Her traitorous disguise

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i, myself am to blame

I heard the pain never eases,
That the scars never fade,
And when you feel quiet helpless,
Only the devil comes to your aid.
________________________


I plaster a sloppy smile onto my cherry lips as if to assure them I had heard nothing while internally I felt the opposite as I leaned in to hug dad.

He clung onto me, his hands almost knocking the breath out of me as he practically announced out loud,

"Our cupcake is all grown up"

I couldn't understand who exactly he was talking to until I watched mum nod her head in agreement as a smile crept onto her lips.

Untangling myself from dad I went over to mum, repeating the gesture.

"We need to talk, dad confessed, while I moved away from mom, creating a safe distance between us.

My heart began to race as I started to assume the worst. “Is that so? What about?”, I tried my best to keep my tone neutral but I was aware that I sounded quite nervous, something that was almost impossible to ignore.

“Have you or have you not stolen Noah’s brownies last night”?, mum sounded like a judge sitting in all his glory; just waiting to put the culprit behind the bars.

My palms began to sweat as I looked at my feet, trying to avoid their intense gaze. The feeling of being caught petrified me. “yes. no. I mean no I wasn’t lis- wait what?”, both relief and pressure fell onto at once.

Mum and dad stared at me; both sharing glances once in a while; unsure of what I was trying to say.

A part of me begged for me to ask them what was going on, who was trying to hurt us? Where was dad going? Why was mum so anxious? What in the world was happening?

But their sudden change in mood told me exactly what not to do.

I couldn’t ask them.

Because I knew they’d lie to me.

Like always.

At least that’s what I kept telling myself, but a part of me knew that it wasn’t them who were lying here.

It was me.

I was too frightened of what they would tell me; that I decided to ignore it all together.

Dad would have to tell us before he leaves either way, I just wanted to be in the company of my brothers, to ensure I didn’t give off a stupid reaction to whatever he had to say.

“Yes. I did eat his brownies mum”, I had never felt so relived admitting to stealing someone else’s food.

“Malaika-”, dad’s voice stern, too serious for my liking and I felt the sudden urge to change the topic before more damage could be done from my side.

"You're both aware of the fact that I absolutely adore the whole, 'Malaika get your life together talk' that we share almost every other day which lasts over an hour or two even sometimes, but right now is not the time, if I don't step out of the house right this second than Sage will be feasting on my limbs for dinner and not the lasagna we planned on", I explained, sarcasm dropping from my tone.

Both dad and mum broke into laughter and I felt better for the first time I had in the last fifteen minutes.

If only I had asked them. If only I listened to them; confronted them. Told them I heard them,

Life is so unexpected.

So cruel.

Just when you think 'it's not going to happen'; it happens.

"Well we can't have that happening, now can we", dad sounded almost amused.

"Oh wouldn't you love that", I smiled goofily as I turned onto my heel when dads spoke again, "Don't stay out too late", I nodded my head swiftly and exited the room, making my way towards the car.

If only I had known that it was the last time I would see him, talk to him, smell him, feel him.

If only I had known that it was our final goodbye.

No turning back the clock,

No compromises, Nothing else.

I would've stayed.

I would've.

I would've told him how much they mattered to me, that just because I haven't been able to tell them that recently, didn't mean that they occupied any less place in my heart.

If only I had known; I would've let them know that I loved them,

And that I love it when mum call me out even when she's aware that I'm not at fault,

Or when dad sneaks out with us at two in the morning to get ice cream and makes sure mom doesn't find out cause we all know she would get really pissed if she did.

Or when he comforts us even tho he knows that there's no solution to the situation. But you know something; Dad always knew how to find a solution.

I never understood how he did it.

No matter what.

He always had an idea to get out of a unwanted and terrifying situation.

Always.

I wonder what could have caught him so off guard that he couldn't figure out a solution.

He couldn't find a way out.

That he failed.

If only I had stayed, things probably would've been far different.

I am to blame for all that had happened.

I am to blame.

And no matter how much I tried to avoid and ignore that accusation that I had put on myself; I couldn't seem to get rid of it, to the point where it was swallowing me whole.

I was guilty.

And I did what I thought needed to be done to get rid of the guilt and remorse that acted like a second skin to me.

I, myself am to blame.

I noticed both Lucas's and Noah's cars weren't parked in the lot which made me grin internally, hell yes, no ones spying on me tonight.

Even from the distance; I could witness Sage fuming with anger. Silently praying that my theory didn't turn into a reality, I opened the door and sat onto the passenger seat.

Not even bothering to spare me a glance, Sage drove off, eyes never leaving the road.

"I know-"

I signed defeated as I broke the tension built up in the car.

"I don't want to talk about it", she stated, clearly wanting to talk about it.

"Look I can explain-"

"Oh yeah? Than explain. Did zombies invade your mansion? Cat ate your eyeliner? There was a lizard in the toilet? Please do fucking explain and maybe try to be more creative with your excuses this time, she accused.

"There was actually a lizard in my toilet that one time", I defended myself because I wasn't lying.

I actually spotted a baby lizard in my toilet, it had happened only a couple months back. I remember not wanting to hurt it so I decided to call one of the maids to get it out when Lucas heard the commotion I had been creating, yelling on top of my lungs while I sprinted around the house in search for a lizard rescue team.

By the time I had gotten back to the bathroom with my rescue team, Lucas stood next to the toilet while Noah stood next to the bath with his cell phone in his hand, probably to record my reaction.

I didn't understand for a moment but then it all made sense.

But by the time I realised and could have made a move to stop them, the damage had been done.

Lucas flushed the toilet and the poor lizard disappeared while Noah was laughing his ass off as tears spilled out of my eyes uncontrollably in grief of the life I could've saved.

Lives had mattered quite a lot to me once.

It's a shame how people can change so much.

Sage gave a death glare, one anyone else could be buried six feet under by but it barely had any effect on me since I had grown used to it by now.

Moments went by and this time Sage was the one to speak first. "I honestly can't believe you, first you mess up and than you have the audacity to claim you haven't, Jesus Malaika, man up and accept the fact that you fucked up"

"It isn't a big deal-"

"What was the time when I called you?", her voice a deadly calm.

"It wasn't-"

"The time Malaika"

"I promise-"

"The fucking time?"

"12:50", I replied sheepishly.

"And how much time did I say you had?", knowing I had already lost the argument I gave in,

"Fifteen minutes"

"what's the time right now?"

"1:45, I just couldn't keep a track of time, god damn it, I haven't even had breakfast, its too god damn early for your bullshit", I yelled, anger surfacing in me.

"Well you dumb shit, is that rolex on your wrist a fucking decoration?",

"I-", I yet again tried to explain myself when she cut me off shamelessly,

"you know what don't even bother, because I don't care either. So what if I don't get a sexy outfit for tonight? So what if I don't get my hair and nails done? You clearly don't care, so why should I?", she wined exhausted.

Jesus the amount of drama she could put up was beyond me. "I'm sorry okay. I'm really fucking sorry that me being forty minutes late has fucked up your petty schedule, can we get going now?"

"You're sorry", she asked innocently as she stared at my face instead of the road ahead, searching for even the tiniest bit of sarcasm surfacing on it.

"Is that literally all you got out of that?", this girl was unbelievable.

"Yes, so you're sorry?"

"yes!", I signed.

A smile surfaced onto her lips, "okay than", she said as she picked up her iPhone and connected it to the cars Bluetooth.

My mind kept drifting back to their conversation, no matter how hard I tried to focus on the view of houses and trees scattered everywhere on the sides of the roads, I just couldn't.

I couldn't help but stare in awe as we passed a house with an oldish red brick wall outlook with glass doors and windows, there were children playing on swings placed into the front yard while women and men busied themselves in watching and discussing the little lives they had brought into the world from the bench that was a couple meters away from the swings.

I remember wondering how wonderful it must feel to have a family of your own, I couldn't wait to have a Malaika junior running around and causing mischief.

But what I didn't expect was that I would be too busy burning others houses than building one of my own.

I knew exactly where we were going, all these roads were quite familiar to me by now, since I've practically lived here all my life.

What I failed to understand was that sometimes even the roads very familiar to you, lead you to wrong destinations.

The drive from my house to Aylanto wasn't that lengthy but considering the fact that Sage was driving at half the speed limit, I was sure we wouldn't reach for another twenty minutes.

I found her behaviour frustrating even though I was very well aware of the fact that she had purchased 'petunia', as she likes to call it, only a few days back, on her eighteenth birthday.

She had been saving up for it from as long as I've known her, I suggested if get her one as a birthday present but she politely declined my offer stating that she couldn't accept that and that she had already saved a lot and her dad was going to invest the rest of the amount that she needed.

Me being me, went against her and got her a brand new jet black tesla hoping she'd change her mind when she saw it but as soon as she laid her eyes on the sexy beast wrapped up in a red ribbon and a bow, she was furious.

She insisted I returned it and when I refused to do any such thing, she stated that she didn't any want pity or sympathy, I claimed otherwise being just as furious as her, why the hell would she think that I thought so low of her.

Sure, Sage didn't belong from a wealthy family but rather an average one, but dad always told me that money didn't matter when it came to friendships, relationships or anything in general.

I had never thought of her as inferior and even the thought of anyone doing that made me sick.

After a loaded argument, I was forced to return the car and since I didn't know what else she would want and not have a total bitch fit on, I settled for chocolates.

A huge basket of all sorts of huge candy bars, Galaxy, Milky Way, Cadbury, Mars, bounty, snickers, kinder eggs, toffees, and many more different sorts of treats loaded inside.

The basket was yet again wrapped in a cherry ribbon and bow and I even got them to place a note on top stating, 'I can see that smile on your lips you dumb shit, you're literally the only person in this world who'd choose candies over a fucking tesla, I hope you get cavities and lose all your teeth', I recall the guy giving me funny looks as if doubting my vocabulary choice for a birthday wish.

Jesus the way she jumped when she gazed at the basket resembled a child catching a glimpse at Santa clause.

She literally devoured the candy in less than a day, not to mention the complaints I had to hear the following week, when she developed a terrible stomach ache.

She bought a brand new pearl white Audi, it wasn't my favourite but she didn't really care so I gave up.

To scared to scar her precious petunia, Sage drive like a bloody slug. I felt anger bubbling inside the pit of my stomach, increasing each time a car overtook us, leaving me to rot in misery.

The horrifically loud music echoed throughout the car while pigs, chickens, ducks and bulls decided to dance in sync in my stomach, reminding me of how hungry I am.

I decided to seal my lips before I had an outbreak, we had already had an argument and I wasn't ready for another one before I stuffed something edible down my throat.

After a solid twenty five minutes drive we finally reached our destination. As soon as she parked petunia, I jumped out and stretched my limbs.

Lesson learnt.

Never ever ever let Sage drive.

Without sparing her a glance I rushed towards the door and entered the cafe with Sage following closely behind me.

We seated ourselves in the baby pink tinted seats as a waiter walked over and handed us both the beautifully decorated menus.

I swiftly read through the dishes and made up my mind before Sage had even picked 'hers up.

"I'll take the triple layered Nutella pancakes with extra chocolate syrup, whipped cream and chocolate chips as a dressing, strawberry shake and one of your freshly baked extra large dark chocolate chip cookie", I announced while handing my menu back to him, which he accepted gratefully as he gazed at Sage, waiting for her to order.

After a moment of scanning through the menu she spoke, "I'll have the double layered strawberry pancakes with sliced strawberries, whipped cream and a cherry on top as a dressing, chocolate shake and a dark chocolate muffin dipped in white cadbury chocolate, oh and make that quick", she smiled at him as she returned the menu to him and he slightly nodded before departing.

None of us spoke a word while we waited for breakfast to arrive since we both knew that the other was on the verge of literally collapsing due to starvation.

My mind kept going back to their conversation. They got into arguments quite often; so I was quite used to that by now, but this just seemed odd. Who wanted to hurt him? Who wanted to hurt us?

I wasn't being cocky but I knew that the money and fame brought an equal amount of enemies along with it. People who craved for what we had, people who wanted us to disappear so that they could take our place. It wasn't a new threat to us, it was something we had grown accustomed to.

However, acknowledging the fact we had people who wanted us dead, wasn't scary at all; because mum and dad never let it be. We've never gotten hurt, never been kidnapped nor disturbed in private nor in public.

I've been going out whenever I want; wherever I want for as long as I remember, and that was the case for every other member in my house as well.

I don't ever remember us cancelling our plans or being told not to do something because we were under a threat.

Too indulged in our phones, we almost forgot about the food altogether.

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when the delightful aroma of freshly baked treats diffused through the atmosphere and invaded my senses.

I swiftly shut my phone while I watched Sage do the same. Not a moment to soon the waiter emerged with a tray in his hand carrying both our meals.

As he set my plate in front of me, I paled at the sight, the pancakes looked breathtaking. I swear to god, I was genuinely orgasming over my breakfast.

How cute.

Perfectly circular pancakes were piled onto each other while the chocolate covered it throughly, not letting a single bit of sponge show and pooled at the sides.

Above the layers of melted chocolate was a puff of whipped cream curling into a mountain peak and than least but not last the chocolate chips were sprinkled all around the treat.

It looked undeniably mouthwatering. Picking up my phone, I took a quick snap for my story. Not forgetting to send it to both Noah and Lucas individually, just to tease them a little and than dug in as if I hadn't had a full course meal in days.

The inhabitants around seemed to give us funny looks but we really didn't seem to give a shit when it came to food.

When we were done stuffing ourselves, Sage called for the bill, too eager to get going, I mean this girl had a thing for shopping.

Literally.

We both got into an argument on who's going to pay which was literally our everyday thing, and I could tell the waiter was on the verge of stating that the meal was on the house and that we didn't have to pay at all when we decided to divide it.

Walking out of cafe, the air seemed much more fresher than it had before and I didn't seem irritated anymore.

Honestly speaking, I seemed to be in a pretty great mood, woah the power of a good meal is surprisingly incredible.

But it didn't last long cause after two consecutive hours of shopping, I was certain I could kill Sage, she's literally been entering every single shop while dragging me along with her.

I had found myself a maroon deep necked satrapy crop top with white skinny jeans and maroon sneakers, in the first twenty minutes of our outrageous shopping adventure while she was still rounding boutiques in search of 'the perfect outfit'.

After a couple more minutes, we entered mango where she yet again tried on thousands and thousands of clothes but ended up actually finding one she didn't completely despise.

It was a white high-necked sleeveless crop top with light blue ripped jeans and matt pearl heals. She even got herself a white bracelet just for the sake of it.

I understood why she was all hyped up about the party since she's that's all she's been blabbering about for the past week.

Apparently, Sage had a thing for the host ever since she met him at 'Cinnamon' last month, a cafe across the street.

I would tell her not to get ahead of herself but acknowledging the fact that he invited her personally had to mean something.

She kept talking about him the entire time, stating he looks delicious which made me fake a vomit while she laughed at my pathetic acting skills.

Bummer.

I always thought I could pursue my career as an actress if nothing else worked out.

Looking back at it now, my acting skills were inevitable, they were enviously amazing. They fooled one to many people, one to many lives would've been saved if only I had messed my role up.

I guess time and circumstances do teach you quite a lot.

You know when we're little, we scan through hundreds and hundreds of possibilities of what we could achieve in the future.

There's no limit to our imagination from being teachers to swimmers, ballerinas and many even plan on becoming a disney princess or living underwater in houses of pineapples along with spongebob.

For me, I've always wanted to become a pilot, it started off as a childhood dream but turned into my only motive as I grew older.

From the uniforms to their privilege to travel the world fascinated me to a whole another level.

Don't get me wrong, I could've put my dream into a reality anytime I desired since money wasn't really much of a deal in my family and we had more cash than we could could count but the thing was that the traveling wasn't what captivated me, but instead the fact that I could fly and catch a glimpse of the landscapes from distances not many could in their whole life spans.

The feeling of tearing through the clouds and flying along with birds was undeniably intriguing.

The responsibility of hundreds of people and the risk of crashing always kept thriller sprinting in their lifes.

It seemed to good to be true.

My parents had always supported me, both physically and mentally, when they learnt about my growing interest in aviation, they were beyond thrilled.

They always expected the best from me claiming I hadn't yet reached my full potential.

They swore if I tried I could reach the stars.

But what they forgot to tell me was that by the time I sore that high, I'd suffocate due to the atmospheric pressure and just like the shooting stars, I'd fall to the ground from a distance too high to not get wounded.

I'd be hurt.

Disappointed.

Shattered.

Shattered. They say when something is broken; there is still a chance it can be fixed. But you never hear about what happens to something that's been shattered.

I'll tell you what happens.

Hypothetically speaking, well not really but; this thing that has been shattered is a person. Well this person is forced to grow up not by age but by the cruelties life had thrown towards her.

She lacks discipline and feeds on others misery in an attempt to soothe her own.

She grows up in a torturous and twisted world, always knowing that there is no bright side, and unlike every other individual on this planet;

She doesn't lie to herself, she knows that things won't get better.

Knowing her fate is sealed; she accepts it.

And she adjusts.

Several of her shattered fragments are left behind, forgotten, worn out and insignificant to her. Because these fragments have no value to a girl who can't be fixed.

Unsurprisingly, there is a time and place where these pieces run out, and than there's nothing.

That's what happens to something, or in this case someone, that shatters.

They become nothing.

They are left behind.

They are forgotten.

Only I wasn't sure I could forget.

Not the mistakes I have made.

Not the sins I have committed.

Which only made it a hell lot more painful.

Had I known my actions would affect my fate so much, I wouldn't have done some things, so many fucking things.

We spent hours and hours aimlessly wondering around the mall in search for anything that caught our eye, I would refer to it as pure torchere while Sage on the other hand would call it my so called punishment for being a slug.

I found Sage rushing towards anything shiny or sparking like toddlers normally do, dragging me along in every single shop.

It was beyond exhausting. After the longest two hours of my life, Sage finally agreed to leave the mall. As I exited the mall, both my hands preoccupied with holding shopping bags and a frown drawn on my lips.

She really didn't need all this stuff but then again I really wasn't in the mood of starting another argument right now so I knew better than to let her know that she was going way to overboard for a party she knew no one at, expect the host of course, which I have a bad feeling is the only thing she is getting all worked up for.

The sun pierced the cloudy sky and I began to feel droplets of sweat slipping off my neck and tracing their way downwards, until my shirt soaked them whole.

A loud cry echoed in the atmosphere and caught almost every individual's attention including both mine and Sage's.
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