Earthquakes and Chills

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Chapter 10

“Hannah, I don’t want to talk about this anymore,” I heard Nolan say.

“Who is she!? Who is living with you!? Is she here now!?′ She was on the verge of screaming, and I could hear her heels clicking all over the place. I had a feeling she was in my room.

“Hannah, come on. Calm down. She’s no one important. She’s my best friend’s little sister. She was in a tough spot, and I offered her a place to stay,” he said, “calm down.”

I don’t know why but I was hurt by what he said. Nolan made me feel like I was some charity case that he had taken in, which was hard to hear even if it was true.

“What about us!? You haven’t returned a single phone call or text. What’s going on? There is something that you’re not telling me,” she said in a threatening way.

“Hannah, just calm down. I have a headache. You know that I work every day. So when I’m not working, I’m still working.”

I bit my lip, cursing myself at drinking so much soda with my burger. I had to pee urgently. There was no way I’d be able to make it downstairs.

“I’m sorry, I just feel like I haven’t seen you in forever.”

I started tiptoeing my way into the hall, immediately regretting my decision not to pee in the fucking ficus I saw in the office. I watched as she kissed him. I could even hear it; it was so gross just hearing the smacking sound. I rushed across and opened the door to his room, quickly closing it behind me.

Thank goodness. I realized the room he had was basically soundproof. His room was huge. I couldn’t stop to admire anything because I was about to burst. I ran into the bathroom and felt like I had a whole river running through me.

I flushed and washed my hands. I was about to go sit in the room somewhere when I saw the door opening. I had no idea how I was going to explain myself in this situation. I closed the bathroom door quickly and quietly and looked for a place to hide, but there was nowhere to hide. Everything was fucking glass!

Even if I had made it into his closet, the entire closet was large and open. Where was I going to hide? It’s not like he had dresses for me to hide behind. The whole design was fucking absurd as fuck if you thought about it, everything was so open, and there were absolutely no hiding spots anywhere.

“I have to go,” him saying, “I have to meet a few people from the office. We have this whole thing.”

“Okay, I’ll go with you,” she offered.

“It isn’t like that,” he said, opening the bathroom door.

“You don’t take me anywhere, you don’t invite me to any place you have to go to, your parents even had this whole thing that you refused to take me to,” she sounded like she was on the verge of tears.

Come on girl, I thought as I tried to project my thoughts to her, cry it out. Finally, I could hear him turn and shut the door.

“I have to go,” he said.

I waited until I heard them leave, and I collapsed on the floor. I laughed until I cried. I pushed myself up off the floor and felt ridiculous. Looking into the mirror, I was determined to change.

I ran downstairs and pulled out the bags that I had stuffed in the closet. I found a black skintight low v mini dress that I knew Nikki would approve of and curled my hair. I put on heavy shadow, which I never did, and a deep wine lipstick. I found the new pair of heels I had just bought and snapped them on.

New shoes to go out at night is never a good plan, so I popped some over-the-counter pain pills and headed out the door. The thing about heels is that if you go high, you always want a platform, and if you wear 6 inches… girl… you better strut.

I didn’t walk across the street to meet up with the girls- I glided. If there was one thing I learned from my relationship with Owen, it was how easily he took advantage of the fact that I didn’t value myself.

So what if I didn’t have money, or a name, or enough degrees, or whatever else that might make me seem less in someone else’s eyes. I was tired of allowing myself to believe that I wasn’t worthwhile. I worked myself to the point of exhaustion every day, and if Nolan didn’t value that, fuck him.

“Damn,” Nikki said as I walked up to her, “what did you do with Zoey? I feel like you were a caterpillar that just became a tiger butterfly.”

“You look amazing!” Janice confirmed.

“Meg, Carol, and the girls are on their way,” Haley said as she checked her phone.

“Let’s just go in,” said Nikki, “I’m ready to just let loose and have fun. It’s been a while since we’ve all done that.”

We walked in, passing everyone in line. Immediately the bass hit, and I could feel my body begin to move. Haley went over and started ordering shots. I began to take out Nolan’s card, but Jan touched my hand and yelled in my ear.

“Don’t worry, chick, your money is no good here. We all eat and drink for free during our off hours. It’s a thank you for all our hard work from the boss.”

This entire time, I didn’t know. I was surprised that Nolan was so giving to his employees. But then again, his employees didn’t take advantage of his hospitality. We all did two rounds of shots before we headed to the dance floor.

I looked around, but I didn’t see Nolan anywhere. I smiled to myself, knowing that I had won. We went over to the bar again and did two more rounds of shots. That’s when I realized that I was definitely not on the same level as these other women.

I watched as the girls began to trickle in. We drank and danced. I thankfully was able to pawn a shot off to Carol. I was starting to feel the tequila. I was not a tequila drinker unless it was in a Margarita. The tequila definitely was making me feel woozy.

Hands came around me, and I felt someone behind me. For some odd reason, I was excited at the idea that it could’ve been Nolan. I chided myself in my mind and tried to ignore the feelings that came with thinking about Nolan.

I tried to turn around and see who it was, but whomever this was ended up grabbing my arm and leading me out back towards the alley.

My heart was pounding in my chest. I pulled against the hand, but it only seemed to grip my wrist harder. He turned, taking me out at the emergency exit and pushed me against the wall.

I didn’t understand. Whomever this was, he was tall and handsome. I didn’t understand why he was doing this or why he felt like he needed to. I tried wrenching against his grasp, and he slammed me against the wall. All of my anger and all of my confusion brought me to an odd point of calm. I breathed out slowly.

I brought my heel down against his foot, catching his head with my left hand. I brought the heel of my right hand to his nose.

“You fucking bitch!” He screamed, “you broke my nose! YOU BROKE MY NOSE!”

His hand swiftly came down on my face, and my knee met his groin. I never said a word. I looked down, rounded the building, and headed back to the loft.

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