“The treachery of demons is nothing compared to the betrayal of an angel.”
― Brenna Yovanoff
"Here you all are. Vanessa, levántate. Tiempo para prepararse." Again with the Spanish first thing in the morning? I burry my head further into the pillow but quickly open my eyes when I inhale the familiar scent of Dylan's horrid cologne. Realizing where I am, I pull my body off of Zayn's mattress and give my mom a sheepish smile. "Sorry mom, I could have sworn I told Dylan to set his alarm at 5:30." As if being summoned, Dylan lifts his head up to mumble, "Well you didn't.", before letting his head fall back onto the pillow again, "And pick a pillow to sleep on Dyl, you're stinking up the rest of them." I throw the contaminated pillow at Dylan and my mom crosses her arms. "Alright Vanessa that's enough, it's already six, come on you need to get ready."
Swinging my legs off the bed, I notice a very empty spot where Harry should be. I quickly scan the room, but since it's so bare, their aren't many places where he could hide. "¿Buscas algo?" My mom is leaning against the door still with her arms crossed and a knowing look on her face. Maybe she took him back in his room and now is just testing me to see if I will tell the truth. Or maybe he could have woken up Dylan and asked him to open the door.
"No mom I'm not looking for anything. Just wondering why it's so chilly, that's all." "Well it could be because you're not wearing any pants." As I hop off the bed, I step on Dylan's stomach for a second before quickly stepping off. "Sorry Dyl, my mistake." Dylan rubs his stomach and childishly sticks his tongue out. "Dylan, be a sweet heart and wake Zayn up. You both need to be at breakfast in thirty minutes."
My mom and I leave once we see Dylan pounce on Zayn. "Those boys are something else." I nod as I punch in the code to our house and run up the stairs two at a time. "Woah chica, what's the sudden rush?" I open my room door and begin digging into my dressers for something to wear. "No reason Mom, just hungry, that's all." I pull out a black sweatshirt and toss it behind me onto the bed. Now where did I put those white jeans...
"Don't forget, you're going to be head of the group session tonight." "Yeah I know." My mom begins talking about how much this is going to help her out but I zone out when I spot my white jeans. "Yes!" I pull them out victoriously and my mom lets out a huff when she realizes I wasn't listening to her. Running to the bathroom, I take a quick shower and throw my clothes on. "Mom I'm heading to breakfast." I wait for no response as I speed down stairs. I shout a hey to Louis as I run past him and straight into the kitchen. Sitting at our usual table, Emma is spooning fruit into her mouth and she actually smiles when she sees me.
"Emma." I plop on the seat in front of her and she shoves another spoonful of fruit down her throat. "God, I've forgot how much I've missed fruit." Emma's long hair is tangled in a million different ways and she's finally back in her grey jumpsuit. She savors the taste of the fruit before focusing her brown eyes on me."All they do is feed us mush in solitary. And I literarily mean grey mush; made me think about how much I missed color." I nod for Emma too continue but she pauses for a minute to open a second fruit cup. "Now down to business,did you find out who this Richard guy is? Oh yeah and I need you to braid my hair."She runs her hand through her hair and it gets stuck mid way. I roll my eyes and stand behind her deciding how I'm going to tackle this task. Finger combing though her hair, I begin to tell emma the whole story beginning with Harry arriving and ending with last night. When I'm done with the story, Emma's hair is done in two fishtail braids, making her look even more prison like .
"Were the flowers still in your room this morning?" I try to think back to a little while ago in my room. "I was in such a rush I didn't even look." Emma begins to inspect her hair on the gleaming black table. "Why were you in such a rush anyway? I mean I'm aware it's waffle Saturday but still." "Because I was hoping Harry would have been here before me." "Well looks like babe is coming over here with the two other doofs. "
I look to see Dylan, Zayn and Harry coming towards us with trays of food. A small smile tugs on Harry's lips and I mentally wipe a bead of sweat from my forehead when I see him. I guess Dylan must have opened the door for him after all.
"Oh Emma, your hair is so delightful. It makes you look even more like a convict." Emma raises her middle finger at Dylan after snatching one of his waffles from his plate. "Don't listen to him Em, your hair looks lovely." Emma gives Zayn a small smile and I nudge her in the rib with my elbow. Emma has had a crush on Zayn ever since he told her she looked good in the grey jumpsuit her first week here. She elbows me back roughly and I choke on my breath.
Dylan rolls his eyes and takes a huge bite from one of his waffles. "So,what are we going to do about this Richard situation?" I take a waffle from Zayn's plate and look around at everyone at the table. "Well, I plan on going into my mom's office around midnight to see what I can find on him. They have to have something on this guy." "Why not a bit earlier?" "I'm leading a group session tonight so I can't do it till later. Besides, my mom should be sleep by then."
Harry takes an oddly large gulp of orange juice and licks some stray drops from off the side of his mouth. "What the hell is up with this place, it's awful social for a crazy shack." I hum in agreement at Harry's observation. Clearwater may be like a prison but the place has gotten brighter since my mom took over.
"So do all of the patience go to group sessions tonight?" "Yup, but we're separated into small groups and I get to lead the teenagers." I make jazz hands to show now non-pumped I was feeling about it.
We all finish breakfast, light conversation buzzing around us. Slowly each person files out to await some mental and/or physical treatment. Once Zayn dumps his tray he comes to sit back with me. "Vanessa theres something I've been meaning to tell you." "What is it?" Zayn rubs around his beard scruff and sighs. "I think Harry has codes to all the doors." I quirk my right eyebrow up for Zayn to further explain himself. "It's just that I woke up this morning to find him punching in the code to get out of the to room. And didn't you find him wandering the halls before you came to me with the picture? I'm just saying, there's something he's not telling us."
"Of course there's something he's not telling us Zayn, he's a criminal."
"Hi guys, I am Vanessa and I will be leading this group session." I look around the circle at all of the grimacing teenagers. Dylan is guarding ( a word I use very loosely) the door and he shoots me an encoruganing thumbs up. I clear my throat because god I'm so awkward at this. Harry sits back in his chair smugly watching me stumble over my words on how to start. Zayn is not technically a teen but I refused to let my mom switch him out of this group. I don't think I will ever be able to let go of Zayn.
"So we will go around the circle and introduce ourselves along with why we are here. Anyone care to go first?" And of course no one raises their hands. The thing about Clearwater is everyone is fucked up in some way but, nobody wants to fully admit it.
I see Emma looking down at her nails and I decide she's going to be the first victim. "What about you?" I put Emma on the spot and she looks around with a moment of panic before composing herself. "Hey, I'm Emma and I killed my ex boyfriend and best friend." She gives a small smile before she goes back to her horrible habit of picking at her nails. The girl next to Emma dives in and I guess we're now going clockwise.
"Hi, I'm Ella and I'm here because I need to learn how to not let Betty control me." I usually do not ask follow up questions to statements like that. But the girl looks about the same age as me and Emma. Her wild curly hair is messily pushed to one side and her brown eyes look lively yet empty. I see her around mumbling to herself but I don't think I can remember they day she arrived.
"And who is Betty?" Ella looks at me with her wide jungle eyes. "She's right behind you." And even though I know there is no one behind me, I turn around to look. Turning back around, I smile at Ella too brightly. "She's pretty." The girl smiles falters when I say this. "She's 357 pounds and has horrid bleached black hair. The pimples on her face make it look as if she's sick. She has no fashion sense what's so ever and she's the reason I'm like this. " I stutter out a sorry and Harry bites on his lip to stop himself from barking out a laugh. "I'm sorry, I didn't know she was that much of a proble-" "Sorry to interrupt Vanessa but we have someone that will be joining us!" My mom comes in too happy for her own good but I say a silent 'tybg' at her timing.
My mom steps to the side to reveal a troubled looking boy. Well of course he's troubled, he's in Clearwater for god sakes. He has blonde-orange looking shaggy hair covering most of his forehead. His body is tall and lean, much like Harry. He carries no mystifying smirk though, just a grimace that lays all his feelings out on the table. His neon green jumpsuit makes it hard to focus on him for too long though, so I look down at his shoes. He's escorted by two guards who I have never seen in my life. Everyone eyes are on him though as he walks over to the empty seat next to mine.
"Welcome to Clearwater, I'm Vanessa." I give him a bright smile but the boy slumps back in his chair and drums his fingers on his leg. "I'm a Clearwater native actually, but thanks for the warm welcome." His dimples unintentionally pop out when he's talking and I'm starting to think when did Clearwater start getting such cute guys.
"What's your name then?" "Evan Walker." His brown eye lock on my own and I look away when I hear Emma clear her throat.
"Ok," I clap my hands together to try and fill the awkward silence now in the air.
"Let's contuine shall we?"
"Good job on the session honey." My mom opted to stay in the room after Evan arrived. The room is now clear from everyone and I stand up from my seat. "When did Evan come here?" My mom smiles sadly, her eyes beginning to look glossed over . "He's been here for quite some time. Such a troubled life that boy had."I want to further question my mom but one of the new guards come in. "Hi, Ms. Carrion, sorry to bother you, just wondering how to work the washing machines." I can practically hear the gears turning in my mom's head when she looks over to me."Oh, Vanessa will you show Niall ? He's one of the on location guards now. Show him around;make him feel comfortable."
My mom pats me on the butt and I jump up at her touch. The boy lets out a laugh and I swear I think the room gets brighter. "Uh, yeah let's go...." "Niall." He extends his hand and I shake it shyly .
I show him around the main floor, giving him vague directions to the other sections of the place. We run into Louis momentarily and I let them talk for a bit. "Hey Lou, would you mind showing Niall to the laundry room, I need to use the bathroom." "Eh, you got tired of me all ready?" Niall's voice comes out teasing but I reassure him that I will see him bright and early in the morning; even said he can sit with us at breakfast. He smiles his pearly white smile of his and wishes me a good night. Cute boy that one.
As I'm about to walk into the bathrooms Dylan comes out along with Harry. "Hey guys, what were you two doing?" Harry looks at me before pointing overhead to the males sign. "Well we just came out of the bathroom so there's not a lot of options to choose from." I let out a strange noise because god Harry can be annoying. "Well stay up tonight kiddo, I'm coming to get you and we'll get Em and then meeting in Zayn's room. Hopefully I have good info on Richard."" Harry nods but then quickly shakes his head. "That might be a little hard to do without waking my new roommate." "What do you mean? We didn't get anyone new."
Harry eyes follow something behind me and I turn to see Evan walking towards us. His grimace is still on his face but his eyes look even darker from the distance. He all looks at us as if he knows we've been talking about him. Once he enters the bathroom without a word, we stare at the door. "We'll figure something out. Now if you excuse me, I have business to attend to." I push the door open and stumble into the empty bathroom. I go into the first stall and lock the door.
The lights begin to flicker and when I crane my neck up, they go black. This building is renovated but sometimes stuff like this happens, which is good for no one. Quickly flushing, I walk out of the stall only to be pushed back in. A hand covers my mouth before I even think to cry out. I begin wildly thrashing around until a voice coos me to stop. "I'm not going to hurt you Vanessa. Do you understand? Just wanna talk." I slowly nod my head as my eyes begin to sting.
"You and your friends are treading into dangerous territory. If you knew what was good for you, leave this whole Richard situation alone." When I'm released from my death grip, my lungs burn as I take my first gasp of air. Stabilizing my breathing, I feel around to see if the boy is still near me. I jerk my hand away as I feel his shoulder. "What the hell Evan? Do you know I can get you in some deep shit for what you just did?" I rub over my throat to soothe the stinging sensation. "Go head baby, do your worse. I've been in the high risk section for so long, nothing scares me anymore. " I choose to ignore Evan's statement and his pet name for me as well.
"How did you even know about the Richard thing?" "The halls echo when no one is around." And another question that keeps popping into my head, why the hell are we letting murderers wander around the damn hallways?
"Just stay away from him, he's dangerous." I don't know Evan at all; I don't know exactly what's wrong with him or what could set him off but I feel like I need information on him. "How do you know him?"
I hear Evan the steps Evan takes away from me. He sighs and the question hangs in the air. When he pulls the door open, I squint my eyes at the sudden light. His profile is illuminated and he grips the handle on the bathroom door. Peering down the hallways, he turns to look back at me.
"He's my father."
And with that, he's gone.