The R Word
Author's note: I wrote this book a little of a year ago in my spare time. It was just for fun and I started... Show full author's note »
That's Your First Mistake Beth TaylorThe most common fear among people is death. Wouldn’t it seem more reasonable to be afraid of the death of someone you love? If you die, then that’s the end of your life and you don’t have to deal with the aftermath. If a loved one of yours passes, then you have to deal with the pain of that reality until your death. What if that fear had already come true? Do you find a new fear? Do you just move on to the next chapter in your life? What do you do?
Beth lingered on her reflection in
On her drive to school she still couldn’t shake the thoughts of Austin. It just didn’t make any sense to her. Austin was the most popular freshman in school, had tons of friends, and an older girlfriend. He seemed like the golden kid; he had everything going for him. He just didn’t seem like the kind of kid who would commit suicide. She knew Austin, she knew him better than anyone else did. And even though she hated him at times, he was her brother, and this just wasn’t something he would do.
No matter how sad or how bad things were he would never kill himself. He wouldn’t do that to Beth, or to their parents.
Beth’s mind drifted back to Kristen. Her teeth clenched at just thinking her name. She’d always hated Kristen, they’d been enemies ever since sixth grade; the last year they’d been friends.
From the moment Austin started dating Kristen they’d grown apart. They barely ever spoke to each other, and acted like complete strangers. Austin had known well before he started dating Kristen how much Beth hated her, and went out with her anyway. That was what hurt Beth the most.
Beth never could figure out why Kristen had gone for her brother. Kristen could have almost any guy she wanted, but she went for Beth’s younger brother. Beth couldn’t help but think that dating her brother was just another one of Kristen’s pranks on her.
She sighed dramatically as she realized she was still lingering on Austin and getting herself all worked up again. She took a few deep breaths, calming herself and trying to just let it go for now. She didn’t need to start her day in a bad mood.
She drove into the school parking lot and hurried to the bench that Aaron was supposed to meet her at. She checked her cell phone, she was late. She hoped Aaron hadn’t thought that she’d ditched him. Their relationship had been on edge for awhile, and she was worried that any little thing would push them over the edge.
“There you are!” Star announced and pulled Beth into a hug. Megan and Olivia were standing on either side of her, smiling. “Aaron came up to us, looking for you. We told him you were just running late.” Star explained and let Beth out of the hug.
“Where is he?” Beth demanded, looking around for him.
“He went to class.” Megan answered shrugging. Her curled, dirty blonde hair was cascading over her shoulders like a waterfall.
“Whatever.” Beth pretended not to care as she looked at her friends.
“Have you seen Kristen yet?” Olivia asked, holding back what looked like a laugh. Olivia’s brown hair was tied up in a loose and messy bun, showing off her angled face. Her eyes were outlined with black pencil eyeliner and gold shimmering eye shadow peeked out from her eyelids.
“No…why?” Beth demanded, squinting her eyes in confusion. They hadn’t planned on a prank recently…had her friends done one without her? That didn’t make much sense, seeing as Kristen was their permanent target because of her. And revenge was her thing; she was usually the one that came up with a plan.
“Her outfit is just tragic.” Olivia explained.
“A disaster.” Megan agreed.
“Ew.” Star laughed once. “You don’t even wanna know.”
“Mornin’ Beth.” Parker smiled as he approached their group. Beth’s eyes widen in surprise and her back stiffened, Parker wasn’t supposed to approach her in public. She shook her head once as if to tell him to go away. Parker shook his head once, “Star, Olivia, Megan.” He added quickly and smiled at them, his blonde hair cutely falling into his eyes. He didn’t take his eyes off of Beth. Beth suppressed a sigh, could he be any more obvious?
Star, Olivia, and Megan’s faces squished together in confusion. They turned to Beth, wondering why Parker was here. As far as they knew, Parker and Beth weren’t on speaking terms ever since the breakup a few months ago.
“What’s up Parker?” Beth asked stiffly, slowly, and cautiously. He knew how important it was to keep a low profile, or at least Beth thought he knew.
“Just…um…wanted to remind you about our Chem project. The group’s meeting during fourth off to brainstorm.” He quickly covered up and waved once. He smiled and walked away quickly.
Good save, Beth thought as she exhaled. Parker was her ex boyfriend that she just happened to be fooling around with, even though she was dating Aaron. If anyone found out she’d die. She turned to her friends with an innocent smile, hoping they wouldn’t suspect anything. As cute as Parker was, he was horrible at this secretive stuff. Luckily no one has suspected anything, let alone found out…yet.
“Okay spill.” Olivia demanded immediately.
“Spill what? What are you talking about?” Beth asked, pretending to be clueless as she pulled on a lock of her platinum blonde hair nervously. Beth always fussed with her hair when she was nervous, she just couldn’t help it, it’d been a bad habit of hers since second grade. Her friends and she told each other everything, but there were some things she just didn’t want anyone to know, including them.
“What’s going on with you and Parker?” Megan demanded.
“That was something.” Star agreed.
“What are you talking about?” Beth laughed once and pulled out her cell phone again, pretending to check for text messages. She just needed to keep her hands busy to keep from blushing like crazy, breaking down and telling them every single detail. She had thought about telling them, they were her friends after all. “Parker and I broke up like six months ago.”
Star, Olivia, and Megan just stood there staring at Beth, arms crossed. “Tell us.” Star demanded.
Beth took a deep breath and looked around quickly, making sure no one was watching. She leaned in close to all of them, biting down on her lower lip. “You can’t tell anybody.”
“Swear.” Star nodded seriously, her dark brown hair falling in her green eyes. She pushed it behind her ear and waited for Beth to explain further.
“Swear?” Beth demanded to Megan and Olivia.
“Swear.” They both agreed.
“Okay,” She motioned for them to get closer. “Parker and I are kind of…fooling around.” She whispered lowly.
“What?” Star whispered sharply.
“I know, I know, I know.” Beth held up her hands in defense. “It’s nothing though.”
“What about Aaron?” Megan wondered, looking around, checking to make sure no one was listening. “I thought you two were still going strong.”
“We are, so keep your mouths shut.” Beth snapped.
“Damn…” Star raised her eye brows and laughed.
“Such a slut.” Olivia laughed and smiled.
“As always, you are sincerely the biggest slut in the group.” Megan rolled her eyes and high fived Beth. “I can’t believe you’re…” Beth raised her eye brows, stopping Megan mid-sentence. “I can’t believe you didn’t tell us!” She said instead.
“Can’t you see why I didn’t though?” Beth demanded in a whisper. “You guys can’t say anything.”
“Okay, let me get this straight, you’re cheating on your boyfriend, Aaron, with your ex boyfriend, Parker?” Star clarified, her jaw still hanging slightly open.
“Well, no. It’s not like that.” Beth bit her bottom lip, when you say it like that, it sounds really bad.
“But you’re still involved with Parker though aren’t you? And you’re still dating Aaron.” Star urged.
“Well, yeah.” Beth admitted.
“Well then it is kind of like that sweetie.” Star shrugged and smiled sympathetically.
“You can’t tell anybody.” Beth repeated.
The morning bell rang and Star and Olivia waved as they headed off towards first period. “See ya slut!” Olivia called with a grin and Star laughed with her.
Megan hooked arms with Beth and they headed towards their first period.
Before Beth and Megan even managed to get to their classroom, fifty people must have said, “Hey Beth!” Most of them she’d never talked to in her life.
“So, is it annoying being the most popular girl in school?” Megan wondered as they took their seats.
“It’s been five years hun, you get used to it.” Beth laughed once as she looked Megan up and down. Megan had been the newest one added to their group. She’d joined a year ago, from Kristen’s group of all things. It had nearly killed Beth to let someone who used to hang out with Kristen into the group, but there was something about Megan that made her do it. And of course Megan had tons of new information they could use against Kristen, and her and Kristen had gotten into a huge fight, so she hated Kristen just as much as they did.
And it was in Megan’s favor that she was pretty. Beth wasn’t mean or shallow but she couldn’t have ugly best friends. That would kill her popularity and it would keep away guys. No matter how hot you are, guys don’t go for you if you hang out with the wrong people.
Beth’s mind drifted back to Austin, and how selfish she was being, worrying about these small problems when he was dead and gone forever.
“So you and Parker?” Megan whispered lowly, breaking Beth out of her day dream. “How does that work? How long has it been going on?” She wondered as she looked over her shoulder, making sure no one was listening.
“A month?” Beth shrugged and she chipped at her nail. The thing between her and Parker hadn’t even been a big deal to Beth; it was just like a spare time hobby kind of thing. She was bored, and it’s never been anything serious.
“How do you keep it from Aaron?” Megan whispered. “That must be hard. How does Parker keep it from Aaron? I mean they’re friends, they’re on the football team, they see each other all the time… aren’t you worried that Parker might let something slip?” Megan wondered, staring at her hands as she spoke.
“Not really.” Beth shrugged and looked back up at Megan. “I trust Parker, and it’s not like it’s anything serious.” She contemplated telling Megan anything more. She’d gone at least a month keeping it from everyone, and it managed to stay secret that way. But she knew she could trust Megan. “We’re going to the movies tonight actually.”
“Tonight? On a Friday night? Isn’t that a little dangerous? What if Aaron sees you?” Megan's jaw dropped slightly.
Beth laughed once and rolled her eyes at Megan’s inexperience. “You think I don’t do my homework? Aaron’s going to visit some family in the mountains all weekend. He’s leaving right after school.” Beth shrugged.
Aaron walked through the door at that exact moment. He spotted Beth, smiled and made his way over to her desk. Beth glanced at Megan, whispered a faint, “Shh,” and winked. Megan nodded; she would never do anything to get herself kicked out of Beth’s group.
“There you are.” Aaron smiled and sat on top of Beth’s desk.
“Sorry I missed you at the bench this morning. I was running late.” Beth shrugged and flashed an apology smile.
“I might be willing to forgive you…” He trailed of, raising his eye brows and then winking at Beth.
“Is that so?” She played along.
She did feel kind of bad whenever she was around Aaron. He truly was a good boyfriend to her, and she really did love him. She never wanted to hurt him, but she didn’t want to hurt Parker either. They’re in high school for God’s sake! Everyone acts like everything is the end of the world. If she’s torn between two guys shouldn’t she have to right to do whatever she needs to do to decide?
“Mm-hmm.” He nodded, slowly inching his face closer to hers. “I can think of a way for you to make it up to me.” He whispered, a huge smile in his voice.
“How would I do that?” Beth teased.
“Like this.” He whispered, grinned and leaned in to press his lips to hers. He stayed there for a long time and a few people coughed uncomfortably. Like Beth cared if people were uncomfortable watching she and her boyfriend make out. If they didn’t want to see it, then why were they watching?
“Take your seat Mr. Copper before I send you to the office for public displays of affection.” Mr. Fredrick announced as he walked in the room.
Aaron pulled his lips away from hers, not looking sheepish at all. Beth wasn’t embarrassed either. Aaron stood and pressed his lips to hers once more, winked and took his seat two rows behind Beth. Mr. Fredrick rolled his eyes and half smiled as he started the lesson.
Beth could see Parker watching her out of the corner of her eye. His fists were tight on his desk. She didn’t bother looking over at him though; he needed to calm the hell down. Aaron was her boyfriend after all, not him. Thankfully Aaron didn’t see Parker’s reaction and didn’t suspect anything, as usual. Suddenly a folded piece of paper landed on Beth’s desk. She looked around but no one was watching her. She unfolded it slowly and rolled her eyes at the note inside. High school kids could be so immature. It read:
Beth Taylor = SLUT
Aaron Cooper = TOOL
TYPICAL MORON COUPLE
She showed the note to Megan, who rolled her eyes also. “People are just jealous.” Megan mouthed and tossed the note back onto Beth’s desk. It wasn’t like Beth cared. Why would it matter to her what people said? And an immature note like this just proved to her that whoever thought this was a total wimpy loser. If you have something to say to her, you say it to her face, not on an anonymous lame-ass paper.
After class Aaron grabbed her hand and led her out of the room. People stared as they walked by, mostly Beth’s ex boyfriends or Aaron’s ex girlfriends. Jealousy was in fact the highest form of flattery.
“So what did that note say?” Aaron wondered.
“What note?” Beth played dumb.
“The one that Kristen threw on your desk during first.” Aaron explained.
Beth smiled to herself and shook her head. Of course, she thought. Of course it was Kristen. Beth handed Aaron the note, who crumpled it up and threw it in a trash can. “I’m…I swear to God—”
“Oh please.” Beth rolled her eyes and patted Aaron’s chest. “Settle down. I don’t care about what Kristen thinks of me. She can say whatever she wants. She’s just jealous because I have the biggest catch in the whole school.”
“Not arguing there.” Aaron agreed as he pressed his lips to Beth’s again.
Again, out of the corner of her eye, Beth could see Parker, arms crossed, staring. “What’s up with Parker?” Aaron asked as he pulled his lips away from hers and they walked away. “He looks like he wants to rip my head off.” Aaron laughed and Beth laughed with him.
She swallowed uncomfortably, throwing a look over her shoulder at Parker. “Jealous ex boyfriend is all.”