‘Sadly enough, the most painful goodbyes are the ones that are left unsaid and never explained.’
~ Jonathan Harnisch
She shot up on her bed, her face still wet with tears. Wide eyes, she frantically looked around her before looking at the clock. It was around four in the morning. She got out of bed, slightly shivering and padded over to the bathroom. She turned on the tap and splashed cold water on her face over and over again as if it would wash away the remnants of the nightmare that still plagued her mind.
With the tap still running and her hands holding the sink to support her weight, she stared at the mirror. Her eyes welled up with unshed tears as she remembered her nightmare. More like a memory.
It was almost going to be a year since he died but she was still mourning. The grief and the pain never went away. She straightened up and dried her face. She slowly walked back to her room, not knowing what to do. She knew she would not be able to go back to sleep so she just decided to do some studying hoping that it might help her fall asleep again.
It must have been around five-thirty when she went back to sleep on her desk with her book open, the reading lights on, her head bent in a painful way and her body and mind exhausted.
She was literally a zombie, dragging her body slowly across the hallway to class. She was tempted to skip school and just drop down somewhere alone. Literally. Luckily for her, Madilyn was with her whenever she could. The two of them became close in the past few days. Madilyn was the type of person who knew her limits but still was bubbly and cheerful. And they both shared the same dislike towards to a certain people at school.
She somehow managed to get through all class without being all out for not paying attention. It was lunch and she planned on using each and every minute of it to catch up on her sleep. While Madilyn went to get lunch, she walked up straight to her table and plopped down, her head resting on her folded arms on the table. Letting of a sigh in content, she closed her eyes, hoping to jump right into the arms of blissful sleep when she felt someone sitting down beside her.
From the smell of the subtle cologne which wafted up to her nose, she knew it was Asher. She turned her head to the other side and continued ignoring him. Asher, knowing that she would not acknowledge her, decided to speak up.
“Are you not eating?” No answer. He tried again. “Astrid, why are you not eating?” Still no reply. He let out a sigh and went for his second option. Clearly, polite talking was no working. He grabbed her head on both sides and pulled it away from her folded hands.
Annoyance and a promise for a very painful death was written all over her face, as she turned to face a smirking Asher. She glared at him with all the hatred that she could muster up, which sadly was not much, her tired blue eyes glinting in irritation.
“What do you want?” He silently pushed a tray of food in front of her. By this time, Madilyn had returned and was staring at their interaction with surprise and a hint of amusement.
As Astrid was planning of ways to kill Asher in her mind, Ryan and a few others who usually sat with Asher walked up to their table and made themselves at home. Madilyn looked like a deer caught in headlights while Astrid simply gritted her teeth, her sleep deprivation making her rage in irritation.
“If I eat would you and your goons leave?” Asher simply nodded his head, eating his lunch. She grabbed the slice of pizza off the plate and started stuffing it in her mouth, occasionally forgetting to chew. Asher watched her, amused while Ryan was trying to flirt with Madilyn who looked lost. The others continued to chat amongst themselves.
Asher, noticing her eyeing her friends with her eyebrows furrowed, said,” Do you want me to introduce them to you?”
“No, thanks,” she bluntly stated, finishing off her pizza. She already knew who they all are but she was not going to let him know that.
Elisa was the blonde cheerleader who liked pink and glitter and surprisingly horror movies. She overheard her gushing about how awesome Sinister was to the other girl at the table, who clearly was not interested in what Elisa was saying but was too considerate and kind to ignore her. Barbara was a nice girl, with brown hair and green eyes but too bad Astrid simply could not do with nice people. According to her, nice people meant trouble as her barely existing inner conscience would produce a rather hard to digest feeling of guilt, whenever she was her usual self to them. And her usual self included lots of sass and swear words. Too much for nice people to handle. All the more reason as to why she should stay away from them.
The guys were rather a weird bunch. There was Ryan, the typical surfer guy. George, with his dark curly hair and dark skin, looked like he would rather be anywhere than be stuck in between Ryan and Elijah, who blasted music in his headphones so loud that she could hear Eminem spitting out words like fire.
She dusted off her hands and waved them in front of Asher’s face.
“I am done eating. Now can you leave me alone?” she hissed at him. She felt bad when his face fell at her words. She mentally slapped herself. He was just trying to look out for her and she strangely felt warm about it.
“Sorry. That came out rude.”
“Yeah, it did,” he deadpanned. Now, she felt like punching his face in. She controlled her irritation and explained.
“Listen. I did not get proper sleep last night and I feel dead. I really want to sleep right now.” Asher slowly nodded his head in understanding. She let out a sigh in relief and was about to put her head back on the table when Asher grabbed the back of her hoodie and pulled her back, slow enough for the hood to not fall off.
“What now?!” she snapped at him, her face clearly looking tired. Instead of replying, he got up and grabbed her hand, pulling her out of her seat. She raised her leg to kick him and he barely dodged it.
“Geez, woman. Calm down.”
“What part of ‘I want to sleep’ did you not understand?” she hissed at him. By this time, all the people at the table were staring at the two of them.
“Just come with me, will you? You will get your sleep.” He dragged her out of the noisy cafeteria and into the quiet hallways. Astrid kept on spewing profanities at him, not knowing what else to do as her brain was almost completely shut down.
She stopped swearing at him when she realised where he had brought her. The library. He pulled her inside and greeted the librarian, a nice and kind lady if her books were not threatened. He pulled her over to a table at the corner making her sit before grabbing a book and taking a seat next to her. She kept looking at him, her head too jumbled put in exhaustion to comprehend what was happening.
“Sleep. There is still around half an hour for the bell to ring for class. I will wake you up a few minutes before that so that you can go and get your books.”
She gave him a questioning look.
“Come on. The cafeteria was too noisy. There is no way anyone could even get a wink of sleep amidst all the ruckus. Now sleep.”
She looked surprised for a second before a smile took over her face. Not a full-blown one but a genuine one. Asher looked happy to be at the receiving end of it as she put her head on the table and drifted off to a peaceful and undisturbed thirty minutes of bliss, with her lips still slightly lifted up at the corners.
Having him around was not so bad after all.
Just a filler chapter. Things are about to be interesting. Vote and comment if you enjoyed it.
Question for the chapter: One fashion trend that you wish would never come back.
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