Undeniable Love

At first, love is unknown.
It’s like a hurricane creeping up on you before it whisks you away into another world.
But April doesn’t know that yet. She’s yet to find out.
When April meets Cain, it just seems like any other ordinary day - just a small conversation between two students on a bus. It doesn’t matter that one of them is dreading the bell for home time, whilst the other is struggling through every day. Or does it? So one day, when something is revealed before Cain’s eyes, what is he meant to do? This girl before him is just like any other girl he’s ever met, yet he feels the need to help her, to protect her.
April isn’t looking for a saviour, someone to rescue her from all this hatred, but she doesn’t have a choice. When Cain comes crashing into her world, life gets better. Somehow, no matter how much she wants him gone, she equally wants him by her side.
Perhaps a lover isn’t what April wants right now, but maybe he can save her. Maybe, after all, there is a way out.

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1. April

 

“April!”

It’s the word I always dread hearing when I’m sitting, bored out of my mind, in class. It’s the word that means ‘Yes April, you are not going to get through this lesson without participating’ and therefore, I’m made to speak up, even though it’s the last thing I want to do.

I shuffle around in my chair as heads swivel and look back at me. Mrs Ackerman, my English teacher, stands a few desks before me, waiting for a reply.

Hesitating, I ask, “Sorry, but what was the question?”

I can hear the person beside me stifle a laugh, amongst a group of other pupils. Sighing, I watch as Mrs Ackerman walks back to her desk, shuffling around with some papers out of annoyance before picking on someone else.

They call out the answer and she smiles.

“Well done. Well done for paying attention.” She compliments, directing her glance at me. I watch cautiously as more heads turn in my direction, almost in unison, but there’s one face I can’t miss. It’s the face of Devan Halk, a grim smile plastered across his face. Idiot. I slam my head on the desk, covering my head in my hands.

The laughs around me begin to increase in my mind, flooding in like an erupting volcano, although the class around me is silent.

Why, no matter how hard I try, can’t I answer one flipping question?

‘I have other things on my mind.’ I think to myself. ‘Don’t let them get to you.’

But I do. I just can’t face up to whatever they have to say. Since the beginning, I’ve felt like I’m enclosed by their hatred and anger towards me - the way they taunt me so that I’m deafened with their silly little games. It’s stupid the way they humiliate me. I’ve seen it done to others too, and no matter what that person is going through, they don’t care. They don’t think to stop for one moment and imagine the consequences they’ve caused someone.

Obviously, it wasn’t just them that took part in the beginning of my break-down, but they were a part of it. My home life was already a disaster and all I was looking for was somewhere where I didn’t have to worry, or cry. School. It was the only place I felt safe until they came along. Because of them, I was lost. The real me soon disappeared and instead, I was a wreck.

But it was one word that told me it had all began. It was the same word Miss Ackerman used just now, to drain everything out of me and squeeze out the facts.

“April!”

I’ve never heard it any other way since.

~ ~ ~

It started late January, just after the Christmas rush. It was the beginning of a fresh, new Year – for some, that is. I was enjoying the holidays for once. Mum and Dad decided to spend a little extra to get a real Christmas tree and for the first time in ages we stood around it one evening, decorating it with tinsel and baubles, Christmas music on full blast. It was one of those moments that you never forget.

The memories fled by so quickly Christmas was almost over. And now it is. The Christmas spirit has left us and now everyone looks forward to summer, as usual, waiting for their family holiday.

This year I have nothing to look forward to. This year, for the first time in ages, a family holiday is ruled out of our calendar. Literally. Maybe it was stupid of us to book it so far ahead, so that even before Christmas we were almost hyper with excitement. Of course, something was going to get in the way.

Florida – that was our destination. Like a little five year old girl I was excited to visit Disneyland for the first time, and maybe even get a chance to swim with the dolphins. It didn’t matter that I was in fact too far into my teens to actually look childish; I still wanted that once in a lifetime opportunity.

But it wasn’t the fact that I couldn’t go that started me off. It was a few days after New Year’s Eve, earlier on this year, that it hit us, me and my Mum. The chances of it happening were far out of the league, but that didn’t matter because it did - it did happen. And I fell apart as soon as I heard it.

It was the way my name was a strained yell, the word a bolt of lightning through the silent streets, that scared me.

“April!”

My Mother’s voice wasn’t the same – her tone was out, silence trailing behind the deafening outburst.

I was in my bedroom at the time, scribbling in the notebook I received for Christmas from Dad. I was in the middle of a sentence when my name was called, yelled, screamed. In an instant I dropped the pen and ran. The voice of my Mother was rising, falling, rising, falling, but it was a constant drone. It was a constant flow of pain.

Stumbling into the kitchen a minute later, I didn’t need time to work this one out. Lying strewn out across the tiles was my Dad, slashes across his chest and arms. My head thumped with pain, adrenaline rushing through my body.

“What happened?” I had tried to asked, but it came out as only a whisper, barely even audible.

Diving to the floor, I had grabbed his hand, holding it so tight I would have never let go. His soft, whimpers kept me hoping; the flicker of his eyelids stopped me breaking. And whilst I heard the distant beep of the phone number being dialled into Mum’s mobile, I didn’t once look at her. I didn’t want to see that face, of excruciating pain, heart-breaking discomfort. Instead, I listened to the words pouring out of her mouth, trying to explain.

Dark. Alleyway. Confronted. Beaten.

My mind picked out the ones I needed, to know what happened.

So as my Father was lifted onto the stretcher when the ambulance arrived, I didn’t need to look at Mum’s face to hear her painful description. She swung her arm over me and took my hand, guiding me into the seats beside him. Looking down I watched as my Mum’s finger delicately traced the outline of his face, running through his bed-ridden hair. It was then that his eyes flickered open ever so lightly, just in time to feel my Mother’s lips touch his, for the last time. And when she pulled away he was shaking, shaking so hard I held his arms down and whispered in his ear, so softly.

“It’s okay. We’re here with you.”

And as his lips slowly parted, his answer was just audible.

“All the way?” he whispered.

“All the way.” My Mum cried. Tears streamed down her blushed cheeks and her sobs screamed with pain, hurt, everything you could ever imagine.

I didn’t want to be there to watch. I didn’t want to be there to look as his eyes fell to a shut, my Mother’s pain roaring through my body, until I, too, was broken. My hand resting lightly on top of my Father’s, I closed my eyes, wishing for the best.

But I knew it was too late.

Eyes flicking back open, I knew it was reality. This was real pain. Tears of my own burned to the touch as I tried to wipe it away like it never happened.

But of course, it was impossible - it still is now. The memory is distant, but it’s always there.

“April!”

“April!”

My Mother’s haunting cry – it never leaves me.

~

So that’s why, days later, I felt like I had to step up and steal the knife from the kitchen drawer. And that’s when the crimson-red blood started flooding out from the veins beneath my skin.

I knew I shouldn’t have let myself - I knew it was wrong - but inflicting pain on myself made me feel better. I didn’t deserve pain for my Father’s death, but he deserved gratitude.

One cut meant one problem.

With one problem, I was one step down.

And one step down, I was one cut down.

One cut down, I had four cuts to go.

 

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