Rm w/a Vu(4)

By: A. D. Ryan

“God damn it, Juliette!”

I stop dead in my tracks, right next to my car, and turn on my heel to glare at him. “Don’t you dare talk to me like that, Ben. I didn’t do anything wrong. You’d do well to remember that.”

“You were never around!” he shouts, waving his arms in the air like a maniac. Our audience has followed us outside and is now watching our little soap opera play out. “You were always off doing something, and were so pre-occupied whenever we were together.”

My eyes widen, and I stare at him dumbly before I find my words. “So this is my fault? No. I don’t think so.” Shaking my head almost violently, I turn and unlock my old, green Civic before throwing my bag in. Instead of staying on the white leather seat, it falls to the floor after hitting the passenger side door. “And for your information, it’s not like I was off doing someone. I was studying. We are in college, you know. It’s what we do.”

Ben doesn’t seem to think he was wrong. At all. “Yeah, well, I have needs, Juliette.”

“Yup, I know.” I nod, pressing my lips together. “And it’s no longer up to me to meet them. Don’t come by my parents’ house either. My dad doesn’t take too kindly to people who cheat on his daughter.”

I hop into my car and start it up. My heart is pounding so hard I can feel the blood pulsing through my veins, can hear it in my ears. I sit there for a minute, trying to stop the shaking in my hands before I put the vehicle into drive. Driving all the way to my parents’ place isn’t something I want to do, as it’s a longer commute than I would like, but I really have no other options at this point.

Once I feel a little more in control, I put the car in gear and am just pulling away when a very large hand flattens against my window with a BANG! “JULIETTE!” I pretend not to hear him, pretend not to see him, and I press my foot down on the accelerator, my tires squealing against the hot pavement.

As soon as I’m out of the parking lot, I grab my phone from my pocket and dial my mom. I’m really hoping they won’t mind me intruding for a while until Daphne can find me a new dorm room.

There’s no answer, so I decide to try my luck. Mom’s probably at the bakery doing payroll or something, so I probably have a couple of hours of quiet before I’ll have to explain anything to her. I toss my phone on the seat next to me. It starts ringing, and one glance shows me that it’s Ben. It shocks me that he’s still trying to get me to understand his motivation for banging my roommate. Resisting the urge to toss it out the window, I pick the phone up and turn it off completely because I know now that he’s not going to stop. He’s always been a persistent bastard.

As I navigate the streets of Phoenix, I think about how we even got to this point. A year ago, I had been a freshman at the West campus of ASU. I hadn’t known many people because most of my friends decided to go to various colleges around the country—some even in England. I stayed close to home mainly because I loved Phoenix.

It was on my first day that my roommate, Tanis, introduced me to her older brother Ben. He was charming and always cooking up excuses to stop by our room to “check on his baby sister.” Of course, I would later find out that he knew she was in class, and it was just his excuse to come talk to me.

I hadn’t dated anyone before—not really. There was a boy in high school that was nice to me. We went out on a couple of movie dates with friends and held hands. But it was never really serious. We never even got to second. I found out after graduation that he was gay.

Talk about a blow to one’s ego; I questioned my femininity for a while after that.

When Ben and I started dating, it was obvious that he wanted a more physical relationship, but I wasn’t really interested in sex at first. My mom had me straight out of high school, and that wasn’t a life I would have chosen for myself. So I waited.

I placated Ben for a while, nervous to go further than I was ready for. I’d let him feel me up, get his hand in my pants, and eventually, when I thought I was ready, we had sex. It was all right. Like I said before, there weren’t stars or fireworks that went off like I was led to believe there would be, and, honestly? I thought it was supposed to last longer. Of course, I really had nothing to base it on; Ben seemed to enjoy himself, so I figured maybe it was just me.

We had fun in the beginning; he’d take me to all the parties, introduce me to all of his friends, and then we’d go back to his dorm and fool around. My freshman year was my party year, but when my sophomore year came around the corner, I knew I had to buckle down. So, I increased my course-load, and Ben seemed really supportive. He didn’t stop his partying ways, but he supported me and led me to believe that it was okay that I was focusing more on my studies than him.

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