I’m an empty shell, present in Trig class, but truly absent. Watching Mr. Smith solve pointless problems on the board is like watching a Chinese movie without subtitles. His lips move as he explains the random figures he conjured, but I can’t hear past the chaos in my head. For all I know, Mr. Smith is a magician. Even in my best mood, I could never understand his teaching.
I look over to Alpha. Watching him brings me pangs of distress. I can’t get past the fact that I’m the devil behind his pain. Paisley taps my arm.
“Are you alright?” I nod. Although she’s been my friend for years, I’m not one to speak of my problems so easily.
“Nice try,” Liam says. “Really, what’s wrong?”
“Headache.” Class goes on forever, and not even once does Alpha turn to look at me. Although I try not to dwell on this, I can’t get past the fact my Alpha is sliding back into ‘stranger zone’ and all I can do is watch.
After forever, the closing bell rings, and with it comes a lump in my throat. I would have to return home, where a psycho most likely awaits me. I flip out my cell phone, hoping to see a call from either of my parents. Finding nothing, I sigh. Do they have to leave their phones turned off during their stay there? I have never felt so helpless. It seems I’m not the only one in a dilemma. Just like me, Alpha stays glued to his seat. Had he not heard the bell?
Thirty minutes rush past, and he remains motionless. Concluding he’s asleep, I walk over to him. But he’s wide awake, staring at the blank board. His oblivion to my presence makes me question my visibility.
“Hey,” I say. The stern look on his face keeps me at arm’s length. A million thoughts weigh down my mind, but they’re too heavy for my lips. Moments of silence tells me not to expect a response from Alpha. I try again. “How are you?” He shrugs. There, the confirmation I needed. I am losing him. “About how I acted earlier,” I say. “I shouldn’t have overreacted like that.”
Saying sorry always finds a way to make me feel worthless. But what can I do?
“You’re sorry?” he asks, still looking away. “What makes you think your apology changes anything?” I’m taken aback by his thoughtless question.
“What I simply mean, Miss Howell, is that it’s a little too late to be sorry. It means nothing. Changes nothing.” Sighing, he meets my gaze. “Look, this can’t work.” His words resound in my head. I want to believe he’s kidding, but I know better. The Alpha before me is not the same one who smiled at me these past few days. This one is in a hurry to get rid of me, his supposed Beta.
“This supposed relationship is weighing me down,” he says. I resist an urge to ask why. I know there’s more to this, but demanding an explanation would only paint me as a desperate teen girl, and that’s not the image I want for myself.
“The feeling is mutual, Mr. Jordan,” I say. “Or should I say Paxton?” With a pathetic smile, I unclasp my necklace and hold it out to him. If he wants nothing to do with me, then I want nothing of his.
Cautious to avoid any contact with me, he snatches the necklace by the dangling end. The same boy who spent a lifetime writing me love notes now avoids me like I were a plague. This brings a painful lump to my throat. Without a word, he walks away, leaving me at the mercy of my shattering heart.
I stare endlessly at his now vacant seat. Feelings of regret weigh me down. I wish I’d asked why he didn’t want me anymore. Knowing why would not make me feel less worthless, but at least it’d bring my curiosity to nothing. I was wrong to see Alpha as different from other guys. I should never have let him come close to me. When you let someone become the reason behind your smile, he breaks you beyond imaginable.
Disappointment overwhelms me, dulling out other emotions. I’ve never been such a fool. Seething, I strap on my backpack and storm out of the class. Tears sting my eyes, but I hold them back, preserving the thin slice of dignity I have left.
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Choosing to be discrete about my relationship with Alpha is a decision I’ll always be proud of. At least, no third party knows of my shame. I dismount the stairs and head for the road, but a prickling sensation on my skin tells me I’m being watched, and worse, followed. Alerted by my echoing footsteps, I whirl around and find an unfamiliar woman staring at me. Though her eyes hide behind dark glasses, I can tell she’s in her mid thirties. A troubling thought overwhelms me. What if I’m standing right in front of the person who wants me dead? Although I doubt she’d dare attack me in public, I take a step back.
“I swear I’ll scream,” I say. She smiles sternly.
“That won’t be necessary.”
“Who are you and why are you after me?”
“I am Linda Hopkins.” She pauses for a second or two. “Your bodyguard.”
“Bodyguard?” I take a moment to process my new reality. It’s weird to have a female posing as my bodyguard. She doesn’t even look intimidating.
“What happened to the macho men?”
“You are more comfortable with a man?” she asks. To be honest, yes. I don’t feel she has what it takes to protect me. Then again, I could be wrong. But what do I care?
“Mr. Jordan seemed convinced you’d be more comfortable with a female,” she says.
“Wait. My dad didn’t hire you?” She shakes her head.
“Alpha Jordan did.”
“Then I do not need your services,” I say, walking away.
I don’t understand anything anymore. Alpha obviously doesn’t care, else he wouldn’t have broken up with me at a time like this. After avoiding me like a plague, he begrudgingly sends me a nasty female bodyguard and expects me to accept it? What mockery of me. The bodyguard walks beside me, matching my pace.
“If I understand correctly, your life is under threat, and…” I glare at her.
“I’d rather die than accept his help. Tell him to shove his help up his ass.”
“I don’t run such errands.”
“Then what are you good for?”I turn to leave, but she yanks my arm.
“I don’t know what relationship you have or had with Alpha Jordan,” she says. “But you must put away your foolishness and cooperate or I will have to make you. I’m here to do my job, so as long as your life is still under threat, you’re gonna have to put up with me.” She gestures at a car behind us.
“I’m taking you home.