Passive

I wanted to call it a thriller/horror but also with some romance. Couldn't find that category so other will have to do. I have high hopes for this story but please read and include as much critism as your heart desires. I promise not to be upset by it as long as you promise to be fair. I do not want any homophobic comments, if you don't like the subjects mentioned here, then don't read.

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21. Freefall

“Wednesday wanted to be here.” Rebecca’s tone told me that there was still some uneasiness about the girl but her eyes met mine for the first time that visit. It mightn’t have meant anything, just something to fill the silence which had crept over us, after Rebecca had seen my transparent disappointment. I wanted to be happy to see my friend but couldn’t quite mask my true feelings. My eyes must have lit up at the mention of Wednesday’s name because this gained me a disapproving frown. “Oh, erm…Ok,” I muttered, smoothing the bed cover and attempting to be casual though it was probably obvious that I wanted to hear more. “If you must know, she’s not great recently,” Rebecca spoke slowly, her eyes focusing on my reaction carefully. Despite how my heart rate increased dramatically and I could feel my hands gripping the sheets more tightly, I deliberately kept my face neutral; knowing that to panic would mean startling Rebecca into telling me no more. “Really, how come?” She cleared her throat and took some time to look around my sparsely decorated prison, her eyes lingering a moment too long on the window bars. I waited impatiently, thinking Rebecca was taking her time deliberately. Maybe to punish me for only caring about Wednesday. Rebecca had made the effort to come today, after all. “How are you?” I reached for her still hand, which out of instinct pulled away, but after sensing I meant nothing sinister, Rebecca rearranged our fingers so they were entwined on the bed. It was the first time I’d taken her in properly and I felt selfish not to notice her appearance before. Her hair was tied back messily so that black tufts stuck out randomly, possibly from raking her fingers through. Dark shadows under her eyes revealed sleepless nights and her usually rosy cheeks were now unsettlingly pale. Her school blouse looked unironed and her long skirt was crumpled; her current restlessness suggesting that as of late, Rebecca was finding it hard to relax. I could even feel a difference in her hand, remembering clutching her uncomfortably warm palm in the past, when compared to the cold and bony fingers which clung to mine at present. “I’m fine.” Rebecca spoke unconvincingly, giving me a partially empty smile. “Just been worried about you, of course,” she murmured, bringing fresh feelings of unneeded guilt. “And your Mother?” This caused the usual expected twitch but still, it felt like the right thing to ask. Rebecca squeezed my hand delicately, having seen the tube in my arm but my medication was now successfully pumping my body full of drugs. I gave her a tight grasp back to show that she couldn’t hurt me. As I looked up at her shrinking form, Rebecca’s eyes were glistening with tears. My arms reached out on their own accord before I could think and Rebecca moaned loudly in pain as my fingertips brushed her ribs. I quickly pulled away, aware of how the sound had echoed painfully around the tiny room. “I’m so sorry. I-” Struggling for words, I asked myself if it had really taken such a short time to forget about the emotional and physical pain my friend lived through daily. Hissing through her teeth as Rebecca rearranged herself in the plastic chair, noticeably though not deliberately inching away from me; she began to compose herself. Once again I couldn’t believe I’d been so selfish as to overlook her agony whilst obsessing over Wednesday; who granted was the love of my life but who I’d known for a grand total of a week. “I’m f-fine.” Rebecca repeated less confidently than before. “What did she do?” I whispered the words, not wanting to know the answer but she had no one else to turn to. “The usual.” The casual tone didn’t match her inability to move and I remembered her unconsciously slumped position when she’d first revealed herself at the door. Usually, Rebecca could make it through the school day though how she’d survived today, I daren’t ask. She caught my unbelieving stare and sighed exasperatedly; despite our differences, she couldn’t lie to me. “A gentle reminder of what would happen if I told anyone.” “Because of me.” A solitary tear rolled down my cheek. “Isabella, don’t!” Rebecca’s wince, as she moved to wipe my eyes, made me hold myself together. “It’s true though, isn’t it? That’s what they’re all so scared of. That I’ll tell someone what they do to us!” My voice broke and I closed my eyes to shut out the broken, tearful image of Rebecca in front of me. “Hush, sweetie. Everything will be fine. I know you’d never. Not while she’s got Bobby.” Rebecca was right and I was glad she’d spoken my thoughts aloud; it made them feel more certain. “Have you seen him? Bobby, I mean?” Her smile and happily nodding head fazed me as I remembered Sally’s comment about his bruised eye. “Yes, I’ve seen him. Why? Haven’t you?” “No. I’ve been avoiding Mother.” I bit my lip, scared she’d think me wicked, knowing how self-centred it was to leave him alone in Mother’s company for so long; especially because of his bruise. “His-his eye? One of the nurses told me that-” Rebecca cut me off, rubbing my hand comfortingly. “Oh, he’s ok now. You didn’t think it was- He got hit by a cricket ball or something at school.” “You’re sure?” I scanned her face for signs of lying; desperately hoping she was telling the truth. “Of course! I’ve been meeting him after school. Don’t worry, I quizzed him about it. But he thinks it’s cool. Some of his friends-” “Friends?” Now, I was sure she was just trying to keep me calm, following a set of instructions that Sally had previously laid out for her. “Yeah, that surprised me too. Some of the others think he beat an older boy in a fight?” I couldn’t help but laugh at the idea of Bobby in any kind of confrontation at school. Then I thought of the real threat which he faced every day at home and quickly stopped. Rebecca’s darkened face showed she’d reached the same thought. At least now, as far as I knew anyway, Mother hadn’t touched Bobby. “So, about Wednesday…” “That doesn’t matter.” I spoke confidently, surprising myself at the outburst. After all, I was dying to hear literally anything about her. “How’s homework at the minute?” But instead of returning into comfortable speaking territory, Rebecca simply raised a single eyebrow at me and shook her head playfully. “No. We’re talking about her. Because she’s important to you, okay?” I gave her an uneasy smile back and could feel my cheeks blushing with embarrassment. “I told her not to come today because- Shh, now listen!” She raised her hand, reading my hurt face before I could interrupt her. “She’s been here every day, before and after school. She’s not working in classes and she’s clearly not been sleeping. She’s slipping. Mr Harrison even had a word!” I stopped worrying for a moment, just thinking about my conversation with Mr Harrison and whether he’d say something about me; though I knew he was more trustworthy than that. Poor Wednesday. I’d feel the same if it was the other way round, I’m certain but she didn’t deserve to be put through this. Rebecca understood, the doctor understood but Wednesday? I couldn’t imagine how she was feeling, especially after what had happened. I’d attacked my best friend. I’d upset Wednesday, all because I couldn’t accept a compliment (false though it may be) from a beautiful girl. How messed up am I? There I go again, feeling sorry for myself while the people around me are left to deal with the destruction I leave in my wake. I looked up at Rebecca, whose eyes looked out at me, too old and world-weary for her young and delicate face, studying me so as to know how to help. Only she couldn’t help the person who needed it. I had to talk to Wednesday myself.

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