Toxic: Logan's Story
I stared at the room number on my schedule and then looked back at the classroom door in front of me. 312. I was in the right place. I took a deep breath before opening the door and walking in.
Several students looked up to see who had entered. I ignored their stares as I focused on the teacher sitting behind her desk in front of the classroom.
She smiled as I approached. “Can I help you?”
“Uh…yeah, I’m a new student,” I said nervously.
I had no idea why I was nervous. It wasn’t like I hadn’t moved to a new school before. My mom had moved us around a lot—so much so that I’d lost track of how many schools I’d been to. She’d promised me that this time would be different. This would be the last time we moved.
That was what she’d said every single time. I just hoped that my freshman year would be the year that she really meant it. I was tired of moving all the time, and now that I was in high school, it wouldn’t be as easy to make friends.
I held out my schedule, and the teacher glanced at it.
“It’s nice to meet you, Logan. I’m Mrs. Jenkins. Let me grab you a book.”
She stood and walked to a door a few feet away from her desk. Once she disappeared inside, I glanced over my shoulder to see two-dozen students staring at me like I was the most interesting guy in the world. I sighed, hating how this happened every time. Being the new kid sucked, but what could I do?
The teacher reappeared and walked back over to me. “Here is your book. We’re starting on chapter three today. Why don’t you take a seat next to”—she glanced at the seating chart on the desk—“Chloe Richards. Chloe, will you raise your hand, please?”
I turned to face the classroom and saw a girl raise her hand. I walked toward her, ignoring everyone else as they continued to stare at me. I sat down next to her without even looking her way. I knew my new neighbor would be watching me like everyone else.
“Class, let’s give Logan a warm welcome. Now, if you’ll open your books to chapter three, we can begin,” Mrs. Jenkins said.
Once Mrs. Jenkins turned away from us to start writing on the board, I glanced over at my neighbor. My mouth dropped open as I stared at her. Damn.
She glanced over at me and smiled before turning her attention back to the front of the room.
The girl was gorgeous. Her hair was a light blonde color, and her eyes were bright blue. I noticed she was wearing a shirt with some rock band on the front. She was tiny, but she had more curves than most girls our age. She looked like an angel.
She glanced over and caught me staring at her. She leaned close to me and whispered, “I’m Chloe.”
I smiled at the sound of her voice. It was as sweet as the rest of her.
“Logan,” I whispered back.
“Where are you from?” she asked.
Where am I from? I sighed and decided to go with the last state we’d moved from. “Missouri.”
“Cool. I’ve lived here my entire life. I’ll warn you now—there’s nothing to do around here. It’s boring as hell.”
I smiled. I don’t think I’ll be bored with you around. “Good to know.”
We both turned back to pay attention to what Mrs. Jenkins was saying.
A few minutes later, Chloe poked my arm. I gave her a questioning look.
“Do you think her hair is real or a wig?”
I snorted in laughter, but I quickly covered it with a cough when the students in front of us turned to look. “Uh…I don’t know.”
“I vote wig. There is no way she could get her natural hair that high on her head.”
I glanced up at the teacher and then back to Chloe. “I think you’re right.”
“Finally! Someone agrees with me!” She snickered.
I spent the rest of class glancing in Chloe’s direction. I couldn’t get over how pretty she was. Sure, I was a teenage guy, so I noticed things like boobs and ass, but there was just something about this girl.
When the bell rang, she turned back to me. “Let me see your schedule.”
I handed it to her, and she glanced over it.
“You have a couple of classes with me. Our next one is together, and we have lunch together, too. I always sit with my friend, Amber. You’re welcome to sit with us if you want.”
She smiled at me, and I knew right then and there that I was fucked. This girl was already under my skin, and I wanted her more than anything. I would make her mine.
“Sounds perfect,” I said.
Four Years Later—Fall
I deepened the kiss and started slowly sliding my hand under Chloe’s shirt and up her stomach. She froze at the touch and pulled away.
“What’s wrong, babe? If we’re going too fast, just tell me. After the other day, I thought…” I looked at her with concern in my eyes.
I’d thought that we were in a good place, but her body language was telling me otherwise. We’d been together for a few months now. Plus, I’d known her for over four years, so I knew when something was wrong with her.
“Logan, remember how I wanted to talk to you the other day?”
I nodded, but I stayed silent as I tried to ignore the sinking feeling in my stomach. Something was seriously wrong.
“Well, I need to tell you something.” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before opening them to look at me again. “Something happened between Drake and me. Right after you and I got together a few months ago, I went over to his house to hang out and study for a couple of our classes. Neither of us intended for anything to happen, but we ended up having sex. I am so sorry I didn’t tell you. I just couldn’t stand the thought of hurting you. It was an accident.”
I froze as I looked down at her. Drake was the local rock star and someone she’d become good friends with since we came to West Virginia University. While she had sworn that nothing was going on between the two of them before, I’d noticed how he was always watching her. My gut had warned me about him, but I’d refused to listen. Instead, I’d blindly trusted her, assuming that she would never lie to me.
“An accident? What? You just accidentally fell on his dick?” I yelled, losing my temper.
How could she do this to us?
We’d been doing so well together. I was happy. She was happy—or so I’d thought.
I took a deep breath, trying to calm myself. “Why are you telling me this now? Why wait all these months and then dump this on me?”
“I don’t know. I guess I just couldn’t take the guilt anymore. I don’t want to keep lying to you.” She stared into my eyes.
“I’m glad you told me, Chloe. I want you to be honest with me. I don’t really know what to say, but I’m trying to understand here. You said this was right after we got together?”
“Okay…well, as long as it was just once, I am willing to look past it. I know how confused you were about us then.”
I pulled her into a hug as she burst into tears.
“What’s wrong, Chloe? I forgive you, baby girl. I forgive you.”
She continued to sob, and then she managed to gasp out the words that would seal our fate, “It wasn’t just then. It happened again a couple of weeks ago. I went to his house to try to work things out because we hadn’t really talked since it happened, and things got carried away.”
My body tensed as I tried to fight the rage building inside me. “You had sex with him two weeks ago? What the fuck, Chloe?” I dropped my arms from around her like I’d been burned, and I stood up. She was still crying as I continued yelling, “That son of a bitch! He knew you were mine, and he still went after you. Twice! Un-fucking-believable! I’m going to kill him!” I stormed across the room to the door and threw it open.
She jumped off the bed to come after me. “Logan! Logan, stop! Where are you going?”
I glanced over my shoulder at her, and I headed for the stairs. “I’m going to teach that bastard a lesson. I knew something was up between you two. I just never thought he would pull that. I never thought you would do this to me! How could you, Chloe?” I continued to yell as she chased me down the stairs.
All around us, students stopped dead in the hallway and stairs to stare at us as we passed.
“I’m so sorry, Logan, but please just stop.”
She reached for my arm, but I threw her hand away.
“Stay away from me, Chloe, or God help me, I won’t be responsible for my actions.”
We had made it down the stairs and out into the parking lot. I quickly unlocked my car and jumped in. Chloe tried to open the passenger door, but I kept it locked as I put the car in drive. I left black marks as I screeched out of the parking lot. I glanced back in my rearview mirror to see her running for her own car and jumping in. I turned my attention back to the main road.
I drove straight to the bar where Drake’s band often played, knowing he would be there on a Friday night. As soon as I shut off my car, I jumped out and ran toward the building. I heard Chloe calling my name as she chased me across the lot, but I ignored her as I went into the bar.
When I entered, Drake was up on stage, playing with the band. I headed straight for him with Chloe on my heels. Before she could stop me, I jumped up on the stage and punched Drake in the face. She screamed as Drake’s head jerked back from the force of it. Blood started trickling down from his nose to his lips. The crowd started screaming, and the other band members quickly grabbed me as I lunged for Drake again.
“What the fuck?” Drake yelled as he glared at me.
He glanced up and went pale when he saw Chloe standing in front of the stage, crying and shaking.
“You stupid son of a bitch! Did you think I wouldn’t find out that you’ve been fucking Chloe behind my back?”
I lunged again, and Adam, one of Drake’s bandmates, was caught off guard, letting me go. Drake saw me coming and jumped back before landing a punch of his own in my stomach. I grunted and dropped to one knee before standing back up and going after him again.
“Come on, pretty boy, I’m standing right here. Come and get me,” Drake taunted.
I threw another punch that Drake wasn’t quick enough to dodge, and it landed in his rib cage. I threw myself at Drake while the pain distracted him, and we flew backward into the drums, sending them flying. I could hear Chloe screaming at both of us as we continued to throw punches before Adam and Eric pulled us apart.
Eric pried Drake off of me and held him tight as Adam twisted my arm behind my back and held me in a death grip. I struggled to get loose, but it was no use.
Jade—another one of Drake’s bandmates, who had been standing on the end of the stage the entire time—put her fingers in her mouth and whistled. “That’s it! Grow the fuck up, boys, or at least take it outside!”
I looked at Drake with pure hatred in my eyes. “How could you, Drake? I asked you that day at lunch if there was anything between the two of you before I went for her. You told me nothing was going on and that nothing would. You promised me that you would leave her alone, and look what happened. You fucked her not once but twice behind my back.”
Drake glared right back at me. “Yeah, I did fuck her twice because once just wasn’t enough for me, and I’d do it again if I could.”
I tried to lunge for him, but Adam was prepared this time, and he held tight.
“All right, guys, both of you outside now,” Adam growled as he held me back.
He marched me offstage and across the bar to the door. Eric followed closely behind, still holding on to Drake. With their arms wrapped around each other, Jade and Chloe followed behind them at a distance.
When I stepped out into the cool night air, I breathed deeply, trying to control my rage. How did my life come to this?
Chloe was everything to me, and she’d betrayed me. She might as well have stuck a knife in me. It wouldn’t have hurt as bad as this.
Once we were far enough away from the bar doors, Eric and Adam released Drake and me, and they stepped back.
“All right, you want to kick the shit out of each other, be my guest. We’re not going to stop you, but you guys need to get your shit together. Fighting over a girl is fucking ridiculous, and you know it. So, do what you want. Just get it out and over with before our drums suffer anymore,” Eric growled.
He and Adam made their way over to where Jade and Chloe were standing.
Drake and I faced each other, both of us glaring at the other. We glanced down when Chloe stepped forward to stand between us.
“Listen to me, both of you. This is so stupid, like Eric said. This is all my fault, and the two of you beating the shit out of each other isn’t going to fix anything. I fucked up, not you two. So, if you want to take your anger out on someone, take it out on me. I ruined everything.” Tears ran down her face as she looked at both of us. “You both mean so much to me, and I will never forgive myself for what I have done to you.”
She quickly turned away from us and headed across the parking lot to her car before either of us could say anything. We watched in silence as she pulled out of the lot and disappeared around the corner. Once she was out of sight, I turned my attention back to Drake.
“You destroyed everything!” I shouted at him.
“Fuck this. I’m going back inside. As much fun as it would be to watch you two idiots beat the shit out of each other, it’s cold out here,” Adam muttered.
He turned and walked back to the bar. Eric and Jade watched us for a second before turning and following him. I didn’t miss the pity in Jade’s eyes, but I ignored it. I didn’t want anyone to feel pity for me.
“You think I don’t know that, asshole?” Drake said as he glared at me. “I know this is my fault.”
“Then, why did you do it?” I shouted.
“Because I love her!” he shouted back.
That stopped me in my tracks. Of all the responses I’d expected, that hadn’t been one of them. Drake used women. He didn’t love them.
“You what?” I asked incredulously.
“I love her. I’ve tried to ignore it—believe me, I’ve tried—but I can’t. I love her, and I don’t know what the fuck to do about it.”
“You’re incapable of love, Drake. I’ve watched you screw every woman in sight for months!”
“I haven’t touched another woman since I figured out how I felt about Chloe. I wouldn’t do that to her.” He ran his hands through his hair. “Look, I think we need to talk and not in the middle of a parking lot. My house is right around the corner. Let’s go there and figure shit out, okay?”
I stared at him, debating on whether to go with him or punch him again. Finally, I decided that talking was the only thing that would solve this whole mess even if punching him would make me feel better. “Fine. Let’s go.”
Neither of us said a word as we walked to his house. He hadn’t been kidding when he said he lived right around the corner. I waited impatiently as he unlocked his front door, and then we walked inside. Once he flipped on the lights, we stepped into the living room and sat down across from each other.
“So, now what?” I finally asked after several minutes of silence.
“I don’t fucking know. I do know that I want Chloe more than anything else in this world,” he said as he stared at me.
“Yeah, well, so do I. I’ve loved her since the moment I laid eyes on her. It’s taken me four years to get up the nerve to tell her how I feel, and then you come along and sweep her off her feet in a few months.”
“I didn’t mean for it to go down like this. I’m not a complete asshole. I just…I can’t control myself around her.”
“I’ve noticed,” I growled as I clenched my hands into fists. “If I had known she was sleeping with you and me at the same time, I would have—”
“You would have what? Left her? Told her you hated her? Called her a slut?” he asked.
“I don’t know what I would have done, okay? I’ve spent most of my teenage years in love with her. I don’t know what to do.”
He sighed and ran his hands through his hair. “This is so fucked-up! I actually care about a girl, and she’s with someone else.”
“We have to let her choose. That’s all we can do,” I said.
He looked up at me and smirked. “And the loser does what? Walks away and pretends that none of this happened?”
“I guess so. What other choice do we have?”
“I can’t just walk away from her, Logan.”
“You have to. And if she chooses you”—I took a deep breath—“I’ll have to walk away. We’re ripping her apart.”
“You’re right.” Drake stood and kicked the chair he’d just been sitting in. “Why the fuck can’t I let her go?”
“For the same reason I can’t—you love her. Chloe is special.”
He smiled, the first one I’d seen all night. “Yeah, she is.”
I frowned as he stared off into space with that damn smile on his face. He pulled out his phone and started typing on it.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Texting her to see if she’s okay. She was really upset when she left the bar.”
“So, what do you want to do? Go talk to her now? Or wait until she calms down?” I asked.
“Let’s wait. I doubt she’ll speak to either of us right now,” Drake said as he looked at me. “Look, I know you don’t like me, and I sure as hell don’t like you, but let’s try to be civil with each other until this is sorted out. Once she chooses, we can go back to hating each other. I don’t want to upset her more than she already is.”
“Fine with me,” I mumbled.
We spent the next hour texting Chloe, but she didn’t respond to either of us. I started to worry, especially with her psychotic mother trying to contact her again.
“Maybe I should go check on her,” I said as I stood and started walking to the door.
“You’re not going over there without me. I don’t know what you’ll say to her. I’m coming with you.”
I rolled my eyes. “Whatever. I just want to make sure she’s okay.”
I ignored him as we walked back to the bar where our cars were parked. I climbed in and drove back to the dorm, refusing to think about anything. I would deal with everything when I was in my room by myself. If I thought about it now, I’d lose my mind and probably hit Drake again.
I pulled into the dorm parking lot and shut off my car. I stared at the dorm in front of me, unable to move. I didn’t want to face Chloe right now. I loved her more than anything, but I also hated her at the moment. We’d finally found happiness, and she had gone and screwed it all up. If she had stayed away from Drake, we would still be together in her room right now.
I opened my door when I saw Drake walking past my car. I followed as he walked into the dorm. I wasn’t about to let him see her alone either. I couldn’t handle that yet. We were both silent as we walked up the stairs and onto her floor. Once we reached the door, Drake knocked. A minute later, the door swung open, and Chloe was standing in front of us. Even though I was pissed, the mere sight of her took my breath away.
She smiled as soon as she saw us. “Hey, guys! How are you?” She giggled. “Actually, never mind. You’re both pretty damn fine, like always.”
She turned without another word and made her way back to her bed. She fell on top of it, and she glanced back at us, still smiling.
“What the hell is wrong with her?” I mumbled to Drake as I stepped into the room. “Are you all right, Chloe?” I asked, my voice louder.
“I’m great! I had a couple of shots, and now, I’m all set.” She smiled brightly at us. “What are you guys doing here? Wait, you’re together, and there’s no blood!”
Both of us continued to stare at her.
I glanced around the room to see a bottle of vodka on her nightstand. Shit, she’s drunk. That was what the warm welcome had been all about.
I leaned down beside her bed and looked into her glassy eyes. “Just how many shots have you had, love?”
“Only a couple.” She motioned to the bottle on the nightstand. “See? It’s still full. I just opened it tonight.”
Drake glanced at the stand before looking back at her. “Uh…Chloe, the bottle is empty.”
She stared at the bottle. Realizing that he was right, she slapped her hand across her face before laughing. “Whoops! Guess it’s a good thing it was the cheap stuff. Otherwise, I’d seriously be drunk right now.”
Drake and I exchanged looks with each other, both of our expressions filled with concern. She was past drunk and moving into wasted.
“Chloe, honey, you are drunk, excessively drunk actually,” I said as I watched her.
She rolled her eyes. “Seriously, guys, I’m fine. Why are you here?”
Drake spoke up from his spot in front of the bed, “Look, Chloe, you’re trashed, so I don’t think right now is a good time to talk, like Logan and I planned. We’ll come back tomorrow”—he glanced at the bottle again—“or the day after. I’m pretty sure you aren’t going to be up to any talking tomorrow.”
“I said, I’m fine!” she grumbled as she sat up.
Two seconds later, she grabbed the garbage can beside the bed and threw up violently into it. I jumped back a couple of feet as she continued to throw up. It seemed like hours had passed by before she was finished.
Jesus. I’d never seen her like this.
Finally, there seemed to be nothing left in her stomach, and she rolled back onto her bed, groaning. “Fuck. Maybe I am drunk.”
Drake chuckled quietly. “No shit, Chloe.”
She glared at him. “Just say what you came here to say, asshole.”
“We came to tell you to decide who you want. Both of us want you, but who you want is what really matters. Whoever you don’t choose will back off, no questions asked.”
She looked back and forth between us. “What if I want both of you?”
And then, she passed out.