Loving You

Amber Lee Taylor. Popular, Blonde, Cheerleader. Amber doesn’t know like what it feels to be neglected, to be alone. When Amber's sister is murdered, and she is blamed, she flees to the only family member who doesn’t blame her...or simply can't. Amber promises never to love again, to hide in the shadow of who she used to be. That is before she meets Aiden, the familiar yet quiet guy that Amber feels has more to hide than she does...

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3. Chapter 3

 

After many days of medical examination, and failed attempts to get me to converse with a counsellor, I was released. Grabbing my duffel bag that contained the few belongings my mother had bothered to bring in, I trudged home, as it rained. I didn’t even mentally curse my mother for not picking me up from the hospital, she hated me, and she had made that pretty clear. I hadn’t had one visitor since my mother and Lizzie, but I didn’t care. Brent had managed to text me that it was supposedly “over” while I was in hospital. But I didn’t care. I didn’t have anywhere else to go, so I reluctantly went home, going straight up to my room. It smelt of Harper. My face remained void of emotion, as I silently walked down the hall, slipping into Harpers. I sat on the bean bag in the corner of the room and mentally recalled the day I had made her cry; I dug my fingernails into my wrist hoping to inflict pain. It was the least I deserved.

 

“Harper May, where is my velvet lace top?” I stormed into Harper’s room on the night of Brent’s big party, as she lay cuddled into her bean bag.

Her bottom lip quivered “I..I burrowed it for my middle school dance, the bottom hooked on a pin…and…and”. I remember grinding my teeth together, anger bubbling inside me.

“You fool! I just got that top, and now I have nothing to wear for Brent’s party!” my 15 year old self screamed at Harper. It was the night I was trying to catch his attention, the night I would finally make my appearance in the social clique.

“I’m sorry Am” she whispered, tears leaking out of her eyes.

“Sorry doesn’t cut it!” I snarled “and why are you crying? You’re such a little attention seeker!” with that I slammed the door, ignoring her silent sobbing.

 

Sighing I snuggled deeper into the bean bag, closing my eyes.

“It’s all might fault” I whispered “my entire bloody fault”.

 

I was living in an empty house up until that evening. Still lying in my bed, my door opened and Adam walked in.

“Amber” his voice was cold “Your mother is distraught, you need to tell the police what happened”.

I glanced at him, and then back to my wall. I had taken a liking in staring at walls.

He sighed “The doctors understand you might be going through depression, we won’t force you to speak until you’re ready, but at the moment it seems as though Harper was…manhandled”.

“Raped” I stated quietly.

“What happened Amber?” memories came flooding back and I closed my eyes to stop the tears from leaking out.

“I left her” I murmured “I left her all alone”.

 

I didn’t eat, I didn’t talk. I didn’t laugh, I didn’t cry. Images of Harper flitted in an out of my mind, almost like a butterfly, flying at arm’s length, but sometimes, always out of reach.  When it came to the point where I was at starvation, I reluctantly walked downstairs. My mother was sitting on the sofa, watching TV. But her eyes were blank, not focusing on the pictures, not listening to the sounds. I padded past her, fixing myself a quick sandwich then returning back to my shell. Where I could finish drowning in guilt.

A silent dreary week had passed, where I spent lying on my bed, praying for the days to go quickly, praying for the guilt and the pain to subside.  I was still in my room, my hair dirty, my clothes dirty, my body reeking from lack of hygiene. I didn’t care. The only person who had bothered to come and try to talk to me was Adam, but I didn’t want to see him. He slipped into my room, just as I was remembering Harper’s first day in high school.

 

“Amber I’m scared” she whispered clutching to my hand tightly. I spotted a group of the popular group, led by Marisa Kirk and quickly yanked my hand out of hers, I’d just gotten in, and I couldn’t risk being kicked out. Harper looked hurt, but I pretended not to see.

“You’ll be fine, it’s not only you starting” her eyes leaked with tears and I sighed.

“You’ll make friends, go to a club, you’ll find people who like the same things as you”. She nodded, and smiled timidly before approaching a group of freshman girls anxiously waiting for the bell. I grinned to myself, straightened out my hair and sashayed out to the throng of Juniors waiting to go in.

I blinked reminiscing and smiled at the picture on my desk of me and Harper, I had immediately replaced the one of me and Brent, needing no reminder of the outside world, and what we had. 

Adam came in, with a black suit on, and his eyes bloodshot.

“St. Peter’s cathedral, 6pm” he walked out, knowing I needed no further explanation. Harper’s funeral. I couldn’t come; I couldn’t face those accusing eyes, all those people blaming me. But I deserved it, and the least I could do was be there for her. I slipped out and crawled into the shower, washing my filthy hair and brandishing the dirt down the drain. I slipped into a black dress and pumps, slipping my head into a messy bun, and not bothering with make up.

I walked to the cathedral, heart hammering in my chest. The service had already begun as I slipped through the door, heads turned to acknowledge me, and faces turned to stone as they realised who it was. I could almost read their thoughts “what is she doing here?” and “shame on her for showing her face, who told her to take the young girl to a party with alcohol?” they were all judging me, and a part of me was also. I sat at the back away from my family. I spotted Vicky, in a black top and skirt, mascara already running down her face from the tears. I stared on.

“A life took so soon, we will be saddened” the vicar spoke “Before we hear from the family, let’s take a hymn”. I sank monotonously, singing about the wonderful creations God had made, or so I recall the lyrics. Afterwards, my mother stumbled onto stage, with red puffed out cheeks, trying to compose herself

 “Harper, my baby…was the most delightful being that ever lived. She had beautiful brown hair, and brown eyes, and she had the most amazing addiction to books” people shuffled uncomfortably as she sniffled “ I remember the day I brought her back from the hospital, I knew she would be that special one, the one I would look forward to seeing graduate, marry, have my grandchildren. I will never see these things happen, because unfortunately there are some vile people in this world who seek to prey on young innocent girls,and of course there are also the bystanders to blame, the ones who didn’t do anything but indirectly are as guilty as the rest” her eyes fixated on me, turning cold, then she slipped down from the stage. And the service continued.

The service was moved outside, and I crouched behind an oak tree, as people said their final goodbyes. My mother sat by her grave for at least an hour, whispering to it, before she left.

I slipped out from my hiding spot to crouch by her grave clutching one of her favourite classics Jane Eyre.

“I’m so sorry Harpy” I whispered “I wish it was me instead of you, every day”. The leaves rustled in the wind as a reply.

“I bought Jane Eyre” I gave a high sob half laugh “you can re-read that for about the 11th time”. I imagined Harper’s giggles as I said this, and smiled.

“If it wasn’t for me, you’d still be here” I continued “You’d still have the chance to meet Meg Cabot and still have the chance to fly to England to be part of the Royal Ballet. You were the best dancer I knew, the way you leaped and pranced graciously”. I sat in silence for a while, remembering her first recital.

“I’ll miss you, and I promise Harper, I will never forgive myself”. With that, I placed the book underneath the pile of flowers, and plodded home.

 

As I entered the house, I was disappointed to find family members still loitering around, spreading their sympathies, pretending to care. I made my way to the kitchen to grab a drink before I planned to shut the door to my room, and wallow in my own sympathy. But I wasn’t so lucky as to find my Aunt already in there, fixing herself a cup of coffee.

“Aunt Farris” I greeted formally reaching out to grab a bottle of water.

“How dare you talk to me” she spat, and I jumped surprised at her outburst.

“I…”

“After what you put your mother through? After what you’ve done? You still dare to show your face like it isn’t your fault Harper-May is dead”. For a second I was speechless, not knowing what to say to my aunt who was normally very friendly.

“What about you?” I whispered “what about you hypocritical piece of scum?” Aunt Farris stood dumfound, surprised I would retaliate.

“If you were ever here, you would know that’s it not Harper-May, it’s HARPER, no one calls her Harper-May, you just prance around  with your shoulders held high ready to accuse but you know what? You’re just as much to blame, and for all I care, you can go join her, because right now, I swear that Harper would be turning in her grave”. I walked out, past the other members of my family, almost hearing Harper’s little shrieks of laughter.

 

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