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Sometimes never, p.1

Sometimes Never, page 1

 part  #1 of  Sometimes Never Series

 

Sometimes Never
 

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Sometimes Never


  This book is dedicated to my editor and sister, Dawn. For telling me to write now and worry later.

  1

  Mason

  When people talk about what initially attracts them to someone, that first glimpse that makes them turn around and take a second glance, they usually say something sweet. Like pretty eyes or a nice smile. For me, it’s her toes. Shiny, bright pink, polished toes dangling from the passenger side window of a car. Her milky white feet bounce up and down as she sways her legs to the beat of music I’m unable to hear. And I really wish I could hear it. To know what sound flows through her ears and makes her move like this.

  My eyes trail up her legs, over her knees, and follow the path down her thighs. I don’t think I’ve ever seen skin so smooth and pale. My gaze sticks on her faded Beatles tee shirt for several seconds before I finally find her face. Her eyes are closed, long dark lashes resting on her cheeks. Her lips are shiny and I catch myself wondering what they taste like.

  Tearing my eyes away from her mouth, I flick them up to her hair, pooled around her like spilt silk. Shades of pink, purple, blue, and green peek through the otherwise dark strands. She has ear buds in, the cord stretching to the iPod clutched in her hands above her head as she lies across the bench seat. I can see the red vinyl through the gages in her earlobes. Everything about her is different. Singular. Special.

  She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.

  I don’t use the word beautiful often. It’s an overly used word that has begun to lose its importance. But it fits here. Every one of my senses recognize this girl as just that. Beautiful.

  I force myself to keep walking toward the school, but I allow a quick look back as I step out of the parking lot. Her feet are gone. The car windows closed.

  I’m about to turn back around when I spot her walking next to a girl that fits into what I refer to as “the mass produced” category. Tall, tan, blonde hair, name brand clothes that half of the girls at this school probably own as well. She looks like the perky cheerleader type—popular and well liked for her status. I’m not trying to stereotype. I’m just good at reading people. It throws me off to see these two completely opposite girls walking together. Their heads are turned toward each other, engaged in conversation.

  I wonder for a second what they’re discussing. What topic could be mutually gratifying to such different girls? It bothers me that I really want to know. Why am I even thinking about this?

  Then the one girl, the blonde, stops abruptly, her attention sliding to a big guy in a letterman jacket. Probably a football player. Probably her boyfriend.

  Blondie shakes her head and glares at the jockstrap as if the sight of him makes her sick. He laughs and takes a step in her direction. And something very much unexpected happens. The other girl, the beautiful one, puts herself in between them. All of a hundred pounds and she’s what stands in the way of this guy getting to the blonde.

  The jockstrap laughs again, but there’s no humor to it this time. He’s pissed. His face is red and his eyes narrow. And now I’m not thinking about anything. I just start heading in their direction. I’m about twenty feet away when the asshole puts his hand up and actually shoves the girl backwards. What the fuck? But she doesn’t fall. She was braced for it, which I find extremely interesting.

  I’m ten feet away now and I have absolutely no plan. All I know is I am not about to just stand by and let this dickhead intimidate someone smaller just because he thinks he can.

  “Don’t touch me again,” the girl says. “And stay away from Annie.” My eyes flick to Blondie. She must be Annie.

  Jock-boy smirks, his lips turning up in this smug, assholey way that makes me want to punch him right in the face. He extends his meaty fingers and brushes them over the girl’s cheek. I cringe and I’m not sure why the idea of his sweaty fingers on her skin bothers me, but it does. A lot. Her eyes, which I can now see are blue, slit into a murderous glare. Obviously it bothers her too. I open my mouth to say something, to tell this guy to go fuck himself, but before anything comes out, the girl swings her leg up and kicks him right in the balls.

  Priceless. I throw my fist over my mouth to hold in the laughter threatening to explode. Jock-boy grunts, his face somehow manages to turn an even brighter red, and grabs himself as he falls forward. The girl doesn’t miss a beat. As soon as he’s down, she swings her leg again, kicking him in the chin. The snap of his teeth slamming together makes me cringe. But the girl swings again, thrusting her foot into his stomach. Air rushes out of his mouth sending a spray of saliva and blood across the blacktop.

  “I said not to touch me again,” the girl says in an unnervingly calm voice. She picks up her foot and I know she’s going to kick him again. I should let her. I should stand back and enjoy the show. But I don’t. I step up behind her, wrap my arms around her waist, and swing her so she is facing the other direction. I can feel her shaking with adrenaline or rage, so I let her go quickly. But in the two seconds she was against my body, I caught the scent of her shampoo, something fruity that will drive me crazy until I can identify it. I also decide I like the way her back felt pressed to my chest.

  She looks up at me, her mouth opening in shock. “I don’t think he’ll touch you again,” I say, and I can’t help the smile that forms. I don’t know this girl, but I feel some unwarranted sense of pride as I gaze at her.

  And she does something else that surprises me. The anger leaves her face and her lips turn up in a way that has my brain stumbling all over itself. For a second, I feel like a complete idiot because I’ve lost all ability to speak. The words tongue tied finally make sense and all I can do is stare at her mouth. “Thanks,” she says.

  The blonde—Annie?—grabs her hand and pulls her away before I have a chance to respond. What was she thanking me for? For what I said? For pulling her off that guy? For staring at her like she’s my favorite flavor of ice cream?

  They make it about five feet before an older man in a suit, probably the principal, takes her by her upper arm and drags her off in the direction of the school. She doesn’t fight him, but after several steps she turns her head and looks back at jock-boy as his friends help him stand. There’s blood dripping from his mouth and he seems to be having trouble straightening up. The girl’s lips form into a radiant smile.

  “Fucking bitch,” jock-boy spits. And she winks. She freaking winks at him.

  I realize I’m grinning like some psycho. Because what just happened, the entire situation, as crazy and violent as it was, was so frigging hot.

  I think, for the first time in my life, I’m in love.

  2Hope

  So here I am sitting across from Mr. Andrews, listening to him drone on and on about school policy and blah, blah, blah, bleck. Really what I hear is this: “Christian Dumbshit Dunkin is a star athlete while you are a loser, freak with psychotic tendencies. So therefore, even though he put his hands on you first, I will do nothing about it. Oh, and you’re suspended for the rest of the week.”

  The events of last night play through my head as Andrews’ voice fades into a blurry hum.

  ASL flashed on the computer screen. Age, sex, and location. I sat back and thought, Who do I want to be today? I never tell the truth. Seventeen, female, living in a house with seven other kids in Ohio. Like a fucked up, twenty-first century version of The Brady Bunch.

  Usually when the first question has to do with your age and sex, it’s a horny, middle aged man looking to cyber. When I’m in a mood, like I was last night—sick of the world and all its bullshit—I like to put on my Fergus persona. Fergus is a fifteen year old boy, recently discovering his gay sexuality. Misunderstood by his parents, and too afraid to come out to his friends, he’s lonely and looking for anyone to understand. I based him on
my old neighbor, just changing the name to that of a cat I had when I was ten. The cat ran away. I’m pretty sure the neighbor did too.

  I was instantly disconnected. “Asshole,” I muttered.

  “What?” Guy glanced at me, putting his own online chat on hold.

  “Nothing. Just some douche bag homophobe.”

  “He didn’t want to talk to Fergus? What the hell?” He shook his head, his blonde hair tumbling into his eyes.

  “I hate people,” I said as I hit enter. “Next.”

  “I don’t know why you’re always on here when you don’t really ever want to talk to people.”

  I ignored Guy, partly because I love him, so his sarcasm never bothers me. In fact, I often appreciate it. But mostly because I just didn’t feel like another “Hope Hates the World” speech. Guy actually is gay. I think he’s a little addicted to sex. Or he’s a typical teenage boy. He truly loves the online sites, especially the live video chats, and not for the conversation. I’ve seen Guy’s nether regions more times than I’d like to admit. I think that’s why I love him; he’s messed up, just like me. Also, I feel bad for him having a name like Guy. It was like his parents didn’t even try. Or like, I don’t know, they set him up. As if they were expecting a manly football player and got a sensitive homosexual son instead. Like my name being Hope. It was a guarantee I was going to have the bleakest, blackest of souls. I’m not even about to get into my last name.

  ASL lit the screen again. I sighed and typed, forty, male, Texas. Instantly got disconnected. I didn’t even get to tell them about my stance on the death penalty—which being a proud Texan man, I was for, of course.

  The door swung open so fast, it hit the wall. Annie ran past, her hands over her face. “Hey, there may be ten of us, but this is still not a barn, Annie! Close the damn door,” Guy yelled. He used his foot and kicked the door. It closed halfway and he shrugged.

  “Dylan, close the door,” I said to Guy’s brother as sweetly as I’m capable of speaking.

  “Close it yourself,” he said in a high pitched, squeaky voice. He was jumping up and down, bursting with hysterical giggles as he killed a zombie on the Xbox.

  “Just do it, Pickles!” I shouted, no longer trying to be nice about it. Dylan paused his game and shot me the death stare.

  “My name is not Pickles!”

  “Wait, when did we start calling him Pickles?” Guy looked at me, confused.

  “Ever since I heard Jenny call him Dill,” I explained. And proving to be deserving of my love, Guy needed no further explanation. He chuckled and pushed Dylan’s head. “I thought I smelled something. I have a sudden craving for a sub sandwich with turkey, and lettuce, and tomato.”

  “With extra Pickles,” I added and we both rolled with laughter. Not Dylan though. He just glared at us as he slammed the door.

  “You guys are jerks.”

  We laughed harder.

  “Screw you! I’m telling Dad.”

  Guy stopped laughing, which just made me start crying, I was laughing so hard. “Don’t be a nark, you little rat! If I get in trouble one more time, Jenny said I’d be grounded this weekend.”

  Dylan shrugged and took off running. Guy jumped up so fast his chair fell over, thudding loudly on the hard wood floor. He lunged across the table and snatched the back of Dylan’s collar.

  “Stop, you’re choking me!” Dylan screamed. “Dad! Jenny!”

  Guy slid his hand over Dylan’s mouth. “Shut up. I’m not choking you, but I swear to God, if you don’t shut the hell up I will choke the life out of you. And I’ll tell Dad you said ‘screw.’”

  I shook my head and hit enter on the computer again. Like I said, we’re the damn Brady Bunch.

  ASL again. “Fucking horny losers!”

  “Hope! Watch the language,” Jenny scolded me as she came into the kitchen. “What is going on? Why were you screaming?”

  Guy nudged Dylan. “Nothing,” he grumbled.

  “Hey, Annie’s home. She seemed upset,” I said to get the attention off Guy. He grinned at me over Jenny’s shoulder.

  “What do you mean? Upset how?” Jenny chewed her lip as she stared at me. Annie is Jenny’s oldest biological daughter from her first marriage. And her precious little angel.

  I shrugged then. “She busted in and ran up to our room.”

  “Hope, honey, will you go check on her? She’s more likely to talk to you than me.”

  I closed my laptop and tucked it under my arm shooting Guy the “you owe me so big” look. “Yeah, I’ll try.”

  Jenny tapped her fingers on her chin. “Thank you, sweetheart. You’re a life saver.”

  “Mmm. What flavor?” Guy whispered as I pushed past him.

  I flipped my pony tail in his face. “Cherry, of course.”

  “Oh, uh-huh. You know that’s right, Cuz,” he called after me.

  Up in our room, I sat outside the bathroom door. I could hear the shower running and I could hear Annie crying. She had been out on a first date with Christian, the asshole. She was so excited about it. I have no idea why. He’s such a dick. So, I sat there in front of the door, listening to her cry, and I had such a strong feeling that this dumb jock did something to her. Probably forced her into something she wasn’t ready for. Possibly raped her. Part of me was so sad for her. I wanted to go into the shower and hug her, letting her know she wasn’t alone. Another part of me was so mad, I wanted to go get Guy, go to this dude’s house so I could cut off his favorite appendage, and shove it down his throat. But then there was this big other part of me—part of me that is truly scary—that just didn’t give a shit enough to do anything.

  So I stood up. Looked at the pretty, flowery neatness on Annie’s side of the room, and then to the purple mess of my side. I decided, Screw it. She’s always judging me. Always looking down on me. She was the one who thought she was such hot shit for going out with this dude. So, she got exactly what she deserved. I turned and walked away, leaving her crying in the shower, alone.

  What does that make me? I don’t know. I don’t even know if I care. All I know is, I wanted to cut so badly my hands were shaking, but that wench was hogging our bathroom. I quietly made my way to Guy’s room and snuck into his bathroom. I locked the door and checked it three times to make sure nobody could walk in on me. I opened his medicine cabinet and took out his razor. I checked the door one more time then dropped my pants around my ankles and sat on the closed toilet seat. Spreading my legs wide, I looked for my old scars. I only cut over the old ones, no longer making new. It doesn’t really count that way.

  After I readied a wad of toilet paper in one hand, I ran the razor slowly across the raised pink skin. It didn’t hurt in the way I like, so I cut over it again, deeper. A thick line of red appeared on my inner thigh and it was the best feeling in the world. As it started to glide down my leg, I wiped it away quickly and moved to the next scar. I automatically went deeper, moaning with pain and pleasure. There were no band aids in Guy’s bathroom, so I pushed the toilet paper against my leg and pulled up my pants. I put the razor blade in my pocket and went back to my room to get the band aids I keep stashed in my underwear drawer.

  I am seriously messed up.

  Though I may have felt better, I could hear Annie still crying once I was back in my room, and it all rushed back. So I used my next coping skill. I acted like a bitch. I slammed my fist against the bathroom door and I yelled, “Hurry the hell up. You aren’t the only person in the world.”

  “Shut up, Hope. I hate you. I fucking hate you so much.”

  “I hate you too, you selfish slut.”

  I know she isn’t a slut. Not even close. I also know it is the last thing I should have said to her. But I did. I didn’t feel bad for her after she told me she hated me.

  And now, all I can think is…so much for not giving a shit. As soon as I saw Christian today, my body went cold with anger. I wanted to hurt him for hurting Annie. When he touched me with the same disgusting hands that violated her, I just
lost it. I kicked him and didn’t stop until some dude pulled me off.

  I could speak up. I could tell Mr. Andrews right now that Christian, being the douche bag jock he is, in all probability, raped my foster cousin. But I don’t. One, it’s not my place to tell Annie’s secrets. Two, I don’t think he’d believe me. And three, I just don’t even care about a suspension. A week at home, alone, sounds great to me. So I continue to sit here, glaring at the coffee stain on my principal’s yellow tie. It’s an ugly yellow. The stain reminds me of those ink blots. It looks like a turtle. I wonder what that means about my mental state.

  He hands me a pink sheet of paper.

  “Make sure your parents sign that before you return Monday,” he says sternly.

  I rip the paper out of his hand and look him in the eyes. “My mom’s dead and I don’t have a dad.”

  His cheeks turn a satisfying shade of pink before he tries to backpedal. “Right, excuse me. I’m sorry. Have your foster parents sign that please.” We stare at each other for several seconds. He looks away first, dropping his eyes to his desk. “You can go home now,” he says as he tries to appear busy.

  I slam the door on my way out.

  “What happened?” Annie asks. She hands me my backpack and hurries to keep up with me. “Hey, slow down and talk to me.”

  “You have long legs, keep up,” I say annoyed. “I got suspended for a week.”

  She grabs my arm, stopping me in the middle of the hall. “I’m sorry, Hope.”

  I shrug weakly. “Yeah, whatever. It’s not your fault.”

  “You were standing up for me. It is my fault. I’ll take your punishment at home.”

  I sigh and look up at her. “I think you’ve been punished enough,” I say quietly. She flinches and I look away. “You don’t need to tell me what happened. Just tell me this, was I right to do what I did?”

  She’s quiet for so long, I don’t think she’s going to answer. I finally look back at her and there are tears in her eyes. She nods her head once.

  I nod back. “I’ll, um, see you at home.”

  “Okay.” I can feel her watching me as I start to walk away. “Hey, Hope?” I stop, but don’t bother to turn around. I can’t stand to see the look on her face again. “Thank you,” she whispers. Her feet squeak on the linoleum as she walks away and I let out a long breath.

  There is something you should know about me. I am not a sociable person. I like to spend most of my time alone or with Guy and the band. I absolutely, positively live and breathe music. I do not believe in falling in love. Except when it comes to a song, or a band, or an instrument. I write lyrics every day on everything. Mostly in notebooks or on myself, but I like to leave a line or two in strange places. Carved into a tree, scribbled on a bathroom stall, on the side of a building… Maybe it will mean something to someone. You never know.

  I’m addicted to my blog. I ship whoever the hell I want. Gay, straight, animal, inanimate object—I don’t care. My one true pair is chalk and eraser. I also like any variation of the two. Pencil and eraser, ink pen and white-out, enter and back space keys. Something that can amend the mistakes of the other. I don’t know—I just like it.

  I have a tattoo that I got from some guy at a party last year. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it. I mean, he was giving them to everyone and his work was nice, so I got a black bird on my shoulder. It didn’t occur to me until weeks later how unsafe it was. Sometimes I wonder if I may have caught something from the unsanitary needle. It scares me too much to think about, so I try to ignore it.

  Cigarettes are gross, so I have never, and will never smoke them. I do, however, smoke pot occasionally. My biggest vice is alcohol. I’m not an alcoholic or anything. I just like to drink when I’m out with friends or before a show. It helps me open up and not be the crazy, shy girl. Oh, and I’m cheap too, so I have never bought my own stash. I just mooch off my friends.

  My mom is dead, and I hate her. I mean, I loved her, but even as a kid, I knew it was only because I was supposed to. She was a bi-polar, alcoholic, drug addicted, whore. Half the time, I didn’t know where she was or when she’d be back. Sometimes, I spent days alone, living off Ramen noodles and dry cereal. I never knew my dad and the losers that came in and out of Mom’s life did not even come close to counting. The ones that stuck around long enough to know I existed were only there because I did. Fucking creeps. Well, except Jenny’s brother, Donnie. He was pretty cool. When he told my mom he’d marry her if she cleaned up, she actually started going to meetings. Donnie even said he wanted to adopt me. I probably would have believed him if it wasn’t for the fact that he was dating my mom. I mean, there had to be something wrong with anyone that wanted to be with her for any length of time, sober or not. Anyway, it obviously didn’t work out. Mom and Donnie were killed in a car accident two years ago. There was alcohol in both of their systems. The irony is not lost on me.

  I hate attention. Most people think the exact opposite is true because of the band, and the fact that I have gages in my ears, and my hair is dyed a multitude of colors. Honestly, I just wanted to change my appearance. I can’t really explain it. It’s like, when you have men looking at you like they’ve looked at your mom most of your life, you just don’t want to look like that same person anymore. At least, that’s the best way I can explain it. Jenny is always trying to play dress up with me, like she wants an Annie duplicate. I can’t stand it. But Guy makes it a little easier. He gets it. He gets me.

  I was fifteen when my mom died and had just lost the only life I had ever known. And there was Guy in his too small, black suit. He stuck out from everyone else in the sea of black at the funeral. It wasn’t his shaggy blond hair that stuck up in every wrong direction or his super cute baby face. It was the bright pink tie he wore. When I saw him, I laughed. I laughed at my mom’s funeral. While everyone else stared at me like I was a sick, twisted, freak, Guy looked at me and smiled while he straightened his ridiculous tie. He looked at me like he knew what was inside of me. Like he saw the tears I didn’t cry. Like he saw the scars hidden on my legs. He understood.

 
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