Alex carried Hayley into his house, and Jack followed after. Hayley’s hair was a mess, and that’s all you could see since her face was nestled into Alex’s shoulder. She took deep breathes, her eyes closed, her arms wrapped around Alex’s neck, her hands in tight fists. She was afraid. What if Alex and Jack hurt her? What if they used her? Jeremy wouldn’t be there to save her or anything. Could she handle more pain?
“Alex,” his mother gasped, looking up from some dessert she was making. “Who is this?”
“It’s just me!” Jack teased.
Alex’s mom frowned. “I know what your sad little face looks like, Jack. I meant the one in Alex’s arms.”
Hayley shivered. Alex chuckled, rubbing her back. “Holy shit mum… it’s kinda cold in here.”
“The AC’s been runnin’ all day,” Mrs. Gaskarth said. “I’m still warm from runnin’ around.”
“Don’t let go,” Hayley begged quietly, snuggling closer to Alex for warmth.
Alex laughed. “Well, this is Hayley,” he told his mother. “She’s… she’s gonna stay the night. I’ll explain later, I promise.”
His mother nodded, then continued to work on baking. Jack ran up the stairs and announced, “I’m gonna go pee! Be right back!”
“Okay,” Alex answered, carrying Hayley into his room. He set Hayley down on his bed and then he sat himself in a bright green comfy seat, watching Hayley.
She laid on her stomach and had her head lay at the end of the bed. She closed her eyes and adored the warmth. The room smelt good to her. She breathed through her nose, taking calm breaths.
“Are you okay?” Alex whispered.
She turned her head so she could look at him. She nodded, using her hands as a little pillow. Her phone rang, making her whine. But she grabbed her phone and answered it without looking. “Hello?” she mumbled.
“Hayley, oh my God, where the fuck are you?”
Her eyes grew wide. Jeremy. “Why are you calling me?”
“We can’t find you, no one knows where you are!” he cried. “Are you okay? Are you hurt, what happened?”
“I’m with Alex,” she answered. “Oh, and Jack.”
“Do I need to kick Alex’s ass?” he asked, his voice pained.
Hayley rolled her eyes. “No. They helped me.”
“Why didn’t you call me?”
“Because you don’t want anything to do with me,” she snapped. “And plus, you’re the reason was in that mess.”
Jack came running back and he jumped on the bed next to Hayley. He grabbed the phone from her. “Oh, I know you’re not calling Hayley!” he said in a girl’s voice. “Cos from what I heard, you’re breaking her heart!” He snapped his fingers and then Hayley smiled, silently laughing.
Jeremy sighed on the other line. “Just tell Hayley that I’ll see her Monday,” he muttered, then hung up.
Hayley laid back down and closed her eyes. “I don’t want to see him ever again. I just wanna die.”
“Dying is never the answer,” Alex said.
Jack grinned. “Yeah. The answer is always seven.”
“Seven?” Alex demanded his best friend. “Dude, that’s stupid!”
“Seven is how many times I had my heart broken,” Hayley mumbled, the grabbed Alex’s pillow. She hugged it, like she would always do with her own pillow. “Seven must be a correct number for everything.”
“Told you,” Jack sang.
Alex sighed. “Hayley, why are you like this? And who hits you? We need answers… maybe we can help.”
Hayley looked up at Jack, who was sprawled out beside her, eyes closed. Hayley picked up his arm and rolled under it so that she was snuggled up against him. She shyly looked up at his surprised face. “I needed a good hug,” she explained, then snuggled up deeper against him. “And… I don’t want to explain anything. I want to forget it and pretend it never happened.”
“It’ll be easier when someone can help you,” Alex said. “Come on, Hayley. We’ll help you. We can protect you.”
Hayley closed her eyes and snuggled into Jack’s chest. “No,” she whined. “I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to lay here and relax.”
“You’d be able to relax better if you told us everything,” Jack agreed, brushing her hair back. “I promise we won’t tell anyone.”
Hayley let tears escape her eyes. “My parents beat me; they want me dead. I’m like this because ever since I was born, it’s been nothing but pain for me. I remember being four years old my father slamming me up against the wall and blaming me for things I could never even have done. And then in grade six, after being bullied over and over again, I over dosed on pills. I was sick of it. And no one cared. I would have died if Erica didn’t command my parents to. I wanted to die. I don’t want this anymore.” She hid in Jack’s chest, refusing to meet anyone’s gaze. “No one’s ever loved me. They just think I’m a mistake, Alex. I’m the girl who’s never perfect. Who would want that?”
“What about Jeremy?” Jack asked, blushing. “Didn’t he kinda… sweep you off your feet?”
“For a while,” Hayley sniffled. “And then he just acted different because of Stephanie. He pushed me away. He’s all wrapped up in her now.”
“He seems like he cares,” Jack assured her.
“He doesn’t.” Hayley was sobbing now. “He doesn’t care at all, Jack. He lied!”
Alex tried not to laugh. “Well, Jack… it seems some one likes you.”
Hayley didn’t look up. She kept sobbing, clinging to Jack like there was no tomorrow. Jack just let her be. He and Alex would help her… she wouldn’t have to deal with Jeremy again.
“I couldn’t find her,” Kirsty groaned. “And it’s all your fault!” She kicked me in the shin and glared at me. “You broke her heart! Why on earth would you do that to her?”
I sighed. “I dunno… but… she’s with Alex and Jack.”
Kirsty’s eyes grew wide with rage. “She’s with Alex and Jack? Oh my God! Jeremy! You’re an idiot! What if---”
“She should be fine,” I snapped. “And it’s not like I care anyways. She can die for all I care!” I stood up and started to walk away.
Kirsty tackled me, then started attacking me. “You’re a dickhead! She loved you and you just cut her off in a heart beat! You’re no good!”
I pushed her off of me and glared at her. “Shut up. She’s probably fucking them both right now. She’s garbage, so leave her that way.” I turned and once again, started walking away. Who cared about Hayley when you had a perfectly good Stephanie?
“HAYLEY! NOOOO!” Alex yelled.
But it was too late. Hayley shot Alex with her dart gun, and he felt to the floor, pretending to be dead. She grinned. “Loser!” she giggled.
“You forgot someone!” Jack chirped, then shot Hayley.
A little orange dart bounced off of Hayley’s shoulder, and fell to the ground. Hayley pouted, then collapsed, fake dead. She crossed her arms. “No fair.”
“Dead people don’t talk,” Jack reminded. “You’re dead.”
“I’m just wounded,” Hayley whined. “Jack. You’re a loser.”
“No, you’re a loser,” Jack laughed. “You’re dead. I win!”
“It’s two AM…”
“So?” Hayley demanded, sitting up and looking up at him.
“If I don’t get to sleep I’ll sleep all day,” Jack laughed, then helped Hayley up. “I’m gonna get some sleep.”
Hayley stood up. “Okay. I guess I’ll see you guys later.” She set the dart gun down and waved, then walked towards the door.
Alex jumped up and grabbed her wrist. “Whoa, you’re staying here for the night.”
“Where am I gonna sleep? And I have no clothes for tomorrow,” Hayley said. Yeah, around Alex and Jack, she was using her real voice. She didn’t need to whisper. She trusted them.
Jack pointed to Alex’s big bed. “You can sleep here,” he said. “Alex and I can take the floor.”
“No,” Hayley said, then plopped herself down on the bed. “I can share the bed. It’s big enough for two people but I’m not that big, so you guys can fit.”
“We’re not all sleeping in the same bed,” Alex said. “So shut up and get some sleep.”
“I’m not going to sleep until you guys get in this bed,” Hayley said, crossing her arms.
Alex and Jack watched her. But she sat there for a half an hour, crossing her arms and pouting. Jack was the first to give in. “Fine,” he muttered, then crawled into bed, curled up under the covers and went to sleep.
“I don’t bite,” Hayley told Alex, patting the empty space beside her. She smiled at him, and he finally cracked.
Alex turned out the lights and crawled in the other empty space beside her. He closed his eyes but Hayley leaned over and bit his nose. “FUCK!” Alex screamed, sitting up. “What was that for?!”
“For not getting into bed when I told you to,” she giggled, then laid back down, her back against Jack’s chest. His arm wrapped around her, and she smiled.
“Why didn’t you bite Jack?!” Alex whined.
“He came into bed before you did,” Hayley whispered so she wouldn’t wake Jack, “and I like Jack more than I like you.”
Yeah... some drama ahead? I think so ;D