ProfNigma Stories #4: Falling Pieces #5

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ProfNigma Stories #4: Falling Pieces #5Victorious: Falling Pieces #5Saturday morning came way too soon for Robbie Shapiro. After the public embarrassment he faced at school the previous day, it was no surprise that he didn’t want to wake up. And he might have gotten that wish if it weren’t for his phone vibrating very loudly.He threw his glasses on, and crawled from bed, his legs wobbly from lack of use, and checked the phone. It was Andre. No doubt calling to check on him. He had no interest in talking to anybody so he let it go to voicemail. A few seconds later the phone buzzed again and alerted him to Andre’s message.”Hey, man. I didn’t see you at school much yesterday and I was just calling to see if you’re alright. Me and that new guy, Nate, are gonna hit up Nozu and then hang out at my place. You should def come with and hang. Don’t worry about all that chizz yesterday, dude. Call me.”Robbie deleted the message and threw his phone on the bed, resigning himself to taking a shower while he thought Andre’s invite over. As the hot water poured over his face, he considered just shifting his head up a bit and drowning himself in the shower. After thinking over how stupid and nearly impossible the idea was, he finished his shower and got dressed.”You’re not really considerin’ goin’ out there, are you?”Ever since he was banned from the school, Rex sat in the corner of Robbie’s room, remaining motionless and lifeless, but that never meant that he was quiet.”I’m not in the mood for your taunting, Rex.””I’m not taunting. It was an honest question. I mean, I told you from the beginning that you didn’t have a chance with that gank-“”Shut up!””And I told you that you were going to look like a fool when it was all over, but nooo… what does Rex know? He’s just a puppet. Rex doesn’t-“Robbie caught a glance of himself in the mirror, and saw his mouth moving as Rex’s words came out, the sight of reality shaking his delusion for long enough that he could regain focus. Rex wasn’t real… It was just him. Robbie constantly found himself wishing he could fix whatever was wrong with him, but it seemed isolated to when the puppet was around him. He could throw Rex away but the doll was the closest thing he had to a br*ther, and he couldn’t bring himself to let go of his very first and closest friend.Robbie considered responding to Rex, but he resisted the urge and looked to his phone, which was lit up.-NOZU IN 20. U IN?Robbie thought it through, looking at Rex and realizing he needed to get out of this room before his sanity really did leave him, quickly texted Andre back.-Yeah. Be there in a bit.Robbie took a deep breath and after giving his room one last look over, he headed out the door and prayed that no one would remember what happened yesterday.* * *”So how about that shit yesterday?”Robbie threw his head back and released a hard groan. “Andre…””Sorry, man, I know you don’t want to talk about it, but I felt like it needed to be said.”Robbie, Andre, and Nate were sitting in Andre’s room, doing little more than shooting the breeze. Andre was tuning his guitar while Robbie sat on Andre’s bed and played with his pear phone, and Nate was throwing a mini basketball into a mini hoop. To the casual observer, it seemed like the most boring Saturday afternoon ever. The guys had eaten at Nozu for lunch, but the sushi didn’t exactly fit Nate’s sensibilities so they stopped at In And Out on the way to Andre’s.After some awkward silence, Andre spoke up. “So, I was thinking of writing a song about our senior year and then perform it around graduation.””And you’re starting now?” Robbie retorted.”No… But I’m trying to take note of events and important stuff that I can add to the song, and I figured-“”ANDRE!” came a loud voice from downstairs.”Yes, Grandma?!” he shouted back.”I JUST SAW ON TV THAT THEY ARE RECALLING TOMATOES!””And?!””I DON’T WANT TO DIE!”Robbie and Nate exchanged awkward glances, wondering if they should take this as a cue to leave.”Grandma! You’re not gonna die from some recalled tomatoes… you don’t even eat tomatoes!””YEAH BUT TOMATOES MIGHT HAVE TOUCHED MY FOOD!””Fine! I will go out and get you more food once my friends go home!””OK, ANDRE!”Andre breathed a deep sigh, before continuing, “So like I was saying, I thought I’d get some ideas from you guys.””You could write about Mr. Skinnyjeans here,” Nate said, pointing at Robbie.”You’re a dick. You know that, Nate?” Robbie said, sitting up.”Yeah, but I’m a handsome dick with a damn handsome-“”Guys!” Andre interrupted just in time. “While I think that might be worth a line or two, I’m not gonna do that to Robbie… well, unless I can think of a rhyme for ‘attempted ****’.””Cemented g****?” Nate said with unmatched speed, until he thought about his words as the two looked at him as if he was crazy. “Lamented tape?””Yeah…” Andre said, trying not to laugh, “all we need is someone to make a tape that they regret and we’ve got a song.”I hate you both…” Robbie said, grabbing his shoes to head out the door.”Wait, man, I was just k*dding,” Nate said, stopping Robbie in his tracks.”You mocking me, I get. But Andre, it kinds hurts.””Yo, Robbie. Come back. I promise, for at least the next week, I will not mention the situation again unless you ask me to.””If you do,” Robbie said, turning around. “You have to wear a dress to school the next day.””Deal.” Andre and Robbie shook hands, and Robbie resumed his place on Andre’s bed.”So… now what?””No idea…” Andre said, rapidly realizing he had no talking points outside of Robbie’s mishap. “I saw you talking to Cat after we left from lunch yesterday, and then she looked upset when she came back… What was up with that?””I really…” Andre and Nate eyed him, already knowing that he was going to say that he didn’t want to talk about it. “Fine… Cat was being nice to me and I took that for a move, and I went for it, and it did not work out.””I reckon so,” Nate said, pulling up a chair to face Robbie and sitting in it backwards, “I gotta feelin’ somethin’ ain’t right with that girl.””Yeah… that’s just Cat,” Andre said and Robbie nodded in unison. “She’s a little sensitive and flightly and is incredibly ch*ldish but she’s good people. Robbie, you should try actually talking to her next time. Maybe if you asked her out instead of just making a move, she’d be more open to it.””I don’t know…””I gotta agree with your boy,” Nate said, and then considered the implication. “I mean, not you as in you are his… I’m not, y’know…” Robbie and Andre stared blankly at him, until Andre shook his head smiling, relieving a lot of the stress Nate was causing himself. “Anyway, back home, there was this really fine girl, and I figured I’d try and sweep her off her feet. I went in too hot and was too much for her, and she threw a drink in my face.”Robbie and Andre stared at him for a few seconds before finally Robbie spoke up. “And what was the point of that story?””Oh, sorry. Anyway, the next night, same joint, I made out with her s*ster.””Yeah… ok,” Andre said, turning back towards Robbie, “I think that’s enough stories from our resident cowboy.””You watch,” Nate said, leaning back in the chair, “I’m gonna snag that Tori Vega chick, even though I might have come on a little strong on that one too.””Well, take it from me,” Robbie said, laying his head back on the pillow. “You don’t want to go the s*ster route on that one…””You’re really trying to go after Tori?” Andre asked almost incredulously, “I mean, I get it, she’s a fine lookin’ woman, but after you got your clock cleaned by Beck, don’t you think you should back off?””Nah… I know if it ever came down to hand-to-hand, I could beat bornova escort the snot out of Canadian Jared Leto.”(Editor’s note: Canadian Jared Leto? Seriously? You realize this joke isn’t funny and the reference will probably be wasted, right?)”Beck’s a good guy… don’t get me wrong,” Andre said, realizing that there might not be much that would change Nate’s mind, so he was changing the focus, “but that boy has been acting awful strange lately.””I have to agree,” Robbie chimed in. “When Trina and I would talk and stuff, she mentioned how Beck was with Tori, and apparently he’s really possessive and controlling, almost the opposite of the way he was with Jade.””Yeah, but-” his thought was interrupted by his grandmother coming into the room.”ANDRE!””Yes, Grandma?””I JUST ATE SOME SOUP OUT OF A CAN!””That’s good.””AM I GOING TO DIE NOW?””Grandma, you can’t- the soup was in a can so it couldn’t have touched those bad tomatoes.””THE SOUP HAD TOMATO IN IT!””Grandma, why did you eat the soup if you knew it had tomatoes in it?””I DON’T KNOW! WHO IS THAT AND WHY DOES HE LOOK LIKE THAT?!””Grandma, that’s my new friend, Nate.””Um… Nice to meet you maim,” Nate said, extending his hand.”I DON’T KNOW YOU!”With a loud scream, she turned from the bedroom and headed back down the stairs.”So, I guess I need to take care of whatever is going on with her… I’ll have to catch you guys later.”Andre led the guys out of his house, and Nate hopped in his car as Robbie boarded his bike and the two went their separate ways to enjoy a fairly uneventful evening. Nate felt a vibration in his pocket, and checked to see the message at the next red light.-Please don’t make me regret this, man. Tori- 555-8674Nate smiled and did slight fist raise as he drove back to his house.* * *It had just gotten dark at the Vega residence when there was a knock on the door. With her parents gone and Trina locking herself away in her room, Tori felt all alone, so she actually welcomed some company. Beck had called earlier that he was going to swing by after he finished some of the homework he was behind on. In the meantime, she was happy to relax and watch TV in an oversized t-shirt, pajama pants, and her glasses. So when she answered the door, she was surprised to see Jade, dressed in a half unbuttoned flannel shirt and tight jeans, standing in her doorway.”Ummm… hey, Jade.””Wassup, Vega. Word has it that you wussed out on dropping Beck, What happened?” Jade pushed by Tori and sat down on the couch, quickly making herself at home.”Nothing happened. We took a walk and we talked about everything. He apologized and promised he would change and I’m going to give him the chance. I mean, everyone deserves second chances… right, Jade?” Tori sat down next to Jade, and faced her so that just their knees were touching.The way Tori accented her name made Jade’s skin crawl, and yet get goosebump-y as well. It was no secret that she and Tori had not been the best of friends and even when she had been a total bitch to her, Tori just smiled through it and insisted that they were friends. “Look, Tori, I get it. I’m all for second chances and I know deep down, Beck’s a good… ish guy. But he physically hurt you, and he’s been a total ass to everyone for the last month or two. Just tell me that you’ll be careful.””Of course, I’ll be careful.””Tori…” Jade said, tucking some hair behind her ear, and whatever she wanted to ask seemed to drift away, “Never mind.””No, what is it?””It’s nothing… I’ve just had a really shitty day. Freddie’s busy with some school project and barely says much when we talk, but Sam’s readily available to tell me how many times they had sex in the last three days. Here’s a hint: It’s 5. I’m all alone in the house thanks to some wildlife benefit or something, Cat’s busy with something that I didn’t really understand but I think her br*ther is involved so that’s out, the guys… well, they aren’t really around much for hanging since Beck and I split, and…””And what?” Tori asked, inching closer to Jade, wondering what was wrong with her friend.”And I can’t help but think about the other night. I had been and, honestly, still am, craving real physical contact. I’m sure if you had experienced what I have with Freddie, you would be craving something to sate you as well.””I have cravings, Jade. Beck and I do very well, and-“”Vega, with all due respect… because he doesn’t deserve any… as a ‘consumer’ of both guys, there’s no comparison. Beck has the sexual endurance of a piece of Fruit Stripe gum.”(Editor: Again with the weird 90’s esoteric references? I feel like this was wrote in 1997.)”Jade!””Look… not gonna argue semantics… I really liked the other night and you were… incredible and, well, I just thought-“”You thought you could come over here and we would just let out?!” Tori said, backing away slowly. “That’s kinda messed up, Jade. Is that why you don’t want me to date Beck? Because you don’t want to share with yet another person?””That was a little harsh, Vega,” Jade said, standing up, looking hurt and still taken aback by how aggressively Tori was responding. “I came here as your friend, and… whatever else we are or were… second. But I guess it doesn’t matter to the great Tori Vega. I guess you and your s*ster have more in common than I thought!””Now that was a low blow, Jade!” Her words glanced off Jade as the Goth teen made her way to the door. Tori chased after her, trying to find the words to apologize. “Jade, look, I’m sorry,” she said, extending her arm to Jade’s shoulder to turn her around. “I liked the other night too-“Tori didn’t get to finish her sentence as Jade’s lips crashed into hers just as soon as she turned around. Tori pushed back for only a second before relaxing as Jade’s hands held her head in place as they shared a very intense kiss. Their last moment like this had been fuelled by alcohol, but this time, something even strong was at work- aggression.Jade couldn’t believe how soft and inviting Tori’s lips were, the taste of some citrus or some sort of fruit lip gloss dancing across her tongue. Tori was likewise loving the cool taste of mint on Jade’s breath as the Goth’s nimble fingers rubbed where her hair met her neck.Both Jade and Tori’s fingers drifted into the hair of the other, the two teens desperately trying to push their face further into the other one’s as their tongues flirted with crossing paths with the other.They stood there kissing for over a minute before Jade started a push back towards the couch, and in an instant, both girls toppled over her armrest, Jade remaining firmly on top of Tori. As they slipped completely onto the couch, Jade fell to the side, and the two began to explore the other’s body, feeling every curve, crevice, and sensitive spot that they could with their clothes on.Tori pulled back suddenly. “I can’t do this.””Do what? This thing, which is waaaaayyyy milder than what we did two days ago?””No… I mean, well, yeah. Last time, I was a little dr*nk, and I was mad at Beck, and-“”So?”Tori sat up straight and adjusted her hair into a ponytail, and straightened her glasses. “Now, we’re really sober and I think Beck and I are in a much better place and I don’t want to mess that up.””Vega, there’s nothing to spoil any of that here,” Jade tested the waters as she sat up, her hands running up and down Tori’s arm. She decided to throw some phrases at her to see how she was really feeling. “We aren’t going to have crazy hot lesbian sex, I’m not going to scissor you, I’m not going to eat you out, and I’m not even going to finger-bang you. No clothes coming off. No awkward stuff. Just two girls bornova escort bayan spending time doing some innocent kissing. Clearly, you’re down for the kissing because it took you four full minutes before you found a problem.”Tori was silent, unable to make eye contact with Jade, and unable to decipher right and wrong in this situation.”Tori… this is just fun stuff. It’s not cheating. Beck doesn’t need to, and won’t know. Get out of the way of your own happiness for once and just let go.”The youngest Vega took a deep breath before laying her glasses on the coffee table and pulling her hair from its binding. In a flash, she was right back to lying next to Jade, their mouths firmly pressed together as Jade’s thigh pressed between Tori’s legs, and began to rub it, feeling the heat and moistness from underneath the thin pajama pants.Tori responded by running her fingers over Jade’s breasts, slowing down as each finger brushed against her right nipple, evident through both her bra and her flannel shirt.The girls moaned softly into each other’s mouths between smiles, some laughing, and some unintelligible words on both sides. Their legs entwined and traded places as the aggressor several times over the course of a few minutes, so engrossed in one another that they didn’t hear the door’s creak at all.Tori pulled away, stroking Jade’s face with her hand. “Maybe we should have done this in my bedroom.””That would probably have been best.”Both girls sat up, turning white in the face, as they saw Beck in the doorway, his tanned face becoming flush with anger.”Beck!” Tori stood, and rushed to him, “I-“”Just don’t,” Beck said coldly, pushing Tori backwards. “You give me the third degree yesterday because I wasn’t doing the ‘right thing.’ You told me that we could be happy as long as we trusted each other. And not even a day later-“”Beck, it’s not like that.””Just shut the fuck up, Tori.” “Do not talk to her like that!” Jade screamed, getting off the couch and into Beck’s face.”Don’t even start with me, you fucking cunt. I know you were the one that instigated this. You fucked around with Cat while we were supposed to be together.” Jade’s face was a bit shocked. “You think I didn’t know that was happening? That I wouldn’t notice that whenever you and Cat would spend the night, you’d taste like pussy the next morning when I kissed you?” Beck said, poking his finger into Jade’s face. “The only reason I didn’t say a word is because I thought a threesome might happen because of it. Maybe then I would actually enjoy sex with you. But no-“”Beck, I’m sorry-” Tori said, rushing Beck again, trying to touch his shoulder but he shrugged her off.”You will be. I hope you two are happy dyke-ing it up, but don’t either of you ever speak to me again.”Beck turned and walked back out the door, and Tori took off after him, crying her eyes out. Jade stood in the Vega household and looked up the stairs to see Trina standing there.”You really don’t want me to see you, you talentless bitch,” Jade said, causing Trina to scamper off back to her room. Facing the awkwardness of waiting for Tori to come back, Jade just hopped back in her car and headed home, planning to repeat the beverage choices of Thursday night in excess.* * *Beck had just gotten back into his car when he finally decided to speak to Tori again, despite her apologizing profusely all down the driveway and yard as they walked to his car.”I said to leave me alone.””Beck, look, I’m not going to deny what happened with Jade and I. It happened a couple nights ago. I was upset with you and she made me feel better.””So you slept with her?””She looked sad.”Beck stared at Tori like she was crazy before punching his steering wheel. The sound of Jade’s screeching wheels, caused him to point at the road rage in process. “She looked sad, so, in your mind, she needed to have sex with you?””No… We were dr*nk.””And you talked to me about substance abuse? The very next day? Tori, you are such a fucking hypocrite.””Beck, I’m sorry. I’m begging you. Please forgive me…”He clenched his eyes tight in the car, tapping his hand to his head, until finally, with a sweep of his hair, he opened them again.”Alright, look, I admit I might have had something to do with this, and for that I’m sorry but this was really not cool. You gave me a second chance when I didn’t deserve one, so I guess I should do the same.””Oh, babe, thank you. I-“”Wait. I’m going to let this slide, but seriously, if I even catch you eyeing someone else, whether it’s a dude or a chick, we are finished. Got it?””Yes, Beck… I promise… No more anything.””As for Jade; I think you need to get rid of her as a friend. I know I don’t have a right to say who you can and can’t talk to, but really, you have no business having any business with her and she’s trouble. We’ve talked about how much she really hates you a few times. You should drop her before she makes you do something else you’ll really regret.”Tori swallowed deeply. Beck had never taken this kind of angry and f*rceful tone with her before, and she really didn’t want to do what he was saying, but if she wanted to keep him as her boyfriend, she needed to listen to him.”Ok… I’ll do it.” “Good deal, I was hoping to have an evening for just the two of us, but I think I’m just going to go back home and get some rest. I’ll probably talk to you tomorrow once I really sl*ep on this.”Beck rolled his window up and drove off from Tori’s house, her eyes focused on the red tail-lights until they were well out of sight. She slowly walked back into the house, knowing full well, that she was going right back to being alone. She sent a quick text to Jade explaining before collapsing back onto the couch, which still smelled like Jade, and Tori began to cry.* * *Jade might have made the right call not to check her buzzing phone until she was back home. Jade seeing the words on the phone screen would have no doubt cost many drivers in LA dearly. Though waiting to read them didn’t make them sting any less.-I’m sorry but I don’t think we can be friends anymore. I’m back with Beck and it’s prolly for the best if we don’t hang out outside of school. Really sorry.After the third or fourth reread of the text, Jade’s pale skin had become a burning shade of red. One Olympic level throw later, and her phone was shattered into pieces by her bedroom wall. A second later, she realized how much she wanted to talk to Freddie. Grabbing her laptop, she quickly fired up her Skype and sent a message to him. After about a minute he showed up online and she saw how dishevelled he looked. She knew what the look meant. Her fears were proven a few moments later as she saw a blonde in the background without any pants on. Her whole plan to talk to him about the situation with Tori flew out the window and she thought about a whole new issue.”Wassup?” he said, as if nothing was going on.”I broke my phone, so just talk to me here if you need to talk.””Your Pearphone is ridiculously strong. How’d that happen?””I smashed it into a wall.””Yeah… that’d do it. You could just-“”Freddie… I’m unhappy.””Aww… babe, I’m sorry. I know we haven’t really been able to talk much the last couple days, but I have been super busy with-“”Freddie, I just saw Sam in the background and you have the ‘I just got interrupted from sex’ look. Don’t bullshit me.””Sorry… Sam?” he called behind him. “Mind giving us some space?” Sam appeared for just a second as she was going out the door to his room. “Ok… look, I’m sorry about that. You not being here is killing me, babe.””You are so full of shit.” He was taken aback by how upset she was. “You see escort bornova how empty my room always is whenever we talk? That’s because I don’t have anyone, and even if I did, it would just remind me of how much I wish it was you.””Believe me, I understand-“”No, you don’t. I am missing everything in your life, and she gets everything. The more I try and focus on you, the more you seem to resist me. I know it’s easy to say that this is all for the best or that this is the way it has to be, but you are the one with everything, and I have nothing. It’s blatantly obvious that you’re fine, but what am I supposed to do?””I don’t know, Jade. What do you want to do?””Not this. Look, I spend my nights lying awake dreaming of you and trying to make everything fine in my mind, and you spend your nights sl*eping like a baby next to her, I’m getting to the end of my rope here, and I’m losing my mind, and you just sit there being so goddamn nice and sweet, like nothing’s wrong here. The worst part is that you know I’m struggling to make it every day and you make it look so fucking easy.””Do you want to break up?” he said coldly.”Well, I guess that’s the question. I kinda feel like I have been single for a while. There’s her and there’s me. You’ve got this whole life up there, and I just get a peek into it every so often, mostly with her leading the way. I get next to nothing from this relationship, and I feel like I’m giving up a huge portion of my life waiting for you to make a real choice.””Jade, look, you chose this. You said you were fine to share with Sam, and now you’re saying you don’t? Sam never has an issue-“”That’s because she fucking gets to be with you. Of course she’s not complaining, and honestly, I’m less mad at her, and more mad at you for letting us go on this long and not making a choice.””So, I need to make a choice. Well, why should I pick you over Sam?””Are you fucking k**ding me? Don’t ask me to fight for you. After the last three months, I shouldn’t have to. Make the fucking decision. Until I know for sure that you’re committed, you might as well consider me single.”She didn’t give Freddie a chance to respond before closing out the window and messaging Cat. She wasn’t online strangely, so feeling completely and utterly alone, Jade tucked her laptop away.Jade stared at the ceiling for what felt like hours, before looking at the clock. Five minutes had passed since she ‘hung up’ on Freddie.”If I have to be alone, I might as well go all out on the sadness,” she said to no one, before going to the kitchen. Stealing a bottle of SKYY vodka from her mother’s collection, Jade quickly opened it and chugged it, her face wincing as the alcohol burned as it went down. The pain didn’t slow her down at all, and before she even reached her bedroom, she had downed a quarter of the 60oz bottle.Jade set the bottle on her nightstand, curled up in her blanket and turned on the TV. She didn’t move from this spot until nearly noon the next day.* * *Over an hour later, Tori was still fighting her tears while laying on the couch and watching some dumb movie. Trina finally found the nerve to leave her room again and get something to eat from the kitchen.”Whatcha watchin’?””I don’t know… some Lifetime movie.””Ech,” Trina said, plopping down in the chair. “I hate that channel. It’s supposed to be television for men, but everything deals with women being beaten or abused.””I think the point is that they fight back or rise from it.””Whudeva,” Trina said, her mouth full of chips, thankfully swallowing before she finished, “I normally lose interest after the first few minutes.””No surprise there.”The s*sters sat in silence as they watched a woman running through an abandoned parking garage, trying to escape her husband’s friend who was apparently a stalker and a killer.”I feel bad about the thing with Robbie,” Trina said, out of nowhere.”You should, Trina… you really hurt him, and despite the truth coming out, his reputation has taken a huge hit. It was maybe the worst thing you’ve ever done.””I know… I just… I thought it would be social suicide to let people find out I was dating him. Like all my friends in the popular crowd wouldn’t talk to me anymore.””Trina…” Tori said, grabbing a handful of chips, “you don’t really have any friends at the school, let alone popular friends. The only friends you remotely have are the ones you made through me, the nicest of which is Robbie. So yeah, you should be ashamed of yourself. And another thing-“Tori was interrupted by her phone ringing, and seeing that it was Beck, she quickly answered.”Hello?””Hey babe. I was just calling to make sure you dropped Jade.””I’m not dropping Jade, Beck… I just told her we wouldn’t be hanging out as much.””That’s not what I asked you to do,” he said, a wave of annoyance possessing his voice. “I told you to leave her alone. Maybe you didn’t mean all that grovelling you did.””Beck, I don’t know why you’re being such a jerk. I screwed up. You screwed up too. That puts us on pretty level ground for this relationship.””Yeah, Tori. You’re right,” he said sarcastically, “My bad mood and coping techniques are definitely the same as you cheating on me. With my ex, no less. I am soooo sorry you’re inconvenienced by lying in the bed you made.””I don’t know what I was fighting for when I begged you for another chance.””Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking when I let you back in.””You know what? Fuck you, Beck, Don’t call me. I’ll let you know when I’m ready to talk to you.”Beck didn’t answer verbally, but the click from his phone gave her all the answer she needed.”What was up with that?””Trust me, Trina… I don’t want to talk about it.””You need to make up with Beck really fast. He’s like the hottest guy in school and you don’t want to lose that.”Tori stared disgusted at her s*ster before going upstairs to her room to sl*ep, her eyes burning and becoming bl*odshot again from the build-up of tears. Shutting and locking her door behind her, she called Jade, but just got a voicemail. She hung up without leaving a message and buried her head in her pillow. Her phone vibrated, and she sat up, hoping it was Jade, but it was Beck. She knew that if she ever just hit the Ignore button to someone that she was truly without a really good reason, that would be it. Because of this, Tori was really tempted to answer, but her indecision took too long and the missed call symbol came up.Realizing that she didn’t want to face either option she turned her phone off, and crawled into bed, and thanks to her emotional exhaustion, fell asl*ep pretty quickly.* * *”Call? Don’t call? Call? Don’t call?”Nate sat in his room, playing a version of “Love me/Love me not” as he folded his laundry, using socks as his counting method. He kept running through what he would say if he called.”Hey, Tori,” he said aloud practising, “this is Nathan. From class. I mean, you knew that. I was just calling to say hey… No… I mean, I was just calling to see if you had plans for next weekend. If you do, that’s cool, but you know, if you don’t, I mean you don’t have to, but I figured you might want to go see this concert next weekend. With me. Fun is playing. The band Fun… not like fun… the word. Fuck!”The final exclamation was due to a couple things; his whole pretend conversation sounded brain damaged, but perhaps more intimidating- his sock count had come up “Call.”He breathed several times, and finally decided to just go for it. He dialled the number Andre had given him. Nate thought he had time to think while the phone rang, but it immediately went to voice-mail, throwing his game off completely.”This is Nate. I called.”That’s all he said in the message before his nerves got the better of him and he hung up. His mind was racing. Did I really just say that, he thought, feeling incredibly embarrassed. For a good 10 minutes afterwards, Nate banged his head rhythmically against his bedroom wall, just muttering the word “Shit.”

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