When the bell finally rang I stood up and slowly gathered my things. I glanced at my schedule, trying to figure out my next class, but once again it was ripped from my hands.
"You don't need that, Andy. I said I'd show you to your classes." I sighed and brushed back my hair.
"W-what's my n-next c-c-class?" Arrow smiled.
"Chemistry" I sighed, and gestured for her to lead the way. She gladly shot off, gripping the strap to my backpack. I followed along, monumentally thankful that she wasn't touching my skin.
She dropped me off outside of the classroom; my classroom, I guess. I skulked my way to the back of the class and dropped into the last set of shiny black tables. I threw my stuff by my feet and settled in. My head was throbbing now, and I wished that I was home so I could crawl back into my bed.
"Miss?" I sighed and glanced up to the older gentleman. He was dressed in a suit, and was carrying a briefcase. His hair was greasy and sat limpy against his forehead. His skin was a sickly white, several shades lighter than my own. He had a hooked nose and his eyes were a dark black that seemed to burn into my skin. He was taller than me, as most people were, but not by that much. He was thin and he was hunched over slightly in a way that reminded me of a rodent. He must be the teacher.
"Miss, are you aware that this is a chemistry class, and not a bedroom?" I nodded and straightened up so I was sitting properly.
"S-sorry, sir." His face cracked in a massive grin that sent me squirming in discomfort.
"No problem. I'm assuming that you're our new student?" I nodded, and let my eyes slide down to the table again. He sighed, and started walking towards the front of the class.
"Welcome to our lovely school then, Miss Romans."
With that he began class. I almost fell asleep during the entire thing; chemistry was one of my best subjects. When the bell finally rang, I almost flew from the damn classroom. I sprinted out the door, planning on heading for the exit and a tiny bit of freedom before I had to go back to class, but paused as someone stepped in front of me. I froze before I recognized her. It was Arrow. She beamed at me and started walking along with me, obviously expecting me to follow. I shrugged and fell into step with her.
"Wow, you must really hate chemistry. I mean, I know that it totally sucks, that's why I'm not taking it, but I figured if you were registered for it you must like it a little bit. But seeing you run out of there like that, wow, I figure you must HATE it. Which, again, I totally get. I guess I'm just used to people taking it because they like it. I mean, my brother loves chemistry, and he's registered for that course. I guess I just assumed that that was how everyone that took that class feels, you know?" I kind of tuned her out after that, because seriously, the girl could talk. And I got the feeling that she always talks like this. I followed silently beside her as she led me through the cafeteria to a large table by the front windows. Noone else was sat there, so I sank into a chair and pulled out my sandwich and drink. Arrow sat across from me and pulled out her own meal.
"So.. where are you from?" Curiosity was dripping from her voice. I sighed and rested back into my chair. I let my eyes drift closed- thinking of rolling hills and the massive man made lake- and quietly breathed out; "H-home."
I didn't have to open my eyes to know that she was glaring at me in annoyance.
"Well duh. I was looking for more of a definite place?" I let a brief smile flash across my face before I let myself slip back into my mind.
Tick, tick, tick, tick
"Shh" His hand pressed against my mouth, muffling my giggles. He shot me a playful glare. My tongue shot out and slobbered all over his hand until he tugged his hand away to wipe it on his pants. I giggled again, and he rolled his eyes before focusing back on the people in front of us. He held up his hand, silently telling me to wait. I giggled again, simply bouncing in excitement.
"Meda, you're going to give us away!" He hissed. I shot him an apologetic smile, and tried to muffle my giggles again. He glanced around, and then smirked and jumped up screaming "Now!!" I jumped out with him, screaming and throwing my stash of multi coloured water balloons at the two boys standing by the oak tree.
"Stop it! Stop! We give, we give!!!" They screeched. We started laughing, doubling over and holding our aching stomachs. I wiped the tears from my eyes and fell back in the grass, lounging in the shade. He fell beside me, letting his chuckles slowly subside. He beamed at me and held his hand out for a high five. I smacked it and then rested my hands behind my head.
"Told you the plan would work. Who's the genius now?" I snorted. He sounded so smug.
"Still not you, idiot." He rolled his eyes at me and then flipped over so he could reach my sides. He started to viciously tickle me, wrestling with me, keeping me down. I roared with laughter and begged him to free me. He didn't.
"Andy? Andy? Are you in there?" I shook myself from my mind; just a forgotten memory. Nothing more. I blinked back into focus. Arrow was staring at me looking worried.
"You ok?" I sighed and nodded. I'm fine. She bit her lip, rolling it between her teeth. I stood up, ready to head back into the halfway and to my next class. I turned and headed away from the table, but paused to see if Arrow was coming with me. She beamed at me when she realized I was waiting for her. She jumped up and fell into step with me, flowing back into mindless chatter.
It seemed I had made a friend. Now if only I knew if that were a good thing or a bad..
The rest of the day passed in a blur of droning teachers and bland hallways. By the time the last bell rang, I was absolutely exhausted. There were so many instances where someone almost touched me, and because of that I hadn't been able to relax all day. My entire body ached from being constantly on edge.
As the final bell rang I raced out the door and through the hallway. I reached the front doors and was about to push through them to my freedom, but someone grabbed my arm. Instantly, I froze. My breathing stopped, my heartbeat skipped, and I felt like I was suffocating. I slowly traced my way along my arm to the large pale hand that was gripping it tightly. My eyes followed the obviously male hand up to a grinning idiot. He was a lot taller than I am, but honestly that's not hard to do, and he was basically attractive. His hair was cropped close to his head and it was dirty blonde in colour. His eyes were a deep blue and as they traced over my small frame I could feel tiny pinpricks of disgust wherever his eyes landed. It's really too bad that he had made the mistake of grabbing me.
"Hey, babe. Haven't seen you around before." I slowly sucked in air, trying to stop the panic attack in its tracks. I twisted my wrist and pressed against his thumb to wrench my arm from his grasp; I needed to stop the shaking. He looked shocked as I fled from him.
I raced out the doors, determined to put as much distance as possible between me and the horrible school. I felt my breathing speed up as I didn't immediately see my brother's car. Where is he? I flicked my eyes back and forth across the parking lot; he was nowhere to be found. My panic grew, causing my throat to close up. How could he not be here? He promised he'd be here! My heart stopped as a car horn exploded beside me.I spun and felt my heart start up again. I let out a sigh of relief as I recognized the Jeep. Blake smiled at me from the front seat, oblivious that he was late. I ran towards his car, ripped the door open and threw myself inside once I got there.
"Rough day?" I threw a glare at him from the corner of my eye, and then stared out the window. I sat silently, waiting for Blake to be able to pull out of the busy parking lot. Blake sighed before glancing over his shoulder. I turned to look out the window and spotted Arrow strutting out of the school. She was scowling again, and waltzed up to a cute Volkswagen Beetle. She unlocked it and pulled open the passenger door, and suddenly she was covered in what looked like blue paint. I felt my lips pull up at the corners as she screamed in absolute frustration. That poor girl.
"Isn't that the girl from the office this morning?" I nodded, and Blake started laughing hysterically.
"Poor thing can't catch a break!" I rolled my eyes at his amusement and nodded my head towards the front window, silently telling him that we could start driving now. He sighed, and then we were off.
The dark surrounds me. I can't see even an inch in front of my face, but I know I'm not alone. I can feel his hand wrapped tightly around mine, and he gives it a gentle squeeze.
"Breathe Meda" I sigh, and give a slight nod of my head.
"Places" Her voice is carried through the dark and my body reacts automatically. My leg slides up carefully, until finally it reaches the perfect place: exactly two inches from his torso. Perfect. My arms fly up above my head; I feel completely ready for the first sequence. I sigh as he grips my hips, his subtle reminder to be confident. I straighten my back the tiniest bit, and then he grips me tightly around my waist. Feeling completely balanced I rise onto the tips of my toes.
I see the gorgeous scarlet curtain come into view, and I become completely still as it starts to rise. It is as if the curtain is a sound barrier because as it rises I can hear the people whispering and the orchestra warming up. It finally pulls completely away and suddenly we are illuminated by a brilliant spotlight. The orchestra flows and I feel myself move automatically. I move fluidly across the stage, connected carefully to the boy behind me. At the right time, I fly away from him, lifting carefully and dancing through the air. As my body flew into open space, the spotlight shattered. All sounds came to a screeching halt, except for the skittering of glass across hardwood.
I fall to the ground, surrounded by darkness again. Only this time I am completely alone. I started spinning, searching. Where is he? What is going on? I spun and spun and spun, searching carefully for anything, anyone. Suddenly, I saw it: a strange light. I squint, trying to decipher what it is. Once I do, I gasp and run towards it; towards him. I ignore the dripping liquid that cascades from the gaping holes scattered over his wrists and throat. I push forward in desperate blindness. I reach him just in time to hear his quiet sigh; his final breath. I collapse at his side and pull him to me, sobbing, begging, and pleading for him to come back to me. I push carefully against his wounds, trying to stop the red from leaking out. A sob tumbles from my lips and I feel myself shaking.
"Andromeda!" I recognize that voice and instantly freeze. I will never forget it. It is cold, detached, and above all else: angry. I don't let him slip from my grip as I twist my head to search for the man behind the voice. Instead I pull him closer; use him as a shield.
"Andromeda!" The anger takes over and I know what this means. I know what comes next, but that doesn't mean I can stop it. I shriek as my hair is ripped so hard my neck flips in the other direction. I gasp as my eyes collide with the terrifyingly familiar watery brown. His name tumbles from my lips, leaving behind a bad taste in my mouth.
"Seth." He smiles a cold, unforgiving grin at my recognition. I open my mouth, trying to ask all the questions that rush through my brain, but he stops me as he flicks his eyes to his hands. I follow his look to the shiny knife he clutches carefully, lovingly. I notice the red, sticky substance and still. It matches perfectly to the liquid leaking from the man in my lap. I lose my breath as I realize what happened. He smirks as I open my mouth to scream, but he slaps me before the sound can escape. He rips me from his body and then presses his lower half into mine. He is torn between pure hatred and excited lust. He presses himself into parts of me he has no right to, and I let the scream out. This only furthers his anger. He slaps me again, so hard that I immediately feel it start to bruise. He leans down, pressing more weight into me, and flashes that damn knife again. He beams at me, and then leans back enough for him to be able to lift his arm.
"Bitch" And then he plunges the knife into my chest, exactly where my heart used to be.
I screamed and ripped from the bed, the nightmare clinging to every part of me. It takes moments, but finally my heartbeat steadied. I drug my hands down my face, trying to wipe away the memories. When that doesn't work, I stood and headed to the one place I can make myself forget: the gym.
Sprinting once again on the treadmill with Panic! At The Disco blasting through my headphones so loud I can't hear myself think, I focused on the steady thumping of my feet against the treadmill. I pushed away all thoughts of the monster that lurks in the dark, and the fear that he still holds over me. I pushed away all of the memories I had, and all of the pain I still felt. I pushed away the sadness and pain in my heart, the parts of me that made me feel like collapsing into myself and never getting up again. I pushed my emotions down until I can't feel anything, and then I pushed them down some more. I sprint until my breathing makes it impossible to continue. And then I collapsed in a heap at the end of the treadmill. My legs couldn't hold me up anymore, so I just laid there and felt... empty.
I laid there until my heartbeat slowed down, and my breathing steadied out. And then I stood up and headed back to my room to get ready for school. I passed Blake on the stairs and ignored the look he sent my way.
"Andy! Andy wait up!" I paused at the sound of Arrow's voice. She ran to catch up with me, and beamed brightly. I gave her a slight smile and she easily slid into step with me.
"How are you today?" I shrugged, not bothering to give her an actual answer. I was glad that she didn't take offense to this, but I quickly brushed the feeling off. She gave me another bright smile, and then started talking in a burst of energy.
"So did you see my little episode yesterday after school? That prick, that asshat, set me up! I don't even know how he got into my car! Who even has mild explosives at their disposal? And it took me forever to scrub the fucking colour off because it was freaking permanent paint or something! I swear when he gets back I'm going to throttle him!" She paused to suck in some air, and I took the opportunity to rush in a question.
"W-w-why?" She beamed at me, and then slipped into confusion.
"W-why d-does he keep p-pranking you?" She huffed and turned around to look at me. I worried she was going to trip as she kept walking without watching where she was going, but her steps were confident.
"Well.. this one is kind of my fault. The night before he left for his trip, I snuck into his bedroom and set 55 different alarm clocks to go off every 45 minutes from midnight on and hid them in many different spots. Apparently he didn't find all 55 before he went to bed." She smirked at me and spun back around to look where she was going. "Ryker texted me that Rowan was woken up 20 times throughout the night, and apparently he was out for my blood." Pride was dripping from her tongue. I shook my head at her.
"A-and the c-c--chicken costume?" Her smile dropped.
"That was just to get me one more time before he left, I think." I nodded. We reached our classroom and sank into our seats at the back of the room. I bit my lip and turned to her.
"W-why are y-you p-pranking each other?" My voice was weak, but I could still hear the curiosity. I tried to stamp it out, but I wasn't that successful.
"You know, I don't really know. We used to be really close, him, my twin brother, and me. And then one day... It just changed. Ryker and Rowan went one way, and I was left behind. And then the pranking started. And ever since, we've just gotten worse and worse."
"I-if you hate it s-so much, w-why not s-stop?" She smiled at me, and leant towards me.
"Because, what's the fun in that?" She started laughing, and I felt my lips tug up at the corners. She might talk a lot, but I had to admit that she was entertaining.
I turned to my stuff and pulled out my binder and pencil case. Arrow tapped her fingers on my desk, calling my attention back to her. She smiled brightly at me, and the warmth of it caused something in my chest to squish. I pushed the feeling aside and offered her a weak smile of my own.
"You know what, Andy? I think we are going to be best friends. I mean, as long as you're ok with that?" I gulped, but couldn't think of a good enough reason to say no. Other than the truth, that is. So with a sigh, I very subtly nodded my head. She squealed in excitement, and the teacher who had just walked in shot her a look of incredulity. Arrow laughed at his expression and he shook his head at her.
"I think this is the first time I've seen you before the bell, Ms. Cardinal."
"See Andy? You're already helping me surprise people!" And then she laughed again.
The rest of the week passed much the same. I went to school, relived the nightmares over and over again, and spent most of my spare time sprinting for my life. Arrow kept getting closer, but I tried my best to hold her at a distance. I figured she'd be getting frustrated by now with the little that I talked, or the fact that I wouldn't answer most of her questions about me, but still she stuck around. I was a little relieved, because for whatever reason whenever I would get overwhelmed with the amount of people or people were trying to pry into my life, she would magically appear and whisk me away someplace else. It was actually making school a tiny bit bearable for me.
I was walking through the hallways, completely lost in thought, when suddenly I crashed into somebody. But before I could hit the ground, their hands wrapped tightly around my waist. And fear spiked ice into my veins. I tried to pull myself out of their grasp, but their grip held firm.
"You really should watch where you're going, Miss Romans" I recognized my chemistry teacher, but I couldn't for the life of me remember his damn name.
"S-s-s-sorry s-s-s-s-sir" My vision was starting to blur, and I felt like throwing up. My skin crawled, a million bugs burying themselves into me wherever his body touched mine. The fact that he was still fucking touching me was knocking my nervousness and fear up to unbelievable levels. He smiled, and looked like he was about to say something, but he was cut off.
"Hey Mr. Daemente, maybe you should let the poor girl go?" Relief danced at the edge of my consciousness. It was Arrow, rescuing me once again.
"Miss Cardinal, how nice to see you again." His hands fell from my waist, and he took a half step back so his front was no longer pressed against mine. The static on my skin pulled back a little at the miniscule distance, but the black spots in my vision spinned faster. I backed away from him to try to pull my emotions back under my control- but it was too late. I was spiralling.
I could hear that they were still talking, but between the spots in my vision and the warping sounds around me, I wasn't too concerned about what they were saying. I felt myself sway to the left, and I tried to straighten myself up but lost the battle. Suddenly I was falling. I felt two thin arms wrap around my waist, but before I could react I was completely out.