Trigger Warning: Abuse, Assault, Sexual Situation, and Drinking.
Phoenix swayed me back and forth. He made me feel like I could dance but in reality he was the one doing all the work. I started singing the lyrics to the Lana Del Rey song playing and Phoenix seemed to relax more to the sound of my voice. His hand rested on my lower back while the other was holding onto my hand. He was so gentle with me like I could break at any moment. When the song was almost over, he looked back at me and kissed me. I was taken back. I never thought that he would kiss me in public. It would be really bad press for him to be seen with me, yet he still did it. His kiss was gentle, passionate, and drove me crazy.
After the song was over, the band picked up the beat and Phoenix ran to bring everyone to dance. Ava twirled me, Tommy sang from the top of his lungs, Jimmy and Theo jumped to the beat of the song, and we all danced the night away. I caught Phoenix staring at us, he seemed so happy having Tommy and Theo here. I was happy they were here. Theo created a beautiful dress for me and Tommy had so much energy in him. I loved being around them. We were having a blast until I was almost knocked over by Nick Collins on the dance floor.
“Watch where you’re going, Nick,” I told him. He could not intimidate me any longer. He was no longer in charge of me. I was my own boss and it was the best decision I could have ever made. He started at me and got close to my face. I could automatically smell the stench of alcohol. I took a few steps back. He was drunk. I have seen him drunk on a few occasional parties. He acted like a fool like every underage drinker.
“You...You’re my problem,” Nick responded slurring his words in the process.
“You need to sober up Nick. Go drink some water,” I told him. He was ruining my fun and I wanted him as far away as possible.
He got close again and Phoenix got in front of me, “Hey Nick, you got to leave Mila alone,” Phoenix told Nick. I stood behind Phoenix but still got a glance of Nick. Nick tried sizing himself up against Phoenix like he was preparing for a fight.
Tommy and Theo must have also been paying attention because they got closer, “Everything alright, Mate?” Theo asked.
“Is everything ok?” Phoenix asked Nick. I have never seen Phoenix so protective before. I found it endearing.
Nick must have sensed that he would never win this fight, much less in his drunk state. He backed away and stumbled out of the gymnasium. Nick had a history of getting violent when he got drunk, but it was never projected at me. I assume he got upset seeing that I was Phoenix’s date.
Phoenix dragged me back to the dance floor where we continued to dance two more songs. Afterward, we stopped for refreshments. Phoenix and Jimmy brought over bottled waters at the table where Ava and I were sitting. I opened mine and drank all of its contents. I saw on the dance floor that Tommy and Theo had found new friends, as they both danced with Becca Fuller and Jane Perez. They all seemed to be having a blast. They waved for us to join them again and Ava and Jimmy did, Phoenix and I stayed behind at the table.
Phoenix wrapped his arm around me, “Mila, this is probably the most fun I have ever had.”
I looked at him. He looked so dreamy tonight. I spent almost every day with Phoenix and it was never enough. I wanted to be around him all the time.
I would never admit it out loud, but part of me was really falling for Phoenix. An emotion that I had never ever felt for another person and it just happened to be for a person that I could not have.
“I am going to miss you so much,” I blurted. It was the truth. We both knew that he had to head back at some point. There was an end for us and it was not a happy one.
“I know. I am going to miss you too,” He responded. I put my head on his shoulder taking in his cologne. It smelled so great. I closed my eyes trying to memorize it and this night. This was a story that I wanted to tell my grandchildren.
“Would you ever think about visiting me in Calida?” Phoenix said after a few minutes.
“I think it would be too hard seeing you and the Mrs.,” I responded truthfully. It never left the back of my mind knowing that Phoenix would get married to an actually Princess. He deserved someone of his standard that could never be me. I was not regal enough for his parents. I was just happy being around him now. Phoenix stayed quiet. I looked at him and he seemed to be caught in thought.
“Penny for your thoughts?” I asked him.
“I do not need a penny. My thoughts are always the same. Always involving you,” He smiled and I felt my heart skip a beat. It did that often when I was around Phoenix.
The music got louder and I found the need to go to the bathroom after all the water I drank. I told Phoenix that I would be right back and he nodded. I went down to the gymnasium’s bathrooms and I groaned as soon as I turned the corner. There was the longest line to the bathroom that appeared to go on for miles. I could not wait that long. By that rate, I would pee in this beautiful dress in front of everyone and that was not going to happen.
I walked out of the gymnasium to use the restroom that was hidden next to the nurse’s office. It was a single bathroom. I was happy when I found out there was no one waiting for the bathroom down here. I went into the single bathroom, locking the door behind me and finished my business. I was washing my hands when I jumped to the pounding on the bathroom door.
“It’s occupied,” I said rolling my eyes. It appears that I was not the only one that thought using this bathroom was better than waiting in line.
The pounding stopped. I quickly dried my hands and went to unlock the door for whoever was pounding. Yet, no one was there. They must have run back to the other bathrooms, I thought to myself.
I started walking towards the gymnasium again when someone suddenly threw me to the lockers. The back of my head hit the corner of the locker and I cried out. I touched the back of my head with my hand and automatically knew that there was blood coming out of the wound. I was in pain, my vision was blurred, and I was angry at the person who did this.
Two hands, that seemed like bear paws at the moment, grabbed me by my throat and lifted me up against the lockers. I was forced to look at him straight in the eyes that were filled with anger and disgust. It was Nick Collins.
His hands were wrapped around my throat, squeezing harder when I tried to scream.
“Shuu.. Shut up bitch! Nnn.... No one is going to heaa... Hear you.” Nick’s words slurred while his breath reeked of alcohol.
“You think you are Ms. Fucking Perfect, don’t you? Bringing Mr. Prince Charming as your date, well played Mila. If only he knew how much of a whore you are.”
Tears started streaming down my face, not because of his words but because I was losing feeling in my body and I feared I would never be able to breathe again.
“If only Phoenix knew that I already had a piece of his Mila cherry.” Nick took one hand off my throat and up my thigh.
I tried hitting him or wiggling out of his hold but I couldn’t. I couldn’t compare to his strength.
“Remember when I took your virginity Mila? Good times. You were Ms. Innocent but now you are just a whore. But we can forget that and go back to how it used to be.” Nick smashed his lips to mine, that were turning purple from the lack of oxygen. It hurt. Everything hurt.
I remember that night all too well. At Nick’s pool party, after I was thrown into the pool and my white top had exposed everything, Nick took me to his bedroom and gave me one of his shirts. He said that he didn’t mean to laugh at me and one thing lead to another. I was trying to impress Nick that night and the few drinks I took before were not helping me think clearly. Shirts were thrown at the walls and condom packages were opened. The sex was not like anything I had ever imagine, Nick was too aggressive and he needed to be in control. I went home afterward and cried myself to sleep. I was embarrassed. I was disgusted with myself. So I decided to end all ties with him that didn’t involve our journalism club. Nick kept it a secret too. I never heard anyone talk about what happened that night. I never told anyone about what had happened. Not my mother. Not even Ava. I tried telling myself that nothing happened.
My body felt like it was shutting down.
This was it. This was how I was going to die. I was going to die.
At least that was what I thought.
Someone’s fist came in contact with Nick’s jaw that send him flying down the hall. I collapsed to the floor trying to take in all the air of the world. I grabbed the back of my head and noticed my hair was damped with blood. My hands were shaking but I remained conscious, a good sign. My beautiful dress was now full of my own blood. I tried crying but it hurt my throat too much. Something was damaged, it had to be.
“Mila... Mila are you okay?” A familiar voice asked.
I looked up to see who my savior was and those blue eyes automatically locked on me and only me. So many emotions were racing through my head, that just made it hurt 100 times more than it already did. I pointed at my throat and he shined his phone light at it. It was clear by his face that it was bad. He took his phone and dialed 911. I heard him give our location and told the operator about my condition. Phoenix also told them that he had managed to knock out the assailant. I tried to remain calm. I had no idea how much blood I was losing and wanted to stop it. I tried applying pressure but it just hurt my throat, even more, when I raised my hands. When Phoenix got off the phone call, he came back down and I placed his hands on my hand. I could not communicate, but he understood that we had to control the bleeding until the ambulance came.
There were tears running down his face. I tried wiping them but left him with streaks of blood instead. I felt awful.
I was scared and in pain but all I knew at the moment was Phoenix was there.
Phoenix had saved me.
It was the last thought I had before I passed out.