apologize || jeff atkins
Pairing: Jeff Atkins x Reader
Summary: The reader didn’t see Jeffs death coming, she thought it was his fault until she listened to the tenth tape.
Warnings: angst, language, suicide, death, car accidents, talk of drinking and driving, flashbacks
Authors Note: The flashbacks are in Italics, the present is in a normal font. I listened to this song while writing.
You don’t know when you stopped caring but you knew it was sometime that night after you got the call. It hit you so suddenly, like a slap in the face.
You inwardly groaned for the tenth time tonight. Instead of being at Jessica Davis’ party, like everyone else was, you were stuck at some family dinner. You couldn’t shake off this weird feeling you had, though. It was the first party of Junior year, it was supposed to be a life changer. But who’s life would it change?
There was this girl, Hannah Baker. You didn’t know her very well but she seemed nice enough. Every friend, or acquaintance, you’ve ever seen her with, the relationship doesn’t usually last long. It was weird to notice these things but everyone noticed it, right?
One thing everyone did notice, her new hairstyle. You had seen the pictures on Instagram that everyone was posting and you spotted her in the background. That was almost an hour ago, you put down your phone and haven’t picked it up since.
Maybe her life would change? New hairstyle, new… personality? You didn’t know what but something was off.
“Excuse me, I have to use the restroom.” Discreetly tucking your phone in your dress pocket, you stood up.
Your mom passed her conversation with your aunt and waved you off. “Go on, honey, but hurry back. Your aunt and I are discussing colleges.”
Colleges. You always laughed at that. They were discussing colleges for you without your consent. Like it didn’t matter where you wanted to go, it just mattered where they wanted you to go.
Well no, it doesn’t work like that. You don’t have a say in where or when you want someone to go. They just go and disappear, gone, just like that, out of your life forever.
His phone probably died. Yeah, that was the case, your idiot boyfriend, Jeff Atkins, always leaving the house with a low battery. But he promised that he’d call when he got home, and he didn’t call yet. So that means he wasn’t home yet, right?
Even if he wasn’t, he should be on his way there now but he’s not answering his phone. You don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, you want to make sure he’s okay but you don’t want him to get in an accident because you were calling his phone.
“Hurry up in there!” You nearly jumped out of your skin at the sudden interruption from your thoughts. Shaking your head, you flushed the unused toilet and opened the pipe.
“A fucking classy restaurant like this and they can’t even afford a public restroom with stalls… I’m coming!”
The door shut closed and you tried to refocus your eyes but they were filled with tears. Your mom has just visited again, the conversation between you two has been the same these past few weeks.
‘Are you okay, honey’ which really means 'You’re not over that yet?’
'I’m fine, mom’ which really meant 'No, I’m not okay. I fucking loved him.’
“Hello?!” You nearly dropped your phone when you heard it ring.
“Y/N, it’s Clay.” Clay? Was he okay, did he need a ride home from the party?
He was rambling on about something and you couldn’t hear exactly what he was saying. “Clay-ok, Clay, calm down. What’s wrong, do you need help or-” Clay was at the party with Jeff. What if something happened with Jeff and that’s why he’s calling you?
“-Is it Jeff? Is he okay, did he drink too much?”
You heard heavy breathing over the phone instead of a response and you called his name again. “Just… come to the corner of Tanglewood and Bay Street, it’s urgent.”
“Clay,” Your voice came out more urgent and harsh now. “Tell me what happened.”
There was a moment of silence and you swore you heard ambulance sirens in the background. “Clay?!”
“I-it’s Jeff, he was in an accident.”
You remember being mad that day. He said he wouldn’t drink too much and that he would make it home safe. He promised. But he broke his promise and you’ve been mad at him ever since. You were mad at him for leaving you.
Clay said it wasn’t his fault and he knew that now, whatever that meant. You didn’t believe him until he shoved this shoe box in your hand. He was muttering something about how he shouldn’t be showing this to you and you responded with 'then why are you.’
He looked you straight in the eye that afternoon and said, “Because you need to know the truth.”
Clays sweater did nothing to provide you warmth and you took it off immediately. The ambulance and the police, who were currently questioning Clay, were all here.
The only thing that wasn’t here was the stop sign that you had stopped by so many times. You found it odd but didn’t say anything about it, you couldn’t say anything at all.
Everything felt numb, your feet, your hands, your cheeks. It was almost fall and it was getting chillier but the cold wasn’t the problem. After your call with Clay, you drove to where he told you, going over speed limits and almost getting into an accident yourself.
You had hoped that he was joking and that was just some cruel joke. But who would joke about something like that? No one would, no one should joke about something like that.
And, fuck, you just wanted to hear his voice again. You wanted to hear him tell you 'It’s okay, Y/N, I’ll be good at the party. I’ll only have like two beers’. You wanted to get that call from him late at night saying that he’s home and safe.
But it was too late for that now, they already put him in a body bag.
Is this a joke? This can’t be real. Hannah Baker is dead!
That’s what you yelled at Clay the next time you saw him. Why would he give you this, the tapes, to listen to? He asked which tape you listened up to, completely ignoring your question, and you scoffed in disbelief.
You only reached up to Tape 1 before you turned it off. He gently placed the box in your hands, from when you threw it at him, and told you to listen to Tape 10.
“Clay, what does this have to do with Jeff?” All you got for a response was 'you’ll see’. Clay had definitely changed since Jeffs death and you were worried about him. Along with a few other students, he was acting weird.
Maybe it was because of these tapes?
Nevertheless, you reluctantly put Tape 10 in the Walkman and pressed play.
You hated it. All this attention you were getting as you walked the halls. All the 'I’m sorry for your lost’ that you were being thrown your way.
You didn’t need anyone’s sympathy.
On your way to your locker, you saw that girl, Hannah Baker, and Clay fighting. Well, you wouldn’t call it fighting, more like arguing, but they both looked upset. Hannah was crying, but why? She didn’t even know him.
“Ms. Y/L/N,” Mr. Porter was suddenly by your side and you nearly jumped out of your skin.
“Uh, yes Mr. Porter?”
He uncomfortably scratched his stubble, he was nervous. “I know that Jeff was your boyfriend and you’re probably hurting right now. Trust me, I know how you feel-” No you don’t “-I lost someone I cared about too-” Everyone loses someone they care about, what’s your point “-and I know-” Once again, you don’t know anything, Mr. Porter “-that you’re in a time of need right now-” I need Jeff Atkins, that’s what I need “-so you’re more than welcome to come to my office, if you want.”
You let a dry chuckle escape your lips before closing your locker. “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Then you walked away.
You walked and walked until you were finally where you wanted to be. The corner of Tanglewood and Bay Street. They had put up a new stop sign, one that wasn’t made out of wood, one that couldn’t be knocked down as easily as the old one was.
One that wouldn’t be knocked down as easily as Sheri fucking Holland knocked down the old one. Sheri Holland killed your boyfriend, it was all her fault. Hannah Baker was there too but you couldn’t bring yourself to be mad at a dead girl. Besides, she did call 911 about it, even though it was too late.
You were beyond outraged. You talked to Sheri more than once after Jeffs passing and she knew what she did. You finally knew the truth now, thanks to those tapes.
You hated yourself for blaming Jeff for what happened that night. It wasn’t his fault and you knew that now.
You were 'beyond outraged’ for about a minute. It’s like you didn’t even care anymore to confront her about it or to do something. You practically dragged yourself here, but you had something important to do.
Walking to the middle of the road, you sat down on the concrete for a few minutes before laying down completely. This was the exact spot where Jeffs car was that night, you had it memorized in your head and you didn’t know if that was healthy or not.
You looked up at the cloudy sky, it was November now, and a few leaves made its way into your line of sight.
It was then you realized what your excuse was for not being mad at Hannah. I couldn’t bring myself to be mad at a dead girl. But you were mad at Jeff for something that wasn’t even his fault.
A car made itself known from a distance, the driver honked repeatedly but you didn’t move. You didn’t care if you got run over, you didn’t care about anything anymore. Your eyes stayed concentrated on the clouds above despite the tears that spilled over onto your cheeks.
“I’m sorry, Jeff. I blamed you for something that wasn’t your fault, for something you had no control over. You didn’t deserve it and I’m sorry.”
And then you left, disappeared, gone.
Just like that.