Status: Starting over



The weekend at my mother’s apartment went quickly, and it was surprisingly memorable. That Friday we watched movies till she fell asleep during one of them before midnight, Saturday we had some short time to go shopping, and today she spent the day working in her office before taking us back to school.

It was late Sunday afternoon and I was riding in the front seat of my mother’s new sleek black car. I had an even bigger bag with me than what I started the weekend with, carrying all my new clothes and shoes.

The car ride was without radio and silent as it usually had been. I shifted in my seat and caught a glance at my mother’s dark hair, gray slightly coming at the roots and the ends flipping in its natural pattern. Her deep brown eyes, an older replica of mine, squinting at the road with her glasses on the bridge of her nose. The few things I got from my mother was her eyes and her eyesight. I rarely wore my glasses, even though today I wore frames identical to hers, not really wanting to fiddle with my contacts everyday.

I also got my mother’s slim figure and most of her other physical attributes. I admired my mother from my seat and started to smile. Even though I couldn’t stand her at times I loved her, even if she was too busy to notice my life and its whirlwinds.

Turning my attention to the road and traffic ahead of us I begin to wonder why it all changed now? Why not when Brian passed away last year, or when I just turned into a teenager, that time when all girls needed their mother. “What was with all the fun this weekend? It’s very unusual,” I ask her as she drives under the speed limit down the road.

“I can’t have fun with my daughter?” She catches a glance at me before looking back on the road, “I hear what you say about me around school. I know I’m not a great mother, I don’t pay attention to you, I practically stay out of your life for the most part because I thought that’s what cool parents did. My mother was always overbearing and I couldn’t stand it. I did insemination because I wanted to be a good mother while also putting my career before a man. I knew I didn’t need a husband, but I didn’t want to make the mistake of people thinking I didn’t need a daughter either.”

I smiled at my mother as she continued to talk, “You’re going off to college soon, wherever you choose to go if its far or close by, I want you to know that of course I love you. I can’t promise to be a great mother all the time but just know that I’m trying.” Once we got to the school parking lot she looked at me with tears in her eyes.

“Oh mom, don’t cry!” I laughed and kissed her cheek, “After a while I hardly noticed or cared. I admire that you choose your career over a man, put your needs before anyone else's. But I did wish that you even looked at me more. I would love if you’re more involved though.” I thought that even though my mother was largely independent it wouldn’t hurt for her to have a boyfriend, everyone needs a little bit of romance in their life.

My mom took off her glasses, trying to get rid of the tear drops on her lenses, and wiped the few tears she had left on her face, “I never thought I’d be going through empty nest syndrome.” She laughed and put the plastic frames back on her face, “I will be more involved. Starting with actually going to your next therapy session on Tuesday.” I agreed with her and got out the car, grabbing my bag and throwing it over my shoulder. Mom followed me and locked the car.

“I’ll see you later, Sweetheart. Have a good week at school,” I told mom to have a good week as well and we kissed each other’s cheeks before going our separate ways. It was later in the afternoon now, the sun hung low, directly staring in my eyes. I squinted as I made my way to the girls’ dorms, shielding my eyes with my hand.

I was looking down at the ground as I got closer to the dorms, ready to get my keys out of my pocket. When I looked up my face collided with something soft and warm. I stumbled back and put my hand on my heart, trying to calm it from beating too fast. “Oh my gosh! I am so sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.” I tried to apologize to the person I had ran into.

I looked up and saw the familiar curly blond fro. I smiled up at Trevor, “Hey, Trevor. Sorry about running into you. I didn’t see you there.” I began to remember the conversation I had with my mother over the weekend. I shouldn’t trust this guy, I didn’t know what was up with him but I felt it in my gut that I should keep my distance.

“It’s alright Shannon, I was just coming from Rachel’s dorm. We didn’t have such a great date on Saturday, I was trying to apologize but she wouldn’t have it.” Trevor shrugged his shoulders and looked down at the ground. He almost looked sad about it, I wouldn’t believe that someone would be naturally attracted to Rachel for something other than sex.

Putting my hand on his shoulder I shivered at how strange the sensation was to touch someone who wasn’t close to me, “Don’t worry, there will be other girls. Girls who aren’t the Devil and don’t act like they’re all that. Ones that actually appreciate people.” I smiled at him as he smiled back. Then I remembered that I had my dorky glasses on and I fidgeted with the frames and looked down at the ground, but he didn’t seem to notice my change in eyewear.

“Thank you Shannon, it really means a lot. Hey, I’ll see you later. I told Gavin I’d be back soon, he wanted to take me to some sports fair.” Trevor started to turn away towards the boys’ dorms.

Shocked I yelled back to him, “Wait, Gavin? He invited you somewhere?” I laughed, feeling my face get hot when I possibly revealed that Gavin wasn’t too fond with Trevor.

He chuckled and turned back towards me, walking backwards swiftly, “I was surprised too! I just think he wants to get rid of me by trying to make me join a team.” I laughed with him and nodded in agreement. I called goodbye to him so I wouldn’t keep him any longer and made my way into the dorms.

I walked down the hall of the dorms, passing the communal kitchen, seeing a few girls I recognized in there. I walked by three more doors before coming to mine. The whiteboard attached to my door had Angel and I’s name on it. I unlocked the door with my keys and walked into the cold room.

“Thank the Lord, Shannon you’re back!” Angel yelled, coming towards me to give me a hug. I giggled, hugging her back and looked further into the room. I waved to Julie and Emma sitting on the beds. Angel took my hand and bag in the other hand, pulling me towards where the girls were sitting, “We have got a lot to tell you. Sit down and get ready for the gossip.”

Angel put my bag down near our closet, I smiled and sat next to Julie on my bed. “Spill, I’ve got some stuff to tell you guys too. But you first,” I leaned my back against the wall and hugged a pillow close to my chest.

Before Angel could talk Emma already interrupted in her usual non-stop talking, “Rachel and Trevor’s date was horrible, or so we heard. They went to some movie, he didn’t try to make a move on her, which is an awful mistake in Rachel’s book. Then at dinner he didn’t make a move again, but apparently Rachel’s convinced that he’s some sort of freak.”

Angel shot a look at Emma, “I wanted to tell her, can’t you just stop talking for one minute?” Angel loved Emma like a sister, but that also meant bickering like they were sisters. Thank goodness they weren’t triplets.

Emma rolled her eyes, “No, I was excited, and when I’m excited I talk.” Angel mumbled something about Emma always talking, before they ended up in a yelling match I butted in.

“What do you mean that she thinks that Trevor’s a freak?” Could this add to my suspicions and things I already knew of Trevor? Confirming that he’s not as good as he’s making himself seem here?

Angel shrugged, “We have no idea, that’s all we’ve heard. Maybe you can get more from her when you have your group project?” I nodded, I could, but it would be hard since Trevor would be there also. Although, it could be a chance to catch the two of them bickering and fighting about what’s what in real time.

“I ran into Trevor not too long ago,” I said. “He told me that he tried apologizing to Rachel about what happened but she just wouldn’t listen. Maybe it was something that he did rather than Rachel being upset that she didn’t have sex.” The girls shrugged and became silent for a moment, looking deep in thought.

“Before you came in we were collaborating about what we think is wrong with Trevor,” Angel said. “My guess is that he just doesn’t want to have sex with a walking STD. Him not having sex equals Rachel thinking he’s a freak.” That definitely would make sense, but what my mom told me it didn’t seem likely that he’s the type to skip on sex. Maybe not sex on the first date, but not sex all together.

“I think that he’s just a big old jerk,” Emma said. That made sense also, but he didn’t seem like a jerk. Troublemaker does not equal jerk.

Julie leaned toward me, “I think he’s hiding something.” Now that was the one I agreed on. He was hiding something, Rachel probably found out, and it was a big enough secret for her to brand him a freak.

“So tell us your information, we’re itching with anticipation,” Emma giggled.

I rolled my eyes, “This weekend my mother practically told me to stay away from Trevor. She said that he caused a lot of trouble at his old school, that he would get into fights and talk back to teachers. She wouldn’t get into specifics but I think he got kicked out for something really awful.”

Angel whistled, “Damn, join the bad kids club. I knew there was something hot about him. I’m going to miss this petty high school drama.”

I scuffed, “I’m not going to miss being involved in the drama. I think I’ve had enough of that for a long while.” The girls all agreed. We spent the rest of the night coming up with plans on figuring out what was up with Trevor. We laughed and gossiped. Emma and Julie fell asleep in our dorm, making it hard to squeeze on the twin sized bed.

I quickly fell asleep, intertwining my legs with Julie’s as she snored beside me. I didn’t remember the nice relaxing slumber that usually comes before a nightmare, but the terror I did remember. It was one of the same nightmares I kept having, however this one was much more vivid and realistic. I was surrounded by trees, moss, and other types of greenery that I wasn’t familiar with, possibly one of the many woodland areas here in North Carolina. The air smelt damp, it was just before dark and I could feel the fright bubbling in the back of my throat.

The air beside me changed, the wind picked up my hair, but the leaves and grass weren’t moving along with the wind. I panicked and began looking around me, backing up to a tree so I could see my surroundings and hide from whatever was behind me.

My breathing hitched in the back of my throat as I heard footsteps coming behind me. The sounds of some type of feral beast came surrounding the tree I was hiding behind, getting closer and closer. My breathing picked up and I clenched my hands to my heart. Please don’t find me, please don’t find me, I repeated over and over in my thoughts.

Growling, huffing, puffing, and a sickening sweet smell got closer. I heard the growling before the hands reached around the tree, grabbing my waist with it’s hands and putting it’s teeth near my throat.

I screamed and shot up in the bed back in my dorm. My breathing was fast and sweat was dripping down my whole body. Hands? What growls and has hands? Maybe a gorilla, I was in the woods or some type of forest jungle thing. I tried to rationalize my fear, I definitely need to stop watching so many horror movies before bed.

Looking around frantically I saw that none of my friends were in the dorm, however I heard the shower going and figured that Angel was getting ready for class. I looked at my alarm clock, it was an hour earlier than when I usually get ready for school. I didn’t want to go back to sleep and have another nightmare. I pulled my curly hair back, frizzy and slick from my sweat.

Angel came out the bathroom with a towel around her hair and her short uniform skirt on. “Damn girl, what scared you?”

I groaned, “Nightmare. I need to stop watching so many horror movies before bed. I’m going to give myself a heart attack.” Angel nodded in agreement, shaking her hair out of her towel and combing her wet dark straight hair with her fingers. “When did Julie and Emma leave?” I asked, getting up and grabbing my clothes from the closet.

“When you started talking and kicking in your sleep, so around thirty minutes ago. Don’t worry, the narks didn’t get us for curfew this time.” Angel said, sitting at her desk and grabbing her mirror to put on her makeup.

I walked into the bathroom and shed my sweaty damp clothes from my body. Looking at my reflection I almost wondered why Angel didn’t comment on how awful I looked. My hair stood up in odd places, the bags under my eyes suggested that I barely had any sleep the night before, and not to sound too vain, but I definitely needed a facial.

Dreading going to class and having to deal with Rachel and Trevor during our group project work, I quickly got ready, taking a shower and putting my hair in two sloppy braids. Not bothering to deal with a skirt and stockings I put on a pair of jeans and the schools polo.

When I stepped out the bathroom and put my dirty clothes in my basket Angel gave me a disapproving look, “I hate when you tuck in your shirt and look like Mr. Rogers.” I laughed, I had a habit of dressing like an old woman with high waisted mom jeans and plain shirts usually tucked in. I thought it fit my frame and made me look cute, especially when I had my glasses on, which I didn’t today.

“Ready to start the day with Mrs. Satan?” Angel asked, grabbing her bag and handing me mine. I rolled my eyes but nodded, I’d have to deal with them eventually. Angel and I made our way out the dorms and to our first period class. Classes were finally starting to get the ball rolling, which meant there wasn’t much time for talking between my friends and I during class time. It also meant that the homework started to pile up and I suddenly had a long to do list.

When final period came I waited outside the door for Angel. She came up to me with a smile on her face, “I’m so ready for this class, one for your stealthy double agent work on Rachel and Trevor. Two because those jocks I’m paired with are sure to make Xavier jealous.” I rolled my eyes, would those two ever quit making each other run around in circles? They loved to make each other crazy so it didn’t seem likely.

Angel and I walked in the classroom together and went opposite ways of the room. Instead of taking our usual seats we sat in our groups, making separate clusters out of all the desks so we could face each other.

Trevor smiled at me when I took a seat across from him. Rachel plopped down at her seat just before the bell rang, giving Trevor a glare first and then rolling her eyes at me. Trevor tried, and failed, to catch Rachel’s attention with his eyes. When that didn’t work he slumped in his seat and folded his arms across his chest.

The tension was so thick between the two I could practically feel it myself. I let out a long sigh, “So, did anyone do any research?” The two didn’t look at each other or up at me, “Anyone have any idea how we’re going to start the paper? How we’re going to split up the research?” Their eyes never left the ground, I saw Trevor slightly shrug. This was going to be harder than I thought.

“Okay,” I dragged the word out, “Trevor, why don’t you go grab some books over there that we can use to get started on.” I sighed again, trying to find the words quickly before Trevor came back. I turned to Rachel, looking at her bitchy, ‘don’t talk to me’ face, with her lips puckered and arms folded across her chest.

“What’s going on between you and Trevor? And don’t give me that he didn’t want to have sex routine. If that was the case you would have left him alone and moved on to someone else. If you’re acting this much like a brat it has to be something else. So what is it? Spill.” When Rachel didn’t look up I gave another long sigh and fell back into my chair. I looked over at Trevor as he was talking to Mrs. Greene.

Rachel finally moved, she looked up at me, her blue green eyes showing fear and confusion. “I don’t remember,” she mumbled, “we were in the parking lot walking up to the school, everything was great, I even thought we were going to have sex.” Rachel rolled her eyes and gave me a creepy crooked smile before continuing, “Then when he kissed me he started going down my neck, grabbing at my waist, being real rough. I like it rough, but this was way too much.” I scuffed in disgust, I did not want to know how she liked it.

“Then he bit my neck, I thought wow this is kinda hot. Then he bite me, hard, like almost leaving a mark on my nice delicate skin type of hard. I shoved him and he had this creepy ass look in his eyes and-” Rachel stopped herself from speaking and shook her head, giving a look of disgust. “Look Shannon, I know things are rough between us but do not trust Trevor. Stay away from him.”

Her weird experience with Trevor put aside, her warning made my stomach lunge forward. With everything that happened she wanted me to trust her, follow in her footsteps like all her little followers. Sure, maybe Trevor was actually trouble, but if anything I wouldn’t take a word of advice from her. My hands shook, “You expect me to trust you with that information? To stay away from Trevor? For all I know you’re just spewing lies to save your ass.”

Rachel didn’t hesitate, didn’t look angry or taken aback, she spoke calmly, “For once, I’m telling you the truth. I don’t want anyone to get hurt from that creep. Just because I’m a bitch doesn’t mean I plan to get you seriously hurt.” I scuffed, reeling in the anger that came just with her presence.

I wanted to tell her off, I wanted to yell and say everything that I’d been practicing in therapy. Trevor came just as I opened my mouth, he slammed the books on the table and sat at his seat. He saw the obvious tension and anger between us, furrowed his brows and picked up the top book in the pile slowly, looking between us.

Rachel took a book from Trevor, flipping through the pictures, not really stopping to collect any research. I sat there, staring off at the wall in front of me, trying to control everything inside me that told me to lash out. I slowed my breathing, struggling to stop the shaking of my hands and the tears threatening to spill over.

Dazed from my fog of anger I didn’t hear the bell ring or Angel step up behind me. She put her hand on my shoulder which made me jump, “Come on, let’s go to lunch.” We walked to the dining hall in silence, I white knuckled my books, and when we got in the lunch line I slammed my food on my plate.

When we sat down Angel gave me a questioning look, “What happened in last period? And where’s the blond curly kid? I wanted to hear the dirt from him too.” I let breath out of lips, causing them to make a loud funny noise. I smoothed the hair spilling from my sloppy braids, finally letting the anger from sixth period fade.

I kept silent on the subject till Emma and Julie joined the table, letting Angel squirm in her seat with anticipation. Once they all got situated everyone urged me to get on with what happened, clearly seeing I was still upset.

I collected my thoughts and began in a shaky voice, “Rachel said that he actually wanted sex, they’d talked about it and were planning to when he started to get rough with her in the parking lot. Apparently he bit her neck hard enough to almost cause scars and dug his fingers in her waist. She tried to say something else but she wouldn’t tell me.”

Angel and the other girls started bickering, saying that Trevor didn’t seem like the guy but it made sense because he was a troublemaker at his old school. They couldn’t believe that a kid that looked so sweet could be so bad. They also commented on how Rachel could in fact be lying, just like I told her in class.

In the middle of their bickering I picked up my voice and spoke louder to be heard over them, “Rachel also tried to convince me to stay away from him, which I am. But it made me so mad that she expected me to trust her, to believe her. Then she said that she didn’t intend for me to get seriously hurt from him, like she hadn’t already done that in the past.”

“That bitch!” Angel yelled, causing strange looks from tables around us.

Emma talked with salad still at the corner of her mouth, “You definitely shouldn’t trust Rachel, she’s a bitch with no respect. But Shan, what if he was really trying to hurt her? We don’t know what he did at his old school, maybe we should at least trust her judgement on how forceful he was. Maybe he is all bad and we should stay away from him.”

I sighed, I hated when they were right and I was horribly wrong. Rachel was hateful, always trying to come between others’ relationships, and highly promiscuous. She didn’t deserve to be nearly forced upon. I hated to admit it even more than I hated to admit that I was wrong, but I owed Rachel an apology.

I nodded, starting to finally pick at my food and eat it, “You’re right, we’ll stay away from Trevor. Although it’ll be hard since he is Gavin’s roommate.”

“Well damn,” Angel cursed.


I didn’t want to do this, but I knew I had to, it was the right thing. I lifted my fist and knocked on the door, Rachel quickly answered, standing in a short skirt and a crop top. She looked at me like I was a pest, she was clearly annoyed and completely over today. Good, I could make this as short as possible.

“Look I’ll be quick, I’m sorry about what happened today in class. You’re right, Trevor tried to force himself on you and I’ll stay away from him. My mother told me he was bad news and I shouldn’t have lashed out on you about it.” I didn’t add in the fact that she did hurt me last year, worse than she ever could. But I wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of knowing she hurt me.

Rachel put her hand on her hip, “Enter,” she stepped aside the doorframe. I hesitated briefly before entering the posh pink dorm room. It felt odd standing in enemy territory, I shifted my feet and turned toward Rachel when she closed the door behind her.

Rachel sat on her bed, “He didn’t force himself on me, the kids weird but I don’t peg him as a rapist. It was more than force it was a type of anger and need. After I told him to stop when he bit me it was like he growled and had to force himself off me. It was so freaky, then I just left, I didn’t say bye I didn’t look at him, I ran to the dorms.”

I shivered away the chill that went through my body. What she described reminded me exactly of my dream this morning. What I’d thought was some type of animal was my mind telling me that Trevor was some type of monster who was either obsessed with girls or forced himself on them.

I was even more confused than I had been before I came here, “Well force or not, growling or not, I’m staying away from him as best as I can. He is Gavin’s roommate after all, so I’m not sure how that’ll all blow over.”

“Gavin’s a big meaty jock, he’ll protect you from the big bad wolf.” Rachel yelped her high pitched laugh, she stood and walked toward the door, motioning that it was my time to leave. Before she opened the door she looked me square in the eyes, “Mention to anyone that you were here and you’re dead Matthews.”

I scuffed, “I wouldn’t count on it.” I left her room quickly, walking back down to mine. It felt strange to talk to Rachel, as much as I hated her it was nice to actually be able to talk to her without wanting to claw her eyes out. I wasn’t a malicious person that held grudges, I was just a girl hurt by lost love.

I didn’t count on being friends with Rachel and forgiving her for everything she had done to me. But it was better than feeling the nerves I had previously felt around her, being reminded of the past so much. Being hurt every time I saw her. Possibly I could find it in my heart a way to be civil with her, to a point to where I at least didn’t want to yell and scream at her. Damn, that therapy was really working.