The moment we pulled up in front of Boston's apartment, I instantly regretted going along with this. Not only because Mateo would somehow find out and want to kill me, but also because I couldn't keep my hurt from Boston. He would see straight through me.
Before I could beg Bailey to drive me home, she had already parked, unfastened both of our seatbelts, and was walking around the car to open my door. I gulped. This would not end well. Not for anyone. My body seemed to move with a mind of its own, lifting me out of the car and up the cobble walkway to the front door. Bailey used her key to unlock the door and lead the way inside.
"I don't know what to say," I confessed. "He probably doesn't even want to see me."
"You're the only person he wants to see right now," she told me, more confident than I had ever sounded about anything in my life.
My eyes roved the apartment while I followed after Bailey. Everything was modern and cold, very evident to a man's design. Bailey's belongings were spread through the space—a purse here, a sandal there, a pink pillow tossed hastily on the couch. Her things brought a sense of life to his apartment, and I was able to truly appreciate their friendship improved his life. I could finally see past my petty jealousy to understand why Boston wanted Bailey in his life, even if they weren't romantic.
"Boston," she said, snapping me out of my thoughts. We had stopped outside a door that I now realized led to his bedroom. "She's here. Hazel came to talk to you."
There was no response. Her big blue eyes turned to me. I knew what she wanted. Finally, I nodded and sighed. She offered a half smile before walking back into the living room to give us some space.
"Hey..." I started reluctantly, resting my shoulder against the door frame. "I know you're confused. I can't explain. I just...I came to make sure you're going to be okay."
In truth, I didn't know why I was there. I couldn't tell him I hadn't meant what I had texted. I couldn't tell him I wanted him or that I liked him very much or even that the only thing holding me back was my psychotic ex who wanted to hurt me. So there was no valid reason for me to stand outside his bedroom, waiting for a reaction that may never come.
Then the door swung open. I shrugged off the door frame and met his gaze. The anger in his eyes stunned me. He took a quivering step forward so that he towered over me even more, impressing his height onto me.
"What are you doing here?" he growled. "I thought my actions were 'too inappropriate' for you."
I flinched. Those had been the words I'd used. Without warning, my eyes grew puffy with tears. I pressed a hand to my mouth to keep a sob from escaping. He wrapped his arms around me and gently pulled me into his chest. The crying wouldn't stop, even though I knew I had to. Boston would demand answers that I couldn't provide, and I didn't know how much more lying I could stand.
"I don't understand you," he whispered, nuzzling his head against mine while breathing into my hair.
As my tears finally began to slow, he took me by the hand and tugged me into his room. I wasn't struck with worry or fear; I trusted him. Boston wouldn't hurt me. Not like Mateo had. Not like Mateo would.
He patted his bed, but I couldn't bring myself to climb onto it. I knew I had to be going. When I turned back to face him, to shake my head, he scooped me up and dropped me on the bed. I blew out a huff of resignation. He proceeded to scoot me over enough to make room for himself before hugging me to his body. Feeling weak, I sat there for a moment to think through how these next few moments were going to go. How they had to go.
"I-I can't stay," I mumbled.
Boston's breath caught as his grip tightened around me. "You just got here, Hazel. Stay a little longer."
"No, Boston..." Biting my lip, I squeezed my eyes closed. "I can't stay."
"What do you mean you can't?"
I couldn't find the words to respond. He leaned away to inspect my face, which I tried to hide to no avail. When I gathered the strength to pull away, he gently dragged me back into his chest. This time I was forced to face him, our stomachs pressed together.
"Hazel," he said lowly, "what do you mean you can't?"
"It's bad enough that I even came," I admitted ashamedly. Mateo was going to be punish me thoroughly for this as it was. "I have to go."
This time Boston let go of me, probably in fear of hurting me, so I succeeded in sliding off the bed and and darting for the door. He blocked my path, though, before I could make it. His eyes pierced mine, and I noticed his glasses were gone. I was forced to meet his eyes without any barriers to protect me.
"You're scared," he stated. "Why? Why are you scared, Hazel?"
My pulse throbbed in my neck. I knew it. I knew he would see through me. Dropping my gaze, I tried to force myself to feel nothing, to block out the panic, fear, and anxiety. Then I forced myself to look at him again. Although I felt stonier, his face told me he wasn't buying it.
Stepping closer to me, he said, "Tell me what happened."
Tears began to flow again as he slowly took my face into his hands. He tenderly wiped away the trails of moisture beading on my cheeks. I was hugged against his chest once more.
"I can't stand to see you like this." He rested his chin atop my head. "Let me fix whatever happened."
"I don't think you can," I whispered. "It's my fault."
"Hey—" he tried to stop me before being interrupted by the chime of my phone.
The air was sucked out of my body. It was Mateo. Without a doubt in my mind, it was him. My hand was trembling as I pulled the phone from my back pocket. His name was displayed on the screen.
"Who is it?" Boston asked.
Ignoring him, I turned away to decide what to do. My thumb rejected the call before I could think through my options. I couldn't talk to him with Boston here. I just couldn't. Without looking at his face, I spun around and pushed passed him to the bedroom door. We never closed it, so I was able to breeze through it. I shook his hand off when he tried to grab my hand.
"Where're you going?" he demanded.
Bailey jumped up from the couch when I sped by, but neither could catch me before I reached the front door. Yet when I jerked the door open, I instantly halted. Mateo's car was parked out in front of the apartment. He himself was leaning against the driver door, arms crossed. He looked furious.
I felt all my fears and panic multiply. I was screwed.
YOU ARE READING
Meeting Mr. WhitakerTeen Fiction
Is it possible to fall in love with the wrong person? According to Hazel Barrett, yes, it absolutely is. Especially if that person happens to be your teacher.