Cara checked her reflection in the mirror one last time, sucking in a deep breath and steadying herself against the sink. Her sapphire blues stared back her, etched in anxiousness. She exited the bathroom with a painful sigh, collecting her bag from the sofa.
“You’re not wearing that!” Rich sneered, looking at her in disgust.
“What’s wrong with it?” Cara was wearing a black pencil skirt and a sleeveless white blouse, it covered all the important areas and flattered her curves.
Rich lifted himself from the sofa, marching towards Cara, he pushed her against the wall towering over her, his strong frame caged her against the wall leaving her no space to escape.
Cara closed her eyes as Rich hurled abusive words at her, “Are you fucking listening to me?” He yelled. Cara nodded silently. “I don’t think you fucking heard me.” He accused, throwing a fist into her ribs. The pain radiated through her chest and bile threatened to rise up her throat. Cara bit her lip and closed her eyes, collapsing to the floor as she allowed the excruciating pain to take over her. She struggled to catch her breath, a single tear rolling from her cheek. Rich retreated to his position on the sofa, leaving Cara to compose herself before abandoning the animal that had taken over her home.
It hadn’t always been this way, once upon a time Rich and Cara were madly in love. Weekly date nights and weekends where they wouldn’t leave the apartment had turned into rarely speaking to one another. On the times that they did talk it usually ended up in an argument where Rich would blame Cara. Many of the arguments would turn violent, scared out of her wits, Cara would disappear to Jessica’s apartment in the city. Jessica was always out on business trips, experiencing the rich, modelling world so she never made qualms about Cara staying.
Cara headed out the door, clutching her side and anticipating the bruise that would soon appear.
A sleek red R8 pulled up to the large ivy sheathed building, amongst the vibrant garden, a path leading up to the building paved the way to the school. As memories came flooding back she could tell nothing had changed from her days as a pupil. Now officially alumni, Cara breathed out a sigh, glimpsing down at her watch.
“You coming or what?!” shouted a muffled voice through the window.
Cara rolled her eyes before smiling as she jumped out of the car. “You look amazing!” She said admiring her outfit.
“I know!” Jessica laughed, pulling Cara into a hug. “How have you been?”
“Yeah not too bad. I don’t need to ask you though!” Cara gazed admiringly.
Flicking her golden hair, Jessica grabbed Cara by the arm. “Come on then, let’s get this over with.” Dragging her friend down the path.
It was Peckton’s fifteen-year anniversary for their class year, the school held them every year in commemoration and as an opportunity for alumni to impress each other with their success and triumphs. Cara had tried to avoid it, but under Jessica’s instructions, she was forced to attend. “It’s a chance for us to catch up too!” She reminded her, Cara hadn’t seen Jessica in six months, they were still as close as they were in school but their get-togethers were becoming less and less.
As the girls reached the auditorium, their pace decreased as they reached the crowd of ex-pupils filtering through the doors.
“I can’t believe I am back here Jessica” Cara sighed, looking at the brown stained carpets that adorned the floor.
“It will be fine. I promise.” Grabbing Cara’s chin, Jessica gave her a wide smile and a wink. “Come on”
Shuffling through the corridor to the main doors they came to a halt as a hand was thrown into Jessica’s face.
“Where are your badges?” Screamed Esther, her eyes looked like they were about to pop out her head like they were committing a serious crime. Esther was Head Girl when they were in school, never forgetting her place she had resumed usual control over any events that happened.
“Chill out Est, here.” Jessica thrust the badges in Esther’s face.
“Well put them on then!” Esther continued, her voice pitching higher with each word.
Slapping the stickers onto hers and Cara’s chest, she stuck her tongue out at Esther. “I can’t stand her” Jessica grunted as they found their seats.
“I can’t stand this place!” Cara replied, making a dig at Jessica. After all, she was the one who forced Cara to come along.
As the atmosphere buzzed and bawled around them, Cara glanced back at her watch. Mentally noting how long it would be until they would be leaving again.
Dumph. Dumph. Came the sound over the speakers. The sound of the mic being switched on dramatically.
“One. Two. One. Two” A tall man entered the stage in front. “Can you all hear me?” The old headmaster bellowed, his voice travelling through the audience. He pushed is large round glasses up his nose as he waited for a response.
“Yes” came the ever-familiar chorus from the audience. Jessica turned to Cara, smiling widely again like a Cheshire cat. Cara returned the smile, pulling a ‘kill me now’ face back.
“Excuse me. Can I sit here?” Cara turned around to see a man pointing down at the seat next to her. The man had a black shirt on and matching trousers, his sleeves rolled up halfway partially revealing his forearms. She noticed the faint edges of tattoos peeking from the sleeve, squinting to get a better look the man caught her gaze.
She shuffled uncomfortably before she removed her bag from the seat, as the man accepted the gesture and sat down. Cara turned to Jessica who nudged her and started licking her lips seductively. Cara hit her on the leg and glared at her. “You’re gross,” she muttered under her breath.
“Thank you to the class of 2002. You have made the school proud.” Two hours and a million giggles later, Jessica and Cara made their way out of the auditorium. As soon as the fresh air hit them, they burst out laughing. Clutching their stomachs and trying to steady themselves, they wiped the tears from their eyes. “I can’t believe you did that to Mrs Steadman!” Cara exclaimed.
“I know, I forgot all about that. I wonder if the tampon is still there?” Jessica and Cara burst out laughing again. Reminiscing about the time where Cara had needed an emergency sanitary aid and Jessica had thrown the item across the room, promptly landing in their teachers birds nest of hair. Still to this day no one had owned up to it.
“See. It wasn’t that bad was it?” Jessica nudged Cara.
“No, I guess not.” Muffling her giggles as she searched for a tissue to wipe the tears.
“Who was that guy next to you?” she questioned Cara excitedly. “He was gorgeous!” clapping her hands energetically.
“Yeah, I guess he was.” Cara dropped her gaze to the ground. The short-lived giggles were now replaced with an air of sadness. Sensing she had hit a nerve, Jessica grabbed her best friend by the arm, “Come on, I’ll buy the first round.” Winking the famous wink that had got her out of many sticky situations.
“Hey! Wait up!” The girls turned around, Ethan came screeching to a halt in front of them. “Did you really think you were going to town without me?” He laughed, breaking the girls linked arms and replacing with his own.
“I need a beer after that!” He kissed Cara and Jessica on the cheeks lovingly. “And you! Miss Jamieson,” he directed his gaze at Jessica, “Where’s that tampon gone?” Not being able to hold back anymore they all exploded with laughter. Cara grabbing the packet of tissues out her bag to hand to Ethan and Jessica.
Ethan was short and a little on the chubby side, his hair colour was always changing, depending on his mood. As a hairdresser, he could afford the luxury of being a drama queen and having hair to match. Ethan had been friends with Jessica since the fourth year, instantly taking a liking to Cara on his first day.
“So where are we going?” Ethan asked, swinging his arms over the girls’ shoulders.
“Well, I was thinking The Dragons Head?” Jessica replied, checking her phone.
Bleep. Bleep. Jessica grabbed her phone again. Sighing as she replaced it in her bag. “Wasn’t mine.”
Cara shifted her bag, opening up the zip to grab her mobile.
What time are you home? X R X
A flush of anxiety rushed over her, she replied and placed her phone in her jacket pocket.
“Dragon sounds good to me” she turned to Jessica, trying to divert the attention away from her.
“Well girls, looks like it’s going to be a messy night!” Ethan roared, skipping off in front of them.