Ivy in Bloom
Order Ivy in Bloom for/from:
Other Books in the Hothouse Series
Read an Excerpt from Ivy in Bloom:
The last thing I expected as I walked across the Glendale campus to my economics class with a Venti Moccachino in my hand was to be completely humiliated and embarrassed in front of a bunch of strangers. But that was exactly what happened at 10:24 that morning.
It was a gorgeous day and I loathed spending it indoors, but in California almost every day was gorgeous, so it wasn’t like I was never going to have another day like this to spend working on my tan. I walked quickly across the center quad because as usual I was going to be late for class. It was quite possible that I had set a college record for the amount of tardies in the first year. In high school I had gotten that honor.
I was just about to open the door to the west hall, when I heard my name.
I turned to see Derek, my boyfriend of the past three months, strutting up to me. And the boy did strut much like a peacock. The cock of the walk. At six foot two he pulled it off tremendously. I put up with it because he was extremely cute. He even had dimples in his cheeks when he grinned.
His two douchey friends, Brett and Rico, stood off to the side to wait for him. Neither of them liked me much because I didn’t put up with their immature bullshit. I had questioned Derek many times on why he was friends with them. He never really gave me a definitive answer. Just mumblings about having been friends since high school.
I still had friends from high school, Violet and Dahlia, but they were awesome. Although I hadn’t seen either one of them in a few months. Dahlia was across the country at a design school and Violet was still trying to get her life back together after some horrible shit happened to her. We texted and talked on the phone though.
“Hey baby.” I wrapped a hand around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss. I missed him as we hadn’t hooked up the night before like we usually did. He said he had some test to study for. Which I thought weird since I had never seen him study for anything since I’d known him. He was in his second year of aviation, and all I’d ever seen him do is fly more beer and weed into his mouth.
I pulled back and looked him over. He tasted like coffee and the one cigarette he allowed himself every morning in an effort to kick the habit and, surprisingly, cherry lip gloss. My stomach lurched. I didn’t wear cherry flavored anything.
“Did you study for your test?” I asked, although by the way he was looking at me, I didn’t think he wanted to talk about studying or school.
He took my hand. “We need to talk.”
You have GOT to be kidding me?
“Look, you are really pretty and stuff, but…”
“Are you breaking up with me?”
He looked down at his feet.
“You’re screwing someone else, aren’t you?”
“It’s not like that, Ivy.”
“What’s it like then? Huh?” I pulled my hand out of his.
Others who mingled around in the quad started to look our way. It was highly possible my voice was a few octaves higher and louder than normal.
“I’m sorry, but it’s just not working for me anymore.”
“What’s not working? The sex we have all the time? The blowjobs you beg me to give you? The time I tied you up and spanked you? Huh? What?”
There were some giggles from the other people in the quad.
“Ivy, don’t be that way.”
“What way? Mad? Because you stuck your dick in someone else BEFORE you broke up with me. Why on earth would I be mad about that?”
He shook his head and ran a hand through his mop of dark hair. “This is exactly why this ain’t working.”
I raised my eyebrow and tilted my head to say “Go on motherfucker tell me what’s wrong with me. I know you want to.”
“You’re so damn controlling all the time. And bossy. And I can’t do anything without asking for permission.”
“You wanted permission to fuck some other chick?”
“No!” He threw up his hands. “Jesus, you’re so damn irritating.”
“And you’re an asshole.”
“Well whatever.” He took a few steps away. “We’re done. Your shit is in a box on my porch. Collect it today or it’s going in the garbage.” He walked back to his friends, who were smirking quite openly.
“I’m surprised you had the stones to even do this in person.”
“I told him to just text you,” Rico said. “Since I thought that’s all you’re worth.”
I flipped him the middle finger. “Fuck you Rico. Good thing I didn’t tell him about all the secret texts you were sending me trying to hook up behind his back.”
Derek gave Rico a sidelong look as they walked away. I knew it wouldn’t amount to much. In his mind, it would be my fault about Rico. That I had somehow encouraged him just by being a girl.
I turned around so I didn’t have to watch him walk away from me. The tears were welling in my eyes, but I really didn’t want to let them go here in public with ten strangers watching with avid interest.
I adjusted my purse strap on my shoulder, then instead of going into the school I started back the way I’d came. There was no point in going to class today. I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate anyway. So I figured a good long cry and forty minutes on the elliptical was in order. I liked to sweat when I was upset. I was a size 2 because I got upset a lot. Some girls would be jealous of me because of my figure, but they had no clue how much I suffered emotionally for it. Dahlia and Ivy didn’t really know either. I had always put on a carefree façade, especially when it came to guys, but deep down I had battle scars all over my heart and soul.
I always picked the wrong ones. Guys who only wanted to know my outsides and not my insides. Any time I ever even hinted that I might be more than my C cup and pouty pink lips, guys got spooked and looked for a way to break up with me. And that way usually involved another girl. It was so typical.
When I returned to my apartment near campus I immediately went into my bedroom. I grabbed an old plastic bag I sometimes used for garbage and opened my closet door. I tore an old chambray shirt from a hanger and shoved it into the bag. It was one of Derek’s. I slept in it sometimes because it had smelled like him, a combination of CK One and man.
Turning, I snatched up the stick of deodorant on my dresser and the spearmint chapstick beside it and tossed both in the bag. Then I made my way to the bathroom and tossed in the razor I had bought him and the toothbrush. I was about to leave when I stopped and faced the toilet.
Angry tears were rolling down my cheeks now. I didn’t want to shed them over him but sometimes a girl just has to have some release. And some pay back.
I reached into the bag and took out the toothbrush. I opened the toilet lid and peered into the bowl. The water wasn’t dirty, I used an automatic cleaner inside the tank, but I hadn’t scrubbed the inside of the bowl in a week or so. Until now.
I crouched and vigorously rubbed the bristles of the toothbrush inside the bowl. I dipped it in the water and scrubbed the stained porcelain. It was stained when I moved in, but still it made me feel better to do it. I scrubbed and scrubbed until my arm was sore and the tears on my cheeks had dried. Satisfied, I straightened then tossed the dirty wet toothbrush into the bag.
In the living room I set the plastic bag on the table and plopped down onto the sofa. I felt a little better. Ruining his toothbrush gave me some joy. It kept the tears at bay for now and sometimes that was all a girl could hope for in a situation like this.
I took out my phone and texted my friends, Dahlia and Violet.
Me: So, another one bites the dust
I waited a few minutes. I knew Dahlia might be in class but Violet usually answered right away.
Violet: Why did you break up with this one?
Me: I didn’t
Violet: Oh crap babe, I’m sorry. What happened?
Me: Dumped me for some other chick
Me: Says I’m a control freak. Can u believe that?
Me: WTF V! I am not
Violet: You are kinda
I didn’t text her back. I couldn’t believe she was agreeing with Derek. I mean, she was supposed to be my best friend. Best friends had each other’s back no matter what. I didn’t judge her when she hooked up with weirdo Devon. Well, I guess maybe I did say a few hurtful things about him even after I’d realized she really did like him and it wasn’t just a brief dive into the dark side.
Violet: U still there?
Me: Yes. Just hurt
Violet: Sorry hun. I wish you were here so I could hug you
Me: Me too
Violet: If you want to talk, call me. I’m here
I did want to talk but in person. I hated that I was here, and Violet was there, and Dahlia was all the way across the country. I needed my girls. Especially now.
I set my phone down beside me and looked around at my apartment. It was a decent place. Bigger than what the majority of the students lived in. My parents paid for it, as well as the bills. I was lucky that my parents were wealthy and could afford to pay for my education. This was one of the reasons I had agreed to go to Glendale. My dad especially wanted me to get a college degree. He didn’t care what it was in, as long as I got it. I had tried to argue with him about it, insisting that it would be a huge waste of money, but he was stubborn and was used to getting his way.
But I was stubborn too. And now seemed like the perfect time to prove it.
I got up and went into my bedroom. I grabbed the suitcase from under the bed, opened it and started to pack up my clothes. I was going home.