Secrets and Lies

Casey is a teenager with an amazing will to succeed. She is an incredible runner and is determined to enter a marathon. However it is not that easy. Her world is upturned as her friend's life begins to break down and only Casey can help, Casey is madly in love with a man she thinks will never want her and a sad turn of events results in a huge blow. But Casey is still determined to follow her dream...

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2. 15th March 2013

 

15th March 2013 

I was flying, running faster than I ever had before. My feet danced along to the beat, the music pumping the blood around my body pushing me to go faster. One direction blasted through my earphones, keeping my pace furious; my head couldn’t help but to bob along to the tune and before I knew it I was prancing, jumping and leaping along my ever so familiar route up the sand hills. I felt free, like a red crowned crane. Thoughts of having a baby cousin in a few months made me smile; I couldn’t wait for another Lowe in the family. Because I loved running so much, I wanted to enter the marathon next year in London. That’s why I run every day.

“Now I’m climbing the walls, but you don’t notice at all. That I’m going out of my mind, all day and all night. Something’s gotta give now, because I’m dying just to know your name and I need you here with me now because you’ve got that one thing.” Singing along with the words, I climbed the slope at high speed.

After a while I reached the highest most treacherous sand hill and it was worth it. I sat down just as it started. Deep tangerine and pomegranate heavy and fluffy candyfloss drifted in the newly born baby blue sky. As the breathtaking sun rose it shone its blinding caramel light upon my face, illuminating my flaws but enhancing my perfections. Not that I had many. Waves splashed merrily devouring the sparkling cove, the soft smell of salt drifted towards the few clouds that now remained. It was going to be a beautiful day. A slightly cold breeze reached the top of the hills where I was sat, and I enjoyed the view like I always did. Every day since we moved to Ainsdale I came up here. It was my escape.

My watch told me it was time to start my tricky descent, but I didn’t want to leave yet. On the sand below was a boy. He looked nineteen, dressed in a scarlet shirt and jeans; he sat down on a rock next to the water. He dipped his feet in slightly but must have been startled as he withdrew them quickly. I didn’t blame him; at this time the water would have bitterly slapped his toes back to where they belonged. He had inky blue hair and looked vaguely familiar.

All of sudden, he started crying; the sound of his sobbing echoed and I could hear that it was full of pain. I wanted to see who it was. Getting closer to the edge of the bank I curiously crouched down, but knocked my water bottle off the cliff by mistake. I held my breath as it fell all the way down the bank right next to where the boy was standing. I swore. He suddenly turned around and saw me before I could hide; he stared directly at me for just a moment, his piercing grey eyes minimised the distance between us and I suddenly realized who he was. Cole.

He ran away before I could even blink, and left me alone trying to make sense of him. Why would my sister’s boyfriend be there at half past five in the morning, crying? It just didn’t make sense. He was supposed to be the ‘hard man’ and was the leader of a rough gang, into classic rock music and had tattoos along his arms which mainly represented death or my sister. Cole was Nyx’s best kept secret.

I couldn’t dwell on it for too long; I had to make it home before my Mum woke up. Half stumbling, half sprinting I plummeted down the hills, falling more than once. I didn’t feel free anymore, I was trapped in my own thoughts; the panic that Cole had caused had sent my legs into shut down mode, they didn’t dance, they just simply moved in an awkward and unbalanced way. Even my music sounded wrong, out of sync with my rhythm.

I slipped back in my bed just as my alarm went off. The sun shone brightly, calming me a little. It was time for yet another dire day.

****

Nyx was meant to walk with me to bus stop, but she never did. We were seen every morning walking out of the house together fake smiling, looking smart in respectable clothes but as soon as we got round the next corner... Wham! Everything would change, just like that. Nyx would pull up her skirt so high that it looked like a small red belt, and would unbutton the top three buttons of her shirt, put on unspeakable amounts of makeup turning her skin neon tangerine, her eyelashes looked like scary spiders hiding her naturally pretty eyes and her lips were as red as tomatoes. She backcombed her dark brown hair; it was like a dead cat had perched on her head after being electrocuted. She changed her boring black flats into scarlet stilettos which is a change from her doc martins. It didn’t matter what she wore because she was at a college that couldn’t care less. She looked like a complete and utter slut. She thought our parents wouldn’t find out, but it was inevitable that they would, of course.

She tottered off down a back lane to meet her skanky mates before she got on the bus, most likely, so I just continued walking. I didn’t care that I wasn’t walking with her; I was fifteen for goodness sake! My parents treated me like I was a baby, which really bugged me. I didn’t make as many drastic changes as Nyx did when I was out of sight of my parents, but I did make a few. My plats were tugged out immediately and brushed to the side; it was my golden curtain of hair that hid my face when I wanted to hide. My skirt was pulled up to above the knees ( believe it or not my parents had wanted it at least three quarters of the way down my legs), I put some makeup on but I didn’t plaster my face with crayola.

The sky was clear as I reached the bus stop in less than ten minutes and waited for Amaya to arrive. Five minutes went then ten, then fifteen. By the time the knackered charcoal bus chugged to a halt in front of me she still wasn’t there. I dithered on the step of the bus for seconds guessing she must have overslept but she still didn’t come. Sighing, the musty seat groaned as I collapsed onto it praying that she wouldn’t be ill. I hated facing school on my own.

As soon as the bus came to a stop outside school, everyone rushed off leaving me dawdling and waiting for Amaya. My school was in the shabbiest run down town I knew, completely different to the seaside village that lay on its outskirts. Once the bell went to signal our ten minute warning, Amaya still wasn’t there and mainly everyone had gone inside. Sighing, I re did my make up in the old grey toilets, waiting in the silence for her to come. I applied a soft layer golden eye shadow to reflect the gold sparkles in my hazel eyes, and some brown eyeliner and mascara; enhancing my lips I put on some rose coloured lip-gloss which tasted like banana. I had to look irresistible in case I saw him today. Brushing my hair, I looked into the dull mirrors and saw something that made my mind flip. Turing around I saw it was nothing, but I could have swore I saw a pair of stormy grey eyes from by the toilets. I’ve always hated those toilets.  The window’s were musty and blacked out with a thick net of spiders webs, flies nests and countless toilet roll splats, occasionally the long groan of a toilet would make me jump or the smeary tiled floor reflected something; eerily painting pictures terror in my mind, but it was nothing. The second bell went, screaming at me to start moving but I didn’t.

Suddenly I heard footsteps, loud and lumbering but ever so familiar. They had found me. My heart thrashed about, my mind scrambled; my blood had never fled around my body so fast. What should I do? They were getting closer, their footsteps were roaring at me to move and they were on fire burning my senses. Instinct made me charge into a shower and leap up onto the windowsill almost hid behind it. I made sure my feet were hidden from view and I held my breath, waiting. Waiting for the un-escapable that was sure to occur in just a few moments time. Where was Amaya when you needed her?

Slam! The door splintered as they charged inside like a storm of misgivings. I was sure they could hear my heart howling and as they walked in I knew they would find me. “Oh Casey, nerdy geeky Casey, come out where ever you are!” Gina burlesqued me, searching. Bang! Bang! Bang! One by one she kicked the toilet doors open seeking her prey; she advanced so aggressively that every time she kicked the room trembled. She was getting closer and closer to the showers, her cronies following her sneering and jeering. They were all pathetic little mis-fits who never once belonged, and I felt sorry for them despite what they did to me.

“She’s up there!” roared the little greasy mouse of a girl Kim pointing up at me. That was it, the game was over. Time to get beaten up once again. But they couldn’t pull me down from the sill; they were all too fat and not agile enough. What would they do to me if I just sat there? “Oi, you! Come down here now, you stupid little dweeb!” squeaked the pig, Millie. Did she not know how stupid she was? And who did she think she was demanding me to do something? Idiotic little termagant!

Despite of what I thought of them, they could still caused me a lot of unnecessary pain and agro so I had to watch what I did very carefully. I sat there shaking but trying to look strong, however my best efforts of trying to look ‘hard’ completely failed so they started shouting abuse at me and throwing fairly painful things like hard boiled sweets, pins, cans of coke and footballs. I was amused that they wasted so much stuff on me; I had so much food collected from days like this that it would feed me for 40 days and 40 nights! I waited until they had run out of things to throw at me, (as I couldn’t stop them from doing that) and then they stopped.

“We are not moving anywhere until you come down, so it is up to you. Miss school waiting in the toilets with us, or come down and we can have a nice friendly chat and we will be on our way.” Gina sneered at me thinking she had won. And I guessed she had. Either I got beaten up, had my things stolen and got insulted and pushed around or I missed my GSCE Physics exam which would decide if I got into college or not. It wasn’t much of a choice really and they knew that. But still I remained silent.

I slowly got up, grabbed my bag and started climbing across the windowsill to where the window opened. Before they knew what was happening I slipped out of the it and leapt to the ground. It wasn’t that far down but I landed funny on my leg and cut it open. Scarlet blood oozed out of my wound and I saw that there was grit in the cut. I winced as I pulled the little stones out and washed the wound with some water from my bottle. After a few minutes it stopped bleeding; I got out a bandage from my bag and secured it around my leg and then I looked down at my hands. They too were grazed and so were my arms; painfully I washed them as some blood swam off my scars and dropped into a puddle below. Why did this always happen to me? Pulling down my sleeves and putting on new tights; I covered everything up so nobody would know what had happened. I couldn’t stand the shame.

****

Joining my specific line for the exam last, I flattened my hair and took a deep breath. Calm. I tried to regain my focus, thinking about moments and circular motion but the facts were hazy and they scrambled about in my mind like chickens running from foxes. Apparently this was normal, and I really hoped it was. I searched the faces of everyone but I couldn’t find the one my heart had been longing for. A deep blow winded me; I had hoped to see him before the exam.

After all the checks and regulations I went through, I was directed to my seat; which typically had to be smack bang in the middle of the room. Anger bubbled up inside me as I saw Amaya was there in the exam room looking perfectly happy, setting out her equipment neatly. So she had arrived just in time for the exam, had she now? She didn’t even bother telling me she wasn’t going to be in this morning. I couldn’t ask her anything though, as we were under exam conditions so all I could do was get ready for the exam itself. When I looked over at Amaya again, I noticed something different. Her eyes were invaded by crimson, she had small but weary bags under her eyes, and her hands were trembling. Something told me that that wasn’t just exam nerves, something had happened. Amaya hardly ever cried.

After a long dreary nag, an exam invigilator finally told us to turn over our papers. And then it began. I answered questions after questions about heating and insulating buildings, energy transfers, efficiency and generating electricity. The exam went on and on, I felt like a robot writing things down without even knowing what I was saying, just writing exactly what had been drummed into me again and again. I answered every single question because I had revised every single topic; repeatedly, so I could recall the information at a moment’s notice. Physics was never my strong point, so I worked unbelievably hard on it. Hopefully it would pay off.

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. The clock’s beat hypnotised me into writing and writing, checking and checking, it numbed the searing pain in my leg and forced me to never give up. Constantly I had my science teachers voice in my head, telling me and telling me the answers; which was odd I knew, but that’s just how I remembered most of what I had learnt. Suddenly I came out of my murky haze as I hit the difficult A and B questions. No longer was I in a trance, I had to actually think about the answers. The answers were like bubbles in my head; some for the centre of mass or moments and circular motion others for motors, medical applications of physics or transformers and generators all needing to be popped.

I took a deep breath in and then out, and took a swig of pure smooth water refreshing my senses and intellect. Carefully I glanced up and saw that Amaya was furiously scribbling on her paper but she was just one of a few. So I wasn’t the only one taking a breather. I saw people fiddling with their papers nibbling slightly at their lips as they tried to remain in deep concentration, but they were slowly losing it and I couldn’t help but to realise that some had actually fallen asleep: one girl had even started dribbling. I felt sorry for her though, if she didn’t pass this test then perhaps she couldn’t go where she wanted. One invigilator saw me looking at the girl, and must have thought I was copying as she gave me a hard stare and then went to wake the sleeping girl up. She jumped a mile as she was woken and let out a little snort. Poor girl. Everyone was laughing at her, and the room turned into a pen full of pigs imitating the snort. She flushed bright cherry, but as the invigilator screamed for silence and furiously threatened that everyone would be disqualified, her cheeks went back to her original shade of apricot.

I went back to my exam, my mind bizarrely a little clearer now and set to work on the questions which once had seemed impossible. Ploughing through them, gradually the answers came to me and I fell back into the spell that had captured me once more. Before I knew it the two hours was up and the invigilators were ordering us around again. The bell rang. We were marched outside like we were nothing more than petty criminals and then we were allowed our break. Finally.

“Hey, Amaya wait up!” I exclaimed as I ran after her. But she completely ignored me and started running making snuffled sounds as she did. What was that all about? Without saying a word I followed her, running faster than her and catching up with her within seconds. Amaya fell to the ground under a nearby willow tree and curled up in a ball. She started sobbing; something I had never seen her do before. Her tears fell rapidly like hail would from the sky, she was shivering and shaking; her eyes were stung with wine like they had been poisoned with a harsh substance, her delicate figured was bent over like she was weighed down by a weight on her shoulder. Amaya looked so distressed and discomposed that I did the only thing a friend could do. I hugged her. I held her tightly so that she knew she was safe, and as she wept into my shoulder I could do nothing else but hold her. After a while her crying was cut short and her trembling subsided, she looked up and moved away a little trying to clear her eyes and save herself more embarrassment.

Finally she looked up at me; her huge deep coffee coloured eyes still brimmed with tears. As she spoke her voice shook, like it was taking every ounce of courage to speak “they’re breaking up. Mum and Dad. They’re getting divorced” taking a big gulp, she looked at me unblinking as if I was going to tell her it was a mistake, that couldn’t be happening. I gasped and my insides turned to stone, my throat became raw and my heart had just climbed into my mouth and had just got eaten; choking me, making me un-able to speak. Fuzziness was what my mind had turned into; it was like my brain was crammed with sticky cotton wool clogging up my senses.

How had this happened? All at once I snapped out of my stupor and saw things clearly. I should have seen it coming. A storm had been brewing between Jia and Liang for months, arguments had started and had got more intense, loud and frightening, the whimpering and waterworks had started, and then suddenly a bitter silence had began that lasted for weeks. I should have known. I should have realised. I’ve been around there so much that I was practically part of the family! A virus of guilt crept upon me. Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I had been the bomb that set it all off.

“Casey, what am I going to do?” she spoke in barely a whisper, on the verge of tears. Her eyes told me it wasn’t my fault, that it was something else. I had no idea at all of what she should do. But she was relying on me to help her through this and I wasn’t going to let her down on the first hurdle. No way.

 “Do you know what Amaya? I don’t think you can do anything but be strong. It seems that they must have made their minds up, and I know that you will hate to hear this but maybe it’s for the best. Think about it. Your parents have been fighting for a long time making you upset, Zhen sad, Tao miserable and moody and your parents obviously very distraught otherwise they wouldn’t want to spilt up. They have probably thought long and hard about it, and must have thought it was for the best. They were tearing your family apart. Now at least you can all have chance to patch it up, start afresh. Now I’m not saying this is going to be easy, it’s not, but you should know I’m here for you whatever. Okay?” I answered.

I must have had that sense of confidence about me as I spoke because once I had finished it looked like Amaya had believed me. She at least looked slightly happier knowing she wasn’t alone. “Okay, okay. Thank you Case, you’re an amazing friend you know? I love you” she replies with a smile.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    “Urghh, if that was any mushier then it would be a tin of mushy peas! Seriously just leave it out! “I said seriously but I couldn’t help but to laugh.

For a tiny millisecond she looked hurt, getting up she hits me lightly with her book and laughs “So-r-r-r-r-y! God, I was just trying to be nice! Anyway I bet you would have liked it if Ethan had said that to you.”.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  “ I’d go jump off a cliff if Ethan ever said that to me. I mean, seriously, I don’t like him. At all. No way. Never. Any way he is more your type isn’t he?” I told her fuming. I didn’t like him in that way at all, he was slightly too full of himself and a little vain and although he was funny, good looking and clever I really definitely did not fancy him. Never. Ever. But Amaya just assumed that I fancied him because we were always arguing but no, I did not. I’d rather date pig then go out with him. Just because I was always daydreaming about someone did not mean I was always thinking about him. I was sure that Amaya liked him though, a lot.   

She blushed deep beetroot and hastily changed the subject back to herself; telling me that it was her Dad that had caused the divorce. While on his work trips back to China he had an affair that lasted for a couple of months. Her mum had suspected the affair and didn’t trust Liang which started the tension and arguments. Liang came out with it last night that he was having an affair with a beautiful woman named Yue, and that he loved her. He completely destroyed Jia’s heart and then stamped all over it when he told her that Yue was pregnant. He screamed that he wanted a divorce and that he was leaving the poor excuse for a house and moving back to China. He spat his children’s faces saying that they would never become much. Slamming the rickety old door he left the house in a fury, and had made no attempt to contact any of the family at all. In Amaya’s words her life is ruined. And it seemed like it almost was.

Why didn’t they teach us in schools how to cope in situations like this? How come we were never taught how to help a friend go through this, or how to deal with this? Stupid school. I had nothing to say. No words could describe the disgust and hate I was feeling towards Liang at that time, nor could I even begin to describe how much pity I felt for Amaya and her family. I was helpless.

Amaya tried to smile despite the fact that her world was crumbling in front of her very eyes. She couldn’t hold it for long though. I just sat there in complete dismay of what she had told me. “It will be ok Amaya.” I said half heartily and pathetically. Who was I kidding? Her life was so far from ok that she was practically eating molten lava with Satan in hell. She didn’t deserve this, none of them did.

 

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