Title: Alive [Chapter Eight]
Summary: Sage Alvi’s whole world turned upside-down when she lost her mother to cancer. Now forced to live with a father she never knew, she’s trying to navigate her way through a new home, city and school. To make things worse, her half-siblings hate her and she’s being bullied by the cool crowd.
They say high school is hard, but this is just ridiculous.
Cold water from the shower rained on Sage’s skin, doing nothing to cool her temper. The humiliating moment from earlier flashed through her mind, and she chastised herself once again for her stupidity. Why did she kiss Aidan? Aidan, of all people! Most of the time she didn’t even like him. As for the kiss itself, well, she didn’t want to think about it, not at all, not the way his mouth had devoured hers, or how his hands caressed her back. And she absolutely did not want to remember the guilt marring his face after Cat walked in on them. Unfortunately, that image was etched into Sage’s brain. One second they had been swept up in each other, the next he was pulling away like they had just been caught doing something wrong. That moment made it clear things weren’t completely over between Aidan and her sister, and that infuriated Sage. Why the hell was he flirting with her if he still had feelings for Cat? He had a reputation for being a player, but Sage had assumed their friendship would prevent him from treating her like she was another piece of ass. Obviously, that wasn’t the case.
Shortly after Sage slipped into a terry-cloth robe and exited the en-suite bathroom, stopping midstride at the sight of Aidan lounging on her bed, his back perched against the headboard, long legs on display along the mattress. Carefree, relaxed, like he was dropping by for a casual visit.
As soon as they locked gazes, he sat up straight. Eyes darkening, brows furrowed together, he appeared as tense as she felt. The air was taut with volatile energy, ready to explode any second. “What do you want?” she demanded.
He rose to his feet, shuffling his weight from one leg to another. “We need to talk.”
“I have nothing to say to you.”
“Really? That’s how you want to play this? Like nothing happened between us?”
“Look, you took me by surprise. And then Cat came in and I just… I didn’t want to throw us in her face like that without talking to her first. You get that, don’t you?”
“Please stop. You’re boring me with your explanations.”
“Well then, what do you want to do?” he snapped. “Make-out?”
A furious blush spread across her cheeks. “Get out!” She held his stare despite cringing with embarrassment on the inside. Like hell she was going to give him the satisfaction of knowing he was getting to her.
“You’re an ass, you know that?”
“Isn’t that what you like about me?”
“Don’t flatter yourself!”
“You kissed me, remember?”
“Because I felt sorry for you!”
“Stop lying to yourself.”
Something in her wanted to hurt Aidan, wipe out that cocky glint in his eyes and make him feel the same kind of humiliation she had experienced earlier. “No, I’m really not,” she taunted, approaching him. “You’re just so pathetic with your need for affection. Any girl even looks at you and you’re all over them, like a dog in heat.”
Her words had the desired effect. His eyes hardened, and he levelled her with a hostile glare. “Is that why you were practically ready to fuck me before?”
“Get over yourself. I’m not one of your skanks.”
“You would have been on your knees and sucking me off if I hadn’t stopped you.” A cruel sneer crossed his face. “But even I have my limits. Blow job or not, I would never do that to Cat.”
“Not now. Maybe another time when you’re not being such a bitch.”
“Next time your father decides to teach you a lesson, don’t come crying to me. Go to someone who actually gives a damn about you. If you can find someone that is.”
The words rushed out before she could stop herself, and she was instantly filled with regret at the wounded expression on his face. The horrid words made her want to retch, she couldn’t imagine how he must have been feeling. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, reaching out to comfort him but he pushed her hands away.
“Don’t touch me.”
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean it. Any of it.”
He didn’t respond, rushing past her and out of the room. The door shut behind him, the noise reverberating throughout the room.
For a long time she sat on the edge of the bed, frozen, berating herself for what just happened. Her mother had always warned her to think before speaking when she was angry, but this was the first time Sage realised the consequences of her own temper. Regardless of what was happening between them, she had no business throwing what his father did in Aidan’s face. He was trapped in a difficult situation and needed friends, and instead of being in his corner she had reminded him of how alone he was. Reaching for the phone, she called him. He didn’t pick up. Several tries later, she texted him.
“Aidan, I’m sorry. Please call me so we can talk.”
After an hour she finally fell asleep, still waiting for him to return her messages.
There was no response.
The following Monday Sage was retrieving a textbook from her locker when Aidan’s laughter reached her ears. Surrounded by friends, he was goofing around and behaving like his normal self. This morning he had made a point of looking right through her when their paths crossed in the hallway, pretending she didn’t exist. His refusal to be alone with her left her with no choice. If she wanted to make him listen, she had to do it here.
With hesitant steps she approached him, her stomach trembling, the nervousness increasing tenfold once he finally met her gaze. For a brief moment she caught a glimpse of the Aidan she had come to know, the vulnerable part of him hidden beneath a veneer of snark and arrogance. However that look was quickly replaced by his usual smug mask. As she drew closer, the subtle arch of his eyebrow revealed his surprise by her nearing proximity while the stubborn lift of his chin dared her to continue. It wasn’t until she was inches apart that the furious glint in his eyes returned with a vengeance.
“Can I talk to you?”
He levelled her with a hostile stare, leaning back against his locker. “Not interested.”
“Don’t be a jerk, please. Can we just talk somewhere quiet?”
Suddenly one of his friends, Tim, came up from behind and threw his arm around Sage. “Be careful, bro. Think she’s trying to recruit you into being a Jihadi.” He turned to her, gesturing lewdly with his tongue. “Hey Sage, I’ll bomb whoever you want if you suck my cock.”
She shrugged his arm away, disgusted. “I’ve heard there isn’t much to suck, little Timmy.”
Tim lunged at her, ready to strike, but Aidan pulled him back, shoving him hard against the locker. “Calm the fuck down, dude!” He glanced at his other two friends. “Get him out of here!”
Thanks to the altercation they were now the center of attention, but Sage was determined to ignore the hushed whispers. She kept her gaze trained on Aidan even though his remained on Tim who was still swearing at her while being dragged away.
“Are you okay?” Aidan asked after a brief pause.
The concern in his tone contradicted the hostility on his face, but she was relieved that he still cared. “I’m fine.”
Once his hazel eyes settled upon her, the atmosphere between them grew more strained. Despite finally having the chance to apologize to him, she found herself remaining silent for fear of making things worse.
“You need to watch what you say to people,” he said.
Irritation shot through her upon realising he was blaming her for Tim’s behaviour. “You need to make better friends.”
“The ones I have now are just fine.”
“Maybe. But at least they don’t lie about who they are. With them what you see is what you get.”
“When have I lied to you?”
“When you pretended to give a shit about me.”
“I do care, Aidan.”
“No, what you feel is pity for me. Your words, not mine.”
“Oh, and you’ve never said anything you don’t mean?”
Jaw clenched, he glared at her coldly. “Cat was right about you. You are a fucking bitch.”
She flinched at his harsh words, her insides threatening to crumble, but she refused to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing her break. Especially Aidan. “You’re right. I am. Thanks for reminding me.” Before he could hurl any more insults at her, she walked away.
At lunch time Sage headed towards the small shady area behind the soccer field. Hardly anyone went there, and she’d be far away from prying eyes – even those of her friends who were dying to find out what happened in the hallway earlier. Frankly, it was easier to be alone. Unfortunately she found Marcus sitting in her desired spot, smoking a spliff.
“Hey,” he greeted with a smile.
“Sorry, I didn’t know anyone was going to be here.”
“No big deal. You can stay if you want.”
“It’s okay.” She was about to walk away when his words stopped her in her tracks.
“Hey, I heard you were offering free blow jobs in the hallway this morning. Is that true?”
“Are you kidding me? Is that what they’re saying happened?”
“I heard it from two people.”
“If I was really giving blow jobs why would Tim almost punch me? He’d probably be screaming with joy.”
“Fucking idiots! I hate the people here so much.”
Marcus smiled. “I know the feeling.” Raising his hand, he offered her the blunt he was holding. “Here. I think you need this more than I do.”
She shook her head ‘no’.
“Didn’t realise you were such a stickler for rules,” he teased.
“Knowing my luck, they’re watching us right now to catch me red-handed and expel me.”
“Yeah well, I can’t help it.”
“Getting expelled isn’t that bad, maybe your parents will ship you off to a different school then. That’s what mine always do.”
“My mother is dead and I live with a family that can’t stand me. If I do something to embarrass them, they’ll kick me out.”
“Sucks to be you.”
“Tell me about it,” she muttered, taking a seat next to him.
Over the next half hour as he talked incessantly about all kinds of topics, she found herself drawn to his breezy attitude. Although he was often gossiped about, he really didn’t care what anyone else thought. She admired that about him. Her own hard facade was simply a mask, but in Marcus’s case he really was immune to everyone else’s opinion. If only she was built that way, maybe Aidan’s words wouldn’t sting and she wouldn’t be hurting this much. It was her fault, really, for letting herself believe they had become friends. It simply wasn’t possible for them to forge any kind of friendship when they were so different from each other. In a way, it was a good thing the fight occurred when it did; it opened her eyes to the reality of their situation.
Refusing to dwell on Aidan any longer, she gave herself a mental shake and focused her attention back on Marcus.
In English class the next day, things went from bad to worse. Sage was concentrating on the reading assignment when loud voices drew her attention to the conversation between Cat and Tish.
“I really like that necklace, Tish. It has a vintage feel to it.”
“If by vintage you mean tacky and cheap.”
Wondering why Tish would bother to wear something she didn’t seem to like, Sage glanced up at the redhead and spotted the necklace around her neck. It was a thin silver chain, held together with a small safety pin. In the center was a white-gold infinity pendant. The very same necklace Layal wore every day and had bequeathed to Sage before passing away. She never wore the necklace as it served as a constant reminder of the loss of her mother. Instead, she had stored it away in a small box and kept it on the vanity table. And now, somehow, Tish had managed to get her hands on it. Sage was overcome with hot, potent rage at the sight of something she loved so dearly wrapped around Tish’s neck. “That’s my necklace! How the hell did you get it?”
“Excuse me,” Tish replied in a snotty tone. “My maid gave this to me on my birthday.”
“You’re lying. You’re fucking lying.”
“Ms. Alvi, watch your language or you’ll be paying a visit to the principal’s office.”
Oblivious to the teacher’s words, Sage was fixated on the snickering glances exchanged between Tish and Cat. “Give it back to me, Tish. Or I swear to God I will make you pay.”
“Are you threatening me? That’s what your people always do, right?”
“Give it back!” Sage screamed, tears streaming down her face.
“Make me,” Tish smirked.
Blinded by fury, Sage stood up and rushed towards Tish.
In the next second, a vicious fight broke out between the two.
Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced without written consent from the author.