Those Dreaded Three Words

“I love you.” It was these three words that Shannon had longed to hear. To be loved. To be cared for. To actually be important to someone else. Jimmy kissed her softly on the lips.
“I love you too.” Shannon whispered back. It was astounding that Jimmy could hear her over the blasting music and people singing along. Shannon’s short black dress sparkled under the strobe lights. Her straight blonde hair fluttered from the slight breeze caused by the fans. Everyone around her was having fun dancing with their friends, but not Shannon.
“But if you loved me, then you’d listen to me. I’m just trying to protect you. You need to stop hanging out with this Tyler kid, babe, he’s just pretending to be your friend. I can see it in his eyes. He really hates you.” Jimmy warned.
“But I’ve known him since I was five, Jimmy. He- he can’t hate me. He’s the only friend I have left” Shannon stuttered.
“I’m the only person you need in your life, Shannon. Right?” He asked slowly.
She took a few seconds to respond. “Yes.” She replied sadly.
“Then get rid of him.” Jimmy ordered.
“I will. Later.” Shannon looked away.
“Alright, good.” Jimmy smiled and then quickly added, “how ‘bout you go get me some punch, I’ll be back soon.”
Shannon made her way over to the refreshment table, glancing at all the smiling happy people dancing with their friends. She didn’t want to get rid of Tyler. He was the only friend of hers who hadn’t abandoned her after going out with Jimmy for a month. If Jimmy said he was just pretending to be her friend, though, she would have to believe it. “What Jimmy says, goes.” Shannon thought, “It’s not hard to believe anyway. Who would actually want to be my friend? Jimmy really is all I have.” She set the drinks down on a small table when someone tapped her on the shoulder.
“Hey Shannon.” Tyler smiled at her. Tyler could normally put a smile on Shannon’s face, but not tonight.
“Tyler, you have to go away” Shannon muttered.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because- because you just have to.” Shannon shouted angrily, feeling tears start to sting her eyes. Tyler forced her to look at him, and Shannon knew in an instant that he could see past the act.
“He’s making you do this, isn’t he?”
“It’s for my own good.” She said not meeting his eyes.
“If you want to do something good for yourself,” Tyler said with his voice starting to rise, “then get rid of HIM! Not me! He’s taking over your life Shannon, just look at yourself. What happened to your soft brown curls or your taste in clothing? He’s made you quit ballet and the musical and all the other things you love to do. Now he’s telling you to abandon the only friend you have left because he made you ditch all the other ones!”
“They were only pretending to be my friends,” Shannon whispered, letting a few tears escape, “just like you.”
“So these are the lies he’s been filling your head with?” Tyler paused and lowered his voice to calm her down. “One month ago you were happy and carefree. Since then, I haven’t seen you smile once. He’s taken away your happiness, and there’s only one way to get it back. Please, Shannon, end this, or I will.”
Tyler hugged her as her tears started to fall more rapidly. “Please.” He begged one last time.
“HEY!” someone shouted out from the crowd. “Get away from my girl!”
Jimmy grabbed Tyler by the shoulders and thrust him into a table, knocking over some glasses of punch. He turned onto Shannon with irritation clear in his voice “I thought I told you to get rid of him!”
“She was trying to,” Tyler defended, “But I refused.”
Jimmy refocused his attention back to Tyler and started to advance on him. A crowd began to congregate around the two boys. “Are you ever going to leave her alone, or do I need to ensure that you have no legs to follow her with?” Jimmy threatened.
“Haven’t you done enough damage?” Tyler shot back. By this time Shannon had had too much to bear. She jumped in between Tyler and Jimmy before they were about to strike one another. “Please, stop.” She cried out.
“Move out of the way Shannon!” Jimmy ordered.
“No.” Shannon replied.
“No? Shannon, I TOLD YOU TO MOVE!” he screamed.
“No Jimmy, I’m not listening anymore. I’ve done everything you’ve told me to do without ever standing up for myself. But now- now I’m doing what should’ve been done awhile ago… I’m breaking up with you.” Shannon let out.
Jimmy stared at Shannon, completely taken aback. Tyler smiled. The crowd gasped and broke into whispers. A minute passed before Jimmy replied, “You can’t break up with me. I’m all you have. Without me you are NOTHING. No one would EVER want to be friends with an ugly, idiotic girl like you. You-”
An adult’s voice cut Jimmy’s hurtful words off. “What’s going on here? Break it up, people! Break it up!”
Jimmy glared at Tyler and Shannon and then turned his back on them, stalking back into the dispersing crowd.
“What have I done?” Shannon gasped, letting the tears and the sobs finally come out completely. “He’s right; I’ll never be able to get my life back.”
“Yes you will,” Tyler reassured her as he held onto her while she cried. “Once you get yourself back to normal all your old friends will return. You made the right choice, Shannon.”
“But after all that I’ve done to them, after just abandoning them all for one stupid boy, how could anybody ever love and care for me again?”
“I love you,” Tyler promised her. “And I’ll never stop caring for you.”
At the sound of those three words, Shannon flinched. After yearning for them for so long, she now dreaded their sound.





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