16 | Kiss And Kill
“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
“I need to talk to you, Whitney." Nicole bitterly requests the tone in her voice leaving no room for argument.
I’m curious as to why she shows so much hate towards me, especially now. She won two years ago - I left and she got Callum all to herself. Whether they are still together is a different story. Is she mad that I’m back; that I’m stealing all of her attention? If so, that is just sad. I would actually pity her.
“Okay,” I answer calmly before anyone else can respond. Athena and Ares are quick to protest, standing up when I stand up. Hannah even comes over, concerned. I feel honoured that they are all here for me but it is, unfortunately, unnecessary.
Nicole’s eyes flash with rage for a second, as she glowers at something over my shoulder. Glancing over my shoulder, I spot Callum heading over to us, angry. Feeling a flare of panic, I quickly manoeuvre myself out of the seating area and speed walk out of the auditorium. I ignore Mrs Sadies’s shouts to stop, and instead, I listen to Nicole’s heavy steps behind me.
Bashing the doors open, I spin around to face Nicole and lean against the wall.
“So,” I begin, my voice soft. Acting rationally and strategically will make Nicole think I’m not freaking out right now. I want to show her how she doesn’t affect me anymore. I want to show her she isn’t winning anymore. “What do you want to discuss?”
Nicole straightens her posture when she catches onto how cool and collected I sound. Her piercing blue eyes turn to slits and she presses her lips together firmly. She tries to mimic my body stature but fails, epically.
“Yes,” She says in a clipped tone. “I want to warn you that just because you’re back all famous and all, it doesn’t mean all of your friends are going to want you back. Ares and Athena are naive to think you can easily forgive them. Brock will soon realize your not worth his time when he sees you are still the pathetic little girl that left two years ago. As for Callum, he still wants me. He only feels guilty. He’ll soon get over that and will be back with me. So stay away from him.”
I stare at her evenly, refusing to let her words affect me. A part of my mood dampens at her words, realizing she hasn’t changed at all. It truly is sad that she still acts like that.
Nicole’s stern and arrogant face doesn’t falter, her determination almost admirable. She’s still obsessed about Callum, even though something in her doesn’t want her to be. It’s actually worrying - perhaps she should be mentally evaluated.
Whilst there is a part of me that is feeling down, another is feeling gleeful. Nicole mentioned how Callum will be back with her soon. Insinuating that they broke up. Did he finally see how much of a b*tch she is or did he do it because he felt guilty about me?
I can only ask Callum that - and I’m definitely not ready for that.
“Okay...Miss controlling queen of doucheness, whilst I admire your courage to talk to me like that, I also think you are being rude and well...downright stupid. Callum obviously doesn’t want to be back with you. When you stormed in like charging rhino, Callum looked concerned for me, not you.” I shoot at her, mentally high fiving myself when she scowls at me. I’m on a roll. “And FYI, I did forgive Athena and Ares because they didn’t do anything wrong and they didn’t deserve to be punished. They will always be my friends. No matter what."
Triumphantly, I saunter back into the auditorium, making sure to knock shoulders with Nicole when passing her. She stutters something but doesn’t chase after me. Smart move.
Athena and Ares quickly pounce on me when I come in, firing questions at me. I raise my hands, ultimately silencing them.
“Nicole and I had a friendly talk with each other. I think she will stay out of my way for now.” I inform them, smirking.
Athena arches an eyebrow, surprised.
Ares crosses his arms over his chest, wearing a proud face.
“Friendly?” Athena repeats and snorts. “That woman wouldn’t know how to be civil even if she was shown how to be. But anyway, I’m so proud of you for dealing with her. It’s about time somebody put her in her place.”
Ares slings his arm over my shoulder and pulls me into him for a side hug. Giddily, I lean in and rest my head on his broad chest, relishing in the feeling.
“Hey kiddo, its time to go,” Alan calls, shutting the auditorium door behind him. Sighing, I nod my head and walk away from Ares’ warm embrace.
“I’ll see you guys tomorrow,” I say, hinting that we’ll speak tomorrow at school. A feeling of anxiousness overwashes me. What if after sleeping on it, they would think I’m not worth their time? It’s silly and unreasonable but that is who I am. I’m a doubter.
All of my insecurities quickly disappear when they both grin ear to ear. Eagerly and happily, I return the smile.
Waving goodbye to Hannah who is sat with Brock, I turn on my heel out of the room. Alan swings the door open and I thank him, teasing him about him being more like my slave then bodyguard. He rolls his eyes but doesn’t retort.
“How did your talk go with the she-devil?” Alan asks me, walking beside me.
My eyes widen at his question. I thought nobody else was there watching. How Alan found out about that is beyond me. He was sat in his car the whole time, probably playing candy crush. He has a worrying obsession with it.
“How do you know about that?” I fire, curiously.
Alan shrugs nonchalantly. “I know everything when it concerns you.”
I laugh at his words. “That doesn’t sound creepy at all," I reply, my voice laced with sarcasm. “But it went okay. I kicked ass and all - I was a badass. ’Should have seen me.”
Alan looks over at me, his face showing how he doesn’t believe a word I just said.
“You sure about that?” He questions, dragging his eyes along my body. In annoyance, I roll my shoulders and purse my lips together. I can totally kick ass if I want to. Not that I’ve ever gotten into a fight before but you never know.
“You know what, screw you.”
Alan chuckles at my insult. The rest of the way to the car is spent with me inventing new and better insults that I will use in the future.
When I arrive home, Casey orders me that I need to do some exercise. She informed me that she scheduled a photoshoot this weekend for Vogue.
So I get dressed into my fitness clothing, grab my Beats earphones and begin running with Alan. He jogs a few feet behind me, giving me some privacy. He understands that I enjoy running alone. He knows I like to be left alone with my thoughts. I feel a sense of comfort and release when I run alone. The best company is your own after all.
When an upbeat song comes on, I pick up my pace and run through the park. Overwhelming feels overcome me when I recall several memories in the park. Memories of Callum and Brock. Times where we played manhunt in the forest and when the boys used to chase me in the park.
Passing the park, I watch the little children giggle in delight and play. It’s hard to think that I used to be like that. Especially with my life now.
Some parents notice me and immediately begin whispering to each other about my presence. I even spot a few try and snap a picture of me. The press hasn’t arrived here yet. I know they will be here soon, nagging me about my time here.
I’m brought back to reality when I accidentally bump into a rock hard chest. Stumbling backwards, I’m saved from falling flat on my arse by the same man I bumped into. His strong, tanned arms wrap themselves tightly around me, pulling me back upright.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so sor -” I stop apologizing when my eyes rest on the face of the person I ran into. The face I wanted to avoid for a bit longer here.
His magnificent green eyes lay on my face, memorizing every small detail about me. A feeling of euphoria comes over me at our closeness. A warm, fuzzy feeling forms in my chest. I can feel my heart pumping loudly; the blood rushing through my body fast. My brain melts at the mere thought of him staring at me.
I’m left breathless, stumped and hot.
I almost forgot what it felt like to have him near me, hold me. Whilst I could never forget his gorgeous face, I could forget the feeling of him being near me.
“Anastas -” he chokes, his green eyes glazing over. Knocking myself back to now, I begin struggling in his hold. Reluctantly, he drops his arms and allows me to step back.
“Callum.” I acknowledge, coldly. His eyes flash with surprise at my lack of emotion, or should I say my bitterness.
He opens his mouth to say something but nothing comes out. His eyebrows furrow together into a frown.
“I - um, just wanted to say that I’m...” Callum stammers. It’s shocking and insighting to see Callum act like a blubbering mess right now. He’s always presented himself as a confident and well-thought-out person. I would laugh but not only would it be inappropriate, but it is also not right because of the feelings I have towards him. Callum clears his throat loudly and rubs the back of his neck with his hand. “I’m sorry for everything I did.”
My throat clogs up at his words. My heart thumps in my chest in hurt and...relief. To know that he knows his mistakes and apologized is very brave. Most people would not apologize because it would hurt their pride but Callum, at least he pushed that down.
But I still can’t forgive him. He hurt me, broke my heart. I will not allow myself to experience what happened again.
“Okay,” I respond, trying to keep my voice strong. His eyes analyze my face for any reactions, for any sign of what I’m going to say next. I keep my face expressionless, not giving away anything. “I have to go now, Callum.”
I step to the side to walk past but Callum mimics my movement.
“But we haven’t finished talking.” He all but whines. I swallow the laugh that threatens to escape my lips. “Please, Anastasia.”
Sighing, I tighten my ponytail and pinch my lips together. “Callum, I am not ready to talk to you properly. I appreciate you coming to apologize but I’m not ready. You hurt me in the worst possible way - I can’t even consider forgiving you yet.”
Callum’s eyes lower to the ground in disappointment. “I understand.”
He walks past me, his shoulders slumped, with a defeated look. When he’s far away, I let all of my guards down and breath in and out rapidly. I clutch onto my t-shirt and try to gather my bearings. A hand clasps onto my back, causing me to jump in fright. My head snaps to Alan who gives me a reassuring smile.
“You alright there kiddo?” He questions me, concerned.
When I manage to get my breathing in control, I answer him. “I will be.”
I will be alright soon.
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