All about you, part 1 (Love & Hate series #1) (5 page)

BOOK: All about you, part 1 (Love & Hate series #1)
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“Okay, you’ve got me now,” I say. “So just be quick. I need to pop into the library after lunch.”

“Did you have some kind of confrontation with our hot Oliver?” she asks, slamming her hands on the table.

My mouth goes dry. How the hell would Dora know about this? No one could know that Oliver threatened me in the bathroom. “No. We aren’t exactly on speaking terms”

“Are you sure?”

“What are you getting at, Dora? Don’t you remember Oliver and I hated each other? And we still do.”

“I know, but I thought that you were doing that because you had feelings for him?”

I don’t like where this conversation is going. I don’t have any feelings for Oliver anymore. He is dead to me like Christian.

“He hit me with the ball, Dora. Do you think I’d be interested in a such a loser?”

She tosses her hair behind and licks her lips waving towards Jacob. “He is hot and every girl on the campus wants him. He changed, so I assumed that you also changed your perspective”

“Nothing’s changed. I still want nothing to do with him.”

“That’s too bad because I always thought that you’d make a cute couple.”

“Don’t be delusional, Dora,” I tell her, getting angry. “Christian was my boyfriend and

Oliver was his brother. That’s the end of story.”

“Fine, fine. I’m only teasing,” she says. “Here is the thing. I made friends with a few girls from the cheerleader squad for the rugby boys, and they told me something very interesting about Oliver.”

I hate when Dora gets all serious. She has that tendency of exaggerating the whole truth, even if it’s just the smallest thing. She’s doing that right now, like she needs to keep a secret but she can’t wait to tell me everything. “Dora, seriously, I’m not interested. I want to stay away from Oliver. I’m here to study. Fooling around is not on the agenda.”

She leans closer, touching my hand. Her olive eyes flicker with excitement. “You should be interested, because they were talking about you. Apparently Oliver made a bet over you with one of the boys from the rugby team.”

I shake my head, confused for a moment, then I start laughing. “A bet?”

She narrows her eyes, looking angry. “Yes, Oliver told some other guy that you will leave within a few months, that he will make sure that you do,” she says.

I stop smiling and look away, trying to compose myself. Violent emotions pull me apart and I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. Is it really possible that he could go that far, to make sure that I disappear from his life? My heart starts pounding way too fast, and I swallow hard. Then Dora turns to look over my shoulder, and I feel like the atmosphere in the canteen shifts. Girls are turning their heads, sending wide smiles across the room. My skin goes hot within a moment because I already know who is walking through the canteen. I don’t dare to turn around, but I can feel his blue eyes on my back.

The air changes when he is around, like he affects everyone.

“Are you done now?” I ask, looking her in the eye. Dora acts startled, her mouth hanging open.

Then I hear his voice and my stomach contracts.

“Jacob, we’ve got to rush.”

“Come on, man, I haven’t finished my food,” complains Dora’s brand new boyfriend.

“Don’t care. We got stuff to do,” says my enemy number one.

I tense my shoulders, praying he hasn’t noticed me yet.

“Hey, Oliver,” Dora shouts, giving one of her best smiles, “don’t try to steal Jacob away from me. I haven’t finished with him yet.”

I drop my head to my hands wondering why Dora has to be so stupid. It would be better if he didn’t notice me at all. No drama. Eventually I have to turn around, only because I don’t want him to think that I’m scared of him.

His eyes never dart on me. He is staring at Dora. “Sorry, Dor.”

Jacob mutters something under his breath, approaches the table where we are sitting, and kisses Dora very passionately.

I want to curl under the table and disappear. Oliver’s presence is giving me an anxiety attack. I’m suddenly drenched with sweat. Now he knows for sure that I stayed.

“Bye, babe, I’ll see you later,” says Jacob, ignoring me completely this time around.

Oliver is still standing in the same spot. The Essex girls are smiling, trying to gain his attention, but he turns around and stops by my food. He picks up the salt and empties it out straight into my chips and curry sauce.

“Enjoy your food, Indi,” he says with a smile and walks away laughing.

For a long moment I don’t even know what’s happened. I stare startled as sweat rolls down my back. Everyone in the canteen is staring at me in silence.

“And you wouldn’t even listen,” Dora says bitterly. “I told you so. He is going to do anything to make your life difficult.”

I shove my hands into my pockets, ignoring the stares. My mind is hollow. “I dare him try,” I say through the gritted teeth.

“India, he owns Braxton. Maybe you should try to talk to him?” Dora says, flexing her fingers.

I don’t respond. Instead, I pick up my tray and throw into the bin. Oliver just cost me lunch. If he thinks that he can bully me out of Braxton, then he is wrong. I’m staying and I’m not going to pay any attention to whatever he does.

“I don’t care, Dora. I’m here for myself not for him, and I’m telling you he will lose that bet.”

Chapter five

Challenge

Past

Christian and Oliver showed up at my school when I was around ten.

Their mother went to talk to the headmaster and she asked them to wait for her on one of the benches outside my class. On the break between classes Oliver kept looking at me but it was Christian who came up to to me first and introduced himself. I wanted to be friends with them, because they were older and not from Gargle.

We became best friends shortly after that. Christian was loud, confident and he obviously liked me, Oliver was just the boy that was easy to talk too. He was quiet, lost in his own thoughts and liked to keep away from others.

They didn’t have an easy life. Their mother had bipolar disorder. She shouted and threw things all over the house during her low times. It was always when she had too much to drink or when she fought with her husband. And being alone so much didn’t help. Mr. Morgan always worked long and unsociable hours, traveling around the world with his business. He didn’t seem to care about his family; for him the business was the most important.

When I was fifteen, Christian kissed me and told me that he wanted to me to be his girlfriend. Everyone always knew that we would end up together, but it took me a year to realize that I didn’t love him. I preferred his younger brother. My heart raced every time I saw Oliver. But I was a coward. I didn’t want to say no to Christian. He was an athlete and he was popular. Everyone in school was afraid of him. I was confused, but I hid my emotions well, so no one knew.

I carried on going out with Christian, afraid that I would lose all my friends if we broke up. Oliver was always a loner and people didn’t like him. He lived in the shadow of Christian. No one would understand that I wasn’t happy, so I just continued as Christian’s girlfriend.

If Oliver knew the truth about his brother, he could understand my behavior from a few years ago. He could understand why I treated him that way.

Present

Next day, it’s just after six when I emerge from our apartment, glancing around, wondering if anyone is watching me. Today is my first rowing session and I’m excited. Dora hasn’t even come home since Tuesday, so I assume that she is spending another day with Jacob. I shake my head, telling myself that Oliver has better things to do than watch me. He is part of my toxic past and I have to forget him.

I hate his new look. I hate that he is that hot handsome guy that everyone admires. He has everything that Christian had in high school. Girls are all over him. It’s my fault that we can’t even talk to each other now. After what happened with his brother I told him that he failed me and I treated him like I didn’t have a heart. He didn’t fight back. He accepted the monster that grew inside me. Now I regret that I lost my soul; I should have told him the truth. When I first got here, seeing him pulled me right back to my old insecurities and nightmares. I accept what he is doing; after all it’s nothing new. I was like him two years ago; I was the one in control.

I reach the gym feeling slightly nervous. I have been looking forward to this the whole week. I sign in at reception and change quickly, wondering if I will be the only one from the first year students.

“Hey, I was told that this is the practice for the rowing team?” I ask, approaching the group of girls.

“Yes, great that you could make it. Let me introduce you to everyone,” says a tall girl with a bright smile. “This is Piper, Jenna, Olivia, Mackenzie, and I’m Joanna.”

I nod to everyone, and we start chatting about my experience. I notice that Mackenzie stares at me a bit longer than everyone else. Then I realize that she is the girl from the party, the same girl that Oliver was kissing in front of me. She stares, checking me out from head to toe. She is pretty, with long blonde hair and a perfect waist. I’m used to being fit, but this girl looks like she works out at least five times a week. She has a full glow tan and large round lips. Oliver never had a girlfriend before, but obviously he has one now. I had spread rumors in high school that he was gay and had an STD. That was why all the girls stayed away from him. Now he is not only popular, but it looks like all the girls are ready to jump into his bed.

After the short chitchat, we all take our places, each in a rowing machine for a short warm up. When Oliver had left Gargle, I ditched the cheerleader squad and started training in rowing. I felt like I needed to push out the pain and frustration, so I killed myself on the rowing machine. Oliver was gone and the memories from that night at the party kept hunting me down. After a few months apart I wanted to write to him and apologize, but I never sent the letters.

When he was no longer around I kept going to talk to his mother, feeling in that way I could ask for his forgiveness. Oliver’s mother was always alone in the house, one son dead, the other on the other side of the country, and the husband who was never at home. Our conversations went on for hours, but I never revealed that terrible secret that has hunted me down since her son’s death. I helped her to make friends to feel better about herself, because it felt like I had Oliver back and I was somehow paying back for being so cruel. During the two years that he was gone, he never visited his mother, but I kept going there, ready to apologize to him if he showed up. She never told me that he changed his mind about Scotland.

At the time, the pain shattered through me, punching me back every time I opened my eyes in the morning. I slowly began to withdraw from all the parties and from my cruel self until I became a new India, the one that I am now.

Mackenzie’s voice brings me back to the present. We all have to do five miles so she can figure out what kind of level we’re all on. That’s only half of the team. The rest of the girls have a session after us. Our coach is a middle-aged Eastern European guy in his forties. He seems cool enough.

I feel great after the session. All my muscles are pleasantly numb. I change quickly, as I need to do some grocery shopping before I get home. Dora never bothers to think about supper. I need to remember to check if she is actually coming home this evening.

“Hey, India, right?” a melodic voice says, as I’m just about to walk out of the changing room. I turn around to see Mackenzie who is watching me again. I don’t get this girl. Why does she need to check me out all the time?

“Yeah, hey, what’s up? Did you enjoy the training?” I ask, feeling a little insecure standing in front of her with no makeup at all.

She raises her left eyebrow and smiles. It’s not a nice smile but one of those means ones. I’ve only seen her twice, but my intuition tells me that she always gets what she wants.

“I’m not here to chit chat with you about the rowing competition that I’m going to win,” she says, smiling again.

I hate that smile.
“I don’t get it,” I say, shrugging my shoulders.

She smirks, tossing her perfect blonde hair behind her. “I just wanted to find out what was so special about you.”

“I’m sorry, but you’re losing me.”

“From what I heard, Oliver is adamant about making your life a living hell.”

I try not to show that her words affect me, but it’s not easy. I feel like the world is spinning too fast and I cannot do anything to stop this.

“Listen Mackenzie, I don’t really care about Oliver. If he wants to play games, then that’s fine,” I tell her, getting angry. “I worked my ass off to get here, and I’m not planning to leave just because of some silly bet.” I might be pushed to a point, but after that I’ll fight back. “What’s that to you, anyway?”

She doesn’t smile anymore but looks at me like I don’t deserve having Oliver’s attention. “I’m interested in him. And I would be careful if I were you. Oliver is going to win no matter what, so I would pack today and get the hell out of here. I’m telling you this as a friend.”

“You aren’t my friend, and I’m not planning to leave, so you can tell him to bring it on, whatever he wants to do.” I don’t wait for her to tell me what she thinks about what I just said. I turn around and leave the changing room.

As darkness falls on the streets, I walk home, still clenching my fists. It’s official: Oliver will do anything to pull me back to the gloom. Maybe I should be worried. First Dora, now Mackenzie. Things really must have changed since he left Gargle. He is so much more confident and he is running this show.

I stop in the supermarket and do basic grocery shopping. Then I head home, feeling completely deflated. The apartment is empty. Dora just texted me saying that she isn’t coming home tonight, that she is in the south part of Braxton with Jacob. I never thought that I could be sitting alone with no one to talk to, regretting that I hurt Oliver so much in the past. After Christian’s death my coping mechanism stopped working when the pain was tearing me apart.

BOOK: All about you, part 1 (Love & Hate series #1)
12.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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