“Blue is not your colour” Bridget reminded me as I held up a beautiful satin, floor length dress that I found on a rack at Hearts Formal, we’d been in here 20 minutes and she was dismissing all the dresses I had found that I liked and although her criticism was constructive, it was starting to limit my options.
“Blue is Sam’s favourite colour, I want his eyes to pop out of his head when he sees me” I tell her, placing the dress into the ever growing maybe pile that I was forming on a seperate rack at the back of the store. Kate came out of the dressing room, dressed in a floor length, crimson red dress, the top was halter neck with beautiful ruby beads stitched in and the bottom fanned out from the hips, which will be perfect for hiding her pregnant belly under, by November, when the formal would be held, she would be 7 months.
“Is Sam coming back for the formal?” Kate asked me surprised as she did a spin for Bridget to gain dress approval, the smile spread on Bridget’s face said she loved the dress already, which was great news for Kate, she could stop looking and take up a seat next to Bridget on the judgmental couch.
“We haven’t talk about it, I guess we’ll have to just wait to see if our schedules match up” I pull out a burgundy coloured dress in the same style as the blue one Bridget had vetoed just a minute ago. I loved the style and was hoping she’d compromise on the colour, Bridget gave me a nod of approval and I sauntered off to the dressing room, hoping this would be the one for me, I was over shopping already.
The dress was strapless and the material was heavier than any of the other dresses I had tried on that morning. I zipped it up at the back and looked at myself in the mirror. I loved it, it was elegant and classic and the top part hugged my curves perfectly while the bottom flowed around my legs, giving me room to move. I don’t care what Bridget says, this is the dress I’m wearing.
When I graced out of the dressing room her face lit up with awe. I held the bottom of the dress up as I glided across the room to stand next to Kate. My hair was in need of a wash and I wasn’t wearing a stitch of make-up but in this dress I felt like a princess.
“Well it’s good to see that when it comes time for my own formal in two years I will have the option of both these dresses” Bridget says, looking delighted, I had a sneaky suspicion that’s why she was pushing me towards certain colours and styles, she was looking to get my hand-me-down, to save herself forking out a fortune.
We changed back into our own clothes and put our orders in for the dresses, paying a small deposit now and arranging to pay off the rest over the next three months.
“Now we need to look at heels” Bridget says as we’re leaving the store.
“I’m wearing flats” Kate tells her. “My feet already ache and are swollen, I can’t imagine how bad they’ll be by November and anyway, our dresses hide our shoes so no one will know anyway.”
Bridget accepted that answer but wasn’t ready to just leave the mall just yet, this was her idea of utopia, hundreds of stores, all with huge sales.
“Let’s get some lunch and then we can browse some more.′ I suggested because Kate looked like she needed to sit down and take a load off. The food court was located at the end of the mall, which meant we had to pass by every single store to get there, giving Bridget ample opportunities to stop out the front each one and ooo and ahhh over all the new releases, from overalls to cargo pants, it seems that nothing escaped her beady eye’s attention.
“Hey, that guy up there looks exactly like Sam” Kate says, pointing to a boy, same height as Sam, dressed exactly how Sam dresses, but it couldn’t be him, he wasn’t coming home until Tomorrow afternoon. Bridget was busy searching through a discount rack but looked up at the mere mention of Sam.
“He said he wanted to surprise you, I guess he called Dad and found out we were here” Bridget remarked but that didn’t make any sense because if he knew we were here why would he not have found us at the formal store? Why was he standing outside of a women’s casual clothing store, looking like he was waiting for someone else?
“When did you talk to Sam?” I ask Bridget, unable to take my eyes off of him as we move in closer. I didn’t hear her reply, I didn’t hear anything but the sound of my own heart thudding in my ears as I watched a red haired girl come tearing out of the store Sam was waiting in front of, she throws her arms around his neck and kisses him on the cheek. My boyfriend has his hands on another girl, this can’t be happening, not again, not with Sam.
The red haired girl turns her back towards us, takes Sam’s hand in her own and begins leading him away, it’s only then that I notice that she’s wearing his favourite jacket with a very short mini skirt, which exposes her extremely pale legs and shows off two tattoos on the back of her legs, both of birds, one caged, the other flying free.
She looks like one of those beautiful yet edgy girls, the kind you’d find at a heavy metal festival, she looks like Sam’s perfect girl really, someone who detested boybands for their manufactured existence and inability to play actual instruments, someone who is nothing like me.
Everything happens in a split second, one moment Bridget is standing beside me, watching the scene unfold before us, the next she bolting towards him in a fit of rage, a colourful array of insults leaving her mouth, making him stop and turn. For a moment, just briefly, he smiles when his eyes set on her but any shred of happiness is soon replaced when Bridget brings her hand back and swings it, palm open, on to his cheek, the loud slap stopping shoppers around us in their tracks.
I run up to my sister, holding her back to prevent her from any more violent outbursts, Sam’s right cheek is turning red and his eyes are watering. He looks confused, angry, hurt, betrayed, all in one, matching my own emotions.
“What the actual fuck Bridget” He shouts, gaining more attention from passers by, slowing down to watch the wreckage before them unfold.
“You lying, cheating, pathetic excuse for a man.” Bridget screams in Sam’s face, I have my arms wrapped in a lock around her chest, attempting to hold her back but I’m struggling as she keeps trying to force her way out. “I trusted you, you knew what hell she had been put through, you promised me you’d never do that to her.” Her face is turning a darker shade of red as she works her self up, the anger bursting out at the seams.
It should be me who feels this need to tear Sam apart, it should be Bridget holding me back as I call him every vile name I can think of but I’m numb, as if it’s not happening to me but to someone else.
“Sam, I’m going to step outside for a cigarette, let you sort this out, text me when you’re done” The red head says sweetly to Sam, I note her accent, she’s Irish, maybe someone he met while being back home? She doesn’t look familiar to me at all.
“I hope you choke on it bitch” Bridget spits out at the red head.
“And here I was thinking you were going to be tame and boring, I like her Sam, she’s a firecracker” The woman laughs as she leaves. So she knows about us? Does she know that he’s my boyfriend?
“How was your date with Lucas, Veronica?′ Sam asks, locking eyes to give me a cold, hard stare. Bridget goes tense in my arms and I feel her heart rate rapidly increase. I let go of her and step to the side. My own sister sold me out and now she won’t even look at me, she’s staring at the tiles.
“What did you tell him?” I beg of her. I was going to tell him myself, I knew how he would react to the news but I thought if I was honest with him and explained everything then he might understand that it was nothing to be concerned about, I don’t have feelings for Lucas and haven’t for a very long time now. Sam is my world, my everything.
“Bridget has been warning me of this for months actually, telling me that the moment that I left you’d get back together with that shit stain” The betrayal stings like a knife, cutting right through me, she’s been our biggest supporter right from the start, she stopped talking to me because I wouldn’t date Sam and now I find out that she’s been secretly plotting behind my back to break us up.
“Why would you do this to me? After Mum destroyed your relationship with Amber, why would you do the same thing to me?” My mind is racing, trying to piece all of this together, what would she gain from tearing us apart?
“After we found out about Dad’s illness I got scared that you would eventually leave, move to England to live with Sam and I’d be left all alone” He voice is small, almost incoherent, her cheeks tear stained, she finally looks up at me, silently pleading. “The night you came home from doing that assignment with Lucas, I saw how broken you were after the fight you’d had with Sam, I realised then it was wrong to interfere, that it was just going to hurt you and I didn’t want that, I just wanted you to stay”
“Kate, can you please take Bridget home?” I ask my best friend, Bridget tries to protest but I’ve heard enough, I need answers from Sam and I’m not going to get anywhere with Bridget being here, she’s just fuelling the fire between us. “I can’t stand to look at her right now”
“Sam, the dinner thing, it’s not what you think it is, it was my idea and I invited Lucas because he-” Kate tries to defend me but Sam isn’t having it.
“I thought of all people Kate, you’d be the one person I could trust to keep them apart” Sam’s anger is now directed at my best friend, who has done nothing to deserve it but Kate isn’t one to just take things lying down either. “Was my plane taxiing down the runway when you were making plans to get the lovers back together?”
“I don’t think a man in your position should be throwing around the word trust” Kate spits out at Sam as she barges past him with Bridget following behind her, leaving me alone with Sam. Now that Bridget has gone the onlookers must assume that the drama is all over and begin to carry on with their shopping.
“Can we go somewhere more private and talk?” Sam asks me, I nod and follow him out of the mall to his truck in the now busy carpark, away from prying eyes. I climb into the car and am immediately hit with the faint smell of cigarettes, making my stomach turn.
We sit in silence for the longest time, neither one of us willing to start the conversation that will end us completely. I decide to break the ice though.
“I didn’t think you were coming home until tomorrow?”
“I emailed you and told you I was coming back early and I called on Friday night but you were out with him” The way Sam says ‘him’ is like it’s left a bad taste in his mouth.
“The dinner was nothing Sam, I was going to tell you that when I saw you” He has to know that I’d never betray him like that, not when I remember how much it hurt to be on the receiving end.
“Veronica, even if you had told me, even if you were going to be completely honest with me about it, it wouldn’t change anything now” He looks out the window, watching the cars scramble around to find an empty parking spot.
“I don’t understand what that means?”
“Do you know what the best part about being so far away from you was?” He finally looks at me, his face hard, unemotional, as if he was talking to a stranger, not someone he claimed he loved.
“What?” I’m almost scared to ask.
“I wasn’t having to deal with this constant cycle of you, me and Lucas, I was so happy when I was home, there was no complicated love triangle bullshit, it was just me, away from you and Lucas and that’s how I think it should be” I can’t believe what he’s saying, how casually cruel he’s being.
“You dragged me into this” I point out to him. “I was just fine before you made your feelings known, you persuaded me, you were the one who made a move on me after I broke up with Lucas and now you’re going to blame me for putting you in the middle of that cycle?”
“I’m not placing the full blame on you Veronica, I realise I played a part in this too. All I ever wanted was you” His hands grip the steering wheel in frustration.
“You have me Sam, I don’t know what more I can do to convince you of that” The tears sting my eyes.
“It’s too late Veronica” He says, my heart cracks when I realise what he means but I need to hear him say it.
“You don’t love me anymore?” I have nothing left to cling to, this is my last hope, without love then we are doomed.
“I’m 18 years old Veronica, I don’t really think I know what love is” He says, pulling me apart. “I just think we’ve got to be honest with ourselves, we’re in two very different places in life, your life is here, with Lucas and mine is without you”
“Who is she Sam? Who is the girl you were with”
“Shayla” It’s a knife plunged straight through my heart, I know exactly what she once meant to him, long before he met me.
“You slept with her didn’t you?”
I open the car door, wanting to get as far away from here as possible, he makes no attempt to stop me and I’m grateful for that one small mercy. I slide out of my seat, about to slam the door, I take one last look at the man I loved, the one I thought I could trust more than anyone else in this world, the one who has now left me broken. His head is hung, ignoring my every move.
“I hope you’re happy in England Sam, I hope all your dreams come true because you just shattered mine to pieces” I can’t stop the tears that fall, clouding my vision. “And for the record, the only thing Lucas and I talked about on Friday night was you and how much I love you and how I couldn’t wait until you were back here because I missed you terribly. You were the only thing on my mind for this whole week, I guess while you were fucking Shayla I wasn’t even a distant thought”
“Veronica I didn’t-” He looks at me, panicked but I don’t want to hear it, I slam the door and run, trying to remember where I’d parked my car in the now full parking lot. I can hear Sam behind me, calling out my name but I don’t turn back, I dodge through the rows of parked cars, searching through my bag for my keys. Sadness engulfs me, I can’t stop heaving and I’m struggling to breathe, my whole world has just been ripped apart.
Why was I brought back here if this was going to be how things ended? What was the point? I just wanted to get home, back to my own time, away from all of this heartache, pain and misery. I wasn’t looking when I stepped out from behind a parked van. The oncoming car’s horn blasted, startling me, the brakes squealing as the driver tried to stop but it was too late, the last thing I saw was the sheer look of terror on the face of the woman driving before her small, silver hatchback connected with my right leg with enough force that it sent me flying backwards, I heard Sam scream my name just before the darkness set in.