Porcelain Skin

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Twice Dead

I wake up way too early to be considered healthy, but my mind is racing and I just can’t get my thoughts to settle down long enough to fall back to sleep. Drifting into a peaceful slumber was nearly impossible last night. How is a girl supposed to get some shuteye after a kiss like that? To realize that the guy you’ve wanted for so long reciprocates your feelings is just too good to be true. I probably smiled my way into a night of sweet dreams, and now here I am still smiling at five o’clock in the morning.

Once I realize that sleep won’t come, I pull myself out of bed and prepare for my morning run. I decide to go an extra few miles because I have plenty of time to spare and sitting around my dorm room waiting for Trevor to text me would make me feel pathetic.

I actually venture as far as my good old pal, Merv: my barn. I’m sweating through my clothes by the time I climb up the ladder and settle myself down near the barn loft door. The sun is just beginning to awaken, peeking its tired eyes open just enough to cast a honeyed glow across the barren fields. It starts out timid with a light blush blossoming across the expanse and turns into a harsh slap of gold as the intensity of the sun increases. Eventually, the colors even out until the familiar light blue of day is the only color remaining. I pull myself up from my relaxed position and start back towards campus.

It’s nearly seven-thirty by the time I make it back, and I’m feeling the exhaustion from my run and very little sleep. I take a prune-inducing shower before finally stepping out into the steam-filled room. I’m dressed and ready for my day by eight-thirty and decide that I’d better attempt to finish some homework.

By ten-thirty my phone still remains silent. I keep checking it about every ten minutes, but my inbox is still empty. Class starts in an hour, so I’m debating whether or not to just show up at Trevor’s apartment. I’m wondering if he forgot that he mentioned getting coffee together today. And if so, how is that possible? If he felt anything even close to the way I felt then he should have texted the moment he woke up. So maybe he wasn’t awake.

With this thought, I stuff my books into my bag, sling it over my shoulder, and make the ten-minute walk to his place. The closer I get the more nervous I feel. What if he really doesn’t feel how I feel? What if he regrets the kiss? Some people just enjoy kissing without the emotions attached. Would he have done that to me knowing how I feel about him? I can’t imagine he’d do something so heartless.

Taking a deep breath I knock. I wait a moment but there’s no answer. I knock again and eventually hear some shuffling behind the door. A moment later it swings open to reveal a very put-together Trevor. From the looks of it, he’s been up for awhile. His clothes are neat, and his hair is styled, no longer damp from a shower.

I smile the moment I see him, but my lips falter when he doesn’t return the gesture. He continues to stare at me in confusion until something flickers in his eyes—realization.

“Emma,” he says as he glances behind himself briefly before stepping outside, leaving the door slightly ajar as his hand rests on the doorknob. “What are you doing here?”

“Um,” I scratch my eyebrow while shooting him an odd look. “You mentioned getting coffee before class, but I never heard from you, so I figured I’d just come on over.”

“Aw, shoot.” He rubs the back of his neck. “Did you text first?” he asks while pulling out his phone from his pocket to check.

“Uh... no.” I’m suddenly feeling devastatingly uncomfortable. Nothing about the way he is acting seems normal, and I’m getting the feeling that he doesn’t exactly want me here.

“Listen,” he says softly. “Now isn’t the best time. I’m really sorry that I forgot about coffee, but we’re gonna have to reschedule for another time.” Something like pity falls into the creases of his brows, and I’m wondering why he’s acting so strange.

“Is everything okay?” I finally inquire as I take a careful step forward.

Trevor rubs the back of his neck again before answering. “It’s just that—I think I made a big mistake.”

It’s like getting punched in the gut, all the air leaving my body as the truth of his words registers. Anger sparks to life in an attempt to awaken its old friend, bitterness. I try to stomp it down as I pull in a deep breath. It would be so easy to just let myself go again, but that would only result in shame.

“Last night never should have happened,” he tells me regretfully. “I had a moment of weakness and I took advantage of you. I shouldn’t have, and I’m really sorry.”

“Trevor,” I mumble as I try to understand what exactly he’s telling me. “What do you—”

And that’s when I hear it—someone inside the apartment.

“Trevor, are you still going to make breakfast?” Her voice is smooth and sweet; the consistency of honey as it resonates with affection. I catch a glimpse of her through the partly opened door. Her unnaturally tall frame pauses, and as her eyes lock with mine she pushes a lock of curly, chocolate-tinted hair behind her ear.

I gasp aloud, causing Trevor’s face to twist in remorse.

“Is that—Is someone in there?” I stutter. It’s obvious from his expression that I was never supposed to know about her.

Before he can even answer I’ve already turned and started making my way down the sidewalk, humiliation bubbling beneath the surface of my chest.

“Emma, no. Please wait.” Trevor is trailing behind me, his bare feet slapping the ground. “It’s not what you think.”

“And what do I think?” I mutter as I force the emotion in my throat to stay hidden for a few more minutes.

“She’s just—”

“Your morning make-out buddy?” I snarl as I continue walking.

“What? Don’t be ridiculous.” He grasps my arm and turns me towards him. “I don’t even know her.” My lips twist in disgust. Really? He’d stoop that low? I want to spit on his stupidly perfect face.

I sense a wave of panic behind his eyes, but I block it out. He doesn’t deserve my concern. In this precise moment, I want to slide my fingers around his throat and squeeze. I want him to feel my pain.

“Did you meet her last night while playing pool?” I question him as I glare into his emerald eyes. Little by little, the dark cloud that had crept into my heart after my father’s death, began to tiptoe its way back in.

He drops my arm to run a hand through his hair. “Sort of, and,” he quickly adds, “I know what you’re thinking, but—”

“Who cares what I think,” I shout back. “I was under the impression that last night meant something to you. I mean, you kissed me first, if I remember correctly.”

“Would you just let me explain for two seconds?” Trevor growls, but it doesn’t damper my rage in any way. If anything, seeing him trying to defend himself just causes the flames to erupt into a wild fury.

“I can’t, Trevor. I can’t be around you right now.” I turn back to begin walking away but stop briefly to face him again. “Do you have any idea what you’ve just done? What I’ve gone through to get myself to this point, and in one single night, you’ve bulldozed all of my efforts? Do you know what that feels like?”

Trevor looks lost, his mind fumbling for a response, but before he can respond I turn in the opposite direction and leave him standing on the sidewalk alone.

----

I don’t make it to class. I just don’t have the energy to face Trevor. I don’t want to hear his excuses. I stay in my dorm room the rest of the day, fearing that if I leave at all I might bump into him, and I can’t risk that.

I’m currently sitting on my bed with my knees pulled to my chest as I wrap myself into a little ball. I have yet to cry. I’m not sure why the tears won’t come. They’re right there on the edge, but they just won’t fall. It’s like they’re afraid to make the jump because once they leave the comfort of my tear ducts there will be no stopping the flood that will follow.

I stare unseeingly across the room, my body limp and tired. My energy has been zapped from my body. Mercy was just getting up when I arrived back to my dorm. She asked what was wrong, but when I only shrugged she offered a light pat on my back before disappearing out of the room.

Lindsey was unaware of what had happened. She didn’t even know that we had kissed yet, but now my pride won’t let me tell her. It’d be too embarrassing to admit that I wasn’t good enough. One simple kiss was all it took to convince him not to waste his time on me. Once again, I wasn’t worth someone’s time. I’d been tossed to the side without a second thought.

My eyes dart to my phone when it begins to vibrate, but I just throw it to the other side of the bed. I’m not in the mood to chat with anyone. I just need my space. Trevor has attempted to get a hold of me multiple times, forcing me to eventually put my phone on silent. I’m much too raw and irrational to discuss what happened. Speaking to Trevor would only cause me more regret. I need to cool off first.

This wasn’t how I imagined things to turn out. I always hoped he would see me as someone other than the evil girl who tormented his sister. I’d hoped he’d see me as a potential friend. But when he kissed me last night all my hopes skyrocketed. I’d let myself get caught up in the idea of belonging to him, holding his hand through campus, going on dates, winning his heart; and look how quickly he shot those dreams down. If he would have just physically taken a gun and shot me through the chest it would have been less painful.

Was it possible to survive death? I used to think not, but after surviving the heartbreak that my father caused, I realized that living and breathing while feeling dead on the inside was very much possible. Now the question is:

Can a person survive death twice?

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