13 Reasons Why Cassette 2 Side B Part 3
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She told me to follow her lead, then she rolled out from under my legs. According to her plan, when she said “three,” I was to charge the window. But I thought the Peeping Tom might have left–might have gotten scared–because there hadn’t been a click since I climbed off of her.
“It’s time for some body lotion,” she said. Click.
That sound sent my anger through the roof. Okay. I can play this game, I thought. “Look in my top drawer.”
She pointed to the drawer nearest the window and I nodded.
Beneath my arms, my shirt is slightly damp. I shift uncomfortably in my seat again. But, God, I can’t stop listening.
She pulled open the drawer, looked inside, and covered her mouth.
What? There was nothing in my drawer worthy of a reaction like that. There was nothing in my whole room worthy of that.
“I didn’t know you were into this,” she said, nice and loud. “We should use it…together.”
“Um, okay,” I said.
She reached into the drawer, pushed some things around, then covered her mouth again. “Hayley?” she said. “How many of these do you have? You are definitely a naughty girl.” Click. Click.
Very clever, I thought. “Why don’t you count them?”
So she did. “Let’s see, now. Here’s one… and two…”
I slid one foot off the bed.
I jumped at the window and yanked the cord. The blinds flew up. I looked for your face but you were moving so fast.
The other girl, she wasn’t looking at your face, Tyler.
“Oh my God!” she screamed. “He’s cramming his dick in his pants.”
Tyler, wherever you are, I am so sorry. You deserve this, but I’m sorry.
So who were you? I saw your height and your hair, but I couldn’t see your face clearly enough. Still, you gave yourself up, Tyler. The next day at school I asked so many people the exact same question, Where were you last night? Some said they were at home or at a friend’s house. Or at the movies. None of your business. But you, Tyler, you had the most defensive–and interesting–response of all.
“What, me? Nowhere.”
And for some reason, telling me you were nowhere made your eyes twitch and your forehead break into a sweat.
You are such an idiot, Tyler.
Hey, at least you’re original. And at least you stopped coming around my house. But your presence, Tyler, that never left. After your visits, I twisted my blinds shut every night. I locked out the stars and I never saw lightning again. Each night, I simply turned out the lights and went to bed.
Why didn’t you leave me alone, Tyler? My house. My bedroom. They were supposed to be safe for me. Safe from everything outside. But you were the one who took that away. Well… not all of it.
Her voice trembles.
But you took away what was left.
She pauses. And within that silence I realize how intensely I’ve been staring at nothing. Staring in the direction of my mug on the far end of the table. But not at it. I want to, but I’m too intimidated to look at the people around me. They have to be watching me now. Trying to understand the pained look on my face. Trying to figure out who this poor kid is, listening to outdated audiotapes.
So how important is your security, Tyler? What about your privacy? Maybe it’s not as important to you as it was for me, but that’s not for you to decide.
I look through the window, past my reflection, to the barely lit patio garden. I can’t tell if anyone’s still there, beyond the brick-and-ivy column, sitting at her table. A table that, at one time, was Hayley’s other safe place.
So who was this mystery girl featured in your story, Tyler? Who smiled so beautifully when I rubbed her back? Who helped me expose you? Should I tell? That depends. What did she ever do to me?
For the answer… insert tape three.
But I’m ready for it to be me, Hayley. I’m ready to get this over with.
Oh, and Tyler, I’m standing outside your window again. I walked away to finish your story, but your bedroom light has been out for some time… so I’m back now.
There’s a long pause. A rustling of leaves.
I hear it. She taps on the window. Twice.
Don’t worry. You’ll find out soon enough.
I press Stop.
I slip off the headphones, wrap the yellow cord tightly around the Walkman, and tuck it in my jacket pocket.
Across the room, Monet’s bookshelf is loaded with old books. Discards, mostly. Paperback westerns, New Age, sci-fi.
Carefully weaving through the crowded tables, I walk over to it.
A massive thesaurus sits beside a dictionary that’s missing its hardcover spine. Down the exposed paper spine someone wrote DICTIONARY in heavy black ink. Stacked on the same shelf, each in a different color, are five books. They’re approximately the same size as yearbooks, but purchased for their blank pages. Scribble books, they call them. Each year, a new one is added and people scrawl whatever they want inside. They mark special occasions, write horrible poetry, sketch things that are beautiful or grotesque, or just rant.
Each book has a scrap of duct tape on the spine with a year written on it. I pull out the one from our freshman year. With all the time Hayley spent at Monet’s, maybe she wrote something in here. Like a poem. Or maybe she had other talents I didn’t know about. Maybe she knew how to draw. I’m just looking for something apart from the ugliness of these tapes. I need that right now. I need to see her in a different way.
Since most people date their entries, I flip toward the back. To September. And there it is.
To keep the page, I shut the book on my index finger and take it back to my table. I take a slow sip of lukewarm coffee, reopen the book, and read the words scribbled in red ink near the top: Everyone needs an olly-olly-oxen-free.
It’s signed with three sets of initials: J.D. A.S. H.W.
Jessica Davis. Alex Standall. Hayley Williams.
Below the initials, pressed into the crease between the pages, someone stuck an upside-down photograph. I pull it out, flip it over, then spin it rightside up.
God, I love her smile. And her hair, it was no longer her vibrant orange color, but a faded red that blended into her dirty blonde roots. One of her arms is wrapped around the waist of another student. Dakota Rae. And behind them is a crowd of students. Everyone’s either holding a bottle, a can, or a red plastic cup. It’s dark at the party and Dakota doesn’t look happy. But she doesn’t look mad, either.
She looks nervous, I think.