Authors: Victoria June
I waited for Bianca. According to Becca, she had a psych class and Becca was kind enough to tell me where and when. If nothing else, I knew when to lay on the charm and Becca was more than willing to give up what she knew.
I leaned up against the wall, my arms crossed over my chest and tried not to flip out. If Bianca thought I was going to let this slide, she had another thing coming. My only concern was making sure it didn't get back to Emma.
I checked my watch. Her class would end any second. I tapped my foot as rage boiled up inside me. If Bianca had been a guy, I would have pummeled her into next week.
The door to her class opened and a few students filed out. Bianca soon followed, alone, just the way I wanted it. She didn't see me until I was walking along side her.
She jumped when she saw me. "Oh, great, what do you want?" she muttered.
"We're going to talk."
"I have class." She sounded bored, like I was keeping her from doing her nails or something.
"I guess you'll have to miss it."
She stopped and faced me. I saw a scratch on her neck, mostly healed, but a reminder of what she'd done. She caught me looking at it and turned her head the other way.
"Look, I don't have to talk to you. I think you should leave me alone."
I stepped closer to her. If it intimidated her, I didn't give a shit. "We're talking." I motioned to an empty classroom and she reluctantly went inside.
"You're not closing the door," she said. "You do that, and I bolt."
"Fine. We can talk with it open."
I stared at her and she stared back, her pale blue eyes refusing to give an inch. "If you don't get to the point, I'm out of here," she said.
I inhaled deeply. I hated her. "We had a deal."
"I didn't touch her."
My hands balled into fists. "Bianca, we're past lying."
"I don't know what happened to her and I had nothing to do with it."
"Is that how this is going to go? You went too far, Bianca. I told you what the consequences would be. But if you want to play, I'm game, but don't come crying to me later. You asked for it."
She chuckled. "I'm not scared of you."
Her confidence enraged me further. "You willing to risk it?" I asked, moving in closer. We were inches apart now, and she took a step back into one of the tables but caught herself before stumbling.
"You can cut the act. You'll never share that video. I know that and so do you."
So that was it all along? She thought I wouldn't make good on my threat? I smiled, which caught her off guard. The first crack in her foundation. "Yeah, I'm going to share it. And I'm going to do it right now. I'll even send you a copy if you want. And to your parents too. I'm sure they'd love to see it."
"You post that video and it hurts you just as much as it hurts me. And what about your precious girlfriend? You don't think she's going to know you're in it? That she won't recognize you?"
"Here's the thing. I'm the only one with a copy and I've edited it. Pretty simple these days. No one's going to know I was ever in it. And if I remember correctly, you're the star. The main attraction. Enjoy the fall out, Bianca."
I turned to leave and she ran after me, grabbing my arm. Her cold expression was replaced by wide-eyed fear. Desperation was ugly on her. "You wouldn't."
"You broke our deal," I seethed. "The only reason I came here is to give you one last chance, Bianca. And you know why? Because Emma wants me to forget about it. Call it even. Move on. But I can't do that because I have no idea what else you have planned. Here's the thing: if I had my way, I'd ruin your fucking life! And what have you done since the moment I got here? You challenged me? Are you serious?"
"People think you've changed. You haven't changed a bit," she spat. "You're the same asshole you've always been."
"I guess you bring out the worst in me."
She swallowed hard. "I know what you've been up to. You're telling people that I beat her up. My friends are turning their backs on me. Everyone is turning their backs on me. That's because of you!"
I shook my head. "What are you talking about? I haven't told anyone. Don't you think they assumed it? Who else would hurt her? I guess Jake finally dumped your sorry ass?"
She started hyperventilating. "She's ruining my life. You are ruining my life," she said, pointing her finger at me.
Bianca went from bravado to all out panic in less than a minute. She made me sick. "No, you ruined your life. What was it about Emma that threatened you so much? You had Jake, you got her kicked out of her apartment, nearly cost her the job she loved, what more did you need from her? A pound of fucking flesh?" My voice was rising now. I took a few steps back to regroup.
"I wanted–" she stopped. Whatever she was going to say, she clammed up. "I'm done with her, I promise." Her voice drifted to a whisper. "Please, don't share the video."
"How do I know I can trust you? You're not exactly a woman of your word."
"I'm done with her, okay! I'm done," she shrieked. "Do you want it in blood?"
She seemed to be losing it, but with Bianca, I couldn't know for sure. She was an aspiring actress. What a joke. "Let me make sure you understand this. If you call, text, contact Emma in anyway, I post the video. I won't give it a second thought. And I certainly won't give you any warning. I'll make sure to send a copy to all your friends and family. You're dad wants to be a judge, don't forget that. This video will end any chance of that."
She slumped down in one of the chairs and nodded. "I hate you," she said, her voice having lost its fight.
"I feel the same way about you."
"What's it about her?" she asked as I was leaving. "What is so fucking special about a small-town freak?"
I looked back at her, catching her wipe a single tear from her face. I didn't feel an ounce of sympathy. "You really want to know? I'll tell you. She's nothing like you.”
One thing I knew for sure was that cracked ribs hurt more than a separated shoulder. At least with a shoulder you could get immediate relief, but cracked ribs gave me a constant reminder that it hurt to breath. But a week after the attack, my face had healed nicely and I'd gone back to classes. I'd even started cooking again because the thought of anymore takeout Chinese food, pizza or burgers turned my stomach.
I was puttering around the kitchen Friday night making a stir-fry with double the amount of vegetables, a food group that had been lacking in my diet, when the buzzer sounded. Zach popped his head into the kitchen.
"Asswipe is here. Do you want to talk to him?"
I stopped tossing the vegetables. Jake? He'd sent me flowers and a card, but why come around? "Uh, sure, I guess."
Zach frowned. "You don't have to."
I gave Zach some quick instructions and told him not to come out of the kitchen. I didn't want a fight. I let Jake in and he stared at the last of the bruising on my face and bristled.
"Hey, Emma. I thought I'd see how you're doing."
"I'm doing better. Thanks for the flowers." My voice held no excitement like it once would have.
"It's the least I could do. I wanted to come by and apologize for what happened. I know it's just words, but I'm so sorry. I know I screwed up our friendship over a girl . . . we broke up. I broke up with her. When I found out what she did I told her it was over. I figured so much time passed that she'd forgotten about it . . . don't hate me, Emma."
"I don't hate you," I said. Strangely, I didn't feel much. There wasn't any tugging at my heart strings or remorse at our lost friendship. Nothing.
"I hope one day we can be friends again."
His blue eyes were welling up with tears and still I felt no emotion. "Jake, I forgive you, but we can't be friends. Too much happened."
He nodded. "I understand," he said, choking out the words. "I know you're pissed so hopefully after some time passes you could reconsider?"
I nodded. "Maybe." I was placating him now.
"Don't be a stranger, okay?"
"I'm sure I'll see you around Pine Falls."
He turned and walked out. I went back into the kitchen to monitor Zach's progress. He hadn't burned anything yet. I took a second to watch him thoughtfully follow all my instructions, careful not to make a mistake. Yes, this was where I wanted to be. A couple of days at a cabin, a place I'd never wanted to go to in the first place, changed the course of my life. It brought me to this place, brought me to Zach. Sure, there had been an awful lot of bumps along the way, but they'd been worth it.
He caught me staring and motioned me over. He put his arm around my shoulder and kissed my cheek.
"How'd it go?"
"Fine. It was goodbye."
He nodded. I bet he had a lot of things he wanted to say about Jake, but he kept them to himself. "You know what?"
"What?" I asked.
"I've never said this to a girl before, but I love you."
My heart soared. Three little words made my day. "You know what?"
"I love you too.”