The first time Demetri had ever hit me had been last year.
We had gotten in an argument over how he treated me in public. He said that I was being stupid for no reason. Of course he couldn’t be nice to me in public. It’s bad enough that he was dating the “deaf” girl. If he showed me affection in public, people would start to talk badly about him.
I called him an asshole.
He called me a bitch.
I told him that if he had a problem with me, then I didn’t need him.
He smacked me hard across the face, and told me to watch my damn mouth.
After that the argument was over.
I didn’t speak to him for a week. He made it up to me, or at least in his eyes he did, by buying me top quality sketching pencils and charcoals.
After that incident there had been three times he pushed me, four times that he threatened to hit me, and one time where he had bitten me so hard that I had a mark for a month.
I was stupid and ignored it, because he always seemed sorry. He always tried to compensate by buying me something. I let myself become blind to his abusive tendencies, because deep down inside I thought I deserved it.
I made myself believe that his sweet moments blocked out all the bad.
Two years. Two years I put up with him bringing me up, only to break me down. Two year that resulted in a huge melt down that I wasn’t expecting, but wasn’t entirely surprised by. Two fucking bitter-sweet years wasted.
Now he would never hurt me again.
Two weeks have passed by since the Demetri incident. I was interviewed by the police multiple times, as was Skyler. Demetri was charged and arrested, but he was let out on bail. The case never made it to court though. His big shot daddy paid a hefty fine, having Demetri agree to the terms of my lawyer, a public defender. I couldn’t afford a fancy one. The only thing that really came out of it was a restraining order, and Demetri going off to boarding school in another state. It doesn’t feel like enough, but at least it's something.
Skyler’s face is still bruised and busted up, but it's healing nicely. He has stayed home the whole first week after the incident, only coming back to school the week after.
People are angry at us.
Demetri is well liked.
How could he ever do something so terrible?
Skyler and I are liars because that’s how the students want us to be. They wanted to believe that we are the wrong ones, not Demetri.
Not that I'm not already used to that.
The harassment seems to get worse than usual. My locker is covered in graffiti telling me how I’m a bitch, a whore, a liar, a slut, how I deserve to die, and other vicious things. People bump into me a lot in the hallway. I can see smirks, and thrown back laughing poses when I enter any of my classes.
I’ll never understand why some people can be so cruel and careless.
I’m not saying that I’m a victim, but I sure as hell am not the criminal in this matter either. I’m guilty of allowing Demetri to treat me like shit. That much is true, but I know that no matter what my crime is it still wouldn’t excuse the wrongfully actions of another human being.
I didn’t make him injure Skyler.
I didn’t make him hit me or call me names.
I did nothing.
That in itself is my crime- allowing things to get that far. Though all in all the blame shouldn’t be on me or Skyler. No. Demetri shouldn’t be so idolized that everyone assumes that he’s always innocent. He made his choices. Why is it us who must be punished?
While I'm harassed more than usual, Skyler on the other hand is shunned.
No one will look at him, or even talk to him. It's like they completely ignore his existence, shutting him out.
I know it was my fault. If he hadn’t of been involved with me, then I’m sure things would have happened differently. I don’t like thinking that I’m the cause of Skyler becoming invisible to our peers. It’s funny how while I worry about it, Skyler doesn’t seem to give a damn about it all.
Skyler and I are becoming quite close. I had hung out at Skyler’s house every single day of the past two weeks. Sometimes I cry and he holds me. Other times we sign to each other or watch old Charlie Chaplin movies.
A rainy and depressing Friday.
I meet Skyler in the parking lot after school. He smiles at me as I hold a jacket up over my head, trying to shield myself from the rain. He’s already in the truck. I run around to the passenger side, hurriedly getting inside.
“My dad’s home today. Mind if we go to your house?” Skyler signs as I buckle myself in.
I frown as I think about it. Skyler’s seen the outside of my apartment, but I’ve never actually let him inside before. The thought honestly terrifies me.
He’s said before that money means nothing to him, but would my dingy apartment really be suitable for him?
“Are you worried I’ll judge you? I promise I won’t. Back when I lived in Michigan, before I transferred here, I lived in an apartment with my mom.” Skyler signs after seeing how hesitant I am to answer.
I blink as I absorb that information. This is the first time he’s mentioned his mother. I want to press for answers, but I decide against it.
“Okay.” I sign back after another moment of consideration.
What’s the worse that can happen?
After that we pull out of the school parking lot, and head towards home.
It doesn’t take long before Skyler is parking in a spot at my apartment complex.
I dig my keys out of my left pocket as we exit the truck. I gesture for him to follow me. I walk straight ahead to the door in the middle of the building. Apartment 55. I put my key in the lock and turn it, opening the door and holding it out for him to enter.
The apartment is not luxurious or fancy like his home. It’s cluttered and a bit messy. Skyler doesn’t evens seem to even be bothered by that as he enters. He takes off his shoes at the door, and I do as well. I then lead him to the small living room area. He plops right down on the lopsided couch, almost as if he’s at home here.
“I like it here already. It feels homey. Unlike my house.” He turns to mouth, his hands miming the words for him.
Homey? For me it's more lonely than anything. However, it’s not like Skyler would know that.
“Your mom’s at work?” He asks.
“Yeah, until the early a.m. hours.” I gestur back with a shrug, pretending that I don’t care about it.
His eyes seem to softened as if he can sense my feelings. “She’s not around much?” He then questions with a frown.
I shake my head before looking down at my hands.
It’s not that I blame my mom for being a workaholic.
I mean it’s partly my fault anyhow being as I cause so much debt to the point that becoming a workaholic seems like her only choice.
She's trying to pay the mountain of hospital and doctor bills, while also being able to feed us. It's hard. I know that. I can’t help feeling lonely a lot, though. My mom only comes home to sleep. I only see her before school. It just isn’t a good feeling to know that I live with someone who I barely see. I’m scared of waking up one day to realize that my mom has become a stranger to me.
I continue to stare at my hands. After a while I see a larger hand softly lay itself gently on my clasped hands. I look over to see Skyler looking at me. He squeezes my hands softly. “Are you alright?” He signs as he removes his hand from mine.
I nod slightly. “Yeah, sorry. I spaced out a bit there.” I sign back.
“Do you want to talk about it?” He asks.
I shake my head.
It isn’t something I really want to get into. I always seemed to turn into a spoiled kid around Skyler. He’ll get under my skin. or make me see something I haven’t before. Ill only just end up crying. I'm not a crier typically, but around Skyler I always turn into a bratty crybaby. Skyler never calls me out for it. He's always gentle. He'll just simply hold me as if I'm fragile.
That is something I want to avoid happening for a while.
Especially since it still heavily embarrasses me.
I always wonder what Skyler thinks of me in those moments, but I’m too afraid to even ask.
Suddenly the power gore out and lightning flashes through the blinds.
I yelp as I jump up, clinging onto whatever is closest to me. I close my eyes tightly as I bury my face against something warm, soft, and with a honey-lemon scent. Something starts to rise and fall quickly against my cheek. Only then do I realize that I'm clinging onto and burying my face into Skyler’s chest.
I instantly let go and scoot away from him. “Sorry, sorry.” I mouth out as I make a fist, moving it above my chest in a circular motion, apologizing in ASL.
We sits there in the dim light, staring at each other for a long time, not communicating at all.
Another flash of lightning shines through the blinds. I jump again, but this time I don’t cling to Skyler. I shake slightly as I try to advert my eyes from the windowpane. I end up jumping several times from seeing lightning out of the corner of my eyes. Eventually Skyler grabbed me by the waist and pulls me to him. I hesitantly wrapped my arms around him. I can feel how fast he's breathing just by the way his chest moves against mine. I hid my face in the crook of his neck as he rubs my back gently. His chest moves even faster. I then feel fingers brush through my hair, pushing loose strands back behind my right ear. After that something soft brushed against the skin behind my ear. “You’re damn adorable.” Skyler’s lips move against my skin. I feel myself shiver; my heart starts to beat fast in my chest.
I don’t know what this feeling is, but for some reason at this moment everything seems safe and perfect. The roof could cave in and the sky could shatter at my feet, but as long as I'm close to Skyler like this I won’t care at all. That’s how comfortable I am in his arms. Maybe I’ll be embarrassed later, but for right now it's just natural.
My eyes suddenly have trouble staying open, and my breathing shallows. I try to keep myself from drifting but...
I watched from what seems like a third person point of view as a ten year old me cries as an older boy pulling on her pigtails. “What’s the matter cat got your tongue?” The boy’s soundless words taunted. All the other children circled around on the play ground, laughing and looking generally amused.
The scene goes on for a while until ten year old me turns into current me. The gathered kids age as well, but their faces start to blur into swirls. The older boy changes into a completely different person. He turned into none other than my asshole ex boyfriend Demetri. Though instead of pulling the current me’s hair he holds scissors to my throat. “You think you can leave me? You think I’ll ever let you leave me, you stupid bitch?” His mouth turns at vicious angles as I read his lips.
Blood drips down from my neck as he presses the blade against it. I scream, or at least I think I do, but I can’t hear the sound. “You’ll never leave me again.” Demetri says as he presses harder. Just as I begin to think that I would die, someone pulls me away. The other me looks at the familiar broad back and blonde hair that she knows well by now. Skyler. Always my savior.
When it seems like there will be have a happy ending everything turns red. As if in slow motion Demetri stabs Skyler through the chest with the point of the scissors. Skyler collapses, gasping for air as blood bubbles out of his mouth and out of his wound. Demetri seems to fade into the background as I, throw myself to the ground, over Skyler’s bleeding body.
I put pressure on the wound. My thoughts flashed through my mind, ‘God no please no, don’t let this happen. Don’t let Skyler die. I need him. I need him.’
I'm frantic as I scream out, slurring at the swirled faces to call the police.
No one does. Instead the crowd huddles closer and closer, until I feel like being suffocated in a wave of people.
I awake, gasping for breath. I sit up quickly, looking around frantically. Was it all just a horrible, horrible nightmare?
After gathering myself together and calming down, I realize there's a blanket draped around me, and there's note on the coffee table, but no sign of Skyler. I look at the clock on the wall-10:32 pm.
I grabbed the note, reading it quickly.
“It was getting late so I headed back. I was going to wake you first, but you looked so precious. See you later, Risa.
P.S. You drool in your sleep.
Thank god. The dream had felt too real to me. Even though it was in third person view, I had felt the pain of the blade. I had felt the hurt of seeing Skyler dying before my eyes. It's still terrifying to think about. I feel tears build up in my eyes. My heart feels like it will beat out of my chest. Stupid, fucked up mind, why’d you have to go and put those horrible imagines into my head?
It's clear to me that I suddenly had a fear of somehow losing Skyler.
It's not until well after three am that I can even brave falling asleep again.