Chapter 7

I barely even noticed that Sunday came and went. I spent all day lying on my bed, watching television, but not really even watching it. The day came and went and I barely even thought about it. I didn't say one word that day. I wondered how long I could go just not talking. My sister came into my room and sat beside me right as this thought was passing.

"Hi," She greeted cheerfully. I ignored her. It wasn't that I didn't want to talk to her personally. I just didn't want to talk to anyone. Well, that was a lie. There was a person I wanted to be with, but I couldn't. There are billions of people in this world, and the only person I wanted to see wasn't here.

"Angela, Brian called. He says he needs the book back by Tuesday."

I nodded.

"Why aren't you talking?"

I shrugged.

"Are you mad at me?"

I shook my head.

"What's wrong?"

No response from my end.

"Are you and Jordan fighting?"

I shook my head. I felt that pain in my chest that hit me at every mention of his name.

"Did you and Jordan break up?"

I shook my head again.

"Are you mad at Jordan?"

I didn't have any more energy to shake my head. If only Danielle knew what she was doing to me right now.

"Is it about Jordan at all?"

I rolled onto my side, hoping she'd get the hint. Yes, idiot, I wanted to say, It's about Jordan. Jordan is dead because his asshole father killed him. I will never see him again, and he was buried yesterday! But I just laid there.

"Then what's wrong, for crying out loud?"

After a few more interrogations, she finally gave up and left the room, mumbling, "Why am I not surprised? No one ever tells me anything. I'm out of the loop, no different from all of my life." God, I wish she would stop whining.

I managed to keep completely mute until the next morning, when I was having coffee and my mom came into the dining room and sat across from me. "So are you ignoring all of us or something?"

I finally spoke. "No." It was strange hearing the sound of my voice for the first time in days.

"You didn't say a word yesterday." She said as she laid some waffles on a plate in front of her and began cutting them.

"I know."

She looked up and bit her lip, as if regretting something she hadn't even said yet. "This is going against everything I believe in…" she whispered. "Um, I know this is a hard time for you, so if you don't feel up for school today…"

"No, I'll go."

"You sure?"

"Yeah, I don't want to get behind or anything."

I stood up to put my coffee in the sink. She looked at me with worry etched into her face.

"Honey… is there something I can do to make this better? Anything?"

I looked down at the ground and began to fiddle with the bottom of my shirt. I grabbed my bag and started heading to the front door. "There's nothing anyone can do."

I sat in my first period class ten minutes before it was time to be there, just staring at my desk. I wished the time would go by faster. I got out my pencil and began writing on the desk absent mindedly, not even realizing that I was doing so. When the bell rang signaling that it was time to start to go to class, I looked down at my desk. I saw the tip of my pencil with scribbled beside it. I had written "I miss you" on my desk. I got up and left the room. I couldn't get emotional and make a scene first thing in the morning.

I walked outside and looked down the hall to see Beck leaning against a locker next to Rayanne in a desperate, pitiful attempt to look seductive. I walked towards the scene of this interaction. This ought to be quite entertaining.

"Has anyone ever told you that you're extremely cute?" He asked in a low voice. I rolled my eyes. Porn directors would turn this kid down because of his bad acting.

She studied him for a moment and replied, "Several, actually."

He took a step closer to her. "Your hair smells lovely." Where did he get his horrible pickup lines from?

"Thanks." She seemed dismissive.

He folded his arms and leaned in closer to her. I covered my mouth. This couldn't seriously be happening. This was straight out of a really bad sitcom. "You know, sugar, if you ever need someone to talk to, I'm right here." And then he winked. Are you kidding me right now?

Rayanne took a step towards him with a grin playing at her mouth, leading me to believe she was going to make the next move, however my assumptions couldn't be any more wrong. Next thing I knew, Beck let out a loud yelp, and in a matter of seconds he was on his knees, hunched over, writhing in pain with his hands covering his crotch.

"Smug little pig," She said quietly. She knelt down beside him and continued. "Let me tell you a story. Over a year ago, a group of guys made this poll comparing all of the girls and their… attributes, and I was listed as having the most slut potential. You know what that means? The school slut won't have sex with you. How's that for your swollen ego?" With that, she stood up and walked off.

The sound of laughter promptly filled the hallway. I was cracking up myself. I had to give the guy this much, he made me laugh for the first time in what felt like ages with his plan that backfired on him.

I saw Rickie pass by me and walk over to Beck. "Are you okay?" He asked, trying to hide the laughter in his voice.

"Oh, I just feel so damn fantastic, Vasquez." Beck replied between groans of pain. "I'd recommend it for anyone." He hung his head down. "What's wrong with that psycho?"

After a few moments, Beck regained his composure and slowly stood up. I felt a presence behind me and turned to see Brian Krakow, who was grinning widely. Apparently, we were suddenly on friendly terms again.

"We don't have to worry about any little Becks happening now," Brian commented as Beck walked by, who stopped and looked at Brian and began to laugh while shaking his head.

"I guess I understand what it's like in your shoes now, Crackhouse."

"Krakow," Brian corrected with annoyance.

"Whatever, do you snort it or shoot it?" Brian glared at him. "No wait, or do you wrap it up into a little wad and…" He curled his fingers in front of his mouth to simulate smoking.

"You're an idiot." Normally, I would think, Who isn't an idiot in Brian's book? But I had to back him up on this one.

Beck messed up Brian's hair. "Later, Crackhouse."

"Krakow!" Brian's annoyance had evolved to anger.

"Just ignore him, Brian. He'll see something shiny and move on before long."

Brian let out a long, exasperated sigh and said, "I save lives every day. Would you like to know how?"

"How?"

"Self control." After a moment of silence, he said, "I have to go to English." Then he walked off swiftly.

I stifled a giggle as I sat down behind Beck. He turned to face me. "What?"

"I saw you make a complete fool out of yourself in the hallway just now."

"You did, huh?" And another pencil of mine was gone. "That's amazing, remind me to get you a medal."

I sighed with frustration and reached for yet another one in my bag. "You haven't even been here for a week and girls are already kicking you in the private area.

"She wasn't that special, anyways."

"That's not what you were saying a minute ago when you called her extremely cute."

"That was a lie."

"Then how were you saying it with such conviction?"

He leaned in closer to me and looked me in the eyes very intensely and touched my hand gently. "You are a warm, sweet person."

I raised an eyebrow. "What, I was asking you-"

"That's how," He said and abruptly turned around to face the front.

I glared at him. "What's that supposed to mean? I am very nice."

"No, you're not. You're mean and you make people cry."

"When have I been mean?"

"You're always mean."

"I am not!"

"It's not an insult. It is a huge compliment. I mean, you and I could have contests of who could be more of an asshole."

"You'd win against anyone."

"What, are you mad because I picked on Crackhouse?"

"His name is Brian Krakow."

"You're into him, aren't you?"

"No, absolutely not."

"You are, you totally have the hots for Crackhouse!"

"That is not his name, and I wouldn't even consider being with him. He's been stalking me for years."

"Oh, so you've been playing with his heart?" His grin was wider than ever.

"No, I have made it very clear to him that I have no interest in him and there will never be anything between us."

"Whatever, little heartbreaker."

"Do you ever shut up?"

He looked up, as if pondering in an exaggerated manner. "No, shutting up is bad."

"Shutting up saves you from making my anger bottle up more and more until I snap one day."

"And what, hit me?" He hunched over and covered his head with his arms. "Oh, I'm so scared, I'm gonna cry."

"I'm going to hit you hard."

"Oh no, you might leave a bruise on me!" He cupped his hands and put his face in them in mock anguish.

I looked up at the ceiling. "May 31st is only two months away…"

He leaned over to me. "Aww, do you hate me?"

"I never said I hate you. You just have a significant number of traits that annoy me."

"That tortures my soul so." He poked me in the knee, a ticklish spot for me. I made this weird squeaking sound that didn't even sound like my voice. It was so high pitched. I ducked my head from the glances at me throughout the room.

"What the hell was that?" After a moment, he said, "Mouse."

"What does that have to do with anything?"

"That's what I'm going to call you."

"Oh, your mind-blowing creativity."

"What was that, mouse?"

My patience was running out. "Will you please be quiet so I can get some of this lesson?"

"No amount of telling me to be quiet will magically come along and block my talking ability."

I rolled my eyes. "You, sir, will die alone."

"And you're a little ball of sunshine yourself, mouse."

I had learned something about Beck. If you keep arguing with him, you will get nowhere. It'll just egg him on even more. Your best option is to just ignore him.

Tonight, my sister and I were sitting on the couch together, watching a TV show, if you use the term very loosely. It was basically a fake, plastic girl and her equally fake, plastic boyfriend kissing for an hour.

"It's really gross how they kiss all the time," Danielle said in between bites of ice cream. Then she turned to me. "Do you and Jordan do that?"

I felt like I had been stabbed in the chest. There were times when Jordan and I would kiss for hours at a time. Not the creepy, exaggerated kissing where you want to tell them to get a room, but the slow, gentle, tender kind, where you cherish every second with them, the kind where you kiss them because you love them so much that you have this rush in your heart sometimes, and you just need them. You need to be close enough to feel their heart beat or they're too far away. I remembered the feel of his lips, the way they brushed mine so gently. You wouldn't think that a memory that was once so beautiful to you, and you held so close to you could turn into a painful one that kills you every day.

I stopped thinking rationally. I was okay for a minute. For just a minute, I was better. And then Danielle had to ruin it. I turned the TV off and started walking upstairs. "No, Jordan and I don't do that. Jordan and I don't do anything because Jordan's dead!" I snapped, my voice getting louder with every word. Why not tell her? She knew about death.

I slammed my bedroom door and curled up into a ball on my bed. I felt myself shaking. I tried to make the pain go away, but it wouldn't. It only made it worse, actually.

A knock on the door jolted me back to the present, and shortly after, my sister came in and sat next to me.

"Angela?"

"What do you want?" My voice was completely monotone.

"I'm really sorry. I didn't know. I wouldn't have talked about Jordan if I knew."

"Please, don't say his name." That pain that hit me every time someone said Jordan's name got a little stronger every time.

"How did he die?"

I hesitated before replying. I couldn't cry every day for a week. "His dad killed him," I said flatly. I didn't feel like sugar coating anything.

I saw her eyes widen a little. "Why?"

That was a question I asked every day. How could you look at Jordan, see his beautiful face, his big, adorable eyes, and want to hurt him, let alone kill him? "Because he was drunk and angry."

She looked down at the floor and fidgeted with her fingers. "I don't know what to say. I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault," I said softly as I wiped a tear from my eye.

"Is his dad going to jail?"

I nodded weakly. "Of course he is."

"At least he's going to jail. Sometimes people kill other people and get away with it because the government is stupid."

I had to laugh at that last part. "That's true."

"Do you miss him?"

You ask the most idiotic questions, I thought, but I didn't have the emotional energy to be angry. "I miss him more than words could ever say."

"Aww…"

She wrapped her arms around me and kept them there for a long time, trying to comfort me. It just didn't work. No amount of hugs or soft words or any of those things that are supposed to make you feel better helped me at all, and I don't know why people continue to think that a cookie would take away the pain of losing Jordan. Jordan was someone that meant the world to me. I don't think I'll ever get any better.