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The foundation series bo.., p.9
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       The Foundation Series Box Set, p.9

           Kira Adams
 

  I couldn’t even look her in the eyes, my own sister, it was pathetic. “Kayleigh—“ I began before she interjected.

  “Listen, I know I haven’t always been the best sister, but I want you to understand that I am always here for you, Peyton. You can trust me with anything. If you ever need someone to talk to, or to just listen, I am here. I promise I won’t judge. You’re my little sister, and God forbid, if anything happened to you, I would never be able to forgive myself.” That was the second time I had heard that today.

  After that I couldn’t justify not being open and honest with her, so I told her everything; about being drugged, the hotel room, his nose, my hand, etc. At first she just sat there, listening harder than I think I’ve ever seen her do before, and then, I saw her facial reaction change when I mentioned how scared and powerless I had felt that night. She hugged me for a long time after my story, just holding me and stroking my hair. As strange and different as it felt, it also felt safe.

  “I lost my virginity on Prom night. You remember the type of guys I went out with when Bentley and I weren’t together…” she confided in me. “I thought it was going to be this beautiful, romantic night, and instead all I remember is not being ready and being pressured into it. God, I was even on my period. I begged to do it another week when I wouldn’t be on it, but he said no. I remember being in the middle of the act and me just bursting out into tears because of the pain and awkwardness of the entire situation in general. He just pretended not to notice and kept going until he was finished. It was the most degrading experience I have ever had.” She shook her head lightly, frowning. “I’m so sorry Peyton, that Jax did this to you.” She looked at me empathetically. “You are going to have trouble trusting guys for a bit, and intimacy? Forget about it. I am just so thankful he wasn’t successful in his mission that night. I am so glad you didn’t get that choice taken away from you or made for you, even though it was damn close. Because that one night changed my entire life, and I hope you never have to ever experience what I had to.”

  “I’m sorry that happened to you.” I squeezed her hand. “I wish you would have told me sooner so I could have been there for you.”

  “I’m working on it.” She smiled back at me, through watery eyes.

  “We both have things to work on, and I know I don’t say it much either, but I love you, Kayleigh. You’re my big sister, and I want you to feel comfortable telling me everything.”

  “I’m not sure about everything.” She laughed. “But I’m just going to take it day by day. Are you going to tell anyone else? You could really make him pay for this.” She was right, but I just wanted to forget it all. I was so embarrassed by what happened, the thought of opening up to anyone else was absolutely terrifying. And as much as I wanted Jax to get what he deserved, karma was a bitch and I had all the faith in the world he was going to be dealt a heaping pile of it soon enough.

  “I don’t know if I’m ready. Please promise you won’t tell Mom and Dad.” My eyes were pleading with her to do this one thing for me. My parents were fast asleep when I had made it home the night of the dance, so I was lucky I didn’t have to explain everything right there on the spot. I don’t know if I would have been able to handle that.

  “I’ll do my best, but I can’t promise I won’t strangle him myself if I see him.” She smirked slightly at her confession.

  My lips curled up into a smile. “Thank you.”

  I was just excited to be able to confide in my sister, she was someone I had really looked up to my entire life; always wishing to be her, always aspiring to even be in her presence. We came to an agreement; we would try to be better siblings. We were going to take it day by day and see where it led.

  Eight: Am I Clear to Enter the Premises?

  Eyes on Me

  Eyes on me

  Everywhere I go

  I can’t escape

  I can’t overthrow

  They’re watching me

  All the time

  I’m going crazy

  Losing my mind

  The voices never cease

  Too loud for me to think

  They attack me when I sleep

  And try to make me see

  It was the weekend before my infamous scene with Jace, and after the way he left things the last time I saw him, I was determined to take my mind off the scene, the kiss, Jace, and everything. After a lot of deliberation, I decided to return Colton’s multiple phone calls. It wasn’t a surprise he picked up on the first ring and agreed to meet me without hesitation; he was extremely eager to see me, speak to me, seeing as I had been avoiding him for close to a month. I was nervous about being alone with him, so I had asked him to hang out casually alongside my band mates and I, our mutual friends, and his band mates. It was a go; just something low key, low pressure. We decided to have a small party at Harper’s mansion, due to her folks being out the country.

  I had decided to come clean with my mother about what had happened with Jax the night of the Spring Formal, and after talking with my father they asked if I wanted to press charges. I was still reeling from the effects of the night and I simply wanted to put it behind me. As much as I wanted to see him get what he deserved, I wanted him nowhere near my life.

  My parents were not so keen on me going out after I came clean about everything, but I was able to get them to agree to the idea by pitching Kayleigh and Bentley as chaperones, against their knowledge.

  Kayleigh was surprisingly not upset in the slightest. I chalked it up to the current hype my parents were making over the Spring Formal. Bentley was in as long as he got free booze; that was not going to be a problem, whatsoever.

  I was nervous about seeing Colton for the first time in weeks. He had no idea what had transpired between me and Jax…and I wasn’t sure I was ready to tell him. It was difficult to ignore his ear-to-ear grin as I greeted him at the door.

  “This is some place!” he exclaimed, his green eyes dancing with excitement.

  I giggled lightly. “Yeah, Harper’s parents are loaded; her mother is a therapist and her step-father is a neurosurgeon.”

  “Damn,” was all he could muster up in response; still taken aback.

  “Well, do you want to come in?” I asked; shifting slightly so he could enter the massive foyer.

  “You haven’t seen me for a month and I don’t even get a hug?” he asked, perplexed.

  “Oh…um, yeah, sure,” I replied, awkwardly before giving him the most embarrassing side hug in the universe.

  “Whoa, what the hell happened to your hand?” A concerned look spread over Colton’s face as he gently touched my arm where the cast was.

  “I broke my hand,” I answered simply.

  “Yeah, I kind of gathered that…” he trailed off, obviously awaiting a better explanation.

  “It’s a long story,” I replied, opening the door even further to allow him entrance. “You want a drink?” I asked as I led him to the back terrace where the gang was barbecuing and swimming.

  “Yeah,” he responded, following me to one of the many kegs scattered around the enormous backyard. I was hoping he would forget about my broken hand so I wouldn’t have to tell him what had really happened.

  I filled up a plastic cup for him, with the amber colored liquid. He downed it within seconds and then glanced back at me. “Okay, your turn.” He began filling up a second plastic cup before handing it to me.

  “Thanks,” I replied flatly; no intention of drinking anytime soon; my trust issues sky high.

  “Peyton, we need to talk,” he began softly, taking a step towards me.

  “What do you want to talk about?” I asked, taking a small step away; hoping he wouldn’t notice.

  “I meant what I said,” he replied, gently.

  “And that was…?” I played dumb.

  “You’re my future,” he repeated the familiar statement. He took my hand that wasn’t injured in his and my heart rate spiked; anxiety at an all-time high. “I broke up with Tara.
He tucked some stray hairs behind my ear.

  Breathe. I had to keep reminding myself. Just breathe.

  He reached for me with his arm and I dodged it, shaking violently. “Is everything okay?” I heard him ask from behind my back.

  I was still shaking something fierce, but I knew it was unfair to Colton. He had never harmed me in the physical sense. Uncontrollably shaking as a result of him getting close was incredibly unfair. I finally turned back to him, captivating his attention. “I need to tell you something.”

  I came clean about all the reasons I had been avoiding him. The look I had seen spread across his face when I told him I had never been kissed instantly taking over his face again, only to the highest degree this time. I hated people feeling sorry for me. That’s the same look I had come to recognize over the years due to my weight struggles.

  I just wanted everything to go back to normal; whatever that even was.

  “I’m sorry…” he began, before I rudely cut him off.

  “Don’t,” I stated, simply.

  “What?”

  “I’m just tired of everyone looking at me with that same look in their eyes,” I shot back.

  “And what look would that be?” Colton tested me.

  “Sympathy,” I spat, unable to contain myself, “like I’m some kind of broken toy that needs fixing.”

  “You’re different,” he stated the obvious.

  “What did you expect?” I asked, incredulously.

  His phone began ringing, the Script playing over the small speakers, filling up the silence. He pulled it out from his back pocket, glancing at the screen quickly.

  The look on his face made it all too obvious who had been on the other side; all the color slowly draining from his face. “I thought you broke up with her?” I asked, not being able to hide my disappointment.

  “I did,” he replied simply. “She’s having a hard time letting go.” He sat his plastic cup down. “I should actually be going.”

  “But you just barely got here.” I looked up at him, his green eyes piercing through me.

  “I know,” he began, running his fingers through his shaggy brown hair. “You know we played that gig at the Pixie last night and I haven’t really gotten that much sleep. Plus, I have to be up early tomorrow…our west coast tour begins on Tuesday. We have a lot of last minute details to tie up.”

  “I know.” I pouted.

  “We’ll hang out when I get back in town, promise.” He stepped towards me, hesitantly. “Am I clear to enter the premises?” He joked, lightly.

  I nodded, mentally preparing myself for the closeness. My heart was still racing beyond control, but my body was not shaking anymore; progress had been made.

  After Colton and his band mates made their departure as well as most of the others, all that remained was my sister, Bentley, Noah, Harper and me. We were plopped around a bonfire, enjoying the humid night air.

  “Sing us a song,” Kayleigh suggested; a welcome surprise. She had never taken interest in my talents. Although she was supportive she never seemed genuinely interested.

  “Well, we need to write a new song anyway.” I glanced at Noah through the orange flicker of the flames.

  Noah picked up his acoustic guitar from beside him. He began strumming the strings gently, waiting for my cue. “Got any inspiration?”

  I looked at my sister and she nodded her head lightly in my direction. Simply having her there made everything that much easier.

  I opened my mouth; baring my heart and soul to my friends, family, and band mates. These were people I could trust; they weren’t ones to judge me. They would support me even if I was in the wrong.

  The feeling of love I felt that night unlike any I had ever felt before; it was as close to normal as I had felt in weeks.

  * * *

  I had been dreading my scene with Jace and time had not granted my request for a stand still. Whether I was ready or not, our lips were bound to meet one another’s in less than thirty minutes.

  I had arrived to class early to help set up, when I caught sight of Jace walking up towards me; his blue eyes piercing through my soul yards away. “You ready for this?” He asked in an attempt to strike up a conversation.

  “Jace, I’m not sure I can do this,” I replied, honestly.

  He took a few steps toward me. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you.”

  I nodded. If I didn’t go on I risked a hit to Jace’s grade in class; totally unfair if you asked me. The unexpected was what terrified me most. Physical intimacy was still very intimidating to me.

  The time had come and I couldn’t avoid it any longer. Jace was on stage across from me. He was in the middle of his monologue. My eyes timidly glanced out in the crowd; the lights blinding me from seeing anyone clearly; parents and family of the students filled up the auditorium. I couldn’t make out any faces or even outlines except a strange figure huddled in the corner. I squinted my eyes harder in an attempt to get a better look.

  “I’m afraid to be vulnerable to you,” I heard Jace speak the lead-in for our kiss.

  There was something familiar about the figure huddled in the dark corner of the theatre. I couldn’t tear my eyes off of him. I knew without a fraction of a doubt it was a male by his stocky shoulders.

  I heard Jace repeat the sentence one more time giving me a chance to save our performance. But I was locked in place; transfixed; the tiny light on the wall illuminating the top of his hair. The figure finally raised their head up and their eyes were staring straight at me; cold, dark piercing blue eyes. Eyes I could recognize anywhere; the same pair of eyes that had been haunting me in my dreams the past month. There was no denying it; Jax was there; in the back of the theatre, eyes fixated on me.

  I felt a hand brush my cheek and suddenly I was back there; Rihanna’s voice weaving in and out softly. I adjusted my eyes; positive I was going insane. I began rubbing them madly, praying it was all a dream.

  “You weren’t supposed to wake up so quick…” Déjà vu.

  “Ahhh!” I screamed, terrified out of my mind. He was inching closer and I was shaking in utter fear. Without another thought in mind, I punched my perpetrator square in the face. My biggest fear had reincarnated itself. Having to live through the night once was one thing…but twice? Incredible pain shot up through my fist and arm, wrenching me back. The pain was double from the time before. My face twisted in agony, I cried out from the tender throbbing.

  Rihanna’s voice had all but faded out and now all I saw were bright lights shining down upon me. I squinted up at them, wondering where in the hell I was. I could hear nervous chatter around me.

  I glanced around at all my surroundings; parents, students, and teacher alike standing and staring at me; shocked expressions across their faces. Suddenly, I remembered where I was…what I was supposed to be doing. You ruined everything, my inner voice scolded me. I turned to Jace, humiliation pouring over my face; an apology plastered across it.

  I had punched him in the face; the exact same way I had done to his brother…only this time I was wearing a cast around my wrist. I eyed him, praying that I hadn’t done any permanent damage to his angelic face, but there was no avoiding it, a black eye was inevitable.

  He was holding his face in pain; his expression part horror, part sympathy; fucking sympathy.

  * * *

  I was completely mortified by the entire incident that had transpired. Here’s the fucked up part about the story; my Principal tried to expel me…my parents wouldn’t allow it so they marched right in and told her what had happened the night of Spring Formal. She was hesitant to believe it because of Jax’s role on the football team and amongst his peers. Essentially his popularity won her trust. Eventually she decided a lesser punishment would be suitable, so I was suspended. Three days.

  After the catastrophe it was understandable my parents sought help for my…problem. That performance was a whole other nightmare of its own. Although I had been hesitant to see a therapist
at the beginning of the school year, I was warming up to the idea. If someone could help me make it through the ordeal I had to go through with Jax, I was willing to tell them anything.

  It was the middle of May and I had been seeing Harper’s mother on the down low at a discounted rate for the past few weeks. I was happy that I knew her already; we already had somewhat of a trust formed. She had prescribed an over-the-counter anxiety medication to which I was instructed to take one pill every night before bed. I hadn’t noticed huge changes, but my moods seemed more stable.

  Jeanette, Harper’s mother had also been able to help me accept the fact that I had developed a mild case of post-traumatic stress disorder; mild in the sense that I was only experiencing some of the symptoms and they were not constant. The night with Jax had done more damage than I could have ever imagined.

 
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