The moment we set foot into our hotel suite, I made a beeline for my room. The girls knew I needed some time alone to just sift through my emotions and think everything thing through, so they didn’t bother me. I would come to them when I was ready and for the time being, Luce would fill them in on what was necessary to know, like who Louis really was and why I didn’t like One Direction as much as they did and would leave whenever they were bought up… if they hadn’t figured it all out already that is.
I quickly pulled out some shorts and a singlet that I would sleep in, along with my toiletries and headed for the bathroom. I needed to have a nice hot shower as I thought about my next move. About what I would be doing. We couldn’t just up and leave the hotel. We had already paid for everything upfront and it wasn’t cheap let me tell you.
It seemed I had no choice but to stay in the same hotel as the boy who haunted my dreams every night no matter how much I tried to evade them… no, not dreams, nightmares. Dreams were good, they didn’t leave you gasping for air after waking up, screaming for help from a person who would never show…. Not when they had lead you into the nightmare themselves.
I sighed to myself. My life had never been simple I knew that, but sometimes, I couldn’t help but wish that for once in my life, things went my way.
As I got into the shower, I turned the water on, not even waiting for it to heat up before I got in. the cold splash of the water came and even though I was expecting it, it still sent a shock through my body. A shock which bought me to my senses. It was time I sorted my life up. And where better to begin than with the very reason my life fell apart?
It was time for me to face Louis Tomlinson once and for all. It was time he saw what he had done, the damage he had created and the person whom he had broken all those years ago….
It was time for Louis Tomlinson to meet the new and not so improved Scarlet Archer.
I couldn’t believe it.
It was her.
Red was in London… or Scar as she was called now. She looked so different. So beautiful…
Those blue eyes were exactly as I had remembered them, yet different. I remember when we were younger; they held so much hope, so much warmth… yet sadness and pain as well. They held so much emotion when we kids. Now all they were, were shards of glass. They were still the same beautiful blue eyes I remembered, yet they were cold and calculated… untrusting. And it was my fault.
As soon as I had set foot into the cabin, I felt her presence. I didn’t know it was her of course, but I felt something drawing me towards the girl in the corner. Like some sort of magnetic force drawing me to the girl of my dreams… literally. There wasn’t a night that went by where I didn’t dream about her.
I knew people thought that I would crawl into bed with Harry because I would get scared at night, and that was true to an extent. I would get scared. But not because of all the regular things you’d expect. Because of the fact that I feared, I had lost my best friend in the entire world and there was no way for me to get her back.
I still remembered the night that had catapulted me form being her best friend to the cruel monster I was now seen as in her eyes. The night that had bought my life crashing down to my feet.
When I walked into the cabin, I saw her freeze up the moment I began to talk. The boys explained how they had all met the girls outside and asked to share the cabin and they had quite generously agreed.
The girls were all asked introduce themselves, however her back had stayed turned until her friend…Luce, I think it was, spun her around to introduce herself, forcing the hood she had on to fall off. Before we had gotten a look at her face though, she had immediately looked down and avoided any contact, until Lucy again, elbowed her. She looked caught off guard and ended up looking me right in the eyes.
I saw as she understood that had recognised her and she looked away. Harry, I knew, was slowly catching on and as soon as I whispered the old nickname I had for her, he understood, and so did Lucy. Scarlet flinched the moment I called her Red. She flinched and looked up at me with absolutely on emotion, speaking to the room at large. Introducing herself.
He friends were looking at her like she had lost her mind. It was clear that this was unusual behaviour for their friend… their friend… not mine… that thought alone made me sick. I had lost the one person whom I swore to myself I would never lose. And not only to myself. I had promised her. Over and over I had promised her that I would never hurt her like everyone else. Over and over I had told her that no matter what happened she would have me and that we would be friends forever and always.
Forever and always.
I had that inscribed on a shell necklace and had given it to her as a gift. She wasn’t wearing it and I wouldn’t be surprised if she had thrown it out.
While my friends all ate dinner I just pushed my food around on my plate too sick to touch anything.
“You gonna eat that Lou?” asked Niall's voice, penetrating my personal thoughts. I just shook my head and passed my plate over to him without a word. I was still thinking about her reaction in the cabin. How her eyes looked. That look will forever haunt my dreams… I sighed to myself. I wasn’t going to sleep tonight. Not that it was different to any other night. I never slept these days.
I couldn’t help but have my mind linger on what happened up in the eye. It had seemed like we could never get anything out of her. Like she would never respond to us. She would just stare at everyone with a detached look on her face and eyes void of any emotion. That was until she looked at Harry and turned back to look out at the sunset.
She had commented that Harry stop looking at her like that, and when I looked over at Harry, his look was that of so much hatred I wanted to stand in front of her and protect her from that look.
She didn’t deserve that, yet I knew it was aimed at her because of me. Because I hadn’t told them the full story. Only a very minor recount.
When Harry blamed her for what had happened, she turned and that was when she finally reacted. When she finally looked at us with something in her eyes, something I wished I could have never seen. She looked at everyone with so much fury and basically spat out my name with such disgust it was like someone had put their hand in my chest and twisted my heart around.
As soon as we were on the ground the girls were out of the cabin and didn’t even spare us a glance as they left. I could tell Liam and Niall had grown fond of her friends within the short time they had known each other and were sad to see them leave. If things had been different, I knew they would have asked them to join us for dinner. It wasn’t every day you ran into fans who treated you like normal people…
But she hated me. I hated me too.
Harry had chased after them trying to fix things. There was a reason he was my bromance. He knew what I needed even if I didn’t. Liam may have been daddy direction, but Harry definitely took care of us as well. He came back looking quite pleased with himself, although he gave me a sad look when he saw the hope in my eyes. It seemed she still wanted nothing to do with me but she wasn’t going to begrudge her friends the chance to hang out with us. There was something he wasn’t telling us though. And I just didn’t have it in me to ask him what it was.
I guessed that…Scar would come with her friends as well if they met up with the boys. I figured Harry had told them where we were staying, and although the thought of seeing her again bought a warmth through my spine, the fact that she wouldn’t be there for me tore me apart.
Even though she probably thought no one else noticed, I had. I had seen the silent conversation Zayn and she had shared and the smile she had given him. It was the most beautiful smile and it was real. It wasn’t plastered on her face like a fake smile would have been; it was gut wrenching to see her smile like that at someone who wasn’t me.
We were all walking home to the hotel we would be staying at for a couple of weeks as by now we had all finished dinner, when Harry cleared his throat.
“Uh guys, about the hotel…” he began shifting on his feet.
“Just spit it out would you Hazza?” Asked Liam, still kind of upset that he may never see Sophie again.
“Well, the girls are staying in the suite above us…” He trailed off grinning at the others yet shooting an apologetic look in my direction.
No. It couldn’t be. How was I supposed to stay in a hotel, when right above me was the girl I had fallen hopelessly in love with all those years ago?
“I-I can’t go back there guys…” I said freezing. They all just glared at me. Especially Zayn. I knew he felt protective of her. Even though he doesn’t know her, Zayn could make an emotional connection with someone with just a look from across a room. It was why when he fell for someone, he fell hard.
“You’re going to fix this mess Louis Tomlinson, whether you like it or not. It’s hell living with you and looking at Scarlet on The Eye…” He trailed off shaking his head, “What exactly did you do to her that made her look at everyone the way she did?” He asked.
“I only know the bits I was a part of… there’s so much to the story I don’t know like she said on The Eye, what I did was just the catalyst for her leaving I guess.” I admitted. They still wanted to know though, so I agreed to tell them the whole story from start to end when we got to the hotel.
Now was not the place or time to inform them of the type of person I was to hurt such a pure soul like Scar’s.
As soon as I walked out of the shower, I had walked into my room to find my friends all sprawled on my bed. I should have known, there was only so long Ells could wait without demanding answers.
I just rolled my eyes while looking at them, and joined them on the bed. I looked at them and asked with a sigh, “What is it you all want to know?”
“Well how about you start from the proper beginning Scar? Like how it all began from the start.” Said Luce kindly like I could break at any moment. To be honest I felt I probably would, but I told my story anyway.
“It all started from before I could even remember. My first ever proper memory is of being pushed into a pool when I was five, by a girl named Rebecca. I don’t know why, but she never liked me and she made a point of embarrassing me whenever she could. That was when I met Lou—him.” I settled on, “He pulled me out of the pool and asked if I was alright, handing me a towel. We were learning to swim and I wasn’t very good, so I kept to the shallow end. But Rebecca had pushed me into the deep end and I was panicking until he pulled me out. He offered me his jacket as I was wearing my spare set of clothes already and I was shivering. He also walked me home because it turned out we lived on the same street, across from each other. From then on, we were the best of best friends. I was even closer to him than I am to you girls now,” I admitted looking down; my friends didn’t say anything though. They knew I was a closed of person, and slowly they were beginning to understand why.
“Over the years,” I continued, “Things escaladed. Louis began to make more friends but me, I stayed closed off. No one liked me and they didn’t understand why he associated with me. Everyone liked him. Even back when we were kids, he has this aura about him, much like you Soph,” I said smiling at her, “anyway, the bullying just got worse and worse as the years wore on. Slowly rumours spread about me. Some said I was sick and contagious, some were about how the only reason Louis was friends with me was because he felt sorry for me, or because my parents paid him to be. Some of the rumours spread were about my parents. How they were so ashamed to have me as a daughter that they’d never take me with them anywhere. Which was true, they never did, but only because I refused to leave the house unless to was absolutely necessary. Needless to say, I was a loner. One day though, the bullying was taken up a notch. When I was nine, I had gotten braces that came with headgear and this caught me a lot of flak.” I said all this I began to play with a loose thread on my shirt.
“Rebecca decided that it was up to her to make my life an even bigger hell than it already was and as soon as I walked through the gates of school, Rebecca had my headgear in her hands and was banging my head against a pole while the rest of the school watched on and laughed. The teacher came out and gave her detention promising to speak to her parents about suspension. Not that it did me any good. She had her minions and as soon as she was back, she would continue to bully me worse than before. But then one Friday when we were both 11, she came to me, and was unusually nice. I didn’t know what was up, but she was being nice to me and that was all I had wanted for so long that I let my guard down. She invited me to her house for a sleepover and I accepted without a second thought. That night I had gone into the bathroom to change into my pyjamas when she took them. I was butt naked and all I had was a towel. When I walked out, wrapped in the towel, I saw arrows leading me downstairs and outside. I walked out calling for Rebecca when she called out from the dark that I come get my clothes. I walked out only to be by chased by her huge sharp toothed dog. I was running when she yelled that he just wanted the towel and that I should give it to the dog. I dropped my towel and at that moment, lights popped on to reveal almost our entire grade taking pictures. Rebecca had been filming it, her parents were rich and she was one of the few people in our form to have a phone. They were all laughing at me and I was horrified. I ran inside and just hid. She walked in later dropped my pyjamas and told me I could sleep in the bathroom. The next morning I went home and wouldn’t leave my room.”
“When I went to school the next Monday, I walked in only to be faced with hundreds of pictures of me butt naked being chased by a dog. My parents were called in and informed of my bullying. There was nothing anyone could do though, not when I refused to talk to anyone. That was the beginning of my downwards spiral. The next week I would come to school and look for Louis, but he would just ignore me. Never acknowledging my existence. It was like the last 6 years hadn’t happened. Like he hadn’t been my hero and my brick wall. The one person who had accepted me. I had always worn the necklace he had given me, and I still did. It was like my safety blanket. The bullying had died down since Louis had stopped talking to me, though Rebecca would still sneak in a moment here and there in private. But I didn’t care about any of that. Not when I had lost my best friend.”
“I had gotten used to it after a while. Shoving it all down. I had found a way to deal with everything. A way to let all my emotions out when they got to be too much,” I whispered to my friends, showing them the insides of my wrists, where I still had the scars. I hadn’t cried in 5 years and I wasn’t about to start now. I heard them all gasp. In the 5 years I had known them, I had been able to keep this part of my past a secret from them, until now. “Anyway,” I said continuing, “When I turned 12, I finally confronted Louis about why it was he had stopped talking to me. It had been when he was talking to Rebecca and they seemed to be having quite a heated argument. I had made sure to hide the fresh wounds from everyone, as I made my way over to them and tapped Louis on the shoulder. He turned to me shocked and stuttered a hello. I didn’t even hesitate. I simply asked him in a dead monotone why he had done what he had. And he spared a quick glance at Rebecca who had nodded at him with her arms crossed across her chest. His eyes had turned cold when he looked back at me. He looked me dead in the eye and told me that the only reason he was ever friends with me was to make me feel wanted when no one obviously did, want me that is. He said that he thought he could do it as a charity project, be friends with me, but staring at me every day had gotten too much and that I now haunted his nightmares. And that was when I finally started to break.” I told my friends.
“A few nights after that, Louis' best guy friend came to apologise for him and told me that the only reason he had said all those things in front of Rebecca was to protect me from her bullying. He told me that Louis wanted to meet me at the lake, so I went with him. As I made my way into the clearing, I saw that it was another trap. And sure enough, Louis was there beside Rebecca looking right at me. I couldn’t read the look on his face though, as he was too far away under the darkness of a tree. As Jason led me into the clearing, everyone jeered at me and laughed. Rebecca gave this big speech about how I was a huge loser who needed to be shown how much of a loser I was. I wasn’t really listening. All I could do was stare at Louis… all I could think about was how could he do this to me? Just then I felt two arms grab me roughly from either side and drag me to the edge of the water. I still wasn’t a great swimmer and I began to panic and yell for help. And the only person I could think of was Louis. I begged and begged for him to come as they continuously shoved my head under the water long enough for me to almost drown. But he never did. He never showed. And that was when I finally lost the will to fight. I had been fighting these people for years and I just couldn’t do it anymore. So when they shoved my head under the water for the last time, I went limp. They didn’t know what was wrong and everyone panicked and they dropped me on the water’s edge and ran, thinking I was dead. I got up to see Louis still there a look of horror on his face. I no longer cared though and so I stood up, took off the necklace he had made me and dropped it on the ground then walked home. The next morning I woke up to find the same necklace placed on my bedside table. My mum told me that Louis had bought it round earlier. I just smiled at her as she told me that her and dad were going out for dinner later and asked me if I wanted to join them. I declined saying I’d prefer to stay at home. But later that night they came home a little earlier than I was expecting and found me covered in blood. It was then that the decision was made. We were moving.” I finished.
I finally looked up to see that my friends were in tears. I gave them all a weak smile. These girls were my bricks now and they were my best friends ever I was never going to lose them.
They were for keeps. “Hey, don’t cry guys.” I said, “If none of that had happened, I may never have met you!” I told them trying to cheer them up. They just gave me three wet smiles.
“Come on, it’s late. Let’s get you all to bed. We can talk tomorrow, when we’re not all an emotional wreck.” I said leading Soph and Ells through a door into the adjoining room where they would be sleeping. While Luce jumped into the bed in the room Luce and I would be sharing.
As soon as Sophie and Ells’ heads hit the pillow they were fast asleep in a deep slumber. The day had taken a lot out of us and we were all pretty tired. Well most of us were. I couldn’t sleep. There were too many thoughts running through my brain for me to process. So instead I made my way out into the living area of the suite only to run smack bang into Zayn Malik.
What was he doing here? And that was exactly what I asked.
“What are you doing here?” I was shocked, but strangely I didn’t mind. Instead I felt safe in his presence, comforted with the knowledge that I wasn’t alone with the dark thoughts swirling around in my head. I hadn’t told the girls everything and I knew they knew that. But they didn’t push.
“I- uh, I wanted to see how you were holding up…” he said honestly.
“How did you get in here anyway?” I asked, “It’s almost…” It was then that I checked the time, “one thirty in the morning.”
“It really wasn’t that hard to trick the receptionist at the front desk into giving me a key…” He said looking sheepish, “And I’ve been here for a while….” He said looking me in the eyes.
“So you heard the story.” I said voicing what he was implying, while he just nodded and rubbed the back of his neck looking strangely awkward and guilty. I just smiled at him, “Well good, I don’t really fancy repeating it again tonight. If you’re not busy I wouldn’t mind the company…” I trailed off heading to the kitchen.
I had always liked Zayn. Whenever my friends would talk about One Direction I would listen to their character profiles and Zayn's was by far my favourite. And so far he had lived up to my expectations.
When I turned around, I saw Zayn sitting on the couch in the lounge and asked him if he’d like some hot chocolate. He nodded quite enthusiastically.
I poured us two cups, placed a few marshmallows in them and headed over to join him on the couch.
“Can I see?” He asked me after a few minutes silence where we just sat drinking our hot chocolate. It wasn’t exactly an uncomfortable silence, but it wasn’t comfortable either.
I knew immediately what he was talking about and extended my arm. He simply looked down at my scarred skin running his fingers ever so lightly over it. When he looked up at me his eyes, rather than being sad like my friends, was filled with such obvious fury, I was taken aback.
“What kind of asshole was he back then to force you into such a state you’d do something like this?” He asked out loud, but it was more of a rhetorical question. I didn’t answer him, not because he wasn’t asking me, but because I didn’t know the answer to the question.
It was something I had asked myself many times. Why would someone do such a thing?
I sighed. I knew this was going to get me nowhere, so I made my way over to the grand piano we had in our suite. It was why I had requested it. Music had been my only other escape after Louis had begun to ignore me. I knew I wasn’t very good but that didn’t mean I would stop. I turned to see Zayn looking at me.
“Do you play?” He asked me. I just nodded. “Can you play me something?” He asked again, and when it finally seemed like I wasn’t going to respond to him, I turned back to the piano and played an original.
For the first time in my entire life, I began to play in front of someone who wasn’t my parents. For the first time in a long time, I placed my hands on the keys of the piano and let the music engulf me like it always did. And as I closed my eyes, all my troubles faded away as I began to sing….