14 comments

Submitted on 08/01/2020

Categories: Drama Romance

When Jessica’s alarm went off at six o’clock, she smacked the face of her phone. The noise stopped abruptly, right in the middle of Journey singing ‘Faithfully.’ Once, that song had been a favorite. It was her parents’ song, and it used to play throughout the house regularly.

It wasn’t essential to get up so early. She was, after all, still technically free of any responsibilities.

She rolled over and pulled the covers with her. Why did her mother insist on keeping the temperature in the house at sixty-eight degrees? She stretched under the blankets, wiggling her toes, and arching her back. That felt just fine.

Jessica’s feet hit the cold floor, and she knew she’d need slippers to get through the morning. She knew they were at the bottom of her closet, but she had a stop to make on the way.

A large desk calendar hung on the wall next to the window. Across the face was a series of red x’s. Jessica grasped the red Sharpie, hanging from a string, and made a new mark across today’s date.

Pointing her finger at each day, Jessica counted the days left before the large blue circle.

One, two, three, and four. Only four more days of living in this house and being under my parents’ rules. Just ninety-six hours until I’ll feel freedom.

Jessica hugged herself with joy. The arms wrapped around her accomplished two things. She held her happiness within, and the friendly squeeze helped to erase her emotions from last night.

Going over to her dresser, Jessica absent-mindedly grabbed a pair of shorts and a comfy t-shirt. It didn’t matter what she wore anymore. It wasn’t as if anyone would be looking at her. At least not anyone else besides her parents.

And just like that, the voices drifted up from downstairs. The volume of her mother’s voice was rising with each sentence. They were fighting – again.

Now there’s something I’m not going to miss – that’s for sure.

Listening to her parents’ argument took her mind back to the night before. Matt was so mad. But mad or not, it didn’t excuse the things he said.

~&&&&~

“You don’t honestly think we can be in a long-distance relationship this year, do you?” Jessica asked.

Matt snarled, “Well, we’ve been going out since freshman year. Why wouldn’t I think that?”

“Because it doesn’t make any sense. I’m not even eighteen yet. And you’re barely there. Do you plan on avoiding all the parties? Am I supposed to sit around waiting for you to call?”

“You have a cell phone, Jess. It’s not as if you’d have to sit in your dorm room by a landline.”

“Matthew, I do love you, and a part of me always will, but we’re both going away to school. I’m heading for the west coast, and you’re going north to the University of Maine.”

“I know that. But I don’t think it would’ve been such a bad idea to go to the same school. Or at least apply. You never gave us a chance.”

“Matthew. I just want to be on my own - finally. I want to have the full college experience and not have to worry about letting anyone but myself down.”

“So, you’re telling me you plan on having sex with other guys?”

“It’s certainly a possibility.”

Matt got up from the log they were sitting on at the beach. He balled his fists and walked stiff-legged down to the water. Jessica watched him fling off his shoes and walk into the surf.

Should I go to him? This isn’t the way I saw this conversation going. I didn’t mean to hurt him. I just want this to be a new beginning. I want a clean break from this crappy little town. I want to grow up.

Jessica thought the cold water would’ve calmed Matt, but instead, he returned to the log with his eyes ablaze.

“I think you’re ridiculous, Jessica. If you want to go to college and just live the life of a tramp, I can’t stop you, but I’m telling you right now, you’ll never find anyone who will love you more than I do.”

His last ten or so words brought the pitch of his voice to a feverish state. And then, he let himself fall into the sand at her feet.

“Jess, please don’t do this. I love you so much. I need to know you love me, too. I need to know that when I come home for Christmas break, you’ll want to be with me.”

He laid his head in her lap, and Jessica could feel hot tears on her legs and perceive the slight shaking of his body. It was apparent he was in pain, and she wished she could do what he wanted. But she didn’t want to be in a long-distance relationship. She didn’t want to ignore the new guys she’d be meeting.

Is that so bad?

 “I’m so sorry, Matt. I wish I wanted the same things as you. But I don’t, and I need to let you know that I’m not coming home over the holiday break.”

“What?” Matt raised his tear-stained face to her. “Are you serious? If you don’t come home, what are you going to do?”

“In the materials that came from the school, there was a sign-up sheet for a trip to the Sierras over the break. The group will get to go skiing or racing snowmobiles. It sounds like so much fun, and I really have no reason to come back here.”

“Of course, you have a reason! You have me. And what about your parents?”

“Matt, if I have to listen to them, argue anymore, I’m going to go crazy. See, it’s because of this constant arguing that I need to move on from you and me. Nothing lasts forever, Matt. And I’d rather move on while I’m young, instead of staying with you and wasting the best years of my life.”

“Wait. You’re saying spending time with me is wasteful?” Jessica watched Matt’s anger boil over. She tried to force some strength to protect herself, but nothing prepared her for the things he’d say.

“You know what, Jess? I think you plan on going to college and becoming the campus pump. Now that we’ve had sex, there’s nothing to hold you back – it’s not like you’re a virgin anymore, is it? Go right ahead. Go and be a whore in California. I wouldn’t want you after you’d been with half the frat boys on campus anyway.”

With her emotions just beneath the surface, Jessica felt her heart constrict at Matt’s words. Worse, she heard her father yelling at her mother.

No, this isn’t how I want my life to be. I need to have fun. College is supposed to be a time when you discover who you are. And I don’t plan to be Mrs. Matthew Dohn at any point in time. Especially now.

Jessica grabbed her bag and slid into her thongs. It was time to leave.

“And where do you think you’re going? I booked a room for tonight.

I thought this would be our last time to be together before we left for school. Don’t you want that, too?”

“No, Matt. I think you’ve said all I want to hear. I’m going to call an Uber and go home.”

“You selfish bitch!”

Jessica closed her eyes on the tears that came to the surface.

“Goodbye, Matt. I will never forget you or spending our high school years together. Thank you for taking me to every dance, and for being my first. But it’s time for me to start my next big adventure.”

Jessica turned and walked toward the parking lot where she could catch an Uber. She listened for his breathing or approach, but he’d finally given up.

~&&&&~

The argument downstairs escalated, and Jessica was sure she’d heard something crash against a wall. It sounded like World War III.

On the spot, Jessica decided. She took the new suitcases from her closet and packed the things she’d set aside over the past two weeks.

She and her bags clunked down the stairs. Her parents were too immersed in their drama to see or hear her. She left them a note on the table in the foyer.

Her adventure was beginning. Nothing could hold her back. She’d find the person waiting for her. It wasn’t a boy or even a girl. It was herself.

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14 comments

B. Velazquez
04:45 Aug 12, 2020

Heartbreaking. After anyone says those words, how do they expect that person to come back? I love she broke the chain! I would've loved to be able to make inline comments while I read to point some minor editing, but the story was good. I enjoyed it.

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Mustang Patty
14:12 Aug 12, 2020

Hi there, Thank you for your critique - I also wish there was a way to make in-line adjustments, I end up making generalized suggestions. I appreciate that you wanted to do it, too. ~patty~

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B. Velazquez
20:25 Aug 12, 2020

Exactly. Or you forget the first comment you were going to make because it was at the top and you are now at the end, hehe. I also love the interaction of inline comments, they are genius.

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Doubra Akika
18:00 Aug 08, 2020

Loved this! The dialogue flowed easily. Loved how she doesn’t want to be stuck in the same situation as her parents, it’s like she’s learning from their mistakes. The Matt guy honestly seemed like a jerk but I guess people handle things differently. You really conveyed the emotions of a teenager beginning a new adventure. Great job! If you’re not too busy, would you mind reading one of my stories? Have a lovely day!

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Paula Martinek
13:45 Aug 05, 2020

I liked the story and the idea she doesn't want to be stuck like her parents are, that she avoided the same situation (since Matt seems to be rather controlling.) Good going.

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Mustang Patty
14:33 Aug 05, 2020

Thank you - I wanted her to be above the situation her parents found themselves in. It's only fair that children learn from their parents' mistakes.

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Paula Martinek
14:37 Aug 05, 2020

Lol yes I keep telling my boys for heaven's sake learn from your dad's and my mistakes. Otherwise what's the point of making them? Someone besides me should learn something...

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Sejal -
00:55 Aug 04, 2020

This is amazing! I was so immersed in the story and felt as if I was watching them from afar. The dialogue rolled smoothly, and it was a wonderful adventure till the end.

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Mustang Patty
14:25 Aug 04, 2020

Thank you so much for that comment. I'm currently working hard on dialogue to ensure it flows well and represents two or three distinct tones or voices. ~MP~

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Abigail Slimzy
20:09 Aug 01, 2020

Nice one ☺

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This is great, Mustang! Your writing is good, but you really are underrated (no offense, of course). You should try to put yourself out there a little more (if you want people to read your stories) I love the part where Matt's like, "Spending time with me isn't enough for you?!" Could you check my stories out sometime? :P

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Mustang Patty
18:33 Aug 01, 2020

Hi, Raquel, I'm still new -- Just starting to get some steam. I will look at your stories today. Thanks for dropping by and your lovely words. ~MP~

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15:27 Aug 01, 2020

Great story I loved the dialog. It was a story of excitement and hope and sadness and regret. I loved it

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