I can’t remember how I got home, but I made it back in one piece.
No idea how I got dressed and made it out of the art building. Nobody saw me, luckily. Then I apparently drove home, and now I’m sitting in my car, staring into nothingness.
I’m trying to wrap my mind around what just happened, but it’s not working. It’s all such a jumble and flashes of the present keep getting mixed up with the past.
I’m a little glad that Lizzy is staying at Hunter tonight, that means I can sneak into Lizzy’s place and I won’t have to face my parents.
I can’t talk to anyone right now. I feel too raw.
I feel like B just stripped all my skin off me and left me there, bleeding and raw, and everything is too much. I grab my bag from the back. Luckily, I was smart enough to take a change of clothes with me. Then I get out of the car and make my way to Lizzy’s little place, our converted garage. She’s got a shower and I can hide here until I feel I can face the world again.
I open the door with my key and slip inside, quickly going up the stairs and locking the bathroom behind me. I turn the shower on and quickly strip, rolling the dress off me. For once, I’m glad that Lizzy has no mirror in here, at least not one big enough for me to see myself in. I’m not sure if I could have faced myself, seeing that I still look the same while I feel so different on the inside.
I step into the stream, the hot water sliding down my body, sliding down places where B touched me not too long ago. I run my hands over my body, over my arms, over my breasts, touching where he touched me. Then I slide lower, over my hips, down, between my legs. I can still feel the combination of my own wetness and B’s cum there.
A shiver runs through me, jolting me back into actions and grounding me into the present. I grab the shower gel and start rigorously cleaning myself.
This was a bad idea. Why did I even do it? Why didn’t I listen to my more sensible self?
I scrub at every place where B touched me, including brushing my teeth. I need to get rid of him. I need to get rid of his scent, of his taste. I need to get rid of him. I can’t have him close to me. I just can’t. I can’t make this mistake again. I need to stop myself before I really do something I’ll regret, again.
B freaked out. When he realized that we hadn’t used a condom, he freaked out. I saw it in his eyes, in the way he moved, in how he fled.
I was stunned. The whole time that we were fucking, it hadn’t occurred to me for one moment that we needed to use something. Probably partially because I was just so much into the moment, and partially because… well… I haven’t had anyone else since B. I’ve never had to consider the possibility of getting pregnant again, because I haven’t been in that situation since he left.
I stop moving, my body suddenly giving out under me and I slide along the wall to the ground. I haven’t had anyone since B left. Nobody. I tried to date for a while, but it never worked out. They were never good enough. I could never connect with them. And sex, it never even came to that. Sure, I became proficient at pleasuring myself, but nobody else has touched my body like that. Not in years…
I’m on the pill, so the chance of me getting pregnant, again, is nigh on impossible. But he doesn’t know that. He doesn’t know that. And with our history…
I wrap my arms around myself, tears sliding down my cheeks.
B held me. He held me like a man possessed. He held me like this was a dream and I was magic.
Why do I feel so bad? We had sex. We both enjoyed it. But still… everything inside hurts. Not physically, but emotionally…
I don’t want this. I don’t want this pain. I don’t want to go through that again.
I can’t get close to him. I need to stay away. As far away as I can. This cannot happen again.
I have to stay away, for my sanity.
I spend most of Saturday and Sunday in my room. After the shower, I fell asleep on the couch in Lizzy’s living room, but in the morning, before she came back, I went to my own room. I locked my door and put on music, enough noise to drown out the outside, to drown out all my thoughts.
And I dove into my old stories, reading them, getting lost in the girl that I used to be. A writer. Someone who could weave story after story, world after world, create magic with just black scribbles on a white surface.
But instead of letting me escape, it only led to me remembering more and more from back in high school. More and more things that I tried to forget, that I’d gotten so good at forgetting. And then they all resurfaced. They tore me apart, exposing all the sides of me that I’ve tried to forget. All the things I’ve been trying to hide away, not let come close to the surface.
Most of all, the memories of spending time with B. Of sneaking around to get away from teachers. Of sleeping in his strong arms. Of watching him work as I was trying to write. All those precious memories.
And the memories of those last days, that final day and night. That final time I spoke to him…
All the things that I did wrong. All the things that went wrong without either of us even being at fault.
And then him leaving me. B leaving me when I needed him so much. I couldn’t be without him, and he still disappeared, went away. And then forgot all about me.
He was able to move on while I was left behind, broken.
B is already here when I walk into the new room, the same one where the party was held last week. He’s bent over a table, a pen in his hand, as he’s arguing with others from his team. His voice is rough, hard, but it still sends shivers through my body. He’s taken on the role of leader pretty quickly, even though he’s not even from this college. The other guys all dive in and also start drawing things out on the paper, all voicing their own thoughts.
I quickly make my way to my own group, the writing group. I can’t face B right now, not after Friday. It would be better if we never saw each other again.
The others from my group look at me curiously, but I grab my notebook and sit down, ignoring their stares.
“So, how far along are we?” I open the notebook on the page from last week’s meeting. “Charlotte? Madison?” I look at them, and they finally look down, at their own notes.
“Yeah…” Charlotte frowns. “It seems that I may have misplaced my notes.”
Oh, really? “You were supposed to send them to me last night.” Why am I not surprised? Some people really aren’t taking this project seriously. This is our final project for our degree, and this is how she wants to play it?
She looks at the other girls before she looks at me again. “I know, but–”
“But, what?” What ingenious excuse is she going to come up with?
“I thought that you wouldn’t care so much.” She seems almost surprised by my question.
Hm? “And why would that be?”
“Well… At last week’s party… You looked… busy.” Charlotte at least has the decency to blush when she says it.
B! “So, what? How does that correlate with you not doing the work we agreed on?”
“Well… Eh… I don’t know. I thought that you may have taken the weekend off too or something. You know, having fun instead of working.” Her eyes go wide as the end of her sentence trails off and she stares behind me.
Even without looking back, just from the footsteps, I already know who is coming our way.
“Lo.” His voice still jolts me. “We need to talk.” It makes me shiver, makes my body come alive all over again.
“No.” I shake my head. “We don’t.” There is nothing to say, unless he wants to say goodbye, and we can do that right where we are.
“I need to tell you something.” He’s not going anywhere, as usual. B just pisses me off. After thinking about it all over the weekend, I don’t have anything buy anger left for B. Even if my body thinks about it differently. Sex with him, angry, desperate sex, seems like a perfectly viable thing to long for according to the way my body reacts to him.
I turn around, facing him, keeping my face as blank as possible. “Unless it’s to tell me that I need to get myself tested. I don’t care. And don’t worry, I’ve already taken care of that.” The gasps behind me, and the pained look in his eyes are worth the pain that I feel just looking at his handsome face. The manly face of the boy I loved so much.
I sit down again and look at Charlotte. “I’ll need those pages tonight, six tomorrow morning the latest.” I put all my focus back to the group, pushing B from my mind.
His heavy footsteps retreat, taking all my satisfaction and energy with them. Leaving behind only the pain. I try to keep my mind on the group, on what we’re doing. But my eyes start to burn. No. Not now. I can’t cry right now. I just can’t…
“I’m sorry, I’ll be right back.” I grab my bag and flee to the bathrooms. So much pain inside, I thought I was done with this. I’m sick from the turmoil in my stomach, from the way my body hurts, my head hurts. I thought I’d left all that behind this weekend. Why are all these feelings returning? All those memories and feelings from high school?
I close the door to the girls’ restroom behind me as silent sobs wreck my body. I’ve only cried silently, hiding my tears, since the hospital, all those years ago. I hide in one of the stalls, not wanting anyone to see me like this. I can’t face anyone right now. I really can’t.
The door opens, and familiar heavy footsteps come in. “Lo?”
I don’t answer, even when I can hear the pain in his voice, his worry. Even after all this time, he checks if I’m okay. But it’s too late now, too little, too late.
“Lo, please. I just want to make sure you’re okay.”
Like he ever cared about how I felt. Like I can be okay right now. No. The pain is just too much.
“Nobody knows what really happened that night, right?” His voice is low, quiet, careful.
That night, the night my whole life fell apart. “You left. That’s what happened. That’s the important part.” His betrayal as he walked out of that hospital room, when he left me. That broke me more than anything else…
He’s silent for a moment, then his footsteps are right in front of my stall. “Yes. I did. And you’re right to hate me for that.” His voice is… dejected, and that takes me by surprise.
I nearly let out another sound, almost let out a cry. I never expected him to actually admit it. To agree with me.
Then his footsteps retreat, and the door to the toilets opens and closes, leaving me alone.
I put my hand over my mouth, stifling any sounds that may accidentally escape, even though I know that none will. My heart breaks all over again. It takes me a while before I can even think to try to get my breath under control again, back to normal.
I grab my phone, I can’t be here. I need to leave, right now. I message Lizzy. She’s supposed to be in the workshop right now, as she is every Monday morning. Her reply is fast, promising to come right over. I put my phone away and hold myself, wrapping my arms around myself tightly as I wait for my sister to come and save me.
It doesn’t take long before the door opens again. “Lola?” Lizzy’s voice is careful, and I open the door a little. She immediately comes in and wraps her arms around me, the strength in them surprising me. “Shh. We’ll get you out of here.” She keeps me close, pulling me against her. Then she starts making her way out of the stalls, into the hallway of the building.
From the corner of my eyes I still see him, standing in the door to the classroom, looking at me, his eyes dark, his shoulders slumped low. He looks lost, hurt. And I stumble, hit by the need to hold him, by the need to keep him close and have everything be right again.
Then H steps between us, hiding B from my sight. H reaches out, putting his hand on my back. “Let’s get you somewhere safe.”
The idea seems ridiculous, safe. Will I ever be safe again? Will I ever feel safe again? Probably not. Not now my heart is slowly breaking into even more pieces. I doubt that I’ll ever be able to heal again. I doubt that I’ll ever feel safe or even loved again.
Lizzy and Hunter bring me to the workshop first, guiding me to one of the private workrooms. My tears haven’t stopped yet, and my body feels just so exhausted.
I thought I had a grip on this. I thought I’d be fine. I thought I could handle facing B again.
“Lo?” Lizzy rubs her hand over my back.
I shake my head. I have no voice, I can’t talk.
“Let’s get you home.” Hunter is right next to me, and when I look up, I see that he’s hurting too, he’s worried.
“My bag.” I can’t leave without my bag.
“Is it still in the classroom?”
I nod. In the classroom, with everyone who just saw what went down, and with B…
“I’ll get it. I’ll be right back.” He puts his hand on my shoulder, squeezing a little, and then he leaves.
I look after him, then my eyes fall on Lizzy, on the way she’s looking at me.
“He really hurt you, didn’t he?” She’s being careful, but I feel bad when I nod.
It wasn’t just him hurting me… I hurt him too… And now we’re starting the pain all over again…
Next chapter is next week! <3
Please, remember, this is just cleaned up, not fully edited, so some errors may be still in here. They will be fixed before publication!