Chapter 12 <Familiar stranger>
I brought myself back to sense. I slowly walked to the door. I didn’t bother to look through the peep hole. If I looked I might never open.
I held the door knob for a minute I think. Then finally I took in a deep breath and opened doors fast so I have less time to think.
In all of his glory was standing Aaron. Why did he came here? He didn’t say anything but just look into my eyes but it wasn’t easy for me. I was blinking because my eyes were hurting and my head hurt when I looked too long in one direction.
I heard that dad was walking downstairs and looked to that direction. I didn’t want him to hear whatever Aaron has to say because the chances are it won’t be good since we can’t have a normal conversation ever.
What if he is here to throw it in my face that he was right about Liam and that he warned me but I was too naive and clueless. And yes to all of that. If only I had listened.
But it didn’t matter because I realized that he had seen the picture. And know he thinks I am a slut. I felt insecure about myself as if I was naked.
I stepped outside and closed the doors behind me. Aaron didn’t say anything. He just stared at me before he took me by surprise when he hugged me tightly. He rubbed my back. I didn’t know Aaron but this felt comforting, this was all I needed a simple hug. I simple act of care from a stranger. Familiar stranger.
We stood there for what seemed like eternity and I was okay with it. I wanted to stay like that forever.
“He doesn’t know?” He asked I assume about my dad knowing about the picture. But it was more like a rhetorical question but I nodded anyways. And pulled away from Aaron I now felt cold leaving his grip.
“Victoria. Can you promise me something?” Aaron asked me holding my shoulders. I don’t know if he knew this but I never broke my promises at least intentionally not. Right now I didn’t really have choice. “Promise me you won’t do anything stupid.” He said with worry. He was talking about harming myself...He actually was worried about me. Why? He hates me...
“I need you to say it” he demanded but still worried looking.
I swallowed my heavy breath “I promise” I said with raspy voice.
He let go of me and stood straighter. “I think it’s better if you call in sick for few days until its dies down.” He says but then looks like he said something wrong. “I mean you can go to police tomorrow and sort this out” I sounded like he wasn’t familiar with term police. My heart now betted faster. Police? I didn’t want police involved... I started panicking “no don’t. I.e. mean.... I can.” I stuttered and Aaron shut me up “okay. That’s what I thought. Just take your time okay.”
Aaron ran his hand through his hair “I should probably go now your dad hates me now.” He started and walked to his car but I stopped him.
″Why did you come here?″ I asked him.
″Riley asked me to″ he said.
He will never know he possibly saved my life, He and Riley... but would I be able to actually do it? Or am I too weak?
My dad was in the living room and he looked at me like he wanted to say something. So I stopped to wait for his part.
“No boy is worth you crying your eyes out” he said in a serious, strong tone.
“Yea” I answered “I know dad” I half smiled. If only it was some stupid boy thing.
“I don’t know how to do this. Tori” he said looking at his feet “Maybe Lauren is right.” He sounded defeated “maybe you could talk to her about that kind of stuff” he sounded unsure.
Grandma would be the last person I would talk to. “Dad. I’ll be fine” I always am. This isn’t the first breakdown in my life. But I’ll get myself together for my family’s sake.
I walked back to my room. This time I didn’t lock it behind me.
I curled under my bed sheets and looked through whatsapp. There was still messages going telling what a slut I was. But now it was only couple.
I cried again. But it’s not like I’m the only girl in school whose nudes have been leaked, I’m just the only one who can’t handle it. There is this girls Maya in our school. Her nudes constantly are in everyone’s phones. It’s not like she walks around depressed. Right?
Maybe I’m overreacting?
My picture was sent to about sixty people who were seniors. I looked through it and my friends got it except Riley. I noticed that considerate cool kids got it. Riley isn’t loved at our school and I don’t know why. It’s not like being different is a crime.
Sixty people got the message and I only assume about hundred people outside that whatssapp group saw it because of friends showing each other...
By the end of high school about forty percent will have leaked nudes. It’s not like its effects their life right??
The lump in my throat was still there and I was still crying like crazy. Thinking about how people will now look at me.
I hated Liam. But most of all I hated myself because I actually was so naive and stupid. I hated that I let Liam take the picture and make me feel like it wasn’t a big deal. I hated that I liked him for the longest time but he hurt me so much. I hated that I didn’t listen I hated that I was about to harm myself.
I noticed that stupid necklace around my neck. I tear it away with force breaking it and toss it away, somewhere, I don’t even know where it went.
I felt guilty now. How could I even think about hurting myself? How can I do that to Cameron and dad? My dad would lose it. And Cameron would be messed up that his sister is suicidal or dead...
I still needed to text Riley...
There were a bunch of texts from her saying: Are you okay? Can we talk? Tori I’m worried. Please answer. I’m sorry I can’t come over right now.
I needed to answer her, because I didn’t want to worry her.
‘I’m okay. Going to bed now. I’m calling in sick tomorrow.’ I text her. And turn of my phone. I don’t want her to come to my house none of my longtime friends have been here so I just think its right if anyone comes to my house it should be my friend group first.
I was a little hurt that Riley and Aaron actually took time to make sure I am fine but none of my other friends did...
I really wanted to sleep but I couldn’t. I needed to get my energy back. So I took two sleeping pills and slowly drifted to sleep.
Next day I was woken up with Cameron calling my name. “Hey Tori. Wake up!” He screamed.
“Why are you here? “I ask him.
Cameron came in my room and sat on my armchair. “Well usually you are at school when I’m just waking up. And according to my calculation. If you get up now it would take you about half an hour to get to school” he says in one breath and took another breath “and that would make you twenty minutes late. And you are never late to school.” He explained. And sometimes I too wanted that my school was like Cameron’s just five minutes away.
“I’m not feeling good.” I grow under my bed sheets.
“Is it about that boy?” Cam asked. Which made me look at him. What if he somehow knows?
“What boy?” I question.
Cam shakes his shoulders “I don’t know. Dad said it’s a boy thing. ”
“It’s not exactly a boy thing you think it is.” I explain. They probably thought it was me breaking up with someone. You know love thing. “But it’s about boy in a way.”
“So um... you okay?” He asked.
No “yes. Just calling in sick” I explain and without another word he left.
I looked at my phone and there was no new messages. That’s a good thing.
I spent my whole day sulking and watching TV in the living room until front door opened and Lauren walked in.
“Hello. Victoria. How are you feeling?” She questioned and sat right next to me. She was wearing yet another pantsuit.
Of course dad told her. “Better” I was feeling better but still like shit.
“Victoria. It’s always better to talk things out you know.” She stated.
I let out a sigh. I really wanted to tell someone. But I couldn’t tell her whole thing.
“Just... some boy. Humiliated me, used me, hurt me” it was basically all I could say. But I didn’t know why I was talking to her at all. “But please don’t say anything.” I say to her. “I don’t need talk about how it will get better and that I don’t deserve that.” I say in a mocking tone.
We stayed in silence for a time just TV in background.
Suddenly she speaks “Everything happens for a reason.” Really? That’s what she has to say. I roll my eyes at her.” Fate has this amazing humor to make us go through horrible things and it’s quite funny that we are destined to go through that.” She laughed “who would think that in your life there would be written such horrible thing. No matter what happens you need to keep going to finding out why fate played such a cruel joke on you.” She explained.
“And what if it doesn’t get better. What if things will always be...bad?” I ask and look at her.
“What if...” she said “if it doesn’t get better change your fate.”?
“How?” I asked. With crack in my voice.
“Show fate that you are not one to be pushed around. Stand up for yourself and make yourself a life you are proud of” she explained and my tears rolled down my cheeks.
“I know a bottled up emotion storm when I see one. You need someone to talk about real problems. I know I am not the one but figure out which friend is the one to be trusted with your emotions.”
I can’t just put my problems up on my friends. They wouldn’t understand. Except one friend who would Riley...