Chapter 45: Don’t Let Me Go

I went to my first class with Thomas. We shared homeroom and I knew that if I missed that class, then he would know what I had planned. It was a horrible thing to just up and leave someone who I considered a friend. Thomas was the only friend I had in this world, and leaving him alone in this place seemed like a horrible thing to do. I felt like a soldier leaving one of his men behind.

But I also knew that if Thomas knew I was leaving, he’d try to stop me. And I didn’t want to be stopped.

Thomas was a smart guy. He knew something was up. And he wasn’t very good at hiding it. We went our separate ways after our first class and I started down the hall.

I walked out into the courtyard and headed back to our dorm. The elevator ride to my floor seemed to take forever.
Once the doors finally opened, I trudged down the hall. I unlocked our door and went inside. I gathered my bags and placed them near the door. I changed out of my stuffy school uniform, knowing that I looked like a complete dweeb with it on. I felt like I should at least walk out of this place with some dignity.

Since I had no idea how long it would take for me to hitch hike into town, and since I didn’t know how long it might take to get a bus out of town, or even if I could get one tonight.

I decided I’d better eat. So I made myself two peanut butter sandwiches, and after devouring the first one, I made myself a third. I put the last two sandwiches in my back pack to eat later and laboriously cleaned the kitchen. It just didn’t seem right to leave Thomas with a huge mess.

Once everything seemed the way I’d left it, I removed two envelopes from my coat pocket. One had Thomas’ name on it and the other had Olivia’s.

I felt that after all they’d put up with from me, I’d at least owed them an explanation of why I was leaving and an apology for all of the shit they’d endured from me.

I picked up my backpack and slung it over my shoulders. I picked up my duffle bag and my guitar case; I struggled to carry everything and opened the door.

I heard a soft gasp outside the door. “So it’s true.”

I frowned, and my eyes immediately focused on Olivia. “Shit.” I breathed. “What are you doing here? You should be in class. You’re going to get detention or worse for not being in class.” I informed her, awkwardly.

She shook her head. “I don’t care about any of that. Thomas stopped me in the hall and he told me he thought you were going to do something you might regret.” She stopped and quickly deduced “You’re leaving.”

“Yeah. I don’t belong here. I’m just doing everyone a favor by getting the hell out of here.” I told her.

Olivia looked hurt. She looked almost close to tears. “Is this because of the fight we had?” She asked weakly, her voice trembling.

“Olivia, come on. Don’t do this. You know you’re better off without me.” I informed her. “Come on, you’re smart and beautiful, you’ve got family and brains and the world at your feet. Come on, I’m a criminal and a drug addict, and I’m only going to bring you down. Thomas too. I don’t belong here.”

Olivia pursed her lips tightly. “So… so you’re not doing this because of me?”

I drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “No. This has nothing to do with you.”

She nodded slowly. “So then I’m just a casualty in this?”

I nodded.

“And I don’t mean anything to you. Not even enough to get you to stay?” She asked, carefully avoiding my gaze.

I shifted from one foot to the other. “No. I’m sorry, but I have to get out of here. For my own sanity. I can’t keep dragging you guys down with me.” I told her.

Olivia wrapped her arms around herself, nodding slowly.

She still looked like she was going to burst into tears, but I was definitely sure that she wasn’t going to stop me.

“So just do me a favor, okay? Forget about me.”

This was pretty much what I had written in the letter I’d addressed to her, but it was probably best that she hear it from me anyway.

I picked up my duffle bag and decided I needed to do one more thing. I had to at least touch her one last time, especially if I wasn’t going to see her again.

I carefully leaned to the left, balancing my duffle bag on my right shoulder.

I brushed her hair over her shoulder and leaned toward her. I pressed my lips against her forehead, lightly burying my nose in her hair. I inhaled the sweet scent of her hair, and after lingering for a moment, I released her.

Her eyes were closed, like she didn’t want me to stop either.

I sighed. “Goodbye, Liv.” I picked up my guitar case and opened the door. I sauntered down the hall, not looking back.

It didn’t seem to bother me that I’d left Olivia standing in our dorm room. It wasn’t really my home any more.

I carried my things into the elevator, which seemed to be open and waiting for me. I hit the button frantically, trying to close the door before I could change my mind and go back to Olivia.

I knew I was going to miss her. I could feel a dull ache in my chest, like my heart was breaking. I’d never experienced that kind of pain before, but now that I had it was brutal.

But everything I’d said to Olivia had been true. She was better off without me.

I knew I couldn’t do any better than her, she was utterly perfect. But I was no good for her. She deserved better than me.

I took the backway out of the main courtyard. It was a long and winding way around through the forest, but it led me to the main road, without having to go through the front gates and risk getting caught.

I assumed that technically, they couldn’t force me to stay. But they could call my parents and tell them I was attempting to make an escape.

They would figure it out once I emptied my bank accounts, anyway. But that would give me time to make an escape and get the fuck out of here.

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