IV. MYSTERIOUS BLOTCHES AND SECRETS
The next day I woke up with an aching back. Sitting up on the bed, I took shaky breaths as I pulled up my top to inspect my back. My thin fingers brushed over the smooth skin until it bumped against a mysterious small swell - causing an immediate burst of pain.
I cried out.
Even though I knew what it was, I still needed Maria to confirm that. So, I let my eyes wander around the room until it landed on the clock on the wall.
I groaned as I realized the dangerous situation I was going to put myself in if I executed this plan. Maria was not at all a morning person and I didn’t want to be the victim of her morning tantrums. She was a normal petite girl when she was awake but she was absolutely lethal while asleep. She could kill a person with her sleepy glare if they ever had the unfortunate duty of waking her up.
And today it was mine.
So praying for my life, I strolled out of my room. I took a deep breath on reaching the light pink door which was plastered with Tom and Jerry and Barbie stickers all over it.
I tapped lightly on the door. However, there was no response, so I increased the intensity.
Still no answer.
Hence, I opened the door slightly, praying that she was decent. Her room was still mostly dark, illuminated only by a red LED in the shape of a moon that I gifted her last year. I glanced at her and seeing her decent form, I walked into the room.
Her bright pink sheets pooled around her petite body and her honey blonde hair was tied into a messy bun over the top of her head - looking like a bird’s nest. Her lips were slightly parted as a trail of shiny liquid flowed from the corner of her mouth, and I internally cringed at that. The red light illuminated her face partly, causing her lashes to cast a long and dark shadow on her high cheekbones.
I thought of shaking her up like a normal civilized person would while waking someone up, but quickly dismissed it when the memory of her slapping me once came rushing back.
So I looked around for remotely anything that can help me in waking her up without being near her. My eyes scanned the room intensely until it landed on a glass of water at her bedside. And suddenly a brilliant, yet devilish idea popped into my mind.
I took the glass and removed its lid, my eyes glinting with mischief as I walked up to her and poured the contents on her without a second thought.
She quickly woke up with a satisfying yelp.
“What the fuck?! Krystal are you fucking out of your mind?” she glowered at me.
“Good morning to you too Maria,” I smirked while placing the glass back in its original place.
I turned around to find her shooting daggers at me. I plopped down on the now wet bed beside her, making sure that the water didn’t dampen my clothes.
I heaved a loud sigh.
“It’s the time of the year,” I declared.
She gave me a confused look and released a yawn. Her eyes looked glazed over and unfocused as she slurred.
“I don’t want to know about your periods Krys,” Maria scrunched up her nose while I groaned.
“Ugh. You’re so gross. Check your phone,” I indicated towards her phone which was also rested on the nightstand.
She picked it up and when the pale blue light reflected on her pale face, her mouth formed an ‘o’ as realization dawned upon her but soon she covered it with nonchalance.
“I know it’s your birthday Krystal. But you hate the day so-,” she scowled and started to ramble until I glared at her.
“Seriously Mare? It’s not that. My back’s aching again,” I turned away from her and pulled my top upwards. Instantly, I felt a cool breeze brushing my skin as I heard Maria gasp.
So my suspicion was right.
Since childhood, I would wake up in the morning having terrible back pain. At first, I ignored it, thinking it to be due to some glitch in my position of sleeping. But then one day, when I was staying over at Jayden’s, he told me that there were some gross looking blotches on my back.
At first, I considered it to be some kind of allergy and applied various skin lotions. But nothing worked and eventually, the blotches only appeared to grow bigger instead of reducing. So, I consulted a doctor. I took every medicine and lotion as prescribed but then again, nothing worked.
Now it was again growing bigger and my back was covered in blotches which would not fade. They also followed a pattern. They would only appear on my birthdays. I had seventeen now. A year later I would have eighteen and then so on.
“Kris? Why is this happening?” Maria sounded concerned as she furrowed her eyebrows.
“I don’t know Mare,” I sighed again as I leaned back and rested on the heels of my palm.
“Why don’t you get to a doctor?”
“Haven’t I tried a thousand times? These sick blotches have decided not to go.”
We both sighed and decided to get ready for school as we would be late otherwise. I took some pain killers as the pain would otherwise be one hell of a bitch I would rather not deal with.
Suddenly a thought popped into my mind.
After yesterday how was I supposed to talk to them? Knowing that they were hiding something huge. Sinister. Should I report to the police? Nah. I didn’t have any proof. Besides, maybe I have just contracted Maria’s ‘freak-out-on-everything’ disease. I mean we were quite close, not to mention staying under the same roof.
Also, how could I forget the moment I spent with him yesterday? Even though he was an ass, he did help me. He could have just left me there and move on, but he didn’t do that.
Why did he help me? Did he have a split personality? Ugh, I hate having mixed feelings.
Don’t mess with them Krystal, my brain warned me.
“Are you only gonna stand there whole day or even try to move your ass?“, Maria’s rant brought me out of my internal debate.
“Yeah sorry. Let’s go,” I grabbed my motorbike’s keys from the countertop and stepped outside with Maria.
“Are you okay?” Maria asked once I locked our flat.
“Yeah. Why won’t I be?” I shrugged my shoulders as I started to walk ahead of her.
“No. It’s just that you seem a little...I don’t know distant. Like you’re thinking about something,” Maria mumbled as she hooked her arms through mine.
Instantly I was reminded of yesterday’s incident and everything that happened throughout the day. A part of me desperately wanted to reveal everything to Maria, to let her know what had been bothering me. But then another part of me protested as the thoughts of Maria being worried about the animal attacks flashed through my mind. She was the kind of person who would worry even about the simplest of things and letting her know about what I heard yesterday wasn’t sure going to help her situation.
So instead I smiled at her and replied, “Nope. You’re being delusional. Besides I’m fucking tired after having to tolerate your dick of an ex-boyfriend cum brother-in-law and whiny pregnant cousin.”
She laughed and started to ramble about how it fucked up her evening too, while I wondered how easy it was to divert her from a certain topic. So, we kept on laughing and ranting about Roberts the whole way till we reached the school.
The cafeteria was jostling with people and the noise of hollerings from the jocks and the high-pitched laughter of the cheerleaders did nothing to dull our love for food. After getting our food and finding our usual seat, which was in the farthest corner, we started gossiping about the day we’ve had.
That was when Harvey’s spotted us and asked us if they could sit with us. I nodded at them.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY KRYSTAL!” Christina and Cameron yelled together.
“Birthday? Today’s your birthday Hazel?” Carter seemed amused and relaxed. The tension that I saw in him yesterday was nowhere to be seen now.
I nodded, my eyes glued to my food.
“Well, happy birthday then,” he said in a bored tone.
Well at least someone didn’t prioritize this awful day.
“Wow. Your enthusiasm was too much Care. I can’t contain it here,” Christina mocked him and everyone except Carter, burst out laughing at the nickname.
Carter scowled at us all and before he could say anything rubbish from that foul mouth of his, Cameron, being the peacemaker that he is, interrupted him and asked me, “So what are you planning to do today?”
Usually, when people asked me this question, I would have snapped at them. But something in me didn’t want to do that to them. However, I wanted to gouge out Carter’s scrutinizing eyes. It’s like he knows something is unusual. It’s like he can see right through my soul and I’ve never felt more vulnerable.
I shrugged my shoulders feigning nonchalance, “I don’t want to do anything. Just hang out, work, that’s it,” I said in a finality tone indicating that was the end of the topic.
There was an awkward silence among us.
Until something happened.
Or rather specifically, someone happened.
A tall blonde girl with blue eyes, which was a shade paler than Carter’s, suddenly wrapped her skinny and perfectly orange tanned arms around Cameron’s neck causing him to freeze. Even Christina looked uncomfortable, and, Carter, well he looked he would rather be somewhere else than here because he was bored.
“Missed me?” she asked in an extra whiny voice and kissed his cheek, as she slid into the seat beside him.
“Uh-oh brother. Looks like ex problems will always haunt you,” Carter teased while taking a sip of his cappuccino.
“Hello, Carter. Oh and Christina; nice to see you both too,” the girl replied looking at them and ignoring our presence.
“Taylor, why are you here?” Cam asked losing his patience.
“Why? It’s because I love you and I-,” Carter snickered earning a stony glare from Taylor before she continued,“-miss you. I miss your touch,” she trailed her fingers over his hands which were rested on the table, “and-,” before she could move further Cam grabbed her hand and tossed it away.
“Why are you here Taylor? What do you want?” Cam gritted through his teeth.
“Isn’t it obvious? I want you, Cam,” she said placing a hand on his cheek.
I cleared my throat feeling the strong need to break this disgusting PDA.
“Taylor, you have an audience here,” I inform her.
Her pale blue eye flicked towards me and astonishment filled her features as if she realized my presence for the first time.
“Excuse me, and who would you be?” her formal words reeked of venom.
“Krystal LaGuerrie,” I deadpan.
“Our friend,” Cam confirmed.
His grey eyes met my hazel ones for a moment, and I saw a feeling of gratitude there. For interrupting Taylor. To be honest, as much as it disturbed him, it was disturbing me too and I don’t know why. Maybe because Cameron was a great guy and didn’t deserve to be harassed by some skimpy teenager like that. I mean if Carter was in Cameron’s place, I would have actually enjoyed the show.
“Oh. I see. Krystal. Well, why don’t you excuse us and let us sort this situation between ourselves-”
“There’s no situation Taylor. What do you really want?” Cameron cut Taylor off.
Maria and I sat frozen as we watch the drama unfold before us. Then I realized, that not only we but also Carter and Christina were spectators here.
“Wow. You hurt me, Cam,” Taylor pouts.
“Give up Taylor. I’m not in love with you anymore,” Cam shrugged with a look of pure disdain on his face.
I saw a flicker of anger in Taylor’s eyes and the next thing I knew Taylor was holding Cameron in a headlock. Carter and all of us stood up from our seats; even the entire cafeteria went quiet. They were enjoying the show.
Carter began advancing towards her, but she encased his head tightly, leading to Cam scrunch up his face in agonizing pain.
“Don’t or else I’ll decapitate him,” Taylor warned.
Decapitate? How? She was a teenager. How can she have more strength than Cameron? How can she even do that? She’ll need to have inhuman strength for that. She has to be bluffing.
But the look on Carter’s face told me to believe her and when I moved forward, Carter stopped me.
“Don’t,” he warned.
“You don’t love me huh Cam? Well, that’s not true. I’m your first love Cam. You’ll always love me. And the reason I’m here? Figure it out, Cam. Use that pretty head of yours and you will find out. I love you, and you love me too,” she chuckled and before we could realize what she was doing, the butter knife in her hand had already pierced deep into Cameron’s skin. His grey t-shirt slowly turning into that of a dark crimson.
And when I looked up, Taylor was gone. Just like the wind!
This was so bad.