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Chapter Five

『 CAYDEN 

The first time I met Audrey on that rooftop, I thought to myself. 'I need to save her'.

There's just something about Audrey. Maybe it was her hair, or the clothes she wears, or maybe it's the way she's always laughing whenever I see her. But she's different. I just know it.

The rooftop wasn't the first time I met her, actually.

We were in the same class in the first year of High School, and she dropped her eraser. Coincidentally, I was sitting beside her and I picked it up for her.

She gave me a toothy grin and from then on, I could never forget about how I've made that girl's day just by doing one small thing. Her smile will never leave my mind. 

After driving Audrey back home, I threw my bag on the sofa, took a bath and got ready to sleep.

Just when I was about to close my eyes, my phone started ringing. I groaned and hoped it would die down, as fast as possible. But it didn't. It just kept ringing until eventually, I had to give in. I looked at the caller ID, half groggily.

"Yes, what is it, Cynthia?"

Calm your nipples and hear me out first.

Cynthia's my sister who ran away from home a long time ago. Since then, she's learned to live alone and started her own cupcake business somewhere in Australia. No one in my family knows that I know her location or what she's doing. She's 25 years old now and currently lives with her boyfriend of 6 years.

"How's everything, loser?"

"Quite alright," I replied her. Aside from the fact that a few minutes ago, I was so ready to take my own life away. "How about you? How are you doing?"

"Fine." She sighs. "So, when are you coming to visit?"

"Um... maybe... soon? I'm not sure. Cynthia, I want to sleep, alright. It's... really late right now. Thanks for calling, though."

"Aw..." she whimpered. "Fine, fine. Goodnight, Cayden. Your sister loves you."

"Of course she does." I joked. "Well, bye now."

I ended the call and plopped on my bed again. The truth is, my family is really tight on money right now. My dad's spent almost all of it on gambling and my mom... I don't even know where my mom is.

The only reason I could afford to pay my school fees and whatnot is because of Dylan. You know, my best friend of 9 years. The reason why I wanted to end my life.

His family is loaded, but of course, I never told my parents because if not, Dylan would suffer as much as I do.

To add on to the loss of money, I do street fighting. And boy, do they pay you massively.

Of course, only Dylan knows about me doing street fighting. Whenever I do it, I'll make sure to cover my face one way or another.

Thinking about Dylan makes me remember the reason why I wanted to kill myself.

Because his death was my fault.

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I've never been a fan of bullying. Any type of bullying. Mentally, physically or emotionally. Even the thought of it makes me want to gag. I don't know how anyone can stand doing it. Like... don't you have a guilty conscience?

That's why when Haylee and the rest of the cheerleaders and footballers laughed at Janet, I ran out. I know that if I stayed, I would lose my temper and pick a fight with everyone else.

I didn't want anyone to come after me. I don't need anyone. I've learned that if I rely too much on a person or get too attached to them, they might end up like Dylan.

Life is such a bitch, isn't it? Taking things away from you like they mean nothing.

But Audrey showed up. And, as much as I hate to admit it, seeing her face all worried calmed me. 

I've never been the cheesy type of guy who would sing songs to anyone or say that her eyes sparkle like the stars or how her smile reflects the moon or whatever. That kind of stuff just makes me cringe one way or another. I hate romance.

But Audrey was different. Different how? I don't know.

To other people, she's just another stuck up cheerleader and one of Haylee's minions. But I know better.

In the end, I was glad it was Audrey who came after me. Not Eric or Justin. Because both of them wouldn't have understood the situation. In fact, I think they would've called me weak or whatever.

I wonder if Eric ever feels the same way as I do? Being so emotionally ready to take his life away and not thinking about anything else. I wonder what his reaction would be if Audrey hadn't stopped me that night?

Liam, one of the footballers came up to me and said something about practice or whatever.

Honestly, I've stopped caring anymore. The only reason why I joined the football team is all because of Dylan.

Dylan and I would play it almost every day after school. Since Dylan isn't from the same high school, we would only play it for an hour or two and then go straight home. He absolutely loves it. We would watch the NFL together and seeing Dylan happy made me take an interest in it. After practice, we would talk about it, and even if our schools were competing against each other, he would always find a way to tell me that I played good and that I have been improving.

If only I cherished the time we had more.

"By the way, Justin's mad. Says he's going to pound you during practice or some shit like that."

Liam walked away after that, but I was way too astounded to move. I don't even know why. I've known that for so long. I don't have anyone to support me right now. With Dylan gone, who am I meant to talk about practice to?

Audrey looked at me and frowned.

Should I tell her?

No. I shouldn't. It's my own problem to deal with.

And, without saying anything to her, I walked away.

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Practice fucking sucks. With Justin being the team captain, he has the ability to do or harass anyone he wants, and the coach will close one eye. Sometimes, I think the coach might be blind. 

I walked home, all tired and sore because Justin has been making me run around for the whole of practice. None of it even includes actual training. He just keeps asking me to run back and forth to get him a drink, buy him food and so on.

Dad made my day worse by shouting at me when I first step inside the house. I'm not even sure what he's so angry about. Maybe he lost his gambling game tonight and decided to take it out on me. Who knows.

My dad, however, wasn't much of a problem. I've gotten used to his shitty ways.

What made everything turned upside down was when Justin called me.

I didn't even want to pick it up. But I know that if I didn't, he'd probably kick me off the team or he would find trouble with me the next day.

So I picked it up.

"Yeah?" I asked him.

"Practice was good today, huh?"

He wasn't even trying to hide the sarcasm.

"Um... I guess?"

I would've pounded his ass a long time ago if it wasn't for the fact that he's my team captain or my 'friend'.

"Alright, I'm just going to go straight to the point," Justin said over the phone. "Are you and Audrey really dating? Because it's really unbelievable. Like, why?"

What the hell do you mean 'why'? You had her and you blew it.

"Um, yeah. We are." I replied as calmly as I can. "Look—"

"Are you sure you want to date her?" He cuts me off.

"Well, why not?"

"You want to get close with someone else again?"

Dylan. He's talking about Dylan. I swear to god if he is... I'll make sure I destroy that pretty face of his.

"I don't see why not," I replied, sounding as oblivious as I can. I can't let Justin know that I know what he meant. Heck, I don't even want to be in this conversation.

"Because of Dylan Wilkerson, dumbass."

I gritted my teeth and clenched my fist.

Calm down, Cayden. You've got this.

"Dylan's gone—"

"Because of you." He says that so bluntly. Like as if it hasn't affected me at all.

"Don't you remember?" Justin continues. I didn't say anything.

Then he went on to remind me of how he died. How it was my fault. How, despite Justin not giving a shit about Dylan, 'worried' he is.

I didn't want to listen. But I did. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I needed a reminder or a reincarnation of what exactly happened.

I'm not even sure if Justin has finished talking or not, but I ended the call and slammed my phone down.

I started kicking and punching anything I can find. Chairs, tables, drawers. Whatever makes me feel relieved.

When I punched the drawer, a small bottle fell out.

In frustration, I wanted to take the bottle and smash it down on the floor.

I stopped, however, when I looked at the bottle closely.

Sleeping pills.

Dylan bought them for me when I told him I had trouble sleeping night after night.

He would warn me, 'don't use too much of it. Your life is precious to me.'

Well, I'm really sorry Dylan.

I wasn't thinking about anything or anyone. Not about Dylan. Or Eric. Or my parents. Or my sister.

And I definitely wasn't thinking about Audrey.

I ran to the toilet, popped open the bottle and poured all of it on my hand.

This is it. I'm ending my life right here and then.

And, with that. I opened my mouth and lifted my hand.

Just when I was about to end it, my phone ringing stopped me.

I wanted to ignore it so badly, but the caller ID was staring at me.

Audrey Simmons.

I calmed myself, placed everything down and picked up the phone call.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Cayden. Can I meet up with you? I need to... rant to you about something."

I didn't reply. I placed my hand over my left chest.

My heart is still beating. I'm still alive.

"Cayden?"

"Uh..." I replied. "I'm too lazy to, actually. So, maybe next time?"

That's a lie. I would be there for her in a heartbeat.

"Aw..." she whines. "I'll buy you food, okay?"

"Okay." I laughed. "I'll be there."

I ended the phone call and stared at my pills.

She needs me. So, maybe not today. Because she needs me.

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"I told you to stay the fuck away from Audrey, didn't I?" Justin hissed at me.

I rolled my eyes. "What am I, your dog? I'm not obliged to fucking listen to your demands."

"Look, one more time you get close to her, you're dead."

You have no idea.

"Yeah. Okay." I shrugged. "I gotta get to homeroom."

And with that, I walked away while showing him the peace sign.

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Although Audrey wanted so badly to know what happened between Justin and me, I would never say. She'd feel so bad that the reason why Justin hates me is because of her.

Although I've already told her.

And, when Justin pushed me, I knew that I can't let him constantly think that he's the bigger person.

So fuck it, I thought.

He doesn't know shit about me. He doesn't know I almost killed myself twice. He doesn't know how many street fights I've won.

So, I shot him a challenging glare.

"Try me, motherfucker."

Comments (1)
goodnovel comment avatar
M. Kimberly Jo
I have to say, I’m so hooked on this story. It’s really such an original idea!
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