Chapter 12 believe
Heat blazed down one side of my face and then my eyes opened to his face. He looked very mad, and I recoiled a little, tucking my knees into my chest and waiting for him to say something. I watched both of his eyes as they melted. I felt my skin beginning to unravel itself beneath his touch. His perfectly carved lips were in a firm line as we watched each other and then he whispered.
“Emily was very wrong in all that she said. I never expected it of her. I'm sure she was just having a bad day.”
I realized for the first time that we were back in my bedroom. My bedside lamp was on, and I'm guessing Nanny was asleep. My ears then processed what Ryan had said, and I felt like that wasn’t at all what he was meaning to say.
“But?” for some reason, the way he forced the words out made it seem as though he were either lying, or he wanted to add some more to it.
“There’s no but” he said, moving his hand away from me as I sat up.
“But?” I said again, looking into his brown eyes. Despite my memory loss, I could tell when I was missing something.
“I’ve never seen you act like that before...You were so fast, so strong...Emily’s face was a mess when we left.” Ryan looked really worried, I wanted to explain how worried I also felt, but it was just too difficult to force the words out. I changed the subject.
“She did it, Ryan. She attacked me I know it.” I looked down at my hands, seeing dried crusty blood beneath my nails.
“That is a big accusation Liv...” I glared at him “...I’m not saying you’re lying, but you need more evidence if you’re really going to blame her.” Ryan explained as I stood up and walked to the bathroom. I scrubbed my fingers with soap until they stung and then came back out. The light went off with a click.
“Who is she? I mean, what is she like?” She didn’t seem that nice to me.
“Oh I don’t know...she just doesn’t have many friends.” Ryan actually sounded sympathetic.
“She had something to do with my attack Ryan, I'm sure of it.” I watched his face as it contorted with confusion.
“Emily would never do anything like that!” He looked amused now, “Yeah, she’s a little scary but she’s never done anything like that before.”
“What about what she said to us tonight?” I demanded, to me that was threatening.
“She’s all talk.”
“Only because you have no evidence to prove she acts on her words.” I started walking forwards, towards Ryan; I was feeling angry and panicked, thinking of ways to make him believe me.
“Well...Livvy...” Ryan looked worried about what he might say, “You don’t really have any evidence either.”
Ryan sat up on my bed; he looked expectant as if awaiting some explanation. I knew it was time to tell him about my mother and the symbol on Emily’s neck. I hoped that he would believe me.
“Ryan I’ve got something to tell you, you may not believe me...but it’s the explanation you’re waiting to hear.”
He nodded and curled his fingers, urging me towards him. “Well, come here then and talk to me”
“...well I think I can hear her. I hear her voice in my head and she warned me about that symbol, look, can you see it? Right there?” I had my sketchbook laid out on the bed and was pointing at the symbol hidden in between two roses. Ryan’s face had remained pretty composed up until this point.
“And you’re saying you drew this, this morning? Before you even saw Emily? How can that be?” his voice was slightly panicked. He looked at the symbol again. “y’know, Emily has had that tattoo since I can remember. She’s had it a long time...I’m sure it’s a coincidence though, Emily wouldn’t usually hurt a fly”
“Are you kidding? From the moment I walked in the party I knew she had it in for me. I don’t remember drawing it. Nanny noticed it after I’d finished. I think my mother was warning me about it. All she said afterwards was “Be warned of this symbol””
“Like I said, Emily’s doesn’t have many friends around here. Your mom obviously meant well to warn you.” I was glad Ryan was referring to my mother as if he believed me. His expression remained serious, his eyes squinted in concentration.
“I know it all sounds so odd Ryan...but that’s what’s going on.” I said, closing the sketchbook and sitting next to him on the bed.
“Hey, it is crazy but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe you. I’ll believe anything you believe.” Ryan’s arm scooped me onto his lap. He looked down at my troubled face. “What’s wrong?”
“When I saw Emily...my mother told me to kill her” I whispered. I hoped that he didn’t hear me but he did. His brown eyes widened and his mouth fell open a fraction. I was thankful his arms didn’t loosen their hold on me.
“To kill her? Why?”
“She didn’t say...she only says infrequent words” I shrugged “but the scariest part was when I attacked her. I didn’t mean to do it, I reacted before my mind even realised what was going on”
Ryan looked determined when he spoke next “I think your mom is there because she’s helping you find out who did this to you...”
And the shock of his words brought it back to me. The memory of her dark eyes blazing into mine, her cruel voice saying “I’ll get you again” I gasped and stood up, replaying it over and over in my head.
“What?” Ryan asked, watching me.
“She said tonight, when we were fighting, she said ‘I’ll get you again’” I was sure of it.
“It’s a strong accusation Liv...”
“But she said it to me tonight Ryan!”
“Are you sure?”
I sat back on the bed next to him, my thoughts still replaying that moment in my head. “I can’t remember enough for it to be proven” I bit my lip and thought about it more, fighting with my dark thoughts. Ryan took my chin in his hand and pulled it to his.
“Don’t exhaust yourself thinking about it right this minute. It’s really late we should get some sleep. All these unanswered questions will be answered when they’re supposed to be” he raised his eyebrows in his seriousness. I listened and conceded that he was right again.
“Where did I get such a wise boyfriend from?” I joked, getting off the bed and heading for my dresser. His mention of sleep brought on my exhaustion. Ryan chuckled and I heard him unzip his bag. I was very conscious of Ryan in the room as I pulled my pyjama shorts on. Did we always undress in front of each other? This did not feel familiar.
I focused on my pyjamas instead of what confused me. I decided to go with a dark blue set; the floral pattern of white flowers looked pretty in the dim light of the bedroom.
Very slowly, convincing myself that Ryan had his back to me and I to him, I pulled the white linen dress over my head. I heard Ryan gasp as my hair tickled the skin on my exposed, naked back and then there was heat, burning my skin. I knew he was behind me, and although I was trembling with excitement and fear I couldn’t force myself to turn around. I stood and waited, until I heard his soft breath and felt his warm hand envelope mine. I turned but covered my chest with my vest top that was clutched in my hands. I knew that nothing had changed from when Ryan had said he wasn’t ready...or more that my memory wasn’t. His eyes were sleepy and his lips drawn in that little smile.
“Get into bed, I n-need to brush my teeth” I was so nervous that my voice shook. Although nothing had happened I felt indecent and my skin felt like it was on fire. I pulled my vest top over my head as I ran into my bathroom.
I closed the door behind me and practiced deep breathing as I brushed my teeth. I felt like all the hormones of my entire life were only now just beginning to exert themselves. I was glad in some ways that I had a decent boyfriend, one who didn’t want to rush things, who was caring and wanted to make sure I was alright before we took our relationship to the next step but then the other part of me just wanted him to stop being a pansy and do it.
I brushed my teeth as if it were their fault I felt so confused and then brushed my hair with similar ferociousness. When I finally came out I felt a lot better and I was surprised to see Ryan still awake. He was looking at something that illuminated his face in a bright blue light. It was only when I got closer that I recognized it as a phone, he was reading a text. I crawled into bed, feeling the heat of his skin on mine. It was amazing how we both fit on my single bed; I watched my fingers trace shapes on Ryan’s chest before looking up at his face. He looked a little too serious all of a sudden.
“What’s up?” I asked, sitting up. His thumbs were tapping his phone as he replied to the text message.
“That was Bear; he said that Emily’s was really hurt tonight.” Ryan dropped the phone onto the dresser with a clatter and turned the light off. The moon instantly replaced it.
I remembered that Sophie had been with Bear when we left. “Oh.”
Ryan readjusted himself on the bed so he could look at me properly “No-one got hurt, but the one person I promised myself I wouldn’t let get hurt” he looked over my face, and his fingers seared my cheek as he tucked a lock of hair behind my ear.
“I hit her first” I shook my head at myself, or rather my slap happy mother.
“Mmm...Maybe you could refrain from getting yourself hurt? Make my job easier” he joked, his lips pulled into a little smile, but I wished I could say “yes of course” but I had had no control over myself when I lunged at Emily. The hatred I felt, didn’t feel like it was mine at all. This was another dilemma I would have to sort out, but later my mind told me, replaying what Ryan had said about sleep and unanswered questions becoming answered. I nodded and laid my head against my soft pillows. Ryan watched me for a moment, and then tucked his arms around me and laid his head just below mine, so that the familiar feeling of his breath on my neck sent the same tremors of excitement through me.
His fingers snuck through mine beneath the quilt and ran up my wrist and then all the way up my arm, then my shoulder, up my neck to my face. Leaving a line of fire there, I turned to look at him. His eyes were open and he looked mischievous.
“Yes?” I asked, suppressing a smile. His eyes looked almost black in the dim lighting, they sparkled.
“Y’know?” he propped his head up onto his hand, relieving my cheek of his hot hand, he frowned but the cheeky smile remained. “You haven’t kissed me today”
“You’re right” I said, also propping my head up and mimicking his shock in this fact. “So what are you going to do about that then?”
Ryan laughed and took my hand in his. I was reminded of the memory I uncovered by the sweet look Ryan gave me and I said “I remembered our first kiss today...the song that came on when we were dancing.”
Ryan smiled wider “I wondered whether it would bring it back...so, your mom, she can’t always see what you see right? Or hear what you hear?”
“No” I replied, a bit confused “I can feel her when she’s there.”
“And she’s not there?”
I shook my head.
“Oh well, I'm going to kiss you now and I don’t want her to punch me through you for it” He laughed and then took my face in his hands when I didn’t reply. Once again, as soon as his lips touched mine, the fire in my chest blossomed through my blood, sizzling through my veins. He lent forward, smothering my body with his, there was heat everywhere and when I couldn’t breathe, he released my lips, kissing my jaw, my neck and then just below my ear. My breathing was coming out distorted and horrifically loud, but I was almost too preoccupied to care.
My whole body tingled when he pulled away, just to check the time on his watch.
“Damn it, I'm going to be shattered tomorrow morning...oh well, this is worth it” he kissed my lips again, but he wasn’t as into it as before. I knew he was thinking about work.
“No, no.” I said my voice unbelievable to my own ears. Why am I denying him this now? “You’ve got work. Come on, get some sleep” I said, kissing him once more, a long drawn out kiss then pulling away I said, “Good night”
Ryan didn’t leave a note this time I woke up, but instead scattered around my head and duvet were daisies picked from the garden outside. I had not slept well and I felt groggy and irritable as I tossed and turned in bed, leaving the daisies and willing the sun to go back down and for sleep to take over me. Sabre stared to grunt and bark softly, I ignored him until he jumped onto the bed. My face tickled with his whiskers and his wet nose pressed my cheek. It seemed as though nothing was going to allow me to sleep anymore, the sun was blinding, the birds were chirping and somewhere inside my bedroom there was a repetitive buzzing sound. It came and then it went, then it came and then it went.
“What is that Sabre?” I groaned, looking at the dog’s vacant expression. His tongue fell out of his mouth as he yawned and jumped from my bed.
The buzzing continued.
It annoyed me so much I was muttering to myself angrily as I searched my bedroom for it. It was coming from my dresser, I discovered this just as I pulled a draw out from my cupboard too far from its socket, and it fell on my foot with an extra crash as the contents fell out around it. It took a moment for the nerves in my foot to reach my brain and even though I braced myself for the shooting pain, I cried out in pain, more annoyed at myself and limping over to the dresser. The noise continued as I opened the draw, to reveal my phone.
Or so I guessed it was my phone. It was white and pink, with floral patterning embossed on the back and front. The little screen on the front was illuminated and it said:
1 message received
I sighed at my own anger, and took the phone out of the draw. Who would text me? I thought opening the phone. When I clicked open the text read:
Hey Sugar! Do u wanna come shopping with me today? I got a date with George and I need something new to wear! I'm so excited I’ll tell u all about it later. I’ll pick u up at noon Sophie xx
I sighed into the phone. At least I had a friend. It was nice of her to almost forget that I couldn’t really remember her, and treat our shopping trip as if it were any other girly day together. I stroked Sabre and kissed his head before I showered, and thought about whether I’d have any money for shopping. Not that I needed to buy anything, I thought about my boring wardrobe and thought about getting some prettier tops but then it just seemed unnecessary and Sophie had already made her plans for today clear. Maybe I’d get something nice for Nanny. When I got out of the shower I could hear her downstairs and was glad to have someone else to talk to about Emily.
Although she scared me, she also intrigued me. Why didn’t she like anyone? As Ryan said. What did the tattoo mean on her neck? I dressed in my usual shorts and t-shirt, combed my hair and sailed down the stairs to Nanny.
“Morning Honey” Nanny smiled, she was busying herself in the kitchen. I sat in front of jam on toast and the dreaded cup of tea. “You’re up early” Nanny said but I took a backseat in my thoughts as my mother spoke I never liked tea. I think she pushed it onto when you were little.
I coughed throwing her out of my head as best I could. “Um...yeah I-I couldn’t sleep...and then my phone started to vibrate in my draws so...I had to get it.” I pressed my lips together wishing I hadn’t said anything. Good cover my mother said sarcastically, her voice ricocheted around my skull, I felt dizzy with the noise.
Shhh I thought and all was quiet in my head. I took a deep breath and bit into my toast.
“So, did you two have fun last night?” Nanny asked, sitting herself down opposite me.
“The beginning of the night was great” I smiled “I kind of re-met the friends I had...the ones I couldn’t remember well, like Bear? And Sophie...who wants me to go shopping with her today, is that ok?”
“Of course” Nanny shrugged and smiled. I could see that she was happy I had reconnected with my friends. “What about the rest of the night? What was wrong with that?” she tore off the crust of her toast and popped it in her mouth.
“Well there was this girl...her name was Emily” I waited and got the response I was looking for. Nanny leaned back in her chair, her eyes wide. “I think she had something to do with my attack.”
“That can’t be true! Emily Newton? She would never do a thing like that!” Nanny looked horrified.
I rolled my eyes, why was everyone saying that? “I ended up hitting her.”
I heard my mother whisper you could have done worse and then she was silent again. I expected Nanny to be mad or disappointed but she laughed, bouncing up and down in her chair. “Who is Emily? Why do people not like her?” Nanny could tell she was hoping I wouldn’t ask this, she pursed her lips and the wrinkles around them deepened.
“Emily was always a sweet girl, I'm sure you were mistaken” Nanny began she looked at her toast instead of me. “I'm sure you’re just confused.”
Despite my calm composure, I was fuming. I could feel my heart racing and that white hot fire was suddenly blazing a different type of passion. How could Nanny say this to me? Yes, I have memory loss, but weren’t her motives in me going to the party part of a plan to help me recover my memory? And now, she doesn’t believe me? I am convinced Emily attacked me. I took a deep breath through my nose.
“Did I ever talk about Emily before?”
Nanny looked up at me, her blue eyes confused. “You never told me so, if you did. The only time you mentioned her was when you saw her in Silvanus wood...you used to say that she watched you and Ryan playing.”