[Petals Fall, Book Three]
Part One: The Spring:
When life hands you something so perfect, so outstandingly amazing, it’s only right to defend it at all cost. After all, there’s only so much magic in the world to go around, and it has to touch billions of lives. So of course when you find that power in your own life, there is nothing you can do but hold onto it as tightly as you possibly can.
I was fifteen when I met him. He was beautiful, dark and stunning, with tangled locks of black hair and the deepest, most breathtaking eyes I’d ever seen. From the moment I’d laid eyes on him, I was more than intrigued; I was infatuated.
Only, nothing ever comes that simply. They told me his name was Loren Hale, and that he was exactly the type of guy I’d been warned about. I couldn’t understand how someone so enchanting could be deemed so dangerous.
I was the sort of girl who always did what she was told, who hid behind books and a steady flow of straight As. I believe that, in life, one must eventually come to realize that a GPA does not determine a person’s worth, and that there is so much more to life than one’s alma mater. However, by this point, I had not yet come to grasp this. My mother was a divorced nail technician who was so beyond the point of happiness it was sickening. Instead she found solace in a self-created cocktail of narcotics and a continuous line of men. Sometimes I wondered if she even knew how far away she was pushing me. Other times, I was certain she just didn’t care.
In the town of Black Hills, I wasted away in the midst of tattered notebooks and a million letters I’d never had it in me to send. The more I thought on it, the more I realized that some things just never needed to be said. Sometimes all you could do was ask for a fleeting second to say something, and if all that it was going to amount to was goodbye, you might as well say it. I’d dragged out my own moment long past an awkward silence, and I knew that it was time for me to find closure.
I’d like to say it was easy to move on, but that would be a lie. Then again, most good stories are based upon lies anyway, so maybe it wouldn’t be suck a bad idea to save myself some dignity. No, getting over it took time, and since time was all I had, I found myself left rather empty. I tried to fill my mind with school, but the pages of text only further reaped me of life.
Black Hills had once seemed so promising. It was an outstanding school filled with all sorts of people, from golden, gossiping girls in polos and heels to the dark children who found solace in little besides cigarettes and razorblades. I myself fell somewhere in between, hugging the line as if it was all there was to keep me grounded.
If nothing else, I had Lexi beside me. She was a senior, two years my elder, so it was only natural I turned to her for guidance on all things social. She seemed innocent enough, at least as far as our friendship went. There was something about her bright eyes that reassured me, however outlined in kohl they were. If only I would have known just what her advice would bring me. Perhaps then I would have turned away. Although I know now that even if I could have I never would.
Lexi and her close group of friends congregated in the main lobby most mornings, where they could feed off of each others’ shadows and scorn. And seeing as how Lexi was really all I had socially, I had no choice but to trail behind her, blind and lost.
And so it began, on a day so unlikely, so parallel to any other in that world we so loved and hated, where magic seemed within our reach, and temptation would be the only thing to save us, or kill us, or both.
“Salem, come here!” My name rang out in Lexi’s shrill voice over the cadence of all that was Black Hills High. Pushing away a strand of dark brown hair- it should have been black, but it was very nearly there as it was- I set off in her direction. Lexi cast me a smile, her own face framed by locks of pink and purple hair. “There you are.”
I returned her smirk, allowing myself to slip into the overall mood of the group; that is, a sort of practiced apathy that somehow let the worst of emotions fall through. Meanwhile Lexi turned back to her true best friend, Melissa Miller. Melissa seemed nice enough to my face, but I could se in her eyes that she had something dark inside of her, and I most certainly did not want to be on the receiving side when she snapped. Mostly I avoided her, making conversation only when necessary. If Lexi was bothered by it, I couldn’t tell. Then again, I wasn’t the most perceptive of people. If I were, perhaps I would have seen from that moment that everything was about to come crashing in.
“Shit,” Melissa said suddenly, cutting off Lexi midsentence. The latter’s only response was the pout that overtook her face and the fires that flashed in her pale blue eyes. But we both followed Melissa’s gaze toward the door, and both our expressions shifted instantly. Only, Lexi’s changed to a mask of hatred that mirrored Melissa’s. And mine turned to a look of pure interest and vague adoration.
It’s safe to say the entire thing could have been avoided if I’d never even asked. Or maybe not. Maybe some things are just meant to be and no matter how hard you try, sooner or later the universe will arrange itself and spin its course. At Black Hills, there was a choice handful of people that one just knew. Lexi and Melissa were the sort of girls who enjoyed drawing as much attention as possible. And as I followed them, I took it all in with wide eyes. Across the way was Lexi’s good friend Dallas, who seemed to get off on being an arrogant prick. Somewhere in the chaos was the breathtaking boy called Xander Ocher. He was said to posses a magic when it came to people, but he’d been torn to shreds over a girl who had killed herself. Reina Pewter’s touch would never truly fade from the halls and hearts of Black Hills. Like Xander, the people she’d known could only find new ways to ward off the demons.
That was just the way it was there in those soulless corridors. Everyone had a secret, everyone had scars. Everyone loved some one way too fucking much.
“Who is that?” I asked quietly, uncertain if they’d even heard me. But they had, and a moment later two pairs of narrowed eyes were trained on me. I thought that maybe there may have been some sort of warning in Lexi’s gaze, but it there was I’d noticed it too late.
“Don’t even think about it,” Melissa scowled. I’d never heard a voice so filled with malice. “That’s Loren Hale. Also known as my ex boyfriend.”
I couldn’t stop my eyes from widening. I’d heard Lexi make mention of Melissa’s ex, the one who had caused more pain and drama than anything in her life. Maybe Loren was one of those people I should have just known. I thought to myself that he was definitely someone I wanted to know, with his shrouded brown eyes and a tangled mess of black hair. I quickly shoved those thoughts away.
“Anyway, he’s not a good person,” Lexi said, trying to deter the overwhelming tension in the air. “Like he used to-”
Melissa cut her off. “He used to beat me. Constantly.”
I bit on the insides of my cheeks to stop myself from saying something I’d only regret. I had a knowing feeling that Loren was a subject best dropped. Melissa had already turned away and was striking up a conversation with someone I didn’t know. Lexi caught my eye and shrugged.
“Just stay away from him,” she said, leaning in closer. “I promise it’ll save you a lot of stress.” I smiled gratefully before grabbing my pile of books off the ground and heading off towards class.
I couldn’t deny that there was still a part of me that was left vacant. They’d all told me that it would take time to forget. But I’d given it time, and I was starting to think that nothing had changed. I was beginning to wonder if it would take a little more than that.
The summoning of my name made me pause in my walking, glancing over my shoulder to see Tyler pushing through the crowds to catch up. Aside from Lexi, he was one of the few I sincerely considered a friend. He also seemed to serve part time as my body guard of sorts, seeing as how he was a six foot Mexican goth who favored Tripps and chains. Underneath it all, I knew he was nothing more than the average emotional stoner.
“Hi,” He said with a small flash of a smile. I didn’t speak as he fell into step beside me and we set off towards the Commons. That room served as the ultimate test of culture at Black Hills. Despite my Converse and mask of painted black, I spent my lunch eating with the jocks on the basis that their clan leader was my cousin. If I was grateful for anything it was his tolerance of me and all of my bullshit. Tyler had been begging me to sit with him for days, but the thought of meeting all new people had kept me away. I just wasn’t up for the change.
Something made that day different. When Tyler ad I began to descend the steps that would bring us into the sunken room of tables and bodies and madness, he asked the usual. “Want to sit with me today? I promise everyone will like you. How could they not?”
I laughed a little at his flattery, my gaze straying to the table where my cousin and his friends sat. Tolerance versus acceptance. I tightened my grip on my books. “Okay,” I said at last. What made me change my mind will forever remain a mystery. Perhaps it was all a part of the universe’s unshakable plan and whatnot.
Either way, I found myself following Tyler to the table where he and his friends sat. I set my books down and slid onto the bench beside him. “Guys, this is Salem,” Tyler said casually, an informal sort of introduction. I vaguely recalled him mentioning the names of the others, assuring them that I was cool. But I didn’t hear a word being said, because the entirety of my attention was focused elsewhere. And that was on the boy sitting directly across from me.
And that boy was Loren Hale.
March 1, 2010 at 9:48 pm:
You stupid bitch. We told you to stay away from him. Don’t you ever fucking talk to us again you fucking whore.
March 1, 2010 at 9:49 pm:
What are you talking about?
March 1, 2010 at 9:51 pm:
You know what you did. Slut.