It’s Thursday and I’ve got Psychology this morning, but I can’t bring myself to leave my bed. Call me a coward, but I’m just not prepared to face Trevor yet. After my private meltdown yesterday, I returned home feeling strangely invigorated. Music is my band-aid; it helps seal in the pain. The wound still hurts, but it’s no longer bleeding profusely.
I roll over to check the time and realize, with a sigh of relief, that I’ve already missed the opportunity to convince myself that I need to go to class. Seeing as how it started four minutes ago, I don’t have the time to get ready and make the walk across campus without being glaringly late.
I run my hands down my face. The hum from last night’s violin session has faded from my veins, the same way alcohol gradually evaporates from your blood. I’m feeling the burn of Trevor’s words all over again. What had I missed? Were my feelings for him so deep that they blinded me to how he truly felt?
I couldn’t help but feel like I’d been played. Like he’d done this on purpose just to bury the dagger in a little deeper. Why not just dig a hole and bury me in it? It’d be less painful, much quicker, and a whole lot less of a mess for him.
I groan and roll onto my stomach just as someone bursts through the door. I don’t move, hoping they’ll think I’m sleeping and leave me alone. No such luck.
I feel a presence on my bed as it dips dramatically with their body weight. They’re not gentle about it either. From the way it’s rocking back and forth, I’d think they had just launched themselves onto my mattress. And then I feel them poking my butt. Well, that eliminates Trevor as an option. I guess he hasn’t come to check on me, apologize profusely, and confess his love. The poking gets progressively more intense. I’m gonna have a bruised butt cheek for sure. I still don’t move. It’s possible they’ll think I’m a really deep sleeper.
“You’re not sleeping.” I hear the unmistakable pitch of Mercy’s voice hovering above me.
I moan dramatically before lifting my head and twisting my body to look at her evilly. She’s standing above me on my bed, using her toe as a poker.
“What?” I mumble as I thrust my face back into my pillow.
“Up up up!” she demands, emphasizing her words with her toe in my butt cheek.
“I will break all your toes off, tie string around them and hang them above your bed with your stupid butterflies if you don’t leave me alone,” I warn, but it lacks any heat. I’m too drained to appear threatening.
I’m surprised when she laughs and then flops herself down next to me in bed where she proceeds to sing. Her voice could be decent if it didn’t sound like she’d just swallowed sandpaper, and then upchucked it just to rub it against my eardrums.
In other words, it’s horribly painful to listen to.
“Nooooo!” I bellow, but the cry is lost in my pillow. I pull it over my head, hoping to mute the sound, but it’s hopeless.
I finally give up, flinging my body around with a ‘harrumph’ and crossing my arms over my chest. I watch her for awhile, my face void of any emotion, while internally I’m actually enjoying the show. She’s got her feet pointed straight up in the air doing bicycle movements to the rhythm of whatever she’s attempting to sing. She’s in her own little world for about a whole minute before she realizes she’s gained my attention.
“Oh, it worked,” she says, but she doesn’t sound surprised. She throws her body off the bed landing on all fours before jumping to her feet. “Get up,” she demands again.
“Why?” I ask cautiously.
“’Cuz, I heard all about your little event yesterday and this,” she says pointing her finger at me in disgust, “is not okay.”
I roll my eyes at her while throwing off the blankets and stumbling out of bed.
“What are you gonna do to me?” I inquire, as it dawns on me that she’s wearing a onesie with ‘freshly squeezed’ written on the butt of it. I only know this because she’s currently got her rear end sticking up in the air while she digs for who-knows-what under her bed. She pauses briefly to peek at me over her shoulder.
“No, the Siamese cat doing yoga on your bed,” I tell her blankly.
She laughs, mumbling that I’m weird under her breath before turning around to continue her search. I’m pretty sure I see her glance at her bed first.
After a couple grunts of frustration, she finally answers the question.
“I’m not doing anything with your sorry butt,” she says while attempting to reach a little further. “I’m just doing what I was told.”
I stare at her and watch while she hunts through an impressive amount of junk. I’m not sure how she’s accumulated so much in just a few weeks. She finally sighs and falls back, sitting on her legs.
“Just curious, but did you wear that onesie in public?” I ask.
She pauses briefly from her search to look down at her outfit. “Hmmm, guess so.” She shrugs it off and continues rooting around under her bed.
“Have you seen my leather boots?” she finally asks, looking over to where I’m still standing in the middle of the room.
“Which ones?” I wonder aloud, pulling my hair into a ponytail.
“You know? Those old Doc Martens that I decorated with henna?” she explains.
I’ve never actually owned a pair of Doc Martens just because the name makes me think of a pair of bulky, Velcro tennis shoes worn by a sixty-year-old grannie sporting a bun, and a skirt down to her calves.
The first time I saw Mercy’s homemade pair, I realized I was completely wrong. She turned those bad boys into a brilliant work of art. If I could pull off anything even close to her style then I’d probably ask her to make me a pair, but seeing as how I’m about as exciting as a dead lizard when it comes to clothing, I know it’d be a wasted effort on her part if she agreed.
“Sorry Merc, haven’t seen them,” I respond around a yawn as I allow myself to flop back down onto my unmade bed.
“No no no,” she reprimands, standing and pulling me up by my limp arm. “You’ve got five minutes to get ready. Your friend is on her way.”
“I don’t care,” I whine dramatically with a sigh. I should be in panic mode trying to get ready, but I just don’t really care. “You could have told me this like ten minutes ago, ya know.”
I drop off my bed like a blob of putty, and sluggishly make my way to the bathroom.
When I emerge minutes later the only thing that remains of Mercy is her onesie heaped on her bed. The room is sweetly quiet. I pull on a pair of skinny jeans and a long-sleeved tunic. I accent my eyes with black liner, rub several wads of mousse into my wet hair and sit on my bed. I’m surprised Lindsey never texted me this morning about her plans. At least, I assume it’s Lindsey who’s coming to get me. Since she didn’t tell me directly, I’m suddenly wondering if Mercy actually knows what she was talking about, or if I just got ready for nothing.
I pick at my nails for a few minutes before I’m startled by a knock on the door. I hop up, faking enthusiasm as I swing the door open.
“Oh, so you did get my message,” Lindsey comments, eyeing my appearance, but she doesn’t look very happy. I give her a questioning look, and she shoulders past me to sit on my messy bed. “I’ve been texting and calling all morning, but did you ever respond? No,” I can’t help but smile at her childish tone. “I finally found your roommate, Macy...”
“Whatever.” She waves my correction away. “And, she said you’d been sleeping away your beauty—apparently you’re a hideous sleeper from the way she explained it—and she would happily rip you out of your bubble of dreams because, and I quote, she ‘doesn’t feel like your imagination is very healthy’. So...” She hops off my bed. All signs of irritation erased from her features as she grabs my arm and pulls me towards the door. “You ready to wallow away your heartache in a sea of ice-cream bliss?”
The weekend goes by unexpectedly slow. Not that I mind at all. It gives me a bit longer to get over the whole Trevor episode. The more I think about him and what he said, the more confused I get. Did he not message me a few days ago to reassure me that he did not hate me? But then the next moment he’s confessing to his roommate, in the privacy of his apartment, that he ‘kinda hates me’. Guys complain about girls being confusing, but this scenario has ‘confusing’ written all over it, and it’s ticking me off.
I feel like I’ve been pretty understanding when it comes to Trevor’s feelings. Yes, I screwed up. Big Time. But it’s not like I was rubbing insults into his face all day in high school. I get that he’s being the protective brother, but he’s acting as if I scorned him personally. The other thing I can’t figure out is, if he was such an overly protective brother, why didn’t he ever confront me about it? He could have cornered me in the school hallway and demanded that I put an end to it or he’d put an end to me. Maybe not that dramatic. I’m just saying, where was he the whole time that I picked on his precious little sister? Instead of standing up for her, he chose to completely ignore it.
I rub a hand through my hair in frustration, causing strands of curls to stick out in strange places. I’ve been doing a bit of grocery shopping since the school food doesn’t rate very highly, and I’m desperately needing to restock my mid-morning, mid-afternoon, evening, and midnight snack supply. Sadly, this moment right here has been the highlight of my week.
My roommate has made herself scarce, and Chuck and Lindsey were visiting their parents for the weekend. Next weekend I’m inviting myself along if they decide to ditch me again. I refuse to be cooped up in my dorm another moment when every person I know on campus is missing. Well, except for Trevor. I’d hang with Mike but, other than jumping off cliffs together at the lake, I don’t really know him.
Secretly, I’m dying to see Trevor. I want him to grovel at my feet, and wash my toes with his tears. I want him to beg for forgiveness until his throat bleeds and then confess his love for me, all in one breath. And then we could finally conclude this story with a happily ever after. Unfortunately, this is real life, and in real life, those endings rarely exist.
Pushing my cart through the cookie aisle, I snag a packet of Oreo’s from the shelf and finish off my shopping spree with a box of Skittles. Literally, a box. Not just one packet, but the box full of little baggies. Yeah, I bought that. I’ve got a weakness for those round, little balls of tropical goodness that send my tongue on a holiday.
When I finally arrive back at my eerily quiet dorm room, I stuff all my goodies in my secret hiding place under the bed. I’m aware that it’s not a secret because last week my heaping supply of Sour Patch vanished in a night. I’m not too concerned, though, because I just so happened to have found Mercy’s secret stash of Starburst, popcorn, and Twizzlers. I have enjoyed all three.
I’ve finally decided that I need someone to talk to, so I reach over to my bedside where my phone is so that I can call my mom. I search underneath the magazine and in the drawer, but my phone isn’t there. I pull my blankets away from my bed and crawl all over the thing using my hands like a metal detector, but I find nothing. My phone is missing. I guess this would explain why Lindsey couldn’t reach me the other day. In the back of my mind, I wonder if Trevor has actually attempted to get a hold of me. With this thought, a fragment of my anger vaporizes.
Throwing myself onto my messy bed and placing my feet against the wall I go to work thinking. I retrace all my steps, trying to discover where my phone is, without actually having to move my lazy butt out of bed. Grocery shopping literally drains the life from my bones. My heart slows down, and my skin sags. It’s not enjoyable in any way.
My mind begins to buzz with random thoughts as the mental search for my phone is forgotten. Eventually, my brain can’t handle the action any longer and slowly turns off like a dying Energizer bunny. My eyes drift downward, and within minutes I’ve escaped reality and ventured into the land of unicorns, rainbows, and a pocket-sized Trevor. That last one probably stemmed from watching ‘Honey, I Blew Up the Kid’ last night.
I purposely arrive to psychology class earlier than normal on Monday, hoping to avoid sitting next to Trevor. I’d heard rumor from one of the earlier psychology classes that our partner projects are being put on hold. This could not have had better timing.
I scan my seating options and spot Lightning waving at me from the middle far left side of the room. A smile instantly graces my lips, and I march my way over to him.
“Light!” I bellow obnoxiously.
“Ems!” he bellows right back.
I drop myself into the seat beside his and turn to face him. I offer a warm smile, which he returns eagerly.
“So, how was your weekend?” he asks, like a father interrogating his teenage daughter.
“Bleh,” I say, turning to face the front of the class. “You?”
“Faaabuloooous.” He actually sings the word, gaining the attention of the few students seated around us. He doesn’t notice as he goes into details. “I went to a Miike Snow concert, and it was OFF THE WALL awesome!”
And then he proceeds to give me a sneak peek of his experience by belting out their lyrics. ”I change shapes just to hide in this place, But I’m still, I’m still an animal. Nobody knows it but me when I slip. Yeah, I slip. I’m still an animal!!!!!”
“Shut up man!” someone across the room yells. Apparently, he’s not a morning person.
Lightning just starts laughing as he continues to sing, holding out the word ‘animal’ just a bit longer than necessary just to peeve off the grouch across the room.
“Sounds like you had fun,” I laugh as he takes a small bow without actually getting out of his seat. “Other than that, how’ve you been? Haven’t seen you since like... the first day of school,” I remind him.
He gives me an odd, pondering look before responding.
“Have we really only met once?” He scratches the side of his head, but before I can respond the teacher enters the room, gaining our attention.
As I turn forward I notice that Trevor is already seated a few seats over from me. We make eye contact, and I offer him a tame smile. I can see the relief in the quick grin that he returns. And then he tears his gaze away from me just as quickly, giving me the impression that he’s irritated about something. My eyebrows crease in confusion, uncertain why he would be angry with me when it should be the other way around.
“Today we’re going to take a small break from our partners—” Ms. Garrison is cut off by a couple groans and a few cheers around the room, but she doesn’t let it phase her as she continues on, “to do a bit of research on dreams. According to Freud, dreams are the ‘royal road to the unconscious’. Some people believe that dreams have certain fixed meanings, that your dreams symbolize something bigger. Others believe that it’s just your brain cleaning itself out during the sleep process.” She pauses to grab a stack of papers from her desk to pass them out.
“Today,” she proceeds on, “we’re going to go into a bit of detail on different beliefs about dreams. Outside of class, and for the next week, I’d like you to record your dreams. You’ll want to record them as soon as you wake up so you can recall the most detail possible. After this week, you’ll return to your partners so you can work on deciphering the dreams together.”
The class went by quickly as she discussed dream interpretation, what causes dreams, how we put our dreams into words, and so on. I scribbled notes down, absorbing each word. I’m already looking forward to going to bed tonight just so I can dream.
My heart beats wildly in my chest, matching the rhythm of my pounding feet. I can glimpse the water sparkling between the gaps in the trees as they widen the closer I get to the edge. My red robe billows behind me, getting tangled between my legs. I’m not wearing shoes but the rocks and twigs beneath my feet go unnoticed. My breaths are easily pulled from my lungs to merge with the wind fanning past me and tangling in my hair.
I finally reach the edge of the water and I stand panting as I search the glassy surface. There is no movement for several heartbeats while I wait. Somehow, I know exactly what I’m waiting for, while at the same time not having any idea. The life inside of me swirls with emotions that match the warm breeze blowing over the water. My chest feels full, each inhale bringing more awareness to the sensations flowing beneath my skin.
Suddenly, the reason for my desperation appears. I see the water rippling and within seconds his head surfaces. He emerges from the depths of the lake with fluid motion. He runs a hand through his slick hair, creating a disheveled, dripping masterpiece. I stare in awe as water droplets slide down his face and neck, slipping underneath his shirt, only to emerge from his sleeves and continue the journey down his arms in sluggish rivulets. His eyes lock with mine as he closes the distance between us. Warmth slithers through my core as ice shoots through my veins.
He’s standing directly in front of me, his lips glistening with moisture. I’m not ashamed as I stare at each feature of his face. His green eyes trigger a riotous eruption in my stomach. The riot births into a full on war as all anxiety slips through my grasp, and I am left with a sense of pure determination and courage. I close the gap between us, noticing the heat blazing behind the green windows of his soul. He matches my steps until we’re so close that our heat fuses us together.
“I’ve wanted this for so long,” he whispers, passion tightening his words.
I respond by grazing my lips across his. He pulls back, shock evident in his expression as his gaze flickers playfully between my eyes and lips, and then, in one swift motion, his lips are claiming mine in an undeniable dance of ecstasy.
I can feel myself inviting him to deepen the kiss but he pulls back slightly. In another swarm of courage, I pull him close again as I trail wet kisses against his throbbing pulse. Something animalistic and raspy vibrates through him, tingling my lips.
We don’t notice the wind picking up speed as our lips continue to dance. Within seconds the breeze has escalated into a whirlwind of chaos. We are abruptly thrown apart as the heavy winds attack. The waters around us rage in violence. I scream for him but the wind throws my words the opposite direction. He’s still watching me, completely oblivious to the cyclone enveloping us.
Abruptly, his feet are ripped from underneath him. The vigorous winds pull him backward with fingers of steel, and I watch helplessly as it drags him into the rabid belly of the lake. Suddenly, everything explodes into an eerie silence, and the only sound echoing across the glassy lake is the roar of terror ripping through my swollen lips.