s. The shiny, black marble headstone featured three three-dimensional, hand-carved roses hugging the side of the marker. My dad and I had picked it out together, thinking that the three roses represented our family. Even eight years ago I’d loved black, and the flowers also reminded us of her. She loved bringing nature into the house.

I read the headstone.

Lillian Jane Brandt

February 1, 1972 - April 14, 2005

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow had not yet come.

We have only today. Let us begin.”

-Mother Theresa

Yesterday is gone. My mom’s favorite quote. She would tell me that mistakes would be made in life. It was unavoidable. But I needed to take a deep breath, put my shoulders back and move forward.

Yesterday lasts forever. Jared’s tattoo came to mind, and I quickly shoved it away like a hot plate.

I didn’t want to think of him now. Or maybe ever.

I knelt down on the damp ground and tried to remember everything I could about my mom. Little pieces of the times we spent together sprouted up in my mind, but over the years, my memories had dwindled. Less and less of her remained, and I wanted to cry again.

Her hair. I concentrated on an image of her hair. It was light red and wavy. Her eyes were blue, and she had a small scar on her eyebrow from when she’d fell ice-skating as a kid. She loved chocolate peanut butter ice cream and playing tennis. Her favorite movie was The Quiet Man, and she made the best Hershey Kiss cookies.

I choked on a sob, remembering those cookies. The smell of our kitchen during Christmas baking hit me like sledgehammer, and I was suddenly in pain. I hugged my stomach and leaned forward, putting my forehead to the ground.

“Mom,” I whispered, my throat tight with sadness. “I miss you.”

Crumbling to the ground, I lay on my side and let the miserable tears fall to the earth. I stayed there a long time, being quiet, and tried not to think about what had happened to me today.

But it was impossible. The impact was too great.

I meant nothing to Jared. Once again, he’d tossed me out like trash and everything he’d said and done to lure me in—to get me to love him—was a lie.

How would I survive the vicious taunts day-in and day-out? How could I walk down the hallway at school or look my father in the eye when everyone had seen that video?

“Do you see it, Tate?”


Tags: Penelope Douglas Fall Away Romance
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