Chapter Thirteen

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I study for the rest of the day and read from my literature collection before finally going to bed. I don't dream anything because I could barely sleep. Blue remained in my mind with every toss and turn in my bed. I imagined being underneath him, roaming my hands over his hot skin and hearing him breathe my name like it sparked life in him. I tried everything I could to ease the heartache of his vile words after he claimed my first kiss and how he tried to reel me back in only to hurt me again two days after; watching the history channel, studying my English notes, stretching my legs – everything that could distract me, but he's like a permanent marker on a chalkboard. Nothing helped, and I don't think anything can. He's gotten under my skin and I can't shake him. How long I can last like this before losing my mind?

And the sad part is, I bet I'm not even the first girl to fall for his charm or whatever it is he possesses that made me lose track of what I came here for. I'm sure he keeps a book of girls he hurts and rates their pain for his sick satisfaction. Couldn't he just have left me alone, found some other girl to play a pawn in his twisted game? A few weeks ago ballet was the only thing on my mind, and now I can barely get any sleep because he's all I can think about. I don't like him or want anything from him. I just want him out of my head.

* * *

The next day flies by smoothly. I walk out of my last class for the day, prepared to catch up on some sleep he unrightfully stole from me, but Riley has other plans. Even though I am exhausted and mostly over the prick that is Blue Montgomery (I can say his name if I want to, he has no power over me), I agree to go to Central Park along with some of her friends and Finn, of course, to study and just hang out. I'm surprised by how social I've been since coming to college. I barely ever left my house when I was in high school unless I was going to a dance performance or rehearsal. Other than that, I was a total hermit and outcast in my class.

The park isn't packed like it has been in the earlier week since the weather is steadily dropping. In any other world I would have voted to study at another place preferably warmer, but I can't turn down the gorgeous view that is Central Park. Trees are beginning to transform into bright yellows and vibrant reds and deep reds. The skating rink is even close to being open. I can't wait to get out on the ice and check off another task on my New York to-do list.

Slightly shivering, I rub my gloved hands together as I sit down on the luscious green grass. Finn falls to the ground next to me and gently taps the white pom-pom on the top of my pink beanie.

"What bunny did you sacrifice for this hat?" he asks, and I gasp.

"No bunnies or any animal was hurt in the making of this hat. How dare you accuse me of something like that?" I playfully glare at him and push his shoulder. He grabs my hand and pulls me back on the ground. I screech and laugh as his fingers find their way to my neck, tickling me.

An hour or two passes by with this amount of energy. We all generally study and prepare for upcoming tests this week. I have an English quiz on the book, Jane Eyre, on Thursday while everyone else has either a Chemistry or History quiz. Riley is stressing about the latter, claiming the professor put some sort of curse on her for an unknown reason. In reality, she's more focused on texting her boyfriend, Connor, whom she texts with and giggles half of the time we've been here. I adore how head over heels she is for him, and I haven't even met him!

This. This is what I envisioned when I was just that hard-working, dedicated, and lonely ballerina in high school. Lounging around with my friends, laughing at corny jokes found on the internet, and teasing another for being so obsessed with their boyfriend. Studying under a giant Oaktree in Central Park and cracking up when one of said friends stumbles over his lanky limbs on his way over with a tray of nearby Starbucks coffee. I didn't picture having my first kiss with a guy in a band that has a lip-piercing and a track record of using and breaking girl's hearts. But with the force of being around goodhearted people cured me of him. I finally feel free.

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