Rm w/a Vu(4)

By: A. D. Ryan

A loud, repetitive knock on Daphne’s door fills the room. She shakes her head and pushes off the desk to answer it. It shouldn’t surprise me to hear Ben’s voice, and I refuse to get up to go talk to him when he commands Daphne to send me out.

“She doesn’t want to talk to you, Connely,” Daphne tells him fiercely. I can almost visualize her feral stare as she looks two feet up into his eyes, and it makes me smile.

“Don’t start with me. I want to talk to her now.” He sounds angry, which is laughable.

I push myself off the bed, walk to the door, and touch Daphne’s shoulder. Slowly, she turns and looks at me. “I’m going to go and stay with my parents. You’ll call me if something opens up?” While I know that Daphne would gladly let me crash in her dorm for a few days, I don’t want to run the risk of another run-in with Ben or Delilah. What better way to avoid that than to stay with my over-protective father?

“Juliette…” I ignore Ben as I squeeze through the very narrow space he’s left between him and the doorframe.

People are still staring, and it doesn’t help that Ben is following me through the dorm and out to my car, yelling my name the entire time. There’s a part of me that wants to turn around and tell him to screw off, but I know it will only open the lines of communication. And talking to him isn’t something I ever want to do again.

“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.