This is going to be my last update for a while. School is really getting to me and there just isn't enough hours in the day for me to complete my schoolwork and write. I'll try to update as soon as I can but the next chapter probably won't be up for another month or two. Just bear with me. I promise to try my best. Thank you for putting up with me. I love you guys so much and I am forever grateful for you. :)
This chapter wasn't that good. I was kind of on a deadline.
Disclaimer: I hate this part.
"His heart tugged in his chest," Dez narrated as he read from the open book in front of him.
Trish scribbled something on her paper as she took a bite of her granola bar; all of our lunches abandoned a long time ago. The three of us sat hunched around the round lunch table, quickly trying to finish our English homework before the next period rolled around.
Well, Dez and Trish were trying. I sat, twirling my pen absentmindedly in my hand, staring intently at the entrance to the cafeteria waiting for a certain someone to walk through. A certain someone who I had not seen since yesterday because she had been so sneakily avoiding me.
I'm using the term 'sneaky' quite loosely considering the fact that every time she would see me coming down the hall, she would let out a small shriek, pull her hood over her head, clutch her books to her chest and dash to the nearest exit. I would think it was pretty damn adorable if it wasn't me she was running away from.
Once the anger from yesterday's debate melted away, I was left with the incredible amount of guilt. Guilt and yearning to see Ally again.
Dez groaned, placing the book down and cracking a kink in his neck. "Ugh. Books would be so much more fun if someone else was reading it to you," he said, rubbing his neck.
Trish sighed, placing her pen down and stretching out her cramping fingers. "They do have that, you know? It's called books on tape."
"Well, why didn't we just get that?" Dez asked.
Trish rolled her eyes. "Because someone didn't want to spend another seventy five cents for it!"
"Whatever," Dez said, looking at me. "Austin, it's your turn to read the book."
I ignored him and his outstretched hand that was holding the book out to me, my attention still focused on the doors.
"Austin," Dez called again, this time choosing to through a french fry at me.
I blinked down at the fry that had fallen onto my lap before snapping my head up to look at Dez. They were both staring at me expectantly with wide bemused eyes. I raised my eyebrows at them as an answer.
"Are you thinking about Ally again?" Dez asked exhaustingly.
"No," I denied forcefully, picking up the fry and putting it in my mouth. "But now that you brought it up, where is she?" I asked, playing indifference.
Trish rolled her eyes, seeing right through me. "Ally is with her history teacher. She has to make up a test."
"Oh," I mumbled, flicking my eyes to the door in disappointment.
"You are so pathetic," Dez laughed. "Would you just be a man and tell her you're in love with her already."
"I'm not-" I cut off at Dez's disbelieving look. "Okay, I might be. I just don't know yet."
He shook his incredulously. "How do you not know? If you feel it then you just say it!"
"How did you know you were in love with Trish?" I bit back.
Dez smirked, flinging his arm around her shoulders, which- to my surprise -she did not push away. "It was actually very easy."
"Really?" I asked, doubtful.
"Really," he answered. "Every time we hung out I hated having to leave. Every time I walked away from her, I felt my heart tug in my chest. It was almost as if my heart didn't want to leave because it was already bound so tightly to hers. It was like every single time I walked away, a little part of my heart stayed behind."
"That was cheesy," I stated flatly.
"Exactly." Dez smiled as Trish pressed a kiss to his cheek. "But what's cheesier than falling in love with your best friend."
"What about you?" I asked, looking at Trish. "How did you know you were in love with Dez?"
Trish scoffed. "Oh, I knew right away. Girls tend to make it very obvious when they're in love."
I shook my head, looking down. "Not Ally. Ally hides all of her emotions. It's so hard to read her."
"Oh please," Trish said. "Ally is a girl. And all girls have the same reaction to love."
"What is it?"
"Nope." She shook her head. "I'm not telling you. It's a secret between girls only. But don't worry, you'll figure it out eventually."
"I'm trying," I groaned in frustration. "But she won't talk to me. I deserve to explain myself."
"Okay, let's just get something straight, Moon," Trish said harshly. "You do not deserve her."
I barely had time to mutter an I know before she continued.
"Ally will always be too good for you and that will never change. I will never understand how someone like you could ever make Ally happy, but," Trish swallowed, looking down at her plate, "you do."
She looked up at me and for once the look wasn't filled with annoyance or distaste.
"And for that reason," Trish said with a half smile, "I am allowing you to be with her and potentially hurt her."
I grinned; her blessing meant more to me than any of us were willing to admit. "Thank you."
She shrugged, nonchalantly. "You make her happy. And who am I to keep that away from her."
"I still don't know how to get her back though," I sighed, miserably. "I've tried almost everything."
"Have you tried telling her how you feel?" Trish asked.
"Yes!" I groaned. "I've told her everything. I told her I how much I loved her and wanted her back."
"Well, maybe it's not about telling her how you feel," Dez said, his eyes furrowed in thought.
"What do you mean?"
"You said that you told her how you feel, right?" he paused as I nodded my head. "If you really think about it, the reason Ally is mad at you is because she thinks that you don't love her. She thinks that you were using her and that you're ashamed of her. Maybe instead of telling Ally you love her, you should tell the everyone how much you love Ally."
"That might actually be right!" Trish smiled. "Ally's mad because she thinks that you're still playing her. If you tell everyone how you feel, then she'll know it's not a game."
"I don't know," I said, skeptically. "What if she won't even listen?"
Trish frowned, taking pity on me. "Just prove to her that you're worth believing in and she'll come to you. Girls aren't really that complicated. Guys just like to say that because they're too lazy to actually fight for us."
"Hey," Dez protested. "I fought."
"No," Trish glared at him, but I still saw the smile forming on her lips. "I was so into you that all you had to do was say please."
Dez grinned triumphantly. "You were into me," he stated, not bothering to hide his joy.
"Yeah, yeah," Trish said. "But you're way more into me than I am to you."
"That is not true," he denied vigorously.
They continued to argue, both of them claiming the other was more in love. I watched with a smile at the way Dez's arm around Trish gripped her tighter, or how Trish leaned closer to his chest, both of them clinging to each other and not letting go.
Lately, seeing Ally has hurt just as much as not seeing her.
Seeing her became a constant reminder that I was never going to have her. She became like an exhibit in a museum. You can look but never ever touch.
She was sitting three seats away from me, her eyes trained intently on the board in front of her. So focused and so unaware that every one of her movements made my breath catch in my throat. Every gesture and small indication of her character was so mesmerizing and beautiful that I didn't understand how everyone in the room wasn't under the same spell I was.
I could never figure out how this girl could walk through the halls unnoticed. She was the most beautiful thing in the world and she practically glowed with kindness. How was it that no one else went crazy when she smiled. Why was I the only one who noticed every magnificent thing about her. How did people not fall in love every time this girl spoke.
Ally was literally the definition of enchanting and it was unfair that I was the only one who saw it.
The ringing bell brought me back to reality. I blinked, slightly dazed, at the students filing out of the classroom. I looked up at Ally's seat, sighing in disappointment when I found it already empty. I gathered up my things, heading for the door.
"Austin," Ms. Peters called as I was leaving the classroom.
I squeezed my eyes shut, suppressing a groan as I turned around. "Yes?"
Her cold stare met mine. "May I speak to you for a second?" she said, ever so politely.
"Do I have a choice?" I muttered.
She ignored me, grabbing a paper from the top of a pile on her desk, holding it up in front of her. I saw from where I stood that there was a big red F written on the top of the page and I didn't even need to read the name to know it was mine. "I read your paper that you gave in two days ago," she started, her eyes scanning the paper in her hands with her usual disinterest. "And I'm not sure I understand."
I raised my eyebrows at her.
"The assignment," she continued, "was to write about your future goals and plans. But your essay was about how you wanted to...achieve forever."
I nodded my head slowly, still not quite sure the point she was getting at.
Ms. Peters let out a tired sigh because this was not the first time she had to speak to me this year about a failing grade. "Nothing lasts forever, Austin. Even the best things go away over time."
"Well I guess that depends on your definition of forever," I shrugged.
She took off her glasses, folding her hands in front of her. "And what is your definition of forever, Austin?" she said looking me in the eye but I knew she was only waiting for the chance to prove me wrong again. I was her basket case; the one student she could never get to.
"It's a long story," I sighed.
She smiled, pointing at the seat in front of her. "Well, its a good thing we both got time, right?"
I succumbed to her gaze, sinking down in the seat. Ms. Peters gave me a pointed look, telling me to begin.
"A month ago I thought what you thought about forever; that it was an infinite period of time. But I had recently begun to realize that the idea of forever is more than just a period of time."
"It's not?" Ms. Peters asked me.
"No," I shook my head. "Today, when people promise each other forever, they don't mean until the end of time, they actually mean until the feelings stop; until the smoke screen clears and the honeymoon phase is over. Because, like you said, nothing lasts forever and people don't actually mean forever when they promise it."
She furrowed her eyebrows, looking down at the my paper. "Then how do you plan on achieving forever?" she asked, still adamant to give me the F.
"Achieving forever," I answered, "is being in a relationship where the feelings never go away. It wouldn't matter if it was a month or a year or a century, the honeymoon phase will never be over. It's finding someone that you won't mind spending every day with. It's a relationship where you didn't make any promises of forever because you knew you were forever. And I know the time period of forever is impossible but the person isn't. The person you want to spend the rest of your life with, your forever person, is out there and being with them isn't impossible."
Ms. Peters looked at me, a ghost of a smile present on her face. "You know you never mentioned your forever in your essay. Have you found her?"
I smiled. "Yes, but my forever only lasted a week."
"How is that possible?" She asked.
"Because," I answered, grinning, "in that week I got what most people get in a lifetime. In that week she gave me a forever and what else could I really ask for?"
She looked taken aback. "And you're not upset that you only got a week?"
I frowned, considering her question. "Well, I guess I was at first. Maybe I still am but this girl taught me that If you find yourself focusing on the time you could have spent together rather than the time you actually did, then maybe the time spent together wasn't actually worth remembering. And in the end if all we are left with are the memories, shouldn't we make them worth remembering?"
Ms. Peters grinned and as she looked at me I felt as if this was the first time she actually saw me. "You are absolutely right, Austin."
She pulled open a drawer of her desk, taking out a red marker with a smile on her face. She crossed out the F, writing a big A in its place.
We stood in the middle of the room, staring at each other. Ally's face remained stoic and I wished I could here her heart beating so I could know if it was going as fast as mine. Ally was clearly still angry; if her deep frown was anything to go by.
I saw Trish and Dez sitting anxiously by their desks. They were watching us just like everyone else was. The entire room seemed tense like they were about to watch a wrestling match. I gulped, looking at Ally with her hard eyes and clenched fists. Maybe a wrestling match wouldn't be so far off.
My eyes landed on Dallas, who gave me a smirk and a thumbs up. He and his friends were eager to watch me embarrass Ally because to them, Ally was still to bright of a star. And nothing would please them more than watching her burn out.
"Austin and Ally," Mr. Adams said, smiling. "Are you ready for your debate?"
"Yes," Ally said firmly.
"Yes," I repeated, my voice clearly lacking in vigor.
"Okay," our teacher affirmed, clapping his hands together eagerly. "You're debate today is on second chances and whether or not you believe they should be given."
I sighed, running a hand down my face. Are you fucking serious right now?
"Ally, are you for or against it?" Mr. Adams asked.
"Against," she answered quickly.
"I guess that makes me for," I muttered weakly.
"Okay," he said, sitting behind his desk eagerly. "You may begin."
I glanced at Ally, who, throughout this entire time, has appeared unfazed and uninterested in everything going on around her.
"Second chances should not exist," she began. "They are a waste because if someone really wanted to get it right, they wouldn't have messed up in the first place. They world is full of people waiting for their first chance, why should I give a second when their are better people out there? Ones that won't mess up their first chance. Second chances to people that hurt you are pointless because it doesn't matter how many chances they get, the result is always the same."
I cleared my throat. "Second chances should be given because people learn from their mistakes. They work harder; they try better. One mistake shouldn't mess up the entire relationship. If you never give a second chance how will you ever know the lengths people go to fix things. It's amazing how much better people can be if they only got the chance to prove themselves."
"No. People don't change. Unfortunately we only realize that when we give out the second chance and we inevitably get hurt all over again."
"Not everyone is like that. There are exceptions," I argued. "Let's say that there's a boy and girl who, unsurprisingly, fell in love. But the boy, being the stupid boy that he was, screwed up."
"Austin," Ally said sternly. "Stop."
"And it was the girl who got hurt. The boy truly never meant to hurt the girl because he really did love her."
"And the boy wants to explain to the girl that he's sorry and that she means more to him than anything. He knows that he hurt her but he loves her and he wants to make things work."
"They're not talking about the topic anymore, are they?" Mr. Adams sighed, slouching over on his desk.
"I don't think they ever were, sir," Dez replied warily.
"And the boy knows, he knows that he probably doesn't deserve forgiveness but if she would just give him the chance to prove that he's worth it, she'll see how much he loved how, how much he's still in love with her."
"Austin, stop," Ally warned quietly.
"No!" I shouted, my hands clenching and unclenching in my hair. "I'm in love with you!"
The confession had been blurted out in frustration and distress but that didn't stop me from meaning every word. Almost in an instant the entire room fell silent. Ally staggered backwards slightly in surprise as she heard what everyone else did. The room was so still and quiet that the only sounds heard were from the cars and the birds outside the window. No one dared to move, even Mr. Adams was stilled in shock.
It was Ally who finally broke the silence. "No, you're not."
I almost laughed in exasperation. "Yes, I am."
"No," she shook her head. "You can't be. People don't fall in love with me."
This time I actually did laugh. "Why is it so hard for you to believe that there might actually be someone who wants to be with you?"
"But I don't want to be with you!" she huffed, aggravated. "Can't you just accept that I'm not interested?"
I shook my head. "I know the real reason why you don't want to be with me."
"Because you're a horrible person?" She crossed her arms over her chest.
"No, because you're scared."
Her eyebrows shot up. "Excuse me?"
"You're scared to be with me not because you think I don't love you, it's because you know I do," I said, practically daring her to deny it. "You're scared because then you won't be able to run from your emotions. And for the first time in your life you won't be able to be invisible to everyone anymore. You can't go by unnoticed like you've gotten so comfortable with. And that terrifies you."
"That-That's not true," she stammered, faltering for the first time.
I turned to class then, my confidence hitting its highest peak. "So do you guys want to know why I believe in second chances?"
They looked back at me with wide unblinking eyes as if this was the most interesting thing to happen all year.
"I believe in second chances and third chances and fourth chances because I'm going to need them," I said honestly. "I'm going to screw up more times than I can count and I'd probably hurt people in the process. But if I care about something I'm always going to come back for it. Always." I pointed to Ally. "I'm going to give her a lifetime of chances because she is worth it. She is worth not giving up on. Though, I'm not sure she's going to need those chances because I still can't understand how someone can be so perfect in every way."
I turned to face Ally. "You can hate me for making the bet. And for I while I hated myself too. I hated that I agreed to do the stupid challenge because it hurt you. But now, thinking about it, I don't regret what I did. I don't regret saying yes to Dallas," I admitted and I watched Ally's eyes widen in shock and hurt. "I wouldn't take it back because accepting the challenge bought me to you."
Ally's eyes were brimming with tears but she refused to let them fall.
"It bought me to the best thing that's ever happened to me." I said, the corners of my lips turning up to a sad smile. "And I refuse to regret something that gave me you. I've screwed up a lot in my life. But you, Ally, you are not a mistake or something I screwed up on. Being with you never felt wrong because with every other mistake in my life, you were the one thing I did right. And choosing to fight for you and to love you will forever be the best decision I ever made."
There was silence in the room as Ally gaped up at me, completely dumbfounded. I walked towards her until we were so close that I could feel her breath on the skin of my neck.
"And I don't care if everyone knows," I said quietly, just for Ally to hear me.
I was vaguely aware of the eyes of all the other students on us but I didn't care. I brushed the strand of hair that fell in front of the eyes I loved so much and I felt Ally's breath catch. I took one last look at her stunned face before turning around and walking away.
I don't know how it happened but leaving eventually became the hardest thing I would ever have to do. And in that moment I knew I was screwed, that these feelings weren't going to go away as I had hoped because walking away was so incredibly hard. Every step I took became harder and the air around me got thinner. It was almost as if there was something pulling me back as I tried to move forward. As I made it out the door, I knew what the something was.
My heart tugged in my chest.
Please review. Reading them has literally become my favorite part of the day. I hope you enjoyed this chapter and I hope that this will make up for my horrible updating. But it's important for you guys to know that just because I haven't updated in a while, doesn't mean I give up on this story. I would never leave you guys hanging like that.
Thank you so much for reading!