I started high school wanting so badly to be popular, have friends, have a boyfriend, and to especially make sure that everyone knew about my boyfriend. I had prepared myself for high school in every way I could think of.
Once Jed began assaulting me, the next thing I could think about was getting out. Getting away from him, getting out of Colorado, and I set my sights on the next step. I couldn’t get away from Jed or the abuse, but there was a timeline. 4 years. At the end of 4 years we all would leave and I had no intentions of staying in Colorado.
I knew that this meant I needed to get good grades and I was focused on doing what I could. It was the second semester of freshman year and I was going through with straight A’s.
Everyone in our school knew Jed and I were dating. The only time I wasn’t with him was if I was in class, and this meant all the teachers knew we were together too. My history teacher would often make jokes about our relationship, I had her class for 3rd period and Jed had her class later in the day. Everytime she mentioned our relationship in class I wanted to disappear, but I went along with the jokes. There was nowhere for me to go.
It was closing in on the end of the year, I had all A’s, and nothing had changed with Jed.
Our history teacher assigned a paper, everyone in the class had to write about a different person. I had been assigned Henry the VIII. It was the night before the paper was due and I had put in time and effort into this paper to make it a great one and was finalizing my edits when Jed called. He had made sure that he got the same topic as me for his history class.
“I need help.” He said. “I haven’t started the paper yet, I’ve been busy with practice and it’s due tomorrow.”
“It’s not hard, it’s only a couple of pages, you’ll be fine.” I tried to reassure him, but was also not surprised that he hadn’t started yet. His focus was solely on video games and basketball.
“You need to help me.”
“How?” I genuinely didn’t know how to help him write his paper. We weren’t at the same house.
“Just send me yours.”
“That’s cheating. I can’t just send you mine.”
“You’re so selfish. What do you think is going to happen to me if I don’t have this paper done? You never care about anyone else, this is why you have no friends. You only think of yourself.”
“Jed, Mrs. S will notice if we turn in the same paper. No.”
“I’M NOT AN IDIOT.” He screamed at me. “Obviously I won’t turn in the same paper, but I can take some of the facts and research and then write the paper. You need to do this for me.”
“Ok,” I said meekly. “But just use the facts and write it yourself.”
“That’s what I just said, Tori. You are so selfish. You owe me this. I do everything for you.”
I’m not sure what he did for me besides hurt me, but at the time the logic was flawless. I emailed him the paper, assured that he was only going to take the facts that I used, which he could have found himself, and put the issue to the back of my mind.
Days went by of more of the same, and about two weeks after the paper conversation, I was waiting for my mom to pick me up sitting in the grass, alone, in front of the school when my phone rang. It was my mom.
“I can’t believe you cheated! What were you thinking?! You need to go talk to your teacher. I’m on my way to the school.”
My heart sank to the pit of my stomach. Cheated. I did not. I was helping him. I wouldn’t cheat. What was this going to do to my straight A’s? I picked up my books and sped walked to Mrs. S. ‘s office.
“Tori, I’m glad you’re here. I assume your mom let you know that I know you cheated?” She looked at me and didn’t stop talking. Her perfect blonde hair framing her face while her glasses made her green eyes seem bigger than normal, but stop you in your tracks gorgeous. She was the teacher all the boys had a crush on, but also hated because she was a hard grader and expected the best out of every student. “Did you think I wouldn’t notice? I know you and Jed are together and had the same topic. I was obviously going to catch you. You will get a zero for this assignment.”
I flew into my side of the story. I explained how he called me the night before it was due. I explained how I told him it wasn’t ok. I rambled through how I told him no, but how he had so much on his plate that he was behind, and how he promised me that he was just going to use it for facts and help. At some point during my story I started crying. My grades were going to suffer, Jed had broken his promise, and once again I had no control over what was happening to me.
Somewhere in between my sobs and explanation, Mrs. S understood that I truly didn’t give Jed my essay to copy, and that I was just trying to be helpful. She decided to let me keep the A my paper deserved, and only punish Jed.
I walked out of her office, embarrassed, apologetic, and straight to my mom’s car. I told my mom the whole story and she understood. She was mad that I wasn’t smarter and gave it to him, but since Mrs. S let it go, she let it go.
Jed didn’t though.
How could you tell Mrs. S that you said I couldn’t copy your paper? My phone blinked with his message.
I told her the truth.
You didn’t! You made me look like I took advantage of you. You screwed me over. You’re such a bitch.
That’s when I started pleading with him that I didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t listen.
The next day at school before the hallways were packed with people, I was at my locker sad about the fight with Jed and nervous to see him when I felt a hand grab the hair on the nape of my neck.
He pulled my head back and kissed me. It hurt and was confusing all together.
“I forgive you.” Jed said.
“I never meant to get you in trouble. I’m so sorry.” I said looking at him while he had a grip on my hair.
“I know you are, and I’m sure you punished yourself.” As he said this, his hand slid from my neck to my arm where he grabbed my wrist and saw me wince in pain. “I knew you would.” He said when he saw my face.
And once again, things were back to normal.