chapter eighteen

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chapter eighteen

WHILE ON THE PHONE WITH MAY, my heart was thudding against my ribcage at a million miles per second. I told her everything there is to know about Mason and Julia and I continually asked her if I said the right things.

"Don't worry about that." She answered soothingly. It was twelve o'clock on a school night and her voice just felt so melodic.

"Did I say anything wrong?" I felt like I was about to break a sweat even though I'm laying down in my bed. I was so nervous about the past events that I couldn't even comprehend them all.

"No." I could hear the smile in her voice. "You said all the right things."

"Really?" I sighed into a smile. It was so great to hear her personal acceptance of my actions.

     "Yeah." She breathed. I heard some shuffling for a few seconds before it went silent again. "Don't doubt yourself, Ashley James."

     I chuckled into a tired smirk. I stretched my legs out and reached my toes as far as they could go before I sunk back down into my bed. I was exhausted.

     "Yeah." I closed my eyes and was comforted by the silence on the other end of the line. You could tell we were both very tired.

     "Are you okay?" Her voice interrupted the quietness.

     "What do you mean?" I cleared my throat because it sounded scratchy.

     "Are you okay, now that you're out?" She added. I took a deep breath and sunk my head into my pillow.

There was a long moment of silence as I opened my eyes and searched my dark room for some sort of answer. Am I okay? Genuinely? Honestly?

"I guess so." I sighed and turned so my body faced the ceiling.

"You guess so?" She questioned. She was about to open her mouth, I heard, but I immediately cut her off.

"I'm just worried. You know, about what everyone is going to say." I gulped. She remained silent on the other end of the line. "I have no idea what to do about Julia, I'm not sure if Mason is ever going to talk to me again, and soon the entire school will know."

"Ashley-"

"What will my dad say?" My voice cracked ever so slightly. I was terrified of his future response. "I was already made fun of after I kissed Julia and I, I-"

"No, listen-"

"Sometimes I feel really happy that I'm out, you know?" I took a deep breath so I wouldn't cry. I've been crying too much in the past few weeks. "But then I remember all the people that will laugh and try to hurt me and-"

"Ashley James." May said sternly. Her voice was loud and clear with no hesitation. It immediately shut me up. "No one is going to hurt you."

"You can't be sure, though." I pressed my lips into a thin line and attempted to swallow my saliva to fix my dry throat.

"You're right." She said. "I can't be sure, but I can believe that no one will hurt you." She didn't sound mad at all. Usually, in this type of situation, Mason would get mad at me for not seeing his side. "And you should believe that, too."

I sighed and rolled back onto the left side of my body. I didn't know what to say, so I didn't say anything at all.

"If anyone does try to hurt you, you have to understand that they're not worth it and they just don't understand." She rambled. "But, honestly, if anyone tried to hurt you they're just an asshole. It's two-thousand fifteen, for crying out loud."

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