Then You Look At Me

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It Hurts

~If I threw it all away, would I still have you? If I tried to hit the brakes, would you see right through?~ Freya Ridings.
Chapter Theme Song: ‘Still Have You’ by Freya Ridings^^

(The above song is at the top of the chapter on Wattpad.)

•••

Rainey

I slept a little last night. The treat and note that was left on my nightstand offered me a sense of hope even though the single initial at the bottom cannot serve as validation. Five men are sitting in front of me right now with the first letter of their names being A. Although only three people on this planet know that mint is my favorite flavor, my dad could have easily shared that information with the boys, therefore, my footing is ungrounded. Additionally, the handwriting did not belong to Ansel, sadly.

I read somewhere that during the grieving process, a person may hang on to even the smallest notion that feeds the thought of the deceased still being alive. I know my mind is messed up but a part of me believes that the bearer of that gift is not sitting around this table right now. And I just need to confirm it.

I clear my throat as I swivel my spoon in my chocolate tea. My dad looks over at me concernedly while dusting his crumbly fingers together.

“Everything alright, princess?”

Melissa smiles from the far end of the table. “Do you need more sugar?”

I shake my head politely. “I am fine, thanks.”

Austin looks at my dad while bringing his mug to his lips, and the table becomes quiet once again.

I pull my hands into my lap. “Did any one of you leave an ice-cream in my room last night?”

Riley looks at me with a spoon tucked between her lips and I watch as the boys gaze at me ignorantly; having no clue of what I am talking about.

“Ice cream?” My dad’s eyebrows furrow as he wipes his hands on a napkin.

I nod. “Yeah. Someone left an ice cream on my nightstand last night.”

I ogle everyone around the table, and they all seem equally unaware. However, before I can confirm my speculations, Alaric promptly speaks.

“Yeah. It was me.”

I look at him as he chews his food around, gazing directly at me. “Did you enjoy it?”

I don’t believe him; it wasn’t him. Alaric is a professional liar; he can look you straight in the eyes while feeding you fables from a deeply convincing voice. It wasn’t him.

I construct a smile, deciding to test it further. “Yeah, I did. How’d you know strawberry is my favorite flavor?”

He half-smiles, shrugging his shoulders. “I just guessed.”

And I was right.

It was not him. I hate strawberry, and the flavor that was left in my room was without a doubt—mint.

I drop my eyes back to my plate as my dad rests his hand on my shoulder. “Make sure to eat your breakfast, if you continue like this, I’ll have to take you to a doctor, Rainey.”

“I’m eating...” I mutter, and Melissa sends me a sympathetic smile from across the table.

“Good. You’ll need the energy. Remember, Jeff’s court case is today.”

“Oh yeah,” Austin snaps his fingers. “Shit, I won’t be able to make it, I have some heavy welding to get done today.”

“That’s fine. I’ll represent the both of us,” Robert chuckles, and Austin smiles gratefully.

Today is the day I have been waiting for since the age of Ten. Today Jeff and Greg will be sentenced. My dad told me that they had turned themselves in and I find it strange that they’d do so willingly. These men have proven to be quite stubborn so giving themselves up without a fight leaves me puzzled. But whatever angelic power had possessed them, I am grateful for it.

•••

I slip on black dress pants before throwing on a black jacket over a lavender top. I dab my lips with vanilla lip balm then grab a brush and lazily trail it down my hair. It is slowly growing back, the length now reaching my clavicles while the ends of it hug my once-round face.

As I stare at myself in the mirror, I only see a broken girl. A skinny broken girl with bags beneath her eyes. Using the index finger of both my hands, I tug at the corners of my mouth, watching my reflection copy the action as I force my lips into a smile. Hopefully, I can keep up this fake beam for the day. Sighing, I look back at the nightstand where the ice-cream was left, and my eyes prick painfully.

I saw his ashes; I saw it all for myself. His family had wept, and they had been depressed for days on end. It wasn’t a dream so why do I keep holding on? I feel like I am slowly losing my mind. I am beyond confused. I don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t know what to think.

What was I hoping for, that somehow it was his ghost that had left it there? God. I am losing my sanity.

I flump down onto my bed, putting my face into my hands and allowing my eyes to secrete again. At this rate, I won’t have any tears left to cry. Yeah, Ansel knew that mint is my favorite, but Alaric could have easily purchased it without giving it much thought; without even bearing in mind the flavor he bought. Besides what reason would he have to lie? My basis is weak, and so is my heart.

I don’t have the energy to fight this heartache daily. Do I even have the energy to keep on living?

The door creaks open and I quickly wipe my eyes with the back of my hand. I look to see Riley there, dressed in a short-sleeved cream dress that stops at her knees. Her hair is neatly braided in two cornrows and she’s wearing a pair of nude ballet flats.

She purses her lips, knowing that I’ve been in here bawling my eyes out. “The boys are ready, and Marco is waiting to take us to the court.”

I nod, standing to my feet and pulling together the ends of my jacket.

She gives me a once over, smiling genuinely. “You look nice.”

I try to return one but fail miserably. Her face dulls in sympathy, and she opens her arms widely as she walks over to me. My lips tremble as she embraces me, and I sob against her as she rubs my back.

“It’s okay.” She presses her chin against my shoulder, and I can hear the break in her voice. “It’s okay, Rain. Everything will be alright, okay? It’ll be okay.”

I wish that were true. I wish everything will be okay. But it won’t be. Not without Ansel.

•••

I stare out at the trees as the car drives away from the penthouse. Riley took a ride with Alex while the twins will be traveling with Alaric to Crossview’s Family Court. No amount of words can express my gratitude when I came downstairs to find the boys all dressed in dress shirts and black trousers. Though they were all without a tie and Arden was the only one with his shirt tucked in, the effort they made to ensure they are there to support me swells my heart greatly.

My dad, who is sitting next to me in the backseat, notices my distant face and looks at me consolingly. “You alright, kiddo?”

I nod as he trails his hand down my hair. “Sure?”

“Yeah. Can we stop at Miranda’s?”

He slopes his head back. “Why? She can find her way to the court.”

“I have something I wanted to say to her first.”

“Alright,” he agrees. “Marco. We are heading to my ex-wife’s first.”

“Yes, sir.”

The rest of the journey remains quiet. I can tell my dad wants to offer some condolence, but he decides not to, and I prefer it that way. The more they talk about Ansel, the more distraught I feel. I am just trying to keep it together. Just until I get back home.

In no time, the car pulls up to my mom’s house. As I take in the home, I am hit with a nostalgia feeling, but not a longing to be back here but more like a yearn to see Ansel again. The days when he would come by to pick me up or check up on me replay in my thoughts and I swallow thickly before opening the door and climbing out.

My dad looks over at me. “Don’t stay too long.”

“Won’t be coming in?” I ask as I rest a palm on the open door.

He waves dismissively. “Nope. Can’t bear to see her.”

I smile a little as I turn away then I hear movements behind me and glance back to see him getting out of the car, fixing his jacket.

“I’m coming. I don’t want her trying to brainwash you.”

I giggle softly. “I’m not one to be brainwashed easily, dad. You know that.”

He pats my back. “Yeah. I know.”

We make our way up the steps and I ring the doorbell while my dad glances around. Soon it opens to reveal Miranda. Her eyebrows crumple and she looks between us both; confused about our unexpected visit. But that isn’t the only thing I notice. She looks unhealthy. She is a lot skinnier and her eyes have sunken into their sockets noticeably. A tinge of sympathy takes its place in my heart and I sigh.

“Can we come in?”

She nods with primed lips as she moves away from the door to grant us access. She is already dressed in a blue pantsuit and her long black hair is caught in a tight ponytail. As my dad and I move to the sofa in the living room she clasps her hands with a hung head. “Need anything?”

“No, we aren’t staying long.” My dad lowers himself onto the settee, habitually rubbing his thigh. “We all have to be in the courtroom soon.” I identify the emphasis he placed on the word courtroom and Miranda must have noticed it too because her face drops a little, the bags under her eyes dragging down her face.

She sits on the single sofa across from us rubbing her clammy palms together. “Rain...I just wanted to say I am sorry. For everything.” She’s unable to meet my eyes as she says this, gazing at the furry brown mat in the center of us. “I am a poor excuse for a mother.”

“Ha.” Robert scoffs. “You sure are...” He taps his finger on his knee while glancing around at the small paintings hanging on the walls.

“I am such a disappointment...” She sniffs, wiping her nose with her hand. Tears race down her cheeks and gather at her chin, and she sweeps them away with a slender finger. “I am so sorry. I will take my punishment. I will take it all...I deserve it.”

The tinge of sympathy grows in my heart. Though she has neglected me for years, she’s still my mother, and even though she will never love me as much as I love her, watching her being punished by the law will not ease my distressed heart. It won’t make me happy.

I sigh, resting my elbows on my knees. “I came here to tell you not to come to the courtroom.”

My dad pulls his gaze to me. He unfolds his legs and looks to my mother then back at me. “What are you saying, Rain?”

“I am trying to show Miranda that though we are of the same blood, I am nothing like her,” I state, and she stares at me, her lips trembling. “I am not a monster as who she paints me to be. I wouldn’t watch the people I love suffer, though she has watched me suffer for years.”

Guilt covers her features, and I keep talking.

“I am different from her. She painted me as the villain, but the villain was in her mirror this entire time. I am setting you free, Miranda. You can disown me if you want, from now on you can live life the way you want without worrying that a delinquent like me will ruin your image. From now on, I am giving you the chance to live as though you’ve never had a daughter. If we meet in the future on the streets, I am permitting you to walk on by. I won’t be hurt; I think I’ve become immune to your negligence by now. Letting you go is what I need. It’s what my soul needs to be freed from the shackles it’s in. Just move on...without me.”

My dad’s face relaxes, and he sighs, reaching out a hand to rub my back.

My mother breaks her watery gaze from me and presses her face into her hands as she sobs loudly. “I am so sorry, Rainey. I am so sorry. Please forgive me...” Her squalls fill the room as she chokes on her tears. “I am so sorry.”

I should be sad right now, but the tears just won’t come. Perhaps they are preparing themselves for tonight when I am hit with one more of those crying episodes. I arise from my seat and move over to her, squatting as I cradle her into a hug. I gently pat her back, and my dad watches us with glistening eyes.

“I forgive you,” I say. “I won’t forget it...but I forgive you.”

She cries harder at this and I console her as best as I can. Cutting ties with her is what I need. Though it won’t heal my irreparable heart, at least I can say I have conquered and faced another aspect of my painful past and due to that, I am happy for now.

After Miranda finally settles into a worn-out mess, my dad and I leave the house to make our way back to the car. When we shuffle in, I feel his brown eyes on me, and I meet his gaze, slumping my shoulders apologetically.

“You’re mad.”

He smiles. “I am not mad. I am proud of you. You made a good choice, Rainey.” He reaches over to kiss my head and I softly smile.

I think so too.

•••

“Mr. Jeff Cory Anderson, you are being charged under The Sexual Offences Act 2003, Section 8 for the sexual touching and interference of Rainey Syeda Slate from the ages ten to fourteen, menacing in the second degree, and the physical assault in the second degree with the intent of rape of the said victim. Alongside the third-degree rape and sexual battery in 2006 of Elena Felicia Mansfield who was thirteen at the time while you were nineteen years of age, and the aiding and abetting of sexual assault done by Greg Hosea Taylor to Rainey Syeda Slate and Elena Felecia Mansfield. Charges are also being made for the injury of Elena Felecia Mansfield during the sexual battery and physical harm made to the victim’s body. You are being sentenced to life in prison for said felonies with no possibility of parole.” The elderly judge strikes his gavel onto the hard-sound block, sealing his final decisions.

Riley smiles at me as my dad pulls me into a side hug, kissing the top of my head triumphantly. I glance over at the other victim of these men—Elena Mansfield—and she’s already watching me with a soft smile on her face, grateful that I’ve granted her mental freedom. She turns her eyes away when a lady who appears to be her mother gathers her petite body into a hug.

“Mr. Greg Hosea Taylor—”

The bailiff pulls Greg to his feet and he staggers up with cuffed hands, keeping his head bent as the judge reads out his sentence.

“You are being charged under The Sexual Offences Act 2003, Section 8 for the sexual touching and interference of Rainey Syeda Slate at the age of ten. Alongside the third-degree rape and sexual battery in 2006 of Elena Felicia Mansfield who was thirteen at the time while you were twenty-one years of age, and the aiding and abetting of sexual assault done by Jeff Cory Anderson to Rainey Syeda Slate and Elene Felecia Mansfield. Charges are also being made for the injury of Elena Felecia Mansfield during the sexual battery and physical harm made to the victim’s body. You are being sentenced to life in prison for said felonies with no possibility of parole.”

The courthouse applauds while the judge smacks his hammer yet again. Two bailiffs each grab the assaulters’ arms and usher them from behind the hardwood bar and toward the side door exit of the courtroom. Greg tries not to look in my direction as they shove his body through the exit, but Jeff’s eyes easily locate me, and he stops in his tracks, staring at me menacingly. I shift in my seat, lifting my chin with a smug smirk on my face. His lips slowly lift in a half-smile and mine wavers.

“You know your boyfriend came to visit me at that hospital the other day,” he starts, and I tense up at the mention of Ansel, fighting off the emotions that threaten to surface. “He told me that I should give myself up. Do you know what he said? ‘Being in prison is a lot better than being dead.’ Can’t say he wasn’t right. But guess who’s the better one? I’ll be in prison for life...but he’s Six. Feet. Under.” He cackles. “I get the last laugh.”

His words strike me, and my eyes become red as they gather tears.

“Keep it moving, you asshole.” Alex threatens, while my dad brings his arms around me, pressing his lips to my head. “Don’t listen to him.”

“You better be on your jolly way,” Alaric advises. “Or this courtroom will get blood on its floors.”

“Keep it moving.” The bailiff pushes Jeff forward, and he maintains a cocky gaze at me until he is no longer in sight. The brothers all have faces of aggression, seething after his gone presence.

“He’s a dick, I hope he doesn’t survive a day in jail.” Riley curses in the direction he had left in then look at me with solace. “Don’t listen to him.”

While my dad rubs my shoulders, I stare at a piece of lint on my pants to hide the tears. Maybe what he said was all I needed to wake up. Ansel is gone; that is the reality. And I need to accept it.

•••

While my dad converses with the judge who happens to be his long-time friend, me and Riley along with the boys, exit the stuffy courtroom and begin strolling toward the parking lot. I trot slowly behind as Jeff’s words repeat in my head for the hundredth time since he had uttered them.

“You know your boyfriend came to visit me at that hospital the other day. He told me that I should give myself up. Do you know what he said? ‘Being in prison is a lot better than being dead.’ Can’t say he wasn’t right. But guess who’s the better one now? I’ll be in prison for life...but he’s Six. Feet. Under. I get the last laugh.”

I have gained justice, but I feel like I have still lost massively in the end. Losing Ansel is like losing everything. Nothing else matters if I don’t have him.

A hand around my shoulder snaps me from my head as Alex smiles down at me. “You are walking like a snail.”

I realize that everyone else is standing a few feet away; perhaps waiting for me to catch up. I look up at a grinning Alex and for some reason, his beam unnerves me. Ansel is dead, and he’s smiling like it’s the most amazing day of his life. I am done trying to understand their grievances; I feel like I am the only one going through a very hard time.

I shove his hand off and his brows knit together as I take a step back, pushing my hair away from my face. The wind wastes no time to blow it back into my eyes as I cross my arms.

Alex sighs, jamming his hands in his pockets. “What’s wrong, Rainey?”

“What’s wrong?” I scoff, shaking my head. “Are you seriously asking me that, Alex? I should be the one asking you all that. What the fuck is up with you all?”

Everyone starts walking up toward me as I continue to rant. “None of you give an actual shit that Ansel is dead and it’s so annoying. I’ve been trying so hard to understand you guys because I know people don’t hurt the same, but I am getting so fed up. I feel so alone and empty and I feel like I am the only one who feels this way!”

Arden tries to grasp my arm, but I shift away. “I see you guys laughing your faces off pretty often as if life has never been better! Do you guys even care at all? What—am I too weak and thin-skinned?! I don’t get it. You all seem so fucking fine and I am this broken girl who cries every day. I am on the verge of losing my mind and yet you all seem so damn composed and collective!”

“It’s not like that, Rainey,” Alaric says, and I frown.

“What is it like then?” I turn to him, and he sighs. “You bought me a mint ice-cream, Alaric. Mint-fucking-icecream, then tell me that is strawberry! It was not freaking strawberry, you idiot! It was mint, MINT!”

He opens his mouth then closes it, and Aiden decides to speak instead.

“We just grieve differently; that’s all. We are sorry if we made you feel alone, Rain. We love you and we are all going through this together.”

I press my face into my hands as I begin to cry softly. Riley tries to hug me, but I pull away. “I want to be alone.” I turn away and head down the parking lot and to the exit gates.

•••

It feels like I’ve been walking for a lifetime when I finally settle onto a bench in the park of Crosshill. The evening is cool as propitious families gather on the green lawns and cheerful kids play along the cemented pathway.

I stare up at the evening sky for a while, wondering where Ansel’s soul is right now and if perhaps, he can see how broken I am without him. My life didn’t make much sense until he stepped in. Since that moment we exchanged gazes through my locker mirror, things haven’t been the same for me. My life changed for the better. But now he’s gone, and I don’t know what to do anymore.

I hang my head and my eyes leak once more; I am surprised I even have tears left. The pain gets worse at every passing second as if his death is still fresh. It’s hard living with the probing guilt that someone gave up their life just to protect you. My biggest fear came to life; Ansel eventually died because of my misfortunes.

Amidst my sobbing, I feel a soft pat to my shoulder. Lifting a tear-stained face, I notice a little girl standing in front of me. She’s cutely dolled up in a pink dress, her black hair tied in two long pigtails.

I sniff and quickly dry my eyes, looking around for who could be her parent. “Uhm...hi.”

She smiles and stretches a small paper toward me. I retrieve it slowly with confusion, unfolding to realize that it’s a note.

You are most beautiful when you smile.

The words are written messily with a blue crayon. My lips lift in a genuine smile as I look back at her. “Thank you for giving this to me.”

She shakes her head, and my brows knit questioningly. “It wasn’t me. That guy over there told me to give it to you.” She points to her left and I follow her small finger with interest but oddly, I see no-one there.

I shift my eyes to her. “There isn’t anyone there...”

“He must have left.” She puts a finger between her teeth, and I narrow my eyes in thought before giving her a small smile.

“Thanks anyway.”

She nods then quickly runs over to a group of people on the lawn. I watch her conspiringly as she sits on the blanket then continues to draw in her notebook.

I reread the words on the small piece of paper. You are most beautiful when you smile. Oddly, these seven words give me a sense of comfort. There is no way a little girl who looks to be five years of age could formulate such a deep phrase. As I stare at it for a while, the most peculiar thought comes to mind. What if it was Ansel who told her to give this to me? I flash my head; I must be getting crazy. I need to stop this madness.

I glance around me before nipping my lip and studying the words written there again. Could it be that I am being watched? The mere fact that the little girl said a man ordered her to give this to me--means they must have seen me crying. But who could it be? Ron Moretto?

My cell starts ringing from the pocket of my jacket, scaring the life out of me. I dip my hand in to grab it as my dad’s name flashes across the screen. I exhale before pressing the answer icon.

“Hello?”

“Where are you, Rainey?” He sounds a bit anxious and enormously mad.

I glance around needlessly. “Crosshill Park.”

“Stay there, Marco’s coming to get you.”

•••

I peer out the windows as Marco drives me home. Dark clouds are gathering above as birds quickly traverse across the sky, not wanting to be around when the rain hits. I shake my head, resting my head against the tinted window. “So much for Spring.”

Marco regards me from the top mirror. “What was that Rainey?”

I shake my head. “Nothing...”

“Your dad said he had to stop at Collins Merchandise Enterprise. He had some documents to sign.”

I nod. “Okay.”

The rain begins to penetrate the windows and I close my eyes. It was a wrong decision to make since memories of that day I had vowed to stay away from Ansel come rushing through my thoughts. We were standing outside his house in the rain whilst he begs me not to walk away from him. I was positive keeping my distance would be good for the both of us, but I wasn’t strong enough to follow through, and now I am paying the consequences.

I hate myself for going after Ron Moretto and causing Ansel to lose his life. I hate that I walked into a perfect home and ruined it—ruined them. They were fine without me. He was fine without me.

A snivel pulls Marco’s eyes to the top mirror, and his face dulls in sympathy when he notices I am sobbing once again in the backseat. He doesn’t say anything though and just continues to propel down the road in silence.

Amidst it all, the demons awaken in my head, offering me a bargain that will make it possible for me to be with Ansel. Wherever he is.

“Kill yourself,” they say. “You’ll see him again.”

I have never been the weak type and despite the struggles I’ve been faced with throughout life, I have never once felt suicidal. But I feel lonely and empty as if I have nothing left to live for. Some people may call it weak, but who are they to judge? When they have never been in my shoes.

There is a void inside me, an emptiness that only one person can fill. And so perhaps taking those demons up on their request wouldn’t be so bad...right?

•••

The rain has ceased its reign by the time Marco arrives at the penthouse. As I enter the living room, I notice that the King boys and Riley are on the couch, watching a movie. My presence pulls their attention toward me, and I render a small smile. “Hi.”

They all offer beams of their own and I sigh in relief. After cursing them out like that, I thought they would hate me.

“Got the steam off?” Alaric smirks, and I simper, walking over to sit in an empty spot next to Riley. “I am sorry about what I said. I know everyone grieves differently...”

“It’s okay.” Alex smiles. “You’re super cool when you’re mad. That’s for sure.”

They titter and I smile genuinely. I reach for one of the white furry cushions and tuck it beneath my stomach. “So...uhm, how about that movie?”

Arden pumps a fist in the air. “Hell yes! Reborn of the Mafia Lord, please!”

“Noooo, I watched that hundreds of times. Please, don’t aggravate me.” Alaric rolls his eyes and Riley chuckles.

“Let’s watch a romance movie. The Fault in Our Stars.”

“Hell no.” Alex cringes. “That already sounds cheesy.”

“Let Rainey pick.” Aiden turns to me. “What do you want us to watch, Rain?”

It takes me a while to realize that he’s speaking to me, and I blink my eyes, tapping out of my thoughts and sending him a smile. “Anything is fine, I guess.”

“Yeah, Reborn of the Mafia Lord it is!” Arden reaches for the remote from the center table while Alex frowns in disapproval, wildly attempting to snatch it from him.

I watch them with a lingering grin on my face. What better way to leave this world than to spend my last few moments with these heartwarming creatures? I can’t say my life didn’t mean anything after all. Meeting them was one of the greatest gifts from the heavens above.

I am grateful.

•••

To: All I am leaving behind,

What can I say? I have turned out to be this selfish person. I never saw myself writing a suicide letter. Hell, this is not me; I don’t even know how to write this. But I guess I can start by saying, I do not feel like I deserve to keep on living when my impulsiveness caused the life of another. That bullet did not kill Ansel. I did. Had I not run ahead that day and take things into my hands, a kind soul like Ansel King would still be alive today. He meant the world to me; he taught me what love is and what being loved intimately felt like. He made my dark days better and even though he had seen my deepest scars; he never once judged me. His death is all my fault, and I am sorry that I can’t live with it. The guilt is too much and it’s eating away at my heart at each passing moment. It hurts and it will never stop. Not until I make it all even. I love you and I am grateful that you’ve stuck by me. I am sorry I am not strong enough and I am sorry I am leaving you all behind. I feel like it’s fairer this way, and I pray to God that you’ll understand someday. I don’t know what else to say...well, I guess I can end this by saying I love you deeply.

-Love, Rainey.

By the time I’ve finished writing the letter, the page is dotted with thick teardrops. I place it onto my nightstand and blow my cheeks out. This is a selfish decision, but if it isn’t this then I’ll probably just become a mentally deranged seventeen-year-old. I prefer not to stick around for that to happen.

So, this is it. I’ll get to see him soon...very soon.

Nodding reassuringly, I get up and decisively move over to the transparent wall. I grip the handle of the glass door situated right next to it. The cold night air rushes into my face as I glide it open and I suck a breath in as I step out onto the balcony bare feet. Glancing down at the distances below, I exhale through my nose.

Can I do this?

Before I can think to change my mind, I grip the bars of the sliver railing and climb over, standing at the small narrow space between the railing and nothing. The wind whirls my hair around as I peer down at the long stretch of concrete below me. Somehow it doesn’t seem far enough and perhaps I could still survive the fall with a few broken limbs. I bite my lip and climb back over, gazing up at the rooftop above me.

Conveniently, the penthouse is designed with a ladder that stems from the ground to the top of the roof. Pushing my hair back, I place one foot onto the first step before grabbing on and steadily mounting my way to the top.

As I land on the wide empty surface, I raise my head to the sky. The stars look closer from up here and the air is freezingly cold. I move to the far end of the barren space and peer over. The ground is terrifyingly far away, and I feel fear settle in. I remain grounded, shutting my eyes and thinking of Ansel.

Just think of him, and you’ll be able to do this.

His face appears before me. His captivating eyes, his deep dimples, and how his perfect lips softly curve when he smiles. A load of memories follows his vivid imagery. Our exchange of eye contact through my locker mirror. The first evening ride on his bicycle. His caring for me when I was sick. Our first kiss. Our first night together. And the most heartbreaking one: when he gazed at me with those empty eyes before falling off that cliff. Everything comes rushing back. Tears slip down my face and I squeeze my eyes tightly.

He fell from a precipice so it’s only right I die the very same way. Surely, I am making the right choice. My soul will now be at ease.

This is it...

I motion to step off but suddenly a hand grabs my arm, pulling me backward and into a sturdy chest. I gasp breathlessly and my heart momentarily stops when I smell him. Ansel.

His raspy breath hits my face as he breathes heavily, holding me tightly to him as his heart thumps wildly against my back.

“Wh-what on earth are you doing, Rainey?” His voice is pained, and I open wide teary eyes, my body shaking with fright. W-what...?

Swiftly, I am spun around, and my eyes meet those two familiar circles. The ones that keep haunting my dreams, the ones I have missed so much. It is him...Ansel.

My lips part and my eyes are wide and wild as tears squeeze from them. His eyes are limpid as he removes the hood of his black pullover from his head. He presses a hand to my cheek and a tear streak down his. “Do you want to see me go crazy? What-what on earth were you about to do?”

My brain stops working and I try to find my voice, but my trembling lips just opens and closes. Groping my nape, he firmly shoves his lips onto mine, stilling my attempt as our tears meld together.

~

~Honey-glazed eyes are gazing into mine. Hold me down, say we’ll never die~ Freya Ridings.


~

🙂It is still not the end lol, but we are definitely close now. Stay tuned for the boiled down!

(゚▽゚)

Love, love, loveeeee!

Ps: if you like my story even a tiny bit don’t forget to hit that heart/like at the bottom. Stay tuned for more!

-Tiffanyluvss

Check out this chapter’s ending song and theme song for the following chap at the bottom of the chapter on Wattpad! Freya Ridings- ‘Ultraviolet.’

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Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.