Chapter 24

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Mom had come home early to stay with me. She made me chicken soup and hot chocolate. I remember when I was little and I had a rough day at school, my mom would make me chicken soup; she was a big believer in it. There was also the stereotypical hype that 'we must be jewish because we love chicken soup!'. Idiots.

I was currently sitting at the kitchen table, deleting pictures off my phone of Lucas. I knew my face was still red and puffy from crying, while my heart felt like a spear was being thrusted through it, over and over again. This was proving my point again, that love is fake, and all it does is break your heart.

"I know what you're thinking right now." mom said from the stove, she was stirring the contents of the pot around and around in a constant motion. She only did that when she was thinking.

"If you mean that love is a bitch than you are correct, that is exactly what I'm thinking right now." I replied. Mom laddeled the chicken soup into a bowl and set it in front of me, then sat down in front of me.

"I know exactly how you feel. Men heinshight -- idiots. Good ones are hard to come by. You'll find another one." she said.

"This is exactly why I was in no hurry to date again. People lie, they plot, they break your heart-"

"And sometimes you feel like it's the end of the world. You know what I'm talking about Dani." she said. I knew exactly what she was tlaking about.

"Do you miss dad?" I asked her.

"Everyday. But that doesn't mean that I forgive him. You know that saying..."

"Forgive but never forget. That was dad's old modo. After that kid in third grade stuck his chewed gum in my hair and you had to cut it out." I replied.

"God, men can be such jerks, even from age eight!" she laughed. I had to do the same, she was always right. "It goes away you know." she continued. "It takes a while but soon, the heartache fades. And before you know it, you're a brand new woman, and you're ready to take on the world again."

"I wish I could feel that now." I said. "I'd also like to smash a tennis racket over Lucas' head."

"Well, you got him once with the chocolate éclairs." she said.

"Hm, when we went on a second date, we asked me what I wanted for dessert and I said chocolate éclairs." I said, thinking back to that night. But the happy memory turned into a sad one, as I started crying again.

"Oh baby." Mom came around the table and gave me a hug. "Nobody is worth your tears, remember that." she said. I nodded, sitting up and wiping my nose.

"I love you mom." I told her. She smiled and brushed some hair behind my ear.

"I love you too baby doll. You just take it easy tonight." she told me.

All of the sudden, the elevator bell went off, and Zac stormed in, looking pissed off as anything. But that's not what stood out to me most; it was the fact that he had a cut on his forehead and his lip. Howard was quick to follow, trying to call his son back into the room so they could talk, but Zac didn't listen. We watched him storm down the corridor and into his room, then the slam of a door echoed through the room.

"What happened?" mom asked Howard.

"Zac got into a fight today, just after I picked up Dani." he said.

"He got in a fight?" I asked.

"With who?" mom said.

"You're going to love this: your pig-headed ex boyfriend." he replied. Zac fought with Lucas? Again?

"Oh my god. Is he alright?" mom asked.

"I think he was more concerned with making sure Lucas would bleed. But in the car, I was lecturing him about school fights...he was smiling." he replied. Really? "If you ask me, he was proud to do it. He was defending you Dani." he continued. That doesn't sound like Zac, but then again...

"I feel awful." I said. "He tried to tell me Lucas was bad news and I ignored him."

"We all make mistakes sweetie, this wasn't your fault." Mom replied.

"Wasn't it?"

"No, no it was not. If anything, you were the victim here." Howard said.

"He's right. And remember, everybody has those days where they become victimized, and it is with worst feeling in the world, but don't let that control your life Dani." mom said. I couldn't get over it. Zachary Trenway defended me!

"Can you both excuse me for a minute?" I said as I stood up, then trotting my way into Zac's room. He was lieing on his bed, with a wet tissue placed over his forehead, cooling down his head cut I assume.

"Hey." I knocked on his door frame, he looked up at me and nodded.

"Hey, how you feel?" he asked me.

"A lot better, but I should be asking you that. Why would you do that?" I asked him, entering his room and sitting down on his bed. Zac chuckled and sat up.

"That asshole pretended to love you, he was using you. No way Zac Trenway's going to let that stand." he replied.
"You feeling any better?" I asked, pointing to the tissue paper on his head. He sighed and patted the wet substance.

"It's cooling me down, it's also stopping me from getting a raging headache. Vance socked me in the eye and my head slammed into the table." he replied.

"Oh my God, you should see a doctor about that." I said.

"Nah, I'll be fine. But if I start seeing stars and feel like I'm drunk, take me to the hospital." he joked, I wasn't laughing. Instead, I leaned down and kissed his cheek.

"Thank you." I said. Zac closed his eyes, then took a shakey breath.

"A-Anytime." he stuttered. I stood up from his bed and went over to the window, drawing the curtains down.

"Get some sleep. I'll come and get you when dinner's ready." I told him. He smiled and nodded.

"Thanks Dani." he replied. I watched him lie back down and close his eyes, so I left the room and went back into the kitchen. My mom and Howard looked at me expectantly.

"Well?" she asked.

"You have a wonderful son Mr. Trenway." I told Howard. He grinned happily and nodded.

"I know, and your mother has a wonderful daughter." he replied.

"I know." mom and I both said, which made us look at each other and laugh.

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