As soon as my eyes fluttered open, I was instantly on guard. Muscled tensed, I sat up and looked around, trying to make sese of where I was. The rough feel of a couch beneath me. The faint smell of cigarettes and maybe something more hanging in the air. An unbearable silence I was longing to break.
I knew the place well enough, but not how I'd wound up passed out on the couch. Pushing my thick black hair away from my face, I managed to get to my feet, but not before the headache got to me. I groaned quietly to myself. What a way to start my summer.
The voice seemed so much louder than it was. I spun around to face the kitchen, or what might have been a kitchen if it had any food in it. I forced a feeble smile, but the man there showed no warmth. "I didnt know this was a slumber party," he scowled.
"Cheer up, Trevor," I retorted, stretching my arms high above my head. "Now someone's here to help clean up."
Trevor's own hair was a goldne blonde, whispy around his slender face. He was gazig at me with his grety, lifeless eyes, a mixture of pity and plain annoyance. "I took care of most of it last night. Couldnt sleep."
I let out a hollow laugh. "Coke will do that to you." Trevor chose to ignore that statement. That was one of the things I didnt get about him. When the violent powder was coursing through his veins, still tingling in his nose, how could he pretend he was so innocent?
I didnt know. What I didnt know was that I needed a shower. And a cigarette. On second thought, I probably just needed to get home. That was something i was ot looking forward to.
"You look like shit," Trevor stated. I shot him a glare. "Hey, dont worry about it, Crimson. You're still a god."
This time it was me who chose to ignore him. Sure, he was right. The kids of te party scene might have looked up to me, their icon, while Trevor sulked in the shadows cast by my radiating glow. But was there any reward in being a god among sinners?
I shook my head to clear it of such thoughts before I slipped into a fit of guilt. That was no way to live, not here in the city of danger and excitement. "I should go," I said instead. "Call me later if you want to chill."
Trevor nodded. "I might go into the park. Make te rounds, y'know? Find some stupid freshmen that wont even see me coming."
My grin was as devilish as his words. "You're a damned bastard, you know that?" Trevor just shrugged, so I didnt press him. He was conflicted enough by the life he led. Then I was out to door. The air met me with a rush of warmth, but I thought the cold might have been a bit more fitting.
The penthouse apartment, sometimes home and others hell, was a sprawling demonstration of grandeur. Since my parents' death three years earlier, I'd lived there with my grandparents. they, predictably, were everything I wasnt, and their goal in life was to make my own life unbearable. Or it had been, until they'd realized how pointless a battle it was.
I entered slowly, trying not to announce my presence until I was sure they were out. I must not have been as quiet as I'd thought, because for the second time since I'd awoken, I heard a voice from behind. This one was all soft and delicate, not quite shatterd, but still tainted with meloncholy.
"They arent here, so you dont need to sneak around."
This time when I whirled around, it was to face my polar opposite, my counterpart. She too was everything I was not.
Yet we were one in the same. She was my twin.
In a vain attempt to brighten the mood, I let out an overdramatic sigh. "Thank God. Bitch fest averted."
Willow scrunched up her nse. Her platinum blonde hair framed her face nicely. With skin so pale she looked to me like a snow angel. Just as cold, too. Maybe more. She seemed so young to me then, but perhaps it was because there was a part of me that still wanted her to be my baby sister. Even if it was only by a few minutes.
"You smell like weed," she muttered, pushing past me into the kitchen. "Sit down and let me get you something to eat." I didnt try to argue. Willow would pretend to be upset with me, like I was a burden or a curse and she had no choice but to help me. I knew that, in truth, she just wanted to fill the gap that out mother had left. And who was I to deny that?
Sometimes I wondered if she expected me to be like Dad. If she did, I was most definitely letting her down.
Willow set a plate in front of me, eggs an toast I hadnt even realized she'd made. Then she crossed her arms and gave me that look, the one Mom used to give me. "You cant expect me to look after you, Michael."
As always, I cringed at my name. The name of the angel of light and protection, of all things good. Everything I was not. The nickname Crimson had come to me my sophomore year, when I had tried to hard to free myself. In the end i'd only left behind a red mess, one that would forever stain my life. A crimson reminder of misery.
"Thanks, Willow." I made my tone sound like I meant it. Or maybe I did. If she thought me sincere, she didnt show it. Instead she turned to leave without so much as a goodbye.