Hard » Michael Phelps

"Why are you doing this to me? Did you just forget everything we had?" "No. I tried, but it's just too hard." ©PhelpsFeels, Copyright 2016

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4. III|Clarisse

"Um, so what's your name?"

Silence.

"Um, hello?"

I just frowned even more. I felt extremely exposed, not necessarily unsafe, but just plain uncomfortable, riding shotgun with a complete stranger. Even if I tried to put up a fight (and I'm not saying that I didn't, because I did), he could easily squish me between his thumb and forefinger. The car was moving along at a normal speed, abandoning the allies and dark roads.

See, I wasn't exactly a tall person, I was barely 5'4" when I last measured when I was twelve. A wave of nostalgia consumed me, and I could bet that I hadn't grown more than 4 more inches since then, judging by the almost-unnoticeable change of length in my battered grotesque jeans.

So I refused to cave in to his attempts at arising a conversation.

God, he was pissing me off.

"C'mon, please!" he begged once again.

I rolled my eyes at him, eying the calming scenery of much grander houses. I internally sighed, seeing as those had always been my dream homes.

He just parked the car in return, and completely rotated in his seat to face me.

"Look, if we're going to be living together, you have to at least tell me your name. Just so we won't be complete strangers. Consider it repaying the favor. Please," he gave me those puppy eyes and, no, I actually could resist, easily too, but I was simply sick of his constant whining.

"Ugh, fine! My name's Clarisse Dimitrovich and to save you from asking another goddamn question, I am 27, turning 28 sometime soon. Happy now?"

He smiled a geniune smile before restarting the car.

"My name's Michael Phelps. I've just turned 31, so I am older than you, and that means you should respect me," he eyed me smugly.

"Eyes on the freaking road," I grumbled.

"We're here anyways."

My jaw literally dropped as I eyed the house we had parked in front of.

It was a three-storey house, with a massive front yard housing an ancient looking willow tree that was trembling in the light breeze. The backyard was nicely sized, with delicate flowers ranging from pansies and roses to daffodils and lillies. The white patio was huge, and I wistfully thought about our old house back in the early 90's.

The house itself was painted a light baby blue, and the roof was white. The surrounding neighborhood consisted of only a few dozen houses stretched over a couple of streets, and it was completely unpolluted. I had never inhaled such clear and distilled air before. It was magnificently simple.

I was afraid to enter, looking like the ragamuffin I was. I was scared to taint it, and become unwelcomed.

Michael got out of the car and came to my side, opening the door for me. Manners, I would say.

I made it to the front door, and tentatively placed a brown filthy hand on the handle.

His gentle and patient smile encouraged me to enter.

I was shocked. The place's interior design was wonderful. It was very colorful too, judging from the red and blue living room.

I whipped around quickly, and the words escaped my mouth before I could catch them.

"Are you rich?"

"I-I guess.. erm.. yeah, I-I am," he said, obviously flustered by the question.

"Sorry," I apologized quickly, earning a nonchalant shrug.

I realized that moment that he was filthy rich, if anything. The couch, the rocking chair, the 52" plasma curved TV, they all screamed '$$$$'. And at that moment, I decided that I was to make myself at home. This hospitality was not going to last long, once he discovers my past, so I had to enjoy it while it lasts, in order to make up for the past 15 years.

Rich people took away my life, and rich people were going to give it back.

I wandered around aimlessly, careful not to touch anything. I could barely even remember how to use most of that stuff.

I turned around to face Michael, but was greeted with cold air from the central AC. I frowned, and wondered were he could've possibly gone.

I looked to my right, and there lay a delicately carved wooden staircase, embedded with a sky blue carpet all the way up, and Michael soon came pattering down, holding a lot of stuff in his hands.

He walked over and handed me a white tank top, a red and black checkered flannel, a pair of black leggings, and the exact same Converse that I was wearing, only this one didn't look like it was straight of the dumpster. He also quickly almost-shoved in my face matching black lace and cotton bra and underwear.

"I found these in my ex-girlfriend's room. You can have that one, and her clothes are probably the same size as yours, so it won't be much of a problem. Her-erm, your room is upstairs, second door on the right, the one with the blue door," he said, jerking his head upward.

I looked at the clothes for a few seconds, scared to dirty them, before sending him a slither of a smile.

"And, erm.. about the..err, u-underwear, you will find some other clean ones in her nightstand drawer, before we can go shopping for more," he scratched his neck. God, he was an awkward guy.

I nodded, finding no reason to be embarrassed. I mean, it's just freaking underwear.

"Where's the bathroom?" I asked with a slight blush, not able to stand my stench any longer in such a dainty home.

"Upstairs, first door to the left, that's yours, you'll find anything in the cabinet, toiletries, towels, and erm, other stuff," he blushed darkly, "Mine is right in front of it, and my bedroom is also directly facing yours. Game room is at the end of the hallway, and the third floor has only the attic, and I haven't been there for years. I'm scared to go up and find my Gran's spirit haunting me or something," he laughed, but it didn't quite reach his eyes.

"I assume the kitchen is to the right down here, and the sitting room is facing the dining room on the left."

He looked dumbfounded, "How did you know that?!"

"Well, seeing that I can see the open door to the sitting room and dining table, it was pretty easy. And you left a hell lot of crumbs leading to the kitchen. 'T only made sense," I shrugged.

He nodded.

"I'll be down here watching TV. If anything happens, just holler," he waved, before flopping on the red couch, kicking off his white sneakers, and pulling up his hoodie over his neatly trimmed brown hair.

I made my way upstairs, still careful not to come in contact with anything other than the steps. Pictures decorated the house, and I could easily say that they were all family members, judging from the fact that they all looked so much alike.

I walked into the bathroom, and it was larger than my old house's bathroom. It was adourned with blue and white mosaic tiles, a shower, a large marble sink, a silver delicate mirror, a white cabinet occupied the far left corner, while the other corner was taken up by a massive jacuzzi bathtub.

I hung up my new clothes-God, it felt so weird to say that- behind the door after shutting it closed. I grabbed the shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel from the cabinet. I wiggled out of my clothes, threw them with a look of disdain in the white trashcan, and stepped into the water I had turned on in the shower. It felt great. The water cascading down my neck, washing away the grime, the droplets falling away with dirst relaxing my muscles. I untangled my filthy hair, watching black and yellow dirt fall down the drain as a result. I scrubbed my hair clean with the kiwi shampoo, before smoothing out further tangles using the conditioner. I grabbed a loofah from the hanger above the shower, lathered it with shower gel, and scrubbed my skin clean so hard that it turned red and raw.

As soon as I felt clean, I stepped out and turned off the silver shower knobs, grabbed a much needed shaver and cream, and started on my legs. God, I looked like a gorilla. In about fifteen minutes, I was done with my arms, legs, and under armpit. Then, I sprayed deodorant (also from the cabinet) and got dressed. The underwear was really too big for me, but the clothes were just right, like Michael had said.

As soon as I felt clean enough I made my way to my new room. It just felt so absurd saying that.

Finally, I had a roof above my head.

Going to the dresser, I found a lot of makeup. A lot as in, so much makeup I could manage to pull off the cake look. I just brushed through my hair, tied it up in a really messy bun (I really didn't care how I looked), and just applied a thin layer of pale pink lipgloss, just to feel like a girl again. Without giving my mirror another glance, I looked around the room. A king-sized dark blue bed was in the middle (Michael sure seemed to have a thing with blue), a computer was beside the white nightstand, a desk was on the other side, decorated with bookshelves on the white walls, and a large TV was in front of the bed. The dresser was the only thing near the door, opposite the gigantic wardrobe.

I would explore later. Right now, I wanted to just lay downstairs.

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