Chapter 13 (unedited)
The door opened, allowing a dim light to shine from behind the closest woman I ever had to a mother. I wrapped my arms around myself as I looked up at her.
“Tessa? Dear, what’s wrong?” Miss R asks me, concern lacing her voice. Her eyebrows scrunch together as her brown hair rests numbly on her shoulders.
I look at her, my entire body soaked from the flash rainstorm, breathing heavily. “M-miss R. C-can I p-please co-ome in?” I plead through chattering teeth.
Holy fudge monkeys it’s cold.
She gasps and grabs my arm, yanking me inside the warm, heated townhouse. “Oh! Please, get yourself warmed up.” She ushers me in, closing the door and rubbing her hands quickly over my arms to warm me up. “Jordan! Jordan come here! And bring blankets!”
She takes my hand and drags me into the living room and makes me stand right by the fireplace, just as Jordan’s heavy steps rush into the living room. “Mom I got the blankets. Why’d you have me bring them--” he cuts off and looks at my disheveled form, probably thinking I got hit by a bus.
After Jill told me I couldn’t compete, I ran up to my room and locked myself in. I wouldn’t even answer to Julia. Then, when I was sure they were all asleep, I snuck out of the house and ran away, not being able to stay in that horrid place any longer. Then, after a good three miles, I slowed my run to a walk and let the crying begin. To make it even better, just when my eyes couldn’t get more puffy, my cheeks more wet or my sniffles any louder, the sky decided to rain. So, while I was walking through the next Flood, I tripped over an uneven path, and ate it on the cement! Then a car drove by and soaked me even more, and so on and so forth...
In other words my night just sucked.
“What happened, Tessa?” Jordan asks frantically, running up and wrapping two warm blankets around me. “Why are you here? Where is Jill? Did she do this? What’s wrong? Have you been crying? Why is--”
“Jordy! I’m fine.” I say, giving him a small smile.
“No you’re not!” He retorts, rubbing his hands up and down my arms to crest friction through the blankets.
I let out a small laugh and pat his cheek. “Really, I’m fine. I just...” I take a deep breath and look at Miss R. “Would you mind if I stayed here for a little bit?”
Miss R smiles at me and places a hand on her shoulder. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here, let me get you some dry clothes.”
She scurries out of the living room as Jordan makes us both sit down on the floor beside the fireplace.
“So,” he begins, “want to tell me what happened? Or do I have to force it out of you? Because I am not afraid to bribe you with food.” He says sternly.
I let out a small laugh before looking at the fire and letting out a deep breath. The flames move in a quick, wild, and beautiful dance, popping and cracking with each movement.
“Jill... She... She’s done something awful...” I say, my voice barely a whisper as my gaze remains frozen on the fire.
“What did she do?” Jordan asks warily, knowing everything that Jill has done to me for the past five years.
I sigh and look at him with tears in my eyes. “She banned me from skating at the competition in two weeks.” I tell him sorrowfully.
“What!? Why!? She has no right!” He exclaims, balling his hands into fists.
I sigh and shake my head. “But she does.” I say, defeat and sadness filling my voice. “Not only is she my guardian, but my father would want me to respect her wishes.”
He scoffs and looks at me disdainfully. “You really believe your father would allow her to do everything she does to you?”
I look at him with my eyebrows scrunched together. “Well I--”
“Here are some clothes! Quick, quick! You’ll catch a cold if you stay in those fabrics.” Miss R. exclaims, coming hurriedly into the living room.
I send her a grateful smile before walking up her staircase that I know all too well and making my way into the guest bedroom. I peel off my soaked clothes and slip into the warm pajamas she brought me.
Finally feeling small and little bits of warmth seep through my skin, I pull on the pink fuzzy socks that most definitely belonged to Miss R--because there is no way they were Jordan’s--and move to walk back downstairs.
These people had not only helped me now, but also in the past, and they deserved to know what went down tonight.
“Jordan? Miss R?” I ask, peeking into the kitchen.
There they were, talking in hushed voices about a topic. Miss R’s brows were furrowed together, and Jordan seemed to be distracted by something on his mind.
“Tessa, Dear, please come in.” She says caringly, standing and pulling a chair away from the table for me to sit on.
“Thanks.” I say to her as I sit down, giving her a small smile.
She smiles at me and sits back in her own chair. “No problem.”
“So, I’m guessing you guys want to know why I’m here.” I say, just wanting to get this over with.
They both nod. I take in a shaky breath, trying hard to bite back the tears. “Well, earlier, I found out that Julia was starving herself and--” I say.
“SHE WHAT!?” Jordan practically booms as his mother sucks in a breath.
I nod my head and bite my bottom lip to keep it from trembling. “Y-yea. She said that Jill kept pressuring her about her weight and how she wasn’t losing it fast enough--”
Jordan stands up abruptly, running his hands through his hair in a frustrated manner. “That’s nonsense!” He exclaims. “Julia is beautiful! Why would Jill say that!? Why would he make her go through this again!?”
I breathe deeply before continuing. “Jill doesn’t like the fact that Julia doesn’t dress or act like Jenna. She says that--”
“Jenna is a tramp!” He snap angrily.
“Jordan! Let the girl finish!” Miss R scolds her son. He takes a few deep breaths, calming himself down, before he sits down and scowls at the table.
“Anyways, so after I found out that Julia was doing this again, I confronted Jill, she slapped me, and later on, she told me that I couldn’t skate at the bash in two weeks.” I say, my voice cracking at the end.
“Honey, can she really do that?” Miss R asks me as Jordan’s hands ball into fists.
Tears blue my vision as I shake my head and shrug my shoulders in a defeated manner. “I...” My voice cracks. “I don’t know what I could do. She pays for school and for food and I don’t get control of my father money until my eighteenth birthday. That’s in a year and a half!” A sob erupts from my lungs as I bring a hand up to cover my mouth. “I don’t know what to do...” I cry. “Skating is the last thing I have of my father that she hasn’t taken from me. I c-can’t let her take this from me! I can’t! I--”
“Oh, honey! Ssshhh it’s okay. It’s all going to be okay.” Miss R coos, wrapping her arms around me and pulling us both to the floor. “Don’t worry, Dear, I will find a way to fix this. You will skate at that competition. I promise.” She says.
I just sit there crying, letting all that bottled up despair and pain from five years of depressing sadness come out and surface.
I cry because of Julia.
I cry because of the crap we both have been through.
I cry because of the despair I’ve suffered.
But mostly, I cry because I will never see my father again.