People went past me as I walked down the five-foot way towards the bus stop. Out in Melbourne, I inhaled in the air as I walked towards the stop hoping to catch a bus to the State Library of Victoria. Catching the glimpse of the bus that was going to stop in the stop, I hurried my pace and thankfully I became the second person to climb the bus stair out of all those people who crowded behind me for the bus. I took the second-row seat of the bus as it looked it was the only vacant seat and slipped to the window side looking out of the running bus.
Four months has passed since I moved back with Dad to New York and then just in two weeks I ended up deciding that I would be shifting to Melbourne, Australia with Kiara away from all those painful and stinging memories of both the man whom I dedicated my heart. I still don’t blame them but myself because I knew I was the only one to be blamed for all those things that happened in my life.
Firstly, I still can’t believe how could I ever fell in love with a fake person and secondly, I was dumb enough to fall in love once again with a person who looked at me because I was only one of his responsibility or should I say a deal to which he was bound to look after. But foolishly enough, even though I knew that I managed to get my already broken heart into pieces when I could have taken some time and mend it back but curse my fate for making me fall head over heels over a man who never really thought of me more than a deal.
I pressed the bell of the bus when I saw my destination and as the bus came to a halt I walked down the stairs and walked towards the library. It turns out that moving to Melbourne with Kiara turned out to be the best decision that I have ever taken in my life. Away from my home, away from my relatives sympathetic glances because they still think I was the victim in that marriage and most importantly away from those memories of where I met both of them for the first time in my life. Though the second one was more dramatic and convincing of how my life has turned out after all that.
Kiara and my mom have been supporting me whilst dad still keeps on ranting that his decision to bring me back away from all those criminals was correct. He has decided that he won’t ever put his foot back in that dark world for it brought nothing but pain to his beloved. That is the reason when I first told him that I wanted to move with Kiara to Melbourne, he was the first one to support me in my decision and he helped me shift. Even though it’s been four months but still I just can’t forget anything. His face, smile, eyes has just plastered in my mind and it’s like no matter how much I tried to forget him but it always happens the opposite.
Averting my mind to books and research relaxed my brain and made me forget about all that has happened to me. I made my way towards the library hall and walked to the lady in the counter for reissuing the book that I have reading recently. The book was ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ by Friedrich Nietzsche. It was a philosophical book and it kept me busy from my chaotic world. As the lady reissued the book and gave it back to me I walked towards the center of the hall to sit on reading it. I have already reached the last pages of the book and I wanted to finish it badly. As I reached the end of the book, I heard my phone beeping. Embarrassed as the readers near me looked at me with an annoying look, I mutter a quiet sorry and fished the phone out of the bag to find a text message from Kiara. What does she want when she clearly knows I’m in the library?
Kiara: “Come back home as first as you can!”
“Why? What happened?”
I turned the sound off and kept the phone next to me on the table continuing with my book but then the lights of my phone blinked indicating a text message.
“Just come back straight home, after you are done with your book.”
“Fine! I’ll be there in an hour though!”
After that, I kept the phone back in the bag hoping nobody to disturb me until I finish the book. It took me twenty minutes to finally finish the book. As I was done, I couldn’t help but think how the author of the book wanted his readers to know about noble. The ending weak poem though pulled me completely into it which referred to how a noble soul sitting on a mountaintop wishing he had more friends. Unknowingly the book brought back sour memories. It somehow indicated the situation I was in. Even though I had Kiara as my friend but still I found myself lonely. It even gave me that daunty feeling where I constantly found myself in a place where I kept on imagining I’ll be left alone for the rest of my life. As much it looks scary it is the truth.
Someday, Kiara will be moving on with her life wanting to create her own beautiful and happy life with her husband, kids, her family. I’m just her friend and as she is my only friend I shall be left alone with nothing but rusty memories. But then I slap my forehead thinking I was just being melodramatic, pulling myself into an ocean of weird thoughts which people named it as philosophy.
After I returned the book, I made my way out of the library and back towards the road. I wanted to walk back just spending some time with myself even though I have been doing the same things from these past few months. It was only me with myself. Catching a bus back home, as I reached the place which I have been calling home for this past few months. Kiara and I took a house in rent in Melbourne. It was a four bedroom house and had spacious rooms that I liked but the reason we chose to rent the house was that the house was surrounded by boundaries which gave space to roam inside the house perimeter. I loved to roam until late night in the garden and sit near the glass door which faced the garden. And it was even more comfortable because the police station was near and the police officers continued patrolling the area late nights. It made us feel safe and our neighbors were Kiara’s friends.
I used my key to get in but as soon as I got in something was thrown on my face and stunned by that a squeak escaped my mouth.
“You said an hour, but look at the time its already two freaking hours. What took you so long?” Kiara yelled at me as if she was my mother.
“Sorry, mom!” I rolled my eyes at her and looked at the dress in my hand that she previously tossed on my face.
“Where did you bring this from?” I asked trailing my finger over the green with a black pattern over its hem bodycon dress.
“Do you like it?”
I heard yet another voice and looked towards the source to find Mariana walking to us from the living room. She was one of our neighbors.
“Hey Mariana,” I greeted and walked close to Kiara who took the dress away from me.
“I bought it for you,” she said and I looked at her in confusion.
“What? But why?” I asked the blonde woman as she smiled showing her dimples indicating her eyes towards Kiara.
“What? Oh yeah! She went out for shopping so I gave her your measurements and told her to buy you a dress in her way back home,” Kiara answered and handed the dress back to Marianna.
“Yeah, but why?” I asked.
“Because we are going out today in the evening and guess where?” she asked, her eyes shining with mischief.”
“To the club!” she threw her hands up in the air excitedly and like a kid ran back into her bedroom.
“Kiara!” I followed her.
“I am not goi-”
“Oh cut that I’m not going crap. You are coming and that’s final!” she said and turned around crossing her arms over her chest.
“Look I’m just not interested. I don’t want to go but you all can go,” I said and looked back when Marianna walked in.
“I have had just enough of you Juliette!” Kiara bellowed in agony.
“Do you even look at yourself? Oh my god! Juliette,” she walked up to me and turned me around by my arms and I looked at myself in the mirror before me.
“Look at yourself! Just look! You have just ruined yourself. And do you know what? You are keen on ruining yourself and you know it doesn’t you?”
“Look at all those eye bags because of your sleepless nights. Do you think we don’t know that you sit the whole night in the living room or roam around in the garden? Marianna has seen it, Eve has also seen it from her house’s window, do you think we are stupid? or do you think that roaming and crying the whole night will change everything? For god’s sake move on!”
“Your life isn’t over but you are the one who is keen on destroying your own life! What is your age? You are not even that old to think that you have just accomplished every goal in your life and now you will sit near the fireplace enjoying and reminiscing the happy days of your life. You’re even worse than a coward. Giving up on life so easily!” she turned me back to face her.
“So what if he loves someone else? So what if your marriage didn’t work? You fell in love for the second time for god’s sake. Second time. Don’t forget that asshole of a Nicholas. But still when you could fall in love with the man who never really reciprocated his feeling then why can’t you just move on and fall in love again. No! What am I even saying? No! Don’t just don’t take it in your mind,” she clutched her hair frustrated and bit the upper lips dismaying her own words.
“But I never really loved Nicholas and that is what Zachary made me realize!” tears pooled up in my eyes and I looked down hiding my tears feeling ashamed.
“Oh Juliette,” I heard Marianna whisper.
“Look Juliette!” Kiara held my face and made me look at her.
“Your life isn’t over,” she said with determination filled up voice. She enunciated each word as if she was trying to get it straight to my mind.
“Do you hear me? Your life isn’t over. Stop punishing yourself when it’s not even your fault, God dammit,”
“Do you think being melodramatic, forcing yourself not to sleep, crying countless nights thinking you failed in love, emerging yourself into philosophical and strange books, forcing yourself to stay away from everyone will help you?”
“No! it won’t but in fact, did you know what you have done?” she asked and looked at Marianna who shook her head positively at her.
“You have pushed the ones who were actually near to you. You pushed the people away who actually loved and cared for you. Ever thought about your mother? She calls me every day wanting to know about you. What do you do? You avoid her calls because you don’t want her to know that you are still suffering. Do you think that doesn’t hurt her? She is your mother, you idiot. If not your mother then whom do even expect to think and care for you? Mr. Zachary Udolf Sullivan?” she glared at me while speaking.
“You know what? It’s not even his fault! You never told really told him that you” she pointed her finger at my direction “actually love that guy,”
“How in the world would he have known? I told you multiple times that go and tell him but yo-”
“Stop! Just stop!” I put my hand on my ears not wanting to hear it.
“Oh you have to listen!” she forced me to listen to her as she pulled my hands away from my ears.
“It’s all your faul-”
“I know that it’s my fault! Do you understand? So stop lecturing me! I know that it’s entirely my fault because I was stupid enough to fall in love with a man who never ever really liked me or let alone ever speak good about me. So just stop making me feel even more guilty,” I cried and walked to the bed and sat on the edge putting my elbows on my knees and hiding my face into my hands.
“See? Did you see that Marianna? She still doesn’t get it!” I heard Kiara complaining to Marianna.
“I know! Just relax,” Marianna spoke.
“She just doesn’t get it that at least we care for her,” Kiara’s voice broke at the end and even though I heard her I refused to look at her.
“Her mother cries for her, her brother worries for her, her father thinks about her and here I am like a fool I’m just wandering around her. Every day it has been a duty for me to make her eat something, drag her to bed to sleep thinking that she would be sick if she doesn’t have some rest, do you know this that like a joker, I try to make her smile by acting foolish around her? Every single night I read jokes from the internet thinking that I would speak it before her the next day during the breakfast and I don’t really hope her to laugh but at least I would see her smiling but do you know what she does? She keeps on ignoring me and remains to play with her God damn food until it becomes cold and finally she throws it into the dustbin. And to my foolish jokes, all I get is a nod and quiet hum. This is the place of mine in her heart. I am just nobody,” Kiara spoke and finally broke down into tears with Marianna consoling her.
“I go to my work and when I come back tired and fed up with the world, I have to deal with her in the house. You know she can’t cook! It’s totally fine with me but I can cook. When I come back expecting that at least she would have eaten whatever I made for her, do you know what I get? I find my food untouched. This is the thing she keeps on doing every single day. She thinks she has the only miserable life. What about me? Does she ever care about me? Did she ever ask how am I? Does she even know that the reason I shifted to Melbourne away from everyone because all of a sudden my parents whom I have kept on thinking as the perfect couple is not even a couple!” she yelled in frustration and as I heard that my head automatically whipped to her direction.i
“What? Shocked? Are you thinking why I have never told you this? Well, guess what I tried! I fucking tried! But you ignored me and continued to be drawn into your melodramatic shitty world,” she snapped at me.
“My parents never really married each other. And my mom is not even my mother. I got to know this after you were gone with Zachary that I was born to Mrs. Delilah Richmond but not to Ms. Lizzie Richmond. My real mother left me with my father because she got to know about his extra-marital affair with his secretary. She left a newborn behind and truly like you devastated that she failed her marriage and love, she fled away. But thankfully my father understood it finally that she was his actual love of his life and though he didn’t marry his secretary still he kept her with him making the whole world believe that she was his actual wife. Thankfully, Lizzie whom I have been thinking as my mom my entire life is far better than my real mother and she loved me more than my own mother could have ever loved me. I actually feel bad for her, because what did she ever get? Nothing! My father never married her and she never really had any child of her own because of some health problem. My real mother fled away only because she couldn’t bear the betrayal and hurt she felt but in all this, she forgot about me. I just can’t even believe my father. I just don’t understand this shit that Man is polygamous? Infidelity was the cause of the situation that we are today,” she cried.
“But still, in all this chaos I kept on thinking about you thinking that one day you will look right past me and you will help me deal with the situation. But all I have been doing is to wait. I have just been waiting and waiting for you to move on, to come back to us, but no- you are just too busy with your own life. What is this?” she yelled as Marianna tried to relax her.
“Fine! if you can’t help me I won’t help you. Why should I waste my life with all this? I want to be happy and I will make sure nobody gets into my way in between me and my happiness. I have had just enough of everyone,” I watched as she angrily wiped her eyes and walked to the mirror and she searched for something.
She picked the eyeliner up and attempted to apply it on her eyes but failed miserably with the liner smudging her eyelids because of her trembling hand and continuous blinking of eyes as she forcibly stopped herself from crying any further.
“I said I will go to the club today and I will. I just don’t care if you come or not. But for me? I have made up my mind I will not let anyone ruin the time of my life. I am going to enjoy it and nobody can stop me. I don’t car-” she stopped and all of a sudden burst out into tears and angrily scribbled on the mirror using the liner.
“Oh, Kiara!” Marianna tried to stop her but she threw the liner on the floor spilling the black liquid on the ground and ran into the bathroom.
“Juliette,” Marianna looked at me begging me through her eyes.
I wiped my face and stood up from the bed and took the dress that was on the chair. Walking into the bathroom, I watched as Kiara continuously splashed water to her face.
“I don’t have any shoes to wear with this dress,” I said after I cleared my throat to get her attention.
She stopped splashing the water and turned the tap off as she looked at me through the mirror. She kept both of her hands on the counter and looked at me cautiously with red puffy eyes.
“Wear mine then,” she said and it was enough for me to throw my arms around her neck as I put my head on her shoulder and hugged her saying countless sorry’s for my behavior.
“Forgive me. I am so sorry. I was ignorant,” I said and she put one of her hand on my back and patted me lightly.
“It’s okay,” she whispered.
“I have decided!” I pulled away from her and wiped her face using my right hand.
“No more of crying. Truly speaking, I also have had enough! I’m tired now and even though I just can’t forget anything I’ll try my best to move on,” I said and finally watched as the sides of her lips curved up.
“Really?” she asked slowly.
“Yes. After all, as you had said before, I am young,” I winked at her and she laughed.
“It’s going to be the best day of our life,” she smiled.
“Of course it will be! So should I take it in that everything is okay between you two now?” Marianna said poking her head into the bathroom.
“Yeah!” we said in unison.
“So shall I call Eve and Tess now? They have been waiting the whole day for the club,” she told us excitedly and I nodded. She smiled and pulled the phone out of her jeans pocket and called them to our house.
They were in our home in just five minutes. All they did was to run to our house as they were our neighbor.
“Alright! To the best day of our life,” Tess said as she forwarded her hand for us and we followed her and like a school kid kept our hand on her and cheered shouting and laughing at each other.
After that, all we did was home beauty session which included manicure and pedicure. Facial and refreshing and diminishing the dark circles using cucumber slices while I ate some of it much to Tess’s dismay. We helped each other in makeup and got ready before the time. Eve was going to drive us there and for that, we were all truly grateful to her. A cab was a bad idea and we made a deal that none of us will drink like a drunkard. We will only drink as long as we could hold ourself and come out of the club totally fine.
Eve was actually engaged and her fiance was a doctor, he couldn’t join us because of his work. Tess’s boyfriend will also not tag along because she warned him that it was totally a girl’s night out. Marianna was actually like Kiara with no boyfriends. She was busy building up her career same as Kiara.
I looked at myself. Tess had curled up my torso length grown wild hair into wavy curls which added more volume to my hair and I actually looked different.The cucumber remedy was actually worth it. My dark circles minimized and the concealer did a good job totally hiding it. The dress clung to me like a second skin but it wasn’t uncomfortable. The hemline ended up right above my knees and I matched the dress by borrowing Kiara’s black stiletto. My eyes popped out because of the smokey eyes makeup and the nude brown lipstick enhanced my natural beauty. The only problem was the plunging neckline. It was deep but reached the middle part of my chest showing off little too much for my liking and to the top of that Kiara made me wear the push-up bra. Even though I looked hot, but I couldn’t help it because my hands would automatically make its way up trying to pull the neckline up.
“Will you stop?” Kiara gave me a distasteful look.
“What? I can’t help it. It’s too low” I complained as I tried to pull the neckline up.
“Low? You call that low? Then what about my dress?” Tess asked and I looked at her.
She was wearing a white fit and flare dress but the only attraction in her dress was her neckline which went down to her bellybutton.
“She will probably call you naked,” Marianna commented which made everyone laugh except for me and Tess.
“Shut up!” we said in unison.
I looked at Kiara while Eve drove us to the club. Remorse and shame filled up inside me because I failed to be the perfect friend. She was there for me when I needed her but what did I do? I ignored and blocked her out. How could I be so ignorant? How could I not see right through her fake smile?
I sighed and smiled when she glanced at me. She was wearing a baby pink colored bodycon dress with a studded neckline. She looked absolutely gorgeous with her hair down into soft waves and minimum as compared to no makeup look.
“What?” she asked when she caught me staring.
“Nothing,” I smile and I watched as she opened her mouth to speak something but stopped when her phone rang.
“God Dammit!” she cursed and everyone except for Eve turned in their seats to look at her.
“What?” Eve asked looking at her through the rearview mirror.
“This guy just doesn’t understand that I am just not interested,” Kiara complained as she typed furiously on her phone.
“Did that guy texted you again?” asked a bewildered looking Tess.
“Yes, he just doesn’t get it” Kiara snorted and typed something replying to that guy’s text.
“Who is he?” I asked
“What is his name?”
“What does he do?”
“Keeps on irritating me with flirty and irritating cliche lines,”
“Where does he live?”
“This is his probably twentieth new number”
“Change your number!”
“My bank accounts and work related stuff are linked with this number. I can’t do that! It will take time and I am lazy.”
“Well then ignore his texts”
“He will call me until I reply.”
“What does he want?”
“To meet me.”
“He says he has fallen for me from the day he saw me. But you what? I don’t even bloody know his face!”
“Then go meet him and sort this out!”
“What if he is a psycho. What if he kills me? Even though I have the Silver belt in Karate I don’t think I could fight a monster or a creepy Psycho,” Kiara said and I rolled my eyes at her.
“You have never learned Karate du!” I remarked.
“Yes, I have duh!” she rolled her eyes back at me.
“Oh really? From where?”
“Of course from the internet!”
We all groaned at her as she looked at each of us asking what.
The music was loud bashing into my ear as I put my hand over my ears but laughing enjoying the beats when we entered the club. People were dancing, drinking enjoying and the happy surrounding made me realize what I was actually missing. I actually felt better after a long time. Surrounded by happy people actually made me feel better and I was thankful to Kiara and my girls for dragging me out here. We drank a little and made our way to the dance floor to dance. Kiara kept on on dancing and showing her moves shaking her head and singing along with the song. I just moved in synchronization with the beats and bobbed my head whenever the DJ played my song.
Some guys asked Kiara out and she ignored them as if they were some plague.
“Kiara! That was rude!” I whisper yelled at her when she chose to ignore the guy who politely asked her to dance with him.
“What? I don’t think so! I am not leaving my girl alone,” she winked at me and I rolled my eyes even though I laughed at her.
“Okay, I’m tired now. I will just rest my feet for some minutes,” I yelled against the music and Kiara nodded getting my voice.
“Fine! I will join you in some minutes,” she replied yelling back and I nodded before making my way out of the dance floor dodging the staggering drunkards and sweaty people.
As I walked towards the couch in the corner a man walked past me in a hurry but as he went past me he collided with another man and I saw as his wallet fell on the ground from his jacket. I picked up his wallet and was about to give him but found the man staggering out of the club. He was swaying and his body language totally indicated me that the man was intoxicated but his wallet was in my hand.
I called for him to stop but due to the loud music he was unable to hear me and ignoring my voice he walked out disappearing from my sight. I looked at the wallet in my hand and then looked back at Kiara who was dancing like a maniac enjoying her time. I sighed and thought that I would just return the wallet back to the man and run back in. As I made up my mind, I hurried out following where he went.
The cold air hit my body as soon as I took a step out of the club. It was already late and I looked around searching for the man. From far away, I caught the glimpse of the man’s jacket and watched as he walked towards the car in the parking lot. He was staggering and my mind screamed at me not to go near him for he could be dangerous. I had not yet seen his face but somehow my heart told me to follow me. Reluctantly, I took a sprint in his direction and slowed up my pace when he stood keeping a hand on the hood of a car probably balancing himself.
“Hey!” I called to him.
“I have your wal- woah! Careful!” and he stumble on his own feet and fell backward towards my direction. I ran up to him for his aid as I watched the man groaning and turning around still on the ground using his hand to push himself up but failing miserably.
As I ran up to him and stood right before him thinking whether to touch him or not I chose to rely on my vocal cords as I asked him “Hey are you alright?”
The man stopped groaning all of a sudden and laid down stiff in his position. His behavior got me worried and before I could ask him anything else he moved his head up making me gasp as I saw his face.