Cruel

Ru knew the world was cruel; she learned that the hard way. She thought that she was the only one, but when she met Luke Hemmings and then Calum Hood, everything changed.

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5. 4.

Chapter 4

 

Month 15. Day 16.

 

I jolt awake, sweat dripping off my forehead. I pant and rub my face, trying to get the nightmare out of my head, trying to get rid of the memories.

 

“Stop being a bitch and just do it!” his voice echoes in my head and I pull my knees up to my chest, rocking back and forth. I will myself not to cry, but give up after a few minutes, letting the tears flow freely. I take a few deep breaths, something I learned to do during a panic attack when I was searching online.

 

I grab my phone after I’ve calmed down, and look at the time, the brightness of my screen blinding me. 3:46 am. I rub my face, knowing I won’t be able to fall back asleep, so I turn on my bedside lamp, and pick up my favorite book: Pretending by Shanna Clayton.

 

Call me cliche, but I love teen romance novels. I’ve tried to get into the classics like Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, and Hamlet, but could never quite understand the language of them.

 

I flip to a random page, knowing I’ll be able to pick up on the story no matter where I start reading. I read over the words, smiling as I remember all that has happened in the book so far.

 

“I stop breathing for a few seconds. An almost unrecognizable version of Dahlia is walking down the steps. She’s wearing an emerald dress that outlines every curve of her body, her hair left down, framing her face in loose waves. The way she looks takes my breath away. I knew she was beautiful, but I didn’t know she could look like this.”

 

I’ve read this book about a thousand times, but it always helps me calm down, so I’ll read it a million more times if I have to. I sigh as I continue reading; I wish I had a guy that loved and admired me like Wes did Dahlia.

 

I’m eighteen years old, and I’ve only had one relationship; I dated a guy named Robert in 8th grade. I’ve never had that feeling of being in love; and that’s something I yearn for.

 

My phone beeps and I reach over, unplugging it from the charger. I adjust the brightness and look at the text. Luke.

 

“You up?”

 

I look at the clock, 4:12 am, and text back. “Yup.”

 

“Nightmares?” I bite my lip; he must have them too.

 

“You guessed it”

 

“How often?”

 

“Every night”

 

“Me too. Wanna talk about it?”

 

“Nope”

 

“Fair enough. What are you up to?”

 

“Reading.”

 

“Anything interesting?” I smile, picturing Luke reading this book. He would hate it.

 

“Nothing you would like. Too girly”

 

“True. Wanna get out of your house?” I stare at my phone, confused.

 

“It’s 4 in the morning….”

 

“So? There’s this diner I know that’s open right now” I hesitate before answering back.

 

“I don’t have a car”

 

“I do. Where do you live?” I text him my address and a few seconds later, my phone beeps again. “Be there in 5. Be ready.”  I stare at my phone, not believing what I’m about to do. When a minute or two has passed, I get up, changing into a pair of spandex shorts and a sweatshirt. I slip on my flip flops and debate whether or not I should leave my mother a note. Nah.

 

I put my hair up in a messy bun and grab my cross-body purse, situating it on my shoulder. Grabbing the notebook Luke gave me off my nightstand, I tiptoe past my mother’s bedroom door and quickly make my way down the stairs.

 

When I’m outside, I walk to the front of the lawn and peek both ways down the street, looking for what could be Luke’s car. After a minute or two, a Toyota Prius pulls up next to me and Luke waves at me from the driver’s side. I open the passenger side door and slide in, nodding to Luke. When I quietly close the door, Luke pulls away from the curb and begins driving.

 

The drive is silent, mostly because Luke knows he won’t be able to read anything I write down in the notebook.  It's a comfortable silence, not one of those really awkward ones where you sit there and wish that you were anywhere else than where you are. Somehow, I feel comfortable with Luke, even though I just met him today; well, technically yesterday, but still.

 

We pull into the diner's very small parking lot. Looking at the beat up old building, I decide that I love this place already. Luke turns off the engine and we both get up, walking into the diner together.

 

"This place is great. I know you'll love it." Luke says as he leads me to a table in the back of the small room. We sit down, him on one side of the table, me on the other, and I pull the notebook out of my pocket.

 

"Come here often?"

 

I slide the notebook over to him and watch as he reads the message.

 

"Yeah," he says, nodding his head. "I come here every night around this time. It's the only place I know that's open this late, and they never pester me to leave, or ask why I'm here. They let me keep to myself, and sometimes after a nightmare, that's exactly what I need."

 

He slides the notebook back to me and I quickly scribble down my thoughts. "Not tonight?"

 

When I slide the notebook to him, he looks at it then back up to me, a confused look on his face. I shake my head and grab the notebook back.

 

"Tonight. You didn't want to be alone tonight?"

 

I show the notebook to him and he nods. "Don't get weirded out or anything, but I've been thinking about you since group earlier. And when I woke up from my nightmare, I just had a feeling you'd be awake."

 

"Ladies and gentlemen, we're dealing with a psychic."

 

He laughs when he sees what I wrote. "Not a psychic. More like a sixth sense."

 

I roll my eyes. "You sound like one of those lame superhero movies."

 

"Something like that." He chuckles. "But I've been around a lot of people who have PTSD and get nightmares. And all of them have said that after they wake up from one, they can't fall back asleep."

 

"So you're an expert on crazy people?"

 

Not offended like I realize he might be, Luke laughs again. "Basically. Besides, isn't there  a saying, 'it takes one to know one'? I wouldn't be able to understand people such as you and I if I wasn't bat shit crazy myself." I laugh at his choice of words, surprising both of us. My face starts to heat up as Luke smiles. "How long has it been?"

 

I'm confused, so I scribble down. "How long since what?"

 

"Since you've laughed." He says after he's read what I wrote.

 

"So long that I don't remember the last time."

 

He lets out a low whistle and I chew on my lip. "That's not good, my friend. I'm afraid that's not good at all."

 

I roll my eyes. "Now you're starting to sound like June."

 

He smiles and says in a very bad, but girly voice, "and how does that make you feel?"

 

I smile and shake my head. This kid is insane.

 

After a year in therapy, I have finally laughed again.

 
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