What Follows

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3.1: Alone

~WE SEE WHAT WE WANT~


I gasp at the darkness that suddenly drenches me, hold my hands that I can’t see in front of me before Tobias’ light comes and blinds me.

I squint at his lit, lanky figure, feeling quite faint from the sudden change in environment. I stand helpless in front of an anticipating Tobias. I reach for my eyes that last saw my despondent brothers and gulp at my inability to feel and my inability to grasp at any moment.

I turn around, thinking that maybe I’ll see some flashes of my brothers. That I might somehow stretch that lost moment for longer, beyond the living dimension. Long enough for me to understand my feelings. To comprehend people’s feelings about me.

Tobias is still staring at me while I process those dispatched thoughts. While I try to understand why I can’t feel myself swallowing my saliva, and I get furious.

I purse my lips unpleasantly and focus my glare at him and his stupid red waves for hair. “What are we now? Bound together forever?” I say bitterly, wondering why he hasn’t just gotten lost. We just met coincidentally and shouldn’t mean that he can just intrude in my miserable life.

“You’re very unpleasant-” He coolly says with a smirk. “I just don’t think anyone would like to be left alone in this darkness.”

“Well, what now?” I say irritably. “You’ll accompany me every time God or whoever calls on me to get me ‘punished’?”

“If you want t-”

“No, I don’t-” I snap and narrow my eyes at him. He looks unamused as he crosses his arms across his chest. “Besides, don’t you have your own drama to catch up with?”

Tobias shuffles and sighs. “I mean, after thirty cycles, it isn’t as frequent-” He says, his upper lip quirked up and his hazel eyes bright. “Besides, I think that it’s quite cool that we can interact this way-” He steps closer to me as he enthusiastically explains himself. “I mean, you can drag me in your world, and I can drag you in mine. I never knew that could happen-”

“Yeah, I bet I’m giving you a ten out of ten, live drama show,” I deadpan. ”This is not cool-” His smirk falls as he notices how serious I am. And I really am. This is very personal, and not any idiotic red-head should be allowed to intervene in any way. This is my secret. My punishment. My story. And that’s all it’ll ever be.

“This isn’t some stupid game-” I continue, feeling my lungs filling with something that can’t be air. Cause air was never that heavy. “I don’t know where the hell I am and what the hell I’m doing. And yeah, I get it, you want to help and shit-” I shake my head. “Well, you tried, but I don’t think this is some teamwork project. This is the kinda shit in which too many cooks spoil the broth kinda shit. I really respect my privacy, and I do not want you with me.”

When I’m done ranting at a motionless, stunned Tobias, I feel much better. It’s like all the frustration that has been building up inside of me got some release. However, every time I remind myself that I’ll be spending an eternity watching myself as a memory that’s worthy or unworthy of remembrance, I feel crippled.

I know it’ll hurt me by the rate things are going. Aiden’s, and Jacob’s reactions were enough to make me feel like a gasping fish out of the water, or like a giraffe with a short neck. Yes, it made me so very uncomfortable.

So I, naturally, am so angry at how at ease Tobias is. I mean, yeah, we get it, he spent thirty years or cycles or whatever here. I did not. I do not know what’s really waiting for me. But all I wish for is that I never get to regret killing myself. Because I am sure it was the right choice.

Neither my parents nor my siblings cared about me except for when I’ve literally disappeared out of their lives. I don’t understand their reactions.

Plus, I was always the third wheel whenever Sierra, Mason (my ‘best friends’), and I hung out together. Which was fine, because I thought they caught feelings for each other. That was until they completely stopped really caring about me. No-one cared to see why I was sad the day Joshua ‘ditched’ me as Tobias would put it. They didn’t even notice my swollen eyes even though some other people I wasn’t close to did.

All that hurt me and made me feel so very lonely. Combine that with my siblings-induced and my Joshua-inspired anxiety. My siblings were much more popular and smarter than I ever was. Or at least that was what my parents thought and never minded being vocal about. And of course, that douchebag whom I loved (I actually, truly loved him) since freshman year and dated for two years. He was all sweet in the beginning until he showed all the ass he got in his personality.

So I was insecure about my intellect, social status, and beauty- which is pretty much my whole life. So yeah, you tell me, what’s the point of living in a world that brought me to hate me?

“Girl! Lady-!” Tobias’ thick voice comes, awakening me from my little, quite frequent, self-loathing episode I just had.

“Huh?”

“I thought you were gone for a second-“He let out a breath with a small smile.

“Gone where?”

“Out of the Darkoom-” He responds. “Back to your ‘drama’-”

“I would’ve disappeared then-” I say.

“Yeah, I thought so too-” He pauses, shifts and pulls down on his oversized bear shirt, which I guess gave him a big, social boo back in his days. I raise my eyebrows. “Can I ask you one last question?”

I tsk. “Yeah, as long as I won’t be seeing your face again till the end of time or whatever-”

“You are very rude-” He says. “I’ve never quite met someone like you-”

“Is that a question?”

“What’s your name?”

“What’s your business?”

“Would you rather me call you ‘Lady’ like an idiot? It’s what I call you in my head-” He frowns slightly, and I blink at him.

“Yeah. That’s if you’d ever need to call me-” I tell him bluntly, shutting myself off for my long term punishment.

“I’m the closest thing to a friend you got here-” He says too quickly, a little disappointedly as he squares his shoulders.

I narrow my eyes at him and sigh.
“I’m sorry, but I really need to spend some time alone,” I try saying decently. “I thought you’d understand.”

“Yeah, I suppose-” He starts backing away with pursed lips and cast down eyes. “I’ll -uh-” He hooks his thumb and points behind him as he looks up at me with a small smile. “I’ll be hanging around somewhere. In this pool of ‘lightlessness’. Just call my name, I guess. If you’re lucky I’ll be here, not in my ‘drama’-”

“Yeah, thanks-” I slowly say, not wanting to somehow set him off and get him to change his mind.

“If I need you, I’ll call out ‘Lady’, okay?” He says, locking my eyes as if to ensure that I understood. “Don’t be weirded out or anything. It’s like our code-”

“What if there’s another one like you?” I ask him bemusedly, and he lifts his brows.

“Another ‘Tobias’? Good question-” He further backs away, pointing both his index fingers at me. His light is fading away by the viscous, throbbing darkness of the ‘Darkoom’. “I guess use your charm-” He tells me. “Show them the rude. It’ll scare any normal person away.”

I smirk. “So you’re not normal?”

He stops moving back when his light is too faint to make out his facial expressions, but just enough to see his khaki shorts and unlaced shoelaces of some 90′s trainers.

“I don’t think any of us are normal darlin’-” He yells from a distance, and I think it’s almost weird that I can hear echoes (I mean, are there surfaces for the sound to reflect off?).“I think we’re dumb losers who finally want our voice heard in a soulless world. Which is dumb, because what’s the point of just impressing losers like you? So, normal?" His faint chuckles spread around me. “Nah.”

I shake my head at his response, and when he’s completely gone, engulfed by the darkness, I sigh heavily. Now it is me, that stupid Darkoom and the consequences of my actions to deal with.

Along with the memory of a stupid red-head.

...

It’s more like a blink of an eye or maybe even less than that. Probably less than that. I mean I wouldn’t even be given the luxury of the time it takes for my eyelid muscles to contract and relax. I am not even worth that. I am thrown right off into the punishment.

And no, I’m not in my mansion. Thank God.

I’m at Sierra’s place. And to get into the specifics, I am in her rather modern, tiny, dim-lit room, staring at her make out with Mason. They are sitting on the bed, Sierra in a short, simple, red dress (maybe they were out on a date without telling me?) with Mason’s hand up her thigh. Mason links their fingers together, and I roll my eyes.

So what now? Watching my best friends fuck is my new punishment?

I cross my arms across my chest as Sierra lets out a moan, and Mason proceeds to nurture on her neck. Talk about fifty-hundred thousand shades of disturbing.

And finally, the moment that every reader to their romantic story would hate most, Sierra’s phone rings (I know it’s Sierra’s because her ringtone is one of Bazzi’s stupid songs). The couple part noisily, and I cringe.

Mason, in his Sierra-messed-up, dark hair, looks behind him, but Sierra pulls him to her by his unbuttoned, white shirt.

“Ignore it-” She whispers, her eyes going all over her hot meal. “It’s probably Rosey-”

My lips and Mason’s bruised ones part at her.

“What if she needs something?”

I mean, yeah...Sierra, my eight-year-long best friend, what if?

“I need you-" She murmurs in Mason’s ear seductively, and I raise my brows in disappointment.

Wow. That. Bitch. I glance at the frame sitting on her messy bedside table that held our picture on her sixteenth birthday and resist the urge to knock it down.

I then take a deep breath and remind myself that she doesn’t know that I’m dead. And that if I am in her place, horny and all, I’d probably ignore the caller and not feel bad about it.

I look at the ground when Mason’s fingers find her dress zip and pull it down. For a second I wonder why God didn’t send me fucking earplugs.

I almost cheer when Mason’s phone rings this time, and he gets off of her. Sierra pouts and reaches for him, but he shakes his head and fishes for his phone in his trousers’ pockets.

“It could be Mom-” He explains as he stares at the screen that brightens his face a bit and accentuates his frown. “It’s -uh- Aiden Bracken-?”

Sierra, in her violet lingerie, bites in her lower lip and pushes away the hair that fell over her dark eyes. She frowns slightly and tilts her head. “Now? Midnight? That’s weird-”

“Yeah-” Mason mutters before clearing his throat and picking up. “Hey, man-” Sierra crawls next to him as his face falls. ”Yeah-” His voice drops an octave. “Yeah?” He shakes his head and holds his forehead. “But, why?”His shoulders slump, and Sierra looks curious.

"Babe?" She murmurs, and Mason holds her eyes before looking away.

“Okay, yeah, of course-” Mason mutters. “I’m so sorry. I can’t believe it-” He shakes his head again and stands up, facing me, but looking down. “Yeah, you too-”

The call ends, and he looks up at me, his teary, dark eyes digging holes in my soul. He slowly lowers his arm and flinches when Sierra rests a hand on his shoulder. He half-way turns to her, and his lips frown.

Sierra looks uneasy and gulps. “What happened?”

A few tears tumble down his flushed cheeks, and he shakes his head. ”Rosey-”

“What?” She whispers worriedly, and he wipes away his tears.

“Killed herself-" He chokes on the words, and Sierra looks away, dropping her hand from his shoulder.

"Oh-”

“Yeah-” Mason sniffs, his eyes watering up more. “I should -uh- I should probably go-”

“No!” Sierra exclaims as I examine her expressionless face. “Don’t leave me like this-”

Mason frowns slightly, his hands fumbling with buttoning his shirt again. “Like, what?” He shakes his head. “Rosey. Died. She died-”

Sierra seems more upset and alert by Mason leaving than my death’s news. It is umm...como se dice...amusing. My best friend desperately stands in front of him and stops him from buttoning up his shirt.

I lift my brows and nod at her actions. Mason and Sierra have some intense eye contact before she licks her lower lip, catching his weary attention.

“I can take your pain away-” She murmurs, and Mason looks guiltily at her with blood-shot eyes.

“I’ve known her for three years-” He sniffs more, and Sierra uses his distraction to get closer to him and hook her fingers in his trousers’ belt loops.

“I’ve known her for eight-” She whispers to him, and he seems to be aware of how close they are now.

His eyes flicker down, between them, then up at her face. Sierra’s lips quirk upwards, knowing that she won him over his grief for me. She slowly unbuttons his pants, and he pants heavily as she gets down on him.

I stand, disgusted beyond words and hurt beyond thoughts. It is so painful, seeing Sierra so easily put aside my death. It makes me feel drained because I was preparing myself to get sad, and regretful. To just feel miserable, because I thought Sierra would react better than that. I thought I was worth more tears from her side after all we’ve been through together.

I watch Mason take off his shirt and carry a grinning Sierra to the bed where they continue the deed.

"Wait-” I hear Sierra pant out from beneath him after a while.

"What-?”

Sierra’s arm reaches over her bedside table before she flips down the frame with our photo. I sniff and know that I’m crying again. And God, I never knew one could get heartbroken when they’re dead.

Mason doesn’t comment, and Sierra switches off the lights. I sigh heavily and sniff more.

Sierra apparently never cared about me too. She tricked me into thinking that she was my best friend. My sister. I thought she actually cared. I thought that the time she spent advising me about shit I’d get into (shit of the boy or school variety), she was doing it from her heart. Like she really wanted to help me.

Did she pity me all that time? Was that why she hung out with me? Or was it Mason who forced her to do so? Mason who actually cared and genuinely loved spending time with me. Mason who actually shed a tear or two for me.

Oh, God, only you know how this scene would’ve broken my heart if I had one right now. Is that why You didn’t give me one? Did You know that I would get betrayed by my own sister? You knew I was too weak for that, didn’t You?

I shake my head and cover my face with my hands. Is this the reason behind all the whispers that went around the school- that I was a lonely bitch and that no-one can ever like me? I mean, she could’ve told the whole school that I forced her into this friendship, started the rumours.

Maybe she was the reason why my name was a ‘boo’ to everyone. She knows my every secret.

I part my lips and shake my head at all my vicious thoughts. I mean, what if I am just making assumptions? What if Sierra was just too horny? Why do I always jump to the worst conclusions?

I suddenly feel that my thoughts betrayed the bond I had with Sierra. This thought calms down my fear that Sierra could have been possibly betraying me all that time. I relax a little and remind myself of her genuine summer smiles and crinkling, hazel eyes. I remind myself of the unGodly amounts of ice cream we’d eat on the nights I’d get my period, and the times she’d cheer for me even when I thought I was being a loser.

It’s almost an hour of drowning in my thoughts and memories when the room falls completely silent. I know they’ve finally slept and drag her desk’s chair next to her bed.

I sit down and watch her sleep peacefully. She has a diamond face, narrow eyes, plump lips, and straight, shoulder-length, dark hair. I almost reach for her face but instantly remind myself that if I can’t feel shit, she definitely still can. And quite frankly I’m still not sure how this works.

I glance at her bedside table and tilt my head at our flipped down frame. Very carefully, I flip it up again and ignore the condom’s wrapper that sits next to it. I am smiling dreamily at our smiles when my vision gets suddenly clouded by darkness.

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