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Prologue Everything is dark. But it doesnt matter, because all my attention is on him. This suffocating smoke! But whats holding me there, screaming and crying in agony is him, just him. Lying in that pool of dark crimson blood that was shed. All alone. It is my fault. Its all because of me. Only if I hadnt misunderstood.

Chapter 1 When one thinks of clich, they think of me. Im one hundred percent aware of this. Being the most sought after girl in the entire school, adored at home, nastily rich and spoilt. This was my life. Yes, to make it even easier to give an idea of how predictable my life was there was also the fact that my boyfriend was the captain of the basketball team. Ring any bells? Snort. My life was a clich. A scene cropped straight out of the happily ever after of a fairytale. And she lived happily and rich with her hot boyfriend with nothing that she would change about. Got to admit, point of pride, there. For my family, I had a super annoying and thankfully only one brother, Jenson, for who I had a string emotion that fairly resembled hatred. The feeling was mutual. Hr absolutely disliked me in every manner possible to be high nosed and I hated him for being so shallow. I hate you Sam. I freaking loathe you! I wish you burn in hell Judith cursed me, Judith being my best friend in the story. I bat my long black eyelashes, flipped my perfectly long black locks over my shoulder and cocked my head in confusion, earning a lot of loud gasps. Judith rolled her eyes over her head. She didnt stop though, complaining noisily about her jealousy towards my newly possessed heels as we walked over to meet my boyfriend, Jared. Jude, love, I know I have the perfect footwear youve been dreaming of, but its not a want, it was a call of need. Absolute, one hundred percent need. If you had eyes for them, you shouldve called dibs. I swivelled, put my perfectly manicured fingers over her shoulder and told her dramatically.

Then I soon heard girls swooning and sighing pleasantly. It was my hint to know that Jared had come into the room. I enjoyed the envious whispers behind my back for a few seconds before turning back to admire my prize. Jared was wearing his basketball gear and was sweating profusely. The sweat formed a sheen layer over his gorgeous tanned golden skin and his wet hair slapped again his broad forehead with an immaculate hairline. He was tall, lean and resembled a lot to Kellan Lutz, sans the heavy muscles. He walked over towards me playing with his lucky ball and smirking arrogantly, fully aware of the effect he made on all the other girls. He halted his swagger in front of me, smiled a crooked grin and leaned forward to touch his lips with mine. He smelled of a heady combination of heavy aftershave and sweat. I smiled broadly as I returned his kiss. He was taller than me. Not a lot, but yes, significantly. He pulled back, looked into my eyes, his mysterious cannot-be-named colour eyes stared right through me, thoroughly enjoying what they saw. Youre coming tomorrow, arent you? he asked rubbing the back of his knuckles over my cheeks fondly. I leaned into his touch sighing dreamily Yes. Im coming I breathed deep, inhaling him as much as I could. God! I shouldve sealed that smell and stored in perfume bottles. Thats good. I wouldnt know what to do without you being there for me. he whispered close to my ear and leaned in for another kiss. And then I woke up. Awh hell! I had been dreaming again. I sat up groggily on my bed. This was my life. This was reality. This was me. I could hear the distant Metallica pounding out from Jensons room. Time for reality check. Yes, I was a cheer girl. Not so famous, not so pretty. I had light wheat blonde hair but I could always just kill for black. I had absolutely no curves and my face was as pale as a sheet. Jared, on the other hand, was lean and tall. He, like my dream, was the member of the basketball team of our school. There was not much bragging about his good looks in my dream at least. Previously though, he had tried very hard to get into the team he just couldnt get selected. And then, my uncle, Stephan, who had a very generous behaviour towards me, reminded me of his presence. He was one of the hot shot investors of our school and owned a seat in the board of directors.

Even then, I hardly ever felt the need to ask him for anything. After all, I wasnt as much attached to him to ask for anything. And then I had this huge crush on Jared for so long that I couldnt even remember when I started liking him. And he proposed to me but soon got rejected to be in the team again. It tugged at my heart. So, very hesitatingly, I called uncle Stephan and literally begged him for some little influence. Even when I didnt need all the pleading. He only told me to stay safe with the guy. Yes it was amazingly awkward for me. But soon, Jared was selected in the team and I was elated. Cut to the present. That morning I smiled stupidly, thinking of my dream and walked out of the bed. I got ready lazily, hoping to get a day off from the shift so I had time to take a little care of myself for the basketball tournament that night. Meh, since I wasnt very pretty, I wasnt representing for the school but I, as sure as hell, was going to cheer for my boyfriend. Hoot. The day dragged in ridiculously slow lurches that were agonisingly uneventful. I yawned and gulped caffeine all day. At the end of my shift, I rushed home to get ready, picked jeans and an ordinary black tank top, applied minimal makeup and waited eagerly for Judith. I never really understood why we became friends. I mean, Judith was gorgeous and I was merely passable. She had entirely different outlook and thought process than me but I guess she was very social. We became friends fast and best friends even faster. I heard loud impatient honking outside my house and I ran to Judiths waiting car as fast as I could, calling off byes to my parents. I bolted into the car, jumping up and down filled with anxiety to see my boyfriend doing something he looked extremely hot in playing basketball. Cut to the court. I grabbed the front row seat with Judith and made myself comfortable. Soon, Jared and his team entered the court. He looked up in all directions, spotted me and sent over flying kisses. I blushed hard and Judith just rolled her eyes at us. I didnt understand most of the game but I knew that our team as winning. Jared missed a few baskets that were easy to score and I felt sorry for him. He must have been sick. But in the end all that mattered as that we won. I knew the match was important for the school and to Jared so I screamed till my lungs exploded, throat hurt, and till Judith dragged me back to my seat with my throat. I bolted out of the stands as soon s the team left the court and started looking for Jared but I couldnt find him. Judith flew somewhere to touch up her makeup even though she didnt need it. She was pretty even without it. I finally spotted him, amongst many girls who were batting their long fake lashes and pouting at him. He was smiling and chuckling, looking pleased. I felt I pang of jealousy and a little disgust. Seriously? it was ridiculous and not to mention paedophilic to adore girls who talked in five year old. I faked a smile and walked over to him. As soon as he saw me, he rushed forward to hug me. I relaxed instantly. congratulations. I said in his ear thanks babe. Im so glad you came to cheer for me. he said kissing my shoulder lightly.

The baby girls around me scowled deeply and menacingly. Very much sooner, it was time to leave. Our school celebrated the victory on the school at the night after that one. Just like clockwork, I woke up groggily next morning and went to my part time job. And in the evening, rushed to get ready. I put on a black full sleeved short dressed along with high heels to look good and called Jared thrice reminding him to wear anything other than his old but comfortable sweatshirt and cargo. Greeting everyone along the way, I plastered a smile, braced myself, pushed open the entrance door of the court and stopped dead on my tracks. Something was wrong. Very much wrong. There was no celebration in the court. No lights, no crowd, nothing. After looking hard, I found I figure sitting alone on the benches. I squinted uneasily in the dim lights. Jared? I called out to the familiar figure. No response came from the man. Slowly I started walking towards him. The nearer I got the edgy and uncomfortable I felt. I walked over to the stands and called out again. Jared, it that you? my voice echoed creepily The unknown stranger looked up directly into my eyes. He was definitely not Jared. But his eyes were so agonised that I stumbled back a few steps. I-Im Im really sorry. I thought my- this was supposed to be a celebration. I mumbled incoherently looking everywhere awkwardly. its okay. You didnt know. Dont be sorry. The miserable stranger smiled weakly at me. his voice was thread, full of unbearable anguish. I felt cold and super creepy. I- uh- I should get going. everyone must be waiting for me. I murmured as soon as my cell phones ringtone filled the silence. I shouldnt be here. I shouldnt be here. I kept repeating in my mind I picked up without even looking at the screen. Jared? I spoke in a hurry turning away from the sad stranger. baby! Where are you? Were waiting for you! Jared screamed over the background noise. Im here in the court where you told me the celebration would be. I spoke defiantly. There was a short silence.

Did I? sorry. It must have slipped off my tongue. Its in the football court. Just come there. Ive got to go. See you there. He said in a hurry and hung up. I shook my head and turned to the unknown. He was gone by then. I frowned and looked around. By the time I walked into the celebration. I forget all about the crying boy and his pain. The party ended wild with me holding Jared till he passed out completely drunk. But even being drunk or completely out of his consciousness, he never even mildly annoyed me. Mostly he told me as to how much he loved me and did all the emotional heart talks which he refused to acknowledge the next day, dismissing by saying I would never say such melodrama. Youre twisting my words, as always, Sam. I just laughed. Men and their hard core behaviour get amusing plenty of times. So, the next morning, I woke up with a splitting headache that made me regret that I as living. Reluctantly, I yawned and stretched, lying still again wondering how perfect my life was. How much it resembled to clichd high school drama. And the striking similarity made me laugh. Moaning and cursing myself inwardly I got up and dragged myself to a nice warm shower. After feeling tonnes better I drove myself to college trying to call Judith along with. The entire day was boring with no interesting gossips, news or any happening events. Judith took off which was odd factoring her track records of never calling in sick without my prior knowledge. Even Jared did not show up. But his absence was understandable. I could literally hear him moaning and writhing in pain after the impending hangover. When I returned back home, I flopped my bag on the bed and headed for another shower to wash off the drab mood and boredom. I even ended up calling Jared and asked him to meet me at Starbucks. As guessed, he was sick. As I walked down to the hall, I felt like sneaking and checking on Jensons activities. I was highly suspicious when no hard music was banging out of his door. I sneaked in silently without any warning whatsoever and my jaw dropped to the floor. Hard. My brother was sketching. Pencil, paper and charcoal sketching. What the hell, Samantha? Havent you heard of knocking do I need to teach your manners now? Get the hell out of my room! he quickly closed his sketch book and covered it with the mess on his bed, jabbering along with to distract me. After living under the same roof, habits are easy to guess. I wanted t see what my baby brother was doing. Its my job to look out for you, Jen. If I didnt do that, what sort of sister would that make me? I teased. Definitely not worse than how you already are. He grumbled under his breath making me laugh. Feeling much better already I walked out of his room. Then I drove my way happily to Starbucks where Jared promised to meet me. I entered the aisle and looked for him around. Soon, I felt a tap on my back.

Miss me already? Jared asked, landing a small kiss of my bare shoulder, making me shiver slightly. No. Of course not. I just wanted a little caffeine. I teased Hey is that Jude? Jude!! Over here! I called out behind Jared when I saw Jude Yes. I saw her while coming here and gave her a lift. Jared told me mildly uncomfortable Odd. She didnt even text me. I thought to myself Hey Sam! Whatre you doing here? Judith asked Hey. Jared didnt tell you that he was coming here to meet me? I asked. What was up with her?! Oh! Yes, he did tell me. I remember now. And sorry I couldnt come to school today. I had to babysit my sister Angelica. She said sadly and shrugged. Meh, thats fine. Nothing eventful happened anyway. Soooo, Jared whats up? I asked Jared who felt out of the conversation and was rubbing his head. We talked for almost another hour and then decided to leave. Jared was the first one to hop up and leave. Soooo, Judith? Hello? I clicked my fingers in front of Judith who was looking at after where Jared left. Yeah! I was just making sure he left. She said absently. You what? I asked surprised Sam, we need to talk. And you remember that this must not reach to Jared. And Im serious about what Im going to say. Judith said in her no-kidding mode. My stomach automatically clenched and palms started sweating. I felt the heat in the blood flowing into my palms and I swiped them over my jeans. This is not good. I thought over it for a while and then nodded. Good. Look, I know this is going to sound bad but Jared is just merely having a fling with you. Hes not interested in you and hes not into this relationship between you both anymore. She stated in a very serious tone and waited for my response. I burst out laughing then.

Chapter 2 Sam! Samantha! Im not kidding! Stop laughing! This is serious, you shithead! Jude screamed and shook me by my shoulders making my hysterical tears spill over from the corners of my eyes. Judith! Oh sweetheart. Youre a goddess to look out for me, sweetie. But now, youre just imagining things. Theres no possible way that he could do that to me. He loves me. I told her as my hysterical fits of laughter subdued. Judith inhaled deeply and rubbed her head in frustration. Samantha. Look, Jared got all the attention that he had been thriving for by just playing you up! He got the stupid bitches swooning over for him and he got to be in the team. Dont you see it? You are his wild card! Judith asked seriously, exasperated even trying hard to make a point Judith, he came in the team long time before we got serious about what we had. And seriously, its not like I have my way in the school. I replied to her in equal seriousness. I didnt like anyone poking around in my personal life. Looking out for me is another thing. But trying to convince me into something that is not true and stakes my happiness is just unacceptable for me. And nobody is authorised to do that for me. Not even my best friend. Plus I couldnt take her paranoid accusations for my boyfriend. Lets not pretend to forget the part where we all know that you uncle holds a prominent position in the school committee. Judith retorted. Damn, she had thought this through. I didnt tell her about the part where I called upon favours from my uncle. Hes my uncle, Jude. Why would he that stuff for me. Leave this obsession, really. I said a little too defiantly. She threw me a look which said she knew everything. Yes, an uncle who would anything for you. You know that he loves you so, Sam. Judith didn't miss a beat. I sighed. Maybe she was right. Maybe I just didnt want to agree it back then. Okay. Believing all that is true. Fine, I trust you. But the question that comes into the equation is how do you know? If hes so smart to plan out all his needs and he knows enough to plot and plan his way out for it, why would he tell you? Practically the entire school knows that were best friends. I asked her intelligently/ Judith was speechless. She started a few unsuccessful sentences and stammered for a viable response. Touch. I thought in my head.

Her eyes wandered thoughtfully across the room. After a few long seconds, she broadened her shoulders, looked straight into my eyes and said because Im one of the girls hes been trying to sleep with. I almost recoiled at her words. What the hell? Is this some kind of your cheap joke? I demanded angrily and loudly enough for the people around us to turn over and look at us. Sam, calm down. It is the truth. And youve got to believe me. He shouldnt know I told you all this. I havent been out with him and I will never go too. But you have to believe me. Hes not the one you should be involved with anymore. She said, holding my hands tightly in hers. I could see that she was serious. It wasn't a prank or a joke. My nails dug into my palms and my stomach became a tight knot. I took a few deep calming breaths and raked my fingers through my hair. I looked around for nothing as my heart and my brain raced. Call him. I said without realising I did. What? she asked incredulously. I said call him. Call him and talk to him about this. Speak to him what I tell you. I looked down at her phone. I made it up along. I didnt think much about it. You dont believe me Judith asked with a little too anxiousness n her voice. It made me even more sceptical. I narrowed my eyes at her. I dont believe myself Jude. Are you calling him or should i? I reached for her phone but she beat me at that. Put it on speaker, please. I added. She looked at me blankly for a few seconds and I raised my brow questioningly. Maybe she was hoping and waiting for a divine intervention. She nodded and clumsily dialled debatably the worst call of my story. What is it? Jared answered without any greeting, annoyed and angry. I frowned and my heartbeats fastened as I hoped for it to be a joke or a misconception on Judes part. Jared? I want you to stop whatever youre doing. Dont do it with Sam. She deserves better than this. Jude said with her voice full of emotion. It was like she wanted to say it for a long time. She just didnt get around the opportunity. I scribbled her next line on the tissue. What do I need to stop? Jareds voice boomed angrily from the speaker.

Tell her the truth. All of it. Jude read, her voice shook and lost all the emotion as she read it blankly, like a bad dialogue delivery. What do you mean? Has she been asking about it? Did she enquire about your whereabouts? I warned you to be a little conspicuous, you little bitch. Jared growled into the phone. It sounded to be an inhuman growl, in fact. My hands were trembling and my vision blurred when I wrote her next lines. I couldn't breathe. It was choking me down. No, she didnt. Jared if you dont tell her, I will. Judith read and nearly broke down to crying. She was choking on the words too. She didnt want to say any of it, evidently. It only made me feel worse. My fears were slowly taking life and I couldnt do a thing about it. Jared started laughing then. He laughed he had heard the funniest thing in the world and slowly his laughter turned evil and sarcastic. It became monstrous. You will tell her? he asked still laughing madly. Every hair on my neck rose and a slight shiver ran down my body. Jared, Jude started to speak something, but stopped when she looked at me. A tear drop leaked from the corner of her eyes. My breath caught in my throat and I braced myself for the worst that could happen. Judith, honey, you cannot tell her anything. Because you slept with me. You wanted me. No matter how much I use that little thing, youre not very far. You befriended her to be friends with me. Or more. And now, when you had your fill, you want me to be that bad person in the equation? No, no, no. Go on. You tell her. You have my permission. See if she believes you over me. Jared completed arrogantly. My breath left my body. My vision swam and my skin prickled cold and dead. It felt like someone had stabbed me. The initial shock that one feels. My trust was in lifeless shatters. My hands left the pen and tears momentarily blinded me. My heat skipped beats and everything stilled. All that I saw was Judith looking at me with pained eyes and the tears oozing freely. She didnt usually cry but at that moment she didnt bother to hide it. I wanted to speak to her. I wanted to tell to end this horrible joke. But I couldnt say anything. My throat hurt and I couldnt find my voice. I bit on the words. I gasped, trying to speak, to breathe, unsuccessfully. Then I looked at the phone. I tried to say something again and I could feel a huge sob rising in my chest. I knew I had to speak to Jared. With trembling hands I picked up the phone. Judith did not even blink. The worst had passed. For me, it has just started. Jared. I whispered, praying I woke up from the dream I wasnt having. Samantha? I heard Jareds alarmed voice and the line disconnected.

A single tear escaped down and formed a path. I blinked and the world around me crumbled into nothing. Before I could break down, I picked up my bag and left, ignoring Judiths frantic calls behind my back. I didnt want to bawl my eyes out and showing my weakness. So instead, I played brave. I played pretence. My agonised march ended only when I reached the parking and got into my car. When I knew that I couldnt take anymore of the bravery I tried to showcase, I broke. I started to cry. Badly, miserably, inconvincibly, uncontrollably. I dont know for how long I stayed in that car in the parking. Or it might be minutes. It didnt really matter. Nothing mattered. I tried to tell myself that maybe I was thinking too much about it. Break up is not new to the world. Maybe just my expectation was too high. But it hurt so much. Betrayal was not something I had experience with. T was the end of a dramatic movie. And I cried in the parking till I couldnt. Till my head throbbed and pounded and my tears dries. All that was left in me were the dry heaves. And the pieces of my broken heart handed to me that were mercilessly slashing and tearing me from the inside. Slowly dusk dawned upon. The beauty of the sun set and the cruelty of night kicked out. I drove my car to home in silence. Mourning the death of myself. I didnt pay much attention to where I was driving. I was caught in my own thought process. My driving was habitual, surrounding were friendly and known and didnt matter much. The traffic sometimes mattered, but not today. I didnt care if I crashed the car or died, or even killed anyone. I felt soul-less. A pained, miserable heaving flesh and gore with what-was-called-a-heart. Now that I think of it, it was stupid and irrational. But that time I had an epiphany. I realised why people suicide. It is because they are cowards- cowards to face the pain. They are afraid to fight it away. Like me. To them life, family or anything, it didnt matter much. When one is in pain, you become unbelievably selfish. I parked my car and checked on my cell phone. There were 27 missed calls and some voice messages. I scrolled down to see if any of them was from Jared. They were only from my parents and Judith. I switched over the voice box. Honey. Why arent you picking up the phone? Maybe we are just worrying too much. Youre with Jared and we believe youll be fine. Anyway, we are going over to Jensons game. Call us when you reach home. Bye. And the voice mail from my mother clicked off. That was all I could hear. with Jared and we believe youll be fine. I almost laughed. Almost. Before I could break down again, I quickly dialled mom. Thankfully it hit the voice mail and I left a message in my most animated voice hoping she didnt find anything wrong with it. That was the time when I decided that I had to leave home. That I couldnt live in the house and pretend that everything was normal. My presence would just sour the mood of others. I was the jinx of the house. And I couldnt even face Jared or Judith. I was a coward. I feared my actions. I feared myself. But mostly I feared the unknown. Graduation was almost complete. I would be a graduate till I decided to move out and prepared everyone for it. Obviously I couldnt tell them the very reason. They would laugh at me. They would have never dreamt that their headstrong and hard core

daughter was blindly and stupidly depressed over some breakup. They didnt raise me to be that. It wasnt even real. It happened only in movies and stories. This was life. So I put my shoulders straight, made up my mind and forced myself to be strong. I repeated in my head that it was just a stupid insignificant breakup. It want the bloody end of the world. To avoid any questions or suspicion, I scribbled down a note for mom and retired to my bedroom. Sleep was the last thing in my mind. I forced myself to think of anything but Jared or Judith. I couldnt fight the pain and the shadow of loss for a long time. Soon, reality and my loss crashed on me and I cried myself to sleep. The next morning I got up early which were unlikely for me. I took a shower and sat in my room scribbling down the part of my life in my journal which I didnt want my family to see. I squared up again, plastered a smile and walked down the stairs to share breakfast. Sam! Youre not ready! Youre going to be late, sweetheart mom exclaimed as she saw me. I have a slight headache so Id like to stay home today if thats okay with you. I said not needing to faade pain. Oh! Honey! I knew something was wrong. Didnt I tell you Matt? I could figure it put by your note last night. My mom rubbed my arms sympathisingly and smiled sadly at me. That was more than I could handle. It reminded me of the day before and I wanted to spill everything out to mom. Even when I knew I shouldnt, I opened my mouth to speak. Thankfully Jenson chose that moment to slip down the railing. He seemed happy and high. Usually his mood was infective. I would make a snarky comment and laugh at his deflated ego. But not that day. It reflected off my sour being. Why is he all chirpy? I murmured weakly. Oh! I almost forgot to tell you! Last night, after the game was over, Jenson was offered scholarship in Atlanta. Can you believe it? Oh, my boy! my mom beamed happily at Jen, glowing with pride. I could see her floating up. Hes not going there. My dad said flatly which news to both my mom and Jen was, obviously. What?! they both screamed simultaneously. It was funny. Dad. No. you cannot do this to me. Dont you see it? Its huge, dad! Dont do this to me now, please! Jenson begged. Jen. Its a big place and we dont know anyone there. You could get lost, boy. Dad said sweetly over his newspaper. Seriously? Thats your reason? I have GPS in my phone for that. Im not losing my way anywhere. Jenson replied hotly. I didnt mean it in that way.

Then what did you mean? Oh! You meant i would get into the wrong crowd, smoke, dope and shit! Is that how much you trust me? Thanks a lot! Jenson screamed and left the house. It was his triumph card. Mom was a tad bit too over-protective. Matt! How could you do that? He worked so hard for that scholarship! You have to let him go! my mom commanded angrily. To me, it didnt matter; I was dumbly watching the show. Then it struck me. Like a bolt of lightning! I could go with him! I almost screamed Why in the word would you do that? You have to graduate yourself. You have a life here! How can you go? mom demanded loudly. No, no, shes right. Dad said. Her graduation is due completion shortly. And she still remains in charge of her decision about what she has to do. Jared and I broke up, if thats what youre worried about. I stated flatly, trying to sound nonchalant and unaffected by it, but my voice shook. Oh dear! mom exclaimed in sympathy. I pulled up a forced smile on my lips and breathed deeply. So, its set then, were going to Atlanta! I admitted

Chapter 3 The new beginning. Right from the start. I repeated the chant over and over in my head. Moving out of the town was bizarrely new for me. I didnt know if I should have felt happy and chirpy about leaving the hurting past behind me or be miserable for abandoning the cherished memories. I decided not to think about it. I felt this urge to text Judith and Jared and tell them that I was leaving. Forever. I knew I didnt have to do that; I shouldnt do that. But it felt pressurising. So I took my cell phone and smashed it under my own car. Jenson was more than high spirited about moving to Atlanta. He kept gushing over the tiniest detail and spent 8 hours on an average on internet to plan things smoothly. I faked excitement through the day and bawled my eyes in the night. Sleep was past. My haunting dreams made me fear sleep. After yet another horrifically sleepless night, I walked out on to the terrace early in the morning. The sunrise was beautiful. Even though it sounds freakishly bookish, the rising sun gave me hope. It filled me with fresh new energy and unknowingly a smile spread on my face as I inhaled the sweet breezy scent of the morning. Youre up early! Jenson called out from behind me making me jump out of my skin. He was dressed and ready to leave in his football gear. Talk of obsessions. Yes, I uh- it was just a bad dream. I shrugged it off Sam, you do realise that there is no compulsion, no sword hanging over your head thats forcing you to leave everything and come with me, right? he asked solemnly. I nodded weakly. I know that. But the scholarship means so much to you and it can literally change your life! And dad wont let you go alone. Its a small price to pay for your career, really. And its not like Im leaving a lot for you. Im not that selfless. I lied. I was lying to my baby brother unabashedly! The only reason I wanted to leave was because I wanted to get away from my recent past. I was nothing but a moronic loser. Jenson came over and hugged me awkwardly, which Im sure he was talked into by mom. But the thing that hurt me was that he believed he owed me. and what was I doing? Using him for my own selfish reasons? He pulled out gently. Thanks, Sam, really. He said and left me feeling terrible. Before I could get anymore judgemental for being a rotten big sister, I walked over to take a shower. The next week was my exams. My finals. I wasnt scared as I should have been. Which I dont know is a good thing or bad. I was just thankful that I had a drive to keep my going to study well. A drive which made me score good, improve my grades and leave town without any hesitation. The excuses for taking off from school sounded genuine to my parents. They were happy, in fact, that their

daughter finally realised the value of studies and was devoting time to her career prospects. I was satisfied by the way I managed the pain that came along with the memories of Jude or Jared but sometimes it hurt and left me open and bleeding. Mom often questioned my rude behaviour, my ignorance, but I shrugged it off by exam stress. Usually it was her tenacious behaviour that set me off. But over all the things, everything was fine. Until Jenson read my journal. I had just returned from the grocery store when I found him sitting on my bed and playing with the journal, waiting for me. His eyes were as cold as eyes and expressions were that of a hard rock. I couldnt read them. He clenched his jaw as he saw me but said nothing. I shouldve been angry at him for intruding in my personal life but all that I was capable of feeling that time was guilt, regret and remorse for lying to him and using him to get what I wanted for my own convenience. It was wrong and immoral at so many levels. The best thing that happened was the absence of my parents. I waited silently for him to speak something. But he burned in his white fury silently, glaring me with half crazed eyes. I felt small. I wanted to be invisible. I shifted from one foot to another uncomfortably. He kept his silence. Jenson, I started to explain but shut my mouth as his expression changed. You know I thought I owed you. I thought that maybe Im the luckiest person to have a sister like you, who is all so selfless and considerate that she can leave everything behind just to ensure I had a career I wanted. I thought that it was amazing that Sam was leaving everything behind, even her best friend and her brag arse boyfriend for me. I could worship you. But no. I had been such a fool! All you want, all you see, is your own good. All you care about is yourself. How can you possibly be so self centred? Jenson hissed the words at me. He didnt scream them at me. Which hurt even more. Screaming meant he was mad at me and being mad was temporary. I could talk him back to myself. But the way he said it, it meant he was hurt. He was hurt that I lied to him. So badly mercilessly. I could even see the visible layer of tears forming in his eyes and it stabbed at my heart. Im sorry, Jen. Im so sorry! Yes, I wanted to get away from all that horrible Jared and Judith stuff and the only thing I could see was how easy it would get if I came with you. I know I shouldve told you but you just seemed so happy! I didnt want to ruin that part. Your happiness gave me strength. I cannot deny what I did but you should also know that I had other ways too. I could find another way to get out of here. I chose this because it meant so much to you. Because I wanted you to get what you deserved. I cried and sobbed the words at him. I felt weirdly light weighed after it. After pouring my heart out to him till there was nothing to hide. I felt better. I was tired of twisting my stories according to my needs. I was tired of the barbaric assaults that I inflicted on myself to pretend happiness and calm when on the inside my conscience was slashing me with spiteful fury. As for Jenson, he visibly melted. He understood what I did and he forgave me for it. His angry stance changed into a more relaxed position. I stopped crying. Jenson was still mad at me for lying to him but he managed a few understanding words, promised that he wouldnt tell anything to my parents and left to his room. My exams went good. Almost as good as much I prepared for them to be. While in the school, I greeted everyone along the way but I tried to avoid Jared or Judith. The last thing I wanted was to

run into any of them. For once, I felt alone. There was nothing I could discuss my irrational fear with or laugh at my stupid mistakes. Also I effectively managed to stay out of Jensons radar for long awkward conversations. It looked like he was doing the same. The examination time, as long as it went, was uneventful for which I thanked my lucky stars. Soon, I and Jenson went back to normal, like we used to be. I even managed to make myself immune to the pain, it all felt distant. Jenson became somewhat a better brother. He cared for me and looked out for me. He even threatened to go and bash Jared with his naked fists but I talked him out of it. Somehow. Mom and dad were up in the seventh sky to see the transformation in their kids bonding. I was happy too. For what it seemed like, after a very long time, I as finally looking forward to something. I was looking forward to start a brand new life. The results were out before I expected them to be. Maybe time passed fast when I spent it with Jenson. I scored well. I was beyond euphoria. I was beaming and blubbering with happiness when I received that graduation day invitation. My parents were super excited about it. My mom had dragged me to a fancy store to buy a dress I had always wanted. She even let go the leash of her usual budget. But graduation was the last thing I wanted. I knew I wouldnt be able to ignore either of my past for long and I didnt really feel like to come up front with them. Especially after Jared happily addressed of our breakup to the entire school. I was honestly trying to move on, then why was the past pulling me back persistently? The morning of the pending graduation party, I was pacing in my room. My pathetic excuses for skipping the party stirred up doubts in my parents minds which was more than I could afford. Jenson, I his usual happy-go-lucky mood barged into my thought process. Whats up? he asked trying to hide his anxiety over my rapid pace. I cant go to the part Jen! I cannot face either of the troubled two. I almost spoke to myself. Cant or wont? Jenson asked in his smug tone and raised an eyebrow A little of both maybe. Okay, fine. Wont. I dont want to see them. I told him honestly. It was surprising as to how much I could talk to him about my personal life. He came in front of me, put his hands on my shoulders and waited till I stopped fidgeting and calmed down. Now, do you want me to come with you? he asked looking straight into my eyes. You would? I asked incredulously Maybe. Depends. How many hot girls can you get me to meet? he smirked crookedly. I hugged him hard. I was elated. Thank you so much Jen! I promise to get you the widest variety

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