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Heartbreak and Healing
“Jodie!” I hear him shout. I ignore him and keep walking. He means nothing to me now. I don’t even want to look at him. “Jodie! Wait!” I hear him call after me, the sound of his voice gets closer. He approaches me and places his hand on my shoulder. I shake it off, disgusted by his touch. I reel around to face him.
“What?” I spit at him. My blood is boiling.
“Jodie…” He says, trying to touch my cheek. I flinch away.
“Don’t touch me!” I yell angrily. Glaring at him, wanting to slap him across his face.
“Jodie, I love you.” He says, grabbing my hands and rubbing the tops with his thumbs.
“Jesse, stop.” I shake my head and pull my hands from his grasp.
“It’s true. I love you more than anything.” He admits.
“Stop it! Just stop it!” I shout, now trying to fight back tears. No. I will not cry. He’s not worth my tears. He never truly loved me. It was all just a lie.
“You mean everything to me.” He says pitifully.
“Ha! Some way to show it!” I laugh bitterly in his face.
“Stop it! Stop saying my name! Stop trying to make me feel bad! Just stop talking to me!” I scream. He says nothing. He just stares at me.
“I’m so sorry.” He finally mumbles after a long moment. His lousy apology causes another wave of anger to wash through me.
“Sorry? You’re sorry?!” I laugh sarcastically. He looks at me with a sad look in his eyes. Why is he sad? He has no reason to be.
“I wish it were enough.” He whispers.
“This is your fault! Don’t even pretend to act like you’re sorry! You made the choice! You chose to lose me.” My eyes start to tear up as I say the last part.
“Jodie, I wasn’t thinking…I shouldn’t have done what I did.” He raises his hand to wipe away a tear that has made its way down my cheek. I let him. His gentle touch brings back memories. Happy memories. I close my eyes. I can’t let him get to me. What he did was wrong. Very wrong and unforgivable. I try to muster up my anger again, but now all I feel is an overwhelming sadness.
“I loved you…” I say, barely loud enough to hear. More tears spill out of my eyes. I wipe them away, frustrated that I can’t control them.
“Please stop crying.” He insists.
“Can you please just leave?” I ask. He doesn’t move. My anger returns. “Go!” I point in the direction of his car. The car he arrived in earlier that night, to the party that he and I had been planning for a long time. To celebrate summer. Some celebration…
“I can’t.” He states.
“I don’t want you here anymore.” I say coldly. “I don’t ever want to talk to you. So please leave me alone and don’t bother me.” I’m just tired of dealing with him.
“Jodie.” He looks at me sadly.
“You screwed up Jesse. There is no way to fix it. It’s too late.” I’m exhausted. I just want to climb into my bed and curl up and sleep all my pain away.
“She meant nothing.” He says. When will he learn that I’m not buying his lies anymore? I sigh.
“Obviously she did, or else you wouldn’t have been with her tonight.” I try to control my anger.
“She’s nothing. I loved you. I still do love you. Jodie please.” He begs. This is pathetic.
“You’re a filthy cheater!” I yell. I keep replaying it in my mind. The look on his face, better yet the look on the face of the platinum blonde I caught him fooling around with. I shake my head, trying to clear the image out of my mind. He has frozen, at a loss for words. “I thought I knew you…” I shake my head again, laughing sadly to myself. Boy was I wrong.
“It was real. Our love. It really was Jodie. Don’t ever doubt that.” He tries to make me soften, but I refuse. I’m too furious.
“Leave. Now.” I demand.
“I really am sorry.” He tries to apologize again as he very slowly turns to leave.
“Sorry just isn’t enough this time Jesse.” I state sadly, tears start to form in my eyes again. Luckily his back is turned so he can’t see. By the time he’s inside his car my face is soaked with salty tears. I walk up onto the porch and sit down on the bench. I hug my knees to my chest and bury my head in my legs. I start sobbing uncontrollably. After about twenty minutes, I finally manage to stop crying and I wipe my face, hoping my makeup hasn’t been completely ruined. The party inside seems to be in full swing, the music is blaring and I can hear a group of girls giggling happily. I’m glad someone is having fun tonight.
“Hey.” I hear someone say from behind me. I turn to see who it is. It’s a guy I’ve never seen before. What does he want?
“Hi.” I say. He walks closer to me.
“You alright?” He asks.
“I’m just peachy.” I say bitterly.
“Good, here I was thinking maybe you’d been crying or something.” He says sarcastically.
“Is that supposed to be funny?” I ask, glaring up at him.
“Kind of. May I sit?” He asks, motioning toward the bench.
“I guess.” I say with a sniffle. He walks over the rest of the way and carefully sits down next to me.
“So do you always do your makeup like this?” He asks, trying to be funny again.
“Yeah, because I choose to look like a raccoon all the time.” I laugh dryly. He sits there and just looks at me, his smile has faded and now his face looks almost sad.
“It’s a shame…” He says, not finishing his sentence.
“What is?” I ask.
“Oh nothing…It’s just a shame a pretty girl like you is stuck sitting out here crying...” He looks away from me. I don’t know what to say. So I say nothing and I just look at him. Who is this guy anyway? And why does he care that I’m sitting outside.
“That’s nice of you to say, but…” I say, trailing off. I’m not sure why he has so much interest in me. We sit there for a while in awkward silence.
“So um…what’s your name?” I question, realizing I never asked.
“Derek.” He replies with a smile. Derek. He doesn’t even look like a Derek. “And yours?” He adds.
“Jodie.” I answer.
“Jodie. That’s a pretty name.” He says quietly. Maybe I wasn’t meant to hear that. “I like that name.” He says, louder so I can hear him this time. Another awkward silence falls over us. Music is still playing from inside the house. I’m still not even sure what he wants.
“So…” I try to fill the silence.
“So what’s the story?” He asks. Story? What story?
“What do you mean?” I look at him puzzled.
“Why were you sitting alone outside crying when I found you?” He questions. Wow that’s personal…
“Um…no offense, but I’d rather not talk about it with some guy I hardly know.” I say, trying not to offend him. He shrugs.
“Fair enough.” He agrees. Not even trying to pry anymore. I’m sort of surprised he let me blow off his question so easily.
“Why did you leave the party early?” I ask.
“I’d rather not discuss that with some girl I just met.” He laughs winking at me. He thinks he’s so funny. “I’m just joking, I’m just not much of a partier.” He chuckles. Not much of a partier? Then why did he come to my party?
“Then why’d you come?” I ask
“My girlfriend wanted me to bring her.” He mutters. He has a girlfriend? Then why is he out here wasting time talking to me when he could be inside dancing with her?
“Oh.” I don’t know what to say.
“Yeah but things didn’t work out very well, she dumped me tonight…” He says sadly.
“Oh, I’m really sorry to hear that.” I say. Poor guy. He lost his girlfriend and was still trying to make me feel better. That’s actually really sweet.
“It’s alright.” He says. I can tell he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore. “It happened for a reason I guess.” He adds.
“I guess so.” I say, at a loss for words.
“One good thing came out of it though.” He perks up.
“What’s that?” I wonder. I look up at him and I notice his amazing green eyes. Why hadn’t I noticed them before?
“I met you.” He smiles. A smile works its way across my face. This is the first time I’ve smiled all night. The first time since the fight with Jesse…suddenly I remember everything and memories flood my mind. My smile fades. I can’t let this guy get to me. He’s just saying these things to make me like him. I’m not going to let that happen again. I won’t fall for his words.
“That’s such a line.” I say, accusingly. He’s taken back by my response.
“It’s the truth. Talking to you has taken my mind off of everything.” He says seriously.
“Well I’m glad I could help.” I say, smiling slightly
“Would you like to dance?” He asks suddenly. Dance? With him? Now? He stands, and reaches out for my hand. I hesitate before taking it. “This way ma’am.” He smiles, leading me in the direction of the gazebo behind the house. The music from inside is loud and easy to hear once we are out back. He gently places his hands on my hips, waiting for the next song to start. A slow song begins playing and my heart almost stops. This song…brings back too many memories…
“I- I think I’ve changed my mind…” I stutter, trying not to think about Jesse. Or how this song used to be “our song”.
“You don’t want to dance?” He asks me, loosening his grip slightly.
“Not to this song…” I say, looking away from him sadly.
“Please dance with me.” He pleas.
“But...” I hesitate.
“Come on.” He guides me and we sway back and forth. We dance for a while until the song ends. I sigh. Tonight has been a very long night. It feels as though everything that happened earlier happened days ago, when it’s only been an hour.
“So Jodie, whose last name I do not know, am I really that awful to dance with?” He asks, with a smile. His question snaps me back to reality.
“Morrison.” I state. He looks at me, confused. “My last name, it’s Morrison.” I explain.
“Jodie Morrison.” He says. “Pretty name for a pretty girl.” He smiles. I can’t help but smile back at him. He slowly releases me from his grip.
“Can we sit?” I ask him, not really wanting to dance anymore. He nods and takes my hand to lead me over to the deck. We sit down on the large outdoor couch. It’s so dark out. I wonder how late it is.
“What are you thinking?” He asks me, taking me by surprise. I lie back on the couch and close my eyes.
“I’m thinking…” I sigh and open my eyes before finally answering him. “I’m thinking about everything that has happened tonight…” I say, stating the truth but not giving too much away.
“That’s a very vague answer.” He says, raising an eyebrow at me.
“I’m not an open book like you.” I say, trying not to make it sound harsh. He looks at me, shocked by my comment.
“Is that a good thing?” He asks.
“Yes.” I say, as an image of Jesse pops into my head.
“Why?” He looks intrigued now.
“It protects me…” I say, not liking where this conversation is going.
“From what, Jodie?” He’s not letting this go.
“From getting hurt…” I whisper, looking away from him. He doesn’t say anything. I regret saying it as soon as the words leave my mouth. I regret ever talking to Derek. I regret everything that happened with Jesse…A tear escapes down my cheek. I need to leave. I don’t need Derek feeling bad for me. I don’t need his pity. I wipe my tear away, frustrated. Another makes its way down my other cheek. Derek sits beside me silently, I can tell he’s noticed my tears. I feel him place a hand on my knee. I flinch at his touch. I don’t want him to touch me. He wipes away a falling tear with his thumb and tucks a piece of my unmanageable hair behind my ear. We sit there for a long while in silence, aside from my sniffling.
“I’m sorry.” I finally say, sniffling loudly. I’m so embarrassed. I’ve never cried in front of anyone before.
“Don’t apologize.” He says, not breaking my gaze.
“So much has happened…” I trail off, a new set of tears come tumbling down my cheeks. I really can’t control myself. He pulls me toward him and wraps me in a tight, warm hug. I begin sobbing into his shoulder. He stays silent. I cry until I don’t think I can cry anymore. I lift my head and loosen my grip on him. I lean back until I can see his face. I look at him pitifully. I know I look like a mess.
“I’m so sorry.” I say, beyond embarrassed. I sniffle once again.
“Don’t be.” He smoothes back my hair.
“Your shirt…” I look down at his tear stained T shirt. There are a few black smudges from my make up too. That’ll never come out. He seems unconcerned.
“Don’t worry about it.” He nonchalantly says.
“I’ll pay for you to buy a new one.” I insist.
“Really, I’m not worried about it. What I am worried about is you. Are you okay?” He questions. Am I okay? No. I’m definitely not okay.
“I’m fine.” I say, sniffling again.
“Please stop trying to be so tough…” He says. “You don’t have to pretend to be okay.” He states. I don’t know what to say so I just stare at him. “You shouldn’t cry Jodie. It kills me to see such a beautiful girl like you so sad…” He looks sadly down at me. Beautiful? Does he mean that? No one has ever called me beautiful. Except…
“Please stop.” He says, catching a freshly fallen tear with his thumb.
“I deserved it…” I whisper. There’s a long silence. It’s as though he’s afraid to ask.
“I deserved to be cheated on…” I burst into tears again. Why can’t I ever stop crying?!
“Oh Jodie.” He looks so sad. He pulls me into another hug. He squeezes me tight against him. “No one deserves that,” He mumbles into my hair. “Especially you.” He adds. I continue crying into his shoulder and I feel as though I can’t even stop.
“Sorry,” I sob loudly. “I’m so sorry.” I repeat. He must think I’m an emotional freak. He doesn’t say anything, he just let’s me cry. I’m sobbing so hard. He twirls a piece of my hair in between his fingers and waits patiently for me to stop.
“Jodie.” He says, trying to get me to look at him. I sniffle loudly. “He’s a douche.” He states very angrily. I look up at him and I can’t help but laugh. I could think of much worst things to call him.
“That may be an understatement.” I say, giggling and not even sure why.
“That’s a much better sound.” He says, looking at me with a slight smile.
“What is?” I question.
“Your laugh, it’s a much better sound than crying.” He says. He wipes my still wet face with both his thumbs.
“You must think I’m crazy.” I say seriously.
“Not nearly as crazy as I am.” He smiles.
“Do you know what time it is?” I ask, suddenly realizing the music is no longer playing inside. Has everyone left already?
“It’s around two,” He says “Two forty-three to be exact.” He corrects himself after pulling his phone out of his pocket and glancing at it. It’s almost three! Wow, I hadn’t realized how late it really was.
“I should really get to bed.” I say, sliding over and away from him on the couch a little.
“Yeah, me too.” He agrees, starting to stand up. He offers me a hand and pulls me up off the couch.
“Thanks.” I say genuinely. I smile at him.
“For what?” He asks.
“For everything.” I say. He just looks at me, his hand is still holding mine. He smiles back at me. We both kind of stand there awkwardly.
“It has been a pleasure meeting you, Jodie Morrison.” He says in a funny accent.
“Nice meeting you as well Derek…” I stop and realize he hasn’t told me his last name.
“Foster.” He says with a grin
“Farwell, Derek Foster.” I smile and wave.
“Until next time.” He says smoothly.
“What if there is no next time?” I ask. He grins at me again.
“Bye Jodie.” He says sweetly.
He walks off the deck and back around to the front of the house. That may be the last time I ever see him… I walk inside to look at what damage was done. There are cups all throughout the living room and kitchen, there’s a puddle of something, maybe root beer, on the new tile floor, and the couch cushions have been wildly thrown around throughout the room. I grab a large trash bag and begin picking up cups and bits of food. How hard is it for people to clean up after themselves? I fix all the furniture and locate all the couch cushions. Once I’m completely finished I change into my pajamas and call it a night. I’m exhausted. The next morning I wake up with a pounding headache, due to my lack of sleep. I glance at the clock, 10:45. I groan and cover my head with my pillow. I fall back asleep for a little while but I am eventually woken up by a strange sound. I can hear a pinging sound coming from outside. I crawl out of bed and walk over to my window. I see something small bounce off the glass. I see a figure standing below. My eyes readjust and I can see that it’s Derek. And he’s throwing stones at my window. He grins at me when he notices me peeking out at him. What the heck is he doing here? I quickly unlock the window and slide it open.
“Hey there.” He yells up at me. I just wave. “I was hoping this was the right window.” He laughs.
“Why are you here?” I question him.
“I’m not quite sure.” He states with a shrug.
“Hold on.” I motion for him to stay where he is. I close the window and slip on my flip flops and meet him outside on the lawn.
“Hi.” I say once outside.
“Hello, long time no see.” He smirks at me. Wow, he’s a lot better looking than I remember from last night.
“So umm…” I mumble, not knowing what to say or what he wants.
“Would you like to come to breakfast with me?” He asks suddenly.
“Umm…sure…” I answer, almost in a question. His face lights up.
“Ok!” He smiles.
“I guess I should change.” I smile and start toward the front door. “You can come in too, if you’d like.” I offer.
“Alright.” He agrees and follows me inside.
“I’ll be right back down.” I say, already halfway up the stairs. “Make yourself at home.” I add. Once in my room I hurry to decide on what to wear. I don’t want to dress too casual, but not too fancy either or he might get the wrong idea. Why is he even here? To ask me to breakfast? Does he think this is some sort of date? Maybe I should’ve said no… I decide to wear a cute printed skirt with a turquoise blouse and sandals. Not something I would wear on a date, but not something I would bum around the house in either. Perfect. I brush my hair and braid it in a quick fishtail. I brush on some mascara and eye shadow, and a little eye liner as well. I brush my teeth and apply a small amount of lip gloss. Now I’m good to go. I grab my purse on my way out of my room and prance down the stairs. I find Derek watching TV.
“Hey.” I say, announcing my presence in the room so I wouldn’t startle him. He glances up and does a double take.
“Hi.” He grins wide. Uh oh. He definitely got the wrong impression. “Ready to go?” He asks.
“Yeah, I guess so.” I say, walking toward the front door. When I open the door I can see his car parked by the curb. He opens the passenger door for me and I slide in. He hurries around to the other side and gets in and starts the car.
“So do you like Denny’s?” He asks me as we drive.
“Their pancakes are amazing.” I answer. He smiles.
“I think you’re amazing.” He smiles and briefly looks over at me. Did he really just say that?
“What?” I ask, still surprised at what he just said.
“You’re amazing.” He repeats himself. Why is he saying that? I’m not interested in a relationship or anything at all right now. Not after the whole Jesse thing last night… I can’t do it again.
“Derek…” I trail off, not sure how to put my feelings into words. Shouldn’t he realize that the last thing I need right now is a relationship? He glances at me again.
“What?” He asks, looking somewhat worried. I sigh.
“You can’t say things like that…” I shake my head. “I can’t be involved with anyone right now…I don’t want a relationship.” I stare at my hands.
“I understand.” He says. I can tell he’s kind of bummed. We drive a little longer in silence and finally arrive at Denny’s. Once we are seated and have ordered our pancakes and sausage, we sit in another awkward silence.
“So I think I should apologize for what I said in the car.” I say, unable to bare the quiet any longer.
“You have no reason to apologize, you have very good reasons not to want a relationship right now.” He agrees.
“I just need time to get over it I guess.” I shrug slightly. I’m really not sure what it’s going to take for me to get over Jesse and what he did to me.
“Just remember that not everyone is and like him.” He glances across the table at me. “Not everyone is going to hurt you.” He adds.
“I know that not everyone will do that. But it still happened and it still hurts.” I sadly return his gaze. I really don’t want to have this discussion anymore.
“I really like you Jodie, and I would never do anything like that to you.” He places his hand on mine on top of the table.
“I just can’t do it right now.” I slide my hand out from under his. He just nods sadly. “I’m sorry.” I feel really bad about turning him down.
“Let’s just make a deal then, we’ll be friends for now, and see what happens in the future.” He smirks at me. I hesitate for a moment but eventually agree.
“Deal.” I smile, holding out my hand. He grabs it in his and shakes it.
“Good timing.” Derek says, looking up and spotting the waiter who is walking towards us with steaming plates of pancakes.
“Yum.” My eyes light up. He wastes no time, as soon as his plate is in front of him he picks up a huge piece of sausage and takes a bite out of it. I laugh at him and cut up my pancakes.
“I think I burnt my tongue.” He tries to say while eating a piece of pancake.
“Serves you right, you practically inhaled your food.” I joke. He points his syrup covered fork at me.
“It takes talent to eat as fast as I do.” He shoves another bite into his mouth. I just roll my eyes and eat my pancakes. Only a few minutes later when I glance over at his plate, I notice that it is completely empty.
“Wow.” I raise my eyebrows at him. “You sure were hungry.” I smile. I finish my food and take a sip of my orange juice. He burps loudly.
“Gross.” I scrunch up my nose.
“Well now that we’ve agreed to only be friends, I have no reason to impress you anymore.” He smirks.
“I guess you’re right.” I agree. I have to admit, if the timing weren’t so lousy, I may actually like Derek as more than just a friend. He’s very cute and polite, well when he’s not belching at the breakfast table, at least. Derek pays for our breakfast and we decide to head back to my house. It’s a fairly short drive and we sing along to the radio on the way. He tries to go for a high note and his voice cracks and I erupt in a fit of laughter.
“Just call me Mariah.” He laughs along with me.
“That was really funny.” I say, trying to catch my breath. He pulls into my driveway and we hop out of the car.
“I try my best.” He grins.
“Well thanks for breakfast.” I say politely. I’m not sure if I should invite him inside or not.
“No problem.” He says. “I should probably get going though.” He adds, glancing at the time on the dashboard.
“Oh okay, thanks again, for breakfast, for last night, everything.” I start to walk to the front door.
“Wait.” Derek stops me. “Before you go…” He hesitates.
“What is it?” I ask.
“When can I pick you up for a real date?” He smirks. I just kind of shake my head at him. He won’t give up. I don’t answer him. “How about tomorrow night? Dinner and a movie?” He persists. I just look at him, knowing it’s not a god idea. I know I’m not ready. I sigh and get ready to turn him down again but I’m surprised at the words that actually come out of my mouth.
“Pick me up at seven.” I say simply. A huge smile makes its way across his face. This boy better be different…