M A B E L
I haven’t seen Hayes in days.
I attended school and passed my tests and went to work and even stopped by his house to check if he were still alive, but he hasn’t been anywhere in Seeder Grove for exactly four days. I was beginning to get worried about him when he didn’t show up for his eight a.m class on Thursday morning, and as Friday came I became even more worried. Usually I would see him sitting at his desk by the window that looks straight out into my bedroom, but I haven’t seen the bastard in four days.
Part of me has grown scared that he has tried to commit suicide again, or maybe even he did. My mind can’t help but go to the worst case scenario, and I absolutely fucking hate that. I shouldn’t be worrying so much about a grown ass man, but part of me can’t help it– the part of me that has grown to like his company. I find it completely strange that four days ago I had crashed at his place after our little ‘moment’, and when I woke the next morning he was nowhere to be found.
The man with dead green eyes is a complete mystery, and every part of my being wants to solve it– to solve him.
But in just a matter of four short days, I managed to do something by myself that I never would have even thought about doing in general. Something that was so damn painful, and took so fucking long, but it was worth every agonizing second.
I got a fucking tattoo, a red rose just beneath my collarbone. I’m still quite shocked with myself for walking into that tattoo parlor, for even tossing a wad of cash onto the counter, and for lying on the table. But when the tattoo artist had asked for me to take off my shirt, and I complied, he got an eyeful of the pinkish hickies that still have yet to vanish. He had laughed softly, shook his head like he knew too well when in reality he had no idea, had no idea that I was getting revenge on my ex-boyfriend, had no idea that I was baked out of my fucking mind with my green eyed next door neighbor who I had just kept from killing himself.
No one has a single idea, not even my family, not even Riley. The saddest part is, my mom hasn’t been home in four days, I haven’t seen her anywhere in Seeder Grove either, like she somehow vanished along with Hayes. Dad pretends not to notice, he pretends that mom being gone doesn’t bother him in the slightest, but I can see through his mask. I honestly pretend it doesn’t bother me too, my mom, and I still have to talk through some things, about the things she said about me.
Part of me doesn’t even want to give her the time of day, doesn’t even want to bother with talking to her, but I have to. I know I have to, because how else will my family be a happy family again? For four fucking days everything has been complete shit, and total loneliness.
Hayes has completely disappeared.
My mom left.
Riley hasn’t responded to any of my messages.
My dad has fallen into a deep depression.
And in the midst of all the havoc and loneliness and my mom-less life the only thing I could possibly think of doing was to get a tattoo. What was I possibly thinking? But I’ll admit, it does look pretty bad ass though, so suck it good girl Mabel.
The ding of the small grocery store bell above the door set off when I enter, the few people’s heads turning to look in my direction. I roll my eyes at their nosiness, walk down the boxed goods isle to find what I’ve been craving for in these past couple of days.
Ramen Noodles. I’m craving Ramen Noodles.
I’m in a rush to find my beef flavored noodles, so then I can go home, and never leave, but, of course, I’m having no luck at finding them. My boots clud against the white linoleum floors of the grocery store as I walk further down the isle, look on the lower shelves because I swear that’s where they always are.
“Where the fuck are you?” I grumble out loud, running a hand through my newly curled hair in frustration.
There’s a girlish laugh in front of me, and I quickly stand up straight– eyes wide. She stands there in all her biker looking glory, a bright smile on her beautiful face. I’m gaping at her, mouth wide like a fish out of water as I stand paralyzed in front of the woman I never wanted to see again. Yet here she is, in the flesh when she should be in New York, continuing on with her career in the arts.
“Mabel!” She exclaims excitedly, engulfing me in a tight hug. “Holy shit, girl, you’ve changed so much. Look at you, you’re looking so good!”
I laugh nervously, awkwardly patting her back before stepping out of her arms. She still looks the same with her jet black hair and bright blue eyes and red painted lips. I’m honestly surprised to see her-- to see that she’s back in Seeder Grove again when all she could do back in high school was complain about how much she hated it here.
Lena Hughes, the great, great granddaughter of this town’s founder.
“What are you doing here?” I’m flabbergasted, waving my arms around unattractively. “I thought you moved to New York?”
She smiles widely, the same stunning smile she always flashed me when we were in high school. Lena is still as beautiful as ever, she’s the type of girl you’d see in a cigarette ad, or driving around on a motorcycle with some scary ass biker gang. That is Lena Hughes for you, always doing things that people didn’t want her to do. Now I know why she moved to New York, to get away from all the judging, and gossiping people of this shitty town.
“Well, I did,” she laughs. “But I needed to get away from my ex-girlfriend, you know?”
I nod, plastering on a wide smile in hopes it will be friendly enough.
“But enough about me.” Lena smiles back, blue eyes glowing with excitement. “How are things with you? I haven’t heard from you since we broke up.”
Lena, and I were a couple back in my early years of high school. While I was the head cheerleader, and total prep, she was the school’s yearbook photographer, and a huge troublemaker. We were two completely different people from completely different sides of town, but we both had been dating since the beginning of my eighth grade year until we were both sophomores in high school, and I broke up with her for Hayden.
I know, dick move.
“Wow, you guys like kissed, and shit? That’s fucking hot.”
I whip around to glare at the male for intruding in our conversation, his voice all too familiar to me. Hayes stands leaning against the shelf, arm propped up on the top one with a boyish smile on his face. Part of me can’t help but glare at him since he just disappeared off the face of the earth for four fucking days, and then he just pops up out of nowhere, embarrassing me in front of my ex. Lena laughs from behind me.
“And who are you?” She smiles, crossing her arms over her chest
Hayes glances down at me for the quickest second before looking back at Lena with his green eyes covered by a pair of black sunglasses, wetting his damned lips that touched my skin in the most wicked of ways.
“Nobody.” I answer for him quickly, pushing at his chest for him to get a move on.
I can practically hear the man behind me roll his eyes, grunts unattractively before running a hand through his messy black hair. This man will be the death of me, I swear it.
“Aw you wound me, Pooh Bear.” Hayes chuckles down at me before looking back at Lena. “The name’s Hayes.”
Since when is Hayes in a good mood? Did something happen, is the world coming to an end?
Lena’s smile seems to widen a bit, nods her head as if she knows all about him, then again she probably does since all this town likes to do is gossip, and spread rumors.
“So you’re the man everyone is chatting about.” Lena says thoughtfully, tapping her combat boot against the ground.
Hayes huffs out a laugh through his nose, throws his arm over my shoulder just to piss me off even more. The man knows I’m mad at him, he can clearly see it on my face since I make no attempt to hide it.
“That would be me.” He smiles, the same smile that probably doesn’t reach his dead green eyes. “Hayes Winchester at your service. Autographs are fifty bucks a pop.”
This time it’s my turn to roll my eyes, his sudden sarcasm a little overwhelming for such a small grocery store. I quickly turn around to glare at him, pushing at his chest for him to start walking, and thankfully he does, but with a loud, sarcastic laugh that I’m sure everyone in the store can hear.
“Sorry, Lena!” I yell over my shoulder. “I need to get this asshole home, we can catch up later!”
Hayes smiles down at me, lifts up his hand to move his sunglasses up, and down in a suggestive gesture. He makes kissing noises, ones that I’m almost positive Lena is hearing at the moment, and I can’t help but turn red in embarrassment.
“You dick,” I hiss, shoving him towards the front of the store. “Who the hell wears sunglasses inside anyway? Assholes do, that’s who.”
I can vaguely hear Lena laughing from a couple isles over, which only has my face reddening more, and Hayes laughing like a lunatic. Maybe he’s on drugs because the way he’s acting right now is so not normal, he’s always so brooding, and dark, not happy, and laughing. Finally, we get outside into the cold air of early December, causing me to let out a loud sigh of relief.
My breath looks like the smoke of the cigarette that always rests between Hayes’ lips.
“Where the actual hell have you been?!” My voice has risen to a loud yell, and I’m honestly surprised just as much as the green eyed man is.
He instantly stops with his laughing fit, pushes his sunglasses up onto his head before staring at me with wide, shocked eyes. I run a frustrated hand through my hair, allowing my fingers to tug angrily at the brunette strands to the point where I have a severe headache. His dark eyebrows furrow, fingers playing with the metal piercing in his nose.
“You were gone for four days, Hayes,” I grit. “I didn’t get a single warning from you that you were leaving, or anything. I was worried, I hope you know that. I thought you– thought you killed yourself, you asshole.”
Hayes winces, but is quick to cover it up with a glare. He isn’t quick enough though because I saw it.
“Don’t fucking yell at me like you care, like you’re my friend.” He spits out venomously. “I didn’t tell you where I was going, or why I was gone because it’s none of your damn business.”
I glare at him before turning on my boot heel, stomp towards my blue truck with a rage inside me I’ve never felt. My breathing is ragged by the time I reach the bed of my truck, fish the keys out of my pockets before glaring back over at the man.
“Get in the truck, Hayes.” My words come out muttered, and I waste no time to unlock the truck.
The green eyed man huffs out a breath, allows his sunglasses to fall over his beautiful, dead eyes once again, and follows behind me. I’m honestly shocked as I jump behind the wheel that he even remotely thought about complying with my demand, ever since the day I met him he has always been so rebellious, and someone who doesn’t quite like to listen to orders. But the man slides into the passenger seat without a single rebuttal, closes the truck’s door before buckling the seatbelt.
“I don’t get why you’re so pissed.” He throws his hands above his head, finely breaking through the silence that envelopes us in an awkward bubble.
I pull out of the parking lot, speeding down the road with an angry glare in Hayes’ direction. The man wastes no time in mirroring my expression, curls his pale fingers into tight fists in his lap in silent rage.
“You don’t get why I’m so pissed, really?” I snap, press on the breaks at a red light. “You tried to fucking kill yourself the other day, you asshole. That scared the living shit out of me, I hope you know, and then you just disappear for four days after, which makes me think you did commit suicide.”
He scoffs, runs a frustrated hand through his black hair, and knocks the sunglasses off his head angrily. The man wets his lips, shakes his head, breathes out a frustrated sigh through his parted lips just before he sputters out a string of angry curses. Hayes turns to me in his seat, tugs on the collar of his sweatshirt as if it’s choking him, and he opens his perfect mouth to spit out something angry– something filthy.
“I was worried about you,” I raise my voice, yelling so loud I’m surprised I haven’t busted my own eardrums. “I care about you!”
“Stop caring!” He screams.
The car goes silent instantly, the only sound is the low thrum of the engine, and our heaving chests from all out pent up rage finally being let out. Hayes has his back pressed up against the passenger door now, his hands trembling uncontrollably as he frantically digs through his pockets as if he’s searching for some sort of comfort. He pulls out his pack of cigarettes, breathing heavily as he fishes out a thin stick of cancer, places it between his lips. There’s a bright orange lighter he brings up to meet with the tip of his cigarette, lighting it.
He blows out smoke through his flared nostrils.
Hayes turns away from me, stares out the window of the passenger side with angry green eyes, and a large part of me wants to reach over to rub the wrinkles from between his furrowed brows. I let out a small sigh, slow the truck down to park on the side of the road, and crack a window so the cigarette smoke doesn’t choke me to death. I turn off the engine, shift in my seat to look over at the beautifully damaged man who sits with a deadly white stick resting between his lips.
“I can’t, Hayes,” I whisper, knuckles turning white from the tight grip I have on the steering wheel. “I can’t stop caring.”
He laughs a humorless laugh, hits the side of his head softly against the glass window once– twice. Then he turns to face me, pulling the cigarette from his mouth to hold it between his fingers, his leg bouncing.
“Why the fuck not?” He mutters, his voice like ice– cold, and hard.
Finally, he turns to look over at me, his green eyes more dead, and emotionless than I’ve ever seen them. He just seems so broken now, more broken than before as he stares at me with white smoke blowing out from his pierced nose. A muscle in his jaw ticks as he takes another long drag, the smoke coming out uneven from his mouth along with his breath.
“Because I’m attracted to you, okay?” I let go of the steering wheel to run a hand through my hair. “I can’t stop caring about you because I have this stupid ass thing for you, or whatever the hell you’d call it.”
Hayes nods distractedly before playing with the metal piercing in his nose, a distant look in his dead green eyes. He takes one last drag from his cigarette, lets it out through his mouth again, and then throws the bud out the barely open window carelessly. He nods again, laughs breathily.
“You shouldn’t have a thing for me,” he sighs, his voice a low whisper. ”Love doesn’t fucking exist."