Chapter Seven - You don't know me
The next two weeks go by quickly and painlessly, my yellow paint effectively doing its job. At school, I have been hanging out with Eli and Adonis mostly, Tom, Lucy and Alex are normally distant, normally hanging out on their own which I find odd but because of my yellow paint, I feel as though I don’t have to care all that much anymore.
It’s so exhilarating.
The day I got home on Monday my father wasn’t home; he left a note saying that I had to find my own way of eating as he was going to stay at his new flings house instead of staying here with me.
But I didn’t care.
Most people say that meeting the loves of their lives is the best thing to happen in their lives but I beg to differ, this... my yellow pain... is the best thing to happen to me as it makes me feel numb when I need to, it makes me not care all that much anymore and it makes the voices go away, all I need to do is take a hit and the voices stop.
However, it will all come to an end soon as the notes that me, Joseph and Isaac keep passing around is halting after today, the paint has to go back to its owners. I think this is very unfair as it means the voices will come back, the images of my father on top of me, the feeling where I can't breathe and the feeling of having to care again.
But I think of this in a happy way, maybe they need this paint, maybe they need this paint more than I do as the paint is so useful.
Yes, other people exist apart from you, you bitch. She sneers.
I take a hit, instantly shutting her up. I smile sadly down at my brick. I think back to the times when I need it most and smile sadly again.
Every two hours this helped me through the week. One day I went to school without it and I started sweating because I couldn’t have it, my body wanted to take more, to make the voices go away so badly that my body started to shake and my muscles would shake.
Adonis made a joke saying I was going ‘cold turkey’. It was a day where everyone was together and everyone laughed. I didn’t. I don’t have a problem.
Today, I give the boys back their product.
The bell rings for the end of our fifth lesson and everyone speeds out. I throw my school bag over my shoulder along with their gym bag.
I laugh to myself knowing that in my inside jacket pocket I’ve saved some of my yellow paint for emergencies. I slowly walk to one of the staircases in school numbly and place the bag in the corner with a note.
’READ ME IF THE BAG IS YOURS PT WHATEVER
Dear dickheads, a pleasure doing business with you :)
I walk up the stairs slightly so I’m sat where they can’t see me and wait; five minutes later I hear some muffled voices from the walls and glass that encase the staircase from outside.
“Who do you think it is?” One of them says.
“Probably James man. He’s always had a grudge on me the prick.” I hear the other respond. I hear the door open and I smile to myself knowing they’re about to-
“What the fuck?!” Joseph roars.
“What? What? What?” Isaac responds. “Oh shit... who the fuck did half a kilo in two weeks?” I laugh silently and point at myself. I move to stand up when they start to argue and converse about who it could be when a pen falls out of my pocket, creating a small noise against the stairs.
“You little-“ I hear one of them start to run up the steps and I take off running too, loving the fact that I was two starecases above them. “Where’s my fucking weed and coke, cunt?!” After hearing that I push myself faster, I run up the staircase until I get the library and burst in. I speed walk past the librarian to the computers and log on quickly. I throw some things out of my bag onto the desk to make it look like I’ve been here for longer.
There’s a bang shortly after I successfully walk in and I smirk when the librarian tells them off for being too loud. “Boys! Get out of here! There are people in here that are doing homework. Leave. Now.” She says.
“But miss! We need to do our biology homework too.” They say which silenced her. No miss! Don’t cave!
“Okay! Just be quiet; I mean it, lads.” She warns and I hear the boys’ speed walk into the computer section. I look behind me and see two other people in.
I see a quiet kid, Jack and one of the class clowns, Tyler. Shit.
They look at us all here and when Joseph spots me and storms over, red in the face with sweat dripping down his face. “Hey, freak, you haven’t seen anyone running in here recently have you?”
I furrow my eyebrows and shake my head quickly. He swears under his breath and turns to Tyler, he slaps the back of his head. “Hey bro.” They both laugh, I log off my computer and pack away my things I scattered out as Joseph’s and Isaac talk to Tyler.
I cringe when they ask him the dreaded question.
“Who was the last one to come in here?” Tyler looks behind them to me and then inverts his eyes back to Joseph. “I have no idea what you’re talking about but Jack and I have been here for the past twenty minutes then a lad came in before out of breath then left when you guys got here. I think it was just before Riley turned up why?” He secretly winks at me and I smile in gratitude before walking out.
“Where’s she gone?!” I here Joseph shout. When I hear him finish that I take off running down the stairs. I make it to the bottom of the stairs before hearing them slam open the library door and hear the librarian shout at them again.
I look in the corner and see the bag there. I leave a new note, my hands shaking when I hear hem slowly walk down the stairs.
’Dear dickheads, guess Tyler is pretty loyal huh? Should’ve looked in the back staircase. Now you’ll never know if I’ve added anything to this half kilo. Oh! And you’re not getting the weed back ;)
Have fun idiots :)
As their voices get louder on the second to last staircase I take off running again, just in time to hear them sprinting down the stairs.
I run all the way home and when I get there, I drop off my bag and go to the secret place I found. I go to the large hedge a ways down from my house and I stick my hand in the hedge as I walk through the small hole in it to grab the small backpack. I pull back the piece of wood and step through, making sure to pull it back behind me.
Not only was there yellow paint in the gym bag but green too. Along with some utensils.
I place a bud in the small grinder and grind up the bud, after grinding enough for a joint I light it up and lay on my back on the grass of the deserted field.
As I move my hand behind my head and cross my legs at the ankles, I take a big drag and cough, this joint only being my second. I laugh remembering how many times I watched videos on how to roll a joint.
Jason would be proud. Jason was one of my only friends back in year eight to nine. We were so close that was until his parents packed up and left, leaving me to fend off the bullies by myself again up until the present day. A month or two into my final year, year eleven.
My green paint doesn’t even do much. Just makes me feel sleepy. There’s some rustling in the bushes and I quickly put out the blunt and hide it in the backpack and sit up.
“Babe, we can’t keep sneaking out like this.” A girly voice says. “You know what my parents are like Sid. You promised you’d keep this a secret.” Another girly voice responds.
I hear the board being moved before-
The next day I wake up at six am to my father banging at my door. My body on instinct went to the door and unlocked it to be met with a right hook to the face.
Good morning to you too.
“It’s your fault!” He kicks me in my ribs causing me to curl up, when I do he kicks my arms causing me to whimper, I kicked my knees causing me to turn the other way leaving my back vulnerable.
He kicks my spine twice before spitting on me. “You fucking whore! She was finally warming up to me before she mentioned you! You always ruin everything you fucking-“ he pulls me onto my back and straddles me.
Punch after punch after punch.
Tears fall out of my eyes as I move my arm up to block his hit. He grabs my wrist and twists it, I cry out in pain when I hear a crack. My father smiles menacingly down at me and I look away.
He grabs my hair and pulls my head up, slamming it to the floor. Tears fall silently yet all I can think of doing is a line.
Just one line.
He slams my head onto the floor one more time before my vision goes black but I still feel the pain.
When I wake up I noticed my body, head and face hurt but I can tell just by sitting up that he did less damage to my head than my body. Looking to my left, I see a note saying that my father doesn’t want me to have more time off so he hurt my body and that he now has to go out and fix a mess because of me?
So he’s hiding the bruisers now? Now? And what have I done now?
After standing up straight away I start swaying from standing too quickly, my head pounds, my stomach convulses and I go hurling to the bathroom to throw up. Instantly my head pounds more. Before walking out the bathroom, I bandage my injured wrist.
I stumble down the stairs, holding the bannister to stop me from falling and I go straight to the kitchen and grab some pills. I take two for my headache and look at the tray that has one pill left. I shrug before swallowing that one too.
A cold glass of water makes contact with my lips so I can take large gulps of water, my eyes look at the time. 06:53
I walk slowly up the stairs and fall into my bed, my eyes closing and I throw the cover over me, curling into it. I sigh after ten minutes of tossing and turning, not being able to get comfortable.
My eyes open, I flick my legs out and I reach under my bed, I pull out a green plastic bag and reach inside.
Pulling out my grinder, my bag of weed that’s just under a pound, the lighter and papers. I cross my legs in my bed and get to work.
I roll two joints, grab my coat, put my shoes on and go on a walk. I pull over my hood and put on some sunglasses, it’s still kinda dark out but it stops people recognising me. Bringing the joint up to my mouth and covering the end from the wind I take a drag. I hold it a couple of seconds before exhaling.
After walking for an hour I circle back to my spot. I take out the second joint and sit in the field. Crying and smoking is my favourite hobby.
“Are you fucking high in school?” Rolling my eyes, I turn to Sydney. Giving her a deadpan look she laughs and punches my shoulder lightly. “Good girl has gone bad eh?” I shrug and turn back to the line with my bottle of water and a milkshake. Someone bumps into the back of me causing me to turn after wincing.
When I turn, Adonis looks down at me smiling weakly. “Sorry, Eli pushed me,” my green eyes shift to Eli and glare at him, he holds his hands up in surrender and I turn again to buy my drinks.
“Hey, Riley!” My eyes meet Adonis, Eli and Sydney still in line. “Go grab us a table?” I turn back again without giving my response.
Just as I’m about to sit down on a table for us all a small hand touches mine causing my eyes to close and my body to sigh and by the silence in the room; I know it’s Aurora.
“Hey, freak!” She says happily when I don’t turn she stands in front of me and grabs my jacket and pulls. I rip it from her hands, hearing her fake nails click against it. I cringe and take my jacket off, putting it on the table, out of her reach.
“Hey, I like your jumper. Oh! As those shoes, they’re to die for!” Ignoring Aurora’s presence I set my head on top of my bag on the table and close my eyes. “Although... they look an awful lot like mine...” she trails off.
“What is she doing?” People start to gasp, whispering in confusion at my actions. “No one ignores Aurora.”
The light sting my eyes when they snap open, feeling an ice-cold liquid in my hair and on the back of my neck, causing me to bolt up, and look at Aurora, holding my nearly empty water bottle, she throws it at me before looking at her nails. Laughs resonate through the hall as people watch the situation. “Shame really, that jumper looked nice before. But I guess this is what it takes to stop you from being a copycat huh?”
I look down at it, sighing at the jumper that’s now darker in colour because of her. After slipping out of the hoodie to see my shirt slightly dry, I gasp when Aurora ‘slips’ and tips the rest of the water onto my chest, making my white school shirt now go transparent. “Oh, I’m so sorry!” She gasps making everyone that was already laughing, roar and clutch their stomachs because they can now see my bra. Through my shirt.
Through the laughs of students, I can still pinpoint a couple of guys go: “damn look at those tits, didn’t know she had it in her.”
I saw those tits. I did more than look at them though, didn’t I? I ignore his voice and shake my head. Trying to ignore him.
Is that the best she can do?
Oh, my days! My secrets out! I wear a bra like every other fucking girl on the planet. “Do you mind if I try your milkshake?” She asks before taking it anyway. I grimace at my top and pull it away from my skin, looking at it stick to my chest. “Ooo.” She says.
“This tastes amazing!” She says excitedly at me, the hall becomes silent again when they see me stand up. I look down at her, her being 5’3 and me being 5’5.
It’s not much but it’s an advantage. I shake my head at her and tut. She seethes at me before tipping the milkshake down on my shoes, my teeth clench, my toes curl from the cold liquid and after looking down at me shoes I look back up at her with raised eyebrows as if to say: ‘you done?’
The red-head stands on her tiptoes, lifting her hand and pulling my head back by my hair, her other hand reaches up with the milkshake and pours t over my face, head, hair and clothes.
I start to freak out as the milkshake goes in my eyes, up my nostrils when I breathe in and down my top, I blow out of my mouth, causing parts of the milkshake to hit Aurora.
On an instant, she slaps me across the face then hold my face in her hand. “Stay away from Adonis you piss-take.” My eyes water when the hall starts to laugh even more than they were if that’s possible and now I look over to the queue of people to see everyone staring at me shocked.
Adonis, Elijah, Tom, Alex, Lucy and Sydney.
“He’s mine, bitch. Don’t even think about hanging out with him anymore.” She snarls, pushing my head away with force making me take a couple of steps back before I fall flat on my arse; I wince loudly when I land on my injured wrist causing her to smile smugly at me before she turns to sashay away.
My eyes meet everyone’s again and I whimper inaudibly when they make no move to come to me while I stand here, too frozen to move.
They didn’t help you ’cause you’re fucking pathetic. Not only do they ignore you for two weeks but now they laugh at you. They laugh. I’m not surprised, look at you. The voice continues, her voice.
Adonis steps forward to come up to us and I shake my head, wordlessly, I grab my belonging and speed walk out of the hall with everyone talking about me.
“Look at her, run off like the freak she is.” A group of girls giggle.
Like the freak you are! She says.
“I thought we were freaks but look at her!” A group of people say, earning laughs in the vicinity of them.
Don’t worry baby, you can always come to me when you feel like a freak. His voice says in my head like he did when he- when he-
“She’s good tits bit fucking hell, she’s so naive. I could tell a mile always aurora was gonna do that!” A guy laughs, his friends laughing and agreeing with him.
Good tits. Soooo fucking good. He laughed in my head and I whimper and runoff, letting the doors close behind me quietly.
I go to the girl toilets and break down, grabbing the sign about the toilet being broken I place it on my door. My body shakes, my hands rattle against the lock of the door and sobs rack though my body.
It’s always me.
My fault. Always. They say together.
I ratch through my backpack and coat for any paint and I sob again and punch the back of the door. FUCK!
Wincing when I punch with my injured hand and wrist, I look down at my injured wrist and clench my wrist, I smile when i sense the pain but keep punching anyway.
The door to the cubicle continues to be assaulted by my kicking and punching the back of it as the sobs come out in waves. I hear everyone start to leave the toilets instantly.
Because... why would you even want to be in the vicinity of a freak?
Something red catches my eyes and I look at my right hand and see my knuckles cracked, spots of blood start to appear but I don’t care. Clenching my fists, I continue to punch the door harder and harder and harder.
Kick after kick comes at the door when I hear the wood split from behind the plastic finish. I sob when my toes, knuckles and my heart thumps in pain.
I push the toilet lid down and sit down on it defeated. “Riley?” A girly voice comes in with a few other footsteps. More than one set.
I wish they would just leave! They don’t care so just fuck off! I sob uncontrollably and I hear someone send everyone out. Sydney and the other girl who I haven’t learnt the name of, convince them they’ll come out soon to explain everything.
“You don’t even know her!” Adonis argues back.
“Neither do you now just leave!” Sydney’s friend says. I hear someone stand outside the cubicle and sigh. I silently search my bag and bring up the one thing that hasn’t let me down.
I flip it a couple of times in my fingers and laugh lightly out of my nose when I cut my fingertips.
I palm the blade when someone knocks on the door. “Riles?... Rosie and I are here.” They say softly. So that’s her name.
The girl with Sydney is called Rosie. I still don’t understand why they go out in secret.
‘Go away.’ I kick the note under the door.
“No.” They reply, making me squeeze my hands into fists, I sigh in content when more physical pain fights the mental pain back temporarily. I think Sydney and Rosie took my sigh as a defeated one because I sense the smiles in their voices when they start to whisper. “I told you we’d get her to come out,” Sydney said.
“Girls, are you using the toilets?” One of the members of the toilet staff say. “Well does it look like I’m pissing?” Sydney responds.
“Get out.” The staff say. “Sid lets just leave, she’s not gonna come out.” I hear Rosie pull her out.
I see a note being slid under the door and I sigh when a droplet of my blood falls on top of the paper.
’Here’s our numbers. Call us anytime. We mean it. Any time.’
Underneath, are two sets of numbers and I shake my head. Why even try anymore? I’m a lost cause.
“Riley?” I hear his deep voice call, hearing me sniffle he comes up to my door and by the way the door goes forward slightly I can tell he’s leaning against it. “Are you okay? What’s the matter?” He asks.
Really? Quickly wrapping my hand with the emergency bandage I keep in my bag I open the toilet door. ‘I’m fine.’ I push past him.
His hand clasps my shoulder and spins me, avoiding eye contact I look down at my stained shoes and sigh. His fingers grip my chin, tipping my head back he looks at me, his hands don’t show pity, they don’t show anything, they just cup my face.
“I’m sorry she did that to you.”
‘Don’t be sorry. I’m used to it.’ His hands drop.
“You shouldn’t have to be.”
‘Yeah, well, I am.’
“Tell me, what’s the matter?” He says, grilling my waist, I pull away from him when tingles surfaces and imagines of my father appear again.
‘Nothing.’ I give him the note and walk out of the toilets.
“Well, I’m not buying it.” He follows me. ’Good ‘cause I’m not selling anything.’ He frowns and I roll my eyes, turning away.
He grabs my hand and both of our eyes look at my bandage. My eyes zeroing in on the red patch making them widen. I rip my hand away from his, his eyebrows scrunching.
“What exactly did she say to you?”
“Riley...” he warns.
‘Honest! It’s nothing!’
“It’s not ‘nothing’.” He says like I’m dumb. They’re all the same. I shake my head and walk away. ‘She was jealous of my hoodie and shoes so she ruined them.’ After giving him the note I begin to notice the cold nipping and scratching at my skin easily from my wet clothes. My body begins to shake, my jaw chatters.
He gives me a deadpan look. “Wow.” He says sarcastically. “Because I definitely believe that.”
Adonis looks at my body. “Here. Take this.” He takes a hoodie out of his bag.
He laughs and repeats what he said. “I mean it, it doesn’t take a genius to notice you’re cold.”
The hoodie makes its way above my head and when I breathe I get a whiff of him but before I fully pull it over my head, I remember what Aurora said to me ‘Don’t even think about hanging out with him.’
I frown and take it off again, hanging it back to him wordlessly and walking away. His hand makes its way to my right shoulder to pull me to face him.
“Stop being complicated and take the damn hoodie.” He says, exasperated.
’Stop being complicated.’ It repeats through my mind.
“Fine....” he sighs.
‘Fine?’ I question.
“Yes.” He says sternly. “Fine.” His jaw ticks.
“You okay?” He says noticing my silence, making me nod my head in response. “You sure?”
‘Yes, I wouldn’t have said otherwise.’
“I don’t believe you.” I sigh, frustrated and walk away after writing: ‘Well, I don’t care... just leave me the fuck alone. You don’t know me and you never will do just fucking quit while you’re ahead.’ I glare at him as I turn.
Adonis didn’t sit with me in fourth and five period but that’s fine... however, what isn’t fine is the fact that he chose to sit with someone else. That someone else being Aurora.
I turn back to look at them as he makes her laugh, she twirls her hair with a sparkle in her eyes, her eyes meet mine and she winks and grins her pearly whites at me. My body turns back to the board and slouches.
I deserve it, knowing I’ve messed up my only opportunity to make friends it doesn’t upset me... just makes me shrug because I knew it would happen eventually. Eli and everyone won’t stick by me when I’m a newcomer. I’m the new kid in their group, they don’t owe me that respect.
So what, they saw me freak out once and now they’re my best friend? Pfft. No way. Fuck them.
They’re all fake anyway.
My eyes watch the traffic lights turn red and I cross the road, sighing deeply before I laugh humourlessly.
The funny part? This is the second time this has happened. The opportunity is gone... just like my mam.
Poof. Gone. Forever.
And I have no choice in getting any of that back. Not one thing I could do to change anything.
Not one thing.
When I get to my front door, the door opens before I can lift my hand. Behind the door is my father standing there, waiting with a can of beer in his left hand, he brings it to his mouth and down the entire can, now holding an empty can.
My father throws the can behind him, smiling cruelly at me, he reaches out to grab my wrist, pulling me to him, he kicks the door shut.
He rips my back off my shoulders, causing my shoulders to kick and snap, in discomfort. I keep silent, not wanting this to be any worse than it has to be.
One second, I’m breathing... the next?