The Breaking of Hearts

Chapter 19 - Whitewashed

Alli

I blinked my eyes open and stared at the white ceiling for a moment. I yawned, stretched, and rolled out of bed, glancing at my clock.

Crap.

I had twenty minutes until school started. I had forgotten to set the alarm last night. New year, new me? Yeah, right. I was still the same old, late to school, messy haired girl I was just last week. I wasn't going to change overnight. I hurriedly got dressed, grabbed some toast, and rushed out of the house. I turned to lock the door and when I turned back around, a sleek, red car was pulling up the driveway.

James rolled down his window and smirked at me. "Morning, beautiful."

"Perfect timing," I said as I climbed in. He leaned in for a kiss before backing out of the driveway.

"Ready for school?"

"Never," I groaned. James chuckled.

Before I knew it, James was zooming into the school's parking lot. He got out first and opened the door for me. "Thanks." It was oddly gentlemanly of him.

He grabbed my bag and slung it over his shoulder with his own bag. What was up with him? Did he take some magical potion that made him extra nice?

We walked into school hand in hand and the whispers promptly started. After I grabbed my books from my locker, James walked me to class. He stopped next to the door and fused his lips to mine, holding me close. Over James's shoulder, I saw the teacher open the door. She pursed her lips and looked at us disapprovingly. "Ahem."

James ignored her. The teacher turned red. "This is inappropriate conduct! I will not tolerate this in front of my own classroom!"

I broke away from James. He was smiling, self-satisfied.

"I'm so sorry," I blurted, blushing.

The teacher continued to glare at us. "This better not happen again, Miss Pritchett."

"Well, I can't promise-" I stopped James from finishing by sharply elbowing him in the ribs.

"Don't worry, Mrs. Appleby, it won't."

"Good. Now take your seat, Miss Pritchett and get to class, Mr. Blackwell. Class is about to start." She shooed him away and James sauntered down the hallway, extremely pleased with himself.

0o0o0o0o0

James

I took off my gym clothes and changed into the clothes I wore to school. I sat down on a bench to pull on my shoes.

Rick sat down on the bench across from me. "How good is she?"

I glanced up. "What?"

A few other guys started to approach. "Well, she's gotta be really good, right? I mean it's been, what, two weeks at least?"

"Well..." Fuck, what was I going to say?

Brandon came up behind me and patted my shoulder. "He hasn't done her yet."

Rick laughed. "I thought you were supposed to be good, man."

The other guys murmured in agreement and I glared at Brandon.

"Wait, so have you done anyone in the past two weeks?" another guy piped up.

I looked away, stood up, and slammed my locker door shut. "Fuck off."

The guys laughed and taunted. "Have you lost your touch?"

Someone else said, "This is probably a new record for you, the longest you've gone without getting laid!"

Rick added, "Are you getting soft?"

"Damn, this new chick's got you whipped," another kid joined in.

I turned around and stared coldly at everyone. "I am not fucking 'whipped'."

"So prove it," Rick said.

I stormed out of the locker room.

0o0o0o0o0

Alli

I flushed the toilet and walked out of the bathroom stall. A familiar blonde was washing her hands at the sink.

"Hi, Alli," Mel tentatively greeted me.

"Hi."

"So... um..."

We stood awkwardly before I spoke. "Are you and Drew, you know, like, together?"

Mel bit her lip. "Kind of..."

"Even after I told you about what happened?"

"Well, he's a really sweet guy. I really like him, and you're with James now, anyway."

"But I already told you, I'm not really with James."

"Seriously?" Mel raised an eyebrow. "It sure looks like you are."

"That's the point."

Mel sighed and shook her head. "Yeah, okay. It just feels like you're using that as an excuse. It's not the end of the world if you actually like James, Alli."

"I don't, though."

"Whatever. I don't want to fight with you, Alli."

"Me neither."

"Great," Melanie smiled, "then let's just go back to the way things were. Just forget about who's dating who. Deal?"

"Deal," I smiled back at her, and she drew me into a hug.

0o0o0o0o0o0

There he was. The bell had just rung a few moments ago, signaling the end of the day. The hallways were clogged with all of the students exiting their classrooms. I weaved through the crowded hallway to reach James, who was a few feet ahead. He was walking alone and he seemed to be deep in thought.

I slipped my hand into his. "Hey."

He glanced down at me. He seemed a bit distracted. "Hi."

"So how was your day? Miss me much?" I asked as we walked out of the building.

James was silent.

"Uh, hello?" I looked up at him. "Earth to James."

I waved my hand in front of his face and tapped his head. "Anyone in there?"

"Hmm?" James shook his head. "Sorry, did you say something?"

"Wow, you're really out of it. Is something bothering you?"

"No, of course not." He shot me one of his signature smiles that didn't quite reach his eyes and put his arm around my shoulder. "C'mon, let's go."

0o0o0o0o0o0

James

I paced back and forth across my room, leaving a visible trail in the carpet. I twiddled my cell phone in my hands. To call or not to call?

I glanced at the screen that was flashing Clarissa's name and number. All I had to do was press call.

What the fuck are you doing, man? Crap, maybe I was changing. Since when have I ever questioned sleeping with a girl, especially Clarissa? There wasn't anything special about Alli, not really. Yeah, there was the bet, but who said I wasn't allowed to sleep with other girls, either? Stop being such an idiot. You haven't gotten any in over two weeks! If Alli's not going to put out, then can she really expect me not to find someone who will?

The guys' voices from earlier today echoed in my head. That was the last straw; I had to prove Rick wrong.

My thumb came down hard on the green "call" button.

The phone only rang once before she picked up. "Finally," she said. "I knew you'd call. It was just a matter of time."

"Just get over here," I muttered.

Two hours later, Clarissa finally showed up.

"Took you long enough," I said.

"I could say the same for you," she replied before crushing her lips against mine.

0o0o0o0o0

I lay on my back, staring at the white ceiling. Clarissa had long since been gone, and the bed seemed too big, too cold. It was way past midnight, maybe around two in the morning, but I just couldn't fall asleep.

I did the right thing, didn't I?