All About You (Love & Hate series #2) by Joanna Mazurkiewicz by Joanna Mazurkiewicz - Read Online

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All About You (Love & Hate series #2) - Joanna Mazurkiewicz

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One

Too little, too late.

Present

Furious rain falls down from the sky, large drops of water running over my skin, soaking me like deep, hollow darkness. I look up at the black sky, opening my eyes wide until the rain hurts me, and I blink a few times. Every drop is like a needle, piercing slowly through my skin, releasing the sourness of my unsteady emotions, as my pounding heart rages in pain like an open wound in my chest. This isn’t how I should be feeling right now, especially after what I’ve just done.

These dark, crude emotions are mounting inside me fast, breaking me slowly into a million painful pieces.

Fuck!

This was all supposed to go away as soon as I dropped all the pretence about how I felt around her.

Now I’m tainted, ruined and lost. The pressure in my chest eases off a little when I think about what I’ve done to her, imagining her in front of me again. She hurt me and humiliated me, but this whole payback was supposed to be sweet. Instead, I feel like heavy pieces of glass have fallen on my shoulders. In the past few weeks, during every minute and second together, my life had finally started making sense. Each morning I felt happier because I was going to see her smile. Each day, I kept distancing myself from my plans: the bet and the pressure that kept blinding my fucked-up heart.

Her deep, raw pain eased everything, but only for a moment. I was furious with myself that she pushed me to become that sad fucker. She arrived in my new life, expecting me to behave like I was the same person I was back in high school, the same weak and pathetic Oliver Morgan. She showed me that she cared and that I could forgive her. Then, as the days passed, I began forming my revenge, planning it from the moment I left Gargle. I almost didn’t go through with it because I felt loved by her.

Now I stand outside the restaurant soaked right through, clenching my fists with rage and dissatisfaction. I humiliated India, pushed her to feel what she made me feel all those years ago, and I got nothing from it. I told Sam not to show up, that I’d changed my mind, but he did anyway. That video that he recorded is probably already online by now, all over Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. As we sat down for dinner, I had this whole speech prepared in my head. Throughout the weeks she’d been showing me that she had moved on, and maybe I should have done the same. I had fallen in love with her all over again. When she came to me wanting to start over, I pushed my revenge to the back of my mind, not realizing that the boys were determined to go through with the plan. This new emotion scared the hell out of me. Her touch, her look, and just her being there brought up emotions that I never thought I was capable of feeling.

Then she mentioned my dead brother, and the whole charm burst. My ego pushed me to go ahead and just crush her.

Right now, all I can think about are those three words that passed through her mouth not so long ago:

I love you.

I didn’t expect to her to say it, but those three words hit me like a storm, unexpected, howling right through me. The arrogant, cruel side won and I hurt her. I loved her then and I love her now, but I was so overcome by anger as soon she mentioned my golden brother that the need to be cruel to her won. Then Sam showed up and I couldn’t take anything back.

Before I even know what is happening, my whole body starts to tremble incessantly. People in the restaurant are probably staring out the window at me, the freak who upset his girlfriend. My clothes are wet and the water rushes over my body like a river. I can’t move.

A few more minutes pass and the numbness pushes me forward. I take a few steps before I start running. Guilt spreads inside me faster than I spread rumours about India. The hollow darkness drives me back to her. All of a sudden, I don’t want her to go and disappear from my life. Maybe there is still time to change things, to fix it, to tell her that I’m in love with her. When I stop to catch my breath, my own self laughs at me.

What do you think you can fix, you prat? You told her that you never wanted her, you just wanted to see if she could fall in love with you, says my dark side, the arrogant one.

She loves me and if I apolog—

My other internal voice cuts me off, saying, Don’t be a fucking moron, Oliver. Now India despises you for what you’ve done. She won’t even look at you.

Fuck, I’m so messed up. Good, precious moments together mount in front of my eyes. My sweet revenge doesn’t want me to continue living like that anymore. India was there for me when my father passed. She helped me to overcome my anger, and I threw everything back in her face. I fucked up because I was too immature to see that happiness was in front of me.

Breathing hard and wheezing, I run through Braxton, heading towards campus. She is probably at home, swearing and calling me the biggest prick on this planet. My brother was a douche and it hits me that India probably thinks that I’m just like him. He was cold, emotionally shut down. He used to prey on people’s feelings, manipulating them for his own good, and a moment ago I acted just like him.

The rain continues to pour down from the sky. Thick and pounding water soaks my skin, increasing my regret for what I’ve done to the only girl that means anything to me. The streets of Braxton seem deserted, as if the rain is poisonous and people know that it’s safer to stay indoors. I reach the university village in record time, breathing fast. My chest burns as I run towards the students’ apartments. I nearly fall down by the entrance, swearing loudly under my heavy breaths.

India has to understand that I wasn’t thinking straight, that I didn’t think before I reacted. She would know that it was just a momentary impulse. I’m an arse. If she would let me explain that I had fallen in love with her all over again, maybe we can straighten things between us. My feet thump loudly as I hurry up the stairs, taking two steps at a time. I didn’t drink during dinner, observing India, watching how nervous she was, trying to come to terms with my own feelings. The reality of what I’ve done spins me out of control as I stand in front of India’s apartment.

Dora, open up! I need to talk to India! I roar, banging my fists into their front door. My heart thumps so hard behind my rib cage, it feels like it could easily explode.

Then the door opens and Jacob stands in the entrance staring at me with this silly grin on his face. What’s up, man? What’s the score with all the banging?

I shove him to the side and barge inside, searching for India. The boys and I live on the other side of town in shared housing, partying when we can and living like we want to, but India is in her first year, so the girls went for the safer option in student housing.

Jacob shuts the door behind him when Dora, India’s best friend, steps into the living room with only a towel around her body. I think I caught her in a very wrong moment.

Oliver, what the hell are you doing here? I thought you guys were staying in your place tonight?

So she hasn’t come home yet?

Dora frowns, glaring at me in confusion. Jacob approaches me. He is my best mate, but he was unaware of my vicious plan. Dora pulls her wet hair away from her face, narrowing her sexy eyes on me. She can be mean if she wants to, but it was India who had power over me back in high school.

No, India isn’t here, Jacob mutters.

Oliver! What did you do this time to my girl?

Those two are expecting me to explain, but I don’t think I want to waste my time talking to them. The raw, clenching feeling in my stomach is tearing my insides. I need to find India, tell her that I made a stupid mistake. I crack my knuckles, working out my jaw.

I messed up, Dora, really bad. I fucked up everything and I was supposed to feel better for it, but—

What the fuck are you talking about, Oliver?

So many fucking questions and the time is running out. I push my hands over my neck, pacing around the room, breathing hard. I can feel their eyes on me as the tension starts getting to me, prying my skin away.

She pissed me off… oh God … she started talking about some crap from the past, so I got pissed off and went ahead with my own old plan that I ditched a while ago. Some guys wanted to see if she would be silly enough to fall for me. It was a stupid bet that I didn’t really plan to go through with in the first place.

Dora goes pale in an instant, staring at me like she is seeing me for the first time in her life. Her eyes pop open, her chest starts to rise and fall rapidly. I run back to the window and look outside, but the darkness has shaded the streets and the thick rain continues to fall.

You bet over India, made her believe that you had forgiven her, only to break up with her in the end? Is that what you’re telling me happened tonight? Dora asks in a barely audible voice.

I clench my fists so tight that I nearly crush my bones, breathing hard, hoping that at any minute India will walk through the door, so I can fix everything. When Dora puts it this way, I sound like a complete nut job.

"Yeah, Dora, that’s what happened. I thought that Sam wouldn’t show tonight, but he was there, recording everything.’

I have no idea why I’m shouting at Dora. It’s not her fault that my temper pushed me to go through with this stupid bet. In the beginning of the year, the boys were already counting the money they could get. They were pretty fucking sure I would fail. India said that she loved me and I laughed at her, pretending that her words didn’t matter to me.

Dora’s face falls as she looks at me with so much hatred in her eyes that her glare could burn bridges.

Jacob, she says quietly, her face turning red. Punch him for me, really, really hard; right now!

I shake my head, laughing silently, knowing that Jacob wouldn’t touch me. I’ve rescued him from all sorts of shit. I’m so absorbed with thoughts about India that I don’t see him coming from behind me, sending a swift punch to my face. It happens so fast I have no time to react. His punch sends me down to the ground, splitting my lip and taking me by a hell of a surprise. My mind spins until I register the sharp pain.

Sorry, man, you deserved it, he states, massaging his fists. I glare back at him, lifting myself off the floor. Dora looks furious, like she is just about to throw herself on me with her nails and scratch my face until I can’t move anymore.

My breathing is shallow; I taste blood in my mouth. Jacob is my mate, so I can’t believe that he hit me. Swallowing hard, I get up, knowing that he is right. I deserved it because of what I’ve done to India, and it makes me sick.

Get the fuck out of my apartment! And if something happens to India, I swear to God I’ll make your life more miserable than it was in high school. I’ll make sure that you regret it for the rest of your life.

Dora is more than pissed. I don’t understand how such a small person can radiate so much hate. Jacob is avoiding my eyes now, looking away. My chest heaves with hot guilt as I reach for my bloody lip. The pain means nothing to me. I know that I have to fix this somehow. Now everyone thinks that I’m just the fucked-up bloke who couldn’t get over his desire for revenge, who was too immature to come to his senses.

I don’t say anything when I leave, and I think that’s for the best. Outside I realise that I’m wet; water drips down my hair, mixing with blood. Jacob battered my face. I can’t believe that I’m so fucked-up. Instead of going home like I am supposed to, I hurry outside and sprint across the campus. Sam used his talent to record India’s love for me. For a short moment in the restaurant, I wanted and needed payback, and it blinded me. She told me that she loved me and I threw it back in her face because, in front of my eyes, all I could see was her and my prick dead brother in bed together. India and I had it all figured out, but Christian made sure that I wouldn’t make it in time. This bastard knew all along that I was planning to snatch his girl away. And she had sex with him, despite what she felt for me.

It is still raining and my legs are completely numb. I pray deep down that Sam hasn’t posted that video yet. India hasn’t come home yet and I’m worried about her. She wouldn’t hurt herself—she isn’t weak—but what I’ve done to her could break anyone. There is no one in Sam’s house. The boys are probably still out and that fucking film is a makeit-or-break-it thing. Sam can have the money. Now none of this matters, because India won’t forgive me.

I waste some valuable time outside Sam’s home, and then I head towards my own neighbourhood. My lip is still bleeding, and I think that Jacob should have beaten me up to the point where I couldn’t get up. Then, maybe, I’d have gained some kind of relief. India now bears all my old insecurities. Right now, everyone thinks that I’m the tough guy that can have any girl he wants, but as soon as I saw her this year, my old fucked-up childhood was out in the open.

I made this all about me, all about my hatred and what she’d done to me in high school. Right now I also hate myself because she is gone.

Chapter Two

Another punch.

Present, India

I feel like I’m drowning and my head is about to explode. He didn’t really do that to me, he didn’t humiliate me in the worst possible way, just because he couldn’t let go of his fucked up past?

The whole thing seems like a crazy, gut wrenching nightmare that keeps coming back every night.

For a few weeks I was happy, dancing in my room imagining what the future would hold for the both of us.

CRUSH!

There is no future, nothing to look forward to, just plain deep gloom.

I’m running ahead not looking back, tears are rolling over my cheeks, pain, deep and sharp is cutting through my lungs and heart.

Oliver’s laugh rings in my head, pain moves down to my stomach, spreading to every pore; every joint and I can’t take this anymore.

I’ve just won another bet. Getting you to like me again. It worked, didn’t it?"

I will always remember his words, the look on his face when he said it. Dora and everyone else had been right about him. He had never loved me, never cared for me and I’ve fallen into another trap.

I run for a while, no matter where, no matter for how long. I want to get away from the places that remind me of him, the faces that are mocking me.

That bastard is probably laughing at me right now with his mates, enjoying his video. Jacob must have known what Oliver was planning.

Going back to the apartment is out of the question. I’m soaked from head to toe; my heart is in my throat, burning with pain and hatred. I stop for a second, look left and right at the empty street. I don’t recognise the buildings, the roads or the cars. It’s like the world I know has disappeared and nothing is the same anymore.

This pain evolves like a snake slithering through my veins and infecting me with its poison, I feel the agony, I can’t even breathe anymore.

I glance at the street and a memory starts forming in my head. Russell lives nearby. I don’t understand how I‘ve ended up here or how I got here, but it doesn’t matter, because I don’t want to be alone.

The thunder and lightning crash over the sky and the rain intensifies, so I carry on running until I arrive at his house.

My lungs are on fire and I can’t stop crying. I ring his bell over and over. If he lives with someone then that’s too bad because I’ve now woken them all up. He can’t turn me away.

The door opens, I stand in the darkness staring straight at him.

India, what the fuck … is that you? What the hell are you doing here? he asks staring at me, seeing me as the real person without judgment and lies. Before I realise what I’m doing my body suddenly moves forward and I throw myself in his arms. Shhh, it’s all right, come on stop this now.

His voice soothes making me feel safe but I can’t stop crying. I don’t even know what I’m doing here seeking comfort from the guy I’ve pushed away, and a stranger.

He takes me inside, locks the door, the dizziness suddenly hits me and I feel like I’m going to pass out. I’m shivering and cold.

Wow, hold still Indi, I’m here, he whispers, lifting me over before I collapse on the floor.

Russell places me on the sofa and disappears for a moment. Next thing I know I have a warm blanket over me.

Come on Indi, tell me what’s happened. Is it that prick? He did something to you?

When I finally look at him I see a guy that truly cares for me, that wants nothing in return.

He never loved me, he only did it for a bet! I howl.

Shhh, don’t get upset, you don’t have to think about him now, just relax and forget all about it. Russell is here and you’re the luckiest girl on this planet because I’m going to take care of you,

Then, just like that I smile and I know that destiny has decided for me, by bringing me here. Oliver will soon be just a distant memory.

Present: Oliver

As Monday morning approaches I can’t seem to keep my eyes open. I went to bed at twelve and tried to sleep, but it was a struggle. Toxic thoughts and memories kept me up all night. I’ve been thinking about all the crap that India had put me through in high school, justifying what I did to her in the restaurant—but no, I pushed the boat too far.

I stayed in my room the whole Sunday, tending to my fucked-up misery and thinking about how I was going to tell her how I really felt. I needed a friend, so a bottle of vodka helped me cope through the night. I also made some phone calls, catching up with Sam and his mates. Sadly, the video was online by the time I managed to speak to them. With my persuasive arguments, they agreed to take it down. I threatened to beat the shit out of them and that was enough for them to listen to me. I have a reputation in Braxton and people are scared to cross me.

In the afternoon I went to India’s apartment, but no one answered the door. I called her, but the phone went to voicemail after just one ring. Jacob came home in the evening, telling me to back off. He didn’t want to say anything about India, because Dora was in charge and told him to keep his mouth shut.

You made your bed, so now you have to lie in it, he said, shaking his head like my mother when she was disappointed in me. Sorry man, but you’ve done a really shitty thing. I thought that you ditched that cruel idea a long time ago?

I didn’t reply, walking away and clenching my fists, but at the end of the day, I have to admit he is right. I fucked with India’s feelings and her good nature for a brief moment of satisfaction and a desire for payback. In the process, not only have I lost the trust of my best mate, Jacob.

India is never going to trust me again, not after what happened between us. I’m trying to believe that maybe I can fix this, but reality is crushing me down. I have no idea how I’m going to explain myself, but I have one and only one shot. If I screw it up, then that’s it. I’ll lose her forever.

Correction mate: you have already lost her.

I push my arrogant side away, knowing that I can’t be perceived anymore by others as this immature guy with a short temper. It’s time to change, to face reality.

My classes don’t start until nine, so I throw some clothes on and try to eat breakfast. We have rugby training this afternoon and Sam is going to be there. He is probably pissed that he lost the bet. He can go to hell with the cash. India means more than five hundred fucking pounds.

Jacob isn’t downstairs and when I think about food, my stomach churns uncomfortably. I’m nervous because I’m going to see her. I have to show her that I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life and that I love her.

It takes me about twenty minutes to get to campus and on my way, everyone keeps turning their heads towards me. They normally look at me because they are curious. Most of them just want to know who this guy is that everyone is talking about, the guy that sleeps around with most girls on campus. From now on I don’t want to be him. Other birds don’t mean anything to me. It’s only her; it’s always been her.

Whispers, snickers and a few awkward stares multiply when I walk into the class. All the girls are staring at me with disgust, turning their heads in the opposite direction. Only MacKenzie grins at me on my way to the last row of desks. Jacob sits in the far corner, so I slide next to him. Things between us are strained and tense, but we’re still talking. Oldie Thomas, our tutor, is setting up the computer, trying to figure out which wire goes where. I bet I’ve got at least five minutes with Jacob before he gets on with the lecture.

Man, you’ve got to help me. I’ve screwed up, but I need to talk to her. Anger overwhelmed me and I freaked out, I say, looking at him.

He frowns, which isn’t a good sign. Jacob is a straight-up guy. You’re either on his team or not, and currently he wants to squash me like an insect.

What is wrong with you, Oliver? You told me that you called off that bet. Why are you behaving like a total arsehole?

It’s complicated. Just tell me, how is she? She hasn’t left Braxton or anything like that? I ask, clutching my