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Home? I scoffed. What a joke. That place wasn\ home anymore, not when I was living with a cheating prick.

Cheating. Oh, my God. He cheated.

How many women had there been? I quickly went over all the times he\d supposedly been hanging out with Trevon knowing it was probably a cover up so he could dance behind my back with some stupid slut.

When I parked the car, I stared down at the photo and pure, unrepressed rage boiled from within. This was good. This was better than heart break - though I knew that feeling would rear its head eventually.

I heard the television from within the apartment as I shakily unlocked the front door. I was a wild mess of adrenaline and fury, but I somehow managed to walk inside looking relatively calm. I saw the smiling f*ker sit on the couch next to Trevon, each with a controller in their hands, playing some shoot \em up game.

I somehow made it to them, standing beside the edge of the couch, glaring at Jaxon with a look that could kill fifty baby kittens. When he turned his head to glance at me, he broke out into a huge grin. ’’Hey babe, you\ e home early.’’

I clenched my cell phone tightly, distressing the plastic cover. ’’Has my unexpected arrival ruined your plans?’’

He instantly stopped playing upon hearing the edgy tone of my voice. ’’What plans?’’

’’Oh, I don\ know, maybe f*king some girl behind my f*king back?’’ I spat out. My anger felt like rolling waves, moving like a tsunami throughout my body.

Trevon\s eyes popped open wide. ’’Shit, man, I should head off.’’

We didn\ acknowledge him. Jaxon stared at me, dripping in shock. God, the f*ker can act.

I barely registered Trevon\s hurried exit out of the apartment. The temperature in the room went up and up, much like my anger.

’’What are you talking about, Sara?’’ Jaxon asked gently.

Oh, so he was going to be a soft spoken liar, eh? Cue the deterioration of my relatively calm state.

’’You lying f*k!’’ I shrieked, and then I was pointing at him, screaming out words and curses. ’’How could you sit there and f*king lie to me right now? You cheating piece of shit! I trusted you!’’

Now he was up on his feet, panic sweeping his face as he rushed to me. He went to grab my arms, but I stepped away. ’’Don\ f*king touch me!’’

’’Sara, I don\ know what you\ e talking about-’’

’’STOP LYING!’’ My vocal cords ached as I unloaded my hysteria.

’’I\m not lying, baby.’’

’’Don\ f*king call me that ever again! I am not your baby, and I never will be, you cheating piece of shit!’’

He raked his hands through his hair, tugging on it tightly as his panic rose. ’’Sara, I\ve never cheated on you!’’

’’Too much of a pussy to come clean, huh?’’ I scoffed at him in disgust. ’’Pack your f*king shit and get the f*k out of my life!’’ I didn\ realize I\d been crying until I tasted the saltiness of my tears in my mouth.

’’Why the hell would you think I cheated on you?! Tell me! I\m not f*king lying. Holy shit, Sara, I\m not lying to you!’’

’’You f*king prick. Lie to me after this!’’ I threw the phone at him as hard as I could, and he barely dodged it as it crashed onto the coffee table with a sickening crack.

I saw him reach for the phone, but I didn\ want to be around him. I hurried to the bathroom and shut the door, locking it and taking a seat on the toilet. I closed my eyes and cried, shaking like mad from the anger and pain.

’’Sara, open this door! You\ve got it all wrong, baby. Open this door,’’ he pleaded on the other side.

’’Go the f*k away!’’ I roared, feeling the ache in me run so deep, I began pulling on my hair as hard as possible to displace the pain from my heart.

’’Let me talk, Sara. I didn\ cheat on you. Open this door.’’

’’Still lying through your teeth.’’

’’I\m not lying, I\m-’’

’’Go away!’’

’’Just let me explain-’’

’’There\s nothing to explain! Pack your shit and go!’’

’’I didn\ cheat-’’

’’Go away.’’

’’F*k\s sake. Stop interrupting me, Sara, and let me talk!’’

I got up and whipped the door open, glaring up at his concerned face. ’’There\s nothing to explain because you can\ explain that.’’

’’I can.’’

’’Get out of my way.’’ I moved to go past him, but he blocked me, trying to rest his hands on my shoulders. ’’Don\ touch me! Get out of my way!’’

’’Let me talk first!’’

’’You can\ do this, get out of the way!’’ The helplessness in him forcing me to stand in front of him had my anger roaring its ugly head. I tried shoving him, but he wouldn\ budge. I squeezed his arms, trying to cause him pain so he would move the f*k away, but he wouldn\ ;all the while he repeatedly told me to calm down, to stop so he could explain. My whole body flailed wildly against him, and I began smacking him across the chest, screaming for him to move. Then I slapped him as hard as I could across his face. He took a step back, wide eyed and shocked.

In that moment, I felt he deserved it. And I liked the feeling of what I\d done, of causing him pain physically as if that might remove the pain I was feeling emotionally. My hand was tingling, on a high, wanting to slap him hard again. Little did I know this was the beginning of the end, and that my assaults would only get worse with time.

His eyes went red with unshed tears. He looked absolutely betrayed and hurt by me, and I could actually see him trying hard to restrain his own anger. He appeared conflicted, chaotic, and lost. I hated that this look was already thawing on my cold heart and that regret for hurting him was actually setting in. I tried to fight it because I wanted to feel angry. Anger brought on a kind of high in me, and it felt good dispelling it. It was almost like a drug, giving me a release I enjoyed in the moment but had me crawling in a hole of remorse after its effects died down.

I stood, stunned at this revelation that I liked what I just did. What the f*k?

’’I didn\ cheat on you,’’ Jaxon whispered, keeping the distance between us. ’’That was two weekends ago, when I told you I was going to be picking up Trevon from the club he was at because he was drunk as hell. I waded through the club trying to find him because he wasn\ out front like he said he would be, and he wasn\ picking up his phone when I tried calling. Some girl shoved her way up to me, tried feeling me up. I told her to stop, but she wouldn\ . Then she grabbed me and tried to kiss me. She managed for barely half a second before I shoved her away. That\s all that picture was. You can look at it yourself and see my eyes were wide open and my hands were against her shoulders right before I pushed her away.’’

’’Why didn\ you tell me then?’’ I retorted, feeling the anger surfacing again, only it was much fainter than before.

’’For a few reasons actually.’’ His voice went flat as his eyes. ’’For one, I\m used to girls throwing themselves at me. I\ve been fighting them off in those kinds of situations for years now. Even at the bar, right in front of you, they march up to me. I never go to them. I never mislead them. I don\ flirt. I don\ do anything that would even border betraying your trust.

’’What happened then was a passing in thought. I didn\ think anything of it because she barely touched my mouth. She copped a feel for a split second. For another, if I told you about it, this is the kind of reaction I\d get. Now why the hell should I open up to you when you blame me like I\m the cause for somebody else\s actions?’’

’’You lied by omission. You could have brought it up and nothing would have happened-’’

’’That\s not true,’’ he interrupted icily. ’’You would have blamed me for something, as usual. I can\ do right by you anymore. The last few months have been an uphill battle. I\m walking on eggshells all the f*king time because you get so irrationally angry and shut down, and I don\ know what I\ve done to deserve it.’’

’’You lied,’’ I simply said. I didn\ want to hear about my faults. I was too proud to think my actions were wrong. In my head I was justified and right. In my head even I was denying how f*ked up I\d gotten. ’’You\ e a liar. Which reminds me, I bumped into Doug at the bar tonight.’’


’’Doug Mackenzie.’’

’’Okay?’’ He looked confused, unsure of where I was headed with this.

’’He told me that he wanted to take me out to Prom, but that you threatened every guy at school from coming within a foot of me.’’

He groaned in exasperation and raked both hands through his hair, looking up at the ceiling in disbelief. ’’Christ, Sara, that was almost three years ago.’’

’’More like two, and it doesn\ even matter if it was ten years ago. The fact remains you lied to me! You knew how hurt I was that no one wanted me, and how badly it effected my self-esteem.’’

’’I didn\ want anyone taking advantage of you that night. I wanted it to be perfect without the pressure to give out to some kon*** head that wanted your body.’’

’’No, you were selfish and wanted me to yourself.’’

’’Absolutely!’’ he agreed heartily. He licked his bottom lip and took a step forward, leaning down to my level. ’’I wanted to protect you. I wanted you to be happy. I wanted to hold you to me and see you smile. I wanted to be the guy that gave you that smile, and when I thought about that shit, I realized how much I pined for you. I knew I loved you then, and I wanted to have you before any other guy did - and not se*ually either, Sara, but as a whole. I was terrified you\d fall for some guy and I\d miss my chance.’’

’’Selfish,’’ I had the audacity to repeat, holding onto the lingering anger in me.

He exhaled, disappointment clear in his face. ’’I don\ know why I do this. I unload my heart to you and you just don\ give a f*k. Fine, fine, I\m selfish. Is that what you want to hear? You\ e right, Sara. I\m selfish and I lied. I\m sorry.’’

’’Whatever, Jaxon.’’

’’Yeah, okay.’’ He rubbed his red eyes, fatigue causing his shoulders to slump. ’’Where do we stand?’’

I shrugged. ’’Don\ know.’’

’’Do you even care?’’

I shrugged again.

He shakily breathed out, and the physical pain caused by my actions was clear as day on him. ’’Sara, I... I love you, okay? I don\ want to be without you. I want to work this out. I can\ live without you. Please forgive me. I won\ hold back ever again. Please, talk. Tell me how you feel.’’

How did I feel? Like I\d been betrayed. Like his explanation was shady. ’’I don\ know how I can trust you, Jaxon.’’

’’Well who sent the picture? They would have obviously seen me push her away. That\s proof right there-’’

’’I don\ know who. It was private. You read the text, didn\ you?’’

’’It\s someone you know, Sara. Someone that has your number and wants this kind of reaction out of us. Someone wants to break us up.’’

’’Why would anyone want that?’’ I scoffed, crossing my arms. ’’That makes no sense. I have no enemies.’’

’’But that-’’

’’Just drop it, okay? I don\ want to talk about this right now.’’

He didn\ want to, but he did, and we went to bed sleeping on opposite ends of the mattress with a huge gap between us. When I heard him fast asleep, I slipped out of bed and grabbed my phone. Zooming up on the photo, I saw that Jaxon\s eyes were indeed open, and he was in some kind of apprehensive stance. But it was just too damn blurry to know for sure. Why did I want to think the worst of him? In my heart of hearts, I knew he was telling me the truth.

Only... who would want to come between us?

Someone who has my number;someone I know and might never put a face to.


We never went back to normal after that fight. We spent two weeks on semi-speaking terms, but I never wanted to be around him. I ignored him when he was at the bar and, after a while, he stopped coming. I always made some kind of excuse to get out of spending time with him: hanging out with Lexi, studying at the library, doing my homework, going to class, taking on more shifts.

Suddenly, everything he did pissed me off. When he left dishes in the sink, I\d go livid. One fight as a result of this had me smashing a plate on the floor. I picked on him for not washing his laundry, for leaving dirty clothes on the floor, for not putting the toilet seat down after he was finished, for not respecting my space when he was reaching out to touch me. It was endless, and the more days that went by, the more I witnessed a great deflation in his self-confidence.

What hurt the most was watching the pain I was inflicting on him, but not being able to stop myself. I\d grown so sick of that look of defeat on his beautifully saddened face;it\d made even more sense to steer as clear from him as possible. Was this a phase? I kept waiting for it to pass, for my old self to return, but it never did.

When we did spend time together, however rare that was, we ended up in fights that had me screaming for him to leave me alone, and when he didn\ , I\d shove him, slap him, do whatever I could to get my way. It took me hours to come down from the high of anger, and then guilt filled its place, and I\d crawl back to an emotionally shaken boyfriend, pleading for forgiveness. He was taking me in whatever way I was willing to give because his love for me was that palpable.

My concentration dipped due to my relationship life. I didn\ want to believe I was in the wrong, and I\d somehow deflect the blame onto him. I led myself to believe he was the cause for our fighting, and thus the cause for why I was so depressed.

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