Chapter 5: Bruised
The day had ended. I was at the library getting the necessary reference books I would require for the upcoming projects that our professors had earlier mentioned as part of our syllabus. I was taking out the last book from the shelf when I felt someone watching me. I looked around to see the guy who sat next to the grumpy guy in the first period, leaning against the shelf of books from which I had taken my book from. His intent gaze had several other meanings within it. Like darkness. And coldness. I quickly turned around only to hit straight into a chest that seemed to be made of wood or stone or something. It was that hard. My books fell out of my hand and without looking up at the person I had bumped face-first into, I bent down to take my books. It was at that moment, flashes of that glare grumpy guy gave me came to my mind. I made a connection between the two and there it was. Crystal clear. I told on him. He was onto me.
I grabbed the books in my hand and ran out with all the strength I had in me. The guys tried to grab me but I ducked under their arms and ran out with all the life in me. I ran out of the library and was now running through the arched hallway of the college. The entire time I kept my head down hoping they wouldn’t find me or see me. I, unfortunately, turned back to see that only one of those guys were behind me. I once again bumped into a chest and I fell hard onto the ground, with my books falling on my head. The guy kicked me in my stomach while the guy who had chased me had finally reached me and simply stood there, with his evil intent gaze on me. I arched into myself as the pain of the impact shook my entire body. I was in terrible, excruciating pain. I could feel my chest walls slowly weakening. Not now, please not now. The guy who chased me kicked me in the back and I rolled around to face him as the guy I had run into, chuckled darkly and menacingly. Why did I even have to open my mouth for fuck’s sake?
I shelled out a few bucks along with a glare to the detention teacher who let me off of detention. I walked down the hallway where the guys said they would be taking care of that loud-mouthed shit. As I reached there, I took out my lighter and lit up a cigarette to quench my anger. I won’t deal with a woman like that. But she squealed on me. I won’t deal with her personally because I simply cannot hurt a woman. I am not my stepfather. I saw her back facing Dylan while she faced Caleb. I smoked and maintained a calm exterior composure, trying not to lose my temper. I was annoyed by her groans. Can’t she just shut the fuck up?
The one thing I hated. Moaning and groaning. Those things remind me of my stepfather and what he did to women.
I looked up to see and I saw a girl momentarily glance at me. It was her. Those eyes. I ran out into the centre of the academic roundabout, grabbed the girl by her wrist and slammed her against a pillar. I lifted her face by her neck to see the same coloured eyes of the girl I met on the first day. But her eyes held none of the warmth, that innocence the girl I met had for me. I pushed her aside and said to Dylan to stop punching the loud-mouthed bitch against the pillar that supported the open hallway as Caleb held her arms behind the pillar. She looked gruesome. Just how I liked it.
My chest throbbed with so much pain. I couldn’t breathe. The guys who punched me left me as grumpy guy hand-gestured to them they had to leave. His piercing silver eyes were a dark shade right now. Almost black. I made sure I looked into those eyes without facing him directly. I gasped for air and grabbed my bag and took out my breathalyser.
My lungs were back to normal and I stood up, supporting nearly all of my weight against the pillar where moments before I was being punched. I walked with a limp but made sure as I entered my room, to not show it to Daphne.
“What happened? You look weak and exhausted” she asked as I entered, with a concerned tone.
“Nothing. Just tired after a long, boring day” I lied
“I know right” shrugged Daphne.
“What’s for dinner?” I asked her
“Spaghetti and meatballs,” she said, happily.
“Yeah!!” I exclaimed as I experienced a sharp stab of pain in my chest.
I went to the bedroom and sat down my bed. I took in a few deep breaths and took out my breathalyser. I used it again.
I peeked out of the room and said to Daphne “Hey could you just let me be on my own for some time? I have to talk to a few people and I don’t want you to feel weird or anything...”
“Yeah sure,” she said and went to study.
I opened up my laptop and started my skype session with my therapist. Her name was Lara. She was nice and never made me feel weird about anything at all. She asked me about my nightmares which I had ever since that fateful and terrifying night. They had decreased in number but increased in severity. Luca’s dead body always accompanied all of those nightmares, and I would wake up out of cold sweat that made me look like I dipped myself into a tub of cold, icy water.
Those nightmares haunt me in the daytime as well.
After my lovely session with Lara, I called my best friend Josh. He was like the big brother I never had. He knew every single thing about me and I knew every single thing about him. He was my pillar of strength in my most testing times. He defended me from my bullies and kept me safe as much as he could. If people heard how we talked or saw how we greeted each other of ever we met after a long time, they would think we were two mental patients had simply jumped out of the asylum. We were that crazy of a mix. Luckily, we never had those issues most girl-boy friends are subjected to like love and arguments and stuff like that. I was the one who knew he had the biggest crush on my other best friend Mariah and I actually helped them get together.
I talked with him for half an hour, and my stomach ached after I laughed like a maniac being electrocuted. I asked him about Natalie. Natalie Vincent. My former best friend. And the girl who betrayed me to death’s door. His jaw clenched in anger as he spoke about her. She was rich and lived in a mansion and stuff now.
After chatting with Mariah as well on Skype, I got to work. I set up my timetable app with my agenda and goals for the week and checked up my chapters in advance, made notes and colour-coded them. Nerd.
After finishing up our work, me and Daphne went into the kitchen to get on with dinner. We came out messy and to end the long story short, what we made was at least edible.
We talked for hours and I showed her a picture of my gang of friends (Without Natalie of course). It was in a super sweet pink picture frame. It showed me, Luca, Josh and Mariah, arm in arm, at Funland Waterpark, with water splashing right behind an unsuspecting us. Those were the times...
Daphne had slept off. I took out my collage of pics of me and my friends. All these wonderful pictures brought back so many memories. I tried and struggled, but whatever I did I couldn’t stop the tiny tear escape out of my eye. I kept the collage back in the bedside drawer that belonged to me. As I slept, I was filled with haunting thoughts about the next day, praying that I wouldn’t be bullied or attacked. That night, I was haunted by a nightmare that showed grumpy guy kicking Luca’s dead body and came to me with emotionless, bloodthirsty eyes. And a bullet was shot into my head.
I pumped into her harder as I covered her mouth with my hand to muffle her moans. It was the same girl who had flirted with me in the first period. I looked into her eyes, hoping I would find the warmth and love and innocence that radiated out of that beautiful girl’s eyes. But she looked at me with nothing less than pure lust. I didn’t give in to her though. I pushed her aside and got off the bed to gaze at my window. The girl used the blankets to cover up her naked body and she looked at me intently and said: “C’mon baby, you know you want it”. Her voice dripped with lust. It simply disgusted me. I ignored her and was thinking about that girl. The look she gave me made me feel so wrong. So bad. So powerless. I never instilled any fear in her and I didn’t know how that had happened, as I embedded fear to everyone who I dealt with and to everyone I had never dealt with. She wore a cute mask and had beautiful caramel hair. She had beautiful eyes. I longed to find her, but it was difficult to do that since nearly everybody wore a mask in this town, due to the air pollution. I longed to caress that soft and innocent face of hers. I longed to kiss her eyes. Her lips. I longed to smell her hair and tuck it behind her ears. I longed to hold her in my arms. To feel her skin against mine. And if ever I fell in love with her, I wanted to let her know how much I loved her too. And this night too, without me even realising it, the girl with the beautiful plum-coloured eyes haunted me in my happy dreams, much to my pleasure.