Distance Between You And Me

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Since the begining of the year he's bullied her. Not once has she even tried to fight back. Since the strange nightmare he had, he can't stop thinking about her and now she's standing up for herself.
~

AJ leant down so he was eye level with her. “Someone’s got guts.”

“One of us has to.” Hazel smirked.

Submitted: July 15, 2012

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Submitted: July 15, 2012

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Distance Between You And Me

“G-go away! I’ll do it, I swear!”

She stood there with tears streaming down her face and her hair a mess. Even in the dim, afternoon light she looked beautiful to him. In front of her the roar of cars and trucks muffled the sounds of her sobs, her toes were only inches from the road itself.

He opened his mouth to shout at her. To tell her to stop, that she meant something to him. But nothing left his mouth.

Prying her eyes away from him she looked towards the oncoming traffic and spotted a truck not too far away. Sniffling she took a step into the street, her eyes never leaving his, telling him that this was his fault.

And he knew it was.

“NO!” he screamed, standing up in his seat.

“Is there a problem?” called the teacher from the front of the classroom, a deep frown on her face.

AJ shook his head and sat down heavily. A few of the kids in the class snickered at him and he was quick to swat the closest one in the head for laughing. Sinking low in his seat, he folded his arms and bit the inside of his cheek.

It was the same dream, the one that’s haunted him since the day he met her. This was the first time it ever came to him while he was at school. He grimaced at the thought of everyone’s faces as he shouted in the middle of class. It hurt his image. What school bully with looks to kill dreamt about something like that in class? It was embarrassing.

What killed his pride even more was the fact that she was sitting in the front of the class. His upper lip curled just at the thought of her.

She had started school at the beginning of the year, a new face in a sea of familiar. AJ learned quickly that her name was Hazel and she wasn’t something to be feared or hated. But there was just something about her that pissed him off. Maybe it was the way her glasses seemed too big for her tiny face or the way her braces made her two front teeth look bigger. It didn’t matter what it was to make him torment her, he just did it like it was his second nature. And soon whatever friends she had left her to the mercy of his insults and snide remarks.

The way her hair looked made him crazy. It always seemed like a tangled mess of hay colored curls; if he ever cared to learn more about her he’d know that she never had time to brush her hair in the mornings, she was always in a rush to leave her drunken father.

He hated how she wore her uniform, always so neat and proper while everyone else was sloppy. She made everyone look bad and he detested her for it.

Hazel went to the library every day after school like clockwork and he was always sure to be there. Appearing from around a corner he’d slap the stack of books from her hands and laugh as they hit the floor. She’d never cry, never whimper for him to stop or leave her alone, she only collected her things and bravely walked away as he shouted harsh words to her back.

He didn’t understand that the quiet walls of the library were her only sanctuary from her abusive father or that books were her escape from the world she hated so much.

In some ways he respected that she was strong enough to take his bullying for so long. Hazel had courage to show her face at school every day and even more guts to salute him some days when she arrived through the school gates. Whenever she did that his friends would laugh and slap him on the back, telling him that they made a cute couple. The only thing he found he could do when she did that was to stare at her in a mixture of shock and disbelief.

But lately the dreams had begun to scare him. Before she would only look at the truck, hinting at what she was about to do. Never had he actually seen her walk out onto the road, watching him with hate filled eyes. AJ was starting to think he was taking things to far, she might have been strong but there’s only so much a person can take before a little becomes too much.

Sighing, he pressed his back against the wall in his daily routine. Like he had thought, no one would let him brush off the incident in class and his friends wanted to know what he was dreaming about. Over his dead body he’d tell them what it was about.

Hissing out a breath he ruffled his hair and turned his attention back to the library entrance.

There she was with her nose in a thick book as she wondered out. Looking up, she glanced around the hall wondering where her bully was. AJ watched as she bit her lip and peered down the hall to her left. Seeing that it was empty and silent, her tormenter nowhere to be seen, she huffed and not smile like he thought she would. Pushing up her glasses she shrugged and spun on her heel only to press her face against his chest.

“Looking for me?” he sneered when she practically threw herself away from him.

“I don’t even think your friends would look for you if you went missing.” She snapped back quickly masking her look of surprise.

He raised an eyebrow. That was the most he had ever heard her talk, more than she had ever said to him. Her voice was husky and almost like a hoarse whisper. It seemed odd and didn’t match her small heart shaped face.

He’d never know how her father tried to strangle her when she was six, screwing up her vocal chords.

AJ leant down so he was eye level with her. “Someone’s got guts.”

“One of us has to.”

He took a step back, staring at her in wonder. She was actually sticking up for herself for once.

Before he could even think of something to say back, she was walking away waving her hand above her head.

“What the hell just happened?” he mumbled, running a hand down his face.

XxX

At school the next day AJ was barely listening to the things his friends had to say. None of it was important, well, not to him anyway. The only thing that kept spinning through his head was how Hazel reacted to him the day before. Why was she suddenly rising above him and stabbing him in the back after he had stabbed her? None of it made sense.

She was even starting to sit with other girls at lunch instead of being isolated on her own. He growled at the sight of her laughing with them. In one hand he liked that she was creating a life for herself and in the other hand he was jealous and hated what she was doing.

“Are you looking at her again?” Samuel asked when he noticed AJ glaring daggering into Hazel’s back. “Just ask her out already!”

“Never in a million years.” He grumbled standing with his plate of spaghetti.

Making his way over to her new table he watched as the girls around her looked up at him and gulped.

“Opps,” he said as he dumped the contents of his plate into Hazel’s lap.

Her body tensed as the red sauce stained her school skirt. Smirking, he ruffled her messy hair and walked back to his table. Behind him he could hear the girls quietly clean her up. A few made remarks about him but he could care less about what they thought. He just wanted Hazel to know her place.

He was barely in his seat for five minutes when he felt something cold and slimy run down his back.

“What the-” he turn to see ‘who’ had shoved ‘what’ down his back and was met with a mouthful of jello.

“Suck it.” Hazel whispered in his ear before running away.

XxX

AJ plugged his music in and ignored the world around him. He didn’t feel like bothering Hazel at the library today and instead just wanted to go home and clear his head. She was getting brave and he was getting scared he might actually like her. Not in a like-love kind of way but more of a friendly kind of way. After all she was the first to stand up to him.

And he had to admit she wasn’t as hideous as he had told her she was. The big glasses suited her and her big front teeth made her look innocent. Even the way her hair was-

No.

He wasn’t going to like her. After all she probably just spit in his face if he even tried to apologize for everything he had done. Where would he even start to apologize? He’d done so much. Like put worms in her lunch, push her down the stairs on occasions and even stolen from her.

How could he say sorry? Not that he was going to.

Stuffing his hands in his pockets he looked up and saw here standing at the crosswalk to the town’s busiest street. AJ’s heart skipped a beat as he remembered his dream. Hazel held a book or two tightly in her arms as she peeked up and down the street, waiting for her turn. Taking a step forward she failed to notice the truck speeding at a pace that was almost illegal.

Racing ahead he pulled her back just in time for the truck to whiz pass and slam into a smaller minivan. Hazel let out a scream and held onto him as they both watched the horrific scene. If AJ hadn’t pulled her away she would have been part of that accident.

Wrapping her arms around him she wept onto his chest.

AJ walked her home, wanting to see her get there without any more hiccups. Along the way she told him everything. Hazel told him how her mother died fifteen years ago and her grief stricken father turned into a drunk, beating her whenever he felt like it. Guilt rippled in his stomach. He had only made her already shitty life even more unbearable.

When they reached her house he couldn’t help but sigh. Even her home looked sad and unhappy with how it looked. The front yard was just brown grass and a few windows were boarded up. The roof dipped in on one side making it look like that at any second it would cave in. The TV blared from the living room and he watched her face drop the moment she heard it.

Then a thought came into her head and she smiled, pulling on his arm.

“Let’s run away!” she gasped, tugging on his arm to try and make him follow her away from her house.

“You want to run away with the guy who bullies you?” he smirked, following her slowly liking how she tired with all her might to drag him towards her. “You’re into some weird shit.”

“I’m not joking.” Hazel’s voice had a serious tone to it. She let go of his arm and huffed. “Fine, I’ll go on my own.”

AJ caught her arm when she turned on her heel. “No, wait! I-”

Hazel raised her eyebrow and looked him up and down until he released her arm.

Hissing in annoyance he rubbed the back of his neck. “I get why you want to run away and I don’t blame you. But why chose me, of all people, to be your partner in crime?”

Her baby blue eyes bore into his. “’Cause I like you. I have for a while, actually.”

He froze, his jaw hanging wide open. She laughed and tapped his jaw, closing it. Grinning like an idiot, he picked her up and threw her over his shoulder. Hazel yelped before playfully hitting his back.

In a way he had liked her too, from the very beginning maybe. He was just too thickheaded to even notice or realize. In a sick kind of way all his bullying was just flirtation or a form of it. Whatever it was, they were both idiots for falling for each other. Who fell in love with their bully? And who loved the person they bullied so much?

Them apparently.

“It’s settled then, Princess.” He chuckled. “We’re running away.”

XxX

5 years later:

Hazel looked down at the little bundle in her arms. He looked like a porcelain doll, too perfect and delicate to be a boy. Running her fingertip along his cheek she couldn’t help but smile and marvel at his beauty. How could someone as ugly as herself give birth to something so gorgeous?

“I came as fast as I could!” AJ stood at the door, breathless.

“You’re late.” Hazel scolded with a playful pout. “You missed it.”

Strolling into the room he pulled a chair next to her bed and sat down heavily. “Good God, we made that?”

Hazel giggled and leant in to kiss her husband. AJ peered down into the bundle and kissed his son’s forehead. Finally they had become a family. It was so strange when Hazel was pregnant, never in a million years did they think they would last long enough to even get married let alone have kids. But they beat all odds.

AJ smiled at the memory of catching his wife in the nursery one night when she couldn’t sleep. She sat in the rocking chair and rubbed her swelling belly. Hazel told the little bump that his daddy used to bully his mummy but now look at them, a happy family. With a little girlish giggle, she told her stomach that one day he better find himself a girl who bullied him more than his father did to his mother. Or it wouldn’t be fair.

“What did you name him?” AJ asked, shrugging off his coat.

“Steven Miles,” she hummed.

AJ laughed and took his son into his arms. “Hello, Steven Miles McGee. I’m your daddy.”

And the Bully and Bullied lived as happily as they could.


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