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Don't Leave Me
The day was beautiful and yet I wasn’t happy. School was bound to end in a couple of minutes. I sighed as the noise of the boys playing football reached my ears.
“Cessy!” A girl with straight brown hair dodged the boys and came toward me. “Where have you been?” she asked.
I smiled. “Here and there,” I answered. In truth, I had been spending my last period of the day outside under the shade. I did not have any inclination to hear my math teacher, Mrs. Smith, drone on about geometrical figures. “And you, Diane?” I asked. “Don’t tell me you were actually inside listening to Shakespeare.”
Diane Walter blushed. “Yes, well, Mr. Rogers makes it sound ever so fascinating, doesn’t he?”
“Fair enough.” I stretched out under the tree I had chosen. Diane Walter was one of my closest friends and we would always let each other know when we were skipping class to get together. “So, are we going to the store again? John said he would give us a lift after practice.” I leaned my head to the right where the boys were playing.
“Well…” Diane hesitated. “Fine. Today’s the last day I’m skipping, though. I can’t get any more absences.”
I waved a hand. “They don’t even pay attention to who’s here and who’s not. They just go through the lesson as fast as they can to get rid of us.”
“You think?” Diane asked.
“It’s a commonly known fact,” I replied.
Diane sat on the grass next to me and began to pull it out. “It does make sense. They seem to be on edge all the time.” She let her handful of grass drift away with the slight breeze. “At least we’ll be out in a few weeks.”
“A month,” I amended.
“You know what I mean. The least we could do is be present and make things easier on them, don’t you think?”
“You’re having second thoughts now?” I asked incredulously. “We’ve been skipping all year.”
“That’s because we can’t stand them,” Diane said reasonably. “ From here on out I’m a skip-free girl.”
“That sounds like a great commitment,” I teased.
“And what about yours?” Diane shot back.
I cringed inwardly. “That’s being taken care of. There’s no need to worry,” I said defensively. Out of all my friends, only Diane knew my biggest secret. Although she only knew because of a mistake. A single dumb mistake that had left everything in the open for Diane to say. For some reason, though, Diane had promised me she would never tell a single soul. Not even my best friend, Miranda Fernand. I never hid anything from Miranda and she did the same. We were like sisters.
“Just be careful,” Diane said placidly.
I looked at her sideways. “Are you threatening me, Diane Walter?”
Diane met my gaze with a shocked expression. “Do you really think me capable of that, Cecilia?”
“You can never trust anyone in this world,” I said wearily. “There’s always someone out there who wants to rip you to pieces.”
“Ouch, Cessy. That sounds harsh.”
I turned quickly and saw Miranda hovering over us. “Miranda! What on earth are you doing out here?”
“School just ended,” she said.
I glanced behind her. A bunch of students were making their way out of the entrance. “Wow, time really does fly,” I said, meaning it.
“Or maybe you were just thinking about something else,” said Diane.
I shot her a glare. What was she trying to do? I caught Miranda’s confused stare.
“Are you two okay?” she asked.
“Just fine,” answered Diane. She got to her feet and dusted herself off. “Are you still coming?” she asked me over her shoulder.
“No,” I said. “I have many other important things to do besides shopping.”
“Of course,” Diane said with a slight laugh. “Homework. You’re very dedicated to your school career aren’t you?”
I could feel my face reddening with anger. “At least I still do it.”
Miranda stepped between us as Diane took a step toward me. “Enough. What’s going on here?” She looked pointedly at Diane.
“Nothing.” Diane spun on her heel and walked toward the football field.
I stared after her. Diane was ready to say the truth. I knew she would cave. She had only been hanging out with us to rub it in my face this whole year. Well, she’s not going to be the one to say it, I thought determinedly.
“Cessy?” Miranda asked timidly.
“Nothing,” I said. “Nothing important.” I knew Miranda didn’t believe me, but for her sake, she would have to.
I made my way home slowly. I needed time to think. To reflect on my actions and choices. To be honest, they looked pretty bleak. I tried not to trip as I walked through the long grass. Diane was no longer a friend. How I could have ever kidded myself into believing she was an honest person, is beyond me. I have known Diane for years and she has never done a single decent thing in her whole life. Not that I know directly from her, I thought with disgust.
Diane Walter was always getting into trouble. Rumors would fly all over the place, stating she would sleep with one guy on one night and the next she would be with another unfortunate dude. I never knew if these rumors were true. Nor do I really want to know. But, once she met us, well, let’s just say she transformed into the little angel she resembles so perfectly and reeled us all in, including me, until now.
If Diane really was my friend she wouldn’t be making all these snide remarks, would she? If half of her past history is true, then she can be capable of much more.
I shook my head. Could sweet Diane divulge my secret to everyone? Would she really go that far? She would if she has a motive, a little voice said in my head. What would she have to gain, though?
I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going. Before I knew it I had wandered into the woods that everyone avoided due to the wild animals inside it.
Not that voice, I thought wildly.
“Hey. What are you doing in here? You’re going the wrong way.” Someone grabbed my elbow and spun me around. “Cessy.”
I looked up into a pair of stunning green eyes. Dark brown hair, soft against my skin. Tall figure that always loomed over me. Sergio Parr.
“I was just going the other way,” I said, turning away from him. I needed to get home. Fast.
“Cessy, wait. Please tell me what’s going on. I saw you with Diane and Miranda this afternoon.” He forced me to face him again. “I know something has happened. Tell me.”
It was hopeless when I stared into those green eyes. “Nothing. Everything’s sorted out.” I turned away from him again.
“It didn’t look like it,” he said. “You looked pretty upset.”
“You were wrong,” I said. I knew Sergio would let me go if I said the right thing. “We were trying to talk Diane out of going after you. Miranda likes you. Did you know that?”
“You’re lying,” Sergio said. “You just don’t want to tell me the truth.”
“I just don’t want you to touch me!” I said as I wrenched my arm free. I could feel tears pooling in my eyes. A sob threatened to escape loose.
“Cessy, I know what you’re trying to do.”
I turned to face him voluntarily this time. “You wouldn’t understand. Never. Nobody has.” I knew I was blubbering. But, I couldn’t help it.
Sergio stepped forward and touched my arm lightly. “I’ll be a good listener,” he said seriously.
I looked into his eyes and broke down. He couldn’t know the truth. He would hate me forever. He would never forgive me.
“Cessy! What’s wrong? Come on, you’re scaring me.” Sergio pulled me into his arms. “Tell me, Cessy. It can’t be horrible. Not from you.”
“But it is,” I whispered into his shoulder. “It’s much worse than you think.” I focused my gaze on a spot on the ground. “I know what will happen to everyone. Everything will go down to pieces if I allow myself to fall for you.”
“So, you haven’t fallen for me yet?” he said quietly.
“Ages ago,” I said. “It just can’t be, though. You don’t know what would happen if I allowed it.”
A silence issued before Sergio spoke.
“What would happen?”
I wiped my tears away and stepped away from him. “We would all die.”
“What?” Sergio looked at me with confusion. “Are you crazy, Cessy? What are you talking about?”
I closed my eyes. “See? I told you it was hard to believe. It’s the worst thing you could say.”
Sergio shook his head and reached for my hand but I cringed away. “You’re not being serious, are you?”