It wasn't spying if you didn't come specifically to follow him around. Or at least that's what she told herself. She had to hold on to some sanity, that she still trusted him and that what she was seeing was just some delusion or dream. But no matter how many times she pinched her self he was still there. Still there with the other girl getting suspiciously closer and closer to his apartment building. Why was the girl's hand on him? Where was he taking the other woman? She sighed as she sneaked closer; she kept a fair distance between herself and the couple. She just wanted to greet him, and give him the cookies she had made for him. Each step she took in the direction of his house made them feel heavier. With only a block to go, she turned tears running down her eyes… was he really cheating on her? All she had to do was confront him, and he would tell her that it was nothing. She was just getting some notes, or she lived in the same direction something that could easily be explained away as nothing. Simply nothing, but as her feet ran in the opposite direction she could only feel her doubt growing.
It had been weeks since she could be with him like this. She clung fiercely to his arm, she knew he was a good looking guy and could easily read the looks other women gave him. 'Why are you with this thing? I could show you a good time....' She could feel his eyes on her, but she still wanted the others to be sure. She clung tighter to his arm sending a message to every other girl who thought they might try to get at him; she was saying 'This is mine.' She windowed shopped as the walked down the street, he had kept his pace slow giving her time to look in the windows. She let her eyes pass over things as she rambled on about the latest trend.
Her eyes traveled over most things in the windows with no interest. Nothing stood out to her. She kept herself from sighing feeling down since she watched in horror as her beloved walked with some other girl, dangerously close to his home. She knew it had to be nothing, but the image of them walking down this same street only a few days ago wouldn't leave her mind. Her eyes caught the sparkle of something, and she stopped moving as she stared. It was a beautiful golden heart. It was a locket, she could tell but what really made it sparkle was the beautiful diamond that shone from the middle. It was so beautiful she couldn't tear her eyes away, till she felt the small pull of her arm. He looked at her with a straight face, and she felt so childish in that second. She smiled at him, but it didn't quell her fears. He was already a third year at the university, and she a third year in high school. Nothing but a small child compared to the beautiful intelligent women who attended school with him.
Her shell felt ready to crack. It would only take something small to break what was left of her heart. She knew this was only the calm before the storm. And the storm was not far away.
"Serena…?" That voice. She turned in time with him. They both looked at the newcomer. She knew who this was. This was her childhood friend, this was her salvation. He had changed over the years, letting his caramel hair grow shaggier it falling around his eyes. His beautiful green eyes that were always there over her many cry baby years. He stood their waiting unsure, though Serena was almost positive that he knew exactly who she was. She felt the biggest smile she had on in days claim her face as she freed herself.
"Jordan!" I cried as I ran to him. He swallowed me up in a hug, and for the first time since the incident I felt truly happy. I pulled away from his hug, asking him few questions. In the end they all came out in one heap like one big long question, "Whendidyougetback?Howsyourmom?Whereareyoustaying?Howlongwillyoubehere?Whyareyouback?" It was the big mega question all spilled out in one breath. He laughed, and pulled me back into a hug. I couldn't help my self my arms snaked around his back pulling him tighter. After what seemed like only seconds he pulled back and begun to answer my mega question. Answering each of my questions in the order I asked him, I smiled. He was still the only one who could understand when I talked in all on breath.
Jordan had answered not only my mega question but a few of my others, before he nodded behind me. I turned around, who was Jordan talking about? I swallowed nervously how could I forget about him? I felt the blush creep to my cheeks, as he flashed her, a very forced smile. Once again my child-like forgetfulness probably was getting on his nerves. I was sure that was one of the reasons he'd want to go with an older woman. It took me minute to shake out of my gloom.
"Oh! Him?" My voice came off high, and a little dismissing. I winced as I heard my own voice. I could see him physically shudder, knowing once again what an annoyance I was to him. I hesitated just a second, something he didn't catch, before walking over and reclaiming my hold on his arm. I knew Jordan had seen the hesitation in my movements, I could read the distress in his eyes but I tried to smile it away anyways. "This is my boyfriend, Darien."
I could only feel happier as his hand moved in my grasp around my back to clutch my waist pulling me in tighter to him. I could see it in Jordan's eyes, he was going to provoke my poor Darien. I wanted to shout out at him to stop, that he was already about to give up on my silliness and there was no way this uncalled for provocation was helping me in anyway. Jordan forced himself to smile normally, not into one of his big grins like he wanted and held his hand out for Darien. Darien took it giving him a firm shake. "I'm Jordan." He said, his eyes glittering with knowledge, "I'm the ex-boyfriend."
I looked up catching the fact that Darien's eyes widened with what I hoped was jealousy and not shock. Turning quickly back to Jordan I knew that he had also seen widening of Darien's eyes. With that I knew the male testosterone battle had begun, all I could do was hope to make peace for a few moments even though I could tell Jordan's eyes were taunting Darien there was nothing I could do. Jordan let his eyes move from Darien to me, his eyes reflecting his next strategy. I made myself look completely oblivious, I wasn't going to be pulled into this anymore than I had to be.
"Do you have time for tea, Serena?" He asked, talking directly to me and emphasizing that fact that I was the only one who was invited. I was torn, if I brought Darien along the game would only get worse, but if I left without him I was sure Darien would give up on the silly little girl I was. I turned to Darien, he got to decide if the game continued or not. "Do you have time? Do you have class?" He looked down at his watch with a smug smile on his face, Jordan angered that I had upset the game by giving Darien a choice and a perfectly legitimate excuse to end the game here. He tensed as he watched Darien, but that only let Darien's smile grow. I knew what was going to happen even as he stalled long. Darien was here to play the game.
"I'm good, Sere. Let's go." He stared directly into my eyes as they grew wide with joy. It had been so long since he'd called me Sere. He had been taking mid-terms these passed few weeks and each time I called to check on him or hear his voice, he was still stuck in his serious mode calling me Serena. I only scraped five minutes of conversation from him in the whole two weeks. By the end, he only had to pick up the phone for me to be happy. He'd been grouchier the last couple of days but I had to call even when he answered with a snap. He had been working himself so hard, I had made sure I stopped going over but I wanted to make sure he was still alive. I didn't want him to pass out all by himself. But after seeing him with that girl I wondered if I wasn't interrupting something when I called. Finally the tense atmosphere had crept into my skin, and I could see the staring war was going on. I pulled on Darien and flashed him another smile, he seemed content with that and we began to walk. "That sounds awesome Jordan. Can we also get cake?"
It took me a while to realize how fidgety Darien had been getting in the past few minutes. He seemed distracted. I could understand the fidgeting, because Jordan made sure to turn the topic of conversation back to days before Darien anytime he could. Jordan had an excellent way of doing this, and distorted what ever I said back into some old joke. No matter how hard I tried I would get caught up in the nostalgic feeling and be carried away into the joke. As if that was not bad enough somehow Jordan had managed to maneuver me even closer to him as the stories flowed, and I was now sitting as close as possible. I wanted to move away but Darien hadn't said anything about it. Somehow I couldn't seem to tear myself away from Jordan. Somewhere in the back on my head a little voice told me, Darien didn't say anything because he didn't care.
Sitting outside the café was a bad move; sitting around a round table was also a bad move. The only way Jordan's trick would've worked, but it didn't seem to have any affect to Darien. Zoning out on Jordan I looked past his head to the people walking down the street. Some of the more nosy people looked in on us, and automatically assuming Jordan and I were a couple started commenting on how cute we looked together, or how we were such a cute couple. I thought if anything Darien would try to call my attention, try to do anything to stop it. But the longer I waited the more I felt disappointed. I snuck a glance at him, and he was staring off into the distance. He shifted and looked down at his watch. I turned back into Jordan making a comment on whatever he said, distracted as Darien was still staring at his watch.
My heart stopped, he didn't have class for another hour. So what did he look so impatient to get to? Jordan turned and looked at Darien, but then he turned and I knew he had to see the distress in my face. Taking a deep breath, I put was ready to try out my experiment. I would ask how he was doing on time, and see what he said. It took me a moment before I was sure I would be able to say this without crying, Jordan watching all this I knew that he would ask me all about what was going on the minute we were alone. "Oh! The time I completely forgot? Do you have class now?"
"Me? Oh no, I'll be fine." I waited silently hoping for him to add more. He said nothing else. I'll be fine? He wasn't even going to attempt to explain that he had another hour left? Why did he look like he needed to get somewhere? Staring at his watching, and zoning out? Did he have to meet someone else? Was he trying to get to school earlier for some reason? Could it be because he didn't want to hang around Jordan? That little voice killed my hope; if Darien was upset about Jordan wouldn't he have tried this earlier? I could see him trying to work out some way to better say it in his head, but Jordan wanted him gone.
"Darien, you go. Don't let us hold you back." Jordan started, and I took a breath before I continued on.
"You shouldn't neglect your studies! If you have to, go!"
"It's alright we understand, you are a university man right?" Jordan added again.
"Come on! Get going!" I practically shouted.
And after that I couldn't stop myself. I just kept babbling on and on. I was talking him into leaving, going on and on about how important school is, and the he should study hard. I couldn't stop myself. Even though I knew he didn't have to be in class for an hour or so, and his school wasn't so far away. I gulped, trying to stop my lecture but I couldn't because in the back of my head I could see him walking next to that beauty from the other day. I could see the two walking closer to his apartment, and see them in the elevator. I could see them unlocking his door, and walking in not bothering to stop in the living room but heading straight for his bed room door. That's where I had to stop, if I kept these dark thoughts in my head I would start crying again. Darien sighed, and put his hands up. I knew he would go.
I gave him a nod. Jordan held out his hand, and Darien took it both of them glaring at each other. I bit the inside of my cheek, if I was left alone with Jordan he would start to pry about the relationship. Jordan would want to know why I looked so worried around him, and why I was acting the way I was acting. I decided it'd be easier to follow Darien, and see if I could spot that girl. I stood up when Darien did and bowed, hoping this would work. "Thank you so much Jordan. It was really great to see you again."
But I was never so lucky. Jordan hadn't probed me for information yet, and he wasn't about to lose me. "Serena…?"
I turned toward him, and forced myself to put on fake excitement as I rattle off my lie, "Darien's got to go to class and he promised me I could walk him there." Darien had never made such a promise but he looked so happy to have won their little male game that he didn't say anything. But Jordan wasn't going to let go so easily.
"Do you mind if I come along? I wanted to see your mother again." I could feel my eyes harden at his perfectly legitimate excuse. When he was little he practically lived at the house. If I went home without him and told my mother I'd seen him, I'm sure I'd be locked out till I found him again. Something flashed in Jordan's eyes a clear message for Darien, and Darien's eyes harden. I could tell that the testosterone levels had risen and it was round two, once again I let Darien choose. I turned to him, "Do you mind?"
I looked up at him. I stared at him as hard as I could. I was hoping he would make the right choice, hoping he would say 'No. I don't want your ex-boyfriend going home with you.' But I wasn't that lucky. Darien was 0 for 2 tonight. He nodded his head, "Sure."
Walking to the university filled me with dread. I knew Jordan saw it in my eyes, as I clung on to Darien for dear life. The reason I wanted to walk him here was to show everyone that Darien was taken, and that he was mine. If there was anyone who wanted to dispute that I was right here. But still if Darien had turned me away again I don't think I could live through it this time. I was barely living last time he broke my heart, I was sure if it happened again I would die. Jordan could detect my stress, and started telling his stories of our childhood. Jordan had been my best friend; he was one of the first friends I made when we moved here. He was there for me in school, at the play ground, when I was scared Sammy would take all of my mom's love away, when I tried to run away and join the circus. Jordan and I have been friend since I could remember, and here he was again trying to cheer me up.
Or annoy Darien. I could feel Darien's arm tense in my grasp every time Jordan mentioned being in my house, or eating my mom's famous lemon pie. I could only be hopeful that he was tense because of Jordan's stories and not the fact that we were nearing the university, and his possible other girlfriend. I kept my eye out for the woman I'd seen him with but so far nothing. We reached the gates, and he huddled me close. Pointing out cool places on campus, you couldn't see too much from just the gate but he pointed out silly place like 'that tree was the best to study under' or 'that bench had the greatest view.' I smiled at him. Some friends called to him, and he responded back. I couldn't see the girl among them, but I tried to memorize their faces. If I saw one of them with Darien I wouldn't cause myself this stress. Darien looked back at me; he looked like he needed to go. Even though I had tried to make the walk longer I knew he still had at least a half an hour till school, but I hoped that he would correct me.
"You have to go, don't you?" He nodded, and I felt the knot in my stomach grow bigger. I wondered if he was going to meet her in the classroom, or out in the hall. They could walk around the huge campus and find some spot with nobody in it… I had to stop myself I couldn't let my mind wonder. I nodded back and threw my arms around him. He let me hold him for a while before pulling me back. I offered him a weak smile and he turned walking into campus. I moved to watch him but he'd seemed to be walking faster. Wasn't he walking too fast? That wasn't how he normally walked. My heart beat faster and all I could see was him walking out of my life. My legs started moving before I realized what I was doing.
"Daariien!" He turned around as I whined. I kept running at full speed, grabbing him into a hug before reaching up to claim his lips. I pulled his head down towards mine, I needed this kiss. I could feel the eyes staring, and I wanted them to stare. I couldn't even count all the women that were walking by us, word would get out. But I wasn't worried about that; I was worried about him leaving me. I put everything I had in that kiss; I just needed him to know. He responded holding me tighter, and I only pulled away when I needed air. I tried to give him a smile but I could feel the tears in my eyes. He wiped one that had spilled, and I knew he was going to ask so I answered in my gibberish for him.
"I was so happy I caught you, I forgot to give you your kiss and I just had too." Because you might walk out of my life forever, and I couldn't handle it if you did, I added in my head. I just needed him to hold on to me, because I felt like he was slipping. I cried a little harder as I said this but I had to stop. I forced myself to stop. I took a step back and smiled my biggest smile. I tried to calm my eyes I wouldn't want him to worry, but I didn't know how long I could keep it up and I ran back towards the entrance.
I had forgotten that Jordan would be waiting there for me, and now that Darien was gone I no longer had protection for him. His eyes told me that I wasn't going to like this, and I gulped. I was almost scared to walk home because of the questions. He was going to ask me things I had not even told the girls about. He was going to ask me what was going on with Darien, he was going to ask what happened, and he was going to make me tell him about that night I saw Darien and that girl walk closer to his house. And then when all of that torture was over, and he had everything he needed Jordan was going to go and confront Darien. Then I could no longer hope for this to blow over, because Jordan was going to be sure of what went on that night.
I was afraid. Afraid that the little voice that had been nagging me in the back of my head had been right all along that Darien's affections were waning, and that he really didn't care anymore. Darien was hoping Jordan would steal you away, so he could be rid of you without all that annoying wailing and without looking like the bad guy. I tried to push the little voice out of my head and even though I was successful now I knew it would only grow, and I wouldn't be so lucky next time. Jordan's brilliant green eyes saw right through my façade, "We need to have a little talk Serena."
I rubbed my eyes trying to get the rest of the tears. On the walk to my house, I had kept Jordan at bay with useless information knowing he was waiting till we would have privacy. Sadly, my mother only kept his attention for a little while before ushering us into the living room then left us alone to catch up. She returned a few minutes later with drinks and snacks then left us truly alone, and I could no longer hide from Jordan. It only took a few well placed questions about my behavior with my boyfriend to send me into tearful explanation.
I told him about exam week, and told him I understood Darien's behavior. He was studying, and I was being a burden, and from that I spilled into how I felt like I was holding Darien back, but I couldn't give him up because I was so selfish, and childish. Which lead to the night I found him and the other woman walking to his home, and how I knew I couldn't compare to the women at Darien's college. I spilled all this out to Jordan, his composure only gaining anger, as I explained tonight. I told him how Darien wasn't jealous at all, and him going to classes an hour early, and everything else that went with it. Jordan's face went blank at that, and he let me cry.
I don't know how many minutes Jordan sat there watching me sob, but he did so quietly and I felt better. Not only had I told someone my doubts, but I had a good long cry. I took a deep breath, and Jordan looked at me.
"You done?" I nodded, ready for him to go on a rant, or over react or say something about confronting Darien. He just sat there a while, and looked at me. He opened his mouth to say something but then shut it, and looked at me for a long time again.
"You are stupid." I gasped at him, not what I expected from him. He had always been like an over-protective brother, so why was he now attacking me? I once fell over a twig, and he over reacted going off on a random by passer. I was pulled from that as he continued, "Darien is in love with you. Can't you see? He was barely able to keep himself from punching me."
I sighed, trying to think back was it really jealousy? No, he was annoyed and distracted… he was waiting to see his woman. The dark voice in my head made me re-look through the nights events again, not really sure what I believed. I just shook my head; no way would Darien be jealous. "There's no wa-"
I was cut short by the door bell. I was moving to get up but Jordan was faster than I was and he dashed through the door, and down the hall. I got up moving to the door way to peak at the door, but when I heard the sound of another voice male voice I tripped over my own feet. By the time I got off the floor I could see Darien standing there, I almost gasped as I slowly made my way down towards him.
I could feel him looking over me, his eyes clouded with some emotion I could recognize. I was almost close enough to hear what they were saying when everything changed. It only took a few seconds, but it all happened in slow motion before my eyes. Darien's fist flew back and then at Jordan's jaw, Jordan flew back a couple feet being knocked to the ground and sliding farther from the door. I gasped running to Jordan's side, my eyes filling with tears. "Why?" I whispered to Jordan, but my eyes found Darien.
He stood their huffing, Jordan's blood trickling down his hand. I was so scared, that he would turn and run. I was so scared that he had enough of this child and her friends, and he was ready to re-enter the world of adults. He would write this whole thing off as some stupid childish thing, and be done with me. I was so scared he would leave me, and I barely survived the first time there was no way my heart could handle it a second time if he left.
Darien did turn and run, and I followed him screaming his name. By the time I got to the end of the small pathway that led from my house to the sidewalk he was already down the block and fading from view. The tears poured from my eyes, as I slowly shuffled back to the house. I walked in to see my mom helping Jordan to his feet, looking at his busted lip. Anger in me surged, and with all the strength I could muster I pushed Jordan up against a wall.
"Why?!" I demanded, "What did you do to him? Why'd you have to ruin everything?" I screamed my voice turning shrill, and he cringed. I knew I hurt his ears, my mother stood a few feet behind me unsure of what happened or what was going on. I was so angry at Jordan, why did he have to upset Darien? When he didn't answer I only pushed him against the wall more.
"You said he wasn't jealous so I tested the theory, and he busted my lip wide open."
My eyes widened in disbelief. Anger flared as I let go of Jordan, and grabbed my shoes before running out side. I could hear my mother calling to me, but it stopped the farther I got from the house. I was sure Jordan would explain, and I'd leave him in my mother's anger. I was too upset that he would play something so childish with Darien. He was a sophisticated educated adult who didn't have to waste his precious hours on games. I pushed my legs harder, I needed to explain. I needed to apologize.
I raced to his house. I had to get there, I had to apologize to him. I knew that the tears were running down my face, and I knew that people were staring at me as I took down the pavement, but I needed him. When he had let me go before, when he thought he was doing the right thing by me, I was devastated. I could barely function most days, and the nights dragged on painfully. I was hurt, he had taken my heart leaving just a gaping hole in my chest. I couldn't do that again, I wasn't stronger. I wasn't any better off this time, there was no reason except my own idiocy. I should've moved quicker, I should've gotten there before Jordan.
I hesitated outside his apartment building for a split second before rushing in and up the stairs. I raced down the hall, and knocked on the door. It was dark in his apartment, you couldn't see any light from underneath the door. Was he not home yet? Was he wandering alone? Did he go to that woman's house? Was he really down with me? This was it, this silly childish joke was the last straw? I felt my hand that knocked on the wood turned into pounding as the dark thoughts encircled my head.
My hand fell awkwardly into nothing as he opened the door. I couldn't do anything but stare at him for a spilt second. He looked shaken, he looked like the Darien I had first met. But he didn't look upset at my being there, and the tears rolled freely down my cheeks, I had no way of controlling them. I rushed into him, knocking him back. He shut the door as I clung to him. I couldn't stop crying, and I buried my head into his shirt, knowing that I was ruining it. "Serena…"
He said my name so softly, I had to look up. It looked like he was about to say something but stopped unable to go on. I knew it, here it was. He was going to break up with her. I couldn't believe how blind I'd been, there were all the signs, the other women, studying late, going to class and hour early, tired of dealing with me and my friends, and our childish behaviors. He gulped, No. No, No No! I screamed in my head, this wasn't happening I needed to apologize.
"Darien, I'm so sorry that I'm so childish, and selfish. I know I'm a burden, and I'm holding you back, and then all those games Jordan went on to play…" I prattled on about being useless, and that I wasn't good enough for him but I needed him and we had so much together. The words wouldn't stop pouring out of my mouth, and I couldn't… I couldn't stop, I was probably sending him further away, why? Why couldn't I stop being such a bumble head?
"Serena, you are the best thing in my life. I did what I did because I was jealous. I had been so mean to you the past couple of weeks, and then you were alone at your house with your ex-boyfriend…" He trailed off as he grabbed me in a hug, I had been shaking but the moment he grabbed me I felt secure. "I was so scared you'd get fed up with me, Serena."
I gasped at the thought, we had mirrored each other. I turned to look him in the eye. He lowered his head, and I brought mine up to his. Our lips connected and I could feel his certainty. He broke away from me, and I felt a loss. Had I misread the kiss? No, Darien loved me. I pushed up onto my tip toes and secured his lips again. I secured him by snaking my hands around his neck and into his hair pulling him closer. He complied, making the job easier and I decided I would take a risk as I let my tongue brush his lower lip. I unconsciously opened my mouth, and he pushed right in exploring and tasting. I moaned, surprised by my actions as I angled my head to deepen the kiss.
We kissed each other hungrily before I broke for air. My breath was ragged, I couldn't stop the images from pouring into my head as I now had time to look about his apartment. Was she in here with him? Was this just a game to him? I could feel the anger burning inside me, and I wasn't going to let him get away. I was brave I could do this, but I felt my head turn as I asked "Who was that other woman?
"Other woman?" He asked. I wanted to glare at him, how could he not know who the other woman was? Did he have multiple women? He took a while, I couldn't stop myself from thinking he was coming up with a cover story.
"On your last day of exams, you walked from the university to a block from your apartment. A tall brunette?" I said, with as much force as I could. Yes, I had just admitted to practically stalking my boyfriend, but I wanted to know. I needed to know, Darien meant so much to me. I still had no idea what I would do if he admitted to it, if he came right out and told me but I had to hear it. I had to make sure.
"Were you spying on me?" He asked me, I could feel my face tint red, as I looked down at the floor, but only for a second. I turned back up toward him, all my anger firing up again, taking a step back from his embrace. He clutched me closer.
"It isn't spying if you didn't come specifically to follow them around." I muttered, as he chuckled at me. He still didn't deny it. I took a second, and then a third step back breaking though his defenses out of his reach. Glaring up at him, I repeated myself. "You didn't answer my question. Who is she Darien?"
"Her name is Kali; she's in a couple of my classes. She works at that deli a few blocks up, I was exhausted she walked me home to make sure I didn't collapse on the way, and then she went to work." I didn't know what to think about that. I seemed flimsy, but I couldn't doubt him after everything he did today. Jordan's words popped into my head You said he wasn't jealous, I tested that theory and he busted my lip wide open. Maybe the games Jordan played were okay, sometimes. "What about Jordan, who is he?"
I looked at him, was he reading my mind? But then I realized that while I knew what Jordan had been doing, had been testing him out and messing with him Darien was not aware of that. He was still jealous and I stopped myself from smiling.
"Jordan is my ex-boyfriend. We dated…" I paused, and delighted in the way his body automatically tensed. "…for a week." I saw his body relax and I moved back in clinging to his shirt. "He's too much like an older brother, than a boyfriend." I pulled his head down bring my lips close to his ear. "Nothing happened." I whispered, satisfied by the shiver that ran through his body. He pulled back and looked at me, I smiled watching him. He was smiling, and he looked so smug in that moment.
He leaned down waiting for a kiss.
Sorry it took so long for an update. This is the second part, I may be tempted to write more. =] Thanks for all the Reviews!