Chapter 2: A light in dark times - 2019 Words
Christopher was trapped in her gaze. Unable to think straight. Unable to move. Seeing Chevelle like that shook him to the core. He’d never seen her cry before, but it was her vulnerability that affected him the most.
The Chevelle he knew was cruel and calculated. He knew that well because he experienced it firsthand. He hadn’t been able to find a hot one-night stand since she spread those rumors of him being gay.
And he hated her for it.
“What happened?” he begrudgingly asked as he pushed her away.
She stumbled back, and it took all his strength to stop himself from helping her again.
“What makes… you think… something happened?” she asked through her tears.
“You just ran into the rain in your expensive wedding dress,” he said with a frown as he tugged on the fabric. “And you’re crying.”
“My useless fiancé just dumped me in front of everyone! Do you know how embarrassing that is?” Chevelle asked and her lip trembled as she tried to force back her tears. “They were all accusing me of causing it! As if I didn’t try to stop him!”
He quickly suppressed the pity that was growing in his chest. Constantly reminding himself that she didn’t deserve it, especially not after everything she put him through. Yet some of it slipped past his defenses and he couldn’t help but feel bad for her.
“Liam was always an asshole,” he said. “Funny, I would’ve thought you two were perfect for each other.”
Ignoring his blatant insult, her hysterical sobs returned. “And the worst part of it is that he left me for that vapid wannabe model! What makes Wynonna better than me?! Nothing! She can’t even begin to compare to this!”
Hearing those words was the last straw for him, like a punch to the gut. His pity turned to full-blown rage. There was no way he’d allow his little sister to be with a man like Liam.
“And as if that wasn’t bad enough, my parents disowned me!” she continued, her tears falling as hard as the rain that poured onto them. “Because apparently, my attitude chased him away!”
Her words registered, but he wasn’t paying attention to them. He was stuck on the fact that Wynonna and Liam were dating.
With each second that passed, he pictured them together. Thought about all the things that scumbag would do to her. And without a way to vent, his rage kept building.
“This is all your fault!” he spat in a fit of fury. “If you were normal for once in your life, Liam wouldn’t have dumped you. But because of you, my sister is dating my worst enemy!”
“Not you too!” Her shock was written all over her face as she said, “Don’t any of you understand what I’m going through?! I’m not the bad guy here! I’m the victim!”
“Cut the crap, Chevelle!” he sneered. “You’re not exactly a saint. If you see a chance to hurt someone or damage their reputation, you don’t think twice.”
He ran his fingers through his hair as his fury reached a new high.
“How many people walked out on you because of it? Because I’m sure he wasn’t the first! You deserve this. You deserve to suffer the way you made others suffer.”
“But-” she tried to explain, but he shut her up by raising his finger.
“This can only be good for you. It might teach you how to be a bit more respectful to others. And you might just find out that this world doesn’t revolve around you.”
Chevelle backed away from him and the devastated look in her eyes let him know that his words cut deep. He hurt her even more than she was already. More tears ran down her cheeks and suddenly he felt so damn guilty.
He understood that she needed comfort, but instead of giving it to her, he just made her feel even worse. That was her way of doing things, not his.
And he didn’t like how the tables turned. Before he could apologize for his harsh words, she turned around and ran off. Her sobs followed her down the dark, wet road.
He felt conflicted. He wanted to go after her because he felt bad about making her cry again. But he knew it wouldn’t be a smart move because she would use it against him somewhere down the line.
He shook his head in an attempt to shrug it off, but it didn’t work as well as he hoped. He looked in the direction she ran in, but she was already gone. So, he just continued up the stairs and went into the chapel.
Chevelle kept running. The beat of her heart and the force of her thoughts moved at the same pace as her feet.
She had no idea where she was going or what she was going to do. All she knew was that she had to get away. Away from her parents. From Liam. From Christopher.
She was feeling too many things at the same time. Such gut-wrenching heartache from Liam’s betrayal. Utter disgust at her parent’s behavior.
And shame. She had never been so ashamed of herself. But the thing that hit her the hardest was disappointment.
She was disappointed in herself and everyone else she encountered this evening.
As she ran, the thin stiletto heel of her once-white Prada shoe caught on a loose brick. She nearly stumbled as it held her back and twisted her ankle. Frustrated with the disruption, she kicked off her shoes and kept running until she was completely exhausted.
She slowed down as the big, heavy raindrops lashed against her bare skin. It was cold. The thin fabric of her wedding dress was soaking. And it wasn’t even enough to keep her skin covered, let alone keep her warm.
But none of it mattered.
She was already walking barefoot in the rain with her shoes lying somewhere in the empty street behind her. Her make-up was ruined. And she felt worse than ever before.
“What am I going to do?” Her teeth chattered as the chill seeped into her bones.
She rubbed her arms in an attempt to keep warm and suddenly felt so weak. With the adrenaline quickly dissolving, dizziness took over. The world around her became one big blur, and before she could plan a soft landing, her legs gave way beneath her.
A sharp sting ripped through her head as it slammed into the sidewalk. The last thing she remembered was someone picking her up and carrying her away.
Chevelle woke up with a killer headache and realized that she was in a hospital.
“Hey, you!” she called to the nurse, who was walking past her room.
“It’s good to see that you’re finally awake,” the nurse said as she came in.
“How-” Chevelle closed her eyes and rubbed her aching head as she tried to remember what happened. “How did I get here?”
Just then, a beautiful, finely dressed older woman walked into the room. She was dressed from head to toe in Chanel, and her streaked gray hair was pinned back in a classy updo. There was no doubt that they traveled the same circles.
Yet Chevelle didn’t know her. The nurse pointed at her and hurried out without saying another word. The woman approached and put her Gucci bag down on the bedside table before taking a seat on the bed.
“How are you feeling, darling?” the woman asked as she gave Chevelle a gentle smile.
Chevelle didn’t know how to respond. This woman, who she didn’t know, was the first person who was nice to her the entire day. Or actually, her entire life, and it made her feel so emotional.
Unable to stop herself, Chevelle broke down again.
“I’m so sorry,” she said through her tears. “It has just been a really rough day.”
“Oh, honey,” the woman said as she embraced Chevelle, and gently rubbed her back.
“Who… who are you?”
“My name is Marjorie. Why don’t you tell me what happened?”
For some odd reason, Chevelle felt like she could trust this woman and confide in her. So that was exactly what she did. She told Marjorie everything that happened.
As Chevelle spoke, Marjorie listened to every word. When she cried, Marjorie comforted her. And when she finished telling her story, Marjorie gently wiped her tears away.
“You know, I’ve been in the same position once,” Marjorie said as she held Chevelle’s hand in hers. “When I was around your age, I struggled a lot. I didn’t have a family, and I was forced to rely on myself.”
She let out a heavy sigh, which Chevelle mimicked. It was a strange feeling. Carrying such a burden.
“I was forced to do things in order to survive, and that caused many people to look down on me. So, I know exactly how you feel. But this isn’t the end of the road, dear.”
“How did you deal with it?”
“Well, instead of wallowing in self-pity, I took matters into my own hands and changed my life.”
Marjorie shifted, seemingly uncomfortable with certain memories of her past.
“That’s the only thing you can do in this situation. You have to face it bravely and make changes for the betterment of you and your life.”
“How do I do that? I’ve never been on my own, and I don’t even know where to start.”
Marjorie gave her a knowing smile and patted the top of her hand. Chevelle was still a little shocked by everything that had happened. But Marjorie’s kindness really touched her, and everything slowly started fading away.
By this point in their chat, Chevelle was stripped bare. She finally started understanding that life wasn’t all about being a rich bitch. And that she had nothing anymore.
Today she finally understood how people felt when she was mean to them. And she also found out that having any kind of attitude means absolutely nothing if you don’t have a roof over your head or food in your stomach.
“It’s obvious that you need to get hold of the basics you need to survive. But I don’t think that’s what you meant with that question, is it?”
Chevelle shook her head, and Marjorie nodded.
“For you to change, you’ll have to dig deep and evaluate yourself as a person. It’s only then that you will know what needs to be changed.”
Their eyes met, and for a moment, Chevelle saw a glimmer of deep knowledge. As well as a great sense of understanding.
“After that, all you need is the determination to keep yourself on the right track.”
To Chevelle, those words meant a whole lot since she knew that it was her behavior that was causing problems for her. She thought back to what Christopher said. And the more Chevelle replayed his words, the more she realized just how right he was.
She was a terrible person with a very bad attitude, and she needed to change that. No, she wanted to change that. She was tired of losing her friends.
She was tired of being so stuck up and ridiculous. And she was tired of having fake people, like herself, around her. It was time for her to change.
With a strong, determined nod, she decided that it was exactly what she was going to do. She grabbed a few tissues and wiped her tears away.
“Mom!” a male voice echoed through the hallway.
Marjorie’s lips curled into a smile as she looked at the door. “I’m in here, honey!”
As Chevelle wiped the last of her tears away, Christopher barged into the room, catching her completely off guard. She looked between him and Marjorie, shocked that a cold-hearted man like him could have such a caring mother.
“You!” they said in unison.
Her voice was laced with determination and a hint of a dare. His was laced with fury and oozing hatred. Their eyes met, and they locked on. Two predators examined their enemy and prepared to strike.