A/N: Hello, lovelies! As I promised, there's nothing happy about this chapter, and this will be the last you see of Grady for awhile! Still, I hope you like this drama-filled chapter. Sorry if some bits do not seem so plausible and realistic, but it was the worst thing I could imagine Grady being accused of without, you know, involving the police or anything because that'd be way too complicated. Thank you for reading!
Also, I'd like to ask an additional question. Katie and Ryder have somewhat convinced me to post on Wattpad, and I'm honestly considering it. Don't worry, I won't neglect my Booksie account, and Booksie will always be my first home. But do you think I should post on Wattpad? I'd really appreciate your input. :) xoxo Noelle
Entry #30: Cinderella made Him take ‘Bad’ to a whole new level.
~ The Cinderella Deception by Juliette Harving
After we had taken revenge on Desmond Gregory, I thought things would have settled down altogether. Maybe the drama in my life would lessen, and all that.
I was wrong.
On Monday morning, as soon as I get to school, Callie comes up to me, her face pale and stricken. I don’t notice, at first. She’s always worrying herself over something, like her hair, or her nails, or whatever. So it’s nothing unusual, really.
“Hey, Cal, how was your weekend?” I greet, cheerfully.
Callie stares at me, her face distraught and torn. “Jules! Did you know that…” She hesitates, a sob escaping her lips. Unable to say anymore, she shoves a thick stack of papers at me.
I look at the papers curiously, and feel my heart sink. The words blur together, and all I can see are the words…
The Cinderella Deception
By Juliette Harving
…written at the end of every page. The pages look photocopied, over and over again. And all I know is that these are pages of my journal. My journal, for my eyes only, for me to see only.
“They’re pasted everywhere,” Callie says, very upset. “Everywhere. I took off this entire stack from the gym, but it’s no use. Everyone has at least a page of it stuffed in their locker.”
At this moment, Grady comes up, and wraps his arms around my waist. “Hey, Harving!”
Something clicks in my mind.
Only Grady has seen this. The only time my journal was out of my possession was when he had it. Could it be possible that he took it? But how? How could he play such a dirty, horrible trick? Why did he have to do this?
The very fact that every single person in this school has laid eyes on my journal, and knows a little of what I feel from whatever they have read is too much for me.
I turn around, place my palms on Grady’s chest and push him away as hard as I can.
He doesn’t budge, but he does looks stunned. “W-what’s wrong?”
I want to scream and yell at him, scream and yell at him for all this unforgivable thing he has done to me, scream and yell at him for the worst betrayal anyone could have ever done to me.
But Callie does that for me.
“YOU FUCKING BASTARD!” She screams, and blindly hits out at him with her fists, over and over again – like he’s some sort of punching bag and she’s a psychotic boxer, bent on ripping him to shreds. “HOW COULD YOU DO THIS?”
A crowd starts forming around us, staring at the scene with wide-eyes and open mouths.
Grady grabs Callie’s wrists, and holds her away from him. “What the hell is going on?” He demands, looking at me.
I stare at him. I can’t believe he’s pretending nothing’s wrong. I shove the stack of papers at him, and he glances down at them.
A whole array of emotions plays across his face in that split second. Astonishment, at the very sight of these papers. A flicker of recognition, as he reads through the first couple of lines. And then, anger.
His face darkens, and his eyes start flashing furiously, so much so that I take a step back.
Grady looks at me. “Juliette, I…”
I stare at him, and echo the one thing that has been running through my mind. “Why?”
“Just SHUT UP!” Callie screams, and starts pummelling him. “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU FOR THIS!”
“No!” Grady yells back, and holds her away from him. “I didn’t do it, I swear!” He looks at me, and repeats again, softer this time. “I swear!”
For some reason or other, I believe him. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because of the way he said it. Maybe it’s because I actually want to believe that Grady Sullivan is not all bad.
“Yeah?” Callie asks, angrily. “Prove it!”
At this moment, someone pushes through the crowd. We all glance up, and stare in surprise.
“Shane? What are you doing here?” Callie asks, shocked.
For once, Shane seems worried and stressed. His usually carefree and grinning face is now set grimly and seriously.
“No questions. I just need to ask Grady something,” He turns to Grady, who stares at him evenly. “What did you do last Friday night?”
Callie gasps. “Did they find us out?”
Shane ignores her. “Sullivan, what the fuck did you do?” He asks, his voice harsh and severe. “What did you do?”
To my utmost surprise, Grady keeps silent.
And Shane starts panicking. The cool, calm, collected, previously Prom-King and most popular guy of West High. Panicking.
“What did you do?” He asks, again, taking Grady by the shoulders and shaking him roughly. “Come on, man, Principal Higgins is on his way to fucking EXPEL you, so tell me, WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO LAST FRIDAY NIGHT?”
My entire world comes to a screeching halt. I feel my heart up in my throat, and I can hardly swallow.
Expelled? Why? Why, why, why? What could he possibly have done that was so bad?
“W-what?” I gasp.
Everyone looks equally shocked, but they all turn to look at me.
Shane runs a hand through his dark hair angrily. “Isabelle Hawkins wants to press charges for rape. Rape! I don’t, for one second, believe this, but if you don’t tell me what the fuck happened, I cannot help you, damn it!”
“Rape?” Callie echoes, horrified. “No, that’s impossible!”
“It’s possible!” Shane says, furiously, and shoves an iPhone in her hands. “Beverly and I got an email this morning from one of the cheerleaders, and there was a video. Watch the fucking thing!”
Callie and I look at the iPhone. There’s an email, and Callie scrolls down to read the rest of it. The content simply says:
There’s a video below it, and I download it. And then I watch, horrified, as the video starts playing.
The setting is simply a room, a bedroom, more like it. Everything is quiet, silent, and suddenly, a guy drags a girl into the room. The girl looks fully into the camera, and I get a shock when I realise it’s Isabelle Hawkins.
And on a closer look, I realise that the guy is wearing a black leather jacket, similar to one that Grady has.
My heart sinks. I know I should tear my eyes away from this horrible video, but I can’t stop playing it.
And then everything’s silent as the two of them put up a fierce struggle, Isabelle shrieking and screaming as Grady slams the door shut behind him.
“No!” Isabelle wails, but Grady silences her by cupping a hand over her mouth.
Their struggling ensues, and I don’t know what the two of them are doing because the video’s fuzzy, but I know, for certain, that Isabelle looks like the victim here. Finally, Grady wrenches away violently, and storms out of the room. Isabelle collapses in a heap of tears.
And just like that, the video’s over.
Who knew that half a minute can change one’s life forever? I had known, all along, that Grady Sullivan was a bad boy and always will be. But did he have to do something so horrible, so repulsive that will make me feel disgust to no end just by looking at him?
It’s as though someone’s put their fist around my heart and squeezed. Like a boa constrictor squeezing the life out of its prey. Slowly. Mercilessly. Relentlessly, on and on.
The video replays on its own, and once again, I find myself watching the struggle between them. I feel numb all over.
Why? Why Isabelle, of all people? Why did he have to do such a thing?
“I can’t believe this,” Callie gasps, at last. “Did everyone get it?”
To my surprise, everyone starts talking.
“I got it!” A girl from my English class says, and another guy nods his head. It seems like majority of the student population had received this video.
Shane sighs. “It’s fresh news, Callie,” He says, softly. “Not everyone has gotten it yet. You probably didn’t check your email this morning.”
“But why?” Callie asks, her voice distraught. She looks at Grady. “Grady, how could you do it?”
But Grady’s not looking at her. He’s looking right at me, his dark eyes on me, and nothing else. Watching me, with a guarded expression on his face.
Shane takes the phone back from us, and looks back at Grady. “Come on, man,” He says, almost pleadingly, and everyone gapes when they hear him. The most popular guy in the school begging Grady Sullivan. “Come on, I know you didn’t do it. Say something.”
Grady says nothing.
He doesn’t have to, either. Principal Higgins storms through the crowd, trailed by a sobbing Isabelle Hawkins and a couple of her friends. This time, everyone gazes at Isabelle with pity and sympathy in their eyes.
“SULLIVAN!” Principal Higgins yells, angrily. “I presume you’ve heard everything. What do you have to say about it?”
This time, Grady speaks. A defiant look comes over his face, and he glares angrily at Isabelle, who’s sobbing and unable to meet his eye.
“I’m not sorry I did it.” He says, quietly, but firmly.
Everyone gasps. Isabelle stops crying and stares at him. Even Principal Higgins looks thrown-off for a moment, but his face reddens in anger.
“Not sorry?” He echoes, in disbelief. “Not sorry? Well, Sullivan, consider yourself expelled! Get out of my school!”
Shane immediately steps forward. “No, sir…”
“Enough, Corelli,” Principal Higgins says, angrily. “Enough. You’re an alumni, but you can’t throw your weight about like that. I’ve made my decision. He is expelled from this very moment. The rest of you, go back to your classes.”
Shane keeps silent, a mutinous look on his face, and wraps an arm around Callie, who’s sobbing.
Principal Higgins walks away, with Isabelle and her friends following him. The crowd disperses, and pretty soon, there’s only Callie, Shane, Grady and I standing in the locker hallway.
Grady takes a step towards me. “Juliette, it’s not what you think.”
“Then what is it, Grady?” I ask, my voice void of all emotion. “What is it?”
He runs a frustrated hand through his hair.
“It’s not what it seems,” He insists, again. “The journal got out of my hands for a whole day a couple of months back, and I didn’t think anything would happen to it. Isabelle kept coming to me with threats to break up with you, but I ignored her the whole time. But on Friday night, I found her with photocopies of the journal, and I couldn’t let her spread this. She was going to spread your journal to the entire school, all your secrets, your family problems, that you’re afraid that the people you can’t live without can live without you, and…”
You’re afraid that the people you can’t live without can live without you.
Suddenly, everything clicks in my mind. The time when he managed to find me at my mother’s grave. How could he know that? No one, not even Callie knew where to find me.
All the times when Grady had understood, seemed to understand, better than anyone else in my life. All the times when we were similar, all the times when we seemed to know each other so well. Seemed to connect.
It was all bogus. Everything was bogus. He already knew everything, from Day One.
“Wait,” I say, staring at him. “You read my journal?”
Grady, for once, looks horrified. “I didn’t…”
“You did!” He takes a step to me, but this time, I flinch and move away. “You read my journal!”
Grady simply stares at me.
“You’re not denying it.” I say, the tears starting to streak down my face. “You really read my journal, and I asked you before, and you said you hadn’t! HOW COULD YOU LIE TO ME LIKE THAT?”
“I’m sorry…” He starts, but I lift up a hand to stop him.
“Shut up!” I say, choking back tears. “Just shut up! I can’t believe I actually trusted you all these months. I thought you hadn’t read my journal at all! You must’ve had fun, huh? Had so much fucking fun just laughing at all my insecurities and everything! Laughing that I didn’t know what you knew, and laughing that I was such a little girl, pretending to be Cinderella and all that sort of bullshit!”
Grady flinches, and for once, his face looks immensely sad. “I wasn’t laughing,” He says, at last. “I never was. I really do like you, and it was the journal that made me see who you truly are. It was the journal that made me want to get to know you better.”
I will not be lied to ever again. All these months, I had been lied to by the one guy I truly liked. He had been laughing up his sleeve at me the whole time. He had pretended to like me. It hurts, but I have to end this before I get sucked into his vortex of lies.
“Just go away, Grady!” I say, and turn to Callie, who immediately embraces me in a big hug. “GO AWAY!”
Callie wraps her arms around me and I cover my ears, blocking out everything and everyone. The tears stream down my face, but I shut my eyes tightly.
No more lies, no more lies, no more lies.