I wake up to the sun peeking into the living room windows. The house is strangely quiet and I get the sense that nobody else is awake yet. When I finally regain my full vision, I spot Adrian curled up in the middle of the living room with his face planted in a throw pillow. I’m not sure if he’s dead or alive. I take another pillow from the couch and chuck it at him.
Of course, it hits him but he doesn’t make a single move. I sit up on the couch and go to the bathroom. My eyes meet my own in the mirror and I see the stress clear on my face. Now is the time I decide to take a shower. When I’m almost done, a knock sounds at the door.
“Lukas? It’s Amelia. I’m gonna head home now, I’m sorry I came last night.”
I sigh, rubbing my face with the steaming water, “Uh, no. Don’t leave yet, just give me a few minutes and I’ll be out,” She’s already here so I might as well ask her about everything she did. I want answers and closure and if I have the opportunity to get it now, then I will.
“Okay,” Her small voice says beyond the door. I turn off the water and grab a towel from the cupboard. The towel is tucked just above my hip and I leave the steamy room. Amelia stands in front of my record shelf, looking at my different CDs. She turns around with a small smile on her face, “You still have this Mariah Carey CD I gave you in seventh grade.”
“Yeah, she has pretty good vocals,” She puts the CD back and sits down on my bed.
“Look, Lukas, I know you want to talk but I don’t want to hurt you any more than I already have,” I take a shirt, briefs, and sweats from my dresser, “I’m sorry for everything.”
“Amelia, stop. We’re going to talk about it. I don’t care what happened, I need to know,” I leave the room to back into the bathroom and change into my clothes. I dry my hair and throw my towel and dirty clothes from the floor into the hamper in the corner of my bedroom. She watches me as I sit down on the bed next to her, “Why did you cheat on me?”
“Wow, you’re not beating around the bush now, are you?” Amelia tucks her hair behind her ear, “I didn’t want to cheat on you or hurt you. Everything had happened so fast and out of impulse. I swear Lukas, I didn’t mean to.”
“You’re the one beating around the bush, just tell me what happened Amelia.”
Her blue eyes make contact with mine, “Fine,” She bites her lip and sighs, “Abby invited me to go out with her and it ended up being a rainbow party. Before we even left her house we took at least five shots of straight vodka and I was tipsy by the time we got to the place. Because of that, I didn’t say no to participating in the game,” I feel a burning sensation in my throat and I swallow hard, I take a deep breath and she keeps talking, “After that party, Stephanie had invited Abby and me to a frat. By then I was completely wasted. I ended up having sex with one of the guys at the house. Adrian walked in on us and obviously, he ended up telling you.”
“So you cheated on me with multiple guys that night all because you were drunk?” She nods and I see the tears form in her eyes.
“I moved to Alaska because,” Now, Amelia’s tears are streaming down her face and she’s wiping the tears away as fast as they come, “I left because I was pregnant and my parents didn’t want their reputation tarnished by their slutty out of control daughter.”
“Pregnant? Did you keep it?” She puts her hand on my thigh as she begins to sob, “Amelia what did you do?”
“I tried to abort the baby myself, with a hanger and when my maid found me she called 911 and they sent me to a Behavioral Medical Center. They thought I was crazy but what they didn’t understand was that my parents would have never consented to me getting an abortion. I didn’t even know who the baby’s father was. Lukas the baby wasn’t gone. All the blood came from somewhere else.”
I look at her, mortified,“So you ended up having the baby?”
“Yes, but they took him away from me. They at least let me name him and I chose the name we talked about when we were together,” She fakes a small smile and completely wipes her wet cheeks off with the t-shirt she’s wearing.
I think back to our sophomore year and I furrow my eyebrows, trying to remember the name we came up with. It takes a few seconds but the name pops up in my mind like words on a Jumbotron.
“Leo,” She sniffles, “Leo Demetri Ellsworth.”
“I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that but what is the real reason why you’re back?”
“I’ve been talking with Stephanie and she said you were going through a hard time. She wouldn’t tell me why but last night I kind of figured it out,” Amelia plays with the hem of her shirt and then looks up at me, “That girl, that’s tagged all over your Instagram page and who’s all over your mentions on Twitter. The one who murdered people. You’re in love with her, aren’t you?”
“I—I don’t know if I love her or not but even if I did, it’s none of anyone’s business but mine,” I can feel the tension between us as she taps away on her phone and shows her the photo of Bo and I. The one everyone taunts me with.
“I see the way you look at her in this picture Lukas. I know that look because that’s the way you used to look at me,” She sets her phone down, “If you could love a murderer, then why can’t you love me again? So what if I sucked some dicks at a party and had sex with a college guy? That doesn’t compare to what she did.”
“You don’t even know her,” I say defensively, moving her hand off my leg, “She’s not a killer.”
A knock sounds at my door and I turn to see Adrian standing there, a dirty look on his face.
“Amelia,” He says dismissively, looking towards me, “I’m hungry.”
“Do you want to go get something?” I ask him, standing up from my bed and grabbing my wallet from the top of my dresser.
“Yeah, I’ll drive to The Breakfast Table and get some pancakes and a ton of bacon,” I roll my eyes and take out forty.
“Knock yourself out, kid,” He takes the money from my hand and smiles, “Get some eggs too.”
“Got it, boss,” Adrian looks at Amelia one last time before leaving the two of us alone.
“Well I’m gonna go now, I get the feeling I’m not wanted here,” She picks up her dress and heels from the floor and does a once over.
“How’d you get here?” I ask, looking outside to see if a car is parked out front. Which there isn’t one.
“My Aunt’s house isn’t far,” She walks out of my room and I look outside again. Amelia’s walking down the sidewalk in my shirt and a pair of heels. She looks like a prostitute ready to get picked up. I groan out loud at my morality and I throw on some shoes before running after her, “What’re you doing Lukas?”
“I can’t let you walk home alone in the cold.”
“This is why you should’ve gotten a car years ago.”
“Sorry my parents aren’t as rich as yours or Mason’s or Stephanie’s, or Adrian’s, my mom works her ass off and yours doesn’t even lift a finger.”
“My mom doesn’t lift a finger? How do you think I have everything I do? My mom and dad both have amazing jobs that pay thousands of dollars every two weeks.”
“I’m glad,” I say coldly and after an hour and a half of awkward, silent walking, we arrive at her aunt’s house. She walks up to the front door and before she could reach for the knob, the door swings open.
“Amelia! Where have you been?” Her Aunt’s eyes land on me and it takes her a few seconds to recognize me, “Lukas? Is that you?” She comes outside and I meet her halfway up the path.
“Yeah, it’s me,” I smile awkwardly and I feel myself starting to shut down due to anxiety. Katie pulls me into a hug and rubs my arms.
“You must be cold, you guys walked here? Are you insane Amelia? What are you wearing?” She pushes the both of us inside and the warm atmosphere of the house is refreshing. Amelia leaves us and Katie leads me to the kitchen, “How are you, Lukas?”
“I’m doing fine, thank you,” Katie pulls out a chair for me and pours a cup of tea.
“It’s been a long time. Are you and Amelia back together?” She takes all her ginger hair back and ties it off with a hair-tie.
“Uh, no. I was just walking her home. I guess she had a rough night last night.”
Katie rolls her eyes and sighs, “What else should I expect from her? Her parents sent her to Alaska to clean up her act but the second she steps foot back in Chicago she goes off the rails again. I swear that girl isn’t gonna make one day at Westside.”
I take in her rant and my eyebrows knit together at her claim, “Amelia’s coming back to Westside?”
“Yeah, I thought she would’ve told you by now. Her parents thought she was good enough to come back to Illinois,” Katie shrugs, “I’m not so sure about that now.”
“Right,” Amelia’s coming back to Westside? How am I going to deal with this? Seeing her for twelve hours was hard enough, how am I supposed to get through every day of school and hanging out with friends when she’s going to be there all the time?
If there’s anything I can do to stop her from going to Westside for the remainder of the year then I’m going to do it.