Time Keeps Ticking
I rolled left to get away from the sun’s rays that were streaming into my eyes from the window next to me. My hand slowly moved across the bed and it was met with warm, soft skin. I moved my cast against her shoulder as she groaned slightly.
“Beck, your cast is scratching me” she mumbled, leaning closer towards my arm. She was cuddled against my chest, our legs interlaced, and I suddenly realized that if anyone came in here, I would be dead.
“Natalie, you have to get up. If Brandon walks in here, he’ll get the wrong idea. Or worse, my parents” I said quickly, moving my body away from hers.
“No. why are you so warm?” she asked sleepily, running her hand down my back. “I’m always warm. Now, will you please get up Natalie?” I begged, finally dislodging myself from her.
She pouted but got up anyway. I sat down on the bed as she pulled her shoes and jacket back on. “Where are you going?” I asked, rubbing my fist against my eye.
“I thought you wanted me gone” she replied.
“Not yet. I told you I wanted to know why you snuck in here last night and cried until I held you,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest.
“Technically, I didn’t sneak in because you opened the door for me” she smirked, trying to change the subject.
“Can I at least go to the bathroom first?” she interrupted. I nodded my head and she went out the door. I sighed and leaned back against my bed.
Hopefully nobody would see her, although I was risking a lot letting her go to the bathroom alone. Mom had a tendency not to knock. I should probably go in there.
I jumped off the bed and ran to the first bathroom I thought Natalie would be in. I opened the door and noticed that she was changing.
“Beck! What the hell?” she yelled, trying to cover her body. “Sorry. Sorry, were you going to take a shower?” I asked, looking at the ground.
“I was. I was planning to borrow some clothes from you. Why are you in here?” she asked, pulling her clothes back on.
“My mom sometimes doesn’t knock when I’m in here and I thought it would be dangerous for you to, you know, be in here by yourself” I explained.
She looked at me in confusion and then smirked. “Well then, I guess I’ll have to continue my shower with you in here” she said, taking off her clothes again.
“Wait. What? That’s not a good idea Natalie. I mean, I’m borderline cheating right now with the fact that you slept in the same bed with me last night, watching you take a shower would just be completely breaking that boundary” I said nervously.
“Beck, you don’t have to watch me take a shower. There’s a reason why there’s a curtain here” she said, shaking my shower curtain back and forth to explain herself.
“Um, yeah. You’re right. You’re totally right. I’ll just…sit here until you’re done” I said, hoping on top of the counter.
“Okay, you might wanna look away or something.”
“Oh yeah! Sure, I’ll just…close my eyes.”
I heard the rustling of clothes and despite how badly I wanted to sneak a peek at Natalie’s naked form…I just couldn’t. It felt as if I would be taking advantage of her. Although, this would probably be the only time I ever saw Natalie Hudson naked, a quick peek wouldn’t be that bad.
I opened my left eye a bit but only saw a pile of clothes on the floor.
“Beck! You can open your eyes now,” she called from behind the curtain.
“Alright” I called back, opening them both and pouting. I took too long thinking about things and now I missed my chance…wait. What?
I took too long thinking about things and now I missed my chance.
Why did that sound almost epiphany worthy? Was that about Natalie? Was I gonna miss the chance to be with her? She told me to make up my mind and when we kissed, or actually full on made out, in the art room. I don’t know how to explain it but…I didn’t wanna stop.
Maybe, this was my subconscious telling me that I was doing the wrong thing here. But could I really hurt Melody? That’s what everything always came down to. Hurting Melody. Losing a good friend. Ruining an eleven year friendship because of feelings. Melody was my defining point. I did everything I did because I couldn’t dream of ever hurting her.
“Beck, can you hand me a towel?”
I jumped out of my thoughts and realized that the shower was off. I wonder how long I’ve been sitting here thinking.
“Sure thing. Here” I said, handing her the white towel. “Thanks” she replied, stepping out of the shower.
“Oh God” I moaned. I didn’t expect her to step out of the shower…while I was holding the towel.
I did a quick scan of her gorgeous body and tried to keep standing on my jello-like legs.
“Beck, are you alright? Does your head hurt?” she asked, running her hand over my still healing scratch.
“It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it,” I replied, gently pulling her hand away from my head.
She nodded, wrapping the towel around her body. I brushed my teeth while she dried off, trying hard not to look in the mirror in front of me.
After she was done, we walked back into my room quietly and I tossed her some clothes to wear.
“I want this” she replied, holding up my black “Monster” hoodie. I chuckled and walked over to her.
“Why do you want that?” I asked, arching my eyebrows at her.
“You were wearing this…the first time we met” she replied, blushing slightly.
I smiled as I remembered that day. She pulled my hoodie over her head and I actually liked the way it fit on her.
“It smells like you” she said, staring at me.
“It should. I’ve been wearing it” I shot back, walking closer to her.
“So I’ve noticed."
We were getting dangerously close and no matter how bad I wanted to kiss her, I couldn’t have a repeat of what happened in the art room.
“Tell me what made you so upset yesterday” I whispered, hugging her against me.
She stiffened a bit but hugged me back, laying her head on my shoulder.
“I just remembered some things that happened at my old school and I got a little upset.”
“A little? You cried the entire night, Natalie. I had to literally pull you against me to get you to stop.”
“I know. I’m sorry if I kept you up.”
“You didn’t. I was just worried about you. I’ve never seen you like that.”
“Don’t apologize. You did nothing wrong. So, what were you thinking about? Those guys who broke into your house and trashed your room? Or your relationship with that Kendra girl?”
“…My relationship with Kendra.”
“Did she do something else to you? Did she hurt you?”
“No, Beck. She was the first person I ever truly thought I was in love with. And she tore my heart apart. I didn’t know how to feel after that. She took everything that was in me.”
“Not everything. You found a way to get it all back. I look at you and I see this strong person, unable to be broken…”
“Everyone can be broken if you use the right thing against them, Beck. I have just…never been hurt that badly and I needed somebody to abide in.”
“Well, if you ever need me again. Don’t be afraid to just run over to my house and wake me up at tw0 o’clock in the morning” I said, chuckling.
“Don’t worry. I won’t be” she replied, laughing with me.
I let her go and she stared up into my eyes, interlacing our fingers.
“What are we Beck?” she asked. I sighed, running my thumb over her knuckles.
“We’re friends…for now,”I replied, kissing her forehead. I let her go and she followed me downstairs as I opened the front door for her.
“I’m only a couple feet away if you ever need me” I said, making sure she understood me.
She nodded, wrapping her arms around my neck. I hugged her back and pulled away when the time was right.
“Be good to Melody, okay?” she said.
I chuckled and just nodded my head. “Bye Natalicious” I whispered. She laughed, walking down towards her house.
I watched her leave with my hoodie on. Hoping this wouldn’t be my last encounter with Natalie Hudson.
Two Months Later
“Come on Brandon, we don’t wanna be late!” I yelled outside Melody’s car, sitting in the passenger seat.
Melody laughed and took my hand. “We’re not going to be late, Beck. Relax” she said, kissing my cheek.
“If he goes any slower, we will” I grumbled. Brandon came running across the yard and hopped in the back seat.
“There. Happy now Beck?” he said smartly. “I’ll be happy when you buckle your seatbelt” I shot back.
“Beck,” Melody scowled. “What? He’s the one who wanted to drag his ass today. He knows how important today is to you” I shot back.
“No I don’t!” Brandon interrupted. Melody frowned at me but continued to drive anyway.
It’s been like this for awhile. We fight…a lot. A lot more than we did when we were just friends and most of the fights start over dumb things; like Brandon taking too long to get out of my house and into her car. I don’t know why things have been so difficult. My mom keeps saying that if we didn’t fight once and a while, then we wouldn’t be that good of a couple.
Although I don’t think we should fight as much as we do. Don’t get me wrong? The fights don’t consist of shouting and screaming at each other. Oh no. We’re both too mature and humble to start just firing at each other. They just consist of Melody throwing shit at me. Shoes. Books. Tennis balls. Remotes. Anything that’s within her reach.
So then I get pissed and leave, slamming the door on the way out and exactly seven seconds later, she comes flying out the door and kisses me. Then all is restored and everything is fine again.
Melody pulled up to the Elementary school and Brandon hopped out the car. She sent me a look and I just sighed before rolling down my window.
“Hey Brandon!” I yelled.
He turned around, frowning at me. “Sorry for yelling at you. That was wrong of me” I said sincerely. He just nodded and headed towards the school entrance.
“You’re not gonna say anything back?” I yelled. “Bite me!” he yelled back.
“Oh. So you wanna play huh?” I growled, trying to get out the car. “Beck! Beck stop” Melody chuckled, pulling me back down in my seat.
“We have to get to school” she added. I just pouted and leaned back against my seat as she drove off towards Stonewall High.
As she parked her car in the student parking lot, Mary and Sasha walked towards us.
“Oh not these bitches!” I grumbled between clenched teeth. “Beck, be nice” Melody said, taking my hand.
“Hello Melody…thing” Sasha replied, looking me up and down. I ignored her, walking toward the school lobby.
“I’ll meet you back here at three!” Melody yelled. “Uh huh!” I yelled back, kicking against the dirt on the ground.
I opened the lobby door and found the four people I could always trust in…minus Jessie.
“Hey shackle!” Mark yelled, waving at me. I laughed, jogging toward them. Ever since my first month of dating Melody, Mark has been calling me shackle, and I’ve been calling him whipped.
“Hey. Hope, I gotta ask you a question. Did you pass Mrs. Enzor’s test?” I asked. She shook her head. “Damn it! I think she purposely fails people” I replied.
“I didn’t fail."
I looked over at Natalie and smiled. She had my hoodie wrapped around her waist. I’ve noticed that since the day she left my house, she’s always had it with her.
“Well, that’s just because you’re smarting than all of us” I smirked. “Hey!” Hope groaned. “No offense Hope” I said, not taking my eyes off of Natalie.
I pulled her in for a hug. “Is Melody excited for today?” Mark asked. I sighed.
“She talked my ear off about it yesterday. It was all, Homecoming this. Homecoming that. I swear I think she’s more hyped about Homecoming then Prom” I replied.
“That’s another thing. I think we must be the only school to have Homecoming in the winter. I swear, it’s cold as shit now days. Who wants to walk through snow to get into the damn school dressed in heels? I sure as hell don’t” Hope mumbled.
“I can’t believe it’s December already? Those two months went by almost lightning fast. What are you guys doing Christmas break?” I asked.
“I’m going to my Aunt’s house in New York. Hope, aren’t you going to Mexico to visit your Abuela?” Mark asked, looked down at his girlfriend. She just nodded.
“And you, Lee? Lee?” I glanced over at my poor friend and saw him staring over at Chase and Jessie. They had become a couple three weeks ago and when Lee found out, he smashed the entire club room. I’ve been worried about him lately. He was like a bottle full of hot air; I knew he was going to blow his top soon.
“I’m staying here. Celebrating with the family” he said bluntly, not taking his eyes off of Jessie and Chase. Natalie frowned as I looked over at her.
“He’s not getting any better, Beck” she whispered. “I know. Have you talked to Jessie?” I whispered back.
She nodded. “I think she’s still upset. She’s not totally over him. Although, I can’t exactly call Chase a rebound” she said sadly.
My eyes widened. “Did she sleep with him?” I asking sharply. Natalie looked over at Lee and then back at me, before nodding. I groaned as Mark looked over at me. I just nodded at him and he sighed.
“She was upset, Beck.”
“That’s still no reason to sleep with him! This is going to destroy Lee.”
“Maybe you keep forgetting this but Lee messed up first. He slept with Rachel and look where that got us.”
“I know but two wrongs don’t make a right, Nat. He’s gonna explode when he finds out.”
“When I find out what?”
We all looked at Lee, who had stopped staring at Jessie and Chase and finally noticed us.
“N-Nothing,” I lied. Lee shook his head and walked over toward me.
“When I find out what, Beck?” he repeated, glaring daggers at me. I avoided his gaze as he turned toward Natalie.
“Jessie slept with Chase” she said timidly. Mark let go of Hope and prepared himself for what we all knew would happen.
It took three seconds for Lee to blow his top.
He looked like he was about to kill someone.
He stared over at Chase.
He let lose an almost primitive yell.
Mark tried to grab him and pull him back as I pushed against him. Natalie moved out the way as I tried to calm him down by repeatedly saying, “He’s not worth it Lee."
Lee pushed me away from him and pulled his arm away from Mark. “Lee! No!” I screamed, running after him.
Jessie saw Lee running toward them and I tried to get her attention but it was too late.
Lee pulled Chase around by his shoulder and slammed him in the face with his fist. It was almost like we were all in slow second for a second…until Chase’s body hit the floor.
People circled like flies as Lee repeatedly punched Chase in the face. Chase pushed Lee off of him and tackled him to the ground. Lee growled, punching Chase in the ribs, kneeing him in the stomach as Mark tried to break them up.
Security was racing down the hall and I saw some dickheads actually trying to delay them from getting there. People started taking out their cell phones to record them as Lee kicked Chase off of him.
They both stood up and Chase took a swing at Lee, but missed, hitting Mark square in the face. Mark groaned and stepped back. This just got Lee even madder.
Hope rushed over to Mark to examine his face. I looked around for Natalie noticing her right behind me. I sighed thankfully before deciding it was time to break this up.
Lee lunged at Chase and grabbed his shirt as Chase kicked at Lee’s legs. By now, Chase was starting to get a black-eye and his lip was bleeding. Lee slammed him in the face again and let go of his shirt as he hit the floor.
He was about to hit him once more but, to everyone’s surprise, someone else blocked the way.
Lee stopped mid punch and what he saw must have made him feel like trash because the look on his face was pure defeat.
Jessie stood in front of Chase, daring Lee to try and strike him again. Lee just stood there, staring at her as she helped Chase get up and followed him towards the nurse’s office.
Lee looked over at us and I sighed. “Lee…” He just shook his head and pushed past everyone, bunching his hands in his jean pocket, walking down the hall.
People around us where all smiles and talking about the fight happily. Mark, Hope, and Natalie just stood there. I think we were all in shock of what just happened.
The security guards told us to go to our home room and Natalie took my hand, shaking me out of my trance.
“Are you alright?” she asked. I nodded and watched as Hope walked off with Mark to get him some ice.
“I think my best friend’s gone crazy.” I said. Natalie laughed while shaking her head.
“Lee’s not crazy, Beck. He’s just in love, and love can make you do crazy things” she said, smiling.
I glanced over at her, smiling back. “So, are you ever gonna take my hoodie off?” I asked. “Nope” she replied. “Didn’t think so."