Starting Over

by Tony A

Chapter 9

Fuck! I'm so happy. I can't believe that confronting Cole in the library would turn into that. I guess you just never know what's around the corner in life. I'm not totally sure what the status of our relationship is but I can tell it's pretty good if the result in the library was any indication.

As I was walking out of the school from detention I had a an extra swag in my step. I probably looked ridiculous but I didn't care, I was in love...or as in love as I've ever felt before. I just want to see him right away. I wonder if it's too early to call him just to talk or if I should be more cool and aloof, maybe let him come to me.

Just as I was trying to plan how see Cole again without looking desperate, I suddenly felt a presence near me. All I could think was 'Not again', because I know whoever it is standing there is probably not the person I want to see and is going to bring my mood down a bit. Regardless, I sucked up the feeling of dread and turned to my right and guess who was standing there... Ava, my old girlfriend.

I looked right at her and she looked expectant, like I should be the one to say something first even though she came up to me. I just waited and stared at her. I noticed that she was wearing a cheerleading uniform. Of course she's a cheerleader, it only makes since with her 'mean girl' persona. She's like the quintessential cheerleader.

She realized I wasn't going to say anything first, she sighed, "Hey Matt, I wouldn't normally ask this, since I know we haven't really been talking but..." she said hesitantly.

I think this is the first time I've ever seen her look unsure of herself and slightly vulnerable. It was kind of refreshing so I took the bait. "Ava, what's going on?"

When I said her name she looked up into my eyes and smiled. "It's embarrassing Matt, you know I don't like asking for help," she said fondly as she stepped closer to me and patted her hand on my chest. That action was eerily similar to how Cole had touched me in the library, but I tried to push that thought away and focus on what she was saying.

I touched her hand lightly to move it away from me, "What is it you need help with?"

"Well you see, we just finished cheerleading practice," I happened to look up in time to see all these girls in cheerleading uniforms coming out of the school and a couple of the girls were looking at Ava and me with curious glances. "Usually Whitney takes me home after practice but today she left early and now I'm left without a ride." She started to look up at me with innocent puppy dog eyes, "So I was wondering if maybe you could take me home."

I looked at all the other girls who were starting to get in their cars. "Why are you asking me to drive you? There's like 12 other girls around who could take you home." I said while gesturing to all her teammates.

She looked slightly miffed that I didn't agree right away. She's probably not used to people saying no to her. She looked around at the other girls and then stepped even closer to me,"Well, I'm asking you because you're supposed to be my boyfriend and also I wanted to talk to you," she said in a sharp yet hushed tone so that no one around would hear.

"Why can't you just tell me what you need to say right here?" I said slightly louder, which I could tell made her annoyed. Apparently when comes to the truth of our relationship she wants to keep it private.

"Look Matt, I don't want to fight with you. I just really want to talk to you and If you just really can't stand to be around me anymore than that's fine, I guess," She said slightly louder so that the girls could hear her again and she sounded now on the brink of tears. She probably was doing that on purpose just to make me look like the bad guy.

"Okay, okay, fine. Get in the car Ava." I relented.

She instantly cheered up, "Thanks Matty!" She ran around to the other side of the car just I had unlocked it and jumped in the passengers seat.

I rolled my eyes and got in the driver's side. And for the first 3 minutes it was pure silence, but it was surprisingly not that uncomfortable, like we'd done that before.

"Hey, Matt," I guess I was getting a little too comfortable because when she spoke again it made me jump a bit.

I looked over at her for a second before I looked back on the road. "Yes?" I said calmly.

She huffed a bit like a moody child. "I've been thinking..." Of course she has. "You probably don't even remember this."

"I don't remember many things nowadays," I quipped with a smirk.

She laughed a bit. I was amazed because I thought she might actually be a robot until that moment.

"Well I'll remind you. You promised that you would take me to the Winter Formal. And I know that we haven't really been on the best terms but... I already picked out a dress and people expect us to go together."

I stared coldly out to the road and went stiff, "Ava," I said with an even tone, but I could see out the corner of her eyes she looked tense. "I promised that before the accident. Things have changed,"

"I know, I know, you lost your memory but --"

I cut her off, "No," I raised my voice, "Not because I lost my memory. We're not a couple anymore."

She got silent for long enough that I finally relented and looked over and she looked shocked.

"I know that we haven't been talking but when the fuck did we break up?!"

"Are you kidding! We haven't been a real couple in a while. I thought that was just a mutual agreement that we weren't together anymore."

"I just thought you needed some time to adjust after the accident. I didn't want to be clingy. I didn't think that meant we were over." She sounded slightly panicked.

"Look, even if I did agree to go with you, I just literally can't because part of my punishment is that I'm not allowed to go to any school events...including dances. It's the principal's orders." I shrugged.

She looked contemplative, "We could arrange something. I could... I could sneak you in. Yeah, that would be really cool and everyone would think that you broke the rules just to be with me." I didn't like where this was going.

"Are you insane! I'm a step away from being expelled. I'm not risking my ass just to go to some dumb dance with you." I rubbed my neck in irritation.

She looked like she was about to object when she stopped cold and stared right at me. I was confused so, naturally, I had to ask.

"What?" I said sharply.

"What the fuck is that?" She said while pointing at my neck.

"What are you talking about?" I said with an irritated tone.

"No, you don't get to be the mad one right now. Not when you have a fucking hickey on your neck!"

I quickly realized why she had an angry and disgusted look on her face. I guess I didn't realize that Cole had actually marked me.

All I said was, "Oh," while I tried to cover the spot with my right hand.

"All you have to say is 'oh'? So this is why you didn't want to go to the dance. And this is why you want to break up! Because your cheating on me!" She said with great offense.

We came to a stop so turned my body to fully look at her and all her anger. But I was angry right back, so two can play at that game.

"You know what. I'm not cheating on you because we weren't even together when this happened," I said as I pointed to the hickey.

"We didn't officially agree to break up until today so when this happened you were still with me!" When she gets mad she starts talking with her hands, which makes her look slightly intimidating. "Well, we're broken up anyways now so what the hell does it even matter!" I threw back.

"Because ever since the accident you acted like I didn't matter at all and you became even more of a pig-headed jerk. I don't know who the fuck you are anymore but the Matt I knew, never would've cheated on me!"

"Me cheating! You're one to talk. I heard that you were fucking around with Kevin. Who, by the way, was my best friend. That's fucking low."

"Hey!" She wagged her finger in my face, "That never happened, you ass! That's just a stupid rumor."

I tried to breathe slowly to calm myself and realized we'd just been sitting in the car yelling at each other.

"Look, Ava, we were obviously never a real couple. We might as well just end it now."

I looked at her and her eyes were glistening. "How the fuck would you know, you don't even remember our relationship. You're just listening to what people have told you about us. They don't know. No one knew except me and you. And now even you don't know." She looked out the window to avoid eye contact with me.

I was actually starting to feel guilty. "Ava I --"

"No save it! You don't get it! You said you loved me, you fucker." She shook her head, "I guess I believed you."

I was stunned. Did I really ever have those feelings for her? "I'm sorry," was all I could think to say.

She looked out the window again and stated quietly, "You apparently remembered where my house was." She pointed at the house, "Maybe you haven't forgotten everything," she said sadly.

She quickly pulled her cheerleading bag from the back seat. She stood outside with the passenger door open. "Bye Matt," then she slammed the door closed and walked to her door.

I sat in the car outside of her house for about 5 minutes after she had already went into her house. I was feeling consumed with guilt.

I feel like I'm starting back at the beginning of my amnesia. I don't know who to trust around me and if I can even trust my instincts anymore. _______________________________________________________________

I was a little shaken, to say the least, by time I got home. I was totally consumed in my thoughts I didn't even notice anyone around me until I heard my sister say, "Hey Matt," I visibly jumped then turned to look at her at the top of the stairs.

She descended the stairs to be face to face, "Whoa, you look like you've seen a ghost." She said jokingly.

"I feel like I have," I muttered sullenly.

I pushed past her to go upstairs but she grabbed my shoulder to pull me back.

She looked me dead in the eye, "Do you need to talk about something?" She could tell I was about to protest so she added, "You know I'm here for you...seriously Matt."

Times like these I love/hate how determined she can be... I think it's a family trait.

Before I could confirm or deny she was pulling me up the stairs and towards her room.

"Sit," she said as she pushed me towards her bed.

I didn't know what else to do so I sat, but not without protest, "Christine, I really don't feel like talking about it. I'm confused and tired."

She sat down next to me on the bed and looked at me thoughtfully. "You know you used to call me Tini."

"Well that's just another thing I can't remember. I'm sorry. I seem to be apologizing for all the things I can't remember."

"I didn't bring it up to make you feel bad. I just kinda missed it. But, it's fine. Now what happened?"

I looked at her tiredly, "Look, I really don't feel like talking about it. I just spent the last 20 minutes yelling with Ava. I'm just not in the mood --"

She cut me off, "Wait you were talking to Ava?" She looked stunned.

"Not talking, yelling," I corrected.

"Now you have to tell me what happened!" She looked morbidly excited.

"Why do you care?" I asked genuinely curious about the answer.

"Because you were talking -- sorry, you were 'yelling' with your ex-girlfriend. I need to know what happened before the whole school starts talking about it tomorrow."

I was shocked that she thinks the 'whole school' would find out about my business, but I guess it's happened before. "Thank you for saying 'ex-girlfriend' by the way. At least someone understands that."

"Is that what the fight was about?"


"You and Ava, were you guys fighting because of the breakup?"

"Oh yeah, well, apparently she thought we were still together. So I basically just broke up with her 20 minutes ago." I scrubbed my face with my hands in frustration.

"Oh my god. Did she seriously not know that you guys weren't together?" She laughed, more likely cackled, "I mean it's so obvious that you've moved on." She said while still laughing, however, I got really quiet and still.

Was she implying that it was obvious that I was with Cole? She saw my concerned face, "Calm down Matt, It's only obvious to me because you told me a couple weeks ago. But if you are trying to hide it maybe you should be a bit less obvious ... and try to hide that hickey better." She said with a giggle.

I quickly put my hand over the spot on my neck, then I quickly went over to her mirror and turned my head to get a better look at it. It was bigger than I expected and it was already turning darker into a nasty looking bruise. As much as I love how it got there, I wasn't too psyched about wearing the evidence on my neck for days. As I looked at it I sighed in frustration.

Christine came up behind me, "You know there's some easy ways to cover that. Don't worry about it too much right now." She looked at it contemplatively for a second then looked up at me in the mirror, "So I'm guessing you and Cole did this pretty recently."

I turned to her, "Yeah, pretty recent... like today, recent." I said sheepishly as I sat back down on her bed.

"Wow, your days are pretty jam packed, aren't they. You always have something interesting happen to you. I consider my day interesting if Kyle Ferguson smiles at me." she said offhandedly.

I instantly perked up at that name, "Hey, don't go near him okay. He's bad news." Maybe I was exaggerating but I was mad at him for letting those rumors about Cole slide when he was getting help from Cole.

"Why are you being so weird. He's a cute guy, not that I really stand a chance."

"Trust me Christine, he's a fuckboy. Don't mess with him." I said sharply.

"Geez, I wasn't going to pursue anything anyways. I mean he's two grade ahead of me and he has a girlfriend. I just like to dream. But why are you so hung up about him?"

I looked at her sternly, "Doesn't matter, leave it."

"Okay...well getting back to what we were talking about. What did Ava say that shook you up? Because I thought you look happy about having her out of your life."

"I am relieved that it -- our relationship, is finally over but... what she said just startled me."

"What did she say?"

"Well it's not what she said, but it's more like what I said to her a couple months ago."

"How would you remember what you said to her a couple months ago?"

"Because she told me," I said exasperatedly, "Apparently I said... I said that I loved her."

Christine just stared at me for a while, "Really? And you believe that? How do you know she's not lying to keep you around?" She said quickly.

"Christine, I know I have this whole memory problem, but I still tell when people are lying. I know it sounds crazy to trust because she is very deceitful, but for once I saw the sincerity in her eyes and that's what scared me."

I couldn't let these weird feelings about Ava linger for too long, not after I had just had a great time with Cole. I knew that if I didn't get this off my chest now that it would fester. So I mustered up the courage to call Cole.

Normally I'd be ecstatic to call him but I know that instead I'm about to drop a bombshell on him. I was just about to hang up from my second-guessing when he answered.

"Matt? Hey, what's going on." He sounded happy and totally unaware of what I was about to unload on him.

"Hey," I said with a slight waver in my voice,I think he could tell that something was wrong.

"Are you okay, you sound... different."

Maybe I shouldn't tell him, it's not like I'm going to act on any of the things that Ava told me. He doesn't need to know my problems. If anything it would be selfish of me to tell him, because it would only make me feel better to talk it out, while it would probably make him more worried. Yeah, I just won't tell him--

"Matt, are you still there? You went totally silent." Too late, he already sounds worried.

"Oh yeah, sorry. I was just thinking about something, but... it's nothing don't worry about it."

"No, tell me. You're starting to make me worried. What's wrong? You were fine earlier today." He said the last part in a low and sultry tone.

I was hesitant, "I don't think you'd want to know."

He was silent for a beat, "Okay, now you really are starting to scare me. What could've happened between the time that I saw you at school and now?"

Here it goes, "I ran into Ava,"

I barely heard him mutter something under his breath, "What did she do?" He said with a biting tone. I'd never heard him sound like that before.

"Well, I was coming out of detention and she had just finished her cheerleading practice and she needed a ride."

"Why couldn't she get a ride with any of her other cheerleading friends?"

"Because... well she said... okay I'm not really sure why but she basically guilted me into giving her a ride because she started raising her voice and saying stuff like 'I guess you don't give a shit about me'. What was I supposed to do I didn't want to look like an asshole...again." I said hurriedly. I was starting to sound defensive.

"Whoa Matt, it's fine I'm not mad that you gave her a ride. You're the one who wanted to tell me this story remember." Cole's voice always seemed to calm me. "Go on, what happened next?"

"Well a lot of shit happened after I let her into the car. First she asked me if I was still going with her to the Winter Formal." I heard Cole take a deep intake of breath. I quickly responded, "I said a firm 'no', don't worry. But then she couldn't believe that I said no, so I had to explain to her that we weren't even a couple anymore. Apparently she didn't know that we had broken up so I basically had to break up with her, right there, in the close quarters of the car. It was horrible. Then she saw my hickey... which, by the way, I didn't know you gave me a fucking hickey."

He laughed at that, "Sorry, are you mad?" He remarked bashfully, but I could tell he was proud of it, at the same time.

"No, I'm not mad about it. But, it is gonna be a bitch to cover up, so thank you for that."

"You can worry about that later, tell me what else happened, it's starting to get good."

"Are you kidding me, this is just when the explosion happened. She literally looked like she wanted to rip my balls off. Anyway, so she saw the big mark on my neck and she lost it. She started screaming at me about how we hadn't officially broken up and I was cheating on her. I told her that was bull shit and either way we're 'officially' broken up now. Then she dropped a bombshell on me...which I'm about to drop on you. I don't know if I should even say it."

I could practically here him rolling his eyes, "Don't string me along like this Matt, it's not good for my health. I'm pretty sure I can handle hearing whatever Ava told you."

I breathed in, "I told her I loved her." Then I held my breath waiting for a response.

I didn't get anything from Cole for awhile. I almost thought he'd hung up, until he said, "What! What do you mean you told her you loved her? Like in the car when you guys were yelling you just proclaimed your love!?"

"No, she told me that I said that to her before the accident."

"Oh," He said with a sigh of relief, "Well that changes everything. For all you know she could be lying." He said hopefully, I could tell he didn't want any of this to be true.

"Yeah, but for all I know she could be telling the truth as well. Look, Cole I just don't know what to believe. I mean, everyone's been telling me that my relationship with her was a sham, but then she tells me that no one really knew the depths of our relationship. And that honestly could be true. Maybe we kept our real emotions for each other behind closed doors. I just -- I just don't know anymore."

"But how do you know that she's not saying this in a desperate attempt to get you back. She's not known for being the most trustworthy person," He said anxiously.

"Don't worry, it's not like I'm going to act on this or anything."

"Well you could've fooled me." He said in a whisper. "Why would you tell me this unless it was to inform me that this has somehow changed your mind." He sounded sad, I never like hearing him sound like that.

"Change my mind about what?"

"About us," He said meekly.

It finally donned on me why he wanted this to be false, "Oh, no -- no Cole. I'm not telling you this because I want to break things off with us. I still totally want to keep doing... whatever it is that we're doing. I just thought you had a right to know about all this craziness that just happened so that you're not hearing about it at school and wondering what's up. I didn't mean to scare you. It just... honestly it startled me because I'd never seen Ava look so genuine before."

He let out a sigh of relief then giggled to himself, "So you're not gonna escort her to the Winter Formal?" he said in a horrible British accent.

"Oh, don't worry darling. I won't be taking Ms. Luciani anywhere." I sounded like Austin Powers.

I love hearing Cole's laughter, I just wish I could see his face right now. "Well if you're not taking her then maybe we could just wander in together." He said slyly.

"I wish I could but even if I wanted to go to that damn dance, I can't. Part of my punishment for fighting with Kevin was that I'm not allowed to go to any school events, including sporting events and school dances. It was part of the agreement so that the Principal wouldn't expel me."

"Well, that's fine... I guess we'll just have to make our own fun that night." He says suggestively.

"Oh yeah, that sounds pretty good. You wanna describe what exactly we could do and specifically how many articles of clothing we'd be wearing."

Oh shit, are we about to have phone sex? "Well we could..."

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead