When Hearts Turn
Author's note: I just thought it would be cool to write about something like this. I find hypocrisy hilarious... Show full author's note »
Free At Last“Did you hear?”
“Did I hear what?”
“Landon Brown cheated on Anna Kales with Skylar King!”
A dramatic gasp. “No way!”
“Yeah! And then she dumped him!”
A louder dramatic gasp. “No way!”
I gritted my teeth. I had never known how annoying gossip could be until it was about me. No matter where I went, and who was saying it, there would be something said about me along the same lines of what I heard
“So Landon’s available again?”
“Yeah, but I hear he’s, like, totally depressed about it!”
“Poor thing; Skylar so doesn’t deserve him.”
I couldn’t argue with the bobble head there. I didn’t deserve anyone, hurting Anna and Ben like that and considering staying with Landon. It was the right thing to do, ending it with him.
I’d called him because I couldn’t look in the eyes I’d grown to love so much and see the hurt in them when I told him that I wasn’t seeing him anymore. The hurt in his voice was just as bad when I broke the news over the phone. I knew that’d he’d used Anna, proving that he was the jerk that I assumed he was a month ago.
“I know it was wrong, but I was just so desperate for you –”
“Please!” I had interrupted. “Please stop. I just…we’re over, okay?”
I’d hung up quickly because I couldn’t bear for an argument. I did the right thing, I kept telling myself. I absolutely, without a doubt, did the right thing. Maybe I would’ve started believing myself if Landon hadn’t tried calling back nearly a hundred times.
“You made a mistake.”
“Go away, Lindsey!”
She didn’t budge. “After all that – you two sneaking around, Anna catching you, Ben catching you, having that little talk; all that for nothing ’cause you dumped Landon anyway. Man, you’re an idiot.”
I pushed past her. “Get out of my way.”
Lindsey toyed with her hair. “All right, but I don’t think you want to go that way…”
“Landon’s down that way, sulking with Carter.”
I glared at her even though she saved me. “Thanks, I guess.”
I turned on my heel and decided to take the long way to class. Anything to avoid a run-in with my ex would be a lifesaver in a different form – even if it was hideous Lindsey.
I bumped into a strong chest turning a corner quickly, and nearly fell backwards. Without the help of quick, strong hands, I would’ve had a big headache.
“Thanks…” I started.
I met Landon’s eyes and looked away quickly. Lindsey!!!!!!
“Gotta go…” I wriggled out of his grip and tried to speed-walk ahead, but he caught up to me.
“Skylar, please!” he said, his voice tight. “Please listen to me.”
I turned around stiffly and looked at his feet, because that was the only part of him that I could bear. “I have nothing left to say to you.”
“Yes, you do; don’t say that.” Landon reached for my hand but I took the extra step backwards, knocking someone else’s things to the ground.
I looked into Anna’s eyes and quickly looked away again. “Sorry.” I dumped her books back in her arms before scurrying off to calculus.
I could only be safe for so long.
“You have a visitor Skylar!” my mom called from downstairs.
I stopped blaring Marianas Trench fast enough to hear the soft voice of Anna in my foyer. It’d been so long, it felt foreign.
I rushed to my door, and then stopped short. I tip-toed to my bathroom, splashed my face with water, washing away any trace of the tears that I shed, and dried my face. When I was finally ready, I walked down the stairs slowly, wondering what else Anna could have to say to me. As far as I was concerned, our friendship was over.
“So I hear you dumped Landon.”
Had Anna always been so forward and straight-to-the-point with me before? Maybe it was me; maybe I hadn’t noticed, along with the fact that she lived in my shadow. I nodded. “Yeah…”
I nodded upstairs. “Can we talk upstairs? My mom’s probably lurking around here somewhere.”
Anna sat on the chair by my desk like she was a stranger and not my best friend at all. I guess it was because she really wasn’t. “So why did you end it?”
“Why do you think, Anna?” I asked her. “Landon wronged you. I don’t care about him anymore. What’s done is done.”
I felt like I was eating away my words and they had no effect, because as I spoke them, Landon’s adorable smile appeared in my mind and I felt the feeling of forgiveness…but no! For Anna, I had to stay away.
Anna frowned at me. “Don’t give me that! I know you care and I know you were crying up here! You only blast Marianas Trench when you’re extremely happy or extremely sad – no one can be extremely happy after ending it with Landon.”
“Well, then I guess I’m a nobody,” I deadpanned. “Anything else?”
“You have no right to be mad with me now, Skylar,” Anna said, putting her hands on her hips. “If anything, I should be mad at you.”
“But aren’t you?” I challenged. “As if making me feel a hundred times guiltier than I already was wasn’t bad enough, you’re cornering me in my own house and making me talk about a subject I’d much rather avoid.”
Anna pressed her lips together as if she had a retort, but her shoulders simply sagged. “I just wanted to see if you were all right.”
I softened up. At a time like this, Anna still wanted to help me. What kind of world is this where it can be filled with Earth-walking angels like Anna and evils spawns of Satan like me?
I shrugged and tried for a smile before. “I’m all right, Anna. It was for the best.”
I turned up the volume, and the sweet angelic voice of Josh Ramsay floated about the room. As sad as I was, I couldn’t help loving it.
Was this the only thing that was going to give me joy in life?
The week went by in a blur of weird looks, tired gossip, more tests, annoying teachers, and begging voices. One of which I was surprised to hear of Anna. She was begging me to come over – to study, she insisted, but I declined. I didn’t need to talk about Landon while studying for a test and trying to block out everything about him.
I just couldn’t believe he’d actually use Anna – and then tell her! I had no idea he liked me that much to the point that he’d use my best friend as a bridge to get to me. What was he thinking? I guess he didn’t take into consideration that Anna actually liked him, and it wasn’t just some silly fling, but what about Ben? Didn’t he think about that? Ben was his friend! Ben defended him! I was just as confused to Landon’s actions as I was to why I kept thinking about him.
“Ahh.” – The sigh that you can’t help but make on the Saturday morning when you realize that you have a limited amount of homework for the weekend. I was un-showered and happy. I sunk into my sofa and flicked on the TV, finding some cartoon marathon that would only keep me busy for about two hours, but sticking with it anyway.
The house was empty with mom working morning shifts this weekend, so I felt free to do whatever I wanted. Have ice cream for breakfast, make as much noise as I wanted, even dance on the tables! I was glad to find that there was still kid left in me, and not all of it was sucked out when I reached high school and discovered that boys could actually be approached as more than just a friend or a minor boyfriend that just held your hand during field trips in grade eight and nothing more.
Ah, grade eight: those were the days. Three years ago, I didn’t have to worry about staying away from Anna’s boyfriend and staying faithful to mine.
As if Ben were linked to my brain, his ring tone sounded through my phone and I got a text.
Ben: can we talk?
As far as I was concerned, we’d done all our talking out behind the school on Thursday…
Skylar: um sure where?
Ben: meet me @ ur park?
Skylar: sure 5 minutes
In three minutes I was walking down my street, hugging my magenta hoodie to my chest; under it, my yellow tank top getting suffocated. The wind was starting to kick in, and my hair whipped my face at any quick movement of the head because I’d think any sound around me was Anna trying to get me to open up.
Luckily, my feet were warmed by grey Uggs. Unluckily, since I actually had to look like I wasn’t wasting away my life on the couch days after our break up for Ben, I wore a pair of dark blue skinny jeans that I rocked, but didn’t warm me.
I rounded that last corner and last minute, making it to the park. I headed to the swings when I didn’t spot Ben immediately, swinging lowly and waiting until my ex rolled in.
“You look cold,” whispered a creepy voice. “Lemme warm you up…”
I jumped off my swing in fright, and glared into the eyes of Mr. Rankle. Was this guy following me everywhere? I thought I only had Anna and Landon to worry about!
Ben, where are you?????
“Stay away from me,” I warned him, backing away slowly. I noticed he wore a wryly smile, like he didn’t have a care in the world about what I was saying and that got me even more angry. I balled my fists tightly. “I swear –”
Two hands grasped my shoulders, and I shrieked. Was Mr. Rankle teaming up with another predator? Was this really how bad my karma was?
“I’m here,” breathed a soothing voice, “don’t worry.”
Never have I ever been so happy to hear Landon’s voice. I folded into him and leaned my head on his chest and he held me protectively with one arm.
I didn’t have to see Mr. Rankle’s face to know that he was fazed. I just let my face feel the warmth of Landon’s coat and the protective nature of his strong arm.
“I’m going to say this once, and once only;” Landon said steadily, yet firmly, and with authority, “stay away from Skylar.”
I closed my eyes and shook away the feeling that Mr. Rankle was probably taking one last reluctant look at my body that he’d grown fond of.
With the wind I didn’t here Mr. Rankle walk away, but I knew he was out of my skin because Landon stroked my hair and whispered soothingly in my ear. “He didn’t touch you, did he?”
I shook my head slowly. “Thank you.” I couldn’t believe that of all people, Mr. Rankle had brought Landon and I back together with his creepiness. I knew that if the situation went down with Ben, I’d feel good, but with Landon, it felt as good as it could get.
Landon held my face in his hands and looked into my eyes. “Please don’t run away.”
I didn’t run away, but I did turn away from him, confused once again. What was a girl to do at a time like this? “I’m meeting Ben.”
Before he said anything, I felt a surge of warmth. Landon’s jacket was draped over my shoulders and I resisted the urge to smile. Landon cleared his throat. “I…I kind of staged that…”
I wheeled on him. “What?”
“I need to talk to you, Skylar.”
“So you stole his phone?!”
“No!” Landon exclaimed. “He let me use it… That’s not important right now. I just…I miss you so much.”
It pained me to look at Landon, see into the depths of his heart through his eyes, and not hug him.
“Landon, we were hardly a couple!” I told him. “A week at most and half of that was in secret!”
Landon shrugged. “I don’t care. It was one intense week.” He took my hands and kissed my knuckles softly. The air around me warmed and I felt like spring was making a surprise entrance at his touch. “Look, I know you’re upset about Anna. I am too. I had no idea she felt that way about me. When I think about you, nothing else crosses my mind! I didn’t want this to happen to Anna…or you. I’m happy with you, and you’re happy with me, so why can’t you just accept it?”
“Oh, Landon…” I looked at our feet. “How can I do that to Anna? I think…I think she loved you. Even if she hates me, I’m not putting her through that – seeing us together everyday.”
Landon chuckled softly. “Why can’t you be selfish like me?” He pressed his forehead to mine and we locked eyes. I thought I’d be in a trance because of how long I was swimming in his green irises. His smile triggered the corners of my lips, and he rubbed his nose against mine. “I hate to admit it, but I was giving up on you…so she sent me here – she forced me to talk to you. Anna’s totally okay with it.”
I stopped breathing for a few seconds. I looked deep into his eyes for any sign of untruthfulness and found absolutely nothing. I smiled. I wanted to be with Landon with a burning passion that nearly hurt whenever I thought about him, which was always. Could it honestly be true? What a friend I had if it were! “Really?”
Landon grinned. “Of course. Landon Brown can only chase a girl for so long...”
I hit his shoulder lightly and he laughed happily, knowing he had me. Before I could utter another sound, he lifted me up in the air in a hug and set me back on the ground, ending with a kiss that sent my heart beating at a speed that would make an ambulance driver cringe.
“I…I love you, Skylar King,” Landon said, holding my face in his hands again, hardly a space between our lips.
I beamed. Forget spring! The heartless wind was defeated by summer stomping in and creating an aura of heat to match my feelings at that point in time. I leaned closer, closing the tiny sliver of space between us, kissing him like he was the love of my life because he really was. The knowledge that I didn’t have to feel guilty about him made the feeling of our lips together better. “I love you too, Landon.”