John, I'm in love with you. The words rattle around in my skull, not quite sticking to anything in my brain. John, I'm in love with you. No! I whip around and my foot connects with a pitiful dented trashcan, scrunched in against the brick wall. "No you're not. Quit it. I have a girlfriend."
When I turn around, she stares at me with wide, terrified eyes. That makes me whip around again just to slam a fist against the rough bricks. When I slowly pull away, bright scarlet is leaking from the newly shredded skin. Jenna runs toward me but quits, pulling back like she's scared for some reason.
"Jen, I'm not going to hurt you..." I sign this half heartedly and I'm about to just leave when I feel her light hand on my arm, stopping me in my tracks.
The confusion and rage is still traveling through me--first, from Adam, and then when Jenna relit the flame with her confession. I'm not sure what I thought of her feelings for me before this, but at the hospital I had managed to stuff her back into the friendship box where she belongs--and I'm not sure that I'm ready to face my true thoughts on the matter.
"Stay. We have to talk." She gently signs this and then pulls me back until I'm sitting with my back against a dumpster. I still haven't looked at her face.
My eyes stay glued on her torso and hands, blocking away any chance that I would look at her and just break. "I think I came about this the wrong way, John. I guess we need to have our last session where I tell you more crap about me than I really should."
Forcing my eyes up, I now know that this was definitely a bad idea. Jenna's eyes, calm and serious; her mouth set in a thin line. If I didn't know her, I would think she was fine. But her throat keeps moving and I know that she's swallowing rapidly and about falling apart on the inside. It's one of her nervous ticks.
"I didn't mean to act scared of you," she confesses. This time, my eyes remain on her. "But...I've had bad experiences and I'm done with that. But I guess that's what I need to discuss with you anyway."
I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that Jenna use to indulge in hurtful relationships. Let alone that Karen didn't know and stop it. So I let her continue to see what she'll say.
"I haven't dated a bad guy since... Well, I broke up with the last one a week before you moved in with us. I'm sure that Alice warned you on how I operate. Actually," she pauses and tilts her head back in a sinister laugh for a second. "I told her to warn you. You want to know what I do, John? You wanna hear why the rumors of the infamous Jenna Polke are spread?"
She looks at me with a sick, malicious grin that's perfectly aware of its own crime. "I don't know what love is. Are you kidding me?" She laughs again and now I'm the one who's scared. "Josephine's medical problem was--rightfully--the center of my family's concern. And then you know how I was sexually abused in my first foster home... So cliche, right? So what do I do? Date whoever the heck comes running along."
"Jenna--" I begin, but she cuts me off.
"Wait. Let me get this all out before I look at you because I don't know if I'll be able to." She has on that cold Jenna Polk, the girl she tells strangers she is, mask on that she always did when we first met. But now that I've tasted the real person behind it, I want Jenna Lawson back so badly that it hurts.
She takes a deep breath and plunges back in. "Karen told me a boy was coming to live with us. She told me to get my head out of the literal toilet and to watch--because you were a good one who I wouldn't want to miss. At the time, I would rather have killed a rabbit with my bare teeth than to have believed it. But look where I am now."
I gently take her chin and turn her face until she has to look at me. "Thank you, Jenna."
"For what? I sound like some dumb and whiny teenager that rants about her predictable bad choices and asinine behavior."
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Skin Deep (Featured - Completed)Teen Fiction
John is blank in a world where everything anyone says appears on their skin. They're held accountable for every secret, every demand, every sacrifice scrawled across their foreheads in bold black letters. He grew up in an insane asylum and had acc...