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My Name is B***h
Author's note: Comment. Please.
The young girl’s body rests on the ground. Slowly breathing. In and out, has come to be her new motto. Her way of life. Just breath, she thinks.
Her father, a large man sitting at the kitchen table and few feet adjacent from her, takes a long swig from his Absolut, wiping his meaty hand across his mouth, he smiles, an awful, wicked, horrid smile, right before he brings out the switchblade he had been hiding in his pants pocket.
The young girl doesn’t move. Her father is like a bear; the best way to outwit him is to play dead. The girl is sixteen years old and has been dead most of her life.
Her father wipes the switchblade across his grimy work shirt, a striped blue mechanics shirt with the name Howard stitched on his breast pocket.
She doesn’t move, instead slowing her breathing to a stop. She hopes she can suffocate herself before she has to feel her father use the blade.
“Girl!” That’s all she has ever been to Howard. Never his daughter, never by her name, Jane.
Jane doesn’t move. Her father’s heavy footsteps echo in her ear until her his voice rings through it instead, “I know your awake, girl. You think big ole’ Howie here is stupid, don’t ya?”
She refuses to wrinkle her nose at the breath reeking from the old man’s mouth. Alcohol -ridden.
Howard lifts up Jane’s shirt, just an inch or so above her belly button.
Jane can’t help it. She stiffens at the touch. Her father had never touched her like this; it was always slaps and punches.
Howard lays the blade against the girl’s skin. Flipping it in on each side, “Girl, why don’t you leave?”
Jane doesn’t say anything; she knows its only one of Howard’s very few tricks.
Howard gently turns the blade upright, gliding it in slices down the poor girl’s stomach. “That’s right,” he sings, “because know one wants you. You ugly,” and with each insult he digs the blade deeper throughout each line, “poor, ungrateful, b****.”
Jane tenses, but before she can feel the final lines the old man makes, the girl passes out.
She awakens on the tile floor. Covered in blood, she doesn’t see the word that has been etched into her stomach, only feeling the pain it makes with each move.
Howard is asleep at the kitchen table, Absolut clutched in his palm. Jane quickly takes a washcloth sitting in the sink and gently washes away all the blood and grime from the cut.
Only when she is finished does she see the word brutally marked into her skin. Tears spring to her eyes as she grips the sides of the sink, digging her nails into the bottom.
B****. The word scarred onto her stomach, b****. No longer Jane, no longer girl. Just B****.
She quiets the sobs escaping her, as to not stir Howard. She climbs the stairs painfully, grabbing at the splintered railing for help.
Jane changes her t-shirt and throws the bloody one away, if you squint you can almost make out the word on the old shirt.
Jane walks to school, slower than usual. Her beat-up old car is in the shop; hopefully someone would think to fix it since Howard obviously isn’t.
Before going to the office, Jane makes her way to the bathroom. The mirror reflects a girl that doesn’t look as troubled as her story says she is. Her blonde hair, straight and beautiful, reaches to the middle of her back. Her bluish-green eyes reflect only the happy memories she has had, if the only few. Her figure is tall and lean, never having to worry about food or the lack of, for that matter. Jane brushes her bangs out of her face; grateful her dad didn’t etch the word there.
The secretary greets Jane by name, only because she comes in late so often. The secretary suspects a problem, but never reports it; instead she lets the girl slide by without marking her tardy. As if a tardy would make her life more miserable.
Jane makes her way to English, her first class of the day, and one of the few classes she dreads.
“Jane. So nice of you to join us!” Yells Mrs. Carson from the back of the room.
If only Jane had the courage to life her t-shirt up for you, dear Mrs. Carson, then you might understand why the poor girl was absent.
She makes her way to her seat, a desk in the farthest corner of the room. Beside the one boy she can’t stand.
James may have a last name, but the fact of the matter is, Jane doesn’t account for those. Why should everyone else have a last name when Jane is barely allowed to a first?
If not for his stunningly good looks and arrogant manner, Jane may have liked him.
Most days, James doesn’t take a second glance at her. Most days, Jane can’t help but stare at the unmarked, gorgeous face of his. Looking doesn’t mean you like him, right? Jane can admire his looks all she wants, but the fact of the matter is, is that she still hates him.
Jane tries to convince herself of that.
Mrs. Carson doesn’t care much for Jane. She always shows up late and doesn’t do her work as well as the other students; she doesn’t seem to care about the class. But what Mrs. Carson doesn’t notice is that school is only means of a distraction for Jane, not something she looks at for enjoyment. Simply and purely distraction.
The windows let a slight breeze in, cooling Jane down a touch. She tugs at the collar of her shirt, just now finding she is entirely too hot. She stops doodling in her notebook abruptly, finding herself dizzy and strangled for air.
The word “B****,” echoes through her mind, trailing the tail of her intruding thoughts. Jane sways, losing the energy to even attempt to clutch her desk.
But Jane does find the will to focus herself. To chant her motto and remind herself of the disaster it would cause for her to screw up. If she were to faint, she scolds her self, they would find the marks of abuse littering her body. They would find the chapters of bruises and tales of emotions that crowd her mind like a rain cloud. They would ruin her plans, her detailed idea to leave Howard and B**** behind.
James must have noticed Jane’s slight swaying and attempt to clutch at the desk, but he keeps the thought to himself. As well as any idea to voice anything helpful, whether it be a few encouraging words or walk to the nurse’s office.
The room spins, bulletin boards mixing with the cheering posters and the chalkboard of notes she will never write down. Her hands come up and clutch her head, trying to keep her world from falling upside down. As if her hands can physically hold her future, she clutches even harder, making sure the fragile stitching she has done to keep it from falling apart stays in tact.
James watches from the corner of his eyes, readying himself to catch her if she falls.
“James Hilling!” he snaps to attention, embarrassed that he was caught watching the girl. “Would you so kindly point out the dangling participle in this sentence?”
He almost laughs, what the hell is a dangling participle he thinks to himself, and why the hell would I ever need to find one in a sentence?
In the midst of James struggling with the damn dangling participle, Jane’s breathing has become labored, taking in deep breaths at agonizingly slow intervals.
James is suddenly struck with an idea, that he takes no time to analyze its outcome, “I need to take Jane to the office, she can’t-“
At the moment, Jane finds that she can’t breath, not because James shouted her name out in class and created a spectacle of her, but because she honest-to-God could not breath.
“-breath.” Mrs. Carson takes one exaggerated look at Jane, as if contemplating whether or not, not being able to breath was a liable excuse to leave class.
She finally nods her head and sighs, “fine, go ahead.”
He stands and looks at Jane, “you need to come with me.”
Jane doesn’t think to hard on where they are going, only finds herself completely lost in James dark blue eyes. She nods.
He tugs at her hand until she stands, allowing her to lean against his tall, broad-shouldered frame. She fits perfectly into his shoulder, as if made to be there.
They stumble down the hallway to the nurse’s office, James all the while keeping a close eye on her. Making sure she is still alive, and double-checking to see that it may be serious enough to consider the hospital.
Finally when an awful, harrowing amount of seconds pass between Jane’s breaths, James searches for his cell phone. Hidden in his pocket, he tells Jane that he going to call 911.
Jane screeches to a halt. Almost tripping James in the process. He looks dumbfounded at her, wanting to know what’s wrong.
“Don’t… call-9…1…1…Pl-ease.” Her eyes sparkle at James, momentarily jarring him from the task at hand.
He shakes his head, “You can’t breath!” he says incredulously.
She looks everywhere but at him, pausing before she goes on, “No… You... can’t…” pausing again to take a breath, “James.”
It’s like the world stops spinning, the mere saying of his name out of her lips would make him do anything she wanted. He only nods, too choked up at her to speak, but grudgingly accepts the idea without asking why.
In the middle of the hallway, James tells her to sit down. She easily accepts, literally plopping down on the floor. “Now,” he instructs,” put your knees up and set your head between your them.” She doesn’t question his instructions, not asking if they will work, but trusting that his advice is right.
Her breathing comes steadier at easier intervals, her sight becomes less blurry and her dizziness fades. She allows her self the liberty of keeping her head between her knees for a while longer, tracing the scuffs of floor in the hallway.
“Jane?” he says tentatively, wanting to hear her say she is all right.
She pokes her blonde head up, her hair in her face, “yes?”
A breath of relief comes out of his mouth, thankful that she’s OK. He sits down beside her and falls back against a locker, “Thank God.”
She attempts a weak smile, not wanting to waste her energy on a boy like him. Then she lets out a tiny, inconsequential couple of words, “Thank you, James.”
And when she says his name, he almost has to keep his eyes from rolling back in his head and his body from slumping against the lockers. When she says his name, its like butter melting or music to his ears. He tries to dismiss the thought, but the simple memory of her saying his name almost makes him want to curl up in a corner and replay it, over and over and over.
Her butter-melting voice stalls him from his daydream. “Yeah?”
She brushes her bangs from her face, tucking them behind her ear,” Can we go back to class now?”
James, who happened to be caught up in thinking that he wanted to touch her hair and that he would give anything in the world right now to tuck it behind her ear, shakes his head, “Sure, but if you get dizzy or anything, just lean on me.”
Did it seem awful that James hoped she would get another dizzy spell, so that she would grab a hold of him?
She nodded her head, finally realizing that she was talking to James Hilling. The boy who ruled the school, and most definitely someone she could never fall for, let alone crush on. Yeah, he has a beautiful face, a not-so-arrogant personality that she thought he had previously, but it was James for God’s sake!
They walk back to class, but James doesn’t pay attention during the rest of it. He’s so busy wondering what it would be like to kiss a girl like Jane.
Jane didn’t pay attention either, only questioning the odd look James had on his face the rest of class. She didn’t want to believe it was a look of regret, but it sure looked like it. His face seemed sad and, she guessed, ashamed.
A girl like Jane could not have been more wrong.
His singsong voice rang through her head. She slid around the corner away from the kitchen, “Bitchy, bitchy, bitchh,” he sang.
Jane held back the tears, not knowing what to do. Howard was blocking the only way out.
“I hear you girl. I hear you B****.” He calls.
Jane holds her breath. Halts her thoughts, because if there was one thing Howard was good at, was reading the thoughts of his own daughter. They seemed to be on the wavelength, but it helped Jane at times.
Like for instance, she knew he was about to come around her corner so she ducked into the dining room. Well… the room that used to be the dining room, now it was cluttered with empty beer bottles and 6-pack Budweiser carriers. She had tried to keep it clean, but the bottles and the carriers found their way there too often to even attempt it.
But, in the end, the same mindset always was a bust for Jane. She could never stop hiding. Never stop trying to find a real home; he would always know where she went.
Jane was running out of time and corners to turn around, so she made the most irrational decision she has ever made. She locked her self into the nearest closet. She was hoping she would wait Howie out, maybe until he passed out of Budweiser and some Absolut.
The distinct ‘click’ of the lock on the closet made her feel safe, a way to remind her that there were safe places out there.
The reminder didn’t last long.
Howard’s fist crashed through the door, sending splinters this way and that, leaving a good-sized hole. His whole arm reached through, feeling for the lock on the doorknob.
Jane shrank against the back of the closet, hoping she can crawl far enough back to be safe.
Howard forced open the door, an almost evil laugh piercing through her ears.
He leaned forward, brushing past all of her mother’s coats, and grabbed her hair.
“B****,” he whispered in her ear.
Jane only whimpered, never courageous enough to whisper back her only hurtful words.
“I hoped you liked that little mark I gave you on your stomach. A nice little reminder of your good ole’ dad, huh?”
She remained silent.
“Answer me, b****.” Venom leaked through his words.
“Y-yes,” She stammered.
“Yes what?” he murmured lovingly into her ear.
Jane clenched her teeth, “Yes, it will be a good little remainder of you.”
Howie let out a gut-wrenching howl of laughter and released Jane’s hair. She toppled to the carpet, letting her face break her fall.
She stayed like that for minutes, hours even, when finally she lifted her head to find the gray carpet (originally white), stained with blood.
She felt around her hairline, the whole way around her head. The blood dried from her left ear back to the middle of her skull and after running her hands through her hair a few times; found a clumps of hair threaded between her fingers.
She clamped back the tears, and rushed to the bathroom, quiet enough to not disturb her father, where ever he may be.
The bathroom mirror reflected a bald spot when she lifted her hair, a small chunk missing from her otherwise beautiful hair. Jane’s eyes watered, blurring her vision and blurring the dark movement in the corner of her eye.
The dark movement turned into a dark man, who immediately slapped her on the face so hard that she fell. Hitting the sink with head, Jane blacked out, but not before Howard bent and into her ear he said, “sleep tight, “ pushing her hair behind her ear, “my little b****.”
The next day, school couldn’t have been more of a distraction for her. She decided to pay attention, and let the world of education sweep her away.
Safe to say, it didn’t happen.
All day, the sharp movement in the corner of her eye followed her around but, every time she would turn to make sure they didn’t hurt her, clueless freshman gave her looks, hot football players stared at her, perky upperclassmen whispered,” bitch,” underneath their breath. They couldn’t make her hurt anymore than she already had been.
James watched her, as she would turn suddenly around on unsuspecting peers, looking spooked and protective.
He wanted to massage her tense shoulders and murmur into her ear that everything was all right, that he would protect her from whomever that may be.
He repeatedly tried to summon the courage to ask her out or even talk to her, but as soon as he would catch sight of her, his mouth would dry up and nothing would come out.
James watched from a distance as Jane walked down the hall, late to class. It didn’t matter if he was late, the teacher didn’t pay much attention, anyways.
She walked crookedly down the hall, as if skipping across the checkered tile of the hallway, he could almost hear her talking to herself, “step on a crack and break your mother’s back.” Her blonde hair swished, almost calling out to him to run his hands through it. But, the school remained silent, as if shutting the whole world out to give them a moment to themselves. God only knows Jane needed it.
Jane turned a corner of the school, not caring that she was completely late for art. It was art and she was a bad student.
Three boys at the end of the hallway, jocks presumable by the letter jackets they sported, glanced at Jane and shared devilish smiles. They took off on their way to her, also not caring that they were supposed to be in class.
One of the boys, the stitching spelled out Valentine down the side of his jacket, had an especially monstrous idea forming in his brain. She’s pretty enough, he thought, she would easily give into him.
Jane noticed footsteps heading her way, but assumed they would bypass her like most did. She was a wallflower, not only no name at home, but at school, as well.
Except, this time the footsteps stopped, halting right in front of her, keeping her from criss-crossing the checkered halls. The feet looked large, probably belonging to some big guys, but Jane didn’t dare look up.
A shove on her shoulders into a locker made her stare, “Hey girl,” one of the boys said scantily.
She could almost feel fear radiating off of her. She didn’t have the nerve to say anything back.
Valentino stepped forward, “want to hang out with me some time, girl?”
With every “girl” Valentino said, Jane couldn’t help but cringe. If she closed her eyes it would seem as if she was home, again.
Jane looked back at the ground, praying to anyone that this wasn’t happening to her, that she really had a name, that she really belonged somewhere and that life was meant for more than this.
“N-no,” she stutters.
Valentino didn’t expect no. No one ever tells him no. “N-no?” he mimics.
Jane nods her head. Valentino grabs the back of head, close to the bald spot.
Jane screams, the memory of her father’s hair jerking, her bloody hairline, all come back to her in a tumble of emotions.
James hears her scream, he hears Valentino tell his friend to run. He hears their footsteps retreat. He expects Jane to be running in the complete other direction, away from her attackers.
What he doesn’t expect is to find is Jane lying on the ground, sobbing.
The hallways blurs around him as he runs faster, trying to get to Jane before- before what?
No one heard Jane’s scream, or if they did they took it as some weird prank or joke.
James couldn’t be more disappointed in humanity at that point.
James knelt beside her, giving her room to breath.
“Jane?” she looks up from the floor, suddenly aware that she has an audience. She wipes her eyes with her sleeve and sniffs.
“James?” All he wants to do is kiss her red puffy eyes and tell her everything is going to be okay. That everything will be fine.
“Are you ok?” he asks, sounding genuinely concerned for her.
Jane stumbles with her words, completely baffled by his concern, “I’m fine.”
She looks so vulnerable, so easily hurt. But her eyes tell a different story, they finally reveal everything she has been through, they weep the memories she has fought to bury.
James mentally tells him to listen to her; to leave her alone, but he tells himself to screw it. He sweeps Jane up in a hug, tucking her into his chest, not caring if she finds it strange or awkward.
She doesn’t say anything. She understands his actions, and lets herself cry.
Cry for the memories she couldn’t save.
Cry for the memories she wish she could have.
Cry for the memories she wished never had
Cry because this is going to be the happiest of memory of her life.
She pulls away from his chest, ultimately aware that she had been crying into James’s shirt for a while.
Her guards back up; he notices it as soon as she tenses in his arm.
They sit still in the middle of the hallway, Jane wrapped in his arms. His long-sleeve gray shirt marked with her tears.
Jane brushes the remaining tears off of her face and steals a glance at James. His sharp cheekbones, broad shoulders, longish blonde hair, all wrapped in a package full of toned, lean muscle.
If she could, Jane would lay in his arms all day.
And now she’s given the chance, but she knows she won’t do it.
It’s too hard bringing someone else into her life to only find out she can only offer him or her physical and emotional abuse.
She pulls away from him, feeling cold and heartless when he isn’t touching her anymore. “Thanks,” she whispers.
The sunlight glides along her skin, streaming through the windows in the hall. And for the first time, James notices the pain etched in her face as she stands in front of him.
And before he can think, before he can ponder the absolutely horrible outcome from his bold decision, he can find only one way to make the pain leave.
James kisses her.
It surprises her. Her shield crumbles to bits as she melts into him. He deepens the kiss, only
letting out a suppressed groan when she twines her fingers through his hair. Their body’s fit together like they had before when he first noticed her. She leans into him, pressing against his body.
His heart almost cracks into two.
Her heart almost bursts out of her chest.
Until, she realizes what she’s doing.
She pushes him away. Hand in hand are the grinding thoughts she is throwing at herself for breaking the kiss and pain getting close would cause.
She is also ignoring the pain in his eyes and tingling on her lips.
Tears fill her vision for the second time that day.
Only she couldn’t figure out if they were out of happiness or of doomed love, if you could call it that.
So instead of staying around to find out, she runs away from James.
Leaving James almost gasping from the kiss and almost crying when she ran away.
Because this time he was the one that needed to be held in the middle of the hallway with the tears staining her shirt.
Jane slammed the door shut of the house, rocking the rickety old thing on its foundation.
She proceeded to take her anger out on the stairs, stopping relentlessly before her bedroom door seemed like a better candidate.
Then her pillow seemed like the perfect friend to wipe her tears as she cried into it. And her sheets were ideal for holding her when she most needed it. This girl doesn’t need friends, she thought to herself, they’re all right here, as she snuggled deep into her mattress, ignoring the reminder that her dad will be home soon.
Howard didn’t come home that night; he was far too busy drinking away his paycheck at the local, seedy bar. He had to do something with his problems, so why not drink to ‘em and forget?
Howie laid the drink down on the bar; barely sober enough to notice the people around him, or the fact the he was hitting on the bartender, who happened to be a man.
Someone slapped ole’ Howard on the back, jarring him away from his admiration of the male bartender. His old friend Kenny, from work, took a seat beside him and started blabbing on about God knows what.
Howie was distracted by Kenny’s chin wiggling as he animatedly talked about something or other. By the time he was done, his whole face was red.
“So what do you think, Howie?” Kenny asked.
Howard blinked a few times, nodding his head in agreement because he had no idea what he was talking about.
Kenny kept talking and Howard’s room started to spin.
Jane startled awake at midnight, surprised that she got some sort of peaceful sleep in. She assumed that her dad was up holed at some bar, spending the rent money.
She wiped at her eyes groggily, happy to have the house to herself and to allow the peace to soak deep into her pores and the silence to echo throughout her mind.
The peace didn’t last long when the memory of the kiss resurfaced. When she replayed the kiss over and over, trying to find the source of why it happened.
And source of why she never wanted it to stop.
James lay awake in his bed, his walls crowded with posters, trophies, medals, and achievements blaring PERFECT LIFE into his ears. He wondered what Jane’s room looked like, if it was the place she went when she needed time to herself.
He never even thought she might go to her room for safety, to hope that one day she might make it out alive.
Because Jane was running out of shooting stars, abandoned eyelashes, and rabbit feet. Her dad stripped her of wishes; all that she had left was dwindling hope.
He could his hear his name being called by whiney girls, demanding jocks and the appraising girls who were to cool to voice their whines.
Bending over at his locker, he heard almost in unison a sigh from his peers. He turned to see them looking at him discreetly, behind an open locker, out of the corner of their eye.
A blonde head, he would know anywhere, was walking down the hallway. She seemed to be really interested in the ground as she passed him. And he seemed to be really interested in her.
His hand shot out to her shoulder, twisting her to body to him. “Jane.”
Startled, she brushed her hair out of her face and shrugged off his touch. “What?”
Verbally gulping, James mouth went dry- his
tongue twisted so badly that he wouldn’t have even been able to grunt a response.
Her forehead wrinkled, glaring at him. “What, James?” she says impatiently.
Finding the words, he battles his dry mouth. “I-I need to talk to you.”
Jane, who seemed to be staring at James as if he had grown a second head or perhaps a sixth finger, tried to disguise her excitement as amusement. “No.”
Gaping at her, James decided it was his turn to find the floor very interesting. His response was muffled and barely audible above the din of the students.
Jane leaned forward, looking as if she was intentionally getting closer to him, which she noticed and quickly took a large step back. “What did you say?”
Suddenly angry, James tossed his head up. “I said, Jane, “ pausing for effect and to notch his voice up a little louder, “that I want to go on a date with you!”
It was as if the school froze. Students dropped books and teachers looked alarmed at such a public display of affection that their glasses seemed to droop down to the tips of their noses, clinging to their face.
Jane’s mouth moved, but nothing came out, nothing coherent seemed to make an appearance. It took her a few minutes until she found the word she was looking for. “No.”
James expected the answer and figured out how to get his way. He started to stomp his feet, throw his fists against his locker and yell sentences littered with so much profanity that many of the students covered their ears.
But Jane didn’t notice any of that, all she seemed to care about were the stares directed at her, analyzing her moves, her body, her books, trying to find the attraction James saw in her.
Not being able to take the stares, terrified they might find out her secrets and paralyzed that she might be subject to attention she would never be ready for.
But her secrets, they couldn’t find those out. They couldn’t know what has happened and what will happen, they can’t ever know. The whole thought of it, her world crushing, her tiny inconsequential life being taken from her, scares her more than any gun could, more than any convict, terrorist, or car hurtling at one hundred miles an hour at her.
And those thoughts conjure up tears, tears that she had cried only a day ago, to slowly trace its own path down her cheek, dripping onto the floor that seemed to save her at the most opportune times.
Noticing this, James stops his rant and takes Jane by her shoulders, draping his arm across them. “Shhhhh, its okay, Jane,” he whispers in her ear, a soft lullaby of words.
She lets him lead her out into the parking lot, alarmed that she cried and let the person that made her cry help her.
“Let go,” she murmured, hoping her voice didn’t sound frightened, hoping that it didn’t have that I-have-a-secret-you-can’t-know-about tone to it.
Gently, he takes his arm off of Jane. Scared and curious of why she cried. He cleared his throat, “Jane-“
She holds a hand up, “Don’t. Say. Anything.”
Shutting his mouth he started walking towards his car, a jeep Wrangler in the corner of the parking lot.
Jane silently followed him, counting the cracks in the asphalt rather than worry about what she was going to say to him.
James, happy to have found his keys in his back pocket, unlocks his car, gesturing for Jane to get in.
Timidly, Jane opens the door, gasping at the newness and smell all new cars come with. She gingerly sits down in the seat, afraid that she might ruin it.
Before she can strap her seatbelt back on James peels out of the lot, making the screeching noise and probably burning rubber. The signs pass by in a blur, Jane not even registering that they left the town.
James smiles to himself, happy that Jane finally gave into his undeniable charm and wit. The forest looms overhead, the evergreens bordering a small lake. It reflects the sky so well that you might be convinced you are jumping into a cloud, but Jane doesn’t see the beauty, she sees only what she has done wrong.
Breaths come more rapidly for Jane as she leaves the car, leaving her temporary protection from the reality that wants to smack her in the face. James leads the way to the lake, occasionally looking back to make sure she is following, but not once stopping to join her timid walk to the shoreline.
Ten steps to the shoreline quickly become three then two, until Jane is slowly walking the line bordering her emotions and her crumbling life. She stands beside James, feeling a little more comfortable than she had ever before.
The lake reflects Jane and James, a teenage couple on the outside, but a girl of twisting emotions and deep secrets and a boy of complete ignorance that only finds him self in love with a tight-lipped teenage beauty.
He grabs her hand, cradling her soft skin in his calloused fingers and trying to remember this for the years to come, expect the part when Jane pulls her hand out of his and crosses her arms over her chest. He doesn’t want to remember that part at all.
If a voice could sound like a crumbling wall, that’s what James voice was like. “Why do you do that?”
She opens her mouth to tell him that she can’t do this to him; that it will only end up hurting him in the long run but he interrupts her.
“Because you know I like you, right?” he says as he kicks the ground with his shoe. “I mean- I know you think I am pulling some shit on you
or somethin’… but I actually really like you-“
“No,” she whispers.
Confused he questions her, “no?”
She takes a deep breath “No I don’t think you are playing a trick on me. I don’t even think I ever thought that.” She starts to wring her hands, “I can’t do this. Can you just leave me alone?”
James looks at her incredulously, “leave you alone?” He laughs to himself, “b-but you kissed me back!”
At that moment Jane decides it would be a good time to hyperventilate and maybe tell the truth. In between breaths she stutters out, “I-I, c-can’t do this to y-you, James!”
“Do what?” he whispers.
“It will only hurt you!” she yells, avoiding his eyes as she stops.
And the world decides to collapse on it self and James, plunging him into a darkness that one can only be tossed into after love hurts someone deeper than any knife could ever plunge.
He shakes his head, plead leaking into his words. “I can help you Jane Just let me-“
Jane recognizes the helplessness he feels, the feeling she has had most of her life, the feeling of being trapped into a corner with the only way out blocked. Then she remember the only relief she has gotten from it, the only way that she forgot her awful, horrible circumstances.
The begging in his eyes made her think “charity case” but something else gleamed in his dark blue irises. Something like loving, or almost loving but not quite there yet, so she took a few steps closer. She pressed close to him, drawing his head down with her hands and pressed her lips to his.
She tried to get closer, pressing herself into his lean frame. She drew her hands through his hair, loving the texture of it. He lets out a groan, slipping his hands beneath her shirt and edging his tongue past her teeth.
Her hands pressed hard against his shoulders adoring how broad they are, how they seemed big enough to wrap around her like a shell.
He broke the kiss, trailing kisses down her neck and across her collarbone, pushing her hair back with his hands.
And with one final brush of lips against hers, if only to hear her heartbeat quicken.
And with the last ounces of her bravery and hope, Jane kissed him back harder, hoping James realizes that this is last time she can step away and leave without making things more complicated than they are.
But when Jane pulls away, eyes shut a little longer than usual, she finds him.
Staring at her without any reservations, almost absently wearing his whole heart on his face, trusting that she won’t break it.
Daydream bliss would sum up just how much Jane felt as she walked into her house, setting aside her keys on the table near the door.
Nightmarish hell would sum up just what was expecting her as she entered the kitchen.
“Bitch!!” Her father yelled as he bent over the kitchen sink vomiting up last night’s bar pretzels and peanuts.
Her hours with James quickly forgotten, Jane runs to get something to clean up her father’s puke with.
“Bitch!” The word doesn’t seem to affect her anymore, she used to it as if it was a loving pet name.
She scoots closer to Howard, a broom and rag in hand for the clean up. “What do you need?”
With frighteningly fast speed, Howard has Jane pinned up against the cupboards, her feet dangling in the air. “I want you to come home after school like you’re supposed to, Bitch.” She falls hard on the floor as Howie wrenches one more time into the sink. Jane clings onto the rag and broom, thinking that gripping harder would make everything less horrifying.
Howie wipes his hand across his mouth in finality and glares at Jane, sending daggers into her heart. “Get down.” He points to the floor.
Her tears escape, making clean marks on the tiled ground she knows all too well. She kneels on the ground hoping, but never wishing, that nothing bad happens.
“On your hands and knees, Bitch, like the dog you are.” Words slice almost as painfully as the ones etched in her stomach.
Time freezes as Howard pulls his leg back, watching in slow motion as he lets it fly into her side, no doubt cracking ribs.
Pulling back, again and again and again, until Jane collapses in pain on her friend, the tiled floor.
Then the punches start to fly, staggered with words in between, “Bitch,” and “dog,” and “slut.”
The words start to dig deeper than the punches.
Then when she finally gives up with each punch in the face, Jane finally lets her self wish. Wish for all the horrible memories and painful injuries to be forgotten.
She lets herself wish that she could die.
The first thing Jane thinks as she wakes up the next morning.
The tile floor may be about as inviting as a brick wall, but at that moment Jane could have lay there all day.
The clock read 1:00am, a time that Jane is usually struggling to sleep after a hard evening. Rain pelted down on the roof, the soft pings rocking her into a deep thought.
She gingerly opened the back door, letting the screen clang against the house not even bothering to worry about Howard.
Rain soaked her shirt, skimmed her hair and glazed her face. The rain acted as the tears she never was allowed to cry.
A sob escaped her chest, raking her body in shutters. The whole reality finally crushed down on her.
She crouched down on to the balls of her feet, thinking maybe getting closer to the ground would make her feel a part of something. She clasped her hands together, intertwining her fingers and straightened her arms out in a makeshift prayer.
She tipped her head back hoping someone somewhere would answer for her. Her body was shivering but the words seemed to heat her body as she said them aloud.
“Let me go,” she whispers. “Just let me go.”
Pain finally takes precedent over her sought-after religion, and she collapsed in the mud.
As she starts to fade away she almost hears an answer.
Almost like a distant plea but it’s lost in the wind and rain.
She collapses on the ground, like a tree hit by lightning. His chest heaves and tears start to slowly slide down his cheeks. Its like he was slammed by a bus, the image of watching Jane fall, fall like the broken girl she was.
“Jane!” he screams, barely heard over the storm, the wind carries it away.
“Jane!” He starts to sob as he nears her, only a few feet away now.
“Jane-pleas-no!” He runs to her crumpling beside her.
He takes her head into his hands, tracing his thumbs across her lips that he only kissed a few hours ago. He bent so close to her that their foreheads touched. It was so intimate it seemed that she just might wake up because of the feelings that would have rushed through her.
He could almost see the warm blush that would have crept up her neck, the downcast turn of her eyes and the way she would absently kick her foot to the ground as he talked to her.
Her eyes fluttered, revealing green eyes that shown with more life than he had ever seen before. It seemed ironic for a girl who lived most of her life dead that as she lay dying she seemed the most alive.
She started to whimper, her eyes closed and shut tight- she gripped James hand.
Holding tighter, maybe if she held on tight enough the world would finally let her go.
What she didn’t realize was that the world had, but one person stood in her way.
“James,” she whispered.
“Let me go.”
The wind picked up. The rain poured almost rock-like, shaking her house on its old foundation. James squeezed tighter. His tears fell harder but, Jane’s heart felt lighter.
He let her go.
Pooled on his desks were his tears, a small puddle of sorrow and anger. His hand trembled as he wrote a few words on a piece of notebook paper, a few words to describe just how James felt about Jane. This little piece of paper would be his key to letting her go. The words took eons to write, though he only had three. He folded the paper carefully, not wanting to tear his own heart out.
He shoved the note deep in his pocket and grabbed his tie on the corner bedpost. Swiftly knotting it around his neck, he found his way to the funeral.
A drunken man stumbled into the funeral home, a pocketknife barely visible in his breast pocket. Blundering across the room he made his way to the casket, closed for the ceremony; Jane wouldn’t want it any other way. The last memory of someone should not be a dead and cold picture.
James stood in the farthest corner of the room, hiding his face from classmates and parents. He didn’t want them to see his tears; they made him feel vulnerable.
A distinct ‘clink’ noise resounded when he opened his knife, not really caring if anyone saw him to do it.
The casket creaked and groaned with each letter, as he meticulously carved everything into it. You could hear Jane cry from wherever she was, you could hear James take calming breaths, you could hear the stares of the crowd.
Written in cracked and long gaited letters, it spelled out her nightmares.
“She needs to go the grave with her name,” he murmurs under his breath.
Howard staggered back, falling onto his knees. The liquor hadn’t done much; only lessen the guilt he was being tailed by.
The other boy, in the back of room, ran outside. Digging the note out of his pocket, he ripped it into a million different shreds, but not before reading it out loud.
“I love you.”
Smiling up above, Jane cried tears of sunshine. In her final words before she ascended to a greater place, to whatever that may be, a final gust of wind blew through James hair.
He could have sworn it sounded like, “I love you, too.”