Disclaimer: I don't own 'Higher Ground' or anything that deals with it. I don't own 'Romeo and Juliet' either. I'm not getting paid for my writing but it would be wonderful if I was. I'm sure a lot of other writers agree with me on this. ;-)

Rating: M for an explicit sex scene. You have been warned.


I watched Shelby walk away until she was out of sight. The taste of her still lingered on my lips, and I could still smell her on me from the hug. I wanted to savor the taste and smell. After all, aside for the play, that was the last time I was going to kiss her or have her in my arms like that. It wasn't the same when it was for the play though. That was acting, not real life. I just kissed her and held her for the last time in real life.

That thought hit me like a ton of bricks. It hadn't really hit me until then. While she was still there, I still had the chance to convince her to change her mind. Now that she was gone, it was real somehow. I watched the corner where she disappeared from my vision for a few seconds, and I shook my head. I clenched my jaw to stop myself from letting out a scream. I was so mad. What the hell was she thinking? Who was she to decide what was best for me? How could she just walk away and give up?

I turned around and punched the thing closest to me. Unfortunately, that thing was a tree. I felt a little better for hitting something, but I knew my hand would be messed up. I barely felt the pain from the tree-I was so numb-but as I looked down at my hand, I knew I bruised at least one of my knuckles. I stretched out my hand a couple of times and discovered I could still move everything fine so I wasn't really worried. It still didn't even hurt.

With my jaw still clenched, I walked to my truck. I got into it and started it, but I didn't drive away just yet. I knew I needed to take a couple minutes to calm down before I started driving. Punching the tree didn't help near enough, and if I started driving just then, it would be bad. I took several deep breaths, and when that didn't help, I pounded on my steering wheel and dash board some and finally let out a yell. That helped some. I still wasn't okay by any stretch of the imagination, but I was okay enough to drive.

I didn't turn any music on which showed just how bad I felt. I hadn't turn music on while driving only a handful of times. I drove home with only the sound of my breathing and the hum of the engine keeping me company. It wasn't that I wanted the quiet either. It was just that no song would be a safe song at the moment. Any song would remind me of her; any song would make me think about her teasing me about the songs on my IPOD; I'd think about her singing along to a song quietly under her breath, thinking I couldn't hear; anything with music would remind me of her. I couldn't have that just then.

When I pulled in the driveway at home, I turned my truck off and sat in complete silence for a few minutes. I was still reeling from what had happened. I was so worried about her. A part of me couldn't stop thinking about where she would be sleeping, how she would be dealing with everything, how she was going to survive. The only comfort I had was that I knew she was tough. I had to believe she would be okay. Still, another part of me was furious for what she did. I gave her the chance to get away from whatever it was that was wrong at home. I gave her a way out. And what did she do? She basically told me to go fuck myself. Well, she can go fuck herself! Yeah, I was worried about her, but I was also so mad at her that I was seeing red.

I sighed and finally got out of the truck. I walked into my house, intent on going straight to my room, but I saw instantly that wasn't going to happen. My dad was right inside the door.

"Hey, Scott, how was your workout with the guys?" he asked.

It took me a moment to figure out what he was asking about before I finally remembered the original reason I was out. "It was alright," I replied with a shrug.

My dad eyed me like he was looking for something. "Everything okay?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said, but my voice was too blank, too flat. Even I could tell that wasn't the truth.

"What happened?"

"Nothing. Don't worry about it." It wasn't that I didn't want to tell him; I just didn't want to talk about it.

"Come on, Scott, talk to me."

I sighed. I could tell he wasn't going to let this go. There was no way I was going to get away without some sort of explanation. I really hated how my dad was with shit like that sometimes. He didn't always catch when something was wrong, but once he did, there was no getting away without explaining. I tried to convince myself that if I just said it quickly, got it over with, it wouldn't be too bad. Ya know, kind of like taking a Band-Aid off real fast so it wouldn't hurt so much. Yeah, maybe if I just said it real quickly, assuming he would let me leave it be without having to elaborate, I would be okay.

"I saw Shelby after," I said, my voice still sounding dead.

"And wouldn't that be a good thing?" he asked.

I chuckled bitterly. "You'd think. She broke up with me."

My dad tried to hide the shock, but he failed. "Why?"

"I don't know," I answered honestly. Obviously, I knew what she said, but it still didn't really make sense to me.

"I'm sorry."

I shrugged, trying to seem nonchalant. I didn't want my dad worrying about it, and I didn't want to dwell on it, at least not until I was alone. Once I was alone, I knew I would dwell on it horribly and probably drive myself crazy, but I could do that when I was alone; I couldn't do that with other people around.

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught Elaine walking out of the kitchen towards me and my dad. I tried to ignore her, but it was kind of hard to do once she was standing right next to my dad. She looked at me, and it was obvious that even she could tell something was wrong with me.

"Did you want to talk about it?" My dad asked.

"No," I answered quickly. Even if I had wanted to talk about it, I wasn't about to with her around.

"Wanna talk about what, honey?" Elaine asked my dad before she turned her dark eyes to me. "What happened?"

"Shelby broke up with him," he answered.

Elaine feigned shock and sympathy, but I knew she was secretly happy. "Oh, I'm sorry, Scotty."

Again I shrugged and shook my head. I think, at that point, my dad finally figured out that I had said all I was going to say so I walked away. I went upstairs and into my room. I thought about going into the guest bedroom, even though it long since stopped smelling like Shelby, but I quickly decided that that would be bad. I didn't need more reminders; I was going to have more than enough without going into the room she once occupied.

I stayed in my room all night. My dad and Elaine both stayed away, and I was very grateful for it. I didn't want to be bothered. I couldn't sleep that night either. It was about 2:00 a.m. when I finally shut my light off, determined to at least try to go to sleep. My attempts were futile though. I just laid in the dark then. I still hadn't changed my clothes so her scent still lingered on me. We had barely touched earlier, but I still smelled like her. Maybe it was my mind playing tricks with me, but her fragrance radiating off my shirt lightly made it impossible for me to fall asleep. I could've changed, yeah, but I didn't. I didn't really want her scent to disappear.

I heard my door open, and I knew who it was instantly so I didn't bother to look in her direction. I kept my eyes on my ceiling and avoided showing the slightest interest in her.

"How you doing there, Scotty?" she asked, trying to come off concerned. I ignored her so she continued. "You know, your dad kept trying to come up and talk to you-he wanted to comfort you- but I stopped him. You don't want to be comforted, do you?"

I looked at her then; I couldn't help it; what she said had intrigued me. What did she mean I didn't want to be comforted? What was she talking about? She was going somewhere with this train of thought, I knew she was, but I didn't know where she could possibly be going. Of course I knew what she wanted, but I didn't know how she was going to get there.

"I saw your hand earlier," she said with a smile. "You hit something in your anger. It wasn't her, was it?"

"Of course not," I retorted.

"What was it?"

"A tree."

"You have a lot of aggression about this then, don't you?"

"What do you want, Elaine?" I asked, trying to cut to the point.

"I want to help you," she answered.

I looked at her, amused. "You want to help me? And how do you plan on doing that?"

"I'm going to give you a way to work off some of that aggression," she answered, a seductive smile dancing across her lips as she made her way to my bed and sat down next to me.

I knew what she meant. After all, she wasn't exactly leaving much to the imagination with what she had said or with what she was wearing. The tight tank top and short shorts weren't exactly covering up much. That was her plan though. She'd come in here scantily clad, offering me sex after I just got dumped, and she hoped I'd go for it. She was hoping my current situation would make me not fight her. She only had that luxury one other time, and that was the very first time.

I wanted to tell her to leave, to get out of my room, to leave me alone. I wanted to tell her that her suggestion repulsed me. Why, then, was I sitting there, staring at her, saying nothing? Why, for only the second time, did her idea not disgust me? Why was I actually mentally debating taking her up on her offer? What the hell was I thinking? What was wrong with me? I hated her. Yet, at the same time, all I could picture in my head was me fucking her into the mattress. I had two opposing impulses inside of me. I managed to fight both of them off though.

"And what is your great plan for me working off this aggression?" I asked her and sat up.

She traced her hand down my chest and stomach and stopped just above my shorts. I had to force myself not to physically react to her touch. "Come on, Scotty. Do I really have to explain it?"

I looked down at where her hand rested and then looked back to her. "Not at all."

For the life of me, I don't know what came over me after those words left my mouth, but I kissed her. I actually pulled her to me and was kissing her. It was the first time since this whole ordeal started that I actually initiated the physical contact. True, she had touched me first, but I actually started the kissing. That had never happened before. Even the first time, when I wasn't fully opposed to the idea yet, she had been the once to kiss me. She was obviously surprised by my reaction, but she recovered quickly and started kissing me back.

I continued to kiss her as I pulled her closer to me. She let out a little moan into my mouth as our bodies pressed against each other. I didn't fully understand what I was doing or why, but I didn't care at the moment. For some crazy reason, I needed this. I needed the release. I had too much tension coursing through my body to last me a life time. I needed some way to let it all out. If that meant doing something I swore I would never do, then so be it.

Elaine maneuvered herself onto my bed the rest of the way while managing not to break the kiss. I think she was afraid that if she pulled away I'd change my mind. Truth be told, her doubt wasn't all that misplaced. If we stopped, even for a few seconds, I would come to my senses. I couldn't stop. My hands traveled her body more freely than they ever have before. Her hands mirrored my own comfortably though. She had felt me freely several times before; it was nothing new to her. The only thing that was new was me playing along.

She tried to take control of the situation by straddling me, but I was having none of that. If we were really going to do this, we were going to do it my way. I was going to be in control. To hell with that she wanted. I pushed her off of me by her hips a little bit more roughly than I had planned to and positioned her next to me. She was still half sitting up, and I took that chance to pull her shirt off over her head. She soon followed my lead and pulled mine off with my help. I palmed one of her breasts as she started to trace rough kisses down my neck, biting at times, all the while allowing her hands to roam my body.

This was so different than any other time we had been together. Even the first time, when I didn't fight her, and I played along, I never took control. Even then when I wanted it, I always allowed her to stay in control. She was always the one leading, always the one on top, always the one calling the shots. Not this time though. This time, I was the one who decided how it was going to go. I was the one who took charge of the situation.

Elaine started fumbling with the top of my shorts, obviously trying to get into them, as I massaged her hips roughly. She was so distracted by my reaction that she was having difficulties she had never had before. She wasted no time once she got her hand down my shorts, having found me already fairly hard, and started stroking me. I let out a groan at her touch. That was it. I quickly removed her shorts and threw them aside. I slid my shorts off and tossed them aside too.

I climbed on top of Elaine as soon as she opened her legs to me. It was another first for us. I had never been the one on top before, but I was going to be on top tonight, damn it! She let out a loud hum as I entered her. I gave her no time to get used to the feel of me though. I started moving instantly, rocking within her, riding her hard, pounding her into my mattress. Truth be told, I didn't care if she enjoyed herself. This wasn't about her or for her. I hitched one of her legs up higher and continued to pound into her as she allowed moans and grunts to escape her.

"Oh, God, yes, Scotty," she said. "Don't stop."

I grunted. "Shut up."

I slammed into her as hard as I could. I went until I was as deep as I could go before I would pull out and shove back in, harder and faster, harder and faster, until I could feel myself getting close. Normally when I hit that point with a girl, I would hold myself off until I was sure she was satisfied; I would make sure she came before I allowed myself release, but to hell with her. If she didn't come then that was too fucking bad for her. I pounded harder, faster, deeper. She gripped me tighter with her legs and ground herself up into me, trying to ride out her own pleasure. With a groan, I finally had my release. Well, physically I had a release anyway. Emotionally, I was no better for what just happened.

I collapsed on top of her, breathing heavily. I could feel her breath hot against my neck, and she was still letting out little noises, as if still coming down from her orgasm. Obviously she thoroughly enjoyed herself. I sighed and pulled myself off of her to lie next to her on my bed.

I looked over at her. She was still breathing heavy and smiling, and I almost instantly had a bad feeling. What the fuck did I just do? I looked away from her and stared at my ceiling. I knew I had a look of horror on my face. Oh, God. I couldn't believe I honestly did that. I glanced sideways at her again, hoping to find her gone as if it was all just a dream. But it wasn't a dream. It was a nightmare come true, a nightmare I had caused. She might have started it, in a way, but I was the one who caused this to happen.

I sat up and swung my legs off the side of my bed. I ran my hands through my hair and let out a sigh. I couldn't stop thinking about what I just did. I shook my head, trying to clear it of my thoughts. I didn't want to dwell on this. I couldn't bear to think about this. I didn't have a choice though. This wasn't going to just go away. It was going to be stuck in my head forever. I closed my eyes and tried to think of anything that would get what just happened out of my head, but all I could see was Elaine underneath me. It made my stomach turn. I felt sick at the mere thought of it.

"God, Scotty, I never knew you had it in you," Elaine said, still on my bed.

"Get out," was all I said.

She sat up then, as if surprised by my words. "What?"

"Get out," I said again, more sternly that time, enunciating my words very clearly.

"Come on, you can't tell me you didn't have a good time just now."


I kept my back to her. I didn't want to see her. I didn't want to face what I had done. She stayed on my bed for a few moments longer before I felt her get up. I didn't look back to her still, but I heard her moving around my room. I could only assume she was grabbing her clothes and getting dressed.

"You know, you can't make me out to be the bad guy tonight, Scotty," she said. "You were the one in control. You were the one riding me. You wanted it tonight."

"Just leave," I said.

I heard my door open and close, but a part of me was too afraid to turn around and see if she had actually left. I grabbed my boxers and put them on before I finally willed myself to look around my room to make sure she was gone. I walked around my room, checking everywhere, searching for her, as if worried she had hid somewhere just to scare me later. I knew it was stupid-I knew she had left-but I had to be sure.

I looked over at my disheveled bed and felt sick again. My room still smelled of sex and of her. I quickly walked over to my window and opened it, hoping desperately that with a little fresh air the scent would dwindle away into nothing. I tried to fix my bed, tried to make it appear like she wasn't just in it, like what just happened didn't actually happen. I was trying to take away all reminders of what I just did. But every time I closed my eyes for more than a second, I could see her underneath me, hear her moaning into my ear, taste her kiss, feel her hands sliding down my back, her legs wrapped around me.

My stomach turned again as my senses kept reliving the hell I just caused. I rushed into my bathroom just in time. I fell in front of my toilet and threw up. I retched up everything I had in me and continued to dry heave after everything was up. I was sweating and my whole body was aching by the time my stomach decided it had had enough.

I always said she made me sick, and I finally just proved it. I really had gotten sick at the thought of what I had done with her. But could I really blame her for it this time? No. She was right. She wasn't the bad guy this time. She may have come into my room with her own agenda for tonight, but I was the one who did it. I had no one to blame but myself. It would have been easier if I could just blame her, if I could play the victim. But I wasn't a victim tonight. I was a willing participant in what we had done. I felt like getting sick again just thinking that, but I had nothing left in me. I just sat on my bathroom floor and tried hopelessly to rid myself of any thoughts involving Elaine.


Monday at school I pretended like nothing happened. It was just another pointless day. I even managed to keep the happy façade on around Justin, who normally can tell when something's bothering me. Either he never noticed something was actually wrong, or he knew better than to press me on whatever it was. He didn't even question me when I saw Shelby in the hallway and didn't acknowledge her. Well, I tried not to acknowledge her. I didn't think I was too successful. The sight of her caused a familiar pain in my chest, and I knew I probably had a sour look on my face, but still he didn't say anything. Smart man.

I tried to ignore Shelby as much as possible, but I caught myself looking in her direction several times during history. It was kind of ridiculous for me to try and pretend she didn't exist because I knew I was going to have to speak to her later at practice, but I just couldn't bring myself to talk to her until I had to. I thought about asking her how she was, how she was handling everything. I wanted to know she was okay so badly that it physically pained me to be ignorant, but I couldn't bring myself to talk to her.

The day dragged on. I never wanted to blow off an after school activity so much in my life before that day. Not only did I not want to see Shelby (at least, I didn't think I wanted to see her) but I just wanted the day to be over. I wanted to go home and seclude myself in my bedroom. I couldn't do that though. I had to go to practice. It's not very easy to practice Romeo and Juliet if Romeo doesn't show up. I'm sure if I had a genuine excuse Sophie would deal with it, but what was I going to say was my excuse, my desire to be antisocial?

I walked into the theatre with Justin trailing behind me. I walked up to the stage and sat down on the opposite side of Shelby. I couldn't keep myself from looking at her though. I tried to make it seem like I wasn't watching her, but I had a feeling I was failing miserably. I had never been so happy to hear Sophie start practice before. It was like I had a weight lifted. Yes, something else to think about!

"Okay, so today were going to go over part of Act 3, Scene 5," Sophie said. "We're going to keep it short today so we're going to stop before Lady Capulet enters."

I opened my book quickly to remember what scene she was talking about. For the life of me, I couldn't remember what scene she was asking us to do. Once I opened my book, I saw which scene it was and grimaced. Of course, we would have to do the good-bye scene today. That's just my fucking luck!

"Scott, Shelby, let's go," Sophie said.

"How intimate do you want us to get here, Sophie?" Shelby asked. I was actually glad she had asked that question. I was so distracted I forgot that our characters were pretty much supposed to be all over each other in this scene.

"You don't have to go crazy, but some intimacy would be good," Sophie replied.

Truth be told, I didn't really want to do any intimacy here, but I didn't really have a choice. I stood up from the floor and walked over to our make-shift bed in the center of the stage. Shelby met me by the bed, and we locked eyes for a moment. Almost instantly after our eyes met, I remembered when we had started to practice this scene together before. We were in my room, it was the day after we had sex, and we couldn't keep our hands off each other. It was amazing how much had changed since that day.

I looked away from Shelby, as if watching her was too much to bear, and I laid down on the bed. She followed my lead and laid down next to me. The tension between us felt so thick, so real, almost like you could see it. I knew it was all in my head though. No one could see how the pressure between us was building.

"Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day," Shelby started, and I was surprised by how nice it was to hear her words directed at me, even if it was just acting. "It was the nightingale and not the lark that pierced the fearful hollow on thine ear. Nightly she sings on yond pomegranate tree. Believe me, love, it was the nightingale."

I watched her for several, long moments before I could bring myself to speak. "It was the lark, the herald of the morn, no nightingale. Look, love, what envious streaks do lace the severing clouds in yonder east. Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops. I must be gone and live, or stay and die."

Shelby moved closer to me and wrapped an arm around me. I had to remind myself that it was all just an act. She was playing a part. She didn't mean anything by it. "Yond light is not daylight, I know it, I. It is some meteor that the sun exhales to be thee this night a torchbearer and light thee on thy way to Mantua. Therefore stay yet: thou need'st not to be gone."

I sat up and looked to Shelby with a soft smile, trying to play my character and not let my personal feelings get in the way of what I was supposed to be doing. "Let me be ta'en, let me be put to death. I am content, so thou wilt have it so. I'll say yon grey is not the morning's eye, 'tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia's brow. Nor that is not the lark whose notes do beat the vaulty heaven so high above our heads. I have more care to stay than will to go. Come death, and welcome. Juliet wills it so." I touched Shelby's cheek gently with another forced smile. "How is't, my soul? Let's talk. It is not day."

"It is, it is. Hie hence, begone, away. It is the lark that sings so out of tune, straining harsh discords and unpleasing sharps. Some say the lark makes sweet division. This doth not so, for she divideth us. Some say the lark and loathed toad change eyes. O, now I could they had changed voices too, since arm from arm that voice doth us affray, hunting thee hence with hunt's-up to the day. O now be gone, more light and light it grows."

Thanks to the woman in front of me, I understood those words perfectly. Shelby had taught me Shakespeare so well that it was no longer like a foreign language to me. I knew the scene obviously; I knew what I was getting myself into when Sophie told me we were doing the good-bye scene. But it still felt like I had been stabbed when Shelby told me to go. I knew it wasn't Shelby telling me to leave; it was her being Juliet telling Romeo to leave, to save him, but her leaving me was still too raw. It hurt hearing it again, even if it wasn't really us.

I must have been staring at Shelby longer than I thought because her face was quickly turning stern. She was glaring at me how she used to whenever I messed up a scene during our practices. I stared back at her blankly. Her glare wasn't causing the usual competitive fire in me that had always been awoken before.

"More light and light: more dark and dark our woes," I finally said.

"Madam?" Daisy said, jumping in for her couple lines as the nurse.

"Nurse?" Shelby replied, looking at Daisy.

"Your lady mother is coming to your chamber. The day is broke, be wary, look about."

"Then, window, let day in and let life out."

Shelby grabbed my hand and pulled be a few feet away from the bed, as if we were heading to a window so I could leave. Again I couldn't get my mind to stay focused on Romeo and Juliet. I kept thinking about me and Shelby. With me and Shelby, this would be reversed. She was the one climbing in and out of windows, not me.

I shook my head lightly as if trying to clear my thoughts. "Farewell, farewell. One kiss and I'll descend."

Shelby leaned in and gave me a brief kiss. I froze under her touch. I wasn't expecting her to actually kiss me. She stayed just inches away from me for a few moments, and I shuddered, feeling her warm breath hit my face. If I thought I could move, I wouldn't have trusted myself not to grab her, but I was frozen by her chaste kiss. When she finally pulled away from me, I could see that her eyes were watering. She really was a good actor.

"Art thou gone so? Love, lord, ay husband, friend, I must hear from thee every day in the hour, for in a minute there are many days," Shelby said. I was very thankful that she had to be the one to speak first because I honestly didn't know if I would have been able to right away. "O, by this count, I shall be much in years ere I again behold my Romeo."

"Farewell," I said quietly before I cleared my throat and started talking again. "I will omit no opportunity that may convey my greetings, love, to thee."

"O think'st thou we shall ever meet again?" She gave me another quick, stern glare, reminding me that we were playing parts, that I had to be Romeo here, not Scott, and that I had suck up my issues and deal with them later.

"I doubt it not, and all these woes shall serve for sweet discourses in our times to come."

"O God, I have an ill-diving soul! Methinks I see thee, now thou art so low, as one dead in the bottom of a tomb. Either my eyesight fails, or thou look'st pale."

"And trust me, love, in my eye so do you. Dry sorrow drinks our blood," I replied, actually delivering the line fairly well. "Adieu, adieu."

I walked away a few feet to let Shelby finish. Romeo was supposed to be gone as it was, and I was really having a hard time being that close to her. I looked back to Shelby so I could watch her finish her lines only to find her watching me. Juliet would have been watching Romeo walk away, I guess, so it made sense. Always the professional, she was.

"O Fortune, Fortune! All men call thee fickle, if thou art fickle, what dost thou with him that is renowned for faith?" Shelby said. "Be fickle, Fortune, for then I hope thou wilt now keep him long, but send him back."

"And we'll stop there," Ezra said. "Shelby, wonderful, as usual. Scott, everything okay?"

I looked at him blankly for a few seconds. "Fine."

"It's just you've been doing so great lately," Sophie cut in. "Today, you just seemed a little distracted."

I cast my eyes back to Shelby for a second before I looked to Sophie and shrugged. "Just having an off day, I guess."

Sophie nodded. "Okay. Well, that's it for today, guys. You're all good to go."

That's all I needed to hear. I turned and starting walking quickly out of the theatre. I couldn't stand to be by Shelby anymore. Or maybe I was enjoying being by Shelby too much. Either way, staying so close to her was not a good thing. I knew it was pointless though. I was going to have to be around her. After all, I couldn't very well play a good Romeo without being around my Juliet. Whatever. It didn't matter. I was done for the day.

I walked out of school and into the parking lot. No sooner than I started heading towards my truck did I hear my name being called. I stopped walking instantly, which probably wasn't really a good idea considering I was in the middle of the parking lot, but I couldn't control it. I knew who it was calling after me. I would recognize that voice anywhere. For some strange reason, Shelby was calling my name.

I turned around to watch her walk to me, but I didn't say anything when she reached me. She was the one calling me. She could start the conversation that she apparently wanted to have.

"You cut out of there pretty quick," she said.

"Is that why you were calling my name?" I asked and was surprised by how cold my voice sounded. "You wanted to make an observation about how fast I left?"

"I just wanted to see if everything was okay,"

"Everything's fine," I retorted and started walking again. "Why wouldn't it be?"

Shelby followed my lead and started walking again too. "Look, if this is going to be a problem…"

"There's no problem."

"Obviously there is."

I stopped walking again and sighed. Who was I kidding? Of course there was a problem, and I wasn't fooling anyone by pretending to be fine. "What do you want me to say?"

"You don't have to say anything," she said. "Just don't let the play suffer because you're mad at me."

I scoffed. "I'm not mad at you, Shelby. At least, I'm not anymore. Believe me, I tried to be. I figured it'd be easier if I was, but I'm not."

"Then what?"

I looked at her. "Do you really have to ask that?"

We locked eyes for a few moments before she looked down. I kept my eyes on her though. Now that I had looked at her, I couldn't bring myself to look away. This wasn't supposed to be this hard. Maybe it was because I had never been the one to be left before, or maybe it was because I just cared about her that much, but this was more difficult than I thought possible.

"I guess, I don't," she said softly. "Scott, if this is going to be a problem, I could always drop out. I do have an understudy. The little princess could always step in as Juliet."

"No," I said adamantly.

It wasn't until that moment that I realized how much that idea scared me. As screwed up as this was going to be, and as hard as it was going to be for me, it was all I had. Her being Juliet, and me being Romeo, was the only way I could still have her in any way. I didn't want to lose that. I couldn't lose that.

"Look, I'll do my best to not let this get in the way of the play," I said. "But you're too good not to be Juliet. You shouldn't have to back out 'cause I can't get my shit straight."

"Thank you," she said.

I nodded and started walking again. I reached my truck quickly and leaned against it. Shelby had continued to follow me, and she stood watching me with her arms crossed. I brought my eyes back to her and scanned her quickly. Regardless of what she was hoping for when she left me, I was still worried about her. I didn't like that I didn't know if she was okay. I didn't like that I couldn't take care of her.

"How've you been?" I asked.

"I'm okay," she answered, but it was like her response was rehearsed.

"You look good," I commented. God, did she look good. "I mean, considering everything."

"Yeah, I've been going by Daisy's." She smiled at me, but I could tell it was forced.

"You know, my offer still stands." It would always stand. I'd always be there to take care of her if she would just let me. "I know you'll never take it, but I thought you should know."

"Thanks," she said softly.

We stayed quiet for a few minutes after that. She wouldn't look at me, but I couldn't take my eyes off of her. Our conversation (if you could call it that) was over, but I couldn't bring myself to leave. When she finally brought her eyes back to me it felt like my heart stopped for a few seconds. God, I'm such a pussy.

"I should probably go," she said. "Daisy's waiting for me."

I really didn't want her to go, but I nodded and acted like I was fine with it. "I'll see you tomorrow then."

She nodded and offered me a small, genuine smile before she turned and walked away. I kept my eyes on her until she reached Daisy's car and got in. It wasn't until after they drove away and that I finally got into my truck. I sat in silence for a good few minutes before I put my key in the ignition and turned the car on.

I grabbed my IPOD and turned it on shuffle. The second the music started to escape my speakers, I sighed as I recognized the song instantly. It was Forever by Papa Roach. Not only did I instantly think of the time Shelby and I sang along to this song, I also realized how strangely fitting the song was. It wasn't a happy song, by any means, nor was it a typical romantic song, but it fit in a weird way. I thought about changing the song, but I decided against it. I let the song play as I started driving, but I was still thankful when it ended. I liked the song, but it was just too much of a reminder for me.

I was only thankful for the song change until the next one started, and I realized what it was. It was Because You Live by Jesse McCartney, the song Shelby had given me so much crap about, and the first song I ever jokingly sang to her. I shook my head with a sigh at my luck of those two songs playing back-to-back with my IPOD on shuffle.

I swear, the world was poking at me and laughing.


(A/N)- First thank you for the reviews from: Linkie, Melms213, Meghan, Ghostwriter, ShalBrenfan, Mandy, Kellie, Opal, Rachel, Xenia, LJSkywalker, ac5000, Juliette Fan, Nicole, Missworld243, Zannie52, weylela, Suzzy20, Hannah, Beamish-is-a-legend, Aimed mischief, Cassie, IrigD, SacredWriting, 2honest4myowngood, lynsay, writergirl99, graceling, scandal-manhatten, JCLadyBug, Priscilla, IcyGold, Line 101, Nocturnal Rose, catwoman1840, musicxlife4, oooLALApaige, Marie, DannyMessersGirl324iLOVEhim, luja14, i L0V3 CRiMiNAL MiNDS, and Ashely. You guys keep me writing! Also, if I missed anyone, please let me know.

Well, I have a new longest chapter ever right here. Apparently, I write long chapters when I'm writing from Scott's POV. I'm sorry this took longer than I had planned. But, for me, this isn't too bad, right?

I know a lot of people are going to dislike Scott for what happened with Elaine in this chapter, but that wasn't my intention. I meant for that scene to show just how screwed up Scott was after Shelby left him. I know it's dark, and twisted, and messed up on several levels. It was supposed to be messed up. Please don't hate the character for what I had him do. He regretted it instantly and what he did made him physically sick. The scene was just supposed to show how badly Scott was handling the break-up.

As always, please review and let me know what you guys think. I always love feedback, good or bad.