Jesse marches to his truck with a black eye and a bruised ego, he never thought his girlfriend's skating partner would return a blow to his face. After seeing the muscular and lean man dance with Aelina he felt rage boil in the pit of his stomach. It aggravated him to know that the woman who touched him so gently did the same thing with someone else, not only in sport but what possibly may have been in a private relationship as well.
Jesse slams the truck door on his side. Aelina sits on the other seat and looks out the window. “Do you know what you did?” The jealous boy runs his hand through his hair as he ruffles the dirty blond lockes. He remembers the purity of his hair when he was a kid, it was at one point bright platinum blonde, over the years it was slowly becoming darker. His longing to be as unclouded as he once was would grow and diminish as wave hit and shaped a rock.
“No Jesse, I don’t because I didn’t do anything wrong,” Aelina argues with him for possibly the first time that night. There is a palpable agitation between the two, the attraction that Jesse usually felt to the petite woman was dead in that moment. It devoured him and sickened him, he wished there was a way to summon it.
“Why was Drake at the party with you?” Jesse, an uninvited guest, had come to the party after Aelina had not texted him back for days. He knew where she was on account of her telling him several weeks ago. His subdued actions could no longer be contained, but the explosive draw and longing he had for her clouded any rational thought that he may have. His aunt would surely have his head for this, but in that moment it wasn’t important to him
“I can’t help that he was there! How many times do I have to tell you that!” Aelina screams, her pale face was now flushed with withdrawn eyes. Jesse couldn’t tell if he liked the fact that she felt bad or despised it. There was anticipation to her action where he expected her to totally ignore him and act as the villain, but there was another role where he believed that all he wanted was to wrap her in his arms.
“Aelina, c’mon. You know how he is. I’m sorry for yelling at you in front of everyone, babe.” Jesse tries to change his tone of voice while still being visibly angry. He reaches his hand out and places it on the small woman’s shoulders, hoping to calm her down. The air had a silence that engulfed them like smog.
“Don’t touch me!” Aelina shoves his arm off and begins to break down in tears. It’s no longer just a tear-stained face but one in total disarray. Jesse had never felt like a monster, but whatever was staring back at him in his rearview mirror had no humanity or regard for others. He thought of no one but himself and his own will, no surrender to love for others, or unselfishness was in him. He was a husk that was now replaced with an apathetic snake.
“Why?” Jesse jerks his hand back and begins to feel his stomach turn. He feels twisted and angry with both her behavior and his. He could blame her for cheating on him all he wanted, but if she didn’t actually do it then his outburst meant nothing. Even her behavior, though bad, could be moved past in time. He could love her as she was if he let go of his pride. He wanted her but he wanted to make sure no one else did. There was a thin line between jealousy and just being protective. A small urge in him warned him that he was in danger of falling into something darker.
“You’re being weird and possessive!” Aelina continued to sob uncontrollably as Jesse sat in silence unsure of what do with the situation. He couldn’t lose her, and yet he felt like that would be the inevitable end. His defense of her was ultimately the overextended demise of their relationship. All of a sudden he hears the car door unclick and looks over to the breezy night that was setting in.
“Hey, don’t get out od the car it’s cold!” He couldn’t tell what was worse, her walking down the highway by herself, or him pushing her into this situation. If something happened to her he would never forgive himself. Images of finding her in a ditch, or seeing her face on the television began to haunt his mind, the burden of it being his own fault began to rot him. “Lina!,” He calls as she ignores him as he gets out of the car.
“Lina, I don’t want anything to happen to you!” He called again, now following her along the highway away from the large house. He was on the verge of tears after the emotionally straining night. Her refusal to listen pulled at his heart more and more. She kept looking over her shoulder glaring at him until she stopped and faced him.
“Is that a threat?” She hisses, still tear and snot stained. As pretty as Aelina was she was an ugly crier, Jesse loved that about her.
“No! Please, I just want to protect you.” He was frightened to touch her, to scare her, to break her, or put her into a state of fear. Their relationship was toxic, not abusive, and he didn’t want to become any more of a monster than he already was. He feared the dark abyss it could become, and that it could swallow them both.
“That’s funny because it seems more like you want to possess me.” As she said this, something hit him. Maybe he believed he was doing something good, but in reality he was just creating more chaos for both of them. It was the end of the relationship. It didn’t matter the times he touched her, admired her, or listened to her tell him that she loved him. It was over and he had to be okay with it.
“I think you might be right, I’m sorry. If you feel unsafe I’m in the wrong here.”
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The toxic relationship you describe is as old as time. Happens all the time. We have all been there or know someone who has. You recreate that very human experience well. I think it would be stronger if you showed what was happening through internal thoughts and dialogue. Trust the reader to discern contradictions and irony in the character's statements vs actions rather than explain it so much. All the interpretation took me out of the real drama taking place. Trust yourself to let the characters tell their own story.
Thank you so much for reading and I really appreciate the advice!
Trust me. I learned the hard way.
This story has a lot going for it. It gives two perspectives of the end of what seems to be a tumultuous relationship. I think that is both clever and creative. However, I wonder about the use of the word apathetic to describe the narrator. He seems anything but apathetic. He shows a great deal of emotion, both positively and negatively. I also think the story lacks action. Could you start with the actual fight to build more tension for these characters? Overall, great job and good luck with your writing.
Thank you so much! I appreciate the critique as well!! 😊