I knew today would be different, I had done something ridiculously out of character, thoroughly proving that it is never a good thing to step out of your comfort zone.
It all started earlier that morning. I hadn't had time to shower, because yet again my alarm had sounded too early for my liking, therefore I ignored it. My dad yelled at me to get up, and when I realized how late it was I ran around like a chicken with it's head cut off, trying to get myself together before he killed me. I picked up whatever articles of clothing I could find, and tugged them on hasitly before rushing out the door. I was upset that I didn't get to clean up really before school, but at least I had bandaged most of my cuts from the night before. I really shouldn't have blamed it all on waking up late, because none of it would have mattered if I had just stuck to my normal appearance for school. That's right it wasn't just the missed shower that would make me miserable.
It was the fact that I had worn my hair up.
I know, I know, what's the big deal right? In my haste I had forgotten that my hair was still in a messy, crazy knot at the base of my skull. I had tied it up last night before bed. Wearing my hair up is something I rarely do, because I can't hide behind anything, my face being so openly exposed. Anyways, I hadn't had time to mess around with it this morning, so up it was. I didn't think anything of it really, I mean who would even notice, right?
I was making my way to chemistry, late pass in hand, and I could feel my heart sinking with each step. I would have to see Jace, and after yesterday I really just wanted to stay as far away from him as I could.
I opened the door to the class, and was instantly greeted with the stares of all my peers. It felt so much like my first day here that I wanted to turn and run. I took a deep breath and pushed forward grudgingly, making sure not to look in Jace's direction.
"Ms. Smith." Mr. Plant nodded at me while taking the late slip from my hand.
I scurried over to the table with my head down, and plopped heavily into my seat, keeping my eyes glued to the table I tried to relax, but I could feel his eyes on me. My face was on fire, and I longed for my long locks to hide behind.
I'm never wearing my hair up again.
I tried to find solace in the discomfort my right arm was giving me. I had a thick sweatshirt on today, and the fuzzy texture of my sleeve was sticking to the cuts that didn't have bandages on them. I had really done a number on myself last night. I could feel my face forming a grimace as I scribbled aimlessly on the corner of my notebook. I could still feel him staring at me, and it took everything I had to remain indifferent and not look up.
I got tired of trying to pay attention to Mr. Plant, and not pay attention to Jace, so I put my head down on the table, and closed my eyes. It felt good to just rest them, I could just lay like this for a few minutes, and then-
"It's gonna be fun baby." Brad was whispering in my ear as he pushed me down on the couch roughly. He had already ripped my pants down to my knees.
"Please, don't do this.." I was begging.
"Just shut the fuck up and stay still, don't make me hurt you Ella." He was sneering at me.
"You disgust me." I said with out thinking
That's when he hauled back and slapped me.
"We can do this the easy way- or we can do this the hard way." He was staring down at me like I was something he wanted to devour. "Now, you're gonna stay still."
-"El." A voice I recognized was calling me, such a beautiful voice.
"EL!" The voice was louder and closer, causing me to jump this time.
"Wha-" I looked around at my surroundings. I was in school, not with Brad. I was okay. Except, everbody was staring at me, even Mr. Plant looked horrified. I looked over at Jace for the first time today.
"I fell asleep?" I asked, knowing the answer already.
He nodded in response, looking at me with a pained expression.
"I was talking." I stated this more than asked.
He cleared his throat, looking around awkwardly, before nodding again.
"I think I'm gonna be sick." I groaned, resting my head back on the table, and burying my face in my arms.
"Ms. Smith?" Mr. Plant started in on me right away, causing me to groan louder, before burying my face further.
Jace spoke then, surprising me. "Mr. Plant, may I take Ella to the nurse? I don't think she's feeling too well."
We were walking down the hall, in silence. I didn't want to even look at him, but he had done me such a favor back there, yet again I found myself owing him. I was tallying off all the times he had helped me, and found myself feeling kind of guilty. I would never be able to repay him for his help, because he wouldn't even let me in. I still had no idea what had happened to him to make him the way he is now.
After a few more moments of thinking, I realized he was staring at me again.
"You didnt have to do that." I said numbly, the effects of the dream still causing my nerves to stand on end.
"I know." He stated simply.
I had to find a way to get away from him, I had to do something to relieve myself. This was just all too much, and being near him wasn't helping. I had such conflicting feelings about him, and right now I found myself wanting to just wrap my arms around him, which would not be a good idea.
"I really do feel sick though, you know?" I peeked at him now, he was giving me a look that said 'quit the bullshit', but I continued babbling anyway. "No really, I think I am going to go to the nurse." I offered with a shrug.
"That's fine, I said I'd take you, and I will." He said pointedly.
"You can stop pretending to care, just forget we ever met, really its fine." I said as coldly as I could.
"Fuck, Ella." He shook his head at me. "If only it were so easy to forget you."
His voice, full of sadness, caused me to stop in my tracks and look at him. It was so out of character to hear that much emotion in his words, unless it was anger. He was staring at me with such intensity, his eyes kept darting from my eyes to my neck, and down to my collar bone. He swallowed hard, and I found myself wanting to pull my hair out of the elastic once and for all.
"What are you-"
"Look, do you want to know what happened or not?" He asked, looking a bit panic-stricken.
I stared into his eyes then, they were wide and lost, I'm sure my own were as big as saucers when they met his. "Yes." I whispered breathily.
I had led her out of chemistry, and all I could think as we walked along was what the fuck is so exciting about this girl's neck?
Seriously, I couldn't take my eyes off of the curve of it, and the edge of her collar bone. You would think she was walking around fucking shirtless. At least If she had been walking around with out a shirt it would explain my issue, but no, just show me some neck and I'm fucking hard as a rock. It really had been too fucking long since I let myself really look at a girl, because why else would the fact that this girl had worn her hair up completely undo me?
I was fucking gone.
She said some bullshit about really feeling sick, and told me to just forget about her. Like I could ever fucking forget this girl, she didn't even realize how she effected me, I think I may have even told her something like that. Then I studied her fucking neck some more, practically salivating on myself, and causing her to squirm a little.
I was such a fucking creep.
Then what I said next, almost surprised me as much as it did her, but somehow I knew I had to do it. "Look, do you want to know what happened or not?"
She looked at me with her huge hazel eyes. "Yes." She whispered.
"Let's get out of here then." I said.
She just bit her bottom lip nervously and nodded.
We walked, and walked, past the book store, and all the shops in the center, until we came up to my street. I led the way in silence, not ready to speak to her until we were fully alone. I was still sort of surprised that she had agreed to leave school, and didn't even ask where we were headed once.
The aparment building was right in front of us now, and I stopped abruptly, causing her to slam into the back of me.
She sucked in air sharply. "Sorry." She squeaked.
I didn't respond, just took her hand and led her up the stairs of the building.
When we got inside, we jumped in the shitty elevator and headed up to the third floor. I studied her as she bounced up amd down in place, staring at the ground as if it would fall out from beneath her at any given moment. My curiousity at this got the better of me.
"You don't like elevators?" I asked, speaking for the first time.
She jumped at the sound of my voice, wrapping her arms around her torso protectively. "I just don't like to feel confined, or constricted." She said nervously.
"Mmm." I nodded in understanding.
When the doors opened, releasing us, she practically sprinted out. I would have to remember to take the stairs next time she came over, if there was a next time. God, I fucking hoped there was a next time, even if I didn't deserve it.
Once I unlocked the door to the apartment, she started to look really nervous. I kicked myself mentally, I didn't even think about how uncomfortable this would probably make her.
"Uh." I scratched at the back of my neck anxiously. "We can talk somewhere else if you want?"
"N-No, this is fine." She stuttered, shaking her head.
"Shit, don't lie to me Ella." I crossed my arms, staring at her pointedly. "I just wanted to talk somewhere private, it's kind of crazy shit to just chat about while out to lunch." I snorted, with out humor.
"Really, I'm fine." She said, looking more curious than nervous now.
"Okay." I nodded, pursing my lips together.
We sat at the counter between the kitchen and the living room, I figured my bedroom was not a fucking good idea. Ian and Norah were both at work, so we were alone anyways.
"You want anything to drink?" I asked her, as I headed to the fridge.
"Um, a bottle of water?" She asked quietly.
"Sure, sure." I nodded grabbing her a water, and stealing one of Ian's beers for myself. He wouldn't notice anyway.
When I handed her the water she took it nervously, and studied the beer in my hand.
"It's a little early to be drinking, isn't it?" She asked timidly.
I cracked the can open, and the sound seemed to echo off the walls of the apartment.
"Nope." I said, popping the 'p' at the end of the word, and smirking at her as I took a sip.
She just frowned at me, and twisted the cap off of her water.
"Are you going to tell me what happened, or are you just going to get shitfaced?" She asked, shocking the hell out of me with her forwardness.
I choked on my sip, sputtering.
"Okay, okay." I said while wiping the excess beer from my lips.
She sat up attentively, trying to look patient, and failing miserably.
"You're sure you want to know?" I asked raising an eyebrow at her.
She nodded so hard, I thought her head might fucking roll off her neck- and that fucking neck was causing so many crazy thoughts to run through my mind. What the fuck was wrong with me?
I had to shake my head to clear it before begining.
I didn't know where to start, so I just dove right the fuck in. "I'm a murderer."
Now it was her time to choke on her drink. "Excuse me?" She coughed, looking confused.
"I killed my father." I stated numbly, trying to keep the emotion inside of me, tucked deeply away.
"You're lying." She said shaking her head.
"No, I'm not." I said shaking my head back at her. "I fucking killed him, Ella."
Then she surprised me for the second time today, reacting completely opposite of how I thought she would. "What did he do to you? Tell me everything." She whispered.
"You don't want to leave, to run away from me? I fucking killed someone." I spoke harshly, but she didn't even flinch.
"No, I know you're a good person." She was staring at her water, and picking at the label on the bottle.
"Good people, don't kill other people Ella." I rubbed my hand over my face roughly.
"What did he do to you?" She asked, looking really sad now.
I just fucking cracked then.
"He used to beat on me. Every fucking day I would go home, and have to deal with that alcoholic bastard." I could feel myself giving in to the memory, my eyes tearing.
She just sat quietly, waiting for me to continue. Giving me the time I needed to gather myself before continuing.
"I had been out drinking with my friends the night it happened." I paused holding up my beer and laughing humorlessly.
"Maybe if I had been home, he would have attacked me instead of her, but no, I had to sneak out and be a little shit, I should have been home." I was just trying to keep my breathing steady at this point.
"He fucking killed my mom, right in front of me Ella, I just fucking lost it and lunged at him." I felt myself falling into the memory. "When the cops got there, they pulled me off of him. He had long been dead, but I was still stabbing him." I knew I was completely unhinging, bordering on hysterical. "So much blood." I whispered.
She moved to comfort me, but I pushed her away, and fought off my emotions. "Don't you see? It's all my fault." I picked up the can of beer with a shaky hand, and took a long sip.
"And now, Ian has to fucking deal with me, after both of our parents are dead because of me." I felt my heart growing impossibly tight with guilt, like it would just give out at any moment.
"You can't blame yourself." She looked at me with tears in her eyes.
"I wish he had killed me instead of her." I said the words out loud for the first time, feeling as my protective shell fell back into place.
She shook her head slowly, tears falling down her cheeks. "Don't say that." She whispered, her voice hitching.
"Everyone would be better off." I shrugged, as the last of my hysteria faded. "He would be in jail, my mom would be alive, and Ian and Norah would be happy alone together."
"I wouldn't be." She mumbled, looking down as if she were embarassed, and using her sleeve to wipe the last of the tears from her face.
"What are you talking about? I'm a fucking asshole to you half of the time." I shook my head dissapprovingly at her.
"I don't care." She shrugged.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" I asked rudely. "You like being treated like shit or something?"
"No, I just know that it's not the real you when you act like that." She looked me in the eye, a challenge.
"You're right." I nodded. "The real me is much nicer, and cuddlier than that. A fucking murderer."
"Just stop it." She yelled, causing me to jump, because she hardly ever raised her voice. "You can't make me not l- like you, okay?"
"I can try." I grunted, just as the apartment door opened.