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Before Love Came To Kill Us (EDITING)

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one (after)

Her POV

“Ella, it’s time to take your medication,” My cheerful substitute nurse tells me, as she knocks lightly on the door frame of my room with the medicine trolley in tow. Her usual wide smile was plastered on her face as she stood there and awaited a response from me that she knew wasn’t coming.

My usual nurse Scarlett hadn’t been gone on vacation for long but every day since filling in for her, Willa, the substitute, would have the same annoying smile on her face. And every day she’d say the same damn thing. Nothing about my daily routine over the last week or so has been any different.

Without looking at her, I nod and keep my attention focused on the action happening outside of my bedroom window looking onto the courtyard. Willa takes my small gesture as an invitation to walk into the room with the trolley — a steel cart full of medication for the different general patients in this wing, labelled alphabetically. She lifts my tray off of it and sets it on the desk opposite me, gathering all of my pills out of their separate containers. One by one she helps me swallow them all with water.

If you’d asked me months ago if I thought I would find myself in a position like this — feeling lost, scared, alone, vulnerable, and trapped — while seeking solace within the walls of one of LA’s most valued mental institutions, I would have laughed in your face.

It was almost funny really – that the reason I was here was because of the man I genuinely loved. A man that could tear me down after playing such an important part in building me up. He spent what felt like ages working his way into my life, just so he could strip most of it away once he’d wiggled in successfully.

I shouldn’t have let him have that power over me.

I tried to protect my peace and I failed. But I couldn’t do anything about it now. He was long gone and if I was being honest, so was I.

It felt like a part of me had died. The woman I was before I met him was now an excruciatingly distant memory, to myself and everyone who knew and loved her. Her heart was full of love, her soul sparkled in gold. And who was left behind was a living and breathing being who felt empty; her heart darkened, her mind a storm of thoughts.

All because I let a man into my life and fuck everything up.

“How are you feeling today, Ella?” Willa asks her usual daily opener as she puts my tray back on the trolley, just as another nurse comes to roll it away to continue with the rounds. When I don’t answer her, she decides to change the subject. “Teddy’s away on a personal day, so I’ll be escorting you for visitation. You have a visitor today.”

I nod to her again and she helps me out of my chair, even though I wasn’t in need of her assistance, and we begin our short journey down to the visitation centre.

As we walked down in silence, I wondered who my visitor would be today. Despite the fact that we’ve been best friends since high school, I hadn’t seen Gwen since I checked into the institute two months ago. She’d promised to visit me every day when in reality she’d only visited once with Carter after my first week, and I hadn’t seen her since then.

My two longtime friends turned lovers, Liam and Eleanor only came around every once in a while, since they were much too preoccupied with their own lives to come see me, but I understood.

My other trio of friends Alessia, Margot, and Mia came almost every weekend and filled me in on what life was like since I left. My time spent with them was about the closest I could get to normalcy while being in here.

But for five out of seven days a week, I was alone and left to drown in my own miserable thoughts, attempting to avoid driving myself insane with each day that passed.

As for Leo? He left Los Angeles and didn’t tell a soul where he fled to. I guess he was too ashamed to disclose that information to anybody because then he’d have to say the reason why. But I didn’t mind him being gone anyway. It was best if I didn’t see him.

After all, I didn’t want to.

I didn’t want to face him. To look into those beautiful blue eyes that I practically drowned in and have all of our memories crash into me like a tsunami. The pain, the suffering, the hurting, the loving, the breaking. Everything.

Those continuous waves of emotions put me through hell and back, just like he’d done. Over the last two months at Riverside, I’d fought to combat my personal struggles since I put distance between us, and Leo would be the trigger to their return if I ever saw his face again.

Declining to get something from the coffee lounge, Willa sat me down at a table in the visitation centre, leaving me to figure out which of my loved ones could be walking through those main doors any second now. I stared at the tiled floor, biting my lip and fidgeting with my fingers as I waited — an anxious habit I’d become drawn to not long after meeting Leo.

Finally, after hearing the chair on the other side of the table drag across the floor, my visitor takes their seat. In one swift movement, I look up to meet his gaze, his ice-blue eyes. A sickening smirk appeared on his lips as I began to register what was happening in front of me, and relief continued to radiate off of him.

Suddenly, everything I fought hard to subdue came rushing back to the surface. And like I’d been so terrified about, it was all back in that instant moment when my eyes locked with his.

“Hello, doll. I’ve missed you.” He chuckled as his unmistakable wicked smile took its form on his lips.

No comprehensive string of words could form in my brain as I looked at the person I ran away from. Though I wanted to say something and had so many reasons under the sun to, all I could see was red.

With every ounce of power that I had in me, I lurched at him from across the table, clawing and thrashing at his perfect, tanned skin. Though surprised at my sudden attack, he tried to fend me off as best he could but was rendered unsuccessful.

I carried on with my merciless attack as much I could, but all too quickly the nurses in the visitation centre were on me, trying to get me off of Leo to sedate me. As soon as I felt that sedative needle go into my arm, I felt my body cease its struggling against the multiple limbs reaching for me and everything went black.

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