Aurora

To escape her constant solitude, Aurora seeks attention and affections from boys who smirk the right way, despite being degraded for it. Amidst it all, she sort of, accidentally, falls in love...Ok so I completely rushed this IM SORRY. I wrote it for the John Green competition and literally posted it at one minute to midnight, punctual as ever. But here it is. I hope you can still make some sense out of it. Credit for the chapter titles go to Marina & the Diamonds, whose Electra Heart character inspired me a lot :)

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3. III. Sick and tired of all your preaching

 

Her father returns from…wherever he was. He doesn’t call first, but then he doesn’t have to, it’s the same date every year. 4th June, the anniversary of her mother’s death (and her birthday also, but no need to nit-pick).

The older Aurora gets, it seems he has less stories to tell, less photos to unfold, and with it being the 19th year she hasn’t got much hope. But this year, he’s brought his new family, and as she sees them approaching it’s all she can do not to get up and flee. But she stays knelt in the shadow of her mother’s gravestone, knees damp in the dew, resting peonies some six foot above the rotted flesh she can’t remember the touch of, and wishing for some kind of intemerate valley of clouds to cushion her mother in her slumber.

Her father’s face is a frozen frame of a melancholic film, always sombre, always ashen. She can’t tell if he’s simply consumed by his loss, sadness sapping his muscles and bones, or if he doesn’t feel anything at all, cold right through. Or maybe he just seems so in her presence, the presence of a ghost, haunting him through her gunmetal blue eyes and her tinkering laugh.

His new wife, Claudia, with their eighteen month old son in her arms, clutches at his side as he steps closer and props his flowers against the stone. She talks senselessly about the tragedy, how awful it must be - for you too, of course, even though you didn’t know her.

The baby starts crying, so they leave. Claudia cooks instead of going to a restaurant, much easier for the baby, you see, and her father asks about school and the hotel and – well, Aurora ends up raiding through the liquor cabinet.

However, the liquor betrays her. All it takes is a comment from her father on her “disgraces” and how they reflect badly on him and his business, and then the liquor is spewing from her mouth like dragon-fire, untameable.

‘What’s wrong with it?! What’s wrong with having fun?! I’m not hurting anybody!’

and

‘Why should I care?! Do I owe you a fucking favour? Do I? Do I?’

and

‘Well if you care so much maybe you should have been around more before all this started, huh? Mum would have been around, she’d have been there! She’d have been proper family! I don’t even know you!’

After all this, his face is still the same. Rigid, callous, perhaps a little sharper on the edges, but the same nonetheless. He sits forward in his chair and points his finger at her, his voice hard, like jagged rocks at the beach that’d cut the soles of your feet when you were young and playing, ‘Listen to me. You’ve got a choice. You can accept us as your family and we’ll work together as a team, or you can carry on being spoilt and selfish, and if that’s the case, you don’t deserve a family.’

She doesn’t know it’s happened until shards of glass are glistening across the floor, and the baby is crying, sitting in his highchair slightly to the left of where the bottle shattered.

‘Get out!’ her father orders, fists clenched, ‘Get out! Right now!’

Without a word, she struts to the nearest bar, wiping her gun-barrel black  eyes.  She sets her throat alight with vodka and follows home the first boy who asks. She crashes into a hard mattress, lets the stranger bruise her legs, same old, same old.

Like she needs a family, she belongs right here.

-

It’s a new bed she wakes up in every morning – or sometimes just atop a grimy fire estate or on the tiles of public toilets, reeking of lager and vomit and self-loathing. Her thoughts are still bitten at the edges even in daylight, and she carries herself back to her penthouse on legs like leaves, quivering in the breeze.

One night she’s up against the graffitied wall of a club, bare feet in the gutter, voiceless. She must have been drugged, but she doesn’t know it yet, trying to stitch together sentences and failing. A guy is in front of her, she recognises the scabby hands on her chest and the broad, eclipsing shoulders through her blurred vision, just about. She should be scared, probably. But she doesn’t bother.

A cry of pain pierces through her haze, and she blinks open her eyes – when did they close? – to see a fists hammering, again, again, again, until there’s the sound of scurrying feet, like a giant rat, she imagines.

‘What the fuck, Aurora, what the fuck are you doing? C’mon, Jesus Christ.’

Her body becomes weightless then, and she feels wings sprout from her spine and carry her through the night, passed the stars, passed the moon, all the way to hell.

She wakes up staring at a familiar ceiling, adorned with a dimmed chandelier  and patterns that swirl like a hypnotists pendulum. The lobby. She sits up, piecing together the shapes and lights until the scene clarifies: Luka at the front desk, requesting her room key, and the pitying looks from the staff.

She prods him on the shoulder, ‘Excuse me? Luka? Why are you here? Why am I here, as a matter of fact? What have you done?’

‘What have I done?’ he scoffs. ‘I saved your arse from some fucking scumbag and carried your deadweight all the way home, that’s what I’ve done.’

‘Well for future reference, I don’t need your help,’ she hisses. ‘Now go away.’

He sighs. ‘Okay, you’re drunk, you should go to bed.’

‘No, I don’t need you to tell me what to do! I can take care of myself! I don’t need you, fuck off, I don’t want you here.’

‘Why the fuck are you acting like this?’ he holds his arms out, eyes widened.

‘I’m tired of you thinking you’re some kind of knight in shining armour, alright? It’s bullshit. I’m not yours, I’m not anyone’s. I don’t owe you anything, I don’t need you. Why are you still here?’

The anchor sinking on his heart is almost visible, his body sags, he blinks wearily. He heaves out a breath, ‘Fine. If that’s what you want.’

He walks out of there like  he’s got a steel ball shackled to his feet.

-

 

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