Waking Up – by: Chris

And this whole thing seemed to be more than just Odette trying to spread her wings, this was personal.

I stumbled into the shower to wash off the night and tried to remember the details. Someone (Bob, I think) pulled me off Jake and that surfer girl took off down the beach with him. Odette stayed with me and did what she does best; nursed me back to health. I laid numb on her bed as she wordlessly undressed me and cleaned my wounds. I could feel the soapy water dripping onto the back of my neck and the sheets, but I wasn’t moving. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was nothing more to her than a patient and if things were different, she might just as easily be caring for Jake. This is how I fell asleep, thinking her soft-stinging kisses could be for anyone.

I slept fitfully and when the sun finally broke through the dark night, I surrendered to my aching head and throbbing jaw, and got up to shower and swallow more Advil. Now, standing under the hot water, steam rising, I washed sand out of my hair as the side of my face throbbed through the steam. What if it was true what that kid said? What if Odette really let him do things to her that we had never done? He knew her intimately, he knew her maybe even in ways that I didn’t. That thought was crushing. That asshole knew exactly what to say to me. And this whole thing seemed to be more than just Odette trying to spread her wings, this was personal. I couldn’t tell when or why Odette was lying anymore. I didn’t know how deep her relationship was with this punk kid. If he was here yesterday, did she see him before I arrived? What did they do? I looked up as the water dripped down my face and I blinked it out of my eyelashes. The questions were coming at me faster than I wanted to deal with them and I had to hold myself up against the tile wall. Were these revelations, or was I being paranoid? Most of all, was Jake the reason I had to stand outside of her room for 20 minutes before she came out to see me? And was Luna helping her hide him?

I imagined her smuggling him out of her bedroom sliding-glass doors, out on to the beach, before having to come and see me in the hallway. What were they doing in there moments before she came out and kissed me? The water pounded on my head and I realized I was holding my breath. I hated her right now. I had never hated anyone so much as I hated her right now.

I stepped out into the cold bathroom, unsuccessfully tried to wipe away a circle of steam in the mirror and brushed my teeth slowly. The pain in my cheek made it almost unbearable. I stuck my finger back there to check and yep, my tooth was a little loose. I wondered what Jake looked like this morning. I hit him pretty hard. It took him a while to get up after Bob pulled me off him. I held onto the sink with both hands and looked at my face in the mirror that was now clearing. I looked crazy, like I had been hit on the side of my face by a truck, not just from his foot. My anger started to build again. Look what Odette put me through. I was supposed to play in front of hundreds of people tonight and I looked like a side-show freak. I put my head down on the edge of the cool ceramic and listened to the slow drip drip of the faucet. What was I going to do? I couldn’t ignore this anymore.  We vowed under the tree with our initials carved in the trunk, that it was me and her forever, against the world. But none of this meant anything now.

I heard movement and the rustle of sheets in the room just outside my door and I found myself hoping that she would forget I was in here. I stood up straight, wrapped a towel around my waist and headed towards a conversation I never wanted to have.

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