ELEVATED by ELANA JOHNSON

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I HITCHED UP MY SKIRT,
Ran toward Jesse as the elevator doors slithered open.
“Wait!”
I made it inside before the doors closed,
Adjusted my dress so I was covered.
“Spill it, Jess.”

Jesse studied his ruined knuckles,
Said nothing.
“What’s the deal? I can make you bleed some more.”

He slid a look my direction,
A half-smile curving his lips,
But not touching his eyes.
“Prove it.”

Swallowing, I removed my heels.
“Okay, but I should warn you that I almost broke Trav’s nose once.”

I hesitated before cocking my fist back.

He grabbed my wrist before I could make contact,
Pulled me close,
Whispered, “Damn, girl.
No wonder Trav has it bad for you.”

I yanked my hand away,
Shoved him in the chest.
“Shut up.”

Jesse grabbed me again,
This time harder,
His eyes wild,
His breath coming quick.
“I want-“

He pushed me against the wall,
And for one horrible moment,
I thought he’d hit me.

My heart pounded in my throat,
His hand felt so hot around my wrist,
His body too heavy against mine.

He pressed so close,
I could barely tilt my head to look at him.
“Jesse”

“I want to kiss you,” he said,
His voice thick,
Hoarse.
“Real bad.”

I swallowed,
Thought of what his lips against mine would feel like.

My eyes flickered to his mouth,
And when I looked back to his eyes,
I found a mix of emotions-desire,
Anger,
Hurt,
Frustration.

I was breathing hard,
My chest rising and falling too fast against Jesse’s.
He finally lowered his head,
His lips drawing dangerously close to mine.
He bypassed my mouth,
Brushed his lips along my jaw,
Whispered, “I think my cousin might slit my throat while I sleep if I do this.”

I couldn’t make sense of his words
Before he stepped back,
Released my wrist,
Gave me space.

He turned away so I couldn’t see his face,
This thing between us big and bloated,
And entirely unfair.

I didn’t want to hurt Jesse,
But I didn’t want to kiss him either.
“Jesse…”

Seconds passes,
Heavy and long.
He didn’t turn around as he said,
“You’re too good for him,”
With a hitch on the last word.

His voice carried so much emotion;
Tears gathered behind my eyes.
I blinked them down.

I’d been so focused on Trav,
I hadn’t even noticed Jesse standing there.
I didn’t know what to say to make this right.

“But he needs you,” Jesse said,
His voice pitching higher.
His fists unclenching.

 

  • Page 68-69
    Elevated by Elana Johnson

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