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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4. Day Three

Day three:

My day began bright and early when Rhys, my charming and not at all annoying brother, jumped on top of me, shouting in my ear. I am not a morning person.

“IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! WHOOOOOO!”

I rolled sleepily over, still in my dreamlike haze before I realised that there was another human being in my private room. I jerked awake, adrenaline pumping though my veins as I stuffed my arms under the duvet and pulled it up to my chin.

“Skye, Skye, Skye, Skye, Skye! Guess what day it is today? IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!” Rhys yelled, bouncing up and down on my bed. His brown hair was all over the place and he still had a puffed up, sleepy face.

“What the freak are you doing in my room, twerp?” I snapped, still annoyed at being caught unawares.

His bottom lip quivered. “I wanted to wake you up…”

I rolled my eyes. “Job done, now what have I told you about coming into my room uninvited?”

“But… but it’s my birthday, I can do what I want, right?”

“How would you like it if I just burst into your room without asking?”

“At least it would mean you knew I existed instead of just yelling at me all the time!” Rhys jumped up from my bed, tears pooling in his eyes. “I hate you I hate you I hate you!” he yelled as he stomped his way out of my room.

“You’re such a drama queen!” I shouted in the direction of his angry footsteps as I grabbed my clothes and headed off to the bathroom to shower. I knew he’d have gone running to our parents, telling them what a horrible person his mean big sister was, and they’d probably believe him. I mean, I know I hadn’t been very nice… well, pretty horrible actually, but he was in my room! God knows what might have happened. Besides, it just proved that my parents were all too willing to believe the worst of me. Not that I really gave them much indication that I was actually a nice person, but it would have been nice to have their unconditional support once in a while.

When I made my way downstairs, Rhys’s present in my hand, I could hear my parents making a fuss of Rhys on his birthday, I could hear the ripping of paper, and general happy noises. I paused for a while outside the kitchen door, enjoying the happy sounds. It didn’t sound like something out of my life, and it was nice to imagine that this was just some film, all fake. It just sounded so perfect. Then, as usual, I ruined it all. At first, when I entered the room, they didn’t realise I was there, and I thought maybe I’d been mistaken, maybe Rhys hadn’t told them what happened. But then Dad caught sight of me and nudged Mum. He doesn’t like confrontational scenes.

“You, young lady, are out of order. How dare you be so rude to Rhys, and on his birthday as well. This is his special day, and you made him feel terrible!” She raised her voice a little, hardness creeping in where only moments before her voice had been soft and loving.

“He was in my room! I keep telling him not to come into my room and he came in any way!”

“He’s only young; you have to give him a little leeway. And it’s his birthday; can’t you make allowances on his birthday? He was just excited and wanted to share his excitement with you.”

“Well not first thing in the morning, thank you very much. And I don’t make allowances or relax the rules for special occasions. My room is my room, and I don’t want anyone else in there. When he’s my age he won’t want anyone and everyone barging into his room uninvited.”

“Have a little consideration, Skye. He’s only five,” Mum said, her eyes hard.

“Actually, Mum, I’m six now,” Rhys piped up.

“Yes you are, my big grown up boy. Wow, doesn’t six sound so old, David?” Mum asked Dad, her voice kind again.

“It sure does, big man,” Dad said, ruffling Rhys’s hair. 

“Start being a bit more mature, Skye. You need to look after your brother, not put him down all the time.”

“God! My room is mine. Mine. I don’t want people going in there without permission, what is so difficult to understand about that?” I threw my hands up in exasperation, and Rhys caught sight of his present.

“Is that for me?” he asked excitedly.

“Yeah, but I guess since I’m such a terrible sister you won’t like it,” I shouted, slamming it down on the breakfast bar in front of Rhys.

I whirled around, stormed back upstairs and brushed my teeth furiously, before grabbing my pre-packed school bag and stomping out of the house, slamming the door behind me. I was too early to catch the bus into school so I started walking in the right direction. As I started walking, the hunger that had been fairly low level all morning increased, and I felt like my stomach was trying to eat itself. Despite my love of the dramatic exit it made, I regretted not grabbing some food before storming out. I also regretted not watching Rhys open my present. I know I said he wouldn’t like it, but I knew he’d love it. I spent ages looking on the internet to find a signed picture of his favourite footballer, which, when I found one, cost an absolute fortune, and then I handmade a frame for it to go in, with a birthday message on it. As much as I thought he was annoying, I loved him, and I wanted to be a good big sister to him. I wanted to succeed where I’d failed as a daughter. But I guess I failed as a sister too. There wasn’t really much I was good at, other than being messed up, and messing up those around me.

That was why I tried to keep how I really felt under wraps when with others. I didn’t want them to worry about me, because worrying about a hopeless case only leads to feeling bad pretty much all the time, and there was no way I’d wish that on anyone. I don’t like people feeling bad because of me, which only made it a whole lot worse when I got all defensive and angry, like that morning. I’d yell, and I’d hurt people, and that was just who I was. I hated myself for it. I guess I just liked pushing people out, and the easiest way to do that was shout and yell and hurt people, instead of just having a normal conversation about why something annoyed me. Then again, I did have my mother as a role model, and she always seemed to enjoy having arguments with me more than just talking. I think I annoyed her, because I wasn’t the perfect daughter she wanted, or was accustomed to, after Pansy. I know this is a typical teenager thing to say, but I just felt so alone all the time, because I was hiding how I really felt from all my friends, going through all the hard times on my own, and not even my family seemed to support me, or even like me. I’ve heard it said a lot that parents always love their children; they just don’t always like them. I knew my dad loved me, and maybe even liked me, because sometimes, when I looked around at him in the evenings, he’d be looking at me with the same love I saw in his eyes when he looked at Rhys and Pansy, but Mum… every time she looked at me it was to tell me off, or say just speak, and she never seemed to speak in a nice way to me. It was like she was always trying to let me know that I was the least favoured child. Even giving me a lift the previous day had to be accompanied with comments about how she wouldn’t be doing this all the time, subtext, you’re not as important as your siblings. I knew I was probably overreacting, but this was how I saw our relationship, and if she wanted me to see it differently, she’d have to convince me it was different.

I was mulling this over, my thoughts whirring angrily around my head in the aftermath of the argument, when I heard someone calling me from behind.

“Wait!” the (male) voice called.

I glanced over my shoulder to see who it was, and if I should stop, and saw the boy from the ponds, the one who had been walking his aunt’s dog. He’d done nothing wrong yet, so I stopped, squinting against the early morning sun as I waited for him to catch up. As he got closer I could see he was wearing my school’s uniform.

“Hey,” he said when he reached me. We began walking side by side. “I’m Chris Lewis.”

“Skye,” I said. “Skye Monroe.”

“Right…”

The awkward silence seemed to drag on forever before I spoke up. “So… um… I see you go to Little Riding Academy?” I nodded to his uniform. “When did you start?”

“Yesterday,” he said. “Why is it called ‘Little’ Riding anyway? This is actually quite a big town.”

“Uhm… I think there was once a Greater Riding. I don’t know what happened to it. Anyway, Little Riding was the smaller of the two towns, and I guess I just grew a lot.  What year are you in?” I asked, making polite conversation, trying to ignore the growl of my stomach.

“Year eleven.”

“Oh, so am I. So you joined a new school just in time for GCSE exams?” I raised an eyebrow at his odd choice of time to move. “Just couldn’t wait another term?”

He laughed. “No… something came up, and I had to move in with my aunt for the time being.”

“What about your parents?” I asked. I wasn’t really interested in having a conversation with him, but the guy seemed in desperate need of friendship.

“Oh, erm… my dad died about a year ago… lung cancer. It sounds bad, but I was actually kind of relieved when he went, because he suffered so much before he finally died, and now he doesn’t have to suffer any more.” Chris said, looking at his shoes.

“I’m… sorry. It must have been awful.”

“Yeah, but the main thing is it’s over now, and he’s no longer in pain.” He glanced up and braved a smile.

“I guess… and what about your mum?” I asked.

“She’s… erm… she’s a little too busy right now to take care of me. So, you looking forward to the joys of receiving an education today?” he asked, shutting down the previous conversation. Chris reached into his bag and pulled out a banana, then started to peel it.

“Um, yeah…” I said, trying to keep my tone light. I was sorry I’d brought up something he obviously didn’t want to talk about.

The smell of the banana wrapped around me, and I stared hungrily at it. My stomach growled extra loud now my body registered that there was food nearby. Chris looked up, startled.

“Sorry, I’m just a bit hungry.” I tried to stop staring at the banana like a freak, but it was proving difficult.

“Did you eat breakfast this morning?” Chris asked.

“No, I kind of forgot.” I said sheepishly.

Chris sighed, looking longingly at his banana. He broke off a bit at the top and gave me the rest.

I hesitated. “Are you sure? Don’t you need it?”

“I’ve already eaten this morning. You haven’t, and you need to eat or you’ll blow away in the wind. You’re skinny enough as it is.”

I wrapped my arm self-consciously around my stomach. “Thanks,” I said.

I felt really bad that not only had I stolen his banana, but I had asked him difficult questions about his parents. I also felt bad that I had the audacity to feel bad, when other people obviously had it so much worse. I mean, there were kids starving in Africa, and I was starving after skipping one meal. I complained about my parents, but Chris’s dad was dead, and his mum obviously didn’t have time for him. All in all, I had a great life, and I was just determined to be ungrateful and feel bad about everything. I really was a horrible person, and I disgusted even myself. 

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