„Definitely a conversation I can't win. And no...poems are lame."
„Whatever. I'm lazy to write them anyway. See ya."
„Uhh...nothing. I need to see Jacob."
I slowly turned around. And there he was. An angel straight from heaven.
„Maya, right? Man, I really need to start remembering names."
„Yeah. I was actually looking for you. You know, our plans for today?"
„Actually, I was thinking about something else. Would you like to make your heart with me? You know, together?"
„I would love to!"
„At your place, maybe?"
„Are you sure your parents won't freak out?"
„Nah, they know I'm out."
„Let's go, then."
* * *
„And here's Maya dressed up as a fairy! Even though it was a Halloween party..."
„Gran, Jacob doesn't want to know every single thing I did when I was five!"
„I do! I do!" he screeched like a toddler. „By the way, I just have to admit you have a wonderful granddaughter. You really are lucky."
„I am. Indeed. Until she misbehaves."
„How about we start working on our project?" I jumped in. „Let's go to my room."
„Alrighty, then. Thanks for the tea!" he exclaimed to grandma.
As we were approaching the very end of the hall, he couldn't stop himself from noticing all the good old memories, framed on the wall. There was a photo of me with my parents. He touched it ever so slowly, with a touch of nostalgia in his eyes.
„Everything okay there?"
„Yeah, I was just... You all look so happy here. Smiling, cracking jokes..."
„The best picnic I'd ever had in my life. But you seem sad about it. What's the matter?"
„Nothing. It's just the fact that my childhood wasn't really filled with picnics and smiley faces."
„It's fine. I'm over it."
„If that's the reason why you don't wanna go home, you can stay as much as you want."
„Forget it. It's nothing. Let's make our hearts. Shall we?"
„Okay. Here's my room. Let me find ourselves scissors first."
He took his jacket off, along with his scarf, accidentally wiping foundation from his neck off. He quickly put his scarf back on, making sure I don't see.
„I got some glue, too. I mean, if you wanna put on some glitter and stuff... You know you can take off your scarf, right?"
„Nah, I'm fine like this."
„No, you're not. Jacob, what's that on your neck? Are those...bruises?"
He started covering his neck with his hands as I raised the tone of my voice.
„Forget it. Let's just make these hearts already. It's Valentine's soon." his voice trembled.
„Forget about the stupid hearts. I wanna know what's going on. Talk to me."
„I guess the aftermaths kind of speak for themselves, don't they?"
„That's why you got so emotional looking at that photo in the hall. I see. What's going on at home? Tell me stuff."
„It's just...my dad. He's an alcoholic. And a heavy smoker. He...he beats me. A lot. But, yesterday...oh my god. See?" he pointed at the bluish bruises. „I got that yesterday. He does stuff to my mom, too. Though, she always gets it much worse than I do."
„He...what?! Why does he do those things?"
„I don't know. I don't wanna know."
„You should call the police. This is wrong. You and your mom don't deserve to be treated that way."
„You think we hadn't already? And what did they do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I mean, you know what our system's like. Don't even get me started."
„I don't know what to say." I whispered.
„I'm just glad I found someone who truly loves me and understands me."
„You still have your mom, you know that? Stay strong. For her."
„After all this stuff, she's basically vanishing away. She's not someone I used to know. What has he done to her?"
„Hey, you have me. And now Stacy. You should get along with Trevor, too. He's a nice fella."
„I don't need them when I have you."
He placed his hand on my jaw as he leaned in for a kiss.
„Wow! What was that?" I pretended to be shy.
„A proof that we won't need these hearts at all."
That was the moment I knew he was the one.
* * *
„Today is the day! It is officially Valentine's Day!" Miss Darcy squeaked. „I gathered you all today in this hall to not just read out your love messages, but to celebrate love! Let's start with Maya. Maya, darling, would you like to tell me which paper heart is yours?"
„Actually, Miss, I haven't made my heart. I didn't need to."
„Really? How come?"
I pulled Jacob into an embrace.
„I found my true heart."
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