"She just left?" Ethan asked. He had come over for breakfast and apparently hadn't known a thing about Quinn's disappearing act. One of many.
"Yeah. She hasn't come back so I assume that she just left."
"Did she leave a note or anything? I mean if not we should go report this to the police." He says.
"She just left. I don't know why but I know that there's nothing really we can do about it right now. I mean, she's been gone for more than 48 hours. There's a rather slim chance she's still alive." I mumbled as Rosalinda put a plate of food in front of me.
"People don't just get up and leave. Not without saying something first. Are you sure she didn't leave a note or a letter anywhere?" He asks. I bit into my bacon and arched an eyebrow.
"Do you- do you think I'm lying?" I asked pretending to seem taken back.
"No, I just want to make sure you know."
"You think I don't want to find her? You think I don't want to make sure she's safe?"
"No but I know you wouldn't just dismiss her leaving if you didn't fully know she was safe."
"I don't. But I know she's safer out there than she was in here."
"You don't really believe that." He laughed harshly cutting his food.
"You don't have to believe facts. They don't change regardless that's why they're facts." I pointed out.
"What dad did to you two wasn't right but-"
"No, it wasn't right. There's no but about it. You can't justify cruelty. Though you try." I said biting into my toast. The stairs creaked and Cynthia sat beside my brother at the table pressing a kiss to his cheek.
"Good morning, lovelies." She smiles thanking Rosalinda as she grabs her plate.
"Good morning." Ethan and I mutter. Ethan sends me a look which translates that this isn't the last of this conversation.
"How's everything in hill billy nation?" Cynthia teases. Ethan snorts and takes another bite of his food.
"It's different from eating in a palace on porcelain dishes, I'll tell you that much." He said devouring the rest of his breakfast.
"I can only imagine. I just got used to eating breakfast and dinner every single day." Cynthia said shaking her head.
"Where were you last night?" Ethan asked.
"I went to dinner."
"Look you both can stop acting like we are a real family. Okay? You don't have to pretend to care about me. You didn't when you decided that raising your unborn brother and that you'd rather prostitute around." The table grew dreary and I sighed standing up and taking my plate up stairs with me. I sat on my bed and pulled out the baggy filled with antidepressants I'd taken from the dinner. I sighed and downed two and put the rest back. I looked into the mirror and touched the glass.
"Smile. You look prettier." I muttered the words my mom use to say when she was my mom.
"Peyton." I heard someone say knocking on the door.
"Come in." I muttered softly. I wasn't really interested in talking about anything with anyone in this damned house.
"Hey, I talked to the doctors this morning." Penelope said sitting on my bed.
"What'd they say?" I asked.
"They said this disease is going to kill me. Well these diseases." She said messing with her nails.
"Is that all?"
"Well, I just wanted to thank you. For letting me go. I know your siblings think you don't know what you're doing. But do you remember what I said before I went to the hospital two years ago?" She asked. I nodded. I rarely spent time thinking about two years ago. My mother had went absolutely crazy. It was as if all of her mental illnesses came out and tried to destroy her. I was the only one home with her. She put us both in the hospital. She stabbed me in the back with a kitchen knife five times. She had just missed my spine and nearly paralyzed me.
"Tell me what I said." She said sternly.
"You told me next time to let you die. You told me that Everyone was dying but nobody was dead." I muttered.
"You know I wouldn't tell you to do anything that I didn't think was better for you. I did this because I love you. You don't believe it but I do. I love you more than love itself. I love you because you are love." She says. I turned around to face her. I laid on her lap and heaved sobs. She stroked my hair humming a song that she would sing to me when I was young.
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray. You'll never know dear how much I love you. So please don't take, my sunshine away." She sang. I knew I would be losing her soon.
After I took Jasper to the seamstress to hand make our costumes for his party I went home and started getting ready for my date. Asher had only told me to dress comfortably. He hadn't text me all day or answered any of mine. I had assumed he had cancelled or came to his senses and realized us trying to be civil wasn't in our nature.
I shaved my legs pulling up the razor up my leg slowly. I stood in front of the full length mirror hanging in my closet. I ran my fingers over the scars on my stomach. I hadn't told anyone. Only the doctors. That was the only secret that I kept. And I kept it because I knew if anybody knew everything would be different. But then again, maybe that's for the best.
I combed my hair styling it in a half up-half down style. I pulled out a pair of worn out converses and a skater skirt. I pulled out a long-sleeve silky turquoise button down shirt. I tucked the shirt into the black skirt and slid on my high tops. I sat at my vanity carefully applying my makeup and making sure that I didn't look absolutely terrible. More or less I looked like a potato in a skirt. My nerves had heightened realizing this was the first time Asher and I would have gone on a date intentionally. I was trying o impress him in all the wrong ways. All I knew about Asher was what everyone else told me. This was a real couple thing. This wasn't a made up mental event. I would be with Asher. For the majority of the night and then we'd spend a few days in a car driving to Arizona. Unless we flew. But we'll most likely drive. What if we drive?
"Peyton?" I heard my name which thankful pulled me from my thoughts.
"Yeah?" I replied.
"Asher's here." Ethan said. I took a deep breath and grabbed my phone walking down stairs. I was still on my period so all my emotions were fucking with me but for the most part I was calm. Asher was waiting by the door inside my house holding a bouquet of flowers. Luckily they were fake. I could tell by the plastic on the stem.
"Fake flowers." I smiled taking the bouquet. The assortment was lovely ranging from light colors to darker ones.
"I know you wouldn't take care of them if they were real. And death depresses you so.." He trailed off. He was wearing a pair of converses that were almost totally covered by his blue jeans. He wore a black teeshirt that dipped low on his chest. Bringing the ensemble together was a grey jacket that he had rolled up to his elbows.
"They're lovely. Or as lovely as fake flowers can be that is." I smiled not really knowing where to put them. I laid them on the table by the door and walked out with him.
"I wish I would have bought something that could've matched how beautiful you look tonight." He said opening my door.
"I like them. They're normal. Less awkward." I said honestly. The car was so different yet so familiar at the same time. I knew what was happening and I was also lost. Everything was the same but new. I knew that if this date didn't go well then all of this will be bad for the rest of high school. I'd be known as the girl that fucked up her first date. They wouldn't even blame Asher. Beautiful people never took the blame. Asher parked on the middle of the street and got out. Everything looked vaguely familiar.
"We have a bit too walk. Be quiet and follow me." He instructed crossing the walk way and moving down the street. Everything came into view and I knew why everything looked familiar.
It was my dad's building.
"Asher, are we about to take part in an election?" I asked as he walked around the back of the huge building.
"Shh." He hushed me pulling to his body and holding me still.
"Asher, are we breaking into the corporation firm?" I asked fear taking over my body. I wasn't going to jail.
"You own part of the building. It's entering without a key." He shrugged lifting open a window and climbing through. He stuck a hand out wiggling it around.
"Asher, I'm not doing this what are we doing? Stealing ink jet paper?" I asked crossing my arms.
"My surprise is in here. Now please be quiet and hurry up." He insisted seriousness pouring out of his words. I sighed and took his hand lifting myself into the window. He wrapped his arms under my knees making sure I didn't fall.
"Where are we?" I asked. The room was dark and was too small to be a conference room.
"Your dad's office." He smiled. My face turned pale as I heard this.
"Asher! What kind of date is this?" I hissed lowering my voice.
"Oh! So now you choose to whisper?" He asks snorting. I pull him into a corner of the office.
"Asher this is not funny, what if we get caught?"
"Get caught? By who?" He asks.
"Security or worse my dad or his colleagues?" I ask preventing him from leaving the corner we were huddled in. He pressed his lips to mine and interlaced our fingers.
"I promise you we won't get caught." He whispers moving me from the corner and pulling me out of the office. We tip toe down the hall being careful to avoid any janitors or security guards. We made it to the other side of the building that held the staircase.
"Okay, it's a straight shot up. Stay quiet." He says pulling me up the stairs. After about 100 levels we finally made it to the top level. The roof.
"God Asher, there are nicer ways to call me a fat cow who needs more exercise." I heaved falling against the door to the roof.
"It was only 10 flights." He says.
"We came from the most elevated side. We literally only part of what it would have been if I hadn't took the short cut." He says.
"Asher, where the fuck are we?" I asked standing up. Asher smiles and opens the door presenting the roof. The roof had lights strung all the way around and in the middle was a bundle of blankets and pillows. There was a pizza and a box of brownies with a few sodas beside them. And in the center of the chaos was a mini projector. On the wall facing the parking lot was a white sheet with the main menu to my best friend.
I wanted to cry. This was literally better and worth almost bursting my uterus for.
"How long did this take you?" I asked.
"Most of the day. The hardest part was getting up here without anyone knowing. I mean damn." He chuckled. I threw my arms around him hugging him tightly. I actually realized that I never had hugged Asher purposefully before. If always been close to him when we made out or if one of us was pulling the other out of the inevitable danger we both seemed to get ourselves in. But this was the first hug.
"This is amazing." I said pulling away and walking towards the blankets and pillows.
"I couldn't choose between a movie and dinner. So why not both?" He asked smiling happily. I laid next to him on the bed he'd created. The pizza was no longer hot so that kinda sucked but other than that technicality everything Asher had presented to me was perfect. This whole date intimidated me. I was scared shitless. All because I cared too damn much.
After about three movies Asher and I hadn't finished the pizza and half the box of brownies along with two sodas each. I was laying curved into his body my head on his chest.
"I think I like the word ferocious." I said answering his many questions. On that long list was, what's your favorite word.
"Like a lion?"
"Rawr." I laughed rubbing my thumb against his nails.
"Tomorrow is going to kill." He muttered pressing a kiss to the top of my head.
"Oh yeah?" I asked looking up at him.
"Parents enjoy the drive to Arizona. So hours on end with dad singing old Boy Scout songs." He groaned.
"It'll suck even less because I'll find that adorable." I smiled kissing the corner of his mouth. Asher's body pushed onto mine until he was hovering over me. His lips ghosting over mine happy to entice on my own. I wrapped a hand around his neck pulling him closer to me so that I could take as much control from my position as possible. His tongue licked over my lips before taking my bottom lip between his teeth. My fingers traveled through his hair tangling themselves greedily
"Do you hear that?" He asks smiling.
"If it's the cops then I assumed they'd be here sooner or later." I said as he moved to lay next to me.
"No, it's your heart." He smiles. His hand grasp mine.
"I don't hear anything." I said frowning.
"Yeah I know. It only beats for me." He said stroking my cheek and pressing his lips to mine.
"Do you hear that?" I asked running my fingers over his lips. He kissed my finger tips humming happily.
"It's the death of every cheesy person to ever live." I smiled wrapping his arm around my waist. I cuddled my face into his chest breathing in his scent. He had wrapped his jacket around me trying to create some warmth.
"You're so beautiful." He muttered chuckling.
"You're beautiful too. But in a manly way." I said awkwardly.
"Peyton Elizabeth?" He said as I slowly began to fall asleep to the smell of Asher.
"You make me happy."
SPRING BREAK IN THE BOOK IS BOUT TO HAPPEN. CUTE AF DATE.