Jealousy and the fear and pain of loss. Today's excerpt is from my young adult novel Pieces of Me, which is currently undergoing reconstruction.
Characters: Aspen and Jason
Past tense told in first person by Aspen
A dozen thoughts buzzed through my brain as I stared at her, beginning with an image of myself smashing one of those heavy vases over her auburn head. Somewhere in the middle were the words, “He’s mine,” said with an animal like growl. At the end, she had a bloody nose and a few missing teeth.
Only problem was he’d ignored my texts all day. In addition, Terry’s visitation was not the place to deal with these things. I turned away, going to the guest book set up in the corner.
Throughout the evening, I tried to catch Jason’s eye. He refused to look at me. When I finally built up enough courage to approach him, he replied to my condolences in a monotone consisting of two flat syllables, “Thank you.”
India smirked at me with her eyes. Until she did it I would’ve thought the action impossible, but I knew better now. Besides, wasn’t there such a thing as laughing eyes?
I was crushed, confused, and in tears by the time Dad and I left.
Still, I wasn’t going to give up on Jason or my vow to make sure he knew I was there for him. By eleven-thirty, I’d repeated my performance of the night before and arrived around the corner of Jason’s street.
I flipped open my phone for the umpteenth time, but he hadn’t replied to me. Is this where we ended? Was she in there with him? Had she convinced him he didn’t need me? Had he ever even cared about me in the first place?
With so many questions spinning in my head, I thought I’d go crazy. My hands shaking, I dragged my hair back from my face, yanking hard at it, as if I could jerk all those insane thoughts right out of my head.
But they weren’t insane, were they?
They had to be. He couldn’t be telling me it was over. I didn’t believe him.
I yanked on my handle and hopped onto the sidewalk. I shoved at the door, but then caught it with a quiet, “Oh,” as I remembered the time. I wasn’t supposed to be here.
I tiptoed down the sidewalk, up his driveway, and to his window. Once again, I sent him a text. I stood there, shivering, waiting, my phone open in my hand.
It vibrated and lit up.
Jason: U need 2 go home
Aspen: No. Let me in.
Jason: not 2nite
Jason: jus go home. I’ll talk 2 u tmorow
Aspen: I’ll jus sleep out here then. I’m not leaving.
Jason: fine. U do that.
Aspen: I will!
I sank to my butt against the brick wall. A few minutes later, I dug out my gloves and put them on. I didn’t care what he said or thought. No, I did. He needed to remember that we were in this together.
He also just had to come to the understanding that I was fighting for my fairytale ending here. I wasn’t going to stand by and watch him fall.
I pulled my phone from my pocket.
Aspen: jus so u know, I’m still here.
He didn’t answer. I curled up on my side underneath his window. It was freakin’ cold out. My nose started running. I rubbed my glove underneath it.
It wasn’t below freezing. I couldn’t die out here. Besides, I was shaking all over and that was a good sign.
I checked my phone. Thirty minutes had passed.
Aspen: still here
Jason: I don’t need u
Aspen: I don’t believe u
His window came open. This time I dove in headfirst. He grabbed the back of my coat and yanked me through.
“You are so stupid!” he snapped.
I popped to my feet. “What is your problem anyway?”
“I don’t want an audience tonight.”
“An audience for what? To watch you slit your wrist? Put a gun to your head? Are you giving up now? Don’t think for a second that I’m gonna let you do that.”
He covered the top of his head, curling his hands into fists. “I just wanna wake up.”
“Well, you can’t. This is where you live now. She’s dead. It happened in a split second. You couldn’t stop it. And you’d already done everything you could for her.”
Hands still at his head, he stumbled to his bed and lay down. Following him, I left a trail of outer clothing: my gloves, scarf, and coat.
We didn’t talk anymore that night. He cried some, off and on, and I held him close, praying that God would take away his pain.