The door slams behind me and I cringe, Mom had to have heard that. Maybe she won't come out of her room....
"Hello Jade." She smiles tiredly from her defensive perch on the couch. "Did you wear that out in public?"
My black, ripped up tee has cut outs in the armpits showing the grey material of my sports bra. "Yes."
"Oh, I see. What made you decide that was a good idea?"
I really don't want to start a fight, I just want to relax and unwind upstairs in my room, drowning out my thoughts in music. "I'm sorry, from now on I'll wear more appropriate clothes."
"Since I was in a, well," she pauses, waving her hand passively. "dramatic state I can see your standards have fallen a bit."
Dramatic? Is that all she thinks it is? I change the subject to an even more devastating topic. "When will we see dad again?"
Her eyes widen and I can hint a trace of sorrow, an unusual emotion for her. "I suppose, if he has any dignity left, he will come and see you one last time before he leaves for Maine."
"He's leaving?" I manage to choke out the words.
"Yes, Rico is leaving." She picks at her perfectly manicure nails like its no big deal. But it is. It so is.
She looks up in surprise. "You think so?"
"If he's too much of a coward not to stick around and give it one more go, then he's not worth this broken yet mendable family."
Her eyes fill with tears and she reaches up to hug me, much to my discomfort and suprise. "You are so strong, Jade. So strong."
If only I really was.
"I need to go upstairs and study now, Mom." I try to break the unbearable stiffness.
"Alright, dear. I love you."
"I love you, Mom."
These are the moments I feel the closest to her, when she breaks down her iron walls and lets someone in. Something that I also, have trouble with. I give her a small awkward wave and climb up the stairs to my room. Just me, alone with my thoughts and the sterile whiteness of these walls. I pull out my notes from class, all blank. Great. Leaning back, I check the date on my calender. Three more days. Three more days 'til the Women's LightWeight Championship in Woverhampton. I can't wait. And on that note, I fall asleep, my head resting on my homework.
I kick the wheel of my car, my boot leaving an indent in the hard material. Damn it. I looked like a fool showing up to her freakin' school and sitting there like a dumbass. I could see the haughty look on my so-called "friend's" faces. "You like her." Their stupid voices echo in my head.
Weird that they weren't afraid to say that to my face. I must be losing my fear factor. Screw it. Who cares what they think? I slam the door of my car, accidentally hitting my head on the roof. I curse loudly.
"What's going on, man?" Louis asks. He looks up from the girl he's snogging in the backseat. I respectfully look away.
"What the hell are you doing in my car?" I growl.
"Aye, just having a little fun, that's all." He responds. "It is a party after all."
I look towards his giant house. "Get out."
"I won't ask again." My eyes stay focused on the street in front of me.
The girl lets out an annoying whine as Louis forcefully takes her out of the car. "You've been acting weird since--"
I slam the door to interrupt his statement. I don't want to beat him up, not tonight. I drive, my head pounding with more and more fury every mile. She hates me, she sees that I'm dangerous. Good. Because I am.
"Another." I shout at the bartender. She tosses me an annoyed look. "I think you've had enough."
I glare at her. "I'll be the judge of that."
She looks for the manager to help, but he's nowhere to be seen. I growl at her. "Get me another drink or I'll give your boss a call."
Her eyes widen and she begins making my beer. I know I shouldn;t be here, I should be home. But where really is home? My apartment, always filled with random girls and my "friends"? No. This is the place where I feel most comfortable, drinking my anger away. Eventually, I stand up, impatient with the slow pace of the bartender. I dig in my pocket and slam down a few bills. "Keep the change." I slur.
I don't know exactly where I'm going when I get back to my car, but I know I need to go somewhere. Somewhere safe. A home.
I startle awake, a line of drool from my chin to the desk snapping in the process. Eew. I wipe it off. My clock reads 2:43. Why am I awake? I click on my light and walk down the stairs. My mother's room is locked and light snores are heard from within. I try not to giggle, as I plop down on the bar stool. My brother's scrawly writing graces a tea-stained sticky note on the table.
"At Joe's, be back after school. Don't forget your homework, JayJay."
I roll my eyes. Still protecting me even when he's not home. Suddenly, I hear a noise. It sounds like a car idling. Pulling the strings of my hoodie tighter, I pad to the door. A familiar car is sitting on my street. Harry's.
I fling open the door, stalking down my yard, dirt soaking into my socks every step of the way. I slam my fist on his window, startling his sleeping form. His green eyes are bloodshot, and his hair looks awful. He's drunk. Giving me a lazy smile, he motions for me to get in the car. I don't oblige. "What the hell are you doing on my street?" I say through the windows. I try to be quiet, I don't want the neighbors tatttling to my mom in the morning.
"I live here, baby." Harry says, rolling down the window.
"You're lying. And even if you did live on this street, why would you be in your car instead of your house?" I ignore the pounding of my heart at his drunken use of "baby".
"I'm looooonely." He draws out the word, his eyes looking even more vulnerable than that night in his car.
Suddenly, I'm in his car, enveloped by the scent of aftershave and alcohol. I turn to face him in the passenger seat, still trying to keep my distance. "Are you drunk?" I ask the obvious question.
"Nope." He grins at me.
"Why were you driving, Harold?"
"Harold? Eewy, that's what my mother calls me." His face suddenly saddens.
Touchy subject, I stear clear of it. "Harry, you gotta leave me alone."
Harry's eyes snap up to meet mine. "Please, Harry. You don't even know me, and I just know you're going to hurt me." Ugh, stupid vulnerable side.
His expression now looks guarded again. "Fine, I'll leave you alone. But just remember, sweety, you're the one in my car, throwing yourself on me."
My jaw litterally drops, and I cannot form words. This is what I wanted right? Him to leave me alone? But why does he have to be a douche about it? I open the car door, putting one sock-clad foot on the muddy ground. "Don't forget you were the one on my street in the first place." I slam the door as hard as I can and walk back to my house without looking back.