Pearl took the next day of school off.
She couldn't face Chase, she just didn't want to face anything. She hated this empty feeling in her gut, this was something new to her. Her stomach empty but her heart hurt. It tugged and sank with a deep pain that was bewildering. Was this guilt, love, lust or just sheer confusion?
She chose to binge the day on Netflix and paint away her anxiety. Pearl hated her meds for her Bipolar, but without them she was erratic and aggressive. Another thing which drove her mad at school, the stigma of mental health and the comments "of course she likes drama, she's bipolar don't you know?". As if it was an excuse or an option to act a certain way.
Painting was her only other option in getting herself for relax and her mind for stop ranting.
She had temporarily blocked Chase and the Kay profile for some breathing space.
Closing her eyes, breathing in all negativity and pushing out through her mouth her worries she for focused on the canvas and stroked it.
2 hours passed of complete peace and freedom, the rhythmic brush stroking had put her at ease and she felt a break was needed. Her sunset background was complete, the layer of the silhouette was next. She looked at her phone and unblocked his name and profile. It was done in a daze, she couldn't actually remember clicking the buttons, it was instinctive and the flood gates opened.
Her phone went into an erratic buzzing mode and she dropped it out of surprise.
6 missed phone calls.
39 FB messages.
She started to make her way through:
X2 calls Lyla x1 voicemail Lyla
X4 calls Chase x1 voicemail Chase
X32 FB messages Chase
X7 FB messages Lyla - mainly all memes apart from the last message.
X12 WhatsApps Chase
X4 Whatsapps the drama group - muted always in her settings.
X1 WhatsApp- Unknown number.
She started off with Lyla, before tackling him.
Lylas last Fb message was short and odd, "what's going on with Laken?"
Pearl raised her eyebrows quizzically, "fuck knows what's wrong with that dick" she thought to herself.
Lylas voice mail was even stranger- "Dude it's me, the best babe you've got. Listen, Laken is acting totes weird and has been asking me about you. Like super weird where are you type questions. Freaking weirdo. Anyway when you get this call me bitch."
Chase's voicemail rolled next, "Pearl please will you talk to me? I've texted everything, I can't get through. Just call me yeah? Please."
Pearl wrinkled her nose in annoyance, now she had to sit through all the messages deciphering what he wanted from her. It started with basic questions, then where are you, then I'm worried call me through to his last message - "I'm coming over, fuck this."
Pearl looked at the clock, this was sent 10 mins ago. She panicked and chucked on her black velour tracksuit. She checked herself after this moment, he doesn't know where she lived so hes not coming. It's an empty threat. Pearl let out a deep sigh. She just didn't want it today.
She went back to her phone and noticed the unknown number and WhatsApp message attached. It read "Hi Pearl, it's Laken. I need to talk to you, I'm not asking I'm telling you. When I next see you we will talk properly. "
"Great, now the school bully is after me fuck my life." Pearl huffed and flopped herself on her bed.
A few moments passed and a soft knock came at the door. Her mum spoke through "Pearl there is someone here for you!"
Pearl shot up from her bed and went pale.
She tried to freshen herself up quickly, but her pale skin was still, pale. She shrugged herself off and hesitantly went down the stairs
She looked up eventually and was surprised to see Laken stood in her hallway. She began to register his features when he took a small step towards her and said quietly "don't worry, I'm not him."
He then began to follow her mum to the kitchen who was beckoning them both to follow.
Pearls jaw dropped.
The silence was awkward as they sat at either end of the corner sofa, soft drink for Laken and hot lemon for Pearl in hands.
Pearls mother wandered off, she was used to this whimsical approach and wouldn't be surprised if her mum left the house without saying goodbye.
Laken looked up from his drink and started speaking calmly "I know you're fucking that TA, there's more to him than you know and I won't let you get hurt."
His words were strong, caring. This wasn't the Laken she knew, or knew of. When she began to think about him more she realised the majority of her judgement was based upon the Lyla incident and sheer gossip.
"I haven't fucked him for your information and I can take care of myself. I don't need a bully to help me win a non existent battle."
Chase ran his fingers through his white blonde hair, it was bleached of course, his stubble was dark brown. He wasn't a pretty boy, he was rugged, grey dead mans eyes, muscly, athletic. Pearl had heard about how he likes to free climb, but apparently he would free climb to find birds nest and throw them over killing the family.
Her eyes began to fill with hatred looking at him, this whole conversation was bullshit.
"Laken, why are you here?" She asked sternly.
"He won't leave her for you, I'm telling you. I'm warning you, he's a piece of shit - just like her and you're just part of a game." He spoke emotionlessly at Pearl. Arms leant on his leg, he was so serious.
Pearl could feel her eyes welling up, she restrained herself from crying "I don't understand" she said softly.
"It's not hard Pearl, he won't leave her for you. He will fuck you mentally and physically and never leave her. She will also do the same, she will make your life miserable- trust me Pearl do not get involved with Chase & Cheryl they are Toxic." Laken said harshly, she could feel his anger vibrate across the room.
"Firstly I don't know why I'm entertaining you, secondly he will and i can prove it." Pearl said confidently.
She pulled out her phone and typed in Chases name. She put it on speaker and they listened in silence to the phone ringing. Laken leant back, taking off his leather jacket, breathing out slowly with anticipation, and Pearl took a quick glance over to him.
His muscles were protruding from his tight black t shirt. His hands were balanced behind his head, she could see his stomach hair and 3 of a 6 pack out of the top of his black joggers. Shs had never noticed he was always wearing black. He had tattoos, they looked old, illegal and some scruffy. The words lord & hero etched over his knuckles & a half sleeve over one of his muscled arms, she noticed it was a shipwreck scene with mermaids and the ship sinking. It was detailed with beautiful greys and whites- she was entranced momentarily until the phone was answered.
"Hey you, are you okay? I've been worried, how are you feeling?"
Pearl winced slightly at his affectionate words while Laken raised an eyebrow.
"Have you spoken with Miss Richards yet?" She said brashly.
"I'm trying to sort this, you can't just call off a wedding in a month hun. I need you to trust me, please. Can I see you tonight? I want to show you you can trust me."
Pearl blushed but cringed at these words whilst glancing at Laken. Chase sounded almost begging and it was painful to listen to especially when it wasn't what she wanted to hear.
"Just like how the others trusted you Chase? Just like how I trusted Cheryl?" Laken suddenly shouted at the phone. His hands were rolled into fists.
"Pearl who is that?" Chase asked seriously.
"You're a fucking liar Chase, you and her. Now you've dragged another helpless one into your mess. Fuck the pair of you." He shouted animatedly at the phone.
"I'm not helpless ya prick and I also have no clue what you're talking about Laken, Chase what is he talking about?"
"I'll be at yours 4pm. He better not be there." Chase said in a deep, aggressive tone then put the phone down.
Pearl looked at the phone then looked at Laken, "either tell me what is going on or get the fuck out of my house."
Laken pulled a cigarette pack out of his pocket, took one with his soft, small pursed lips and offered one to Pearl.
Fuck it. She thought to herself & opened the conservatory doors.
They both stood at either end, smoking aggressively.
"I'm not a bully Pearl, I don't throw animals down cliffs and I didn't hurt Lyla. I was trying to protect her, admittedly in a twisted way but i had to." He looked sadly down at his smoke then at Pearl with a look of heartbreak in his eyes, a wounded animal "Cheryl Richards promised to leave him for me. I'm not the first student she's done this to, but the first was Chase. Lyla saw us making out one afternoon and I threatened her to protect Miss Richards. I was a prick who thought I was saving the woman I loved from losing her job. I should have let her suffer."
Pearl looked at him in shock, she had so many questions surrounding this that made no sense.
"Pearl, he will never leave her because he can't. He doesn't know how to, he says he will and he doesn't. I promise you, he's done this before and I am sorry."
Laken finished his cigarette and threw it at the bucket.
Pearl didn't know what to say, think or feel, if anything she was numb.
She stepped forward and put her head in her hands, tears silently fell but she made no noise. She felt Lakens arms wrap around her tightly and he rested his head on top of hers.
Silently they stood there, just holding one another, two wounded souls while it rained.