After a nap, I wasn't really much better. I still felt sick and had an awful taste of nicotine in my mouth. Those most stinky were my hair and fingers, so the first thing I did when I got out of my bed was a long shower. Then I brushed my teeth very carefully and, in the end, I drank half of the bottle of water which Vince left on my night table. My stomach groaned out of disappointment but I told it to shut up. I had the impression that if I ate something now, I'd start vomiting again.
In the late evening, Vince came to me when I was watching Netflix in the living room. He told me to give him back the lighter and took my phone and laptop. He also grounded me for two weeks and ordered to turn off the tv. Never before he'd taken so many things from me like this.
"That's for lying." He explained when I shot him a confused look entitled 'Why are you doing this, you've already punished me'.
My grounding dragged on mercilessly and I was extremely bored after school but soon I found a nice something to do. Apart from studying (at which I was so good that I didn't have to spend too much time on), I started to do some exercises. Completely ignoring the fact that we had a fancy gym in the house, I was doing mainly squats and sit-ups. A lot of sit-ups. In my bedroom, so my brothers wouldn't see it. I don't know why. I guess I decided to show up at the gym only when I'd look better. They'll be so surprised.
I also found some empty notebook which I neatly changed into my little bible. Will let me use a computer for my homework and I took advantage of the opportunity and visited a few interesting websites and did a small list of meals I eat the most and ingredients I often use together with calories. Later, I had to give the laptop back but I stayed up late embellishing my notebook. I added some colors, draw a few things and by the way, I was learning the numbers by heart. I treated it as another thing to study so I remembered them pretty quickly.
Since then I was wincing even more at the sight of the meals cooked by Eugenie. Still, from time to time, I felt like having something tasty but then I was telling off to myself, in my head, to know my limits and usually, it worked.
One day something happened that made me question the credibility of my new lifestyle for a moment. I was at school and together with Mona, we went to the bathroom during the lunch break. Mona had a need to do and I was always looking for a chance to avoid or at least shorten the time of my meals, so I eagerly offered her my company.
As soon as we entered the bathroom, we heard a loud sobbing. We shared a confused look.
I bit my lip and Mona scratched her head.
"H-hey? Everything's ok?" Mona asked hesitatingly, coming closer to the cabin where the sounds of crying were coming from. After her words, firstly they went a bit quiet but in a few seconds, they increased again and were even more powerful.
"Do you need help?" She tried again. I was silent. Not because I didn't want to help but I had some weird feeling.
Another moment of howling and sniveling passed faster.
"M-mona?" babbled a feminine voice out of the cabin.
We shared another surprised look.
"Yes..." My friend answered carefully.
Crying went on again and drowned out the click of a lock but the doors to the cabin opened and showed sitting on the flap of the toilet, hunched Lavinia. I took a sharp breath at her sight. Her straight, blond hair was messy, face red and the tears were rolling down her cheeks together with black mascara. She looked like a picture of despair.
When she noticed me, she just shook her head with the meaning of this gesture known only to her and another fountain of tears spouted from her eyes.
I was looking at her for a while without any emotions. I should feel satisfaction at the sight of her miserable state and suffering as she was half responsible for my own one. But I couldn't feel no sorry for her. I couldn't be so indifferent.
I kneeled in front of her and Mona stood beside her and embraced her tiny body with her arm.
"What happened?" I asked.
Lavinia needed a moment to reply. I took a packet of tissues out of my bag and gave her one. At first, she gazed me suspiciously but at last, she accepted my gift and started to blow her nose, trying to speak at the same time.
I was trying to be kind, obliging and stuff, just how I was raised, but I couldn't help but feel a minimal pleasure at first. Troubles in paradise?
"What's with Jason?" Mona questioned.
I already knew the answer.
"H-he dumped me..." Lavinia howled again.
Another look that I exchanged with Mona was meaningful. You see, my friends formed their own opinion about him after how he treated me.
Later, we squeezed out from her more information and it looked like nothing foreshadowed this sudden break-up. Today, when Lavinia showed up at school, instead of a morning kiss, she got a chilly look and smirk.
"Did something happened yesterday?" Mona asked sensibly.
Lavinia shook her head.
"W-we didn't meet y-yesterday. Jason w-was busy. But two d-day ago..." Here she stopped because of another attack of choking sobs.
"What happened two days ago?" I asked gently, with every second feeling more and more sorry for her.
"We slept together." She cried, hiding her face in her hands. I bit my lip and looked at a side and Mona sighed silently. "First time.."
We didn't manage to get much more from her. The situation was clear though. Jason convinced Lavinia to make love and then lost his interest in her completely. What a stereotypical asshole! I couldn't believe it. That guy, who I was so into, who I spent so much time with, who I was defending in front of my brothers, that guy treated his girlfriend like this. And it could be me.
"He said t-that he was disappointed i-in me..." Lavinia confessed at the end. She was shivering. I saw how hard it was for her to say it out loud. Not mentioning that she did it at my presence.
Mona was whispering some kind words to her ear, cursing at Jason from time to time but I wasn't in a mood to be a consoler. I was boiling. For all those weeks Jason'd been pretending that he was in love with Lavinia just to get to her pants! What a sick idiot! Even I believed that his feelings to her are serious. So he's really one of those guys, those fuck boys who can only think with their dicks.
With me, he was probably pretending too.
I stood up and looked down at crying Lavinia.
It could be me, now, in her place. Bawling in a toilet, used and abandoned.
"What an asshole!" I called out outraged. The two girls looked at me surprised.
A wave of anger, enormous anger, spread through my body. Towards Jason. The whole pain I held inside me after he stopped talking to me, the whole sadness I felt when he was flaunting in front of me with another girl. The whole fury that was growing in my heart now when I finally understood what kind of person he was and how wrong I was about him. All those emotions mixed now and the result was an explosion.
Ignoring Mona that was calling after me, I ran out of the bathroom and, fuelled with rage, I headed straight to the cafeteria. My eyes immediately looked for a table where Jason sat at. I knew exactly which one was it. I'd often been peeking at that side.
Jason noticed that I was coming towards him only when I was a few steps away from him. He didn't even have time to stand up. His dumb friends got silent at my sight.
"Hai..." He started but didn't finish because my fingers pounded in his T-shirt. Lately, I even started to grow nails long so I hoped that I managed to hurt him additionally.
"You are nothing, Jason." I growled, jerking him. I was looking straight into his blue eyes. Those eyes, that I'd been missing so much and now I happily noted that they weren't impressing me at all.
"What the hell are you doing?!" He gasped and tried to break free from my grasp, getting up from his chair.
"You disgust me!" I screamed.
He managed to get away from me and took a step back but I went at him again making him lose his balance a bit.
"She's insane!" He yelled, looking at sides and that made me sure that we had to have quite a nice audience.
"You're not worth a damn!" I hissed loudly and clearly so every girl that is listening to us could hear me correctly.
I saw how a stupid smile appears on his face. His dimples weren't cute anymore.
"You're so angry because I blow you out?" He laughed.
What the hell???
Our confrontation was now a show for everyone in the cafeteria and Jason apparently was starting to feel like a star. Well, if he wants to be a celebrity then let him be.
With all, previously unknown power I had, I swung at him and my open hand connected with his face. I hit him a bit higher than in his cheek but the most important thing was that it hurt him because he faltered and hissed, momentarily pressing his hand to the red print I'd left there.
My hand stung but I clenched it, ignoring pain. At this moment, the only feeling I wanted to experience was a triumph because here I was, doing something that I quietly dreamed of doing since the moment I saw him with Lavinia.
Jason's right hand twitched as if he thought about giving the punch back but he stopped himself. I was still shocked by my action but I noticed him looking for a one, too long moment at something behind my back, so I turned away curiously.
Then I remembered that I had brothers. It was them who Jason was gazing anxiously at. My heart sank when I realized that all three of them had witnessed my outburst.
Dylan sprawled in his chair and he was making a laid-back impression but something was telling me that he was ready to get up at any moment in one second. His expression was serious and threatening. He was watching the whole happening with a lifted chin, slightly tilting his head to listen out for our words.
Shane and Tony, however, were more chilled. With the highest interest, they were following my clash with Jason and now they could barely stop their laugh in reaction for my aggressive move.
I turned back to face my opponent. Strangely, I felt another sudden wave of power and courage. I made a tiny step towards him and caught the center of his T-shirt, again using my nails.
"You're a parody of a man, better get out of my sight." I whispered to him venomously and I think I'd never before looked at anyone with such hostility and hatred in my eyes.
Jason glanced at behind my back one more time, gulped and once again broke free from my hold. He licked his lips and then looked at his stunned friends. He nodded at the doors.
"I'm going to smoke." He mumbled to them, ripping his jacket from the back of the chair and left quickly muttering something to himself. When he disappeared in the corridor, I snapped out of this weird trance I'd fallen into and came back to being Hailie - a nerd and Miss Perfect. I took a look around me, starting panicking because of all those eyes that were still staring at me. I was avoiding looking at Monet's table.
Finally, there was nothing else to do than just leaving the cafeteria. I couldn't stay there after what happened. I couldn't bear being in the center of attention. Not like that.
I darted out to the corridor and leaned against the lockers. What the hell was that? Was it me? Did I just hit Jason?
I closed my eyes, remembering his red out of anger and embarrassed face. I opened them only when I heard the sound of clapping.
"Nice performance, little sis." Dylan said, slowly coming closer to me. I breathed out, getting ready for a lecture.
"One question. Why today? Why today you got so annoyed with him?"
I knew that he was asking it because he wanted to know if I'd been contacting Jason after he'd thrown him off the stairs and clearly forbidden me to have any interactions with him. So I told him the truth about bumping into crying Lavinia.
"All right then, Hailie. But just so you know for the future - with this kind of stuff you're supposed to come to us. You don't want to lose your rep, do you?"
"No." I admitted.
Dylan passed by me and left and I still couldn't believe what I've done. I punched and insulted Jason in front of the whole school. My brother was right, I could get into serious trouble if some teacher had seen it.
Jason disappeared for the whole day so he really took my order to his heart and got out of my sight. My friends were endlessly congratulating me on my attitude, complimenting my courage and feistiness. Mona was despairing out loud that she'd missed such a show. Even people who I didn't really know were winking and smiling at me when passing by me.
When I got home, I had a mini heart attack because Tony, at my presence, purposely told Vince about what'd happened. My oldest brother's face darkened but as soon as he found out that my victim was THAT Jason he just muttered "ah, well" and left to his office before I even knew.
In the evening, when I was already in my bed, I smiled at myself with delight. I finally laced into Jason and didn't suffer any consequences. And, what's more, I managed to avoid almost all the meals today and no one's even noticed.