"Don't let 'em say you ain't beautiful."
Nate's Note: Thank you all for the reviews! You're fantastic guys, really. Without further ado, we proudly present the second chapter of Stay. Oh, and the title's from Eminem. Now move over, babe. I too shall jellyfish.
"I think we should just be friends."
Her head snapped in my direction, the oh-so-familiar rant of why so-and-so was a bitch being cut off abruptly by my voice. "What?!"
I winced. Honestly, now that I thought about it, her voice grated on my ears and made my head throb.
The girl I was breaking up with was none other than social butterfly Marissa Thompson; a dark-haired Barbie in tight jeans and pink lipgloss. At first, I'd been pretty happy with myself for snagging her away from the other boys in my grade. For three whole months, the name Nathan Lynch was thought of with admiration and envy. Guys who'd never spoken to me outside of class were inviting me out on double dates, girls who'd never blinked twice at me were giggling and batting their eyelashes as I passed then in the hallway.
And I hated it. I'd had a taste of the popular crowd, and I'd found it bitter. Despite the charade everyone was putting on in front of eachother, it was easy to see that the whole group was built on jealousy and lies. As soon as a back was turned, a knife was brought out and stabbed into it with brutal force.
And now, with the last echoes of the dismissal bell still ringing in my ears, I was making my escape.
"I think we should just be friends," I repeated, knowing full well that she heard me. That was the funny thing about Marissa; she thought that if she made you repeat it, then your mind would automatically change its answer.
Mine didn't. After all the hell I had been through, nothing could make me go back.
She blinked, her glitter-coated eyelids fluttering as if I'd whipped out a bag of sand and thrown it in her face. "Why would you want to be friends? We're dating, Nathan."
Don't remind me. "Look," I sighed, nudging my locker door shut with my foot. The hinges screamed. "I just don't think we're that compatible."
"It's been three months! That's like, practically a year!" Marissa spluttered. I raised an eyebrow, wondering if she'd correct herself, but she plowed ahead without even a second thought. Wait- had there even been a first thought?
I huffed, sending the longer parts of my bangs fluttering away from my eye. They bounced back, just as I had trained them to after all these years. If only girls were as easy to train as hair...
Sigh. C'est la vie.
No. Don't think about that right now. Bad idea. Bad!
Focus, Nate. You can drool over him later.
That's right; him. Not Merissa, not Leah from third period. Him. Those green eyes that seemed so distant behind his glasses, as if he were seeing something far beyond the crushing grays of the school building. I wanted to get lost with him, to disappear from reality and find out what he saw. I wanted to learn more about him, and I wanted him to learn more about me.
I wanted him, but I couldn't have him.
I blinked, almost flinching as Marissa's voice pierced my thoughts. Couldn't she just leave me alone? Couldn't I just dream for a while? Her eyes were watering; dull and boring compared to the hues of olive and jade that I longed for. She was dull; almost completely obscured by that one boy who never spoke.
"I'm sorry, Missy," I said, not feeling the slightest bit guilty. "We're done."
She begged, of course. Even though I had only been a blip on her radar before, Marissa was determined to keep me. If word got out that the geeky Nathan Lynch had broken up with the Belleville Princess, she'd be dethroned.
"Please, Nate," Missy whimpered, her eyes crinkled to hold back the crocodile tears. "Don't leave me. I love you!"
Ouch. That one hurt. I had been prepared to keep in touch with her before, but that just crossed the line.
I scowled at her, yanking my bookbag off the floor with enough brutality to make my shoulder snap. "Don't say what you don't mean," I snarled, holding back the urge to slap her as I passed. I was not going through that, not after what I'd heard had happened to-
(I wanted him).
I broke into a run, desperately trying to escape the fog that settled in my brain. If I could just get outside, everything would be fine. I would go home, play some video games, and go to sleep. No need to think about-
Oh God. There he was.
I had pushed open the entrance doors of the school and rushed through them, barely noticing the rain drilling into my skin until my shirt was soaked through. I had always been fascinated by rain, but this time the earth-bound droplets were stuffed into the back of my mind like a forgotten toy.
He stood there, his small frame shivering as the rain splashed down on him. His brown hair had been turned into black tendrils around his face, twisting down to brush against his slender jaw. The water had fogged up his glasses, but I could still see the flicker of his irises behind the mist.
The boy jumped, his head whipping around to face me with a look that would've belonged in a horror film. Before I could stop myself, I made the nearly fatal mistake of staring back at him.
His eyes caught me first, as always. Then the blush that spread across his pale cheeks. Then the lips that were slightly parted in surprise.
... And then the purple marks that started on his neck and disappeared beneath the collar of his battered jacket.
I had heard the rumors about him. I had heard such awful things about what he'd done with what seemed to be a quarter of the school's male population.
Such awful things.
I ignored them. I simply let them slide through one ear and out the other, never to be seen again. I didn't want to accept that the tiny boy, the perfect boy who never said anything, was-
(Oh God. What is he?)
Ben was a prostitute.
We stood there for a while, doing nothing but stare until the edges of my socks began to get damp.
I wanted him.
But, apparently, so did everyone else.
"See you tomorrow," I blurted, already sprinting down the sidewalk that would eventually lead me to the quiet safety of my home.
He didn't move.
(Oh man. What if he's waiting for a 'client'?!)
As my brain scrambled to think of something to distract me with, I almost missed the faint voice that floated down the street.
"See you, Nathan."
Ben's Note: Yeah... We lied about Mikey being in this chapter. Sorry. ^^' Next week, perhaps? We cool? Cool like penguins? Cool like penguins that are hanging next to Simon Cowell's heart in the middle of winter?
Nate's Note: -This author you are looking for is too busy jellyfishing to reply. Please try again-