All of my life I always knew one thing, that my dad was a weak man. Now, that has only been confirmed.
After finding out the truth about Eric paying off my dad to have a relationship with Brody and I, the only thing I was after now was justice.
I wasn’t going to let Eric give my dad that last check he’s been waiting for, and I was NOT going to let my dad hurt my family again. We may have been small, but we were tough.
I slammed my car door shut and all of the students around the schoolyard looked up, including Layla and Eric.
Seeing Layla’s pale face only made me realize that she was in on this too. They both lied to me.
With anger fuming from my ears, I clutched my bag tightly as I marched toward the intrigued faces of my boyfriend and best friend. Or shall I say former.
“Hey babe!” Eric smiled while walking toward me. Is he serious?
I didn’t even let him get within an inch of my face, before I lifted my right hand and used all of the power I could muster to slap him directly in the face. The force of the slap could’ve been heard from a mile away, and a number of gasps echoed throughout the schoolyard at the sound.
“You bastard!” I screamed in his face.
Instantly, Layla came bolting toward us to push me away from Eric.
“Cecilia, don’t!” She yelled.
“Don’t you dare tell me what to do! You were in on this too!” I screamed, raising my hand to slap her as well.
Eric caught my hand just before it made contact with Layla’s face, and then he held both of my arms against my sides.
“Cecilia! Will you please stop and let us explain?” Eric yelled which caused me to snap.
“No I will not let you fucking explain! You both lied to me! You’re just paying off my dad so he’ll stick around! Do you realize what you’ve done to my family? You think money solves everything don’t you? Must be nice to have Daddy around to always cater to your needs! Does Daddy even know what his money is being used for? I’m sure he doesn’t. You guys lied to me, so you’re probably lying to your parents too! You both make me sick and I never want to see your stupid faces ever again!” I shouted, putting on a big show for the rest of the students to witness.
“Cecilia you’re overreacting.” Layla mumbled from beside Eric.
“Shut up Layla, before I shut you up.” I glared.
“Oh please.” She scoffed.
I gave her a pointed look and then everything after that was a blur.
I lunged for her and Eric couldn’t stop me, nor did he want to get in the way of my wrath. I grabbed Layla by the back of her hair and yanked her down onto the grass. I instantly jumped on top of her and began throwing punch after punch. I could feel the bones beneath her skin as they made immediate contact with my fists, but I couldn’t feel any pain. The adrenaline was far too powerful to make me feel anything.
After what seemed like an hour, but was only a few seconds, I began feeling my lungs close.
I immediately stopped hitting Layla and rolled over onto the grass beside her, clutching my chest.
I tried to take a few deep breaths, but it was as if my airway was completely blocked. No sound came from my lips.
In that short moment, I knew I was having a panic attack. A very large, panic attack.
I reached for my bag, but remembered I didn’t have anything with me. I silently cursed myself as I flopped around like a fish that had been taken out of water.
I felt someone gripping my shoulders to calm me down, and as I looked up, I saw his face.
“Cecilia! Breathe! Please...” Eric pleaded.
I was shocked that he wasn’t helping Layla, who from the looks of it, needed it. I saw her out of the corner of my eye, clutching her face as I heard sobs, but I couldn’t tell if they were hers or my own.
A sudden wave of rage swept through me again, as I pushed Eric off of me. I was finally able to get in a breath as I slung my bag over my shoulders and ran away.
I couldn’t tell you if anyone came after me. I couldn’t tell you how long I ran for and I couldn’t tell you how I had enough air in my lungs to do so, but I just ran. I ran with everything I had in me and before I knew it, I was at the tracks.
I threw my bag down onto the ground and started pacing back and forth along the broken planks.
Everything I had known up until now had been a lie. Eric and Layla had lost my trust and my respect. The worst part was, I had lost a boyfriend and a best friend all in a matter of minutes.
The adrenaline started to wear off and I could feel my fists throbbing. I looked down and both hands started to turn a black-ish, blue color. The skin resting on top of my knuckles, were red and bleeding. I could only imagine what Layla’s face looked like after the fact.
I started to feel a little guilty for punching her so many times, but then I thought about what they did, and the anger took over each time.
I raised my hands up over my head and began taking long, deep breaths.
Apparently I took one breath too many, because as the world around me got darker, I felt my body getting weaker.
Before I knew what was happening, I was on the ground.
I remember hearing a faint, “Cecilia!“, and then the lights went out.
“I can’t believe we did this to her.”
“I’m sure she’ll be fine, let’s just wait until she wakes up.”
“How can you act okay right now? We did this. We did all of this.”
“Layla, I know. When she wakes up we’ll explain everything.”
“I can’t believe you’re so calm about hurting her, you’re supposed to love her!”
“I do love her! I love her more than anything...”
“Funny way of showing it.”
My eyes began to flutter as they opened. The white walls were blinding as I tried to adjust my eyes. I lifted my right arm, but felt a pinch. As I looked down, I saw the IV inserted into the crease of my arm.
I sighed and looked over to the other side of the room, where Layla and Eric were staring a hole through me.
“Cecilia, please. Just let us explain.” Layla pleaded.
“There’s nothing to explain Layla. You both are nothing but superficial liars. You think that everything you do is justified just because your parents have money. You’re pathetic." I stated, sitting up in bed.
Layla’s face fell, and I saw tears beginning to fill her eyes. Her sad face turned cold and in an instant, she was standing in front of Eric yelling.
“I told you she would blame me too! I told you that you shouldn’t have done anything! Now she hates me! Are you happy?”
Eric’s face fell almost immediately as he looked between the both of us.
“Cecilia... I am so sorry that it came out this way. Please, don’t blame Layla. I made her keep this a secret. She really didn’t have a choice.” Eric tried to reason.
Layla looked at my reaction, in hopes of me agreeing to forgive her, but I refused.
“Wrong. She did have a choice, just like you did.” My voice was low, and you could feel the coldness emitting from my body.
“The only reason I did it was because I knew he wasn’t here to see you or Brody. I met up with him after we ran into him at the grocery store, and he told me about your Aunt. I just needed to check him out, since I really didn’t know much about him. He told me that your Aunt has stage four lung cancer and he is the only one able to take care of her. He doesn’t want to necessarily hurt you, he just wants to be able to help his sister.” Eric explained.
“Bullshit! He told me just this morning that he was only here temporarily, and that once all of her medical bills are paid off, he’s splitting again. He said he would bond with my mom and Brody in the meantime, but leaving suddenly again is only going to hurt them! You’re full of shit Eric!” I shouted.
“I don’t care if he wants to help his sister, yes she needs it and yes it’s sad that she has cancer, but if we never met her then she isn’t our problem. They chose not to have a relationship with us and they chose to ignore us all these years. I can’t believe you’re encouraging him and his behavior. You’re supposed to be my boyfriend and my best friend. I trusted you both and you both let me down.” I sighed, looking down at my hands.
“Cecilia...” Layla begged with tears in her eyes. She slowly walked over to my side of the bed and sat down in the chair. She hesitantly moved her hand towards me, and seeing that I wasn’t going to pull away, she gently placed her hand over mine.
“I am so sorry. Words cannot express how sorry I am. I shouldn’t have lied for Eric. You are my best friend and I should’ve told you the minute I knew the truth. I just didn’t want you to get the wrong idea, and I didn’t want you to hate Eric or me. Please, if you can find it in your heart, I would really love it if you could forgive me. We were only trying to protect you and your family. Eric thought by paying him off, he would eventually see how amazing you all are, and then maybe he wouldn’t want to leave again.” Her soft words seemed to put me at ease. I shut my eyes as the tears built up, and I gripped onto her hand with my own.
“I... forgive you.” I finally said, “And I’m sorry for hitting you, ya know, repeatedly.” I shrugged innocently, “But, you’re still on probation. You need to earn my trust back.” I warned.
Layla let out a laugh and nearly jumped into bed with me, wrapping her arms around me.
“Oh it’s okay! Thank you! You do have a mean left hook, I must say.” She smirked, pointing to the bruises now formed on her face.
Eric stood by the door watching us. He had a small smile on his face, but it wasn’t welcoming for me.
“I guess I’ll just go then.” Eric stated while opening the door and looking back at us.
“Yeah, you should.” I nodded.
Layla shot Eric an apologetic frown as he left the room.
“You know he’s sorry too Cecil.” She pushed her luck in defending him.
“If you’re going to defend him, you can leave too.”
Layla got up from the bed and sat down on the chair again.
“No, I’m staying. I just wish you guys weren’t fighting like this.” She sighed.
“We aren’t anything Layla. We’re done.” I finally said, coming to terms with it.
“What?” Layla shrieked, “You can’t be over!” She whined.
“Layla... he lied to me. Worse than you. He paid my dad off and pretended as if he knew nothing. He basically paid my dad to hurt us. I can’t just forgive him for that. Please understand.” I looked down at my lap again, this time on the verge of tears.
To be honest, it hurt a lot to admit that Eric and I were over. I loved him with everything inside of me, but the trust was broken and couldn’t be repaired. He betrayed me in the worst possible way, and I didn’t feel like he was the same guy I thought I knew anymore.
“I get it, it just sucks. I wish he never bothered with that man. He’s ruined everything. I’m really sorry, I know you must be hurting. All I want is for you to be happy.” She apologetically smiled.
“Thank you. Oh, and if you ever lie to me again, we’re toast.” I said while pointing between the two of us.
“You have my word!” She saluted, to which I slightly chuckled.
I pulled her in by her hand and gave her a hug, to which she immediately returned.
“You’re my best friend, Cecil.” She smiled.
We pulled away and I smiled back at her.
“You’re my best friend too... my best friend who’s on probation!” I pointed.
Layla laughed and then stood up, turning to head for the door.
“I have to go, but we can talk later alright?” She asked as she grabbed her bag and opened up the door.
“Sounds good.” I smiled, sending her a small wave.
Once Layla left, I became surrounded by silence. I let out a soft sigh and laid back against my pillow.
Eric instantly popped into my head and I found myself frowning at our current situation. How could something so perfect, end so horribly?
Just then, the door opened again and there he was, staring at me with his soft brown eyes.
“Hey.” He simply said.
“Can I just... sit with you?” He asked, giving me a very sad smile.
“Okay...” I whispered.
Eric walked inside of my room and shut the door behind him. He slowly made his way over to the chair Layla previously occupied and sat down. He placed his hands in his lap and we both sat there in mutual silence.
His face looked calm, like he was at peace a little bit. Meanwhile, on the inside, I was screaming.
Where do we go from here?