How the hell did I end up here? I questioned myself as my hands gripped tightly onto the edge of the white porcelain sink, staring into my scared, tired eyes. Closing them tightly, I took a deep breath and counted to five to try and relax myself but I still felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest.
I never thought I’d be in this position - that I’d put everything I knew on the line for an uncertainty. This wasn’t me; I didn’t take risks or put myself in situations that I couldn’t control. I think everything through and try to be at least six steps ahead of everyone else.
My phone vibrated loudly on the marble countertop, making me jump before I swallowed the lump in my throat. I gripped the sink tighter, my knuckles turning white at the action. I didn’t bother to check my phone for I already knew what the message was and I felt my anxiety increase tenfold.
But when I closed my eyes once more, his face flashed in my mind - memories going by like a car on an open road. His fingers gliding along his guitar, the way he let me lay my head on his chest, how his hair always seemed to stand on end different, the way he looked at me when he didn’t think I was watching.
I fell for him in ways I never thought possible. Leaned into the mystery and jumped in head first to the pain. I find myself changing, accepting things for how they are and letting go of the worry of not knowing how things will turn out.
I couldn’t stop now. Falling in love with him was completely unexpected and everyday brings something new. I didn’t know everything I signed up for when it came to being with him and I’m still yelling at myself for not pushing him more.
But I wouldn’t walk away even if I had known because I knew I loved him and nothing could stand in the way of that.
Except right now.
I slowly peeled my hands away from the sink and carefully brushed down my dress. Checking over my hair one last time, I reached out a shaky hand and grabbed my clutch off the counter.
Every bone in my body was telling me to run, to get as far away as I could before something bad happened. But I couldn’t let him down, not now. He’d do this for me.
— 10 months ago —
“You’re going out with Keith?” My best friend Camilla squealed as she gripped my arm and pulled me to a halt. We were standing in the hallway outside of the lecture hall as the rest of the class slowly filtered out.
I rolled my eyes as I pulled my hand out of her grasp and continued my walk towards the front door. “Yeah, I am. I’m only going because I feel bad for him. I mean, he’s extremely intimidating but it seems I’m one of the few people he talks to anymore after Harper cheated on him.”
“Oh, the things I’d do to him,” she mumbled as we slipped out into the fresh afternoon air. I chuckled to myself as I closed my eyes for a brief moment, soaking up the sun on my pale skin.
“You mean if you didn’t have a boyfriend?” I asked with a cocked brow as I turned to look at her. Camilla shrugged as she ran a hand through her short black hair before she hiked her backpack up onto her shoulder.
“Why do you always have to be such a buzzkill?” She grumbled as she quickened her pace to get ahead of me which caused me to laugh loudly.
I jogged to catch up to her and followed as we made our way to the parking lot to find her car. Camilla and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. She was honestly the only friend I had anymore since I couldn’t seem to maintain my friendships. She was always there for me growing up and without her by my side, there’s no way I’d have handled the hand I was dealt.
Ten minutes later we pulled up to our tiny duplex. The outside was painted a light blue, the frames of the door and windows painted white - even though they currently looked grey. One of us really needs to take a pressure washer to the house.
Camilla didn’t wait for me as she ran inside since her boyfriends car was sitting in the driveway. I rolled my eyes as I trudged in behind her, frustrated that I’d be forced to hide out in my room all night.
Walking into the house, I looked over and saw Camilla straddling Matthew on the couch, their hands roaming all over each other. I coughed loudly to try and break them up, make them aware of my presence, but Matthew waved a hand at me before giving me the middle finger.
I cursed quietly under my breath before I turned and made my way up the stairs toward my bedroom. Practically kicking open my door, I threw my book bag on the floor and fell back onto my bed.
“Same shit, different day,” I mumbled to myself before I reached for my phone. I decided to call my mom and see if she wouldn’t mind if I swung by but she didn’t answer so I opted for sending her a text instead.
Rolling off my bed, I walked over to the bathroom and chose to straighten my hair to keep myself entertained. Shuffling my getting ready playlist, I rested my phone on the counter and sat down on the tub till my straightener was hot.
Once I heard the beep, I slowly stood, stretching my arms out over my head before I started to part my long blonde hair into sections. I sung along to the songs quietly, burning myself three different times along the way. I was about halfway done when I heard my phone beep.
Mom: Sorry, honey. Can’t tonight. Tomorrow?
Sighing, I set down my straightener before grabbing my phone to type a reply.
Me: Sure. Dinner?
“Hey,” I heard Camilla’s voice ring out as she opened the door and poked her head in without knocking. “Matt and I are going out for dinner. Want me to bring you back anything?”
“No thanks,” I told her with a smile, trying to hide the fact that I was over the moon that they were leaving. “I appreciate the offer though. Have fun. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
Camilla chuckled softly as she shook her head. “Then I’d never do anything fun.”
I stood there in shock for a moment as she disappeared down the stairs, my bathroom door remaining cracked open. I glanced up at the mirror and saw my eyebrows furrowed, a frown plastered on my face. Is she right? Am I boring?
No, I thought to myself as I shook my head and reached for the straightener. You play it safe, you’re smart, you try to be perfect. There was nothing wrong with that, right? I grumbled to myself as I reluctantly tried to finish my hair.
I had grown up way too quickly, was forced to. I didn’t have a horrible childhood but it wasn’t easy, either. Most kids have this idea in their head of what they want to be when they grow up - a doctor, a vet, a teacher. All I wanted to be was normal.
I only dated a guy for a few months once when I was in high school and it didn’t end well. Relationships never seemed to be something I could maintain because I was too afraid of what would happen if anyone found out. But when I came to college, that was my chance.
My chance to be who I really wanted to be. To go out there and put on this front, wear this mask. Camilla always tells me I should just be myself but being myself never got me anything in life. I truly believed if I wore this mask long enough that, one day, it’d be who I really was.
It sounded so pathetic but whenever I saw Camilla with Matthew, I felt my heart ache slightly. I wanted nothing more than to be loved by someone - for someone to see me as beautiful and amazing, the type of girl any mother would be thrilled their son is bringing home.
I heard my phone begin to ring which startled me out of my thoughts, making me jump. I put down my straightener and rolled my eyes as I saw Keith’s name light up the screen.
“Hey,” I said as I answered the phone, walking over to sit down on the tub. “What’s up?”
“Well, I know it’s short notice but I was wondering if you’d feel like going out tonight instead?” He asked as I heard someone yelling in the background followed by a loud crash.
“Yeah, sure. Pick me up in an hour?” I responded before I could think it through. I closed my eyes and scrunched up my face, kicking myself for sounding way too eager.
Keith chuckled softly and I felt my heart flutter at the sound. “Will do. See you soon.”
I quickly hung up the phone before I could say anything else stupid and walked into my room. Shuffling through my closet, I groaned as I tried to find something to wear.
Twenty minutes later, my bed was covered with almost everything I had hanging in my closet. “Fuck,” I whispered as I ran a hand through my now perfectly straightened hair.
Stopping in my tracks, a grin slowly crossed my face as I tore out of my room and ran down the stairs. I darted through the living room and the kitchen, speed down the hallway and stopped outside of Camilla’s room. Pushing open the door, I made my way over to her closet and smile.
“Thank god we wear the same size,” I said to myself as I started shifting through her clothes. Finding a beautiful yet simple black tank top, I turned and made my way back upstairs and grabbed a pair of jeans out of my dresser. Walking into my bathroom, I glanced at my phone and cursed as I realized I only had half an hour left to get ready.