The heavy pounding on my bedroom door startled me into an alert and awake stance. Confused, I glanced around my room, finding Anthony dead asleep beside me. Alarm coursed through me, but I relaxed as soon as I remembered the events from the night before. The alarm changed to embarrassment and I buried my hands in my face, knowing I would have to face Julius sooner or later. Hopefully he wouldn’t remember last night… but at the same time, I hoped he would. I didn’t want to break his heart again. Just thinking about doing it again caused my own heart to clench painfully.
“Ellie! Ellie, wake up! It’s almost seven!”
My eyes widened. Julius!
“Ellie? I’m coming in!”
“Wait!” I cried, but it was too late.
Julius popped his head into my room, his eyes bloodshot, giving him the appearance of someone who hadn’t slept for weeks. “Ellie, school— What is Anthony doing in here?”
“I, um… He…”
Choosing the worst moment to awaken, Anthony groaned, wrapping one of his arms around my waist and attempting to pull me closer to him. “Ellie, not so loud. Go back to sleep.”
“Anthony,” I muttered, jabbing him in the side with my elbow.
He shot up in surprise, staring at me in disbelief. “Ow! What was that for?”
I shot him a pointed look, before turning my attention back to Julius. “He, uh, fell asleep in here last night.”
“I thought…” Julius trailed off, the familiar expression of hurt appearing on his face. It tugged on my heartstrings painfully. After a second he forced a laugh. “Oh, I get it. You came in here so none of the girls would rape you, right, Anthony?”
“No. I just wanted to stay with Ellie after what you did last night,” Anthony responded flatly.
I gasped. “Anthony!”
“What?” he responded.
“I wasn’t… I was waiting…”
He placed his hand on mine, his eyes serious. “Sorry, Ellie. I know I’m being selfish, but after last night, I don’t want to keep it from him anymore. I want him to know.”
“Me to know what?” Julius demanded.
“Ellie and I are dating,” Anthony stated boldly before I could stop him.
Julius’s face went completely blank.
“Julius, I…” I paused, unsure of what I wanted to say to him. I’m sorry? If I said that, it would make it seem like I was regretting my choice to date Anthony. Which I wasn’t. At all.
“Ellie, you’ll be late for school,” Julius notified me in a casual tone.
I stared at him. “What?”
He brushed his blonde hair out of his face, nodding to my alarm clock on my desk. “It’s almost seven. School starts in forty-five minutes.”
“Anthony, you should go check on Mason. Last time I checked he asleep on the stairs. I’m afraid he might’ve rolled down them.”