My eyelids feel heavy as I push my head farther into my pillow. I can hear the distant sound of voices in the background as I slowly force myself to wake up. My blurred vision slowly clears up as I sit up in my bed. Across from me, I can see Isla’s freshly made bed. Glancing around the room, I see that the bathroom door is shut with the sound of the shower running.
I let out a small yawn as I rub a fist over my eyes. Although I got home at a reasonable time last night, I had spent the last remainder of the night tossing and turning. I was only able to fall asleep during the early hours of the morning, but even then, my mind was wide awake.
I didn’t know how to feel about last night. I had gone through an array of emotions, all ranging from excitement, fear, confusion, and hope. I had never developed a connection with someone the way I had done with Mason. I had spent the majority of my life alone, and had lost hope of ever making a way out. As the days progress, my life begins to feel more and more like a fever dream. I was excited and hopeful of what was in store for Mason and I. I didn’t want to get too excited, but for the first time, I had felt seen by someone.
Though a large part of me was happy with the outcome of last night, there was always a small voice in the back of my mind that reminded me that this could end poorly if Rick even had the slightest hint of what was happening. Usually, I would listen to that voice and try to put an end to whatever was happening, but I had tried that with Mason before, and somehow he always managed to get through to me. It was something I admired about him; his patience and willingness to continue trying with me even when I wasn’t the most reachable person.
The sound of the bathroom door opening caught my attention, and I watched as Isla emerged. She was changed out of her pajamas, and was dressed and ready for the day. She wore a bright smile on her face as she wrapped her wet hair in a towel, before heading over to her desk where her makeup was.
“Good morning sleepy head!” She greeted as she began to apply moisturizer on her face. Her skin was tinted with a beautiful rosy color from the heat of her shower, as she began to apply random products on her face. Isla had attempted to explain her skin routine to me a few times, but I always got lost once she made it past a few steps.
I let out a small yawn in response before giving her a small smile, “Good morning!” I hadn’t gotten back home super late last night, yet my eyes felt heavy and my body wasn’t ready to begin the day. I continued to watch as Isla hummed to herself as she brushed through her wet hair. She had a unique beauty to her, that wasn’t exactly defined by her physical traits. There was no denying that Isla was beautiful externally, however, the way she carried herself, her mannerisms, and the joy within her was where her true beauty lied.
“Alright! Now that I’m ready for the day, you are going to tell me everything. Every teeny tiny detail from last night!” Isla demanded as she plopped down on the bed in front of me. Her eyes were brightly lit, and she wore an infectious smile on her face, that I couldn’t help but mirror.
Letting out a deep breath, I decided to get comfortable, because for once in my life, I wanted to confide in someone. My thoughts were a jumbled mess, and if talking to Isla would help ease my mind even a little, then I was more than willing to do so.
Settling into the bed, I made myself comfortable before beginning, “His little sister was accepted into a dance academy, so he brought me over to their house where they were having a celebration. I got to meet his mom and sister, who were so kind and welcoming.” I started as Isabella nodded her head happily. I could tell she wanted to drop comments here and there, but refrained, and let me speak uninterrupted.
“Not much happened during the actual party. I spent some time with his mom in the kitchen, and before I knew it, it was time for me to go, so Mason walked me out.” I took a small pause, and felt the blood rushing to my cheeks as I remembered mine and Mason’s encounter outside.
Clearing my throat, I glanced up at Isla who wore a knowing smile on her face as she expectantly looked at me. A small smile played on my lips as I pushed my hair out of my eyes. Though we shared a short kiss, it was still my first kiss. It was the first time I had ever shared something intimate with someone, and I still hadn’t processed everything yet. For the longest time, I didn’t know if I’d survive long enough to experience that with someone, yet here I was.
“He kissed you didn’t he?” Isla finally broke the silence as a small giggle tore out of my mouth. I couldn’t help the fluttery feeling that engulfed my chest in that moment, as I took myself back to that moment last night.
Images of Mason clouded my mind, and I found myself getting excited for the next time I’d be able to see him. The small voice in my head that always reminded me that this was all a bad idea, was oddly silent today, partly because I refused to pay any mind to it today. I knew the outcome of all of this would be disastrous, yet I was willing to welcome it with open arms.
“Ahhh I’m so happy. Finally it happened! I’ve been waiting for this since the night of the carnival.” Isla loudly announced as she clapped her hands in front of her. I laughed at her comment as I watched her shift in the bed into a more comfortable position against the wall beside me.
She continued to drill me for more details, and I was sure my entire face was the shade of crimson by the time she was done. Deciding that I had enough attention on me for the day, I turned my attention to Isla who wore a small smile on her face as she fiddled with the ends of her hair.
She had gone oddly silent, and I could see the wheels in her head turning as she shifted into a different world.
An odd feeling began to rumble in my chest at her silence, knowing that she was usually speaking a hundred words a minute as she rambled about anything and everything.
“Hey, everything okay?” I gently asked as I softly nudged my shoulder against hers. I watched as she began to nod her head, before scoffing and shaking it.
That grabbed my attention, as I moved to sit in front of her. Her head was turned downwards, with her eyes fixated on her lap. I could tell that she was fighting a mental battle, because in this moment, she reminded me so much of myself.
Vulnerable and torn.
I allowed her to sit there in silence, and waited patiently until she felt it was right to speak up. A few moments passed before she finally looked up at me. Her eyes were brimming with unshed tears, as she let out a deep breath.
“After you left to your date last night, I decided to hang out with this guy from one of my classes. He had asked me out a few times, but I always declined. But after seeing you leave to your date, I decided to finally take him up on his offer.” Isla began to say, as I felt my stomach churning. I didn’t know what she would say next, but judging by the way her hands were trembling and her shaky voice, it wasn’t good news.
“Everything was going so well for the first half of the date. We decided to grab food downtown, and walk around the city. Bella, it was truly a great date. He was so kind, funny, and everything I would want in a guy.” She explained as a lone tear slid down her cheek. I nodded my head in understanding, as I grabbed onto to her hand and squeezed it in support.
I watched as she let out another shaky breath, before looking up at me.
“He’s so perfect. And I’m so fucked up.” She whispered as she angrily wiped the tears off her cheek. I furrowed my brows in confusion as she shook her head.
“You’re not fucked up. The complete opposite of that actually.” I said to her as I watched her continue to shake her head in denial.
“He tried to kiss me. A sweet small kiss. And I couldn’t do it. I jerked away like a fool. I’m such a coward. I walk around like I’m okay, and nothing can get to me. But who knew something as little as a kiss could render me into this blubbering mess.” She said as I pushed her hair away from her face. The tears were now falling quickly down her face, as she shook in front of me. I didn’t know what to do in that moment, so I did the one thing I had always wanted someone to do to me whenever I had a tough day.
Moving over to sit beside her, I pulled Isla into my arms, and let her cry. Her entire body shook with sobs as she latched onto my arms. I felt my heart break at the sight of my usually happy friend feeling this way.
I raked my hands through her hair, as I waited for Isla’s sobs to quieten. I didn’t know how much time had passed, when Isla finally rose up and wiped her eyes.
In the time that we had sat in silence, my mind dwelled over Isla’s reaction to the kiss. The way she shook as she spoke about it, and more importantly, the fear in her eyes. I had my suspicions about why she reacted the way she did, but I wanted her to voice them herself.
Silence engulfed the room as Isla tied her hair up into a messy bun. Her cheeks were splotchy with a bright red color, and despite crying minutes before, she still managed to to wear a smile on her face.
“God, that was embarrassing.” She finally broke the silence, as she let out a small laugh.
Shaking my head, I replied, “No it wasn’t. You’re allowed to cry, Isla.”
She wore a grateful smile on her face, as she grabbed a spare pillow from my bed, and nestled it into her lap.
“During my junior year of high school I was raped. He was one of my brothers friends, and I had grown up with him. I trusted him as much as my own brother, yet he abused that trust, and took advantage of me.” She confessed, as my breath hitched in my mouth. I felt my heart tug in my chest, as Isla let out a shaky breath. I could tell it was taking a lot out of her to tell me about this, and that it wasn’t something she spoke about often, if ever.
“And you know the worst part wasn’t even that he betrayed my trust or that he managed to turn everyone in school against me. It was how easily everyone was convinced that I was nothing more than a mere desperate girl looking for attention. I became the social pariah. Not a single person wanted to interact with me, let alone even get near me. I guess I was lucky that it happened during my junior year. I endured another year of hell, before packing my bags and coming here for a fresh start.” She said as I let her words sink it. I hadn’t even realized that in between Isla telling her story, I had begun crying. Tears softly trailed down my cheek as I pulled Isla in for a hug.
She had gone through hell and back, yet she was still one of the brightest people I had ever come across. She had a beautiful heart, and it hurt me to know that people had looked right past it, and put her through so much.
“I’m so sorry. Nobody ever deserves to go through that.” I whispered into her ear. I felt her nodding her head, as she tightened her hold on me.
As Isla and I held each other in an embrace, I realized how similar she and I actually were.
Two broken souls who had received the cruel end of the stick, somehow ended up here. We both had different stories, and came from different backgrounds, yet the world worked in mysterious ways.
It brought us together.
Love you guys <3