Disclaimer: I do not own She's the Man. Saw it in the clearance racket at Wal-Mart, but it was severely disheveled and the case was bent. Ah, maybe next time. ):
That single word stung more than it was supposed to. I rolled onto my side as I tightly shut my eyes, trying my best to sleep. But my thoughts continued to run wild. Images of today's events goaded my brain until I finally gave up and decided to give up on sleep. The look on Duke's face said it all. He no longer wanted anything to do with me. And the incident in the restroom. Olivia's confession made everything so much more confusing. It gave me a sense of relief to know she wasn't actually in love with Duke, but it bothered me that she would lie just to get what she wanted. Oh wait a minute. I'm doing the exact same. I rolled on my stomach as I guiltily let my thoughts consume me and finally, I was able to fall asleep.
School was excruciating the following day. My mind was trained on Duke, although he was distant and cold towards me all day. I hated it. I wanted to slap him. To scream at him. To hold him. To beg him to just look at me. But instead, I let him give me the cold shoulder.
The worst part was that I didn't even have Viola to rant to. She was occupied all day, either busily chatting on the phone (with her mother?) or being carried away by her teammates for extra practice. She even ditched last period! Probably to practice for the big game. There was such a buzz about the game versus Cornwall that the pressure put on the Illyrian soccer team caused them to train even more.
That evening, I made up my mind and decided to talk to Duke. I picked up the phone and began to dial his number, but I quickly stopped myself. My heart pounded so loudly I felt like I could hear it. I tried once again. Riiing rinnng.
"Hey I'm not here right now so…"
I let out sigh of relief. What am I doing? I must talk to him. I NEED to talk to him. He needs to understand. He needs to know the truth. Maybe I can just…text him. Oh for Heaven's sake, that's so lame. What if I leave a voicemail? Even worse. Think Aly, THINK!
Of course! I'll ask Viola! I dialed Viola's number as quickly as my fingers could move.
"Hello?" said a sleepy Viola.
"You're already in bed? It's only 7."
"No, I'm just doing English homework. You know how English homework gets me tired." she sighed. "Actually, any kind of homework makes me sleepy. Oh my gosh Aly, I have so much to tell you! Today was horrible."
"Well, you know how I've been M.I.A. today right?"
"Well…those phone calls weren't from my mother. Well some of them were. But they were also from someone else. Justin…called me."
"Oh. Really? What did he say?"
"I'm a Barbie girl, in a Barb-"
"Nice ringtone, Hastings!"
"Shut up, Cohen." Viola walked towards a more secluded area. She's noticed Malcolm eavesdropping lately, as if he wasn't creepy enough. "Hello?"
"What's with your voice?"
"Oh," Viola coughed viciously, "err…just a little sick. No biggie."
"You're sick?" Justin said worriedly.
"It's nothing. Don't worry about it."
"But that's just the thing."
"I worry about you a lot. Especially lately. I have no idea what's going on in your life anymore. And we've only been separated for two weeks!"
"Well Justin, you don't need to worry about me. I can handle myself."
"I know you can. You've always been independent, and I think that's what I found most attractive about you."
"Oh, so it wasn't my sparkling personality?" Viola said in a mock hurt tone.
"Well… uh, that too…and a lot of uh…"
Viola giggled. She liked making him nervous.
"I miss your laugh." Justin said sentimentally. "Is it okay if I come to see you?"
"Uhm." Viola thought hard about this.
"I heard you're staying at your fathers…I can come visit you instead, if transportation is a problem."
"NO! I mean. No, I think it'd be better if we just meet up somewhere else."
"Okay. The beach, twenty minutes?"
As soon as she hung up, the sixth period bell rang. Instead of heading to class, she headed straight to the boys dorms. She called for a taxi as she made her way through the hall.
"Hastings, ditching I presume?"
Viola jumped as Malcolm stepped in front of her.
"I could say the same to you."
"I am not- and would never- ditch. Sixth period is my TA period. I'm running errands. If sixth period is not your TA period, I don't see any reason why you should be out of class. Especially in this part of school. Unless you're hiding something?"
" Move it, Festes." Duke hit Malcolm on the back of his head with his jersey. Malcolm stomped away, mumbling angrily. "He's harmless. I don't care if you're ditching, just make it back in time for practice."
"You know it, brotha." Viola said coolly.
"Ehm. You ditching too?"
"Yeah, but for some extra practice. See you on the field." said Duke, as he made his way out the building.
When she got to her dorm, she digged to the bottom of her duffel bag and finally found her girl clothes. She quickly threw them on and ran outside, where she waited for the cab.
"He…apologized. For everything. For not standing up for me. For putting me down. For taking so long to make that phone call."
"And so you met up with him?"
"Yeah, we went to our special place."
"Ew, you guys have a place?"
"Yes, the beach where we play soccer on the weekends. But that's beside the point. It started off really well… but then it went downhill…"
Justin was lying peacefully on a blanket when Viola arrived. The minute she saw him, her heart fluttered.
"Hey." Viola said awkwardly. She was always the awkward kind of girl, although most people liked her anyhow. She wondered why someone as popular as Justin would ever want someone as strange and crazy as she was.
"Viola. You're here."
"You sound shocked."
"No, I'm just…glad. Really glad." He did his signature one sided grin, the one that drove most girls crazy. Viola had the strongest urge to kiss it. When she didn't respond, he continued speaking. "I brought you some soup." He pulled the picnic basket from behind his back. Viola looked at him confusedly. "…for your cold."
"Oh right, right. Thanks." She reached in the basket for a spoon and sipped on the steamy chicken broth as Justin watched.
Justin rubbed his neck. "Viola. Sorry I didn't call you earlier. Actually. I'm so sorry. For everything. I should not have ever let you get away from me. For something like that. It was my fault. I shouldn't have backed the coach up when…he's wrong. Girls can be as good as guys. And I'm sorry for ever denying it. I let my pride blind me. I'm especially sorry for not standing up for you. I just…want you to know that I love you. I'm IN LOVE with you, Viola."
"Now, hold on…I need to finish this before I lose the courage to. I love everything about you. It just hurts me because I don't know what's going on anymore. I am so lost and confused. Everything that's been going on lately…it…I don't know. It's crazy. You're crazy."
Viola looked down and let her hair shield her face. Justin brushed it out of the way and gently cupped her cheek.
"But I don't care. I love you. All of you. Even the crazy parts."
Viola threw her arms around Justin's neck and kissed him. Her lips brushed his, lightly at first, but as his lips parted, the kiss became fierce. Her hands, trembling with lust, ran through his blonde hair as he ran his hand along her spine, lingering on her lower back.
"Ew, too many details my friend. Wait. How does that make today horrible for you?"
"Well. He just had to bring up the whole Duke thing at the carnival… and we got in a huge argument. One thing led to another and now… I think things just got worse." Viola's voice cracked while she sniffled.
"It's alright, I'm just…tired. And this is for the better. I mean, I can't let my emotions get in the way of tomorrow's game. I should probably be finishing my homework now anyways…don't wanna get Sebastian kicked out of another school."
"Wait, before you go! Where's Duke?"
"At the gym…why?"
"I'm going to tell him."
"Wait, WHAT?" Viola was wide awake now. "You- what? Aly, I know you're emotionally distressed right now but…"
"Vi, this isn't about me. Do you know how hard it was to see him today? To see his face. He's hurt. Because of me. He doesn't deserve this. He deserves the truth."
"Aly, the Cornwall game is tomorrow. If you tell him, he'll know everything! He'll know that I'm a girl. I'll be disqualified. And you know how much I wanna crush Cornwall. Please. Can't this…wait?"
"I know how important this is to you Vi. I promise I won't blow it for you. I swear. I gotta go talk to him before I lose my courage. Wish me luck!" I quickly hung up and threw on my Illyria t-shirt and workout shorts.
I walked into the gym and scanned the room for Duke, but he was nowhere to be found. I walked outside and jogged on the track. As I passed by the soccer field while searching for Duke, somebody shouldered me suddenly and I tripped over my own feet. I fell hard and felt a sudden throb at my ankles. The girl continued running, oblivious to the fact that she pushed me. Is that Olivia? Why is she in such a rush? Jeez.
"Alyssa!" Duke's concerned voice called, and I turned my head around as he ran over to me. "What happened? Are you okay?"
I couldn't help but smile. Though my left ankle hurt like a bitch. "I'm fine, I'm just…"
"Just what?" Duke said worriedly. His brows furrowed.
"I'm just…so glad you're talking to me again."
Duke blushed but a smile began to form at the corner of his lips.
"Here, let's get you some ice." He held out a hand to help me up. I put pressure on my ankle and suddenly let out a yelp of pain. I dropped to the floor and clutched my ankle. Duke quickly bent down and examined my ankle. He took off my anklet to get a better look. "I knew you weren't fine. Hold on tight." He wrapped his arms around me and cradled me like a child. I put my arms around his neck and let myself be consumed in his warmth. He carried me towards the dorms in silence.
A noisy city cab pulled up in the street.
"That's strange; you don't usually see taxis around here. Especially at this time of night." Duke murmured.
"Mmmm." I was too busy secretly stroking the hair on the back of his head. They were softer than they looked. I wonder if he even minded… Would he mind if I touched his jaw line? So…sexy. But suddenly, his posture stiffened. His jaw tightened and he held me with much more pressure than he did before. I woke up from my trance and saw that we stopped moving. He was staring. I craned my neck to see where he was staring, and I suddenly felt cold.
There stood Olivia, in the middle of the street, making out with some random dude that emerged from the cab. The scene was so surreal, as if they were pulled out of a movie. Olivia whispered something to the guy that emerged from the taxi and quickly ran away. I looked up at Duke and wanted to tell him: "Don't let her hurt you like this. She doesn't like you…" But I was suddenly distracted by that guy and did a double take. That guy. He looked so…familiar. Although it was dark out, it didn't take long for me to realize who he was. Sebastian. The REAL Sebastian.
Duke just stared and stared.
"Say something." I finally said, breaking the unbearable silence. He walked me over to the bench nearby and laid me down. He sat beside me and began massaging my ankle.
"It's slightly sprained, nothing too serious. I can fix it." He continued manipulating my ankle some more. His jaw was still stiff.
"Say something else…" I whispered.
"What do you want to hear from me?" Duke said fiercely.
"Look Duke, I know you're upset but..."
"How can I not be upset?" Disbelief reflected through his eyes. "How can you not be upset?"
"Why? Your boyfriend was just- making out with Olivia. You should be more upset than I am. Me and Olivia aren't even official. And I feel like…like I just got blind-sided."
"I…" I said nervously. "Ugh! Olivia doesn't even like you!" I blurted, changing the subject.
"What?" Duke looked flabbergasted.
"She's… she's been pretending all this time. Trust me…I heard her say it myself."
"What are you talking about? Do you hear what you're saying."
"I overheard her in the restroom at the carnival! She's just using you to get Sebastian jealous!" A look of pain registered on his face.
"This is ridiculous. I don't need to hear anymore of this bullshit."
"It's the truth, Duke. And I know you know it's true. I'm not lying!"
"Yes, Alyssa. You are. It was nice talking to you but…"
"LISTEN TO ME."
"I don't want to listen to you! I'm done with your lies. All of them." My eyes widened. All of them!
Something in his voice told me he knew I was telling the truth. But his face told me he hated me. He let go of my ankle. "You're all better. Just…put some ice on it before you go to bed and it should feel normal in the morning." He ran his hand through his hair and left without turning back.