Chapter 30: Best, Worst
Many hearts belong to the best, worst people. Those people that make you feel on top of the world, yet can make you feel as if you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Hearing my sisters voice for the first time in a year was the best, worst thing I’d ever experienced.
I missed her, and she sounded exactly like she had the last time we spoke. But it didn’t stop me from feeling like everything had changed. She sounded shocked when she heard my voice, and asked why I was calling so late and why I wanted to see her all of a sudden. I couldn’t answer her questions because not even I knew all of the answers.
Eventually she agreed to giving me her address, but there was something in her voice telling me she wasn’t sure any of this was a good idea.
“It’ll be fine.” The Boy That Hates Books comforted me as we pulled into the drive of what I assumed to be her house.
It was small, but seemed cosy from the outside. The garden was prettily decorated with flowers and little cliche signs like ‘a beautiful garden is a work of heart.’
The neighbourhood seemed stable, the roads quiet as we rolled through, awakening the sleeping streets. Everything about where she lived immediately made me imagine a lovely family cooped up inside, the perfect combination of a happily married couple and two children. However, I knew that the inside wouldn’t match the outside.
It all reminded me of what Nala envisioned for her life, but what she never got. We’d spoken about it growing up, so I knew every dream she wanted to come true like the wishes we’d made on shooting stars.
“After this we’ll check into a motel and stay put for the rest of the night. Just breathe Kirsten.”
So I did what he said, his presence alone calming me down. I decided to shrug of the fact we’d be staying in a hotel room together for the moment at least.
We walked up to the door, The Boy That Hates Books trailing slightly in front of me.
“Do you want me to knock?” He asked, moving towards the door.
I nodded, clenching and releasing my hands by my sides.
The Boy That Hates Books tapped gently on the door. It was only seconds before it opened to reveal my sister, but it felt like minutes.
Her eyes lit up as they met mine, strikingly blue. She was just as beautiful as she was when she was seventeen, but there was something different about her that I couldn’t put my finger on.
“Kirsten,” she almost cried out, “Oh my god you’re really here.”
I wanted to hug her, wanted to tell her how much I missed her but for some reason I couldn’t move. So she came over to me, wrapping me into a tight embrace. Sobbing into her shoulder, she stroked my hair like she did when I used to have nightmares. Suddenly, I felt at ease.
As I pulled away, I could see The Boy That Hates Books watching us intently, and maybe I’m crazy but I could’ve sworn I’d seen a tear in his eyes too.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Come in Krissy,” She moved in closer to me and whispered, “And bring whoever that is too.” She raised her eyebrows suggestively.
I gave a nervous laugh before following my sister into the house she’d been spending her life without me in. Anger overshadowed my happiness for a split second, before contradicting itself again.
It wasn’t her fault Vixen decided to do what he did.
As I entered her home, the smell of sweet perfume filled my nostrils. However like I’d predicted, the inside was nothing compared to the outside.
There was little furniture, and the wallpaper was wearing thin. Some parts had been torn away to reveal a faded beige paint underneath. A ceiling fan kept the place cool, but wasn’t needed at this time of night.
The place looked like a perfect little hideaway, but nothing temporary.
I spotted some soft grey blankets and cups of coffee, making the place feel a little more cosy. My nerves settled slightly, especially when I noticed a book. It was only one, but it was progress for my sister. She hadn’t inherited the love for books like I had from mum.
I wondered if my dad liked to read.
The Boy That Hates Books was the first to sit down and make himself comfortable, leaning back and parting his legs. He was confident, maybe a little too much. It made him look like he was trying too hard. For me or my sister, I couldn’t quite tell.
“Drinks?” Nala asked, nervously standing in the doorway separating the living room from the Kitchen.
“No thanks.” Both me and The Boy That Hates Books replied at the same time, followed up with a quick glance and an awkward smile.
That smile always made my heart jump. It also reminded me of someone...something, but I didn’t know what. Pushing the thought aside, I tried to start off the conversation, avoiding all of the topics we both really wanted to talk about. Distraction was key to avoiding the most important things, sometimes for the best.
But somehow, we still ended up there.
There was some false hope inside me saying we could return to old times straight away, that we could go back to being Krissy and Nala. ‘Sisters by blood, best friends by heart’ was what we’d always said. But deep down I knew that wasn’t true. It would take awhile before things returned back to the way they were. If they ever did.
Nala pulled up a chair to sit opposite me and The Boy That Hates Books. Her eyes smiled when she looked at me.
“So who’s this?” Nala gestured towards him, eyebrows raised.
“This is my uh...” I paused, “My friend.”
And that’s what we were, technically. He was a friend who I go on road trips with, break into cafe’s with and end up chasing down my runaway sister with. He was a pretty special friend at that.
“How did you two meet?” She pushed for more, and I could still remember how Nala used to gossip, and how she’d want to know every detail about The Boy That Hates Books.
“In science class.” I answered quickly.
“In a library.” He spoke over me.
Nala gave a gentle laugh, eyeing me. “Mysterious.”
He was a mystery. One that I couldn’t solve.
“I recognise you...” Nala continued, observing his features.
It seemed I wasn’t the only one.
“I get that a lot.” The Boy That Hates Books replied simply, brushing off the comment and returning back to picking his nails.
“You’ll never guess what we did Nala...” I smiled widely, trying to divert the conversation.
The adrenaline from earlier was still coursing through my veins and making my heart race.
“What?” She lent forwards, eyes wide and curious.
“We paid a little visit to an old friend.” I winked, hoping she’d catch on.
“Kirsten...what did you do?” worry shadowed her previous anticipation for my news, yet I knew when she heard it, it’d make her happy. Vixen deserved a taste of his own medicine and like I’d said, Karma would catch up with him.
“We trashed the Highway Cafe!” I beamed, memories of just an hour before dancing through my mind. I didn’t need to pretend that I wasn’t proud of myself.
I’d never had the courage to do something like that. But he’d given me the courage.
Nala’s eyes only widened further as she stared at me in disbelief.
“Kirsten, please tell me your joking?” She pleaded.
I frowned, “Why would I be joking? After everything he did to you he deserved it Nala you-”
“She hasn’t told you has she?” Nala interrupted me, sighing and shaking her head slowly.
My heart sank with hesitation, conflicted on what I was about to feel.
“Who hasn’t told me what?” I pushed for answers, desperate.
“I can’t believe she hasn’t told you. She promised." Nala stood up suddenly and placed her hand on her forehead. “I wondered why the hell you would want to see me...”
“What are you on about!? What hasn’t mum told me?”
And that was the one thing I hated most. The not knowing.
I’d been like it all my life, especially with books. I had a habit of reading the last few pages just to find out what happened in the end. In my eyes, all books should start with the end. Then all your about to learn is based of the final result, and you could be prepared for what was coming.
I wish I’d known the end of my story, maybe then things would turn out different to how they did.