Summer Kids

When Lucas Tweedle, leader of Left Hand Private Investigators, receives a box containing a film he hasn't seen in years, he is prompted on a road trip across miles and years. He has to save Eva Grey, the only girl that ever loved his teenage self.
She may be in the clutches of the Nemesis Crime Ring but the memories of the summer after college graduation haunt the both of them.

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4. VOWS

 

CHAPTER THREE - VOWS

EVA

A chapel. That was where she was. A series of six pews behind her, a sickening flood of blue flowers in front of her, a wooden chandelier above her, and a wooden floor below her. A cross on the wall beyond her, a fake priest in a white gown in front of her, and a man of great contempt next to her, a smirk on his lips and yellow hate in his blue eyes.

She swallowed. She didn’t want to be here. But this was better than the box. Anything was better than the box. But most people didn’t get to this point, in fact only two others had gotten to this point along with her.

A war raged below her chin but above her throat, a narrow strip of neck where a finger had been, promising her freedom and safety. She didn’t know that safety came with a chapel, and a ring, and a white dress that looked like a glorified nightgown. It had been a patronising finger along with a pair of honest eyes, who believed that kind, affectionate gestures were best in their reversed forms. The man beside her knew no bounds, and he certainly did not know what love or kindness was.

A Bible was placed in front of her, and her hand went to touch it. She knew this ritual. It had been drilled into her by the hissed words of an underling, with assurances of not going back in the box ending each and every sentence. The Nemesis Crime Ring sure did know how to lay it on thick.

The bruise on her wrist smarted from where it came into contact with the spine. Of course it had been covered by layer after layer of concealer and foundation. The dress was revealing enough to have strings for sleeves and a neckline down to the beginning of her rib cage. She also had a feeling that this dress had been worn before, something about the somewhat frayed corset, from where the white ribbons had been done and undone many times before, and the slightly mended hem told her that she wasn’t the only one.

If she was the only one then that would make it harder for her. She didn’t want to be the only one.

The words of the fake priest, who was really just an underling dressed as a priest as though it was Halloween, made her jerk. She did not want to miss her cue.

“I promise to uphold the Church, the Family and the Husband in all cases except for death. I promise to believe in the honour, sincerity and identity of the Ring. I promise to do everything that I am able, everything that I am asked for, and everything that I am destined for, during this endeavour into my next life. If I do not then I am liable through God for consequence or to the Husband for my righteousness. I swear and give up my name for the Husband and for God, to shed and then adopt a skin for the cross and for love.”

What kind of wedding vows were they?

They weren’t normal.

They called for her to give up everything she was, everything she ever would be for the man beside her.

Her hand was lifted off the Bible for a brief reprieve as the man beside her said different words, not in any way similar because he was a man, the man in fact.

“I promise to uphold the Church, the Family and the Wife in all cases except the death of her. I promise to still believe in the honour, sincerity and identity of the Ring and Family. I promise to do everything that I am able, everything that I am asked for, and everything that I am destined for under the eyes of God, until I reach his gates. I promise to ensure that the Wife upholds her duty under God, and if He does not punish her for her consequences. I swear to cherish her, to uphold our name for God, to bear this thorny crown like Jesus until He damns me or requires need of me, in the name of Love.”

Eva made herself concentrate. This was the important part, the sickening part, the part she hated.

The priest said a word, a word she didn’t dignify to listen to. This was all in the name of ‘God’ but what God would licence the behaviour of the women in the Ring? Who would justify this, any of this? Who would let this man live, stealing the air of those who didn’t maim and murder?

A ring was pushed onto a finger, a simple silver band with an inscription on the inside. She hadn’t read the inscription but she knew that it was there, pressing into her skin as though it needed to be written there permanently.

A ring was already pushed onto the man’s finger, the same ring, something different to the other two that he had on the other hand.

“You may now kiss your Husband.”

In this twisted rendition the bride did not matter, she was just a poster girl, something that warned the others that breaking meant dying and surviving meant signing your life away.

She turned, did everything she was supposed to and swallowed her tongue, her pride and her dignity. His hands pushed the veil backwards, undoing the most basic barrier that Eva had against him.

The veil was thin, more like a gauze of dollies rather than a wedding veil. She preferred it that way though because that meant that this wasn’t her proper wedding day, her wedding day would be more than this, a day where she wasn’t terrified out of her skin.

His face was near hers, in the vicinity, eyes level with hate and terror.

He didn’t give her warning, because that would be too much on his part. His lips were on hers before she wanted them to be, which would have been never if she could have it.

His lips tasted of salt and jealousy, bitter and unfitting. He tried to prise her lips open but this was the one thing that she did not allow. She had followed his rules but she would not follow this.

His contempt was shown in how he gripped her arm, in such a way that it looked innocent to the witnesses but was actually painful for her.

His finger pressed on her bruise, a warning for consenting to the unwritten rules that he had carved onto his blackened heart.

She relented for just a moment and she felt him smile on her lips. Then she was released both by hand and lips and he turned away with the smile still appearing hideous on his face.

She was pushed away, the job done and her Husband (god how she hated that name) walked away from her. She wished it had been the first time he had walked away from her and the last time, but sadly it was neither.

She was stood alone, and even the Priest had retreated, a married bride that was less than nothing, with only her memories to provide comfort for her.

“How did you find that test?” a girl asked her in a bathroom that had phrases like Scott’s Slut and Beauty Queen on the walls.

How did the girl think it had gone? Eva was in a girl’s bathroom crying mascara tears, paper towels stuck to her face with imaginary glue just to hide how flushed and swollen her cheeks had gotten.

Her test had went terrible and she hated failing. God what would her father say?

Eva just looked at the girl with a glare.

“I thought it was alright, the first question was a godsend.” The girl just kept going, untying her hair to make it frame her face in what she thought was fashionable. In any lighting she looked a lot better than Eva did, with blotched cheeks, swollen eyes and brown fuzz for hair.

The girl was patronising, so much so that Eva threw her paper towels down onto the sinks with viciousness. The girl got the picture but rolled her eyes.

“God aren’t you a diva,” now she was moving onto her makeup, touching up her lip gloss to make her lips shine like the Hollywood sign.

Eva was going to hit her. She knew it in the way that the anger flooded her veins, replacing the stone cold terror and sadness.

“Eva there you are.”

The voice of her best friend was startling. Not because it belonged to Lucas Tweedle but because it was there, in the girls bathroom.

“A boy should not be in the ladies bathroom!” the other girl shrieked using her lip gloss as though it was a knife in between her and the other boy.

“We both know that there’s been many boys in these toilet’s Sasha.”

Her best friend’s voice was in a deadpan and the girl – who now Eva knew by name – huffed, stuffing her makeup into a pink bag before storming past the rugby star.

You couldn’t say that rugby did nothing for Lucas’s shoulders.

“You shouldn’t be in the girls bathroom Lucas,” Eva muttered, wetting a paper towel and placing it on her eyes to try and get the swelling to go down. No way was she walking through college like that and thank god she hadn’t worn makeup besides mascara that day.

“You shouldn’t be in here too,” Lucas was by her side in a few seconds, an arm wrapped around her shoulder as he removed the paper towel on her eyes, “You wouldn’t have done that badly.”

“I botched it Luc, I totally blanked and the only time I got something was in the last five minutes, when there wasn’t enough time to actually do anything about it.”

Damn exams for making her so stressed that she could burst.

“So what if you have botched it, you’re taking four A-levels for god sake, you’re a warrior for just doing that.” Lucas was unwavering in his praise for her and she couldn’t help but lean into him for stability.

“I only took four for that scholarship and they won’t take me unless I get all four A’s or above.”

It was preposterous how high the stakes were these days, and you would’ve thought that she would have been going to Oxford University or something, but she wasn’t.

“Then so what, that University isn’t good enough for you. But you’ve smashed it, I know you have because you’re my Smarty Pants, the only one capable of tutoring me and for that you’re frankly amazing.”

Lucas made her look at him rather than the mirror showing her distressed form.

“I know you, and you’ve done alright. Even so the world doesn’t end here, it would be awful if I spent my last day in a girl’s bathroom not doing unsavoury things.”

The quip made her laugh instead of cry and Lucas knew that she had been hooked by his charm.

They spent a few more minutes in the bathroom making her look ready to face the student body and then they walked out with arms wrapped around each other.

“How about we do that road trip you’ve been asking for this summer?” Lucas asked turning his face to look at her properly.

“Hell yeah, I knew you would change your mind.”

 

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