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death by louis vuitton

Breaking the threshold of the school doors, stepping into the linoleum hallways I'd grown so familiar with over the years, it was exactly the last thing I wanted to do. It was nothing against the institution itself, for the most part, but more of what was promised among the burgundy lockers that lined the walls. And that being the truth of what Chase and I were, if we were anything at all.

A huge part of me, albeit forcefully, dismissed all of Mason's cautionary tale. In all ostrich-sand-head fashion, I chose the route of blissful ignorance, deciding that I obviously had nothing to worry about. Chase had hurt me so much the last couple of months, a pain that was slowly evaporating with every time that his lips met mine, but it was still very much burned in my memory. And he knew it, he'd seen it in my eyes, and he wouldn't do it again. After everything we'd been through, he'd been through, he wouldn't force me into any of the “bullshit” Mason spoke of. I was absolutely sure.

And despite the little tinge of doubt that kept whispering in my ear at the most inopportune times, I squared my shoulders and my jaw when I walked through those doors. Mason didn't know us, he didn't know Chase like I did, so he couldn't possibly know anything about the mechanics of our relationship. And so, hiking the backpack that I had slung over one shoulder, I strode inside the school with the utmost confidence that Chase and I were definitely an item, boyfriends, a thing, the whole shebang. Just because we hadn't outright discussed it meant nothing, we were beyond verbal communication, that was how in sync we were.

Mason had no idea what he was talking about.

I just had to keep reminding myself this as I meandered my way through the horde of students, following the imaginary path I knew would conclude at Chase's locker. There, well, I didn't know what would happen, but I was sure it would dispel any misplaced doubt that may have been lingering about.

My journey was cut short, however, as I felt a blow to the back of my head.

“Argh!” I cried out, stumbling forward and rubbing my head where the object had made contact. Ducking, I peered up to see a fiery red head whose eyes looked ready to murder, and a homicidal frown twisted on her lips. A sizable, black purse dangled from her fingers: the weapon of choice.

“And where the fuck have you been, Asher Matthews? Care to explain your absence? Or why you haven't been able to answer one single text message?” she seethed, her voice clipped and hard, blinking eyes awaiting an answer that we both knew would never satisfy her.

I gulped. “I'm, uh, sorry?” I stammered out, hoping it wouldn't warrant another beating. That was the only goal that seemed within reach, sort of. To get out alive.

Layla narrowed her eyes at me, clearly not swayed by my eloquent apology, but relented nonetheless. Her shoulders visible relaxed, concern finding her gaze, as she breathed in shaky and deep. “What the hell, Ash? I was worried about you,” she snapped, eyebrows remaining furrowed.

I straightened up, my life no longer in immediate threat, and felt the frown on her face reflect onto mine. “I'm sorry,” I admitted, genuine guilt beginning to bloom in my stomach. “I really didn't mean to not answer, I just, I got a little caught up is all,” I sheepishly tried to explain.

“I was worried, okay? You weren't answering your texts, I asked Mason if he had any contact with you and he was being weird too, and I somehow convinced myself that Chase had found you guys in a compromising position and killed both of you and was now texting me through Mason's phone to ward off suspicion but he was just stupid and didn't think to use your phone because, well, he's a dumb ass, that was clearly the most logical part of it all.”

“Layla, I-”

“Just don't make it a habit, I'm feeling pretty generous today, so you get to keep your life. But whenever you feel comfortable, you better fucking tell me what's up,” she demanded, giving me a hard look to drive her point across, to which I nodded obediently, puppy dog-like. “Good,” she conceded, “now carry my books and walk me to class as penance.”

She grinned at me as I lifted my palms facing up, expecting, and she dropped her two massive calculus and chemistry textbooks on them. I involuntarily left out a huff, and her smile only seemed to widen. How her tiny little arms managed to haul these around all day, I would never know. Still, the edge of my lip quirked upward as we both shared a knowing look, and I was thankful she didn't push it. I didn't know what I would tell her, because I barely knew myself.

As we started down the hall, out of my peripheral vision I managed to discover Chase. Standing next to his locker, piling all of his books into the metal cage, nonchalantly talking to River. At his comforting sight, a warmth begin to unfurl in my veins, and I couldn't help the little smile that found it's way to my lips. But we were walking in the opposite direction, and so I turned my back, reasoning that I completely had the will power to wait until lunch to see him.

I did not have the willpower to wait until lunch to see him. With only five minutes until the bell, I was fidgeting constantly in my seat, staring at the clock, shifting, re-shifting, unable to keep still. Every tick seemed to take an eternity, and the teacher's voice had morphed into the low, unintelligible tone of Charlie Brown adults. Not that there was anything to be waiting for, I reasoned with myself. Only to see Chase, and have him confirm that I was right the entire time.

A frustrated huff climbed up my throat as I tapped my fingers impatiently on the desk, willing time to move faster with nothing by my brain power, which clearly wasn't strong enough. As if to spite me, the clock appeared to be moving slower. I inwardly groaned.

When finally my salvation came, in the form of the bell ringing and signifying the end of class, I already had all my things collected and ready to go. In a matter of seconds I was at the other end of the room, eyes set forward and all but running out the door.

“Hey,” I breathed out, feigning nonchalance as I rested on the locker next to Chase's, smiling easily at him. “What's up?”

He didn't seemed to notice anything different as he returned the grin. “River's been going on and on about some party we missed on the weekend, like we fucking missed the prime of our lives or something, kept saying that whatever I was doing was not worth missing it,” he said, rolling his eyes, and throwing his math textbook among the total chaos that resided in his locker.

“Oh, what did you tell him?” I asked, my curiosity piqued, but still trying to appear the exact opposite.

Chase shrugged. “That we were hanging out, and that me being there wouldn't have changed him not getting his dick sucked.” He snorted at his own joke with a broad grin slapped across his face.

“Are we talking about sucking dicks?” River materialized out of no where, in all River-like fashion, with an impish smirk digging into his cheek.

Chase pushed his locker shut, casting a look that was telling of unimpressed in River's direction. “Calm down, your dick is going to stay untouched for the rest of your life.” The grin was still not lost on his face.

“Ash, why are you even friends with this guy?” River pouted, but the wicked sparkle never died from his green eyes.

I swallowed, feeling an undeniable itch at the platonic word. “I don't know,” I murmured, finding all other answers evaporating on my tongue, but forced a somewhat believable smile nonetheless to quell suspicion.

My gaze fell to Chase, anticipation beginning to flush my lungs.

“I'm awesome, obviously,” Chase declared with a proud grin, hiking his backpack over his shoulder and looking to me. “Right, Ash?”

“Uh, yeah,” I agreed, but felt the whispering in my ear begin to grow in volume. “Of course. Hey, can you come with me to my locker for a sec?”

River interjected with a hand on my shoulder, eyes capturing my own with their undeniable intensity. “Ash, if he's making you say that, and if he's hurting you, you let me know. I will come save you. You don't need to live like this,” he vowed, but the betraying smirk on his face revealed the teasing undertone to his words.

“Hey, hey, let's not get physical,” Chase interrupted and pushed River's hand off, positioning his body between us. “Unless you're a hot girl, no one's touching him. Let's go.”

When Chase started in the other direction, I could feel the irritation begin to build inside of me. I murmured a goodbye to River, who seemed to size me up with an inconceivable curiosity, but returned the gesture nonetheless. I followed after Chase, a few long strides to catch up to him, but my mounting annoyance propelled me along.

“Unless you're a hot girl?” I echoed, unable to stop the frustration from seeping into my voice.

“What?” Chase knitted his brows, giving me a strange look at my apparent shift in mood. “I didn't- that didn't mean anything.”

“And we were just hanging out this weekend, too?” My voice was clipped, and I knew it. And I also couldn't find it in myself to care.

Chase stopped in his tracks, borrowing my gaze, his face telling of confusion. “What are you going on about, Ash? Hey, seriously, what's your problem?”

The ignorant bewilderment on his face had me wanting to laugh and punch him at the same time, a strange mixture of emotion that I was unable to quench with any false reassurance of hope. With my lips melded tight, I groaned, jaw tensing. Without a word, I grabbed his wrist, pulling him along to a secluded corner that I knew barely anyone frequented, because apparently privacy was our entire thing.

Luckily, Chase surrendered his autonomy easily and allowed himself to be dragged down the hall, settling on just looking at me with that look of confusion I wanted to kiss away, but I knew better.

When we ended up at the dark corner, I immediately let go, a movement I didn't want to admit had some resistance. But I dropped his wrist and turned to face him, breathing in deeply to soothe the irritation that was creeping up my spine.

“Chase, what are we?”

He blinked. Looking taken aback by my question, his Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat when he swallowed. “What do you mean?”

I could feel all the confidence I'd been clinging onto slip through my fingertips with each passing second, like grains of sand that were being swept up by the wind. A part of me knew the harder I tried to cling to it, the more it fell from my grasp, but I kept trying.

“Chase, I didn't want this. I trusted you, I believed in you, after everything you put me through, everything, I though you couldn't possibly fuck me over again. I mean, how fucking stupid, obviously, 'cause here we are, I should've known. But still, I trusted you wouldn't. I trusted that you actually changed.”

I ran a hand through my hair out of nervous habit, feeling a pit of hopelessness tighten in the pit of my stomach.

“Ash- wait, where's this coming from?” he blurted out, astonishment creasing his brow.

“What do you mean where's this coming from?” I asked, mimicking his complete bewilderment. “All weekend you've all over me every single fucking second, and then come school it's all 'friends' and 'we're such good friends' and how many friends do you fuck around with, Chase? Is that what you call friendship?”

Chase's body shifted, becoming more defensive. “It's just not everyone's business, is all,” he murmured.

“Everyone always knows your business!” I exclaimed, throwing up my hands. “That's your thing! You scream it from table tops, you're in everyone's face!”

He avoided my gaze. “This is different.”

I rolled my eyes, feeling the adrenaline pumping through my blood. This was the exact moment I was trying to avoid, that I had kept telling myself was all just talk. “Yeah, Mason was right,” I lamented, crossing my arms over my chest, feeling the defeat settle into my voice.

“Fuck Mason,” Chase spat.

“No, not “fuck Mason”,” I corrected, a biting tone in my words that Chase visible flinched at. “Mason was right, he warned me about this, and I was so stupid. I defended you, you know? I said you were different, that you weren't like everything he said, and would you look at us now? You're exactly like all of them! You can't just fuck me on the side when you want to and pretend that you're the straightest fucking thing to all your friends, you can't.”

“Ash, I-”

“No, I deserve better, and I gave you so many chances, Chase. And every time I come rushing back to you, and I can't. Okay? And I'm not sorry, I deserve better.” I swallowed, feeling the spit thick on my tongue, a hurricane of emotions tearing through my head.

The pained expression of Chase's face burned into my memory, his face downcast, his mouth open as if he were to say something, but no words were pushed out.

And with that, I turned my back, and walked away.
♠ ♠ ♠
first of all- i do not deserve you beautiful people who are still reading, but thank you so much. seriously guys, you don't know how much it means to me that you guys are still reading this, and i love you guys, you're the best, and esztermeatsix, early_graves, Don'tFearTheReaper, Josh Cutlip, Ace Lightning, eragon122, outlandish.emotion, A T T A C K !, Darkest Moon are extra awesome!

second, you come back to this tomfoolery, i know, i know, but there is still more to come. geez, what is wrong with me? i can't give these two a break.