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The Old Me

Prologue

I was no angel.

I wasn’t that innocent girl who stood in the back wondering why he wouldn’t choose me. Why he couldn’t see that we were truly meant for each other.

Nope. I deserved every ounce of Trevor Nixon’s loathing.

Because I ruined his sister’s life.

I was like a vine: fascinating, elegant, enticing. I’d succeeded in masterfully climbing the broken walls of my life and covering the empty decay with a disguise of brilliant art. But, like a vine, I was also hungry, dangerous, and deadly. I could squeeze the joy out of any poor victim who stood in my way.

Trinity Nixon had been that victim.

Why? Because I needed her to hate me.

My father gave up on me. He didn’t care. Maybe if the rest of the world gave up on me too, then I wouldn’t take his abandonment so personally.

The man I’d grown up with was no longer a man. His spirit was gone. The life that once coursed through his veins had come to an end. The heart that once pumped and strived to live so that I could be happy had lost its will to continue. It fought for him until the end, but even a strong heart can’t function without fuel. And now, all that fuel lies soaked into my memories of where his life ended.

My heart crumpled with the realization that I’d lost him. Even before his soul left his body, he had already given up. Given up on himself. Given up on me. I wasn’t even worth the fight, or the effort of acknowledging my pleas for forgiveness. He didn’t care that my heart would be eternally broken. He didn’t care that he had destroyed my ability to live freely. I would forever be trapped in my own guilt. My life would be a perennial fight for acceptance, and yet, even the most convincing person wouldn’t succeed in making me feel accepted.

My father had turned me into an outcast.

I would be absorbed into the shadows. Happiness would fade into a memory before evaporating into a myth. Hope would wither like a starving flower. I would slowly die, and with each passing day, I’d come closer to saying goodbye to the girl I used to be.

That’s when I ruined her life.

I tore Trinity down until her sweet smile slid off her face. I pushed her buttons until tears rimmed her eyes. I insulted, teased, and tormented her until eventually, she slid into the background, and then one day she was just gone.

I remember the day well. Somehow the school seemed quieter and duller than usual. I could hear whispers spreading throughout the halls like a virus. I didn’t realize what had changed until I got to my third-period class; the class that I happened to share with Trinity and her brother.

At that point, she’d become so withdrawn that I never would have noticed she was missing except for the look in his eyes. I guess he’d been somewhat unaware of my cruelty towards his sister until that moment. The moment I pushed her too far.

She was gone, her whereabouts a mystery to me, and I’d suddenly gone from invisible to well-known... and well-hated.

My plan failed, and I was forced to swim upstream in a sea of my own guilt. I couldn’t undo the damage I’d done, but I could make an effort at healing myself—erase the bitterness to allow the pretty, shiny parts of who I am show through.

Since then, Trevor’s graduated and I haven’t seen him in a year. So, when I realize that I’ll be attending the same college as him, I feel that I’ve been given a second chance. A chance to earn his forgiveness.

Now, as I step out of my car and onto my new campus grounds, I pull a breath into my petrified lungs. And, as I’ve taught myself so well, I paint on a smile; a smile that I hope will be warm enough to thaw the icy heart of the boy who has been living on repeat in my thoughts for the past year.

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