Day 23

Skye has been falling for a long time, but she's fed up of it. She knows it's going to be hard, but she's determined to pull her life back from the brink.
But when Chris gets involved, well, things start going differently to how she planned.
"Why aren't you fighting back goddammit?"
"Because you, Skye Monroe, know nothing about me, about why."

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14. Day Thirteen

Day thirteen: 

It's funny sometimes, when everything you do is a failure, and nothing's working out right in your life, and yet you wake up happy anyway. Well, not happy exactly, but for that one moment when you're still half asleep, and you see someone in your doorway, someone you trust, and you think, 'hey, maybe today won't suck quite as much as yesterday did.' 

I mean, the feeling doesn't last long, and you suddenly remember what actually did happen yesterday, but for that one blissful moment, you're just not sad. 

Some people say 'knowledge is power', but I'm more of an 'ignorance is bliss' kinda person. For example, if you're waiting to get some test results back, and you suspect that you totally failed it, but you don't know that for sure, there's still some kind of hope in you that maybe it wasn't that bad, and maybe you did okay, by some miracle fluke. That hope may not be particularly strong, but if its there, then that's something to hold on to. If you know for sure you failed that test, there's no hope. There's no way for you to think 'well, maybe it wasn't that bad', because you KNOW it was. Like, I'd always suspected that my mum didn't really care about me, and that I was the least favoured child, but I guess I'd still been clinging on to the idea that maybe she did love me, deep down, and maybe she was like most other mums and didn't have favourites. That maybe, I actually mattered to her as a person. 

But then I knew for sure, and I couldn't cling on to any shred of hope any more. She'd told me, she'd said out loud, that she couldn't love me, that I was hard to love. I mean, that suggested she was trying, right? But... well, it wasn't working. She couldn't love me, and there was really only one person to blame for that. Me. Enough with passing the puck on to other people, and blaming them for my many problems. This wasn't my mother's fault; it was obvious from her behaviour to my siblings that she was capable of love. She wasn't some uncaring psychopath who couldn't even love her own kids. It was just me. 

And then there's my friends, or lack thereof. The fact that almost everyone in the year hated me kind of spoke for itself. Enough with blaming Jade. Yes, she was hardly a nice person, but if everyone had believed her story, surely there had to be reason they looked at me and thought 'stay away, she's a bad one'. The common denominator in these situations where I'm hated? Me. This time, I was going to own up, and blame myself. Stop making excuses for my behaviour, stop making other people feel bad for my own shortcomings. This was my fault. Mine, and I was going to deal with it my way. 

Except... I couldn't. 

I pulled my arms into the warmth of the bed and rolled over, pulling the duvet over my head. Chris tapped on the doorframe. "Rise and shine, Aunty Jem is making breakfast."

I popped my head out of my cocoon. "Okay, I'll be down in a minute, ill just get washed an stuff first." 

He nodded, and turned around. I waited until I'd heard his footsteps go all the way downstairs before I grabbed a change of clothes and some toiletries; I'd forgotten my dressing gown. After I'd figured out how to work it, I had the quickest shower ever, and hurried downstairs, following the smell of pancakes. Chris was already sitting at the table, and his aunt was piling up pancakes on a plate. I took a seat next to Chris. 

"Mm, smells good Mrs Lewis," I said, trying to make conversation. After my realisation that I mustn't be a very nice person, I was determined to try to be likeable and kind. 

"Thank you. They're just normal pancakes though." She smiled. "Anyway, how're you today?" she asked. 

"Much better. Thank you for letting me stay with you. I'll be getting out of your hair soon." I smiled politely. 

"Not at all. Any time, my dear, any time." She returned my grin. 

There was an awkward silence as we began the pancakes. 

"How's your brother today, Skye? And your parents?"

I stuffed a large forkful of food into my mouth so I had time to come up with an answer, but before I could, she continued with her sentence. 

'Only, and I don't want to pry, but I'm perfectly alright with you staying with us, and I'm sure Chris is very pleased about it," I avoided his gaze, "but are your parents okay with it?" She looked concerned. 

I swallowed slowly. "I'm sure their very glad to have me out of the house."

Chris and his aunt exchange a glance. "Do they know where you are, in case anything happens?" she asked. 

"No, but I don't think they mind. I mean, my dad isn't even in the country."

"Aren't they worrying about you? I know if I didn't know where Chris was I'd be worrying a about him." She reached out for his hand.

"Aunty Jem..." he muttered, rolling his eyes. She continued looking at me, expecting an answer. 

"Um… no, not while they have Rhys to worry about. He's more important."

Chris's aunt's face creased in sympathy, "I'm sure you're both equally as important to them!"

"No, what I mean is he's ill, and he needs their care and attention more than me right now," I said, trying to dig my way out of a hole. I didn't need to share my rambling thoughts with them. 

"I'm sure they're very worried about him," Chris said with sympathy. "I hope he's okay soon."

"So am I," I said, turning back to the pancakes. 

"I just hope everything's okay at home for you, Skye, and you know that if it's not, you can tell us, okay?" Mrs Lewis said. 

I nodded my head and thanked her. Se didn't need to know that Mum had kicked me out. I was hoping she'd take me back today. 

When all the pancakes were gone, I offered to help with the washing up, but Chris's aunt declined. "No, no," she said. "You go off and do whatever you need to do."

"I should probably pack up, I think I'll go home soon," I said. 

"That's a good idea." She smiled. I turned to leave, and Chris began to follow me. "Stop right there, Christopher. Where do you think you're going?"

"To help Skye pack?" he said sheepishly. 

"Do you think the lady wants some boy going through her stuff? No thank you. Ad I'm sure Skye I'd perfectly capable of packing her own bag. You're staying right here and helping me wash up."

"Do I-" 

Mrs Lewis threw him a tea towel. "Get drying," she said sternly. 

I smiled mischievously at his martyred look, and escaped to pack my bag. I really didn't want to go home, but I didn't want to be in the way. I'd already caused enough problems. Packing my bag took as long as I could possibly make it, until Chris popped his head around the door to see how I was doing. 

"How long does it take you to pack a bag?" he teased. 

I smiled back. "I just don't want anything to get creased."

He came in and sat down on the bed, biting his lip. He looked kinda nervous. "So... are you okay?" he asked. 

I turned away, and focused on repacking my bag. "Fab thanks. And you?"

He ignored my question. "Do you want to tell me what happened to make you so upset yesterday?"

I took a deep breath. "Not really," I said in a faux cheery voice. 

He sighed. "I understand," he said, getting to his feet and positioning himself in front of me, "that we all have our secrets, but I don't want yours to hurt you," he said, grabbing hold of my wrists. I pulled them back and yanked the sleeved down over my hands. He was staring uncomfortably at me, like he wanted to see right inside me. 

I got back to packing. "They won't. I can handle it."

He hesitated for a moment, then looked away. "Okay," he said. "Okay, but you can't keep everything inside of you forever, because one day, you are going to burst and break apart with it. And on that day, I'm going to be there for you."

"Don't," I said, choked up. 

"Don't what?"

"Don't pretend like you like me. I know I'm hardly an easy person to like-"

"And I like you anyway, Skye," Chris said, reaching out as if to put his hands on me again, but he stopped short. "I like you for so many reasons that you don't even see."

I zipped up my bag. "Thanks," I said, "but if you really knew me, you'd hate me too."

"What's that supposed to mean?" he asked. 

"Nothing." I sighed. "I should go now. Thank you for having me." I slung the bag over my shoulder and brushed past him, plodding down the stairs. 

"Skye wait!" he called after me, but I kept going. I had to get out, leave that conversation behind, before things went too far. I got a firmer grip on my bag once I left the house, and started to run. I could hear him behind me, but I carried on regardless. If he knew me, he'd think I was totally crazy, and then he'd definitely hate me. I'd had to remove myself from that conversation where everything could have come out. 

I slowed my pace as I got closer to home, nervous about my reception. When faced with my house, my gut twisted painfully, but I ignored it and let myself in. 

I needn't have worried, really. She totally ignored me. Her frosty attitude said it all. But at least she wasn't having a go at me again. She was busy looking after Rhys, who'd been discharged that morning, which took her attention off me. But still, her looks and demeanour really got to me. She hated me. I could see that now, and I knew it for sure. Thoughts about how everyone hated me, even my own mother, cycled around in my head, pushing my mood lower and lower, until I stood in the bathroom, the door locked, in floods of tears. My whole body shook with despair. Everyone hated me, and I was a horrible person. It would be for the greater good, really, if I just got it over with and died. 

I fumbled around in the cupboard until I found it. I held it in my hand, running my thumb over it thoughtfully. It made me calmer, it just being in my hand, and I was going to do it, until I thought of Chris. He liked me, he'd made that clear, though goodness only knew why. I tapped it against the sink, then shoved it back in the bag, and buried the bag at the back of the cupboard, before I could change my mind. Not yet. I wasn't going to give in just yet. 

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