Something to Work For
Author's note: This is my first piece on teen ink, so I would LOVE LOVE LOVE your feedback so that I can make... Show full author's note »
When Will It All Make SenseHome. That one word gives me so many different feelings. Don’t get me wrong. I love being home, but there are also so many bad memories from home. Being home felt good. And then the feeling of wanting to run away hit me. I didn’t want to deal with any of this; moving, getting married, I just want to live my life. I’ve been home for four days. I can get up and walk around without having Brayden help me, and I’ve only fainted once since the day I got home. I guess you can say I’m ‘getting better’. Last night, I remembered what happened. I remembered how I got shot.
“Will you two just stop fighting already?” I screamed at them. Sam and Alex were fighting. They always fight, especially when they were high, like right now. Somehow I always find myself stopping them. Sam and Alex were some of my best guy friends. We’ve known each other for ten years. Yes, they do get high, I don’t. They would both kill me if I even thought of it. They were like my brothers in that way. Their fighting has never escalated to this level before. They were actually hitting each other and getting violent.
It was a warm summer night in Chicago. There was a breeze coming in off the lake, but it was the Fourth of July week, and was surprisingly quiet for Chicago. That meant nobody could hear me screaming. I kept screaming at them, but they kept hitting each other. Each punch more painful than the last. I didn’t know what to do.
“STOP IT! SAM, ALEX STOP HITTING EACHOTHER. ONE OF YOU IS GOING TO GET HURT!” I screamed. Sam shot me a death glare and hit Alex again, in the face this time. They were both bloody and I could tell they were getting tired. Maybe they would just stop. But no, the fighting only continued. I kept screaming at them to stop, to realize what they were doing. It seemed to register in Alex’s brain, but not Sam’s. Alex put both his hands up as if to surrender only to have Sam treat him as a punching bag.
“SAMUEL DAVID FORESTER! STOP IT! STOP IT RIGHT NOW!” I screamed. He looked at me, and pulled out a gun. I think I immediately dropped to the ground, but after I saw the gun, all I remember is the gunshot. Everything after that was blank.
Sam shot me. My best friend Sam shot me. Oh. My. God.
I must have been crying, or screaming, or something, because Brayden rushed into my room and his eyes widened when he saw me.
“What’s wrong? What happened?” He asked me. I just shook my head.
“Aubree tell me. Please,” he begged.
“I, I remember what happened,” I told him.
“What happened when?”
“When I got shot…”
“Oh, do you want to talk about it?” Brayden asked me.
“You’re gonna make me talk about it aren’t you?”
“No, but I would really love it if you would,” He replied. I sighed and started talking. I told him everything. I told him about the Sam and Alex, about the fighting, and about how Sam shot me. I found myself crying and Brayden was holding my hand. When I finished, I shook my head and stuffed my head into Brayden’s chest and continued to cry. He held me and didn’t say a thing. He just let me cry. I needed that. I sighed, and Brayden kissed my forehead as I pulled away.
“Thank you,” I whispered.
“Listening, letting me cry,”
“I’m just glad you’re alive. I kind of want to kick Sam’s ass though,” Brayden said and I laughed.
“Next time I see him, I’ll let you know so you can. If I ever see him, or Alex.”
“Do you want to see them again?”
“Alex, yes. Sam, I’m not sure. I guess I want to know what he was thinking, and I want him to apologize.” I avoided eye contact with Brayden until he lifted my head so I would look at him.
“I’ll go with you to talk to him if you want.”
“Would you?” I asked. He nodded and I smiled. “But I don’t know where they are. I haven’t heard from anyone except the girls since I’ve been home. I don’t even know if Sam would want to talk.”
“I’m sure Sam would love the opportunity to apologize. He hurt you, literally, and I bet he knows it. Call him, tell him you’re gonna come see him. I promise I will go with you, just say when.”
I picked up my phone and dialed Sam’s number. ‘Please pick up, please pick up,’ I whispered to myself.
“Aubree?” He answered.
“Hi Sam,” I replied in a hushed tone.
“Thank God Aubree, nobody would tell me if you were okay, they wouldn’t even talk to me. You don’t even know how…”
“Sam,” I cut him off, “I want to hear this in person. I don’t wanna do this over the phone. Are you home?”
“Yeah, you can come over,” Same told me.
“Okay, I’ll be there in twenty.” I said and hung up.
“You still want me to come?” Brayden asked.
“Yes please. I don’t think I can do this alone.”
The ride to Sam’s wasn’t as awkward as I thought it would be. Brayden kept asking me questions and I was barely even thinking about Sam. I also wasn’t thinking about how much I hated Brayden. I looked over at him and smiled.
“What?” he asked me.
“Tell me,” Brayden said and nudged me.
“I’ll tell you later, I promise.”
We pulled into Sam’s driveway. Brayden must have seen me tense up, because he reached over and grabbed my hand.
“You’re sure you’re ready to do this?” He asked me.
“Positive,” I said and got out of the car. I rung the doorbell and braced myself. I heard something inside get knocked over and before I knew it there was Sam standing in front of me.
“Who’s he?” was the first thing Sam asked me.
“Um,” I said and looked at Brayden. He shook his head as if to tell me ‘not now,’ “This is my friend Brayden,” I told Sam. We walked into his living room and sat down.
His house was clean, like always. It was also empty, like always. Sam’s parents were never home. They were always taking vacations or working. Sam’s grandparents used to stay with him, but a few years ago he protested, and now he stays home alone. I sat down on the couch and Sam sat next to me. Brayden just leaned against the wall.
“So…” I said, breaking the awkward silence.
“Right, look, Aubree I don’t even know where to start. I, I’m so sorry for everything that happened that night. When I say everything, I mean everything.”
I knew exactly what he was talking about. Here come the tears, great.
“I don’t know what got into me. Or why I would have ever done something like that. I know I was high, but that’s not a good excuse. I felt so terrible. I stayed with you until the ambulance got there, but the cops came too, and then I couldn’t come with you to the hospital.”
“Did they arrest you?”
“Yeah, they got me for attempted murder, illegal weapon possession, and being under the influence. But I got let out on bail. Now I have a parole officer, and this nifty tracking bracelet that doesn’t let me go anywhere within ten miles of here.” I nodded, not knowing what to say.
“I don’t expect you to forgive me at all, but I need you to know how sorry I am. I lost my temper, lost my best friend, and almost lost another one.”
“Alex won’t talk to me. I don’t even know where he is.”
“But you guys have been best friends since you were two, he can’t just decide to not be your friend anymore.”
“Have you talked to him at all?”
“No, I haven’t. But I will. Soon,” I told Sam. I looked over at Brayden who was fidgeting with his phone as if to say he felt awkward in this situation. I smiled a little then turned back to Sam. I had to tell him eventually, but not now. Not until after I find Alex. Sam and I said goodbye. I promised to let him know if I talked to Alex. With that Brayden got in the car and we drove off. The ride home was painfully quiet. I didn’t know what to do. I’ve never been caught with a moment like this before.
“Are you okay?” I finally asked him.
“What? Yeah, I’m fine. Just a little tired,” Brayden told me and gave the fakest smile I’ve ever seen.
“I may not know you very well yet, but you’re lying.”
“How do you know?”
“Because when you lie you do that thing with your fingers that you were just doing.”
“No I don’t!” Brayden exclaimed. He was moving his fingers in circles, and hyper extending his thumbs.
“You’re doing it right now Brayden. So quit lying to me. What happened to the ‘we have to tell each other stuff’ speech you gave me? Does it not apply to you?” I questioned.
“Ha ha, very funny Aubree, I was just thinking about everything that just happened.”
“Everything meaning what?”
“The whole conversation you had with Sam. Especially that part where he said he was sorry for ‘everything’ that happened that night. I got a sense that you didn’t tell me everything that happened that night.” I looked down at my hands that were sitting in my lap.
“No, I didn’t tell you everything.”
“Are you going to?” Brayden asked. I sighed, here we go again.
“That night, we had all been at a party, if that wasn’t obvious already. Sam and I were dating. He left to go get a drink, and I knew he was going to smoke, but there was really nothing I could do. So I hung out with some of my other friends and waited for him to come back. About an hour passed, so I obviously got a little worried. I went looking for him. He wasn’t outside, not in the kitchen, or the basement, or the bathroom. The next room I checked I found him. He was in a bedroom with another girl. I picked up a drink and threw it on him. He followed me, but I told him to get lost. Well it was meaner than that, but you know. Alex was both of our rides home that night, but since I was sober I ended up driving. We were driving down Michigan Avenue when Alex decided to yell at Sam for what he did to me. I stopped the car so that we didn’t end up in an accident, and the made their way to a nearby alley. And that’s everything you didn’t know. Oh, and Alex liked me. That’s why he got so mad at Sam. That’s also probably why Sam hasn’t heard from him.”
Brayden didn’t say anything. He just kept his eyes on the road. I looked out the window and started to cry, again. And for the third time today, Brayden reached over and held my hand. Oh what I would do to hold his hand forever. Wait…what was I saying? I’m supposed to hate this guy. Why is this so hard? I went back and forth in my mind for what seemed like forever. I just needed to talk to him, really talk to him.
When will it all make sense?