Days went by, and Morgan didn't answer any of my calls or any of my texts. Kye kept a close eye on me, making sure I couldn't get out of the house. He taunted me, saying that all I was looking for was perfection.
I was far from it. I felt like my insult towards Morgan had boomeranged and cut into my chest, deeper every time the phone rang out.
Then finally, I couldn't take it. There was only one way I could leave here and apologise, and it wasn't going to be easy.
Quietly, I walked up to the door of my father's study and knocked twice. Something he'd warned me: more than twice and I shouldn't expect and answer.
Seven silent minutes went by before he called me in. "Tamara," he said. "This must be a matter of great importance for you to seek me before your mother."
"It is, father. I need to leave the house for a while, and I don't know when I'll be back," I held back the stammer I usually had around him. Confidence, here, was my only card.
"And why is this?"
"Well... I would just like to... to..."
Father turned to face me, his eyes searching my face. "To...?"
I coughed, saying the first thing that came into my head. "Go for a walk, alone, without anyone. Including the paparazzi. Just a walk, probably around the neighbourhood."
He frowned thoughtfully. "And what do expect to achieve from this... walk?"
Then I knew exactly what to say. He wanted my media attention to diverge. Ever since I came out, television and the newspapers hadn't shut up about my homosexuality. "At the next conference, I could... I could say about... I could say my opinion on something I've seen. Just like you want, Father."
He nodded and turned away from me again, having lost interest now he had heard what he wanted to hear. "You may go, Tamara."
So, feeling slightly strange after this conversation, I exited the house. My first chosen place was Morgan's house. Riley and Kylie were playing in the garden, and they told me Morgan had gone. They said they didn't know where, but pointed in the direction she'd gone.
"Thank you," I smiled and gave them each a small bag of sweets, as I usually did when I visited Morgan's house.
Then I walked in the general direction they had shown, and presently heard a strangled whimpering sound. Worried and thinking that I should probably help the person, I searched for the source of the sound.
"Morgan!" I screamed, rushing to her side. She was laid on the floor in a pool of blood. There was a cut on her leg and a deep wound in her side. A knife lay nearby.
"Tam... mie," she gasped, her eyelids flickering. She clasped my hands weakly.
"Morgan, what happened? We need to get help!"
At those words, a man walked over to us.
"Please, help us," I begged him. "She's going to bleed to death!"
He shook his head. "You don't need help, Tamara."
I couldn't believe he'd say that, clearly he could see the situation. "What!? Of course I need help, she'd dying! Who do you think you are to suggest that I don't need help!?"
"Who do you think I am?"
It dawned suddenly that he, a complete stranger, knew my name. Just like the message on the phone. "Romulus."
"Yes, Tamara, and you have been called."
"I don't care! I don't care who you are! I just need you to help me! She's going to die!"
"This is your test, Tamara," he continued with the smallest acknowledgement of what I'd said. "To see if you are worthy of joining the rebellion."
"I don't care about the rebellion! I care about my girlfriend, and she is DYING! Can't you see I need your help!?"
"Your test," he said. "Is to heal your darling Morgan, with no help. You must save her life, something that will be looked upon highly."
"WHAT?" Now I was panicking, tears streaming down my face. "I can't! Are you crazy!? Are you absolutely insane!? I need help! This is sick! It's disgusting! You're willing to let her die so you can see if you want me in your stupid rebellion!?"
"Actually, Tamara, you should be asking yourself. Are you willing to let her die for the sake of needing help?" Then he stepped away and we were alone.
There was nothing I could do. I had nothing, and Morgan's life was slipping away by the second.
I began to mumble absurdities to her for encouragement, telling her that I could save her when I knew that I couldn't.
I needed to stop the blood, but I had no bandages. Thinking quickly, I undid the sash from my dress with shaking hands, and wound it tightly around her torso, an attempt to seal the wound at her side. My scarf served as another layer of bandage, which I secured even more tightly, and the blood stopped leaking through.
I knew I was hurting her, but it was the only thing that I could think of to save her, and I found myself in a mess of guilt and desperation.
The cut on her leg wasn't accessible because she was wearing jeans. On impulse, I grabbed the knife from the floor and cut lengthways down the leg of the jeans, doing my best not to injure her more.
The material was soaked in blood, so I tore away part of my dress and cleaned the area around the cut, before using the material from her jeans to bind her leg.
Then I was at loss, there was nothing more I could think of. And I was convinced that what I had done wouldn't work.
"I'm sorry, Morgan, I'm so so sorry," I whispered to her as her eyes shut. She was breathing - just.
Her blood was soaked into my clothes and my hair, and spattered on my face and arms. My hands were slippery with it.
And I knelt by her and cried, and all I felt was pain.