***POV - Melaena
bambina = little child / madre = mother
My eyes flutter open and a beam of light blinds me for a second or two. I sit up and see that the curtains are slightly drawn, letting in the light from the midmorning sun. I look around frantically grabbing my phone from the nightstand. It’s almost seven. I cringe, not physically ready to get my body out of bed. It’s Christmas day and Uncle John invited us over for dinner. I see I’ve missed a message.
D: Merry Christmas my love. And I would never do what he did. Soon we’ll be together forever.
Will this guy never stop? I for sure don’t have any energy left to deal with the likes of him. These last two weeks almost killed me! Each night I dragged my can’t-keep-my-eyes-open exhausted body through a bath and into bed, not eating much. It’s been hectic to study while working on our game project as well as helping out at the club. With Enrique in Berlyn, Ilkay cramming in exams between his shifts, Jackson and Logan both practicing for the start of the new season, they’re struggling to keep the club running, so I help out as much as I can.
And I do all this with a broken heart, a dead soul, and an overtired body. I clutch onto my dragon to try and hide the ache in my chest, thinking about how everything just seemed to fall apart taking me down with it.
I haven’t seen Damion ever since that night, there are not even pictures of him in the news – it’s as if he fell off the earth. The people are speculating about our ‘disappearance’ some even saying that we’re on honeymoon. As if I’ll marry that cheating bastard. Not even if he’s the last man on earth. I know Jackson nearly killed him – a second time - and he’s been cooped up in his parents’ house, evidently not coping very well. It must be bad ’cause he skipped some races and apparently didn’t even attend the season’s closing ceremony. Sean and Mark accepted all his trophies on his behalf.
Ug, but what do I care about his wellbeing? I hope he gets blinded by pictures of Chloe’s hanging tits. And he hasn’t even come to see me that day in the hospital, nor did he try to apologize. Hell, he hasn’t contacted me at all, not even a smiley face. Not that I care.
I just move from the club to my house like the walking dead, in a trance, keeping myself extra busy so I don’t have time to think about the state I’m in. And each night I fall into bed, exhausted, and cry myself to sleep. Either Ale or one of my brothers comes over and tries to cheer me up, bringing me snacks and energy drinks. If it wasn’t for them I would probably be dead due to pain and heartache by now.
And the work and stress are taking a toll on my body, I’m tired, sick and actually beginning to feel like a real zombie – mindless and dead inside. I’ve pulled a late night on Thursday, so last night (Friday) I binged out on the sofa watching movies with Kiara, Axel, and Ale. But this bug I caught that night when my heart disintegrated, still doesn’t want to budge and I just couldn’t keep in the pizza we ordered.
Hell, since I ran out of his house I’ve been stuck with this crappy virus. I call it the broken-heart flu. It caused me to lose like 6kg already because whenever I eat breakfast, or anything for that matter, I just can’t keep it in.
I drag my sorry ass out of bed and Reaper jumps onto my slippers hissing as I walk to the kitchen to give him some food. He’s the cutest little thing ever – a hyperactive kitty with an attitude and apple-green eyes. Remind you of someone?
I scoop some cat food from a tin in the fridge, but the smell makes me gag so I try not to breathe while putting it on the floor for Reaper. This broken-heart bug is definitely not for sissies.
While slowly getting dressed, I need to sit down a few times before I’m done. I’m suddenly very glad that I packed my bag yesterday. I find Enrique and Alejandro in the kitchen, drinking coffee. So my long-lost brother is finally back. I almost burst into tears. What the hell is wrong with me? I wipe my arm over my face.
“Merry Christmas, asshats!” I shout, forcing them to take notice of my presence.
“Merry Christmas, sis” Enrique hugs me with one arm, the other one holding his coffee cup away from me. Then Alejandro takes me into his arms and kisses me on my head.
“Merry Christmas, sorella.” I take the coffee from Alejandro’s hand and take a big sip while he pushes some loose strands of hair behind my ear. Enrique gets a huge frown between his heterochromia eyes.
“Sis, you must go see a doctor, please. You look like shit.” He stares into my eyes, holding onto my arms as if he’s scared I might fall over. And he’s not entirely wrong, it feels as if I might faint any moment.
“Fuck … I’m going to kill that dude,” he swears.
“Jackson almost did already,” Ale laughs, and Enrique nods while he takes my bag to his car.
Alejandro then looks at me seriously. “Bambina, I think it’s time you and Damion talked. I went to see him yesterday, but he’s in a bad place. He seemed as if he wanted to kill me and just locked himself in his room.” I open my mouth to tell him that I don’t care how bad that man is, but he puts a finger on my lips.
“You’ll never end this if you don’t talk to each other. Please, do it for me.” He pleads with me, his eyes looking like a lost puppy’s. How can I say no to that? Damn, him and his soulful icy eyes.
“Okay, I’ll try, but I’m not making any promises.” He smiles and makes a fresh cup of coffee – he’s waiting for Kiara. I throw some treats on the floor for Reaper before getting in the car with Enrique.
I don’t know if I’m ready to see Damion again, but if I do I’ll talk to him. I owe Alejandro that much for being there for me. And he’s right, I need to end this. I know there won’t be anybody like Damion for me, but at least I can learn to live again, maybe even without heartache. I put on the radio and turn it up.
’Even if we can’t find heaven, I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through hell with you
Love, you’re not alone, ‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you’
Ship, suddenly I’m thinking about Damion and tears start forming in my eyes …. WTF … why am I so emotional … it’s not me … must be this freaking song. I send him this song once; I wanted to stand by him … but he betrayed me. And I feel like a failure … maybe I was not strong enough … brave enough … maybe I shouldn’t have run away that night … but the hurt was just too much. I would easily walk through hell with him … but him fucking around I can’t handle … it’s worse than hell.
’And oh, truth I guess truth is what you believe in
And faith, I think faith is having a reason’
Now I’m sobbing … tears streaming down my cheeks. Enrique just shakes his head with an I-do-not-wanna-know face, but his eyes seem sad at least. The expression is so contradicting that a sudden burst of laughter escapes my lips … so now I’m laughing and crying all at once … Geez, Damion broke my mind that’s for sure!
“You okay?” Enrique has a frown between his brows again.
“Yes, just the flu bug is killing me.”
“The bug is making you cry? Yeah, right.” Enrique is staring at me as if I’m about as crazy as I feel.
“I’m just feeling tired and sick.” He looks at me with his big-brother expression, eyebrows pulled together.
“What really happened between you and Damion? Did you actually cheat on him with Alejandro?” Enrique looks sympathetic but I’m not sure what he’s talking about.
“I’ve seen how he looks at you, he truly loves you … Alejandro I mean.” Alejandro? What has he got to do with all this? Cheat on Damion? Did Damion tell them this to keep his own butt clean?
“I didn’t cheat on him. But as I said, I saw some texts from Chloe, and photos on his phone.”
“What? Nude pics?” He laughs as if it’s hilarious, but I don’t see the funny part. “I get like a zillion of them from girls, and even boys, every fucking day - we all do. It’s a perk that comes with being famous.” He throws his phone on my lap and I scroll through his gallery. Suddenly I’m feeling sick to my stomach again. There must be hundreds of pictures of girls and boys in different stages of nakedness. I swallow back my vomit. This is plain sick. Does Damion get pictures like this from girls all the time? Why didn’t he tell me then? But Chloe is not just any girl and I saw the messages she sends him. He told her to come to his room. And I’m hell-of-a-sure she wasn’t going there to talk to him. I shake my head to clear it from any more thoughts.
“I know what I saw, he invited her to his room.” Enrique doesn’t say a word, but I can see that he’s thinking deeply. I turn up the radio, trying to lift my spirit a little.
I sing along to Taylor Swift and Dance Monkey until my voice is hoarse and I’m croaking. And now I have to pee real bad. This sends me into another outburst of cry-laughter and this time I know for sure that I’m screwed in the head. And when Ne-Yo starts singing I’m a total emotional disaster.
‘And I’m so sick of love songs … So tired of tears‘
It scorches the little bit of clear-thinking brain that’s left, sending me into an angry rage, wanting to strangle Damion or torture him in some kind of chamber. Sexually torture him – 50 Shades of Grimm. Yep, that’s another problem I’m having lately. I have sex on the brain, like almost all the time. And it’s not like I can just grab anybody to help me out in that department – and the only one I want to have sex with is a cheating lying asshole.
At last, we arrive at the house. Enrique parks next to Logan’s Porche and I start sprinting to make it to the loo on time.
“I need to pee,” I yell at my brother while running to the toilet under the stairs. Phew, made it. I sigh, there’s nothing that feels so good as urinating when you’ve been keeping it in for a while. Almost as good as sex – almost. I splash some water on my face and walk out and into nobody else than the backstabbing baboon.
“What the hell are you doing here?” His eyes look hurt and there’s a strange expression on his face. He looks tired and he has black rings under his eyes, a few days’ stubble on his chin, and his hair’s more messy than usual. There are some cuts and bruises on his face. His knuckles are also covered with fresh wounds and I know he must have recently hit some walls again.
Then I continue out of nervousness, “And you look like shit.” But also extremely fuckable, I silently finish the sentence. He gets a faint smile on his face.
“Well, Merry Christmas to you too. You also don’t look very well.” I snort hard.
“So now I’m ugly. Great to know.” He moves closer, stretching out his hand to push my hair back, but I turn my head away.
“Ug, you’re so damn annoying sometimes! Mel, we need to …” Before he can finish his sentence I turn around and run to the toilet, just in time to throw up the cup of coffee I had at home. I notice Damion standing next to me, holding my hair out of the way.
“How long have you been feeling like this?” He asks worry notes in his voice. I get up and see Enrique at the door of the small bathroom watching us.
“Since the night … I last saw you. I’m just tired and stressed. Thanks to you …” I get up and drink some water from the tap and then continue, “… being a lying cheating dimwit.”
His eyes get hazy, and then he gives me that look, the hurtful look and it breaks my heart even more, if possible.
“Just sort your shit out already ’cause you are killing my sister,” Enrique stares at Damion as if he’s the one that was cheated on.
“What?” Damion seems confused.
“I’ll get you something, it helps for nausea if I have a hangover.” Enrique walks off in the direction of the bar.
“Mel, you okay?” Damion seems concerned enough but I’m still thoroughly pissed at him.
“Don’t you dare care now all of a sudden!” The pain of his deceit makes me want to hurt him as much as he hurt me. I hate him so much.
“I fucking do care! Even if you don’t.” What does that even mean? Since when don’t I care? He’s the one that cheated, not me. I didn’t do anything wrong. He throws his hands in the air and walks away. I walk in the direction of the voices, knowing they will be in the kitchen. Uncle John and the rest of my brothers are sitting around the big wooden table. Hayley and Deimos are also there. Their faces light up into smiles when they see me.
“Oh, Mel, I didn’t hear you come in.” Uncle John jumps up and grabs me in a hug. Then the others follow suit – all wishing each other a merry x-mas. I sit down next to Logan and then Enrique and Damion return with drinks. Enrique gives me some ginger-ale and although I’ve never liked it, it does seem to make me feel better.
“You look like a fucking scarecrow that gave birth,” Jackson snorts, his eyes flickering dangerously as he turns his gaze to Damion. I wonder what I can say to keep him from beating that cheater up again … not that I mind, but I don’t want him to spoil x-mas for everybody.
“We’re here!” Kiara shouts from the doorway, her arms full of presents. Thank goodness, just the distraction I was secretly praying for. Alejandro appears behind her with a laughing Luke clinging to his back. Damion gets up and disappears silently, all eyes following him out of the room. His father gets a huge frown on his face. I can see that he’s worried about his son.
Alejandro drops Luke and follows Damion in the general direction he disappeared into, everybody’s eyes following him this time. Hayley claps her hands two times and grabs an apron.
“Okay, girls and boys, let’s get cooking.” I jump up and immediately realize it was a mistake. I’m so dizzy I need to sit down again. My tummy complains as well, making my insides twirl like a little hurricane, and I can feel it pushing up my esophagus. I swallow hard and am left with a burning sensation in my throat. Damn this bug.
Suddenly I’m even madder at Damion blaming him for feeling sick. It’s his fault that I’m so stressed, mostly because he’s a lying cheating dick. Or maybe it’s his dick’s fault. Shit, what if it’s some kind of STD? I’m sure he’s been around the block more than a few times.
I slowly get up again and turn around to find the devil himself leaning against the doorframe, watching every move I make. Alejandro’s arm is around his shoulder in a brotherly fashion. Both handsome faces are bruised, battered, and bleeding - two pairs of eyes, striking, full of different emotions - two souls, damaged, carrying a different piece of my heart. Deimos pulls his eyebrows up towards his forehead, and the same question lingers in everybody’s eyes. Did they just have a fight? Damion wipes some blood from the corner of his mouth with his thumb, confirming that statement.
“Did you two just hit the shit out of each other?” Enrique asks the lingering question out loud, a big smirk on his face. Call me a girl, but I don’t see what’s so funny about it. I turn away, I don’t want to know why they acted like little boys who don’t want to share a toy.
“Just had to sort a few things out. All good now.” Alejandro smirks, but squirms from pain and quickly touches his bruised cheek. I feel nausea pushing up again and slab my hand over my mouth, converting the attention towards me.
“You okay?” Hayley asks sympathetically and I nod my head up and down when truthfully I need to shake it side to side.
“She’s been sick for a while now, madre,” Alejandro sounds worried but he has a big smile on his face as if he’s truly happy, his icy eyes melted and full of love. His arms encircle both me and Hayley, he even lands a kiss on her head. Hayley squeezes his bruised cheek lovingly and hands out jobs. When did they get so close I wonder? Maybe I missed something.
Soon we’re cutting, stuffing, stirring, mixing, and laughing. Cooking together like this has always been part of our family tradition, something we’ve been doing since we’ve moved in with Uncle John and something we try to keep up every time we’re in the same house.
I wipe my finger through the melted chocolate Logan is busy dipping strawberries into and stick it in my mouth, licking off the sweet deliciousness. I catch those green orbs observing me, ferocity and desire mingle in the depths of it. I become hot and bothered as the sexual tension mounts – the chemistry between us is undeniable.
A shuttering noise cuts through my mesmerized brain … I look down at the broken glass scattered around my feet – fudge monkeys! Then I run to the bathroom, hand on my mouth.