Chapter 6 ~ No Escape
I did still love him, after everything, after disappearing for seven whole years – I still loved him but as I stood just outside the doorway, attempting to curb my embarrassment from my careless slip both last night and just before, I heard Carl ask the question I feared the answer to most in this world. “Do you still love her Axe?”
“That shit ended a long time ago, I feel nothing now.”
I couldn’t breathe, the confession slithered so easily from his tongue and ripped the tiny piece of my heart I had left, I watched on in horror as it was disintegrated and blew away with the wind I disturbed as I got up from the floor, he didn’t feel the same. I had thrown myself at him stupidly thinking we could go back and he just didn’t want me. Not realising I had made a sound as the words swirled in my head, I looked up to find four guilty pairs of eyes staring at me.
“You should go,” my tone kept low, cold and deadly. Hatred poured from me, I couldn’t have him here anymore, we were getting along so well, that I got swept away in a fantasy, it was over and now I had heard it with my own ears.
“I didn’t mean…” he stepped toward me but I recoiled back.
“Don’t touch me,” I warned in a rough growl, as vocabulary acid built up in my mind ready to assault with bloody force.
“Why do I care? It was over a long time ago. Get the fuck out of this house, and don’t you ever come back.” I laughed maniacally as I strode into the kitchen and grabbed Mum’s keys from the hook, climbing in her truck and slamming the door. I don’t know where I was going, but I knew I needed to get away from him. He better not be there when I get back.
He didn’t love me anymore, I knew it was a long shot, I knew he couldn’t forgive me for breaking his heart but I still went for it – like the stupid fool I am.
My phone was blowing up like crazy, but I ignored everything. I was ready to toss the fucken thing out the window and reverse over it until it was well and truly smashed to irreparable smithereens when I happened to glance over and see a familiar face light up the screen. Wiping the tears from my eyes, I cleared my throat before answering.
“Stella’s pimps and prostitutes, Stella speaking.”
…Oh my god, you’re fucking alive…
“No, right now, I’m Stella. Now, what do you want?”
…Oh, right. I would like a prostitute for the night, please…
“Hang on Rach, I got to pull over, so I can talk to you.”
…Pull over? Where the hell are you going? And why the fuck haven’t you answered my calls for a week? I have been… um, worried, I think the word is…
I pulled over to the side of the road so I could talk. “Sorry, a lot of shit has happened - tell me something good?”
…Well, I wouldn’t quite rule out that my calling you is not great news. I’m here, I’ve just landed in your town, well not your town obviously…
“What?” I screeched down the line. “Why are you here? Wait, Rachael, why are you here?”
…Okay judgy, just calm down a bit. One, my visa was running out anyway, two, Daddy put a limit on my credit cards, until I get myself sorted, so now you get a roommate, how lucky are you, and three -…
“Wait, get yourself sorted?”
…Don’t be mad…
“Well, now I’m mad.”
…Christ Dan, it was a small fire, it’s not like I murdered someone…
…I saw that master chief I like, making these sticky chicken drumstick things – and well apparently, you’re meant to take them out of the package first…
“You know what? Don’t tell me, I live about two hours from the airport, let me go home and get changed, grab some things, we’ll have a night out, stay in a crappy backpackers and then you can tell me everything that you burned down.”
…And the roommate thing?...
“Of course you can stay, but don’t be surprised, Dad’s in a really bad way, he won’t eat or talk....”
…Thank you, Danny, you have no idea how truly blessed - you are to have a friend like me…
“Oh, really? I think you got that last bit wrong. It’s you that’s blessed to have a friend like me.”
…Nope, I’m sure I said it right, kidding, of course, I am, you’re my only true love…
“Find a place for us to stay you insane woman, text me the address, I’ll be there in a couple of hours.”
…Will do, and Dan?...
…I get that everything is hard at the moment for you, but, France sucks without you…
“I’ve missed you too, see you soon, okay.”
“Bye mental person,” I heard her chuckle just before I hung up.
Rachael was the only friend I had made from my time as a ‘professional dancer’. She was from money, spoiled to the core but managed to maintain a beautiful heart, even if people misunderstood her – she wasn’t cruel or hurtful – she had a form of autism and that people couldn’t understand. She was truly gifted though, but she worked hard and was passionate in her profession, her family name did open a lot of opportunities for her, but she deserved it, no one could ever dispute that.
It was like there was some divine intervention happening here. Just when I needed a friend the most, she pops up out of nowhere to keep my mind occupied.
When I finally arrived back at the house, I was both happy and sad to see Axel had gone. I don’t know how it would have been if he had of been here, but his absence made it easier to forget him.
I kissed Daddy goodbye, and Aunty had sworn to keep me updated on his wellbeing, so, with a bag packed and my outfit on, I headed for the city. Tonight, I was going to have a great time, with my best friend and then tomorrow, we will deal with the alcohol-infused repercussions.
It took forever to find a park, but when I arrived at the address she had sent me, I had expected to see a backpackers, not a damn five-star hotel. I should have known she would not listen to instructions. I flipped her a text to announce my arrival while entering the lobby, she replied with one stating she was in the hotel bar with a Vodka and Redbull waiting for me, along with instructions that a key was behind the concierge desk and to drop my stuff off in the room. I chuckled as my heels clicked away on the magnificent porcelain tiles.
I couldn’t help but smile the moment I walked in to see Rachael standing there in the hotel bar, she lit up the room with her unbelievable beauty and dazzling aura, she radiated sunshine which made her instantly your most favourite person in the room. She had a warmth and spirit about her that was simply breathtaking. Well, that was until you got her talking on a favourite subject, she also lacked the ability to empathise which sent people running for the hills.
Her shoulder length, blonde hair had been shaved on the side and she now had blue streaks splashed through it to match her sparkling blue eyes. She wore a simple, designer silver dress that halted mid-thigh and hugged her hips like a second skin. The top part of the dress hung loosely and on one shoulder, on account of Rach’s expensive boob job, but her heels were amazing, sparkly sapphire blue – obviously blue was her favourite colour tonight. It was totally our night tonight and I had put in just as much effort, curling my mahogany brown hair to the side and wearing my black backless, sequin, long-sleeved, cocktail dress, that just covered my bum and my favourite pair of heels. Jimmy Choo metallic tease sandals, the extra six inches made me feel so incredibly sexy as they sparkled away. They had been a birthday gift last year from Rachael.
I strode confidently towards her, catching her mid-conversation. “…While your brooding friend here is wearing a Burberry shirt paired with Saint Laurent jeans, which isn’t exactly high-ticketed but it’s up there. What gives away his sizable bank account is his shoes, Maison Margiela replica high-tops, retailing in about the seven to eight hundred dollar price range, proving he likes classiness but also functionality. Usually, you can get away with one maybe two, designer items, and men usually make the mistake of buying low priced shoes. I’d say he wasn’t always blessed with money…” her eyes flicked to mine, “Stella,” she squeals, wrapping her arms around me.
“Jesus Christ Rach, your boobs are like rocks.” We heard someone choking beside us and I pulled away to look down, unfazed by the stranger’s interruption as he spluttered away and turned back to continue our conversation when dread swept through me.
My head snapped back to meet the wide eyes of none other than Marshall, who was coughing after he choked, Carl, Regan and… Axel, whose mouth hung agape, gawking at me in startled surprise. I groaned in discomfort, “could this day get worse?” I growled through gritted teeth.
“Jesus Dan, you’d think you’d be more excited to see me.”
“It’s not you Rachael, it’s them.” I thrust my thumb in the boy’s direction and rolled my eyes.
“You two know each other?” Regan questioned.
“Do you guys know each other?” Rach threw back incredulously and displaying perplexity.
“Of course we do,” Carl chirped in happily, “Axel here is her… um… brother?”
He voiced brother as though he was unsure of what to actually call him. “Whoa, hold up…” she dramatically held both arms skyward, “slap my ass and finger my hole, is that ‘thee Axel’? As in… Thee Axel, Axel?” She lit up in wonderment, accentuating ‘thee’ and ‘Axel’ like she had just been handed the rarest diamond in the world, pointing her perfectly manicured finger in his face. I closed my eyes and nodded once. “As in… like… The actual Axel from your childhood, thee Axel, Axel that you have tattooed on you, Axel?”
“What?” I heard him gasp, it was the first time he had said anything and my entire being flushed with embarrassment. The only person I had told my most sacred of secrets too was spilling her guts in front of him and the entire hotel bar occupants.
I couldn’t look at him, instead, I chose to take my fury out on her. “Well, Rachael Kraussman, I wish you all the best in your life, please lose my fucking number.”
I turned to storm off, only to bounce right back from the hardened chest of ‘thee Axel’ I was trying to escape. “Don’t move,” he growled, seeping with dominance, “we need to talk.”
“Why? So I can be more mortified than I am?” I snapped. He lifted his finger and pointed behind me. I followed the line of his finger to see Rachael staring at me with tears in her saddened eyes and a quivering chin. I slumped my shoulders and let out a frustrated sigh. “Why am I friends with you?”
“Because no one else genuinely likes me,” she squeaked out.
“Well… that’s because you’re a mental person.”
She sniffled, “having no social filter is not a mental illness Daniella.”
The use of my full name was always a clear indication that I had hurt her and I felt bad, her odd behaviour was not actually her fault. “Rach, I’m sorry.”
She leapt into my arms, “no I’m sorry, I didn’t mean too. Please don’t de-friend me, you’re the only real one I have,” she sobbed.
“I’ll be your friend,” Carl piped up as we all slowly turned to face him. “I’m just saying.”
“Why don’t we go up to my place, since we’ve caused enough of a scene and sort all of this out?” Axel offered.
“Great idea,” Marshall slapped his hand on the table and stood up.
“Are we okay?” Rachael questioned before I could reply.
“Yes, but I’m still pissed. Wait…” I turned back to Axel, “you live here?”
“Yes, I met them in the elevator.” Rachael smiled as she wiped away her tears, thank god that girl had enough sense to wear waterproof make-up.
“Of course you do,” I replied dejectedly, I knew I wasn’t going to get out of this. “Lead the way.”
I felt Axel’s hand on the small part of my back, the skin to skin contact made me shudder. He leaned close, his lips lightly brushing against my lobe as he whispered, “Sort everything out Butterfly, including that tattoo.”
I whimpered before I realised my mistake, damn my stupid heart. Thankfully, Carl interjected, “right this way, crazy lady,” he held out his arm for Rachael and escorted her forward. Axel stayed right behind me, I knew he done that on purpose, so if I ran he could catch me. Jokes on him, I can’t run in these shoes, just float like on a cloud and slay fierce like the damn fine princess I am. Okay, I have no idea where that came from, it’s probably the shoes but that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.