The walls of the apartments were super thin, so I had no problem hearing Annaleigh’s sobbing through the wall. The sound practically tore my already shredded heart to pieces. I hadn’t been to be so hateful, but she’d poked a particularly agonizing wound. I’d only shared my writing with Sophia, because the one time I’d shared it with my father I had been laughed out of the study and told to grow up, writing wasn’t a manly job. And if I wanted to remain a part of his family I would reconsider my choice of careers.
I slammed my fist against the counter; I really did need to avoid her if I wasn’t going to cause her any unnecessary pain. I was in no way good enough to be even her friend. If she only knew I was addicted to cocaine, she’d avoid me like the plague. Drugs were one thing I knew she was smart enough not to get mixed up in. I wished I had been but by the time I had gotten hooked, I needed some sort of escape from the pain I was feeling. I was starting to break by the time I was a teenager, but by the end of high school I was completely shattered, and I didn’t think there could ever be any hope of redemption for me.
Could there have ever really been any hope for a drug addict? I didn’t think about it anymore because I’d always thought the answer had been no. I had chosen to get involved with drugs; anyone who had been willing to sell their soul to their drug of choice had no right to hope anymore.
As I listened to Annaleigh’s quiet sobs through the walls. My heart ached to be the kind person I had once been. I knew now though there was no way back to him, I just had to suffer in the hell I had made for myself and stay away from Annaleigh as much as possible. She’d had a hard enough life; she didn’t need to add a hopeless drug addict to her list of many problems.
Feeling restless, I head into the kitchen where I’d kept my cocaine hidden in one of the cabinets, I drag the powder down, and not liking how little was left in the bag. My rent payment was coming up which meant I wouldn’t be able to buy any more any time soon, unless I could find another job. I’d gotten fired from my latest job. I didn’t care all that much because I’d hated it anyways, but it did put more pressure on me to find another one quickly. My cocaine addiction was starting to get out of control, and I didn’t like who I was when I was coming off of a high. I turned into a monster; I couldn’t stand for people to be around me during that time.
Sighing, I had finally figured out cocaine has never helped with the depression I’ve battled for years, but by the time I did, I was too hooked to be able to quit. I never intended to get addicted to drugs; I’d wanted to graduate college without the use of such things. But with the pressure my father put on me to get me to change my major, I’d needed something to distract me, and that’s when my new best friend called cocaine came calling.
Turning away from the powder that was calling my name, I wonder towards my front door. It was time to go looking for another job; in fact I might consider dropping out of school so I could at least save some money. Not having to pay for books would be nice, considering the price I paid for each one, I could probably buy another couple bags of cocaine. There was certainly something wrong with me when I was considering dropping out of school to pay for my addiction. Growling under my breath, I exit my apartment. I was feeling far too restless to stay there for long.
I wondered the streets for a couple of hours, looking for any job openings available. I found only one and that was at Lee’s Market. I really didn’t want to end up being a bag boy but I needed some kind of job to avoid going homeless. Sighing as I entered the building I made my way towards the cash register.
“Can I help you?” the acne covered boy asked and I frown, he couldn’t sound any more boring than that.
“I’m here to apply for the job” I reply shoving my hands into my jeans pockets.
“When can you start?” the boy asked in the same monotone voice as before.
“Immediately” I tell him, I would most certainly have to drop out of school, but at the rate I was using cocaine, I would have to do that anyhow.
“Then you’re hired” the boy, who turned out to be the manager of the store replied. “Come back tomorrow and we’ll get your paperwork filled out.”
That was a relief at least I had another job for the time being, it wasn’t great but at least I had a source of income. I didn’t need to add “the for how long?” Because I was sure it wouldn’t last for long, anymore none of my jobs did. That however was pretty much normal for a drug addict, and there was no way of saying anymore that I was anything but an addict. I hated that I’d resorted to such a way to cure my depression but I couldn’t change it now.
After leaving the store which turned out to only be a couple of blocks from my apartment, I headed up the stairs instead of the elevator hoping to avoid Annaleigh if possible.
As soon as I pull out my keys to unlock my door, the door next to mine opens and Annaleigh rolls out. I tense when I feel her eyes land on my back. I should apologize for the way I had run out on her last time I’d seen her, but then again I didn’t want to give her the impression that we were friends. At the same time, I didn’t want her to be hurt over my behavior.
Annaleigh nodded to me before shutting her door, and rolling down the hallway. I watched her leave; she’d grown to be a really beautiful young woman.
“A young woman who has enough of her own problems, she doesn’t need you to add to them.” I muttered as I entered my apartment, I was already feeling shaky from my lack of cocaine use today. One day I would learn, I didn’t deserve to be loved by a hardened prostitute. I would eventually accept that I was meant to be alone, that or eventually die from an overdose.
A few minutes later I was flying higher than a kite. I felt more at peace than I had in a long time; I wondered how I could ever consider even breaking away from the addiction that controlled my life. I even wondered if Rachel hadn’t told me the news she had if my life would have turned out like it had. Probably not, by now I’d be married and raising a child, I wouldn’t have wanted my baby to be around drugs, but then Rachel had coldheartedly aborted my baby, without ever telling me she’d been pregnant in the first place. I’ve grieved for a long time for the baby I would never get to hold, I wonder if that’s where Rachel had gotten the story that Annaleigh had supposedly aborted her unborn baby. It would make sense because that had been about the time that Rachel had been pregnant. It made my head and my heart hurt to think about it. I didn’t like feeling this way, so I reach for the bag of coke that was sitting on the coffee table in front of me. I wonder briefly if I should just end it there, it wasn’t like I had anything to live for; everything I thought I loved was gone.
“Annaleigh is going to need your help, she’s paralyzed, and can’t take care of herself.” I ignored the voice in my head, telling me Annaleigh needed me. I disagreed she needs someone that is not a drug addict.
I snorted some more coke, and waited for the high to take me over. I didn’t need anyone telling me I was living a self-destructive lifestyle I already knew that. I didn’t want help because I didn’t believe I could be helped. You couldn’t tell me there was hope because I’d been hopeless for a long time.
I smirked as I stared up at the ceiling. Who would care if I overdosed right now? I couldn’t think of one single person that would care if I died right here. I fooled everyone into thinking that I had everything together, when in fact I was losing everything. I laugh it was nice to know that I could lie so well and people believed my crap. Would they believe it if I told them the truth, that I was a depressed junkie who was contemplating taking his own life? I could imagine the look on my parents when I tell them I want to die. My dad would probably laugh and tell me to try it, he would never take me seriously but I was ready. I was tired of this life I was living. My addiction controlled me; I wouldn’t ever be able to break away from it. It was slowly taking everything from me. My friends, whom I never went around anymore, they seemed to know that there was something different about me. If they only knew the truth about me they wouldn’t let me anywhere near them.
Getting up, I walked into the bathroom and reached down under the sink to where I kept my gun. Holding it in my hand I wonder if I should put it in my mouth and blow my head off. I had nothing worth living for anymore. Other than an endless battle with drug abuse, I’d had enough of trying to get somewhere but ending up nowhere.
I weighed the gun in my hand wondering if tonight would be the night I would cross that final line, the line into death and whatever came after that. I start to raise the gun to my mouth.
“Leave me alone!” I hear a familiar voice, full of terror cry out. I lower the gun to the floor and I head out towards my door, when I hear the sound of flesh against flesh, I wince and throw open the door.
Annaleigh is being harassed by a tall, tattooed man. When my door opens he raises his head and glares at me as I step outside the door.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I demand as I stalk the few feet to where they are standing, or rather where Aiden is standing and Annaleigh is cringing.
“I just want a little kiss for holding the door for her!” Aiden said and I clinch my hands into fists, the drugs in my system making me more antsy than usual. I could use a fight; maybe work some of this energy off.
“Tell me you weren’t going to force her too, cause I’m pretty sure she doesn’t want to be kiss.” I say as I glare at him. I had never liked Aiden Walker; he was one of those guys who were too good for everyone else, which explained why he expected “payment” from Annaleigh. I stood up straighter knowing my full six foot six height would intimidate the little worm. Aiden only stood about five foot 9 so I towered over him, this would be one fight that he would not win.
“No, I wasn’t but I won’t help her anymore either.” Aiden huffed before turning and heading for the stairwell. I glared after him, he was stupid, so I knew he would find a way to get even, because that’s how he worked. When he tried I would be there to put him in his place.
Turning, I looked down at Annaleigh; her cheek was red from where he had slapped her. Something told me it hadn’t been about a kiss at all. The sight of her red cheek, made my blood burn, I wanted to go after him and pound him until he learned to respect women.
“Are you okay?” I ask, kneeling down in front of her. She still looked surprised and after the last conversation we’d had, I could understand why. I took in the small blue tank top that she wore with a pair or worn blue jeans. She could have passed for a country girl, and I almost smiled at the thought. She looked gorgeous so it wasn’t any wonder Aiden had made his move. If I wasn’t so bad for her I’d make a move for myself.
“I am now” she said softly, her eyes rising to meet my own. I could almost feel my blood pressure rise at the sight of her gently rounded green eyes. They looked like the same shade of green as a healthy blade of grass, reminding me of spring.
“You don’t have to take his crap,” I tell her, wondering what kind of magic her eyes were working on me. I could almost tangibly feel the chemistry between us and that just made me want to run in the opposite direction. I was planning on killing myself I didn’t need to get involved with this broken girl. Yet something told me, she was going to need my help and I couldn’t just leave her to suffer at the wrath of Aiden Douchebag Walker.
“Thank you, Gaelyn” Annaleigh said quietly and I knew she was feeling the exact same spark that I was. I never expected to feel that with anyone much less a girl that was just as broken as I was, that made me wonder if we would even be good for each other.
“Sophia would have wanted me to look out for you” I say, hating the tears that I see well up in Annaleigh’s eyes. I know she’s still hurting not only over her best friend’s death but the whole tragedy. Reaching out, I wipe the tears away with the pads of my thumbs. I didn’t ever want to see tears in her eyes again.
“I miss her” she whispered “It doesn’t feel right living this life without her, knowing that she won’t ever be able to experience the things I get too.” Annaleigh’s pain seemed to ricochet all around until it plunged its sharp tip directly into my heart.
“So do I” I admitted, Sophia was the one person who hadn’t judged me for wanting to be an author, in fact she often encouraged it. I’m sure if she had known about my drug problem she would have encouraged me to get help but now there was nothing anyone could do. I didn’t want to be saved I just wanted to pass from this world.
“Do you want to come in?” Annaleigh asked quietly and seeing the hope in her eyes, I knew I couldn’t let her down this time. After all, the gun would still be where it was when I got back.
I was surprised when Gaelyn accepted my offer of coming into my apartment. I could tell he wanted to run in the opposite direction when I’d felt the spark that seemed to pass from me to him. I looked into his eyes and noticed they were almost blood shot red. Great, had I invited in more trouble by asking him into my apartment? It was more than obvious that he was on something; he was starting to get jittery. I wondered when Gaelyn had started using drugs and decided I probably didn’t want to know.
Opening my door, I roll in and held the door for him to come in. he went over and sat down on my falling apart couch. My eyes were on his clinched hands, I could tell he was trying to keep them from shaking.
“Would you like some coffee?” I asked softly, before he sprung up off the couch and headed towards the door.
“I’m sorry I shouldn’t even be here.” Gaelyn said before rushing out of the door, leaving me stunned. What had just happened? Sighing, rolled myself over to my window and stared out. I don’t think he wanted me to know about his drug habit, but in reality it was more than obvious. He was starting to look sick, he’d dropped a lot of weight since I’d seen last. He had always been muscular, when he’d been in high school, but now that I think about it. Each time I’d seen him then he’d looked like he’d been losing weight. It made me sick to think of him battling a drug addiction. My heart ached for the man who obviously was so broken that he had to turn to drugs to make him feel better. What happened to make him turn out that way? An even better question was just how long had he been using? If there was a way I could help him, despite my own brokenness, I would do it, I would do whatever it took to help him see the light again. Of course if things went bad, I was sure to be the one hurt, but blame it on my masochistic side, I wanted to help him.
Hearing a knock on the door, I roll myself towards the door. Hoping it was Gaelyn but knowing that it probably wouldn’t be. I open the door the door to see Kelly Mead standing there.
“Can I help you?” I ask unsure of what she was doing there. I was pretty sure she was only there to tell me how worthless she thought I was. It wouldn’t be the first time, I lived with the Mead’s for six months and I had to live with them both telling me that I would never be good enough for their family that I was nothing but trash to live, and I was a lazy no good for nothing.
“You left some of your crap at the house” she snarled in way of greeting and I almost roll my eyes. I had never been gladder to be out of a foster home, and then I was out of theirs. They had always been known to make my existence miserable. They hadn’t even come to see me when I had been in the hospital, so it was a surprise that she even knew where my apartment was.
“You’re very lucky that I didn’t just throw it away, I should have you know. I didn’t have to be so nice to bring it to you.” This is you being nice I wonder you must really love me to go out of your day to bring me a few books that I had forgotten.
“I appreciate” I say as she shoves her way around me and into my apartment. Somehow it didn’t surprise me to hear the words that came out of her mouth next.
“This place is just perfect for you, trash for trash” she said with a wicked grin. I wondered how long I would be forced to listen to insults before she left.
“You know I don’t have to listen to you now that I’m out on my own right?” I told her “I’ve put up with you insulting me for far too long and now I don’t have too.” I glared at her before opening the door and holding it, subtly telling her to get out of my apartment.
“You’re very ungrateful you know” she growls, storming past me.
“I’m not very grateful for the way you treated me” I said “but I did learn something, I’m happier now than I ever was with you. I finally have the chance for happiness, and I am going to take it. So nothing you can do or say will hurt me anymore.” Kelly glared at me, and for once I was glad that stood my ground, she would come to understand that I wasn’t here for her to walk all over. I didn’t have to put up with her verbal abuse any longer and I wouldn’t.