Chapter 5: The Dream Is Gone
I never thought I'd be beaten up by someone I loved. I always imagined what a friend of mine has. She lived with her abusive boyfriend, and at some point every month or so, she came crying to me, covered in bruises like usual, because he beat her up. He knew she came to me so he'd call and tell her how much he was sorry and how he would never hurt her again. Guys like him never kept their promises. I know I will always look at my friend and say, "Brittany, the words coming out of his mouth are nothing but bullshit. He will continue to abuse you until you leave him. He doesn't love you." But the same speech doesn't faze her. One day, I'll get the phone call that she's dead because he killed her. That is a day I'll forever dread for until it happens.
I never had a relationship like this one before. I loved something that made me suffer. She was my friend, my friend whom beat me yesterday. I was covered in bruises that nobody else could see. They were invisible to the naked eye. They were emotional pains in disguise as physical inflictions.
I thought Jen was someone I could rely on for company. What was wrong with me? A being like her could never change. As I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror, I felt betrayed in a way. Maybe not by Jen, but by me. I made myself believe she wasn't as bad as she actually was. Now as I look over my discolored skin on my face, neck, arms, and stomach, I knew I was terribly mistaken. Jen had made me start from the very beginning of my grief, except she greatly intensified it. I was suffering from so much depression. I kept thinking about Tom and how we were in love. There were no remains from that.
As I stared at my hideous reflection, a noiseless gray figure stood in the back of the small room. Restored to her original size, fury didn't cloud her gaze. She was perfectly sane now. Every emotion that was once settled inside me, my long gone happiness, my endless sadness, my vengeful anger, were all taken from me and given back. All she did was watch me. There was no remorse in those eyes of hers. To her, I got what I deserved, and she was perfectly happy with that.
Not only was I back where I started, but now I knew Trent couldn't even make me feel better. Yesterday, he gave me the wonderful dream of happiness. Today, the dream is gone.
I had to push through the day. No matter how much I wanted to stay in bed for the day, I had to force myself to go to the warehouse for Linus and Trent. I couldn't let them down. Not even dragging Jen along with me would stop me.
I was in a blur while driving down the road. Every now and then I would glance to the passenger seat and see Jen there, staring off into her fantasy as she sucked up my quenched emotions. But I had none left. A part of me didn't realize I was behind the wheel. That was because I felt so numb with grief, and that was scary. The world around me was bright with a new day's sunlight, but my eyes saw nothing but gloom. It was dark and filled with the world's undercover sadness. Hopelessness.
Would I pretend to be happy for Trent? I had no idea. I didn't know if Jen would take my pathetic attempt to please my friend or not.
What difference will it make? He'll see I'm back to square one no matter what I say, I thought.
I glanced over at Jen. She was now looking at me, her eyes blinking. She was satisfied with my statement. I was losing the battle between us.
I hate you. You were never my friend. You are my enemy.
She blinked again. I knew that if she could show facial expressions, she would be smiling by now. I was going to be wrapped around her transparent finger for a very long time.
The warehouse we were meeting at was a special place for the three of us. This was where we practiced for battles in the most important tournament of our lives. An annual tournament that is now famous because of me. The Breakdance Tournament of Ninjago. It began a little less than a month ago with just qualifying battles between the certain divisions. Next week ended the no-elimination rounds. Afterwards, you either win or lose. If you win, you or your team moves on in the tournament. If you lose, better luck next year, bucko.
The reason why we were meeting at the warehouse was because our friend Linus was in charge of what would be in our team video for the elimination rounds. He apparently got all the details worked out earlier than we anticipated. Today we would go over it all before tweaking kinks and finalizing so it could be professionally recorded.
Our video last year was great. I applauded Linus for his hard work on it. This year, however, was making me rethink myself. He got it all done so fast! I couldn't help but think how quirky it was of him. It was also not a very pleasing sign for me. The last thing I wanted was to look stupid in front of all of Ninjago.
Jen was right by my side when I got out of my fine purple ride. She kept her hands off me, but I could feel her hovering close, waiting for a sign of weakness from me. I refused to let her have any of it, though. Even with my body inflicted with these invisible wounds, I wouldn't be her drug anymore. She was going into rehab from now on.
Someone had left the door open for me. I quietly cracked it open and listened for voices.
"I thought you said you got it all done!" an irritated voice argued.
"I never said I 'got it done.' I said to meet me here today," another voice coolly replied.
"But we're supposed to work on the video before the elimination battles begin! You can't just focus on one part and leave the rest for last minute preparations!"
"Chill out. You are aware that Macca's the biggest reason for why Poison Posse's so famous, right? That's what I've been focusing on. We have to make her look like a total badass in the video or else we don't get the pricey sponsors for our battles, and that's the whole point of the videos."
I opened the door loud enough so that my presence was known. I saw the bright daylight shine onto the smooth concrete floor. Two men looked in my direction. One was taller than the other, and majority of his black hair was covered by a dark beanie. I knew it was Trent. The shorter one looked at me with his familiar deep blue gaze. His shadowy brown hair gave him a sinister appearance, but after getting a good look at his angular facial features, it was perceptible that he was just…a hot looking guy. I felt weird admitting that about my friend, but it was true. Linus was attractive, but that didn't mean he was mean or anything like that. He was nice and funny like any other guy. The three of us made a good team because of our friendship underneath the fame and fortune.
"Mac-Attack!" Trent cheerily greeted me.
"Oh good, you made it," Linus said, his voice modulated. It made me want to float towards him sometimes.
Jen was two steps behind me the whole time. I closed the door behind me after going in.
"Hey, guys," I blankly said, looking at the large, golden object behind them. I hadn't seen it since my most famous music video was released. "You got my throne out?"
"Yeah, we're not doing much today," Linus replied.
Trent rolled his eyes.
"Like what?" I asked, disinterested.
"Well, Trent and I aren't doing anything, but I just needed to see you do something today."
"Okay, then what am I doing?"
"Simple. You're sitting."
I annoyingly closed my eyes and huffed. Jen hovered close by, waiting to take from me. I could feel my invisible bruises flare momentarily with pain for some weird reason. Before I could say anything, Trent took the stage.
"She's sitting?! You have got to be kidding me!" he complained.
"Linus," I firmly began, "why did you drag us all the way here just so I could sit in my throne?"
"Because I want to see how awesome it'll look with you in it. Then I have to change things so that it'll look even better. I'm looking at our ticket to the best sponsors out there," Linus explained.
"I'm not the reason for why our team is so good!" I argued. "We're good because we're a team!"
Jen poked my arm, sucking up my anger. I winced when it came back. Trent noticed my reaction and looked at me funny, probably realizing I wasn't okay after yesterday.
"I didn't say Trent and I won't look just as awesome," Linus said. "I just want to see how it'll look on you. Please just go along with it. I'll have it all planned out in two days and then we can really get it all filmed and done."
I groaned and walked past the two. I ventured into the flame-colored spotlights that glistened against the gold of my majestic throne. Looking at the great chair, I remembered how I sat in it in the music video. I could see Linus and Trent standing by my sides as the lyrics were sung and the beat of the song zoomed by. I didn't know what else Linus wanted for today, so I just sat in it the way I did the first time.
The lights were adjusted as I slid my waist up to the front of the seat. I leaned back against the back of the chair. My elbows rested on the arms, and my hands were folded on my legs. After another light was adjusted, I could tell that the peak of my fitted hat was shading my face.
"Ooh! That's perfect!" Linus said from the darkness in front of me.
"Are we done yet?" I asked, feeling Jen gaze down at me as I tried to ignore her.
"Just one thing. Spread your legs a little bit more and can you find a corner to rest against?"
I shifted my body to my left and twisted it slightly to the right so I wasn't completely attached to one side. I moved my feet farther apart as well. I looked into the darkness again.
"Lower your head just a tiny bit," he said.
I did so.
"Perfect! Okay, we're done."
"This is stupid," I grumbled to myself as I got up from the throne.
I felt a buzzing in my pant pocket. I quickly pulled out my phone to find an alert. I saw Linus and Trent pull out their phones, too, from the corner of my eye.
On my screen read, "All stage five battles in the B3 division will be fought in Jamanakai Village on Tuesday of May 7th next week. Sign-ins will be on May 6th. Let's get this tournament rolling!"
All three of us groaned at the same time. Did those idiots have any sense? Do they have any idea how far away Jamanakai Village is?! It's a day's trip by car! And why would they put the battles there after the recent "attacks"? Even though I didn't believe the village was attacked by mutant snake-people from stupid legends twice in the past few days, I think it's stupid how they would "risk another attack."
Jen interrupted my mental rant and took away my anger. It returned, making me wince again. I could feel her gain strength.
"What's wrong with Ninjago City?" Linus asked. "It's where all the other battle in the tournament are. Why do we have to take a mini vacation just for one battle?"
"Well, at least I get to visit my family," Trent said. "And a mini vacation can't be that bad! We all needed one eventually."
"But not this," I carefully said, trying to avoid Jen. "I have a meeting with my label company on Wednesday! I probably can't make it there if we'll be in Jamanakai Village."
"We can work it out along the way. But I do think it's stupid they kept it there after the Serpentine attacked. My mom sent me pictures of them."
"You seriously believe that bologna?"
"Um…yeah? It happened, Mac."
"Sure it did," I sarcastically said. "Legendary snake-people appeared out of nowhere and attacked a poor little village."
"Alright, whatever," Linus butted in. "We have to go whether we like it or not. We better start making plans. Can we leave Monday morning?"
"Sure," Trent replied. "Just let me let my parents know what's happening first, though. We'll have to stay with them."
"Sounds good. Let's go to the L&L for lunch. I'm starving."
"Okay. I need a milkshake."
"Oh Trent, you and your girly ice cream choices," Linus joked.
"Is Macca rubbing off on you or something like that?"
That was probably my opportunity to say something funny, but I kept my mouth shut. I saw Trent give me a concerned look as I walked past him. He knew I was back to grieving now, surely.
The three of us left for our cars. Jen followed me to my car. When I turned on my car and looked at her, I gave her a message I would remember for Monday.
You can come with us if you last that long, but I won't let you hurt me. You will not touch me and you will not distract me. Once this battle is over, you're done. You are leaving me alone. I'm done with you.
She continued to look in her fantasy. I knew exactly what she thought. She didn't believe me. Well fine. She could think whatever she wanted to, but one thing was for certain, I would not be hindered by my sad side while on this road trip.