Chapter 6: Not A Threat, But A Promise.
Julia was walking along the road with her head down – she wasn’t feeling well. She had her hands in the pocket while she slowly walked towards her school. Although, she wasn’t feeling like attending the school today, but her exams are close and she can’t afford to bunk the lectures. She couldn’t sleep all night – her nightmares kept her up. She doesn’t know when this torment will come to end. She is more embarrassed by the fact that she must have scared Ashely and Garrett – she doesn’t like it that they have to be so cautious around her and how they always have to take care of her when she breaks down. She feels burdened with guilt. She sometimes feels like she is coming in between them. They deserves their own happiness and space and therefore, she decided to ask them go out on dinner tonight – they really need to spend more time with each other without her getting in between them. She even left early for school today so that they both can have breakfast in peace without her being a third wheel. When they asked when she was leaving so soon, she lied to them that she had to go to the library to finish her project.
Julia reached thirty minutes before the school starts – she walked at the back of the school and sat down at the soccer’s field. This has been her usual hang out spot. Whenever she feels overwhelmed but the hustle bustle of school – she often comes and sits on the grass at lunchtime and spends her free time here. Her school hardly ever participates in soccer, therefore, this field is usually empty or has fewer students. She took out her sketchbook and pencil from her bag and started to draw what she saw in her dreams last night – the same dream she sees almost every week. She sees herself in a golden torn and dirty dress running in the thick forest while someone is calling out her name – trying to get her. Even though she injured her feet but that doesn’t stop her from running away. She is out of breath, her lungs burns, her feet aches, she is scared and desperately looking for someone to save her, but there is no one. It is just her and a man that is following her running into a deep dark forest.
“I didn’t know you could draw so well,” Julia jumped as she was startled by a male voice. She jerked her hand to look beside her – her pencil and sketchbook now lying on the ground. She put her hand on her accelerated heart and frowned, “You scared me!” she snapped at Lucas – who looked guilty for scaring Julia. Lucas scratched his nape and twisted his mouth, “I am so sorry – I didn’t mean to scare you. I came to school early and thought about coming to the soccer field and then I saw you drawing something – I am sorry I couldn’t help but look what you were sketching.” He justified. Julia takes her sketchbook and puts it in her bag, “There is nothing for you to see.” She replied to him to whom he chuckled, “I am sorry, alright.” He said as he sat down on the grass as well beside Julia. Julia sighed and unzipped her bag – she doesn’t want to stay when someone else is around. She stood up on her feet to walk away when Lucas stopped her, “Why are you always running away from me?” He asked her as he himself gets up on his feet.
Julia sighed and turned around to face him, “It isn’t just you, Lucas – I am running away from everyone.” She answered. Lucas stepped closer to her to which she took a step back – she doesn’t like when someone is standing in her personal space. “And I don’t know why? Look, I am not trying to hurt you. I just want to be your friend. I will not lie to you, but I have been watching you for the past few months. I have never seen you with anyone in school. You sit alone, you eat alone, you come to school alone and go back home alone. You don’t talk to anyone and nobody talks to you. People call you ‘crazy Julia’ and I hate it. Don’t ask me why, but I do. I want to be your friend. I am not asking you to just let me in. I get it – it must be difficult for you, so can you just try? Don’t run away. Just give me a chance and I swear I will not disappoint.” Lucas said. Julia shook her head, “You pity me and I don’t want friends.” She replied. Lucas paused for a moment before he sighed, “But you need them,” He shrugged before he turned around and walked away while Julia stood still as she watched him go.
Lucas didn’t bother Lucas at school the whole day – he was with his friends all the time. He didn’t even look at her when she passed by him. Julia wanted to be relieved that he finally gave up, but she couldn’t help but feel a little down. After school, Julia walked back home while Lucas passed by her in his car with his others friends. As she walked to her home – she felt heavy. She can’t help but think about what Lucas said to her earlier in the morning. She needed friends, he said. She wasn’t hurt when he told her that everybody referred her as ‘crazy Julia’ because of the fact that slowly she is going down. The trauma from her past is swallowing her in and she is not even trying to get out. Amber and Lucas – these two people are willingly trying to be her friends and she is pushing them away because she is scared that these people will push her further in the darkness. For Julia trusting somebody is like playing with fire – someone always ends up hurting and she doesn’t believe that she can take any more mental wounds than she already has.
When she reached the house – she was welcomed by another one of the pink envelope – her brother, Garrett’s name poorly written over it. She sighed and picked it up. She wanted to open it up and see what the stalker has said now, but she decided to let Garrett and Ashley open it when they return home from work. She unlocked the door and entered in. She put the letter on the kitchen counter and went upstairs to her room. She has an assignment to work on which dues next week, so after taking shower and changing into fresh clothes – she worked on the assignment. She was almost halfway through the assignment when she heard the front door closing – she glanced towards the clock to see that it was time Ashley to return home. Julia sprinted out of her room to tell her about the letter.
“There is another one of it,” Julia announced from the top of the staircase. Ashley who was putting her handbag on the couch jumped and turned around with her hand on her chest – she chuckled, “God, Julia – you scared me.” She told her. Julia bit her tongue, ’Sorry,” She apologized before pointing out towards the kitchen counter, “When I came back home. I found another letter for Garrett on the door.” She told her. Ashley sighed and put the scarf off from around her neck, “This person is getting out of hand.” She put the scarf on the counter and picked up the envelope before tearing it open, “We were just talking about it yesterday, we really thought this ended, but here we are again.” She spoke as she took the letter out of the envelope. Julia walked down the stairs as Ashley’s eyes roamed on the words written in the letter. She drew her eyebrows together and clenched the paper tightly in her fist – crumpling it from the corner. Julia knitted and walked nearer to her. “Ashley, are you okay? What is it?” She asked her concernedly. Ashley snapped her gaze on Julia and crumpled the paper in her fist before shaking her head, “Nothing, just the same old bullshit.” She said as she licked her dry lips. “I don’t get it – when will this person get tired of a man that is already engaged.” She added vehemently. Julia never saw Ashley so edged by anything – she was really concerned about what was really in the letter – she was afraid if someone was trying to threaten Garrett of something. Ashley gulped and scratched over her eyebrow before chuckling nervously, “It is just – I am tired of these letters already. I will ask Garrett to do something about it before this person crosses any line.” She tried to justify her earlier outburst. Julia didn’t feel like asking her again what really was in the letter, so she just nodded her head.
Ashley cleared her throat, “Well, I – I will go and freshen up.” She told Julia before Ashley walked passed Julia upstairs with her handbag in one hand while the crumpled letter in another – leaving Julia bewildered by her sudden outburst. Ashley’s breath quickened as her heartbeat accelerated. Her palms started to get sweaty. She hurriedly entered her room and closed the door behind before letting her handbag fall on the floor. With shaky hands and teary eyes, she smoothed out the letter she had in her other hand and once again read her nightmare that an unknown stalker of her fiancé wrote.
I don’t know what you see in that woman, Ashley. She doesn’t deserve a nonpareil person like you. You should know something, Garrett. The vicious woman that you love is cheating on you. I know you don’t take these letters seriously, but maybe you will once you confine that bitch for dirty games she is playing. She is in a physical relationship with Henry Cole, her fellow teacher – Such shameless, dirty bitch. You don’t believe me? Well, you are a fool, if so. I hate seeing you hurt and that tramp will give you nothing but pain. There is a big possibility that you might never get this letter – that slut might get it before you and she did – LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, ASHLEY BENNETT. IF YOU HURT MY GARRETT YOU WILL PAY FOR IT. DON’T TAKE ME AS SOME IMMATURE ADOLESCENT – I CAN END YOU. IT IS NOT A THREAT BUT A PROMISE.
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