Read Forever altered Online

Authors: D.J. Pierson

Forever altered (page 5)

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 “You’rejust upset.  You don’t mean that.  We aren’t over, Babe.  Youare going to come home with me next weekend and we’ll go to the party. I’ll give you the ring and this will all go away.  Please,Lyss.  Please don’t do this.”

 “Good-bye,Jeff,” she says.  I can hear the pain in her voice that’s been visible onher face for the last week.  She’s suffering right now and nothing cankeep me in this room anymore.  I walk out, pushing the door against thewall behind it.  Standing there staring at him with my arms crossed, it’sobvious he feels defeated.  I almost feel bad for him that he losther.  Almost.     

 “Fine. I’ll go now.  But we are not over.  I’ll give you time to cool downand we’ll talk again, okay?” 

 Alyssadoesn’t answer him.  She just turns away and stares out of thewindow.  He turns and walks out of the door.  Within seconds, Juliais out of her room holding her. “Lyss, I am sosorry.”

 “It’snot your fault that he is a lying bastard.”  She chokes back tears.

 “Ohmy God!  Leah is going to kill me when she hears that I let him inhere.”  It’s nice to know someone’s got her back.  “I calledTommy.  He’s on his way.”

 “I’mhere,” I say.  “I wasn’t going to let him do anything to her.”  Justthen someone bangs on the door causing Alyssa to jump.  Julia runs over toopen it.

 “He’sgone.  He left a few seconds ago.  I didn’t realize Rocco was here.”

 “Youokay,Lyss?”  He nods at me quickly and looksback to her, waiting for her to answer.  She only tilts her head toacknowledge him.  “Rocco, you want to come with me?  I just want tomake sure he left the building.”     

 “Ijust saw him go down the steps outside the window.  He was heading towardsthe parking lot.  I’m sure he’s leaving,” Alyssa tells Tommy.

 “Let’sgo make sure,” Tommy says.  I follow him out.

 “Guys,please.  I don’t want you two to get involved.  He’s not worthit.  He would never physically hurt me.  Just let him go.”

 “Weare just going to make sure he left.  That’s all.  I promise,” I sayto her.  I touch her forearm lightly, but what I really want to do isscoop her up and hold her for the rest of the night.  She doesn’t evenflinch when my hand lingers on her arm for a few seconds.  As the doorstarts closing behind me, I add, “Don’t open this door without looking throughthe peephole first.  We’ll be right back.” 

 Tommyand I round the corner and sneak out the side door.  “What’s this guy’sdeal?” I ask him.

 “He’snot all that bad,” Tommy explains.  “We used to all hang out.  Hejust fucked up.  It happens.  Alyssa doesn’t deserve to be treatedlike that, though.  She walked in as he was bagging some bitch. There,” he says pointing in Jeff’s direction and he starts jogging.  “Hey,Jeff.  Hold on a sec.”

 Jefflooks up as he paces around his older pick-up truck.  We finally catch upto him.  “Hey, man.”  Jeff says recognizing Tommy right away.

 “Youalright?” Tommy asks him.

 “Ican’t believe I fucked up so bad.  I really thought if I just gave hersome time, she’d come around.”  This dude is visibly upset.

 “Yeahyou did.  I have to ask, why did you do it?” Jeff looks passed him tome.  Tommy tells him, “He’s a friend.  It’s cool.”  It’s notcool.  Right now I want to bash this guy’s fucking head in. 

 “Idon’t know how it happened.  This girl was just there and FUCK!” Hepunches the side of his truck bed.  He takes a few minutes to calm himselfdown.  “What’s she been up to?  How has she been?”

 “Shehasn’t been great, Jeff.  You messed her up pretty bad.  The girlshave been really worried about her.  She didn’t deserve what youdid.  I’m sorry, but I’m not going to lie about it.”  He actuallywinces and I’m happy this news bothers him.

 “No,I appreciate you telling me.”

 “Look,man.  I really think it’s best if you just stay away from her. She’sdone.”

 “Idon’t know how to live without her,” he confesses.

 “You’rejust going to have to figure it out.  Come on.  If your sister’sfiancé bagged some whore, what would you do?”

 Hesighs.  Tommy is being pretty harsh, but he’s got a point.

 “I’llgive her time, but I’m not letting her go without a fight.”

 “AllI’m going to say is Jules and I haven’t been together nearly as long as you andLysswere.  I’d still never do it.  I’vebeen pretty wrecked and Jules has always been the only one on my mind.”

 “Justkeep an eye on her, please.  Don’t let anything happen to her.”  Heholds out his hand and Tommy shakes it.

 “Alwaysdo.  We all look out for each other.  That’s why I’m standing heretalking to you.”  Jeff nods at him.  “Jeff, I’ve never had a problemwith you, but I have to say this.”  He’s trying to figure out how to saywhat he’s thinking.  “Don’t do anything stupid.  Push comes to shove,I’ll pick Alyssa every time, if you know what I mean.”  I now have a newrespect for Tommy.

 “Ido.  Thanks, man.”  He turns and gets in his truck.

  “Takecare, Jeff.”  He doesn’t say anything else.  We watch him as he pullsaway until he is out of the parking lot.

  “Thinkhe’ll stay away from her?” I ask Tommy as we head back to the apartmentbuilding. 

  “I’mnot sure what he’ll do.  I don’t know him that well.  But if I werehim, I’d put up one hell of a fight for that girl.”

  “Youhave something for your girl’s friend, Tommy?” I wonder.

  “Idon’t mean it like that, Rocco.  She’s honestly a great girl who’s had someshit happen to her.  There’s something with her mom.  The guy shedated before Jeff was even more of a prick, from what I understand.  Shereally knows how to pick ‘em.”  He’s shaking hishead.  “I don’t know the whole story.  Julia doesn’t even know, butwhatever happened, he was arrested.  We only know that much because Alyssaslipped one night when she was drunk.”  My stomach has twisted up inknots.  “Jeff was there to pick up the pieces after that.  I thinkthey were friends for a long time before that happened, if I remembercorrectly.  She’s been so upset because she really thought if she’d besafe with anyone, it would be Jeff.  Look, don’t tell her I told you anyof that.  The poor girl doesn’t need any one throwing this shit in herface.”

  “Iwould never,” I assure him.  We head back up the steps to the door we cameout of.  Tommy leans over the railing and knocks on the girls’window.  I look at him.

  “Wealways do this.  Beats walking all the way to the front of thebuilding.”  I agree with him as Julia opens the door.  “He’s gone,”he tells her.  “I made sure he left the parking lot.”

  Shewraps her arms around his waist and he looks at her adoringly.  I’menvious of what they have and it sucks that I will never be able to have thatwith anyone.  “Thank you for coming, Babe.  What happened? Alyssa is freaking out in there.”

  “Comeon.  Let’s go in and calm her down.”  I say pushing my way in frontof them to get to her. 

ChapterFive

Alyssa

 

 

Itfeels like it’s been hours since the guys ran out after Jeff, but it’s onlybeen about fifteen minutes.  My heart is racing and I’m wearing out theliving room floor.  Julia closed the blinds blocking my view of theparking lot and she’s refusing to let me go out after them.

“Jules,if something happens to any of them, it will be my fault.”  I run my handsthrough my hair and then pull it up making sure I don’t do it again.

“Relax.” She’s watching the door from our couch.  I can tell she’s nervous, too,but she’s trying to make me feel better.  “Tommy isn’t a fighter, you knowthat.  He just wanted to talk to him.  Nothing is going tohappen.  What you should be worried about is what the hell Leah is goingto do to me for letting the asshole in here.”  I stop pacing and look ather.  That’s the second time she’s said that and she needs to tell mewhy.  She sighs then continues something she obviously wasn’t supposed tosay.  “We all decided we’d do whatever we had to in order to keep Jeffaway from you.  You were a mess.  We were all so worried about you.”

“I’mnot a kid, Julia.  I can deal with this,” I say a little irritated.

“Weknow that.  It’s what friends do, Alyssa.  You know you’d go afterTommy, Mark, or Tyler if they did something like that to one of us.”  Irelax because she’s right.  It would actually be worse if it were one ofthem because they all live here on campus.  Jeff doesn’t have to facetheir wrath every day.  “It’s our job to look out for each other.” We are quiet for a little while before there is a pounding on the window.

Ijump again.  “Damn it!  Why does he always have to knock so loud?”

“I’llgo open it.  You stay here and don’t open the door.  I have mycard.”  She runs out before I can protest leaving me standing alone in theliving room.  They finally come back in just when I’m ready to run out tosee what’s taking so long. 

Roccocomes through the door first, handing Julia her keycard over hisshoulder.  He’s staring right at me and he looks upset.  I instantlythink something happened, but when I glance at Tommy, he’s smiling.

“Whathappened?  Are you guys okay?”  I’m watching both of themanxiously.  It doesn’t seem like there was any sign of a struggle. 

“We’refine.  I just talked to him,Lyss.  Iswear.  I don’t think he’ll bother you anymore.”  Tommy let go ofJulia’s waist and walked around Rocco who was still standing there watchingme.  He put his arms around me and kissed me on the cheek.  I wasstill tense, but hugged him back.

“Thanks,Tommy.  I appreciate you coming,” I say.  He lets me go and sits withJulia who has curled up on the couch behind me.

“That’swhat friends are for,” he says making Julia giggle.

“Toldyou.” 

Iturn back to Rocco.  I wasn’t sure what to say to him because he wasprobably wishing that he never offered to be my lab partner.  “I’m sosorry that you had to see all of that.  Actually, I’m completely mortifiedthat you were here,” I admit with a sigh.  Then I turn away from him so hecannot see my face and walk into my room.  I pick up the chair I knockedover earlier.  He’s standing just inside my doorway when I put the chairin place.

“Youhave nothing to be sorry or embarrassed about, Alyssa.”  It’s the firsttime I’ve heard him use my name in conversation.  Oddly, it has a calmingeffect on me.  “That guy is a jerk and, truthfully, you deserve betterthan that.”

“That’snice of you to say, but you really don’t know me,” I mumble sitting back downin front of the computer.  I print two copies of the lab that we wereworking on as he comes all the way in the room.  He turns his chair aroundso he’s sitting on it backwards and leans his elbows over the back of it. I hand one copy to him then put the other inside the workbook before putting itaway.

“Iknow enough about you to know that you deserve better than walking in on yourboyfriend with another girl and then him barging in here like he deserves yourforgiveness.”  I know he is being nice because he feels bad for me. Great.  More pity.

Igive him a small smile.  “Thanks”

“Areyou really alright?”  There’s something about the way he asks that makesme want to answer him honestly.

“No,but I will be.”

“I’mreally sorry he was such an ass and you are going through this.  I wish Icould do something.”  He pauses for a second and then the mischievous,sexy as hell smile I noticed yesterday is back on his perfectly handsomeface.  “How about beer and pizza?”

Ilaugh at him through the tears.  “I don’t think that’s part of the superhero lab partner’s job description.”

“You’reright.  It’s not.  However, it is part of the friend’s jobdescription,” he winks at me and stands up.  Just then, I hear Leah comingthrough the front door.

“Lyss!” she’s yelling.  I know she’s pissed. “Where is she?”

“Justbe glad you don’t have to deal with what’s entailed in the roommate’s jobdescription,” I whisper and stand up to meet Leah in the living room.  Ihear him chuckling behind me.    

Shethrows her arms around me pulling me tightly.  “Are you okay?  I’mgoing to kill him,” she yells again.

“I’mfine.”  I try to reassure her.  If she was here when Jeff was, thisnight would have been a whole lot worse.

“Areyou sure?”  She pulls away without letting me go so she can look at myface.  “If I need to, I’ll track him down and…”

“ReallyLeah.  I promise.”  I cut her off before a visual of how vicious myroommate can be fills my head.  She squeezes me again before letting mego.  I know what she’s going to say next so I talk first.  “It’s notJulia’s fault.”  She glares at me.

“Wediscussed it.  She should have never let him in.”

“I’msorry, Leah.  He told me he talked to her and they made plans.” She’s sitting with her head in her hands.  It’s clear she feels badenough.  “I haven’t seen either of you today, so I didn’t know if…”

“It’sfine, Jules,” I tell her.  I squeeze Leah’s armand glare back at her so she knows what I’m thinking. 

“I’msorry, Julia.  I know it’s not your fault.  I’m just so pissed he hadthe balls to show up here.  Especially since Alyssa’s been so much betterthe last couple of days.”  Leah looks over to her. 

Erin,who must have come in with Leah, comes over and puts her arm around myshoulders.  “You sure you’re alright?” she whispers.  I nodonce.  “Come talk to me later if you need me.”  She’s still talkinglow.  She knows I’m pretending since there are so many people in our tinyapartment.  She goes over to her room where Mark is standing just insidethe doorway.  Even though they’ve only been dating a few months, they looklike they’ve been together forever.  She leans up against him and heinstinctively wraps his arm around her waist.

Someonein the kitchen catches my attention.  I forgot Leah’s boyfriend was comingback here tonight.  “Alright. Alright.  No more of thisbullshit.  It’s dinnertime and I’m starving.  What are we getting toeat?”  Tyler is always hungry so we all laugh.  Leah goes over andsmacks his arm.  “Sorry, Babe, but a boy’sgottaeat!”

“Pizza,”Rocco answers from my room.  They must not have realized he was here becausethey all turn to him surprised.  Leah and Erin send me a quick look. “I’m ordering.  You guys in?”

“Yeah.”

“Definitely.”

Everyoneagrees.

“Yousure you want to hang around here?  I cannot guarantee the rest of thenight will be drama free,” I whisper to him ensuring no one else can hear.

Hissexy grin is back again.  “I should probably get popcorn, too,then.”  I cannot help but laugh.  “I’ll be back.  I just have torun by my apartment real quick.” 

Heasks what everyone likes on their pizza.  They all yell out their orderand put money in.  Rocco waves them away and heads out.

“Spillit,” Erin says as soon as the door closes behind him.

“Leaveher alone, Erin.  The girl has had enough shit for one night,” Markhollers from behind her. 

“Don’tany of you start,” Tommy warns looking directly at Leah.

“Iwas just going to suggest we look to see if the hockey game is on TV.” Leah is holding up her hands mocking innocence.  No one believesthat is what she was going to say.   

Escapingto my room is too tempting once my friends are distracted with something otherthan me to talk about.  I am not going to make it much longer withoutcrying over tonight’s events and an audience isn’t necessary for that. Before climbing into bed, I pull out the extra blanket from my drawer sinceit’s not quite cold enough to sleep with yet.  I wrap it around me, noteven trying to stop the tears that are filling my eyes. 

Howcould Jeff show up here and act like everything could possibly go back to theway it was?  What hurts the most is that he had been planning onproposing.  He slept with some slut knowing that he was going to ask me tomarry him?  Jeff had been my savior from the asshole who tried to break meand from the moment we started dating, I assumed marriage would be in ourfuture.  We talked about it too many times to remember.  The onlything I’m left with is the harsh reality that because of the two of them, I’llprobably never be able to let anyone get close to me again. 

There’sa small knock at my door.  I’m hoping if I ignore it, whoever it is willgo away.  The click of the door opening and then closing again reminds mehow shitty my luck really is.  My head stays firmly planted on the pillowwhere it fell.  Whoever it is will just have to deal with it.  That’swhat they get for coming in when they weren’t invited.  I feel themattress compress next to me as someone sits down.

“Ibrought you something,” Rocco says.  That wasn’t expected.  The soundof his voice makes me stop crying.  I look at him through the tears stillbuilding despite me trying to resist them.  I still cannot get over howattractive this guy is and wonder why seeinghimnextto me makes me feel better.  He’s holding out a bottle of beer to me.

“Thanks,”I say pulling myself up and grabbing a tissue from my dresser next to me. I wipe my face as best as I can. 

“Figuredyou could use one.  Besides, you cannot eat pizza without beer.  It’sillegal,” he offers an encouraging smile.

Ireach out to take it from him, but he pulls it back to open it before handingit over.  I take a sip even though I’m not crazy about beer.

“Iusually have a Coke with pizza.”

He’squiet for a moment while he’s contemplating what to say next.  “I’m goingto help you get over this.  I’m going to help you learn how to let it go,”he says.

“Look,Rocco.  It’s really nice that you want to help, but I’ll be fine. Really.  I’m actually doing better than I was a couple weeks ago. Jeff showing up here tonight just caught me off guard.  I’m so gratefulthat you went with Tommy tonight, that I now have the best lab partner ever,that you orderedpizza, thatyou are here, but…”

“There’sno way in hell I’m going to let a pretty girl be miserable over some jerkbecause he was stupid enough to lose her.  Not for one more day,” heinterrupts shaking his head.  He stands up, holding out his hand. When I don’t take it, he raises his eyebrows and motions for me to take hishand again.  I’m still processing him referring to me as pretty, but Ishake my head once and reach out to grab his hand.  “First thing to learnabout letting go is never refuse the help of a friend.  Now let’s go getsome pizza before they eat it all.” 

“Ijust need to wash my face.  I’ll be right there.”

“Nicetry.  I’ll come with you.  If I let you go alone, you’ll lockyourself in there and I’ll be forced to knock the door down.  You don’twant to have to pay for that, do you?” 

“Youcan be awfully irritating when you want to be, you know that?”  I look upat him and wonder why he’s still holding my hand.  We walk over to thebathroom door when he lets go to reach for my beer. 

“I’vebeen called a lot worse,” he smiles.  “Now give me that and hurryup.  I’m going to be pissed if Tyler eats my piece.” 

I flipon the light and grab a washcloth from one of the shelves next to the showerstall.  I wet it with cold water and wipe my face easily, careful not toscrew up my mascara any more than I already have.  It’s the best it’sgoing to get, so I leave the bathroom grabbing my beer from my babysitter andhead out to the living room to join my group of friends.  Shane, Troy, andLogan have joined the crowd already in our small apartment.

“Theysaw me grab the case of beer and heard me order pizza.”  He shrugged hisshoulder.  “They cannot help themselves.”  I just shake myhead. 

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