Reputation: Chapter 8
Read chapter 1-7 HERE
a/n: prepare some tissues and hold your heart this was a rollercoaster of emotions!
(edit, sorry forgot to tag)
Taglist: @crazzyplays @riptideyun @baexpoppy @save-me-the-last-dance @somewillwin @dopeyouth
a short playlist: (kept on playing this while writing this chap)
- This Love - Taylor Swift
- Heather - Conan Gray
- Falling - Harry Styles
- Lose - NIKI
I woke up feeling like something was stuck on my chest making me numb inside. A huge cloud hang above me and my body refused to move out of the bed. My tears had dried off, while the pain was already engraved in my bones. Zoey barged in my room. I had no energy to master even a smile, I just waved at her. Her eyes were sad. I refused to look at it. Sadness only reminded me of the reality, and reality was I got too close to her despite Zoey’s warnings. I felt my bed dipped as Zoey lay beside me. Her soft eyes drifted on my face. I didn’t spoke nor did she. I found calmness in this silence.
I felt Zoey moving an arm and wrapped on my waist, “I’m here for you, Bea.” She whispered softly, breath tickling on my shoulder.
I felt my eyes sting, like a dam broke, tears started to linger in my eyes.
I crinkled my nose and clenched my jaws. I refused to cry. I refuse to embrace the pain I stupidly received for trusting her.
I heard her voice in my head. I can still feel her touch. Just one damn night, yet she managed to carved hers into me.
"Just let it out B,“ Zoey murmured.
I seek for warmth. I seek for something - anything to fill the hole she dug in my chest. Zoey offered a shelter in her arms as the rain came pouring. My hand crumpled Zoey’s shirt as I let these tears out once again. Maybe letting it out would finally ease the pain. Soothing hands rubbed my back, as the storm continued.
As I calmed down, I withdrew from Zoey and looked into her eyes. She had a soft smile. It was somehow contagious making me smile even a little.
"Thanks,” I murmured.
"Anytime,“ She patted my tear stained cheeks, "Wanna go out today?
Desperate for distractions, I nodded.
Later on, we were enjoying some ice cream for desserts in some ice cream parlor we stumbled in the mall. I left my phone at home, so I won’t be tempted to look at the comments and to check if she– never mind that useless thought.
Zoey was a good help for distraction. Even though I still wasn’t sure if my soul was still intact in me. Zoey made me feel good about myself today. Why can’t I just have a crush on some normal people instead of–
"I had to ask Bea,” Zoey interrupted my thoughts, a small smile on her lips, “How was last night?”
I was in the middle of having another scoop of ice cream. Her question made me stop mid air. I put down my spoon stifling a sigh. I wasn’t ready for this question.
"Oh, you know,“ I shrugged my shoulders, "I helped out humiliating Chloe by feeding Bradley some sugary words. We partied a bit after then I get home.”
Zoey looked at me carefully, “Nothing more happened?”
I gave her a small smile. It seemed like it was the only smile I can do today. “Nothing,” I paused scooping another ice cream, letting the sweetness of it mix with the bitterness of my next words, “I should have look for more dirt about her.” My eyes drifted ahead of me, mind starting to get lost with a hundred of thoughts.
I felt Zoey’s warm hand on my arm. I looked at her, just as her eyes softened, “It’s alright. We’ll look for another way, but for now let’s focus on our date.”
I smiled, “That’s better.”
Weekend came and the need to go to classes came too. I tried to act like everything was normal, but it wasn’t. The laughter and stares I got wherever I go was like a dagger making my wounds bleed again. I had felt embarrassed before, but being humiliated almost wherever I go? It made me wish I wasn’t Bea Hughes. And any site of a blonde hair made me fled immediately. I wasn’t ready to see her anytime soon. I don’t think I can handle it.
I was walking towards my dorm room. I just finished my classes. I slowed down with my pace when I spot something in front of the door of my dorm room.
Is that a plant? My interest was piqued immediately. A smile immediately tugged on my lips. With all of the things I had been going through this past few days, I can almost feel some of the weight in my chest lifted up. Growing up in a farm, it was like love at first sight when I started helping my father in the farm. I felt a lot more at peace and myself whenever I was surrounded by plants.
I power walked towards it, still wearing a smile. As I stood in front of it, I realized it was an Apple tree planted on a pot. A white card caught my attention too. It was tied on one of the stem. I plucked out the card and read the short note written.
Didn’t see you around campus today. Bummer. This little gift is for you, Bea. -P
I scoffed, while my smile faded. How dare she give me gifts after what she did to me? I realized, of course she would do something like this. She would rub it on my face and grin at me, finding joy in knowing I perfectly fell on her trap.
I crouched as I carry the potted plant inside; despite how I don’t want to be reminded of her. A plant was still something close to my heart, so I would take care of this. Besides, this would definitely die if I gave it back to her.
A week passed. My mind had been filled with self-loathing these past few days. My ‘what ifs’ were also piling up. If I hadn’t trusted her… you see another what if. That’s why I decided to go for a walk in a nearby park with Beppy - hoping it would lessen the burden I had been carrying.
I sat on the grass, my back leaning on the tree behind me. It was a calm afternoon. The distant noises coming from the few people on the park were the only noises I can hear.
I unleashed Beppy letting her run around me for a while. I sighed letting the fresh air fill me up. I held out the squeaky ball toy in front of Beppy. His tail started wagging.
I giggled, “You want this?”
His tail wagged furiously mouth ajar. I chuckled, “Fetch Beppy.”
I played with Beppy for a while. I let myself get lost with the bubble of happiness Beppy and I made. His gleaming eyes whenever he gave back the squeaky ball toy lifted a piece of burden from me.
Moments later after I threw again the ball while Beppy was running back towards me he stopped somewhere not far from me. The ball in his mouth fell as he walked towards the tree or rather to someone. I raised my eyebrow. Who was that?
"Wha–“ Clueless I called for his attention, "Beppy!”
Instead of looking at me he sat in front of the stranger - which I can’t clearly see since the tree was hiding them from my view. I stood up and dusted my sweatpants. I strolled towards them.
As I was nearing their place I heard a familiar voice, “Beppy where’s your mom?”
I halted in my step with my breath hitching. That voice. My eyes grew wide. I clenched my jaw as I feel my heart dropping to my stomach. Good Lord I am not ready for this.
My thoughts swarmed me. My limbs lost its strength to take the next step towards them. Like a joke - a really bad joke, Beppy spotted me and barked as if calling for me.
I exhaled loudly, with my legs shaking I took my next step towards them.
As I round the tree I finally spotted her. She was caressing Beppy’s head affectionately, a soft smile on her lips. I felt my shoulder and jaw tensed as she looked up and met my eyes.
"Farmsville.“ She said nonchalantly, but her eyes mirrored a different story. It was soft - almost yearning? I clenched my jaw as we stared at each other for a while.
"I was waiting when you will show up,” She spoke once again breaking the silence.
"Are you finished catching up with Beppy? Can I take her now?“ I asked in a monotone voice.
She scoffed, "After you avoided me for a whole week, you’re just gonna waltz out like that?”
I crossed my arms protectively in front of me, “We have nothing to talk about. I don’t want to waste my time with you again.”
"Oh so now I am a waste of your time? And did you just say again?!“ She exclaimed in a high pitched tone, a frown deeply etched on her face as her eyes narrowed at me.
"Yes.” I spoke. My mask was completely intact not letting her saw any emotion on my face.
"I don’t get you Bea.“ She sighed suddenly looking… tired? Or was it sadness?
I scoffed, burying those thoughts, "You really had the nerve to act clueless right now?” I exclaimed exasperated, “Listen to me closely Poppy,” I gulped. Saying her name felt like I was burying the knife she planted in my chest deeper, “You won Poppy. You - fucking - won.” I said through gritted teeth. “Is this your way of mocking me? Then go on. Laugh at me. I fell in your fucking trap.” I hate how my eyes stings as I spitted out my words.
"I cared for you. I believed in you. I fucking trusted you.“ I exclaimed quite loudly, a few passerby glancing at us. "And then what did you do?” My eyes started to blur with tears and I started to hate myself more at this moment. I hate looking weak in front of her. “You stabbed me in the back.” I inhaled deeply, “Zoey warned me from you, but what did I do? I ignored her. I should have listened instead.” Tears were slowly falling now. I wiped it harshly. She just blinked at me, mouth gaping.
I laughed dryly, “Don’t worry Poppy. In the first place, I didn’t even want that stupid crown. Just stay away from me. I’ll be out of your way and your life.”
I didn’t wait for any reply or reaction from her. I walked towards Beppy and scooped him up. His eyes looked sad. I smiled at him despite the few tears that were still falling.
I kissed his head and murmured, “I’ll feel better soon Beppy, hopefully."
It was a weekend. I just walked out from a clothing shop. After that encounter with her, I started to focus more on myself - just doing more of ‘me time’, and a continuous amount of mental and emotional self-check. I just rounded up a corner when I spotted Veronica. She was probably having another one of her live streams. Our eyes met. In an instant she frowned.
I tried to ignore her. I continued walking not sparing her another glance. I was just tired of interacting to anyone that was related to her.
"Bea! Wait up!” Veronica suddenly called out.
Sighing I halted with my steps. So much for avoiding any of them. I prepared my mind and emotions internally before I turned around and face Veronica.
I plastered a smile as she walked up to me.
"Can we talk?“ She said once she was in front of me.
"We’re already talking aren’t we?” I bit my tongue. My retort at her had so much bite than I intended.
She raised an eyebrow. The usual composed Veronica seemed different today, maybe a little pissed off. Probably with the way I talked back at her… oops.
"It’s about Poppy.“ She said.
I clenched my jaws, "Of course this is about her. Didn’t I tell her to stay away from me already?
She raised an eyebrow at me, "Okay, clearly I don’t know about that specially with how close you both got–”
I laughed dryly, cutting her off, “You mean her ploy that worked out cause now I’m Belvoir’s number 1 clown?”
"Look I don’t know what’s Poppy’s plan or what’s going on with her head, but she seemed weird and different after you two partnered up with that project. At first it was only small and little details I noticed, but–“
I cut her off again, "Hold on. You’re telling me you’re actually very observant? I mean no offense, but with the time you spent on your phone I’m surprised.”
She laughed, “Poppy is still my friend, and I care for that bitch.”
"Good for her. I’m already done being mushy with her, so whatever this is you’re trying to convince me with? I don’t want to hear it.“
Veronica sighed like her patience was starting to wear thin, "Alright. Just answer this one question then I’ll leave you.”
"Fine,“ I grumbled.
"What changed Bea? You sound like you really hate her now.” Her eyes turned soft, all of a sudden.
It irked me. It was already one thing with Poppy backstabbing me and now this?! “Did Poppy send you to mock me on how stupid I was to actually trust her?” I glared at her my anger raging in me.
She waved her hands frantically in front of her, “No,” She shook her head. A sad smile painted on her lips, "So I guess that was your answer huh.“
I clenched my jaws. Stupid Bea. "Nothing changed. I’m just treating her the way I should have from the very start. That’s my real answer.”
She was still smiling at me, “To be honest I don’t know why I wanted to talk to you about Poppy. Something was really off about her now-a-days, and I felt like you were the reason.”
"Whether I am the reason or not, I don’t care. She should deal with it. She brought this upon herself.“ I said through gritted teeth.
Veronica looked at me, her eyes sad. I hate it. These past few days, I hate seeing or being reminded of sadness cause deep down my heart was hurting and feeling sad for what she did.
"I better leave Bea. Thanks for the talk."
I just nodded. She patted my shoulders and smiled at me before turning around and leaving. I sighed. The relaxation I was aiming for this afternoon all gone in a blink of an eye. And now I was left with the bitter pill called reality, that I was having a hard time swallowing. I was still hurting, and the most painful part? I actually missed her.
Later that night, I was left alone in the dorm. Zoey had some things to do and would be home late; being cooped up in the dorm alone made me feel like I was drowning with thoughts about her. I felt overwhelmed, that’s why I decided to go out to and have dinner to this diner I found near the train station a few days ago. It made me felt nostalgic about my hometown - when everything was okay.
I tend to miss so many things these past few days. It was like I’m continuously being pulled by my thoughts to different things or places, as well as people, like her.
I walked out from the diner. My hair and clothes probably smelled like greasy food for staying a bit too long inside, but my stomach felt full and my mood got better, after that encounter I had with Veronica this afternoon. Speaking of her, my thoughts wandered again towards Poppy. I had been having a hard time from even mentioning her name, for fuck’s sake.
I don’t want to fret much about her anymore, but somehow and someway the way Veronica tried to talk to me about her- worry started to crept in me.
Sometimes I felt like my encounter with her was a joke some mighty divine entity played on me. Just like now, as I was walking along the train station I spot a person sitting on one of the benches. Their beautiful, frilly pink dress would catch anyone’s attention, but what really caught my attention was who she was and that she was crying.
I stopped dead in my tracks. My heart was pounding in my rib cage, and like bees I hear my thoughts buzzing in my mind - loud and persuasive. As if all the battles in my mind ceased, and a certain answer finally marched in victory, I numbly took my first step towards her.
I stood just right in front of her. Her hands were covering her face while her quiet sobs and her shoulders trembling broke her pretence. She wasn’t alright and it broke my heart.
"Poppy…?” I whispered her name. Cold wind breezed past us dishevelling her hair. I shiver at the coldness and so does she. Slowly she lifted her head. The little cracks in me broke more as I stare at her swollen red eyes.
A deep frown was etched on her face, “What?” Irritation and annoyance was evident on her voice.
I gulped thickly, my mouth felt dried all of a sudden, “What are you doing here?” I spoke, my voice crisped - almost unrecognizable even for me.
"None of your business Hughes,“ She gritted her teeth and stood up. Her eyes were the same level at me as she stared at me. Like a soft whisper through the quiet night, softness flashed in her eyes quickly. I almost wasn’t sure if it was for real, but the way my heart was pounding, shut down all the noises in my head.
She averted her eyes and I realized she was about to leave. My chest ached once again. My hands reached for her even before I realized what I was doing, holding her wrist gently. "Don’t go,” I whispered. I noticed how her jaw and shoulders tensed.
I felt the cracks in me; they were bruised and wounded, by this same person I was asking to stay. I was still hurting, but so does she. And Poppy… she almost never cries.
Just one last time. One last time that I was going to care for her. One last time I would listen to my heart.
She turned around and when I met her eyes - her brown teary eyes - my mind finally made up. I would be here for her, one last time.
Like walls crumbling down, I watched as she crossed the distance between us and hugged me. Her perfume wafted my senses and her warmth filled up the cracks in me. I didn’t realize that there were tears streaming down on my face already. I missed her.
I sniffed quietly. Sadly, I still need to be on my guard no matter how much I was yearning for this.
Heavy rain started to pour as she started to cry. Her sobbed were muffled by the rain. Yet I still heard her loud and clear. A sudden urge to shelter her from her own storm on her mind arose to me. I tightened my hug and caressed her head.
The rain hadn’t stopped yet, but her tears started to calm down. She withdrew from me and wiped her tears. Before I can even think what I was doing I reached out and wiped her tears with the sleeves of my jacket.
She suddenly grimaced, “Eww. Where have you been? Why does your jacket smells like that?”
I rolled my eyes, “And yet you weren’t complaining moments ago. As if you forget you were hugging me a while ago.”
I thought she would retort back just like always, but instead she just pouted. My heart pounded wildly at the cute gesture.
I sighed trying to mask how she left me flustered. I sat on the bench and patted the space beside me, “Wanna talk about it?”
She sighed and relented, sitting beside me, leaving minimal space between us. I gulped at her close proximity. A cold breeze past again, she shivered and started rubbing her arms. I took off my jacket and draped it on her.
She halted and looked at me with wide eyes, before a soft smile painted her lips, “Thanks Bea.” She mumbled softly.
I tried so hard not to get affected, by that simple gesture, but my heart was already melting. I cleared my throat, changing the topic, “So… what happened to you?”
She avoided eye contact, “Today, my parents finally introduced me as the heiress of my father’s business.” She looked at up at the cloudy dark sky. The rain was relentless and so does the cold breeze passing by once in a while.
"That’s a good news right?“
"It was,” I saw a faint smile from her before it dropped, “Until my father started to be his usual self.” She chuckled dryly. “I thought I can ignore his words just like I always do, but today was an important day for me. And I failed to impress him, again."
There was a pause I waited for her to continue. She inhaled deeply and sighed loudly, "You didn’t improve Poppy. You’re still a disappointment. That’s what he said to me.”
When she looked at me again another batch of tears were streaming down her face. She had a broken smile, “That was bullshit. His business clients and partners were happy to meet me. I should have known he won’t be impressed no matter what I did.”
I gulped thickly. I choked with my own emotions raging inside of me. I had never seen her, this broken.
I smiled softly at her and lay my hand on hers, “I don’t believe a single word he said. You always do your best. He’s blind if he can’t see that.”
"He probably is,“ She smiled softly albeit a little. "I should be really used by now with how he treats me, but I still get disappointed every damn time."
"You know what?” I squeezed her hand in mine, “Screw your dad! Let’s do something fun instead.” I grinned.
She raised an eyebrow. An excited gleam in her eyes and a grin on her lips, “What’s on your mind?"
I looked around us. I think it was twelve midnight already or way passed that, and the rain was still pouring. The train station and its surroundings were pretty much deserted.
I stood up pulling Poppy with me. I grinned, "Care to dance with me?”
She huffed out a laugh, “You’ve gone nuts!"
"Probably, but look around us. It’s raining and there’s no one else around. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy the rain Poppy!” I exclaimed as the warmth and happiness that I had been missing for the past week came crushing on my insides.
She laughed - a genuine and soft one. “I am probably going nuts too.” She shook her head. Her eyes gleamed and a wide smile was on her lips, “Let’s dance Bea!”
She pulled me out of the shelter of the waiting area of the train station. My jacket falling from her shoulders as we run on the middle of the deserted street. The rain was pouring and it felt cold on my skin, but with Poppy in front of me, laughing and smiling - guiding me into a music free dance, I feel warm.
She gasped as the rain hit her skin, “It’s so cold!” She exclaimed, but the smile on her lips never faltered.
She pulled me close wrapping her arms around my neck as our foreheads touched. I wrapped my arms around her waist as we swayed. I guess we didn’t need music at all when the rain felt like it was serenading us.
She giggled as our nose touched. Our wide grins turned into soft smiles. Her breath tickled my lips as she sighed.
"Bea…“ She murmured.
It was like an enchantment, all I can hear was my heart screaming for her name. I closed the distance between us and kissed her. My breath hitched. As if she was the oasis on my dessert. It gave me life. It filled up the cracks inside of me. Her lips moved - claiming me softly. Her hands caressed my nape raising goose bumps in their wake.
I gasped for air as I withdrew first, "Poppy…” I murmured.
She pecked my lips, “Thank you Bea,” And smiled brightly as her eyes gleamed.
I grinned, “Glad to see that smile returns.”
"This was nice, but I think we both need to leave before we catch a cold.“
We hailed a cab going back to Belvoire. My jacket was on Poppy’s lap. We threw secretive glances towards each other once in a while. The smile on my lips never faltered and a comfortable silence wrapped us along with the murmurs of the radio inside the cab. It felt normal and I felt happy once again.
As we get out from the cab, the first thing I saw was the Zeta house and just like that reality crashed my bubble of happiness. The smile on my lips dropped. The weight on my chest intensified. As the cab leave, I turned to Poppy she was looking at me with a soft smile.
I pressed my lips into a thin line. She noticed my expression and the smile on her face dropped, "Oh…” She sighed before laughing dryly, “Of course.” She bit her lip like she was stopping herself for spitting out more words. “I better go inside.” Her voice was nonchalant as if her mask was back again.
"Yeah,“ I said curtly.
She clenched her jaw, "Fine.” She turned around abruptly and speed walk inside the Zeta House.
Everything in me tensed - my hands, my jaws and my chest. I wanted to say more, but I bit my tongue. Tonight was the last time. I kept chanting those words on my mind as I watched her walking away from me.