He’s silent for a few minutes when I’ve finished speaking, and I feel like my heart is going to pound out of my chest. It wasn’t just Tyler I told him about. I told him about Chris and mom’s fighting and mom threatening to ground me, to not allow me to see him anymore, and me telling her about my plan to move out. I told him everything. "So, the main thing, the biggest reason you just had the closest thing to a panic-attack that I’ve ever seen, maybe an actual panic attack, I don’t know, is because of him? Because of what he’s done to you? Why haven’t you told anyone? Brookie, he shouldn’t be out here, haunting you like this." I just shrug, I don’t know what to say. "Brookie, he’s practically stalking you, and you realize that he was abusing you."
I told him more about Tyler than I had told Andrew, and though I don’t really regret it, I wonder if just maybe I should have left out a few details. "He hit you, Brookie."
"I know." I say quietly. "I remember that, very well, actually."
"You were crying so hard you couldn’t breathe. Brookie, this isn’t okay."
I put my face in my hands. "I know that. Okay? I know it’s not okay. I know he hit me, I know that he’s basically stalking me. I want it all to be over with, but I just don’t want people to know."
He sighs. "Brookie, it won’t be over unless you at least talk to the police about him, get a restraining order or something."
I stay quiet, and just shrug my shoulders. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. Not right now. I’m still so overwhelmed by it all.
"Can I at least see your phone to read the messages?" He asks, and it sounds like he’s trying extremely hard to control himself. I pass him my phone after typing in the passcode and he scrolls through my texts, clicking on the one's from Tyler. I can see his jaw clench. "He wants to know where you are." He says, sounding choked. "He says he went by your house and you weren’t there. He says he told you to be there." He shakes his head. "What is this guys problem? Doesn’t he get that you don’t want to be with him?"
Jeremy pauses for a minute, and then looks at me. "What is Tyler’s last name?"
"Bridges." I say quietly, wondering why he wants to know, and the look on Jeremy’s face becomes murderous.
"Tyler Bridges? You were fucking dating Tyler Bridges?" He swears under his breath. I cringe at the curses that are pouring from his mouth. "I’m going to kill him." He finally says, dropping my phone onto the bed. "I’m going to fucking kill that bastard."
"No, Jeremy, you can’t." I say, but part of me doesn’t mean it.
"It’s not just that he’s done this to you." Jeremy says, his jaw twitching.
"Then what?" I ask.
He runs his hands through his hair. "Tyler Bridges is the one who took the brass knuckles to my face. He heard some shit rumors that I was after you or something. I didn’t even know you back then. He’s..." He hesitates and then sighs. "He’s why I dropped out. Why I didn’t go back."
"Wait, because of me? He beat you up because of me? What?" I’m more confused than I can ever remember being. "What happened that night?" I ask him.
Jeremy doesn’t answer for a few minutes, and when he finally speaks his voice is subdued. "Not tonight." I open my mouth to protest but he shushes me. "I’ll tell you some day, but not tonight. Can we just, lay here or something? Can you just help me calm down before I murder that son of a-" I put my hand over his mouth.
"Yeah. Let’s just lay back down and, I don’t know. Not think about it, alright?"
He nods and I know he’s trying hard not to go kill Tyler tonight. I pick up my phone and text my mom. As mad as I was at her earlier, I did see how worried about me she looked. So I tell her where I am and that I’m not coming home tonight. I don’t get a response, but at least I don’t feel guilty anymore. I place my phone on the stand by Jeremy’s bed and he lays down, tugging on my arm until I lay beside him.
"Thank you." I say quietly.
"For what?" He asks and I shrug.
"For coming over to get me when I couldn’t.." I don’t know the word I want to use and it takes me a moment to find one that fits. "...function. I panicked, I guess. And you were there for me."
He sort of chuckles. "Don’t thank me for that, Brookie. You’re my girlfriend, you mean so much to me, I’m not going to just ditch you when you’re crying so hard you can’t breathe."
I don’t know what to say to that, so I just stay quiet for a moment before a thought strikes me. "How did you get into my room? I had my door locked... my mom was pounding on it because I wouldn’t let her in and then, well, the next thing I knew you were sitting in front of me."
"You didn’t see the door?" He asks, and there’s a slight tremor to his voice that I think is a sort of laugh. "Your dad broke the door knob so we could get in to check on you. You had us all really worried."
"He broke the doorknob?" That doesn’t sound like my dad at all.
Jeremy chuckles. "Yeah, it was really surprising. We were standing there trying to figure out how to get in and I don’t even know how he did it."
"That’s crazy." I say quietly and I feel Jeremy nod in agreement.
We’re silent for a few minutes and he starts to say something, then stops and does that two more times before finally coming out with the words. "You apologized, back at your house after hugging me. Why?"
"Why did I hug you?" I know that’s not what he means, but I don’t want to try to explain myself further.
But he shakes his head. "No, you know what I mean. Why did you apologize?"
I sigh. "I was afraid you’d leave. After having to come get me, and seeing me like that, I was a mess. I am a mess. I just, I’m really afraid that I’m going to be too much to handle and that you’re going to leave me. And I know that’s stupid because before this morning you weren’t even mine to lose, but you just mean so much to me, and I don’t know why or how you managed to worm your way into my heart but you have and I just, I’m so afraid of losing you." I don’t look at him, afraid to see his reaction. Maybe now he’ll actually think about it and realize that he could find someone with a lot less drama to be with him. My eyes start to water at the thought of losing him so soon.
But his warm hand is touching my chin, and then his lips are on mine. Unlike kisses with Tyler, Jeremy’s lips are soft against mine. He isn’t domineering and hurting my mouth with his own. His kisses give me a window into his life. He’s gentle and loving and he leaves me wanting more. When he pulls back, I’m breathless. "I’m not going to leave you. Not for something that stupid. It’s not your fault that your mom is crazy and your ex is a psychopath. I like you, Brookie. You managed to worm your way into my heart, too." He chuckles slightly and I smile. "I’m not going to leave you, alright?" I manage a light nod. "I don’t want you to feel like you have to apologize to me for things like that. You have nothing to apologize for, okay?"
I nod again, wondering how he manages to always know exactly what to say. "When you came over to my house that night, when you were all afraid and everything, was that because of Tyler too?"
"Yes." I whisper quietly and he sighs.
"Why didn’t you just tell me?"
I laugh shortly, under my breath and it’s more of a scoffing sound. "I was afraid you wouldn’t want me around anymore, if you found out how crazy my life is. I didn’t want to lose you then, before I even had the chance to be with you. I’m sorry..."
He shakes his head and then he’s looking into my eyes. "He really put you through some crap, didn’t he? You apologize for things that you have no control over, you think everyone’s going to leave you.." He sighs. "He’ll be lucky if I don’t murder him. Brookie, don’t ever apologize for things like this, okay?" I nod slightly and he shakes his head again. "No, don’t just nod. Don’t just think I don’t mean this. I mean it. I’m so serious right now. I don’t want you to ever apologize for anything that you can not physically control. Tyler may have felt the need for you to apologize for anything and everything, but you don’t do that anymore. Okay?"
"Okay." I whisper. "I won’t apologize for it, anymore."
He smiles at me. "Good." And his lips are on mine again and my heart leaps in my chest.
"Are you going to tell your parents about Tyler?" Jeremy asks. I’m sitting on the counter, watching him stir some things together in the frying pan.
"I don’t know. I haven’t really decided yet." I tell him. I change the subject before he can ask more questions. "What exactly is that?"
Jeremy looks at me and then back at the mess in the pan. "Derek calls it breakfast mash. It’s scrambled eggs, home fries and bacon all cooked up together. It’s his favorite hangover food."
"But we aren’t hungover." I say.
He shrugs. "We aren’t alcohol hungover, but I feel like last night was worse than waking up to a hangover. And food like this can fix almost anything."
I chuckle. "So, is this your something spectacular?"
He laughs and shakes his head. "No. This is just something. The something spectacular will be made sometime in the near or far future."
I roll my eyes. "Right, near or far future, because that makes sense."
He laughs again and I grin. "It wasn’t meant to make sense." He tells me.
I just roll my eyes again. "Is breakfast almost done?"
He stirs it some more and then looks at me. "Almost. The bacon just needs a bit longer."
My stomach grumbles loudly and Jeremy bursts out laughing. "Okay, Chewbacca. Only about three more minutes."
"Shut up." I say, but I’m laughing too. "It’s not my fault I’m hungry. You’re taking forever to make breakfast."
He shuts off the burner and turns to grab some plates. "Well, you’re in luck, because it’s done. And it didn’t take forever, you’re just a grumpy morning person."
I take the plate he hands me and then stare at the food for a minute. "I need a fork." I say, and he grins a bit.
"Right. Forgot about that for a minute." He rummages through a drawer and pulls out two forks. "Someone needs to organize that silverware drawer." He tells me and I laugh.
"You know, it’s your house too. You could organize it."
He shakes his head quickly. "Not it. I’m a terrible organizer."
I stick my fork into the plate of food and hesitate. "You're sure this going to taste good?’
He nods. "Yeah, I’m sure. Just eat it." He’s talking with his mouth full and I wrinkle up my nose at him, but take a bite anyway. And he’s right. It’s amazing.
Emma - Thanks(: My friend and I have kinda worked things out but its still really rocky. I hope you liked the chapter!
Miha - Oh my goodness thank you so much! You literally made me smile sooo much from that last comment! Thank youu! I did really enjoy writing the last chapter, it was a bit difficult to write but it was a really important one! And thank you for being so sweet even when I take ages to post! You're so great!
Bookluver78 - Yeah, Brookie's mother is absolutely ridiculous! Tyler needs to get pushed off a very high cliff. Haha thank you! I hope you like this chapter too!
Flora - Thank you soo much! My friend and I are trying to work things out so hopefully it will all work out. I really hope you enjoy this chapter(: I can't wait to hear from you again!
And to Thinkerbelle77, who commented on the first couple of chapters a few days ago (well, it's more like weeks- oops) Thank you so much for all your kind words! I hope you've continued reading and that you like the rest of the chapters as much as you liked the first! I hope to hear from you again sometime soon!