A/N: I finished reading JUST LISTEN and I absolutely loved it. So far, I've only read This Lullaby and Just Listen. Already, I'm a huge Sarah Dessen fan. Feel free to recommend any of her other books. I'm a sucker for love stories.
But I just loved Owen and Annabel's relationship and how they started off as unlikely friends. I loved the part where Annabel stops by just in time for Mallory's fashion shoot. And the part where Annabel shows Owen her carwash theory, of course. In the end, they became an unlikely couple and I just loved that. I wanted to read/write more of them. Furthermore, I give you this:
I thought I'd be looking forward to Spring Break this year. I thought I would want nothing more than to get away. But things were way better than when school first started. My life was way better than when school first started.
Clarke and I were really growing to be close friends again and it was starting to feel like we'd never stopped. Of course, she still had her own clique of friends. Most of them were soccer players, as was Clarke. She started to include me with them and I quickly learned they were nothing like the girls I used to hang out with.
But they were nice. They never ignored me, which at first, was kind of what I was expecting. Who knows what they've heard. Or more importantly, who knows what they believed. But Clarke was on my side and as it seemed, so were they.
I look at Emily, surrounded by her friends. The ones who believed her and supported her from the beginning. I can't help but think: it would've been so much easier if I just had told sooner. But better late than never, right? That's how I learned to look at it.
And of course, Owen and I were still together. He's who got me through all this. He's who I fell in love with. At lunch, we'd still argue. Or discuss. Whichever way you wanted to look at it. Music still remained the main topic, but we'd always discuss other things, like sports and books and movies. We'd talk more about personal things too, like his Anger Management courses and my ex-friendship with Sophie.
It felt that I'd learn something new about Owen every day. Like the fact that he liked to read Stephan King novels; and that he used to be really into baseball (the power hitter, of course) and played in middle school for a few years. And I'm sure Owen felt the same way about me. I was able to tell him anything about myself and he would always listen (earphones off and everything). It's been like that since the first day we met, really. I just didn't realize until later.
And now, it's the last day of school before Spring Break, during lunch. I convinced Owen to sit somewhere else for a change, instead of our usual spot behind the school. He agreed and we moved to a school picnic bench. This became an everyday thing, where Clarke would come join us, sometimes with friends. Owen didn't seem to mind and some days we'd return to our wall when we wanted to be alone.
But today, it was just me, Owen, and Clarke. Clarke was quizzing me for a science test, which I forgot to study for. Last night I was focused working on Owen's mix CD. It's a surprise. He's always taking time to make them for me, so I thought it might be nice to make one special for him.
"Wrong." Clarke said, holding my study sheet in front of her.
"What? What do you mean 'wrong'? Let me see that." I took the paper from her hands, reading the question over again. As for the answer, I was wrong. "I could have sworn I knew that one."
"This is what you get for not studying." Clarke smirked.
"You know, it's just one test. Not the end of the world." Owen said. I didn't even know he was listening to us. He had his earphones in the whole time.
"But I'm barely passing as it is." Science has always been my weak spot. I was doing pretty well in my other subjects, thank God.
"Owen, why don't you go get us some waters? Annabel's stressing." Clarke suggested. But Owen was tuned back to his music, pretending he didn't hear that.
"It's fine. My boyfriend is just being a jerk." I said purposely out loud. He smiled a little. I rolled my eyes. "I'll go."
The lines were long, as usual, so I waited. Clarke came by to tell me she had to go finish a project or something.
"You're coming to my soccer game tomorrow morning, right?"
I nodded "I'll be there."
She smiled "Alright, great! See you later."
Clarke walked away and suddenly, I could feel someone glaring at me, burning holes in the back of my head. "Looks like you're right back where you started, huh Annabel?"
I turned around, and sure enough, it was Sophie. I was so used to her ignoring me these days. Just hearing her voice was a shock. I stared at her for a moment, until a space formed in the line.
"Leave me alone, Sophie." I muttered, taking a step.
"It's so unfair." She went on "Poor Annabel. Poor Emily. Well, what about me? I'm innocent and people treat me like the bad guy. No one even talks to me anymore. What the hell did I do wrong?"
I figured by now, the whole school knew about Will Crash. And Sophie was known for dating him. Was she honestly trying to make me feel sorry for her? Trying to make me feel guilty about what had happened to her reputation? For dating a rapist? She was the one who spread the rumors. She was the one who made it worse. She brought this on herself.
I turned to face her "I don't feel sorry for you. Not at all."
"You're a real bitch, you know that? God only knows if you were telling the truth. You could've easily made the whole thing up. You and Emily. I guess being a victim sounds a lot better than being a whore, right?"
Wrong. She was so wrong. I never wanted to be a victim.
"People feel sorry for you, you know? Hardly anyone thinks you're a slut anymore. Your life is just so easy now." she added.
Then it hit me. Sophie was pissed because my life seemed so much better without her. And it was. Now she had no one to push around and that was killing her.
Even if I did get the chance to explain myself last spring, Sophie wouldn't have believed me. That I was sure of. She should have seen it in my face that night. She should have known something was wrong. But she didn't. That just proves we were never really friends.
"So you and Owen Armstrong, huh?"
Hearing her say his name made me tense. "Enough, Sophie." I muttered, my back facing her.
"It's just, I always knew you had low standards but come on, are you serious? Aren't you afraid he might punch you out or something?"
I spun around to face her again. But this time, I was pissed. I opened my mouth, just about to tell her off, when the lunch lady stopped me.
"Next! Hello? Next!"
I took a breath, forcing myself to calm down. "Um… two waters." She placed them in front of me and I handed her money.
When I turned around, Sophie was gone. I scanned the cafeteria but she was nowhere in sight. It's funny how I used to be afraid of her. But now, more than anything, she just made me mad. I was mad that I ever thought she was my friend, mad that I chose her over Clarke. And when she mentioned Owen, that was just too far.
I stormed back over to him, slamming the waters on the bench. He quirked an eyebrow, pulling off his earphones. "Okay, okay. I'm sorry. I'll get the waters next time."
I sat down opposite from him, crossing my arms over my chest. "That's not why I'm upset."
His face turned serious "What happened, Annabel?"
I sighed, resting my chin on my hand. "Sophie was just… getting on my nerves."
"I thought you said she's been ignoring you?"
"She has been! But on line, she started talking to me. She was trying to make me feel sorry for her. Like I should feel guilty because people want nothing to do with her. Can you believe that?"
Owen shook his head, obviously disturbed by this.
"She thinks I lied for pity, saying that it's better for everyone to think that I'm a victim rather than a whore. She's got it all wrong. I used to want it the other way around."
Owen frowned. I knew this bothered him. Maybe even more than it bothered me. I sighed "How is it even possible for someone to be so heartless? Doesn't she ever think about anyone other than herself?"
"No. She doesn't." Owen finally said. "You shouldn't feel sorry for her. That makes no sense."
"Trust me, I don't."
He placed his hand on mine, offering a soft smile. I smiled and leaned in to kiss him.
A/N: Liked it? Hated it? Leave a review! I love feedback!