Toxic Bad Boy(6)

By: April Brookshire

Like I said, Cece came over yesterday and gave me the letters you sent through Dante. With this letter, you’ll have my new address and can write me directly here. Don’t worry, my dad won’t have a problem with you sending letters to his house. He isn’t totally approving of you being locked up, but he realizes what drove you to violence.

I don’t know if I can say it enough, but I am so, so sorry about everything that’s happened. I feel like I’ve ruined your life. I can’t believe you’d even want anything to do with me anymore. I cried when I read your letters because it sounds horrible there and it’s all my fault you’re in that place. Ian too. Tell him I’m sorry. If I hadn’t been so stupid, you two wouldn’t be stuck there.

I’ve decided to give up cheer for good. I couldn’t imagine ever enjoying it again. But when my right wrist heals, I’m going back to the crew. I told Cece I was injured in a cheerleading accident. Thank you for not telling Dante what happened to me. I don’t want people to know.

I’ll understand if you want to break up with me. I don’t think I’d make a very good girlfriend anymore and you deserve someone who’s not so messed up. Whatever you decide, I’ll accept it.

I’m glad they have an art class for you to take. You’re so talented and I love that for you. Your psychiatrist sounds intrusive, but maybe it’ll be nice for you to open up. I may be a little prejudiced when it comes to psychiatrists now because mine won’t shut up about what happened. I told my dad I didn’t want to go anymore, but my mom insists and he’s backing her up.

I think dancing with the crew again will be good for me. I just want my life to be the way it used to be. I don’t want to be the center of attention anymore and I’m tired of my parents worrying so much about me.

I do love you, Caleb, but I’m not sure us being together is what’s best. Maybe ending things is smartest. Things are so messed up and both of our lives have been turned upside down. So much has happened already and you’ll be in there for another nine months still. That’s a long time. How will things be between us then? But like I said, whatever you decide.

I hope you can forgive me for ruining your life. Ian too.

I don’t feel like myself anymore. I don’t like the way I feel, but I don’t know how to stop it. I just want everything back to normal.



“Don’t brood. Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.”

-Leo Buscaglia


two months down, eight to go…


We had about two seconds before the guards broke up our rumble. Everything went in slow-motion as a fist met my nose. At the same time I threw a hand back to catch my fall, my other hand whipped up to cover my nose. Too late of course, since the random fist had already done its damage. The punch effectively put me out of the fight until I saw Ian take a knee to the gut and forced myself back to a standing position.

Limping from a mean kick to the leg I received earlier, I stumbled over to where Ian just got punched in his ribs. Once I reached them, I got behind one of the guys beating Ian and wrapped my arm around his neck, putting him into a headlock. My younger days of watching wrestling on TV came in handy as I body slammed the dumbfuck into the pavement.

The guards finally showed to break up the group disturbance taking place behind an outbuilding on the far side of the basketball court. I didn’t know for sure who started the fight, but it went a long way to relieve some of my pent up aggression. I was up for fighting anyone, except maybe Ian and our friend, Ricky. Maybe.

The guards yelled for us to lie on the ground, protocol in these situations. I immediately dropped onto my stomach, moaning and pretending to be in more pain than I actually was. My hands cradled my head, comforting an imaginary injury. I had a feeling Ian instigated the fight, so in no way was I offering to take the blame. I’d play the victim, or even hero card. Ricky and I had saved Ian from being jumped by four other guys.

We were all hauled into the main building and thrown into solitary cells designated for Time Out. I could’ve actually used a little alone time. Constantly being in the company of other people became annoying. Before slamming the steel door shut on me, the guard gave me a stern look and informed me we’d be taken in twos to the infirmary to see the medical staff. I imagined Band-Aids and lollipops being handed out and laughed to myself.

I hoped to be taken at the same time as Ian because I owed him a slap upside the head. What was he thinking getting us into trouble like this? I was trying to bide my time until I got the hell out of this place and he’d dragged me into his bullshit. Fighting was an outlet for the jumble of negative shit in my head. But if I wanted a chance at getting out of this place any sooner than eight months from now, I needed to wear a freaking halo, not a busted up nose.

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