What if? The alternate version of Never Alone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 22 (v.1) - Chapter 22

Submitted: March 04, 2011

Reads: 69

Comments: 3

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Submitted: March 04, 2011

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When we got inside, I learned that Mamma and Daddy were both at work, which suited me just fine. At least I could be sure they hadn't seen me outside.

I dropped off my stuff in my room, first thing, and went straight for the bathroom to wash up and brush my teeth.

I looked in the mirror when I was done and didn't feel like it did any good. I still felt disgusting. And Josh had hardly done anything to me this time. What would I feel like later?

I sighed and turned off the light to the bathroom before going back to my room. Deciding to get myself to Anna's as soon as possible, I changed quickly before grabbing all my stuff and heading out the door.

I was a little apprehensive about seeing her. She hadn't been very happy with me when I left school. But if she was really mad, she wouldn't have said to come over, right?

Anna still didn't look terribly pleased when she answered the door.

"Hi." I said, hating that I now felt awkward and unsure around her.

She looked at me for a minute - examined me, really.

"You don't look too bad." She decided, opening the door wider to let me in.

"He didn't...It wasn't so bad." I said.

Anna looked at me skeptically.

Granted it wasn't exactly a pleasant little drive. But it wasn't nearly as awful as I expected.

She stared me down for another few seconds before she sighed and shook her head.

"Come on." She said, turning to lead me up to her room.

Any awkwardness I felt around Anna, dissipated almost right away. After her initial assessment of me, she didn't bring anything up about Josh again.

I was actually surprised at how much work I was able to accomplish. I'd never really been able to concentrate much around other people. Certainly not enough to be able to get homework done. But I guess I was just that comfortable around her by now. I'd managed to get most of my assignments finished and pretty much just had studying left by the time Ben arrived.

I felt myself relax as soon as he came through the door. I hadn't even realized I was still so tense.

Sparing a brief glance for Anna, Ben threw out a general 'hi' and came to join me on the bed, where I'd gotten comfortable with my History book.

He sat down next to me and didn't look any more at ease than he had when I left him at school.

After a few seconds, I dropped my gaze, unable to stand the hurt and concerned look on his face, for very long.

"I'm gonna go try to weasel a pizza out of my mom, for dinner." Anna said, heading for the door.

I caught her eye before she left and knew, from the look on her face, that pizza was just an excuse to leave us alone. She almost looked hopeful and I guessed she was thinking that Ben might be able to change my mind.

I knew it was a vain hope. I wasn't changing my mind. I couldn't.

I sat awkwardly for a minute, acutely aware that we were alone for an indefinite period of time, on a bed.

It's not like I was planning on anything happening, but I couldn't help thinking about the last time we'd been in this situation.

I glanced at Ben. He still had that same intense look on his face.

I cleared my throat. "No James and Morgan?" I asked trying to diffuse some of the tension.

He shook his head. "They couldn't come right now. James said they'd be over later." He said before we went back to sitting in awkward silence with Ben still watching me with that concerned expression.

"What?" I asked when I couldn't take it any more. I knew what he was thinking about but I just wanted him to say it. To get it out.

He continued studying me for a few more seconds, without answering.

"I'm trying to decide if I should ask." He finally said. "If I want to know...If it will make anything better..."

I glanced down before I met his eyes again. "It wasn't too bad."

He didn't seem convinced.

"Really." I insisted. "I'm fine. He pretty much just took me home."

My words didn't seem to comfort Ben at all and his eyes narrowed a little. He was probably focusing on how I said 'pretty much' rather than the 'took me home' part.

I sighed and dropped my eyes.

Ben gently placed his hand on my cheek. "Lizzie," He said. "Please?"

I looked up, ready to tell him no again.

His face was alot closer than it had been a second ago. My gaze locked with his and I completely forgot what I was going to say.

I'm honestly not sure who started it, but before I knew it, we were kissing. And somehow I wound up lying on top of Ben as we made out.

His kisses weren't the sweet, slow kind, like they had been before. Now they were desperate and full of pleading.

And I wanted to tell him yes. I wanted to give him anything and everything, but I knew that I couldn't. I couldn't exactly remember why at the moment, but I knew there were reasons.

He pulled away slightly and looked in my eyes, silently begging me. He closed the small distance between us again and began working his way back to my ear.

My resolve was weakening with every second. I threaded my hands in his hair and pulled him closer. My body now knew how close it could be to him and it wanted that closeness.

As he brought his face back to mine, I thought, maybe I could just say yes. Maybe I could just stay with him forever. I knew I had reasons why that wouldn't be a good idea, but I was having an extremely hard time remembering even one right now. Everything felt perfect and like nothing could be so terrible as long as I had him.

Besides, how could I tell him no about anything?

And in the next second, reality came bursting into my pleasant little Ben bubble in the form of Anna choking on her soda.

I broke apart from Ben, got off of him quickly, and took my original spot on the bed. I had no idea where my History book went.

Ben also sat up and arranged himself next to me as Anna tried to compose herself.

"Sorry!" She gasped when she was able to talk again. "I knocked but-" She stopped herself. "Maybe I should come back..." She started to turn towards the door again. She had that same hopeful look as before.

"No," I said, stopping her. "Stay." Apparently, it wasn't such a great idea for Ben and I to be alone.

Anna gave me another assessing look and I couldn't tell what she was thinking. For a few seconds no one said anything.

"What about the pizza?" I asked to distract her.

"It'll be here soon." She said, not seeming very distracted.

"What did you get?" Ben asked, saving me from Anna's uncomfortable stare.

She reluctantly turned her attention to Ben and he kept her talking until the awkward moment passed.

I stared at the floor for most of the time they talked. I was embarrassed. And not just because Anna walked in on us, but because I let myself get so carried away. Only a few hours ago, I'd let Josh kiss me. Not that I wanted him to, of course, but I didn't try to stop him either. And here I was, literally all over Ben.

And I'd really been ready to give in to him. To tell him I didn't care anymore and that I would just do whatever he wanted. Only, I wouldn't have been able to follow through. I would have had to take it back, once I started thinking clearly again.

I never wanted to be one of those girls who couldn't think for herself because of a guy. Not even a guy like Ben.

I knew he was trying to persuade me and I was ok with that. But it wasn't ok that I went along with it. That I'd gotten so into it. I felt like I'd led him on, in a way. Making him think there was hope where there was none.

Anna went back to her desk and we all resumed 'studying'.

After finding my book, under the bed, I pretty much just stared at the first page I opened to. I didn't really see anything on the page because my mind was totally focused on Ben. I didn't think he was studying either.

Anna appeared to be, but it was anybody's guess, really.

I felt Ben's hand come to rest on top of mine, which was lying on the bed, between us.

I looked at him and I knew from his expression, he was still hoping I'd reconsider.

I shook my head and glanced away, but looked back quickly when I felt him squeeze my hand lightly. The hope was gone, replaced by resignation and acceptance.

I expected him to pull his hand away then, but he didn't. He kept it on mine. After a minute, I turned my hand over and intertwined my fingers with his.

We stayed like that until Jordan called Anna to tell her that he would be here in a few minutes.

"Are you guys done studying?" Anna asked after she hung up.

Considering, I hadn't been able to study a single thing since Ben arrived, I was definitely ready to quit pretending.

"Yeah." I said, releasing Ben's hand to put my book away.

Ben agreed and we all went downstairs.

Jordan wound up arriving at the same time as the pizza, and James and Morgan weren't far behind. We all got comfortable in the living room, with our food, to watch the movie that Anna picked.

Anna was right, this was exactly what I needed. Sure, nothing was changed or solved, but for about two hours, I got to forget reality and actually laugh. Particularly at the ridiculous scene with the squirrels. And I got to spend that time with my friends, without all the awkwardness and tension that had been so prevalent lately.

I was sad when it was over. I didn't want to have to leave them all. And I was very comfortable, leaning on Ben with his arm around me - I reasoned that was ok, since he knew that it didn't change anything.

After the movie, we all stayed to talk for a while longer. Well, the guys mostly talked. They quoted their favorite lines and talked about the funniest parts - apparently, I was the only one who'd never seen it before.

And talking about the movie we'd just watched led to them talking about other movies and more movie nights like this one.

I was excited about that idea until I remembered that I wouldn't be able to come for any more movie nights.

Or would I? Josh didn't know I was here now. If he did I'm sure he wouldn't like it. Maybe I'd be able to get around him if I could manage to lie convincingly. Or at least just not mention certain things.

I zoned out as I started figuring out ways I might be able to rebel against him.

Maybe I wouldn't have to give up my friends completely. Maybe I could still see Ben sometimes. It would just have to be when Josh didn't know about it.

He could only control me when he was around and he couldn't be around all the time.

It was pretty late by the time Ben pulled up in front of my house to drop me off. I was so tired, I doubted I'd have trouble sleeping tonight. I'd actually had a hard time keeping my eyes open for the short car ride from Anna's house.

But it still felt much too soon to have to leave Ben.

"So, I guess I shouldn't come in the morning?" Ben asked after we sat in the quiet car for a minute.

"No." I said softly as I stared at my hands in my lap.

"Lizzie," He said. "I know what you said, and I know you probably won't change your mind."

I looked at him.

"But if you do." He said. "Just...you know you can come to me, right?"

I nodded, knowing that wouldn't happen.

I loved that he said it, but I couldn't help wondering if his offer had an expiration date.

It was quiet again and I found myself fighting the urge to slide across the seat and throw myself in his arms. It was the only place I wanted to be right now. The only place that felt safe. But I knew I'd have to go in the house pretty soon and it would be so much harder to leave him if I did that.

"I'll see you tomorrow." I said, instead.

He nodded and I reluctantly let myself out of the car and went inside.


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