Runaway in White
The first time I met him, he called me Andry. I was confused at first, because I thought perhaps he hadn’t heard me right.
“No, my name is Cassandra,” I repeated, a little confused.
“Yeah, I know, I heard you,” He said, smiling at me as he walked away from the lunch line. “Andry is your nickname. Like DJ is mine.” He replied.
I was confused as the lunch lady plopped some weird-looking soup onto my tray. No one had ever called me by any nickname; I didn’t like Cassie or Cass, and no one really came up with one after that. But…Andry. That didn’t sound so bad. In a way, I kinda liked it.
“Oh,” I said, following him to the table. After all, I was supposed to be showing him around school, but yet he was the one walking in front of me instead of the other way around. “I think I like that, Andry. And DJ is pretty nice, too.” I said.
He turned to me as we sat next to each other and grinned at me once again. His smile seemed to make me feel lighter; as if some sort of weight was lifted off my shoulders. His smile made me want to be happy.
“Well, Andry, I’m sure this is going to turn into a beautiful friendship.” He joked.
Of course, being a second grader, I didn’t realize that what he said was just a bunch of bullcrap.
Wednesday: Four Days until the Wedding
The tears rolled down my face, mixing with the heavy mascara and eyeliner I had put on that day as they plopped into the sink. The small sound of the rolling tears landing covered up my muffled cries, and I didn’t feel so alone, listening to sounds other than my cries. Was this how everything was going to end? Was I destined to be unhappy forever?
“Cassandra?” My sister’s voice traveled the door. The fact that she didn’t call me Andry – because he was the only one to ever call me that – just made me cry even harder. I made a feeble attempt to wipe my tears away with my fist before answering. Damn me for thinking back to that time. Why, just four days from my wedding, did I have to be thinking of him?
“I’m fine, Candace,” I replied back, sucking up my tears and gross snot, making my voice sound weird and muffled. “Just…give me a second, okay? I need some time alone.”
I heard a muffled sigh and a thud as she kicked the door. “Cassandra, everyone gets cold feet.” She suggested, like she was trying to help, but she wasn’t. She was just making it worse.
“Leave, Candace.” I said sternly, using my two years older authority over her. I waited until I heard her footsteps retreat from the door to finally wipe the tears and messed up make-up away from my face. I hate crying. I hate everything about crying. Just like I hate everything about Jordan Meiers. Who is my fiancé, and I’m destined to wed him on this Sunday, and I’m completely dreading it. Because if I marry him, my life will be over and I’ll know for sure that I’ll never be happy again.
I threw away the darkened tissues that I’d used to wipe away my tears and let out a huffy sigh. I could pull it together. Pull it together for everyone out there, for all my friends and family, and my soon-to-be-family Jordan. I could accept this; I could be okay.
I opened the door to find my parents, grandparents, sisters, and just about everyone else I had met in my life in my living room, smiling at me.
“Congrats!” They all yelled at the same time. I plastered on a fake smile, while the inside of me was loudly weeping.
I hate my life.
“I heard you crying in the bathroom,” Jordan said later that night as we went to bed. He looked at me pointedly, but I didn’t meet his gaze. I hate everything about him, yet I’m marrying Jordan Meiers.
“Cramps.” I said, still not looking at him. I gave a dejected sigh and sat the book on the end table next to the bed. “What, Jordan?”
“What’s wrong with you?” He asked, giving me a sour look. “Our wedding is in four days, and you’re moping around like the apocalypse is coming or something.”
I wanted to smack him, I really did, but I resisted the urge. I still didn’t look directly into his eyes as I said, “I told you. Cramps. They hurt. You wouldn’t know. So don’t judge.” I snapped, rolling my eyes to the ceiling.
“I’m sorry for snapping at you, Cass,” He said, touching my arm and trying to look into my eyes.
“My name is Cassandra.” I said coldly, slowly drawing my arm away from his touch. Why didn’t he understand just how much I hated him? Why couldn’t he just call off the wedding and let this façade go to rest? Why was he so stuck on me?
“Don’t be that way,” He said softly, putting his finger under my chin. He leaned in to kiss me, and I turned away so that his lips brushed across my cheek instead of my lips. “I love you.”
“You too.” I said bitterly. “Goodnight.” I said firmly, letting him know that there would be nothing else going on. We may share the same bed, but it’s only for sleeping, and that’s how it’s going to stay as I long as I get my word in edgewise.
He didn’t seem to be affected my coldness; he just gave me a reassuring smile before turning off the light and resting his head against the pillow. When I was sure that he was asleep, I took my pillows and took the separate blanket out of the closet and went to sleep on the couch. I started sleeping on the couch since he moved into my place. I found more sanity that way.
I let out a whimper and let the tears fall down my face, making my pillow wet. I smothered my face into it, trying to be quiet so that I would awake Jordan and have to explain why I was sleeping in the couch instead of our bed.
I cried and cried endlessly until my nose was stuffed and my eyes were red-rimmed and dry. But I wasn’t done with my process yet. I usually cried and then thought back to the happy times when I had friends and someone that I actually loved. Yet that one person that I loved didn’t love me back anymore. He moved on. And it was my entire fault.
In high school, just a few years ago actually, I was in love with one of my best friends; DJ Jackson. My other two best friends, Adrian and Lively, convinced me that I should tell DJ because they were sure that he liked me back. I chickened out on the day I set out to tell him, but was surprised later that night when he texted me at 12 in the morning. He asked me to meet him at the park, and I obliged.
That’s when everything blew up in my face.
He told me that he was moving. It wouldn’t have been such a hard blow, but he was leaving the day after he initially told me. I was distraught and sobbing loudly, and he was there to comfort me. While I was crying, he told me he loved me, and I was surprised. He told me that he had always loved me, since the day we met, and we shared our first kiss. It would have been full of bliss, if he didn’t have to move and if he never asked me a question.
He asked me to marry him and runaway, and of course, I completely freaked out. I refused to marry him, giving all kinds of excuses, but I was just a kid then. I’m still sort of a kid, now. He became upset and asked me one last time, and I wanted to say yes, but I couldn’t. DJ told me he loved me one last time before leaving, and I was left at the park bawling my eyes out. I was depressed for the rest of my senior year, and I never heard anything from DJ since that night. Adrian told me that he keeps in touch with him still, but he never reached out to me. He never wanted to talk to me anymore.
Because I broke his heart and he couldn’t forgive me for that. I know that I should just give up and move on, but I can’t find the motivation in my heart to do so. I just can’t. So when I met Jordan shortly after high school at college, I went along with him because I knew that would never be happy unless I was with DJ, and he didn’t want anything to do with me. I’ve barely even kissed Jordan before, and he thinks that I’m saving myself for our honeymoon. I shudder every time he brings it up.
But this is how I’m going to live the rest of my life; unhappy and with someone I hate because I can’t have the person I love. I’ll always love DJ, and he’ll never love me back. I bury my face into my pillow, allowing the crying to stop, and close my sore eyes. As of right now, I can’t see the point in living.
By the time Friday rolled around, Jordan decided that he was going to hide inside a hotel until Sunday. He said that it would “build up the anticipation” until the honeymoon. I threw up my Cheerios later that morning after he said that. The thought of seeing Jordan naked…there was nothing more in the world that I didn’t want to do.
Later on that evening, (after watching every kind of wedding movie there is and crying about my destined fate) Adrian called. He didn’t live in Joliet with me anymore, but instead he lived in a few towns over in Yorkville, with Lively. Ironically, being in love with my best friend didn’t work, my other two best friends were quite deeply in love with each other and we’re close to getting engaged. I was happy for them, but I was still bitter. Why did their relationship work out but not mine and DJ’s? It wasn’t fair.
“What’s up, Ad?” I balanced the phone between my ear and my shoulder as I watched 27 Dresses for the third time in a row.
“It’s not Ad, it’s Lively,” Lively’s voice cut in. Just like her name, Lively was overly excitable."Andry—”
“CASSANDRA,” I corrected her immediately.
“Okay, yes, sorry for calling you that,” She said. “But I have something really important to tell you.”
Oh boy. Lively always had something to say. “What?”
“DJ’s back in town!” She blurted loudly in my ear. “Adrian and I saw him in Joliet when we were going to visit my grandma!! He’s looking for you, Cassandra! He wants to talk to you!”
“What?!” I shrieked. I dropped the phone and scrambled to pick it back up. “What does he want to do with me? Why is her back here? Oh God, no!” I cried, falling down to my knees. DJ was back. And he was looking for me.
“Yeah, I know! He’s coming to see you tomorrow. I gave him your address. Is that okay?” She asked worriedly.
“No, that’s not okay!” I bellowed, feeling an angry pang strike through the bottom of my stomach. “I don’t want to talk to him ever again! Not when he just abandoned me like that! I don’t ever want to see his stupid face again!” I yelled.
Lively apologized multiple times after that, but said that she didn’t have his number, so I was going to have to shoo him away when he came over tomorrow. I felt a deep sense of dread once I found out I would have to face him again.
That night was the first night I didn’t go to sleep crying. Instead, I went to bed in a furious state.
I was a nervous wreck the entire time I waited for DJ. I made a plan beforehand. I decided that I was going to immediately tell him to go away, and I would stick firmly to my word. He wasn’t going to sway me. He left, and that’s the way he wanted it to be, so that’s how it was going to stay.
I moped around all day; just reading books and watching movies all day, barely pausing to make something to eat. I threw it up afterwards; I was so distraught. Lively called me again, checking in to see if he had come over yet, and threw a fit when it was 8 PM and he still hadn’t come over.
So, I was stood up for something that I didn’t even want to happen and wasn’t even formal. I couldn’t help but feel even more broken as I sank down to my couch in defeat. Once again, I was hurt by DJ’s actions. When was I going to get over him?
Now. I muttered in my head. I’m done with DJ Jackson. He means nothing to me anymore. It’s over. I said bitterly to myself. I was so disgusted with myself that I angrily snapped off the T.V. and went into the bathroom to take a shower.
I bent my head down and let the water run down my neck and back. I couldn’t believe him. I was willing to give him a chance…to explain. And he didn’t even care enough to show up. I had let myself believe the he actually may still have had an ounce of feelings for me, and I was completely wrong. He had hurt me once again.
I wasn’t able to stop the tears as the flowed from my eyes, mixing in with the water. I wanted to wallow in my self-pity, but I couldn’t for long as I heard the doorbell ring. I kicked myself for not remembering that Lively said she would come over with Adrian if DJ didn’t come over. I figured she guessed the invitable that he would be a no-show.
I wrapped into a robe and padded slowly to the door. When I opened the door, I was in the biggest shock of my life. There, standing at my front door – looking pretty hot, I would have to admit – was DJ Jackson with a bouquet of roses in his hand.
“Andry?” He breathed, a hopeful look in his eyes.
I felt tears fill my eyes as he said that dreaded nickname I avoided since that day. Why did he have to come back? I missed him, but just seeing DJ brought back old memories. The tears spilled over the rim of my eyes, and I put my hand to my mouth to muffle my whimpers.
“Get out!” I whispered fiercely as I snatched the roses from his hand and stomped on them. “Close the door when you leave!” I cried, diving over to the couch to curl up into a ball.
“Andry, wait!” I heard him say, but I had my face buried into the couch.
“My name is Cassandra!” I yelled for the third time that week, bursting into loud sobs. I heard his feet shuffle across the floor as he walked over and perched himself on the arm of the couch.
“Andry, I know what I did was wrong. I’m sorry for leaving you. I was an idiot. I was young and inexperienced. I never wanted to hurt you, I just thought…I just thought I could make everything work out between us.”
“Then why did you do it?” I yelled, launching up from the couch to yell at him in his face. “Why did you just leave me here to rot in Joliet? Once you left, I had no one! Everyone else is able to move on, but I can’t! And all you have to say is that you’re sorry and you bring me some cruddy flowers? How dare you!” I cried. I wanted to slap him, and just for good measure, I did. He deserved it.
“I deserved that,” he said quietly, rubbing his cheek.
“You did.” I said bitterly, refusing to look at him. I felt his hand on my arm, but I still didn’t look at him.
“Andry, I don’t deserve forgiveness, but can you at least try?” He asked softly as he put his finger underneath my chin and turned my head to look at him. “I’m sorry for hurting you, you have to know that. And I still love you.”
My chin trembled as more tears began to fall. “I loved you.” I whispered.
He looked worried. “Loved? You don’t love me anymore?”
I looked away from him. “DJ, I’m getting married. I love you, but I can’t anymore. I have to let you go.” I got up to lead him out the door, but he caught me by the waist.
“Don’t.” Was all he said before he pulled me close and kissed me. It brought back memories of that day back to the park, but the happy ones. With his lips on mine, I could re-imagine the times I was happy with him. I never stopped loving him, and I never would.
“Don’t ever forget me,” He repeated, looking into my eyes as he put his hand on the small of my back. He went to leave, but I grabbed him by the shoulder.
“Don’t you dare leave, DJ!” I ordered, pulling him by the collar of his jacket. “You’re staying here with me, where you belong.”
He smiled at me widely as I led him back to the bedroom.
That’s what a honeymoon is supposed to be like.
I awoke to the sound of car tires crunching on gravel. I awoke out of my blissful state in DJ’s arms and sat up, alarmed.
“Oh no!” I gasped. I shook DJ awoke. “DJ, you have to leave! Jordan’s back!”
He looked to the front of the house, and we heard footsteps followed by the sound of a car door slamming. DJ sent me a panicked look before kissing me urgently, holding me by the back of my head. We were both naked underneath the sheets, and the movement let the cold wrap itself around my shoulders.
“Run away with me.” He said, grabbing me by the wrist. “Run away and marry me.” He repeated, giving me a hopeful look.
I felt panic rise in my chest. For the second time, I was getting asked to run away and get married by the one man I ever loved. The first time, I made a mistake. I couldn’t make that mistake again.
“Yes.” I said, and kissed him again. We both jumped out of bed hurriedly, listening as Jordan unlocked the door. Jordan yanked on his clothes, and on impulse, I took my wedding dress out the closet and yanked it on. I was getting married to the person I really loved.
“Ready?” He asked, holding my hand.
“For anything.” I replied before sneaking in a quick kiss. We lifted up the window and escaped right as I heard Jordan call my name from inside.
I was a runaway in white.
A happy runaway in white.