It had been a week since I found out the news about my dad. His death was tragic for both me and my mum. I wanted to go and comfort her dearly but I couldn't bring myself to go back to England - it would bring back memories of my dad. And my mum didn't want to move an inch from England - in fear of forgetting him. So we stuck to late night phone calls and supportive words.
I got another week off school but after my fever, concussion and now this tragedy I would have some major catch-up. My tutor lessons were indefinitely cancelled by my will as I couldn't stand to see Nick let alone talk to him. It was lucky that I was too mentally unstable to leave my room that I didn't have to see him. The only person that really saw me was Lauren and even then I couldn't speak to her properly. There were only a few things I could manage to speak out loud. I couldn't be comforted.
My tears bared another round as I finished talking to my mum on the phone. The school had allowed me to use my mobile on schooldays now in light of the circumstances. My mum was still distraught and she had to deal with everything back at home. She dealt with the funeral, the will, the burial; everything to do with death. That wasn't helping her take her mind off my dad. If my pain wasn't enough I felt for her too which made the amount of tissues Lauren got for me double.
I wiped away my tears and told myself no more. I didn't have enough water in me to cry anymore. I stood in front of the bathroom mirror as I splashed cold water on my face. My pale, washed out face that reminded me too much of my dad stared back. I had his eyes and his hair colour. It was not much but it was too much for me to handle. With one swift movement I hurled my fist at the mirror and glass trembled around my hand. A warm trickle made its way down my skin and dripped a deep red in the white sink. The clatter of glass hitting the floor was loud but not as loud as my scream after. A half-wail half-pained scream escaped my lips in a short, but loud cry. I heard a bang followed by a louder one as the door to the bathroom flew open and Nick rushed in to see the sight of my blood drenched hand. I didn't have time to yell at him - I just wanted the pain to stop. He quickly grabbed a towel and applied pressure to the multiple wounds I had caused on my hand. My sobs were not as loud as before but would not stop. Nick dragged me into the room and sat me on my bed with the towel and his hand still wrapped round mine.
"Ok, I'm going to look at it now. Tell me if it hurts." He said calmly and I nodded as the - now red stained - towel unwrapped and revealed my mangled hand. There were lots of cuts and a shard of glass lodged in my skin. "Lila I need to take you to the nurse." His panicked face wouldn't relax. Maybe it was because I was still sobbing in agony.
"No." I choked out. "I can't go out there. They will think I did this on purpose. I can't face anyone. Please just yank it out." I said quickly as I closed my eyes in anticipation. Nick didn't have a choice but listen to me - after all I was the one bleeding. I heard him take a long breath and then my hand felt a sharp stabbing pain. Ironic as I was getting the opposite of stabbed. I whimpered loudly and Nick wrapped the towel round my hand once more. My eyes slowly opened almost stuck together from tears.
"I'm sorry." Nick whispered gripping my hand. I don't know whether it was to apply pressure to my hand, comfort me or comfort him. "I didn't want to hurt you." He sounded just as hurt as I was with my still uncontrollable sobs. I noticed that he had teary eyes too but didn't cry.
"I know you didn't want to." Suddenly I knew we weren't talking about my hand. "But you did. I trusted you Nick." I wanted to say I liked you but my sob now were calming as was my brain and my emotional blocking wall was coming up again.
"I'm so sorry. You have to believe me. Please trust me." He pleaded to me. I inhaled deeply. I didn't know what to say and only winced at the pressure being applied to my hand. Luckily Nick seemed distracted by this to not pry for an answer. Instead we carefully washed my hand and bandaged it up so it couldn't move and therefore couldn't hurt.
I sat down on my bed and dried up my face as Nick cleaned up all the glass in the bathroom. With a final clatter in the bin I knew I had to face him. I had to answer all his questions that hurt me to answer. I wished Lauren was here to save me but it was still lesson time and even though lunch was only a few minutes away she still wouldn't come up here.
"You ok?" Nick asked as he came and squatted next to the bed. That wasn't so bad a question. I simply nodded and carried on wiping my face. He didn't move though; he just kept watching me. I would have turned round to yell at him if I had the energy. "Lila-"
"I know." I sighed in a normal voice now. I knew that he was about to bring up my dad and I didn't want that. My tears had just been dried up. "Thank you. For my hand and all that." I picked up my padded claw and gave a short laugh at the look of it. Nick joined in on my short laugh which made me feel a little better.
"It's alright. Don't you want to know why I was here when you hurt your hand?" He asked and I looked at him with thoughtful eyes. I had - a lot. My mind was only thinking about three things at the time. First was the utter pain I was in. Second was my dad. Third was Nick and why he was here. Why he was helping me and all other questions implied. I shook my head.
"You have your secrets and I don't want to compromise that." I laughed at my own words. Since when was I so moral? "What I mean is that you will tell me when you want to tell me. Simple." He smiled a small smile and took my hand in his. Unfortunately it was my hurt hand and he was checking the wrist for any signs of swelling. Even so my heart fluttered a little. "So doctor what's your verdict?"
"You'll be fine. Just clean it every couple of hours." He nodded to me and walked towards the door. I didn't want him to go but I didn't want to show him that I had forgiven him either. I wasn't really sure whether I had yet or not. "Sleep well. And Lila? Don't punch anymore mirrors." I had to laugh at that. My laugh brought a full smile onto his face and he lingered in the door an extra moment. His smile was heavenly and his presence made me feel so much better than I had all week. That was when I decided it.
"Nick?" His laughter died down when he saw my serious face. "I forgive you and I do trust you. Believe me I will listen to you in the future but you got to give me some wiggle room." It was like a compromise I didn't have to make. He didn't control my life but a part of me felt that if he did then I'd see him a lot more often.
Nick sighed happily and closed the door but with him still inside the room. He mouthed ‘thank you' as he walked over and sat down next to me. But his happiness was easily diverted. He glanced over at my bedside table where my sketch pad was open on the room from my dream. He looked at me questioningly and asked me what it was about. I explained my dream as much as I could and he seemed interested the whole time. His finger traced the stone walls on the paper.
"Didn't know you could draw?" He ruminated. I simply hit him with my good hand.
I was the only one still on the candle.
All my classmates were throwing flames through the air and my candle still remained cold and lifeless. My hand was still hurting me majorly but that was probably because it was only lightly bandaged and hid under my gloves. With it close to snow outside it was easy to pass of my gloves all the time. When people heard I punched a mirror it would start all sorts of gossip. Unwanted gossip.
"You're parents have had a pure line for centuries and you can't make one single flame? That's bad." Even with the insult I turned around and smiled at Nick. I hadn't seen him since the hand incident and I always seemed to be in a better mood around him. He seemed phased by my smiled but didn't say anything. His eyes glanced down at my gloves and he picked up my right hand. I began to laugh as he looked at it. "What I'm checking if the swelling has gone down."
"It's my left hand." I giggled and handed him my other hand. He chuckled a low chuckle and dropped my right hand to see to my left. I winced. "Ok, ouch. Bit lighter please." I asked nicely but my voice was lined with pain.
"You need to bandage this up Lila." His voice was stern and disciplinary but at least he loosened his grip. I gave a not-caring look and glanced back at the candle wick. "You'll get it."
"I'm a laughing stock." I said as I glanced at my classmates who were doing everything except roasting marshmallows. "Ok, maybe not but still it's embarrassing for me." I sighed and turned back to my candle that was flickering with fire. My mind was stunned for a minute but I quickly blew it out. "Don't do that." I told Nick sternly as he smiled at me.
"Well if we carried on with tutoring you might get it quicker."
"You make me read." I said to him slowly. He obviously laughed because my insults do nothing to him. "Besides if I haven't got it now after seventeen years what make you think I can learn just from you?"
"Because I'm awesome and you just want an excuse to spend time with me." My blushing became more noticeable to me but I wasn't about to let Nick see it so I turned my head back to the candle that was sparking fire once more. Again I blew it out. Talk about lulling me into a false sense of hope. "What's that? No sarcastic comment from Lila?"
"Shut up." I choked out pathetically without looking at him.
"Lila?" He asked concerned. But Ms. Jacobs called the class to an end and I managed to sneak off with a crowd. Lauren was still with her group from when I was ill. She had to hang out with other friends and they could practise magic like her so I was happy. I think.
As I walked into the lunch hall I saw mine and Lauren's table full of people that she was hanging out with and no spare seats. I stopped at the side of the hall and watched for a moment. How things had changed. I was gone for about two weeks and already I was forgotten by the person I shared my room with. Without eating or buying any food I walked out of the hall and perched myself on an empty bench outside. No one was in sight and it would very easy for me to cry.
I heard the rhythm of footsteps and I looked up to see the Irish teacher walking my way. I wiped my eyes and sniffed in. "What are you doing here Nick?" He didn't say anything for a while and just sat next to me on the bench. My breathing was shallow and sharp.
"You're right I do follow you sometimes."
"Kind of creepy." I didn't really care. I should've but I didn't.
"Is that all you're going to say?" I wiped my eyes once more because my tears were about to make a second round. "Oh, Lila." He turned to me and placed his hand awkwardly on my knee. I looked down at it and up at his face. I shifted my knee so his hand would fall off. I have no clue why I did that.
"Don't encourage my crying." I tried to joke.
"Fine in the future I won't. Maybe in the future I won't even bother with you." He stood up in an angry huff. I wanted so bad to be mad at him and yell at him back. But my nature was surpassed by my hatred of him being angry at me.
"I'm sorry." It was the only thing I could say. He turned and smiled at me.
"You're supposed to argue back." My confused look amused him. "You're supposed to be stubborn and hold your side of the argument. You're supposed to tell me that I have no right to yell at you and that I'm an old man." He walked towards me with a huge grin on his face.
"You're an old man." I laughed at him even through my desperate attempts to act serious.
"You drive me absolutely crazy. I'll see you later." He said walking off with a smile. He turned round after a few steps and came back to me. I was completely surprised when I was engulfed in a hug. "Don't cry Lila. You'll be fine." I wanted to muffle thank you but I was speechless so I just returned the hug. He walked off perhaps even happier than before. My mind was still processing what had happened.
"Where were you at lunch?" Lauren asked me as she put in her dangling earrings. She was getting ready for a party in one of her new friends dorms. Obviously I wasn't invited and Lauren didn't seem to be too eager to extend an invitation - I got the hint.
I saw the fact that there was no room for me in your new life so I made it easier on you. "I got busy."
"That's so unlike you. Really everybody is dying to see you. Did you know you have quite a reputation Lila? I didn't realise you slept with Chris." She smiled and my anger burst through the roof of my head. She had changed.
"I have not. I am still a virgin. I don't like how you have changed. And I want to move out." My calmness changed from each sentence. I started out talking through gritted teeth and ended up screaming the last sentence. I stormed out the room and slammed the door behind me.
"I want to change rooms." I demanded to the lady in the office. I'm so glad it wasn't the regular woman who was there otherwise I would feel guilty for shouting at her. "Tonight."
"I'm so sorry but I can't do that it is against rules." The woman said politely but I had obviously scared her.
"No, no, no. You see I need this room change. I will present it to Krupt herself I just can't stay in my room a minute longer." I tried to explain.
"Lila let's get you out of here." Nick appeared out of nowhere like normal and grabbed me by the waste. He tried to pull me from the desk but I grabbed on.
"Liliana Sawyer. Room 103 please." I begged. "Get off of me you old man." I scowled at Nick who had now managed to yank me away and into the hallway. "Come on Nick I know you have read the school rules a million times. Quote again. There must be some loophole. Something." I begged.
"Lila. Breathe." He told me as I took an overly dramatic breath in his face. My eyes were wide and bulged. "Now explain."
"There is no room for me in anyone's life now." I admitted defeat and slumped down on the wall. "Lauren has new better friends that just adore me." I said sarcastically as Nick knelt down to my level. He brushed the hair out of my face that fell down from being tugged from my position in the office.
"How could they not adore you?" He said seriously but I continued my sulk.
"Took you long enough." I grumped. He raised one eyebrow at me. "You caught me in the office. Not the stairs, not my room. I was getting worried you weren't going to come. I mean I thought you waited outside of my room all hours of the night."
"Watch it missy."
"Or what? You'll make me?" I tested him. I have to admit it myself that what I did was cruel. I would've apologised if he seemed hurt but he wasn't.
"I might just have to." He whispered n my ear. He was definitely game. I laughed at him and pushed him back on his butt. "Hey."
"Hey yourself." I stood up and Nick mirrored me. "I want to change rooms. Is that so hard?"
"You're supposed to be on my side." I insisted and pointed my finger at the ground I stood on.
"Lila don't you have more important issues to be worrying about?"
My mum, my dad, my magic, my hand. "No."
"I think you are telling porkies." I felt a gust of wind sweep past me and brush my hair over my shoulders out of my face. Nick just smiled a smug smile at me. Its weird how before when he used magic on me I was scared to death but now I actually kind of liked it.
"What are you doing?"
"I really have no clue." We both laughed. Nick forced me to retreat back to my room by which time Lauren had already left for her party. Nick left as soon as he saw that Lauren was safe from my wrath.
I had a dream that night.
Not a nightmare about dungeons and fire but a sad dream.
I was in an alley at night with no one around.
Rain was pouring from the sky and I was drenched.
There was a streetlamp about a hundred metres down the road but apart from that there was no other source of light. My cheeks were wet but not entirely from the rain. I was crying worse than ever. And after my month that is saying something.
My eyes turned down to my hands where blood dripped off of them. They were shaking. But as far as I could see I wasn't the one bleeding. Then I began to chant to myself.
"He'll be fine. He'll be fine. He'll be fine." I said it over and over to myself but I could not be comforted. My heart ached and my mind screamed at me to go back. And through the light of the distant bulb a figure sauntered towards me.
"We can do this one of two ways." His voice sounded evil but my sobbing didn't care. I was too heartbroken to care.
And then I woke up.