A ROSE HAS ITS THORN

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7

I’m going to die.

I remember that feeling. The feeling of knowing that death was coming. Fear wrapping around my beating heart, terror tormenting my thoughts and horror choking my throat. I remember what that felt like.

It’s the worst feeling anyone could feel.

I sat on Logan’s bed, my eyes staring down at the grey carpet as I felt that same feeling rush through my body.

Ruben and Logan were silent on their phones but focused on them while I was trying to focus on remembering something else from that night. Anything.

I jumped suddenly, shooting up to my feet from the sounds of gunshots.

“Shit, they had no damn mercy,” Ruben announced, chuckling at it while I continued to stare at him.

I’d been with them for the day. We went out to the café for milkshakes, came back and went swimming in their pool before we came and started to hang in Logan’s room until we grew apart and turned to our own things.

I’d been reading through different posts and comments on Instagram before I stopped and just looked to the dark floors. Then that horrible feeling came. A wave of something I’ve never felt before. But as soon as I felt it, I knew exactly what it was.

“Ro?” Logan said behind me. I felt my hands start to shake, the blood leaving my face while my head started to hurt. I swallowed and looked away when Ruben looked up, only to curse and stand.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t realise it would be that loud or that you would react like that.” He said as I turned and got my jacket.

“I’m just going to go home.”

“I’ll drive you then,” Logan said after a pause with a glare to Ruben.

“No,” I sighed, “I’ll be okay to walk.”

“We won’t. Julian will kill us if we let you walk home alone,” Ruben replied and I sighed again because I knew he was right.

Julian made it very clear this morning that I went nowhere without the boys. And that’s fine because I understand why but at the moment when I want to be alone, it’s frustrating.

“Let’s go then. I’m tired and wouldn’t mind going to sleep soon anyway.”

“You just miss the only pair of arms that make you feel safe,” Ruben mumbled after and I glanced towards him for a moment. His eyes were narrowed, his arms over his chest while he kept his look on me too. “What? It’s true. You don’t feel safe with us, that’s why you’re always texting or wanting Ju-Ju.”

“What?” I asked, confused. “No. I feel safe with and without Julian. I’ve spent the whole day with you. I even got into the pool. But yes, I miss Julian and wouldn’t mind being with him at the moment.”

“It’s not fair,” he huffed and walked out. I sighed a little and looked to Logan but he just shrugged so I turned and followed grumpy pants out of the house.

“I’ve had the day with you. Now I’m tired and don’t feel too good so I want to go home. Is that okay with you?” I asked Ruben when we got into Logan’s truck. I buckled into the middle seat and waited for him to reply but he didn’t. “Ru, what’s wrong? What’s not fair?”

“It doesn’t matter. It’s not like you’d care anyway.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I said and tapped Logan’s shoulder for some help. “I don’t get it.”

“Of course you don’t,” Ruben replied bitterly. “Do you even like being with us?”

“Of course I do.”

“Why don’t you text us anymore?” He asked, turning to look at me. “Or facetime? Or call? What-.”

“Logan?” I asked instead since he was silent. He looked at me from the rearview mirror before back at the road.

“He’s just jealous because you’re giving all your time to Julian.”

“You’re unbelievable. Actually unbelievable,” I muttered, shaking my head and sitting back. “I’ve been with you all day.”

“It wasn’t like before-.”

“I’m not like before!” I shouted back at Ruben before I shut my mouth and looked out when Logan pulled into my driveway so I got out. “I remember something.”

“Who shot you?” Logan turned to me and I glanced back towards them, both eyes on me.

“I remember thinking I was going to die. I felt it again just before. And it was horrible but neither of you noticed because you were giving your time to your phones. Thanks for today, had some fun. Bye,” I said and got out, closed the door and made my way up to the front door.

When I walked inside, I passed my parents in the kitchen and made my way upstairs and into my room only to stop and stare at the bed I fell on when I was shot.

Wait…

I narrowed my eyes, realising I remembered that too. I was standing when I was shot. And I fell on my bed where I was bleeding out until I saw Julian.

I closed my eyes tight, remembrance of pain coming to my stomach so I pressed a hand to it just as I saw Julian’s face again. So worried. Petrified.

“Rosie,” I heard behind me before a brutal scream shrieked through my ears. I cried out in surprise, moved my hands over my ears and then recognised the screams. My mother’s screams.

“Oh, honey, what’s wrong?” Mum asked, her hands moving to my hands.

“I remember you screaming,” I whispered, looking back at her. Her face went from concern and worry to surprise and shock quickly. “And Julian. I remember Julian being there. I remember falling on my bed. I remember thinking I was going to die. Mum,” I cried, moving into her as she embraced me.

“Shhh, everything’s going to be okay, sweetheart,” she whispered, rubbing my back soothingly for a while until I calmed right down but I stayed in her arms because it was just what I needed. I thought I needed Julian, to tell him and have him to hold me but no, I just needed my mum and her motherly hugs to help me now.

I turned my head when a knock sounded on my door and found Julian looking at us, his eyes big with worry and I guessed the boys must have called him.

“Julian, pleasure to see you again,” Mum smiled softly as he came in.

“You too, Jane,” he replied, his hand wasting no time to intertwine with mine. “The boys called me, told me what happened,” he told me.

“What happened with the boys?” Mum asked and I sighed a little, pushing my fingertips to my eyes.

“Nothing. Just a misunderstanding. Hey, Mum, you think we could have spaghetti meatballs tonight?”

“Yes, of course,” she frowned for a moment. “Of course. I can do that, bub. Julian? Will you be staying tonight?”

“I should,” he gave a nod without looking away from me. “If that’s alright?” He looked to her then and she nodded.

“A pleasure as always,” she smiled. “I’ll leave you two then,” she made her way out only to push the door open a little more as she left.

“Are you okay?” Julian asked while I passed him and closed my door quietly anyway.

“I am corrupted with different feelings and memories now. Just today, I’ve remembered so much. Well, so much to me. Did the boys tell you?”

“That you remembered thinking you were going to die? Yes. And I don’t think that’s a good thing, Rosie,” he said, staying standing and watching me as I took my desk seat and sat on it.

“It’s not. It wasn’t. I felt it again. I don’t know why I felt it again, I just did and it scared me half to death. Then Ruben’s phone exploded with stupid gunshots from his game and I couldn’t be there anymore,” I explained while he came over to me. I watched him bend down in front of me and put his elbows on my knees but take my hands in his.

“Do you remember anything else?”

I told him everything I told my mum. After, he had his head hanging down, resting against my knees while I ran my fingers through his hair. He was upset again but not as much as last night. He wasn’t crying but he was sad. No doubt he was remembering how it played out.

I told him I wanted to move on and forget about it but how on earth do I do that when I have memory flashes interrupting my peace? What if I can’t move on from this? What if I remember what happened but never move on and forget it?

I don’t want to think about it.

I looked up over Julian, my eyes moving over my bed as I sighed.

“First night in my own bed,” I whispered, my chest aching with little fear. “What if the nightmares are worse? I know more now so-.”

“Shhh,” he murmured when I panicked and moved off the chair to sit over his knees. “I’ll be with you. Always. Forever.” He touched his forehead to mine and I nodded softly as I closed my eyes to calm down.

***

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