Chapter Fifteen: Break-Up
I walked back into my house after less than a week in the hospital, with doctors in disbelief at how quickly my healing process had gone by. The familiar feel of the house was a welcome change to the pale walls of the hospital room. I made my way to my bedroom quietly and lay on my bed staring at my bare ceiling. Everything was the same, but at the same time everything was changing into an irreversible downward spiral.
"Olivia, if you need anything, just call." Marley yelled down the stairs.
I nodded, even though I knew she couldn't actually see me. My eyes never left the ceiling and I traced every inch of it with great interest.
Michael had never come back to see me, and the whole time I was there; neither did Alex. My heart sank at the thought of the two boys who would probably never associate with me ever again. Neither seemed to be in the mood to be around me, both for their own reasons no matter how similar they may have been.
Michael was hurt because I would only assume that he would rush to me the second I admitted my true feelings for him, my only human friend and Alex still pined over a girl he was meant to be with, and given the chance to try again and I tore his heart out, even if it was all just a great big production.
I had ruined everything all in one night, and yet I managed to come out with the only physical injury and possibly a fatal blow. I was the one Lucien wanted and because of that, I had to have protection, but the protection I wanted right now was someone's arms around me and the soft whispers of their voice, their words tussling my hair with a warm breeze. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine my future when the image flickered and my temples pounded with a vision I'd requested: My Future.
I was sitting, looking onward over a very green lawn spotted with brightly assorted flowers set out in their planned soil. The sky was a brilliant shade of blue, perfectly clear and had such a depth that I was lost in the peaceful and familiar place. I turned to look behind me, a door with a large glass cut out decal with a soaring swan in all its true beauty. I stood and gripped the brass doorknob with my full hand and turned it slowly. I was met by a similar layout of my current home, except the stairs were in opposite directions, left to go up and right to go down instead of the other way around.
My heart fluttered as I walked up the stairs and saw toys littering the den carpet and crayon drawings filled the fridge that stared back at me from where I stood in shock. I could feel my breathing stop as my heart banged violently against my ribs, trying to escape.
"Ollie, we're home!" The voice came from behind me and as I turned the image faded.
I woke up cursing and crying, fighting back the urge to scream and call back the images. I knew that they wouldn't come back, no matter how hard I pushed, because I wasn't ready to see how it was going to happen, I would just have to wait.
My room seemed darker than usual and very empty. Kat wasn't there to keep me company or lay at my feet in a protective manner. My eyes adjusted to the dark slowly and I could see the light from my cell phone flashing on my dresser. I pulled myself off my bed, my back was stiff and my walk became an aggravated limp. I picked the metallic disk off my dresser and flipped it open. The first message was from Marley from the night of the dance. I flipped through all the mass forwards and came to the last message; it was dated an hour ago from Michael.
Sara broke up with me. I was such a fool. Sorry. <Kale>
My knees seemed to buckle and I hit the carpet with a painless drop, the phone still gripped tightly in my blanching fingers. I all at once felt relief and anger that he thought I could just forgive him that easily. I crouched over my knees, stretching out my neck and back at the same time and traced the pattern of my neutral carpet.
Does he really think it's just that easy? Doesn't he know that everything in this world has a price and he would have to pay for abandoning me? But I miss him... and I was the one that made a mess of things in the first place. Shouldn’t I be the one paying for this, not him?
My mind wandered as my eyes traced the message several times thinking over sending him a text back when the backlight turned of and the message vanished.
I walked back into the school after a week of having my homework brought to me by Vivian in a sour mood for a reason I was unaware of, or couldn’t possibly care enough about to bother asking her. She always seemed to be in a sour mood lately, and I wasn’t sure if it was because of what happened the night of the dance, or if her boyfriend was still, well … her boyfriend.
It was Monday, November 13th and I felt lost as I saw the school inhabitants dressed in jeans and light sweaters, almost ready for the harsh winter that was being predicted. I was dressed similarly, dark jeans and a baggy blue and yellow sweater dress held up around the waist with a thick black belt.
Though I looked so close to my classmates, I felt so alien, lost and confused. I followed the crowd up the stairs to my English class and found that I was earlier than normal, only a few kids sat there talking amongst themselves in their small group. They hadn't even seen me enter the room and in so I took my seat with a smile on my face happy that I didn't stick out like a sore thumb.
My chair was cold ad I could feel it through my thick jeans, it sent little shivers up and down my spine in a tingling succession. I moved slowly to make it seem natural that I was hospitalized and now I was back, but every movement I made felt so unnatural and fake, so I gave up and pulled out my binder and finished homework.
"Ah, Olivia, you're back. How was vacationing with your Aunt?" Mr. Samson asked as natural as any other question.
I blinked hard, questions tickling my tongue but nothing intelligent came to mind.
"Ollie!" Michael cheered as he entered the classroom and raced to my side providing much needed escape from my teacher's trivia.
I looked up at Michael, his eyes excited and bright. His whole face filled with an overwhelming joy. "Hi... Michael." I gave him a nod.
"How are you?" Michael sat in his usual seat next to me and leaned in to talk to me.
"Fine." My answer was flat as I sat there contemplating all the possibilities that were now open to me.
"Oh. Well... that's good." Michael suddenly looked hurt and lost as his face fell.
I nodded and turned away from him, hating myself for doing to him what he'd done to me. All my old thoughts of him and I together had become a distant and miserable dream. I closed my eyes recalling my most recent vision, trying to match a voice to the one that had called to me so lovingly. Nothing came to me, even Michael's voice sounded too far off and my posture slumped as my heart sank into my gut.
Michael passed me a note just as class started; it was folded in half and written in red ink. I flipped it open silently; it scared me slightly to see that I was growing into a Hunter. I read the bright ink that read:
Sorry about that text, I was just upset. I didn't mean anything by it. By the way, I told everyone you went to Barbados with Sabrine for a week. Alex hasn't even been to school lately. Have you spoken to him?
I flinched at every word, worried that he could be both lying and sincere and then he mentioned Alex. I turned to him with a curious glance and then leaned into him as smoothly as I could.
"I haven't heard from Alex in over a week, Kat visited me a lot, but that's it." I sat, my back straight, in my chair and listened as Mr. Samson went over Macbeth sketches demonstrating the prophecies the witches had predicted.
For the rest of the class Michael and I were absolutely silent and didn't bother to call on us for answers all period. Personally, that part I was thrilled about, but other than that I was uncomfortable and miserable trapped in my own daydreams and memories.
I slowly stalked down to my art class trying to forget about everything else that had been going on in my life. My art class was loud and filled with the warm air from the vents, all my peers were gathered around the grouping of tables. I glanced over at the table where A.J. and Skylar once sat together, neither of them were there and my heart skipped a beat.
Does that world really exist? Or did I just make it up? Am I crazy?
But as I turned to sit at my table I found A.J. sitting patiently, waiting for my arrival and as if everything turned into a horror flick, she grinned and waved me over. I took a deep breath in and tried to walk as normal as possible to her side. She watched very content and at peace with her environment, I felt a pang of envy almost instantly.
"Hello Olivia." Her voice was icy and as smooth as a polished pebble.
"A.J." I nodded in response.
"How's your head?"
"Hard as rock." I smirked.
"Glad to hear it. You haven't by any chance seen Skylar lately, now have you?"
I blinked hard and recalled the note Michael had passed me in English. "Have you seen Alex recently?"
A.J. looked a little miffed that I'd answered her question with yet, another question. "No Hunter, I haven't. I'm starting to get worried about my sister, especially now that you say one of your kind, has also disappeared. You don't think they could both be hunting, do you?"
My lungs contracted sharply and I had to take several shallow breaths before my ribs allowed for more air. "No. He wouldn't unless she's been hunting and preying on humans, or helping HAEDES."
A.J.'s expression turned deadly. "If she ever helped that bastard, I'd kill her myself. Thank you for your time Hun- I mean- Olivia."
With that she stood and went back to her friends and sat next to Skylar's empty chair, her face went neutral and she seemed to mold with the other girls quite easily. I was so envious, but I pulled out my sketchbook and sketched the entranceway to the house from my vision and found myself lost in the lines.
I walked to the gym, dreading the movement that the class would involve and seeing Michael again all over after how cold I had been to him in English. I made my way down the hall only to find my entire class packed into the hall outside the change rooms. I squished my way between my classmates to find my teacher at the center of the ring.
"Ms. Falon, what are we doing today?" I asked quietly, my voice failing over the chatter of my classmates. Yet she must've heard me, or at least found interest in my presence.
"Oh Olivia, do you have five dollars? We're going bowling today." She looked at me but her eyes flit about the crowd before her.
"I might." I swung my messenger bag around in front of me and fished around for my wallet, but before I could find it a hand gripped my shoulder lightly.
Michael held out a five-dollar bill, blue and crisp, between his index finger and his thumb. "I'll pay for her." His face was numb, flat but yet his eyes sparkled.
"Alright. Okay, everyone on the bus." Ms. Falon instructed, and in a flurry of fall jackets, my classmates sprinted towards the North doors.
I grabbed Michael's arms as he turned away from me to join the rest of the class. As he turned to see what I wanted, I caught a glimpse of Sara sheering at us and I let go of him as if he'd burnt me.
"Thanks." And I kept walking towards the bus. I took a seat at the front and was joined by one of the guys in my class.
"How was your 'vacation'?" He attempted at small talk.
"Horrible." I shrugged and turned to face out the window and watched as the staff parking lot disappeared, as the rink passed and Morden buzzed by.
"Too bad." He hummed and turned away to talk to someone else.
My neck was aching by the time we got to Valley Bowling Lanes and I absent-mindedly traced the back of my head where there should have been a scar, but only a bare patch of scalp was present. It was cool to the touch even though the rest of my hair was tied back around it to keep it hidden. The heat from my hands felt good and after a moment the pain subsided.
I walked off the bus, following the sea of high school kids into the large building. Inside it was completely empty, ten lanes at the far end of the building were lit up and the monitors above them flashing with ads for birthday parties and nachos with cheese. An arcade for those who were bored of bowling stretched out to my left.
My classmates moved towards the counter getting their shoes for bowling, I followed blindly like a sheep and got my size 8 shoes. I found an empty lane and sat down, pulling off my jacket and slipped on my red, white and yellow bowling digs. They felt stiff and cold against my feet, but yet in someway they were comforting, and might I add very snazzy.
"Mind if I join you? Or would that be a bad thing?" Michael's voice made me flinch.
"I don't mind." I kept my eyes down and knotted the laces of my shoes tightly to keep them on.
"Thanks." Michael followed suit and sat down next to me and pulled on his multi-colored shoes. "You don't have to pay me back by the way."
"I will." I said flatly. "I don't want to owe you anything." My voice cracked and I sat staring at my feet with one of my legs pulled to my chest, my jeans stretching along the inner seam of my thigh.
"Why not?" He finally asked, his hands fumbling over the keypad.
"Because, I have nothing left to give you." My words struck like daggers at Michael, and I watched as his whole body flinched and froze with each syllable.
Once again I caught Sara's venomous grin and her narrowed eyes that only emphasized her cheekbones, next to her coiled up tight to her body was a tall, dark-haired boy that I'd never seen before. He too, was staring at me, but his glance was more structured and curious than Sara's, like he was appraising me.
"She broke up with me for him. He kind of reminds me of Alex in a way - something better to play with." Michael's tone was filled with disgust and something else he struggled to downplay. "I still want us to be friends," he turned to me and touched a strand of my hair that had freed itself, "because I miss you."
"Can I play with you guys?" A female voice interrupted, filled with irritation and completely rude.
I looked up and immediately felt excitement bite at my tongue. "VIVIAN!" I cheered and forgot who she was and hugged her.
"Paws OFF!" Vivian snarled. "But I'll take that as a yes."
"Of course!" I beamed. "Where have you been? Where's Alex? Have you seen Skylar?" The words rushed out with a whoosh sound.
"Relax kid." Vivian rolled her eyes. "I've been at home practicing and didn't feel like bowling, but I figured that you needed a little protection here. Alex took off to B.C. for some absurd reason I don't know about and he took Skylar with, adding more absurdity to the pot." Vivian finished and waited as Michael punched her name onto the screen.
"Weird. But... B.C.? My old house maybe?"
"No. The Court. Something about The Court." Vivian shrugged.
"Fairies? Really?" Michael's voice was dripping with disbelief.
Vivian glared. "A little louder you idiot, the demon didn't hear you."
"Demon?" The word passed my lips breathlessly.
"That thing sitting next to Sara...gross." Vivian scrunched up her nose.
I looked back over at him, the boy who'd been appraising me. He winked and I looked away. I recalled Vivian's words about needing protection and I felt my blood chill and I responded by shivering.
"Demon?" Michael repeated, a malicious look slipping into his eyes.
"Ya." Vivian rolled her eyes and began bowling, her grace and accuracy awarding her an almost perfect game.
We all loaded back on the bus, I sat at the back and Michael slipped in next to me. Vivian took up a seat dead in the center of the bus. Michael's right side pressed against me lightly as he fit his entire being onto the narrow, vinyl seat. He turned to me, preventing any escape from the words of his that I cared not to hear.
"Ollie... I really am sorry about the past month. OH geeze, it's only been a month." Michael tossed his head back and relaxed like that. The afternoon sun filtered through the window and across his face making his eyes sparkle.
"And yet... so much has happened." Numbly I ran my hand over the bare patch of skin on the back of my head.
"I'm sorry Olivia, I just... I was kinda sick of waiting for you to like me back, even though all my friends just kept telling me to ask you out. I was scared, I not only like you, but you're my friend." Michael had his eyes fixed on my face, sunlight played with his features.
"Your friends were right." My words came out in an icy tone, not free of all the frustration I was feeling. "I thought about that night on the ferries wheel: two strangers on a romantic ride. How perfect had that been? Like fate played us into his torment. But I realized something this summer that I had known since that night. I just wanted you to kiss me at the top of that wheel, like some chick flick. Through all the candy drunkenness, I fell in love with you." My last words were breathless and my cheeks burned, lit on fire by my only oral admittance.
Michael's eyes were still fixed on my face, eyes gleaming with some unknown emotion, that I kept guessing at until I felt his hand slide down my arm, his cold fingers laced with mine and I watched as he tightened his grip and I followed by curving my fingers to lay against his knuckles.
"Ollie, it wasn't fate." Michael teased and rested his head on my shoulder. "It was two people, alone, being taunted by a carnie. Remind me to tip him this Corn and Apple."
I smiled lightly, feeling a sense of relief wash over me and soaking in to every part of me and I relaxed. I rested my head against his. "That I can do."