Frozen Sea

Sixteen-year-old Alaska's whole world is slowly but surely starting to crumble. Her boyfriend is charged with the rape of her best friend, and she is staring at a long, lonely summer of secrets and unimaginable pain. Losing herself in surfing and her night shift at the local pub seems like the only way to pretend none of it is actually happening for real. Until she meets Connor, a mysterious musician on a holiday of inspiration, Alaska finally realises that sometimes the only way to move on is to face up to reality.

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15. XIV

Isaac grabbed my arm and half-dragged me to the kitchen, where two fourteen year olds, obviously high on something, were playing tonsil tennis on the counter top. Isaac swatted the boy on the head and eventually they both got up and left, not at all ashamedly. Isaac lifted my chin up so that I was looking straight at him.

"Are you okay?"

"Yes. Or I will be, presently."

"What happened?"

I lifted up my shirt to reveal two distinct, well-defined purpling bruises just beginning to appear on my hip. "Will happened."

"He did this to you?" Isaac's cheeks were flushed with anger and hurt. I put a hand on his knee. "He tried to kiss me. Well, he did, actually. Then he tried to make me go upstairs with him."

A low, sonorous growl sounded from the back of Isaac's throat. He turned away from me, unscrewing a bottle of gin and pouring some into a glass. He downed it in one gulp. I moved forward and took Isaac's wrist. "What is it?"

Despite the party happening in just the room next to us, the kitchen was surprisingly quiet. Isaac had tensed, a vein in the back of his neck throbbing violently. "Just the thought..." His voice was thin and watery. "The thought of you... with someone, in my bed..."  

I sighed and pulled Isaac to my chest, my fingers tangled in his ashen hair, his heart pounding against my torso. My voice was as delicate as his, perhaps even more so. "I would never do that to you."

But Isaac didn't seem to hear me. He pulled back and looked at me, a loose curl covering one eye. "Alaska," he said, "I need to talk to you."

"Shoot."

He looked as if he was about to continue, but out of the corner of my eye something caught my gaze. I noticed a guy standing just outside the kitchen, his milky blue eyes fixed on Isaac, his golden hair swept sideways across his slender face. I nudged Isaac. "I think that guy over there wants a word with you first." I winked, but Isaac didn't crack a grin, just kept his eyes on mine. "Alaska, I'm serious. We need to talk."

"Fine." I gave the guy an apologetic look. He shrugged, smiled sadly and walked away. "What about?"

Isaac's face clouded for a moment with an expression I couldn't fathom. Shame, embarrassment maybe? He took my hand, holding it to his heart. I was overwhelmed at the gesture, it was something he had never done before. "Alaska, I need to ask you something, and I want an honest answer." Then he dropped my hand. "What's the point? You're not even listening."

"I'm sorry, Isaac, I am..."

But in truth I wasn't. My eyes had drifted over to the door again, because barely half a second ago a beautiful young girl with chocolate brown hair had drifted past, looking for someone.

Looking for me.

"Lily." I managed to whisper. "Isaac," I begged him, "can we pick this up later?"

He let out a breath and stepped backwards, throwing his arms up in the air. "Sure." But his face was pained. Something was clearly bothering Isaac, but at present Lily was more of a pressing issue. I looked back into the living room where strange, fuzzy silhouettes of teenagers wavered and palpitated in the neon lights. I pushed past the clumps of people hurriedly, my eyes itching for the sight of Lily's soft brown hair, gently waving down her back as I had always remembered it to be. I felt a cold sweat developing on the small of my back, and my shirt stuck to it disgustingly. I let out a breath, putting my hand up to my eyes to dim the blinding light, and then suddenly, there she was.

Somehow, even despite the fact that I hadn't seen her for several months, Lily still managed to look like... Lily. I didn't know what I had expected to find: an unhappy, traumatised, broken girl perhaps, maybe someone who was a lot like me after it happened. No, I didn't know what to expect, but whatever I found, that certainly wasn't it.

Lily was dressed in a pretty floral dress that fell just halfway down her thigh, the fabric thin and floaty like that of a silk scarf. A garland of flowers was strung around the crown of her head, sweet little rosebuds poking their way out in between her chocolate coloured locks. Altogether, Lily strikingly resembled that of a fairy. She was smiling and laughing, maybe at a joke, possibly told by the sandy-haired boy who's knee she was perching on, a can of beer in her pretty, petite hands.

I could hardly handle the shock, and for a moment I didn't know what to think. This was Lily: the girl who didn't wear short dresses, the girl who didn't drink, the girl who didn't sit on guys' laps at Hawaiian-beach themed house parties. 

"Did you want something?"

A cold, hard voice snapped me back to the present. Lily was staring at me, her hazelnut eyes not as soft as they used to be. There was a new, unmistakeable edge to her voice, and I hated it. I tried a weak smile. "Hey, Lily."

"Don't you hey me!" Her voice was thick with venom and slurred with drink. "You shouldn't even be here."

"Please, Lily," I begged, "Please. Can we just talk? Privately," I added hastily, as the guy she was sitting on fingered a lock of her hair. 

"What do we have to talk about, Alaska?" She ran a finger lazily down the guy's chest, and he smiled, somewhat greedily. "What makes you think that we have any more secrets between us?"

I swallowed back the dangerous lump in my throat that was rising even higher with every passing second. I tried again, reaching out my hand to her, trying to see if she would understand, or at least listen to me. "I'm sorry, Lily. For everything. But if you'd just..."

Lily's eyes met mine with a look that was so angry, so enraged, that for a moment I staggered backwards, dropping my hand as I did so. Lily smirked, exposing her perfect pearly white teeth. "Do me a favour, will you, and just piss off? Bitch." She added with an afterthought, and that word knocked me over the edge. Looking back, it wasn't even the worst word she could have used, but coming from your best friend, it still hurt pretty bad. However before I could burst into appalled, dismayed tears, I felt a breath at my ear, a firm grasp on my shoulder. It spoke with a voice quiet, soft and somewhat melodic.

"Let's get out of here."

 

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