Xavier woke up knowing something was wrong, he just couldn't figure out what it was. He tried to remember what could have possibly happened that made him feel this horrid. He came up with nothing except the picture of Beth and Jake Thorn together going to prom. He felt sick again. Even though he hate Jake he hoped Beth had had a good time, he knew how much it had meant to her. Xavier made a mental note to call her after school, and then he rolled out of bed. By the time he had gotten dressed and made his way downstairs the house was empty. He ate a bowl of cereal and then did some mild housework to help his mom out.
It was around ten when he decided to go online. He logged on to FaceBook and scrolled down the news feed. He saw pictures by Kristy Peters labeled Prom Pics, and clicked. There was a picture of Molly and Beth laughing, it made him smile to see her so happy and full of life. He loved her so much. The next picture was of a group of kids Beth was near the side and standing next to her was Jake. It was the picture after this that made his heart stop. Beth was there but she wasn't alone she was locked in a passionate kiss with the idiot Jake Thorn. Her eyes closed and her hands were on his shoulders, his hands were wrapped around her back. He hated himself right then, how could he have trusted her so much to allow her to go to prom with some other guy? He was a complete idiot, of course Beth was too good to be true, and he should have known that from the beginning. Xavier almost didn't notice all of the comments lining up underneath the picture. Did he break up with her or her with him? Did she break up with him over the phone? Why did she cheat on him, he's like the hottest guy in school? Are her and Jake going out now? Seeing all of his friends and classmates comments and knowing what they saw he wanted to die. He never wanted to see her again. He wanted God to punish her.
Xavier fell into bed the picture of Beth and Jake still on the computer screen. He tried to sleep and in his dreams he was terrorized by Beth and Jake. It was Bernie who was the first to notice Xavier's absence at dinner. It was Jasmine who was the first to see Xavier. As she came into the room Xavier rolled towards the wall, ignoring her.
"Xavier? It's dinner time," she said quietly.
"I'm not hungry. Leave me alone," he snapped. Jasmine had never heard her brother even raise his voice before and quickly left, relating the story back to her parents.
"What's this about you not eating," Bernie asked in her best annoyed mother voice. When Xavier didn't answer she completely entered the room. She spotted something Jasmine hadn't seen—the computer screen. "What happened," Bernie gently asked laying a hand on her son's arm.
"Nothing. Leave me alone." Bernie quietly left the room only to return with food which she left on Xavier's desk.
The next morning Xavier didn't get out of bed until ten. He didn't think of Beth until half of a second after he woke up. Downstairs, on the kitchen table, he found drawings that his three youngest siblings had made of him; they only managed to squeeze a brief smile before his face filled with sadness again.
It was around eleven when the phone calls started—school break. First it was Steven wanting to know how they broke up. Then it was Eric wanting to know if it was over the phone. He stopped answering the phone after Derek asked if it was in person. Xavier didn't answer any one of his friends he just waited on the other line until they finally hung up.
Xavier was just about to eat his brunch, a bowl of cereal, when the door bell rang. His mom had been expecting someone to come by and to drop off some stuff so he answered it. His heart began to break all over again when he saw her standing there. As much as he didn't want to see her he couldn't bear to slam the door in her face, so he just walked away praying that she would just leave. He knew she wouldn't so he wasn't surprised when she came after him.
"I can explain," she said softly. "It's not what it looks like." At her words Xavier felt all the resentment that he had toward her come up.
"Isn't it?" he said, "I think it's exactly what it looks like."
"Xavier, please," she pleaded, Xavier could see tears starting to come to her eyes. "There's an explanation for this, just hear me out."
"Where you trying to give him mouth to mouth?" Xavier knew he was being cruel but all the resentment that had built up over the last few days seemed to explode out of him. "You were collecting saliva samples for research? He has a rare disease and that was his dying wish? Don't play with me, Beth; I'm not in the mood." Beth reached over and tried to take Xavier's hand in her own but he pulled away. He put all of his force into creating a boundary between them, so she couldn't see how much he really hurt. The rest of the conversation seemed to pass in a blur. Even after she left, running out crying, his last words to her replayed themselves over and over in his mind. "I just need time alone."
From the moment Beth had left Xavier had left the kitchen. He went to his room and stared into space. He had just lost the one thing in his life that meant more than anything to him. That night none of his family tried to get him to come down to eat or to even talk. Bernie brought him his meals and came to pick them up again after dinner. She was worried about her son, but she didn't know what she could do.
A few days later Bernie finally worked up the courage to call the Church family. It was Bethany's sister, Ivy, who answered the phone. They both agreed that Beth and Xavier needed to make up. Bernie was told the entire and truthful story of what happened between Jake Thorn and Beth. The two women conspired together and came up with a plan. Ivy and Gabriel would come and talk to Xavier and tell him the whole story. From that point on everything would just fall into space.
"Xavier!" Bernie shouted, "You have visitors!" When Xavier didn't respond Bernie began to speak again, "If you don't come down here I will come up there and drag you down here!" Xavier decided that he would rather come down on his own free will then have his mother drag him down. He knew she would too, Bernie was nothing if not a woman of her word. When Xavier saw Gabriel and Ivy he debated if he could get away with going back upstairs, he figured that Ivy and Gabe had come for a reason and they wouldn't leave until it was fulfilled.
"What do you want?" he asked, and even he could hear the meanness in his voice he felt ashamed because he had no reason to hate them, they hadn't cheated on him.
"Xavier!" Bernie scolded, "That's no way to treat our guests."
"Sorry," Xavier mumbled to please his mother. Claire called out for her about the wedding and she quickly left.
"We need to talk," Gabriel said turning his gaze on Xavier. Ivy, Gabriel, and Xavier all went outside. Xavier sat on the porch swing, Ivy on the top step, and Gabe on an old wicker chair.
"First of all, Beth did not kiss Jake," Ivy said, when Xavier looked like he was about to protest she continued, "Jake kissed Beth. She came home early crying about it. But she knew everything was going to be okay because she had you." At that point Xavier could feel his stomach dropping, he felt so horrible. But Ivy wasn't finished yet, "The day she talked to you she didn't come inside. We found her lying on the beach, the water up around her waist." Xavier was now in complete and utter despair, sobbing hard. "We took her upstairs…she's been there in her room since then. She won't come downstairs, she won't smile. She needs you."
Xavier wasted no time saying goodbye to his parents. Within minutes he was on the way to Beth's house. He wasn't nervous until he was standing outside Beth's door. Should he just come in or should he knock? Xavier finally decided to give a knock, when she didn't answer he knocked again. The door was still closed so he opened it. What he saw next made a part of him die. Beth was lying on the bed, blanket over her head. As he came in she looked up. Her cheekbones were sunken in and she was obviously skinnier. The thing that haunted her was how sad she looked, like she could never smile again.
"Xavier?" she said, her voice shaky.
"Beth," he breathed rushing to her side. He only realized just how much he had missed her when she was in his arms again. The moment they embraced Xavier knew he wouldn't let anyone or anything, not even God, keep them apart.