Chapter 4

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"How was school, today?" I asked Chris and Beth from shotgun.

"Great. Chris and I-I mean-We got through everything okay." Beth answered quickly. I stole a look at Nathan and stopped a laugh. He squeezed my hand until his urge ended.

"Yeah. We got good teachers and all. New friends. Great classes." Chris answered and busily tapped into the new phone Nathan had gotten him last week. I shook my head.

"You'll be on that phone more often than ever." I said and Beth frowned as I said it.

"No I won't." Chris said without even looking up. Beth poked him and he looked up to see everyone looking at him.

"Fine. I promise I'll stop." Chris said and for the sake of making it "official", he pinky-sweared with Beth.

"Okay then. Since we still have time. Who wants to go out for an afterschool treat? Maybe this will stop Christina from her constant nagging." Nathan said and dogged a slap from me. He winked and I nodded. I heard whispers from the back seat.

"Don't think I can't hear you like that. Let's go to McDonalds. We haven't gone for a while." I answered and watched the kids high-five each other in the back.

"Do any of you have homework, by the way?" I asked. They stared in utter confusion.

"Homework?! It's the first day of school!" Beth said. Nathan and I laughed.

"I had a test today. A report due in three days and another essay for tonight." Nathan said and I nodded. The two students in the back looked with their mouths wide open.

"You'll get used to it when you reach high school." I said.

"I hope that's never." Chris said and I seriously couldn't tell if he was kidding or not. Nathan pulled into a parking space at the McDonalds and we entered with the kids running in front and Nathan and me holding hands in the back.

"I want a kids meal. I don't care if you say I'm too old for one. I want the chicken nuggets." Beth said. I stared at her. She never used to be so picky or selfish and rude. Always the rude one, I stared in shock when Chris said "Can I please have a small McFlurry?"

"What is up with you guys today?" I said. They both shook their heads and shrugged their shoulders. I waited at the table while Nathan was in line with Beth and Chris who insisted on going.

"Oh my. Well isn't it the lovely Christina Turner." A voice appeared out of nowhere. I spun around. Anna's face greeted me. She was smearing on lip gloss and puckering up. She was-for once-alone.

"Anna." I said in acknowledgement to her presence.

"What are you doing here with a table set for 4?" She asked, innocently.

"None of your business. Why don't you go into the washroom and clean yourself up?" I whispered quietly enough so that hopefully she couldn't hear. But she did.

"Well. Just being friendly. I see you don't take competition too well. Yeah, I don't think you realize that Nathan's picked me long before you. He still loves me." She said briskly and I resisted the urge to throw something at her.

"You are not my competition. Nathan has his free right to pick any girl he wanted. I'm sorry he obviously didn't pick you. Now, excuse me. I have to go to the washroom." I said and scurried along past her without looking back. I whispered to Beth and Chris before entering to tell them to keep an eye on the table. Frankly, they nodded and quickly got back to their conversation and never looked back.

I ran to the washroom and locked myself in a stall. I didn't cry. I didn't yell or scream. I just sat there and stared. Stared at everything. My mind raced. I had to get a grip of myself. This thing would be happening often and I had to get used to it. If I knew this, then why did I feel like Anna just pushed an elephant on me and not simple words? The door opened and I flushed the toilet and pretended to be just finished.

I went out and washed my face. I was strong. I couldn't let these little things hurt me. Feelings were so overlydramatic. I could always train myself to push them away, to forget about them.

"Why can't I do it? I've been trying, but when I see them together or how happy and strong she is, I can't do anything." Pause. "I know I'm jealous and I'm stealing Nathan from her, but it's not easy. Whenever he's at my place, he'll talk about her. Even when we're sleeping! Should I steal such a cheater?"

I stared at myself in the mirror and at the stall holding Anna's voice. Should I run? Stay? I was frozen in place.

"Well, Nathan's making this pretty easy. We kissed today and she still doesn't know about it. Nathan was so easy to persuade. He's such a hopeless romantic too. Oh well. I'm going now." Anna finished. I sprinted out the door.

"You okay?" I heard and saw Beth ask. Yet, her voice seemed like a million miles away. I had tunnel vision. All I could focus on was Nathan. How awkward his moves were when he saw me. How he would sometimes look past me. How he had once slipped and called me Anna. I walked in a trance towards the table where Nathan gave me a smile. One I didn't return.

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