Chapter 35 - "Don't give up on him"

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The back of Zeke's head catches my eye just before he disappears down the stairway. When did he get here?

"Uh, I need to go. It was good talking to you," I say to Mason. We had ran into each other and started talking. I would rather not spend my time talking to him because I still feel awkwardness between us, even if he doesn't.

I figured that there is no point hating him anymore, because I don't feel the way I did about him anymore. I'm too busy being crazy about Zeke. The thought of him with anyone else doesn't hurt, but it stills annoys me what he did. Even if I haven't completely forgiven him, life is too short to hate people.

"Okay," he looks at his feet. "I'll see you around then."

I say goodbye and head downstairs, hoping to find Zeke. I've thought about it, and I think I am going to take Zoey's advice and just tell him how I feel. How bad can it be, right?

"Marnie!" Zoey comes out of a crowd of people and runs over to me, accidentally knocking someone's drink out of their hand in the process. "I just saw Zeke," she says.

"Me too. Do you know where he went?"

"Outside I think. Are you gonna do it?"

"Do what?"

"Tell him that you like him, stupid."

"I think so."

She squeals and jumps up and down. I think she may be more excited than I am. "I can't believe this is finally going to happen."

I laugh. "I better go."

"Good luck!" She shouts as I walk away.

The cool night air and the smell of weed hits me as I step outside. Out here seems to be where all the duggies hang out, but there is also the odd girl sitting on the ground looking like she is on the verge of passing out.

If Zeke is out here, I hope he is okay. It must be hard for him to be around people who are smoking when he is trying not to do it.

"There she is," I hear a girl say in that evil tone that can easily be recognised as Aubrey Winters.

I spin to my right, and of course, there she is. But not just her. Standing beside her is Zeke, smoking marijuana.

He looks at me with anger in his eyes. Did I miss something? Why is he smoking? What has happened within the time since I saw him at school and now?

Cole and Isaac are also standing there with their own blunts – both watching me.

"C-can I talk to you?" I ask Zeke, and Aubrey laughs at my stuttering. I still want to tell him how I feel, even if he smokes. If he wants to do that so bad, then I won't make him stop just for me. And it doesn't make me like him any less.

Zeke watches me for a moment and I feel the awkwardness rise. "I am busy," he finally says.

"Okay," I nod, uncomfortable and look at Isaac for help.

He is looking at me with his head tilted, biting his lip as if he is holding back on saying anything. He sighs. "Zeke," he says in an exhausted tone.

"Shut up, man," Zeke rolls his eyes and Isaac looks back at me apologetically.

"You can leave now," Aubrey says to me. "Unless you'd like to smoke?" She holds her blunt out in front of me and I step back.

"I'm good."

She giggles. "You scared of getting high?"

I'm not scared of how it would feel to be high; I'm scared of what it will do to my body. I'm scared of getting addicted. I would never make the same mistake my dad did.

"Leave her alone," Cole says as he looks at the sky. I didn't even know he was paying attention to this conversation.

Aubrey scoffs. "When are you guys gonna realise she's just a little nerd? Stop defending her."

Isaac looks at Zeke who now also doesn't seem like he's paying attention to the conversation.

"You know what, Aubrey?" I say, deciding to defend myself. I take a step towards her. "I may be a nerd, but at least i'm not a desperate bitch who needs attention from guys just to feel important."

Zeke looks up at me, eyes widened slightly, and Aubrey's jaw drops.

"I don't need attention from guys to feel important; I already am important," she chuckles. "I just like to remind you that you are not." She smirks before pulling Zeke's face towards her and crashing her lips onto his.

I hold my breath, not because of the smell of marijuana, but because I feel like if I open my mouth I will scream. He doesn't pull away from her. Instead, he places his hands on her lower body, making me almost throw up.

I spin around as fast as I can and walk away, not allowing myself to take a breath until I get back inside the house.

But then I realise that it is not me holding my breath; someone is strangling me.

That's what it feels like anyway. I take fast gasps in, trying to suck up as much air as I can, but it's no good.

My hands go to the imaginary hands around my neck and I try to release them. Gasping for air, I feel myself getting more scared.

"Marnie? Marn-" Someone says as they grab on to my shoulders.

"Marnie, calm down," they say in a panicked voice. I look up and realise it is Isaac.

"I can't... breathe," I choke with my hands still around my neck.

"You're having a panic attack, Marn. You need to breathe."

Can't he see i'm trying?

Isaac looks behind him then starts pulling me through the house until we get to the front door. He takes me into the front yard and I feel relaxed as the air hits me.

"Take slow breaths," he says, and I oblige, trying my best to calm myself down and breathe slowly. It is easy now. Maybe it was just that house.

"You okay?" Isaac says, his eyes still filled with alarm.

I nod, my body trembling from that – what felt like – near death experience. I wonder why this happened. I've not had a panic attack in years. It must have been seeing Zeke and Aubrey...

My throat starts to ache from the image in my head of them together. Oh god. Why did he do that? Why was he smoking?

"Hey," Isaac says in a soothing voice as my breathing gets heavy again. He pulls me against his chest and wraps his arms around me, and I force myself not to cry. I will not cry over Zeke again.

Isaac's t-shirt smells of marijuana mixed with cologne, reminding me of the weird smell of the cigarettes my dad smoked and the cologne he used to cover it up, thinking I wouldn't notice. The two of them mixed together gives an awful scent, and the smell of smoke was way too strong to be covered up.

"I need Zoey," I say into his shirt and slightly pull myself away from him.

"I'll find her. Just stay here." I nod and Isaac walks back into the house. Two minutes later, Zoey and Isaac emerge from the house. Zoey's worried expression calms as she sees me.

"What the hell happened?"

"Nothing – it doesn't matter. Can we leave?"

"Yeah, of course," she nods and puts her arm around me.

I look at Isaac and smile. "Thank you."

He smiles back and Zoey and I start walking to her car.

"Hey, Marnie?" Isaac speaks up.

"Yeah?" I stop and look at him.

"Don't give up on him."

But I think that might be just what I need to do.

+++

just a few chapters left :(

teaser: the wedding

pls pls pls remember to vote & comment. ilysm.

- e

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