Borders and Barriers

"He made her into a crashlander who was seeing reality for the first time, and she was happy to plummet."
When someone hears the name Emelia Archer they think of the Instagram famous trendsetter, the daughter of Archer Enterprises, and the one who crashed herself into a scandal.
When someone hears the name Jackson Andrews they go...huh? Then they think of the art-loving boy, the one who stayed in the shadows for the fun of it.
Push those two opposites together and you've got a story, maybe not a love story, but a story nonetheless.

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Author's note

New chapters coming from October 1st 2018
AA

3. Messes are children.

 

Chapter Three

 

Messes are children.

Made out of fingerprints

And curiosity.

Dealt with backward glances

And bitten fingernails.

Ignored profusely

Until someone gets berated.

Or until they become messes

Themselves.

 

Emelia.

She hadn’t slept since she had first arrived at the cabin. She hadn’t allowed herself to, nor did she particularly want to. When Jackson had stormed off after she had hurled a final insult, of which it was at least she could get someone to even touch her, she had picked up the thrown magazines. Her face was reflected on every single one of them. At least one cover showed a good picture of her, a gig she had for West London Photography last year, but the other three showed either a wrecked limousine or a wrecked Emelia. Her brain sobered at the sight of delirious eyes lined in streaks and smears of eyeshadow and eyeliner.

Was that what she looked like on that night?

She looked like a hot mess, and not even a purposefully put together one.

She sighed and manoeuvred herself onto the sofa, flicking through the glossy pages. The bright headlines pierced her brain as they hurled insults at her, much like what she and Jackson had just done to each other.

Being drunk and staying out late had done this to her. Made her into a tornado of ugly messes. When had the parties went from nights to remember to spotty and then blacked-out mornings? She chucked the magazines away from her, the pages nearly scolding her fingers with the harsh words printed on their pages.

She stayed on the sofa watching as the darkness lightened into inky, murky morning. Finally, when dawn arrived she took out her phone and watched as the fake shutter sound captured the pastel clouds showing through the windows. The one thing that the cabin was good for was that the main room had glass French doors which allowed for great scenery when the curtains were pulled back.

Opening the Instagram app she ignored the hundreds of notifications, she didn’t need to check them to know that they were either messages about the incident or her absence on social media. Since the public statement, she had been MIA and it was only now that she noticed that her feed was entirely made up of party scene aesthetic or selfies.

Every square photograph was filtered with at least a dozen hashtags and a witty comment. But this day demanded change. She had to be more than drunken messes and mistakes.

She uploaded the photograph of colourful clouds, forgoing a filter and captioned it with a vague statement.


No doubt E-News UK would report that within the hour. Express News about the ambiguity of Emelia Archer; the girl that had gone rogue.

 

Jackson.

He was alone in the house again. It was afternoon, and he had only been up for an hour or so, but he knew. He knew in his gut that Emelia was no longer there, the house seemed too quiet for that. It was a couple of days after the argument and the pair had not said a word to one another. There were a few moments where mouths were opened as words threatened to spill out, but other than that Emelia had been going out a lot.

Jackson was going stir crazy. He didn’t have a roof to escape to here. Back at his flat, he used the roof as a garden to grow herbs, to paint and to meditate. The roof was the only outside environment that he could stand. But he didn’t have that here. He had the cabin and the porches, and the hot tub. But with Emelia here he couldn’t access it the way he wanted to.

But Emelia was going out more and more, to where Jackson didn’t know but she didn’t come back with a man or smelling of alcohol. He meanwhile had never left the cabin since he had first arrived. He hated the outdoors and being in Trinity was not going to change that.

He sighed, rubbing toast crumbs off of his sketchbook. The pages were full of miscellaneous things, like fruit bowls and plants and horses. He was bored okay, and his mind wandered to odd things.

He felt his pyjama pants vibrate. It took him approximately fifty seconds to realise that he had his phone in the pocket.

Michael, the caller ID said. Michael was their youngest brother and probably the most poised out of any of them. He wanted to be a journalist and so was immersed into the media coverage and advertising side of Andrews Incorporated.

“What’s up, bro?” Jackson chewed around his last piece of toast, the jam dripping onto his chest. He muffled a curse as he wiped it up.

“Have you been a hermit or a show pony?”

“I don’t know what that is meant to mean?”

His brother was blunt at the best of times despite the three years difference between himself and Michael.

“I’m taking that as hermit then,” Michael sighed and the sound of him gulping echoed through the phone, “So you haven’t seen the cryptic post Emelia Archer posted on Instagram the other day?”

“She posted something?” For a minute Jackson had to allow his brain time to reboot and come back online.

“Something about dawns and stuff, the media are all over it trying to track her down and decipher what it means. It’s not the worst thing she could do but the contract said that radio silence was required for the first month. It’s been a week Jack.”

Fuck the contract that was what Jackson thought about it.

“You know how I hate that name,” he groaned, “and you know that I can’t control what Emelia Archer does Michael.”

“Well, the contract says that you can so you better do it before Mr Archer blows a gasket.” Michael was the only one who still called him Mr Archer, he had done it ever since he was five and he wasn’t letting go of the habit now.

“Aren’t you going to ask how my time in Trinity is?” Jackson was exasperated and desperate for a change in conversation.

“I know how it is, I’ve been to that cabin more times in my college days to know what it’s like. I also know that you’ll probably spend the whole three months solely in the cabin just to spite mom so just know that its lakes and trees, with one sort of good bar.”

“I’m not doing it just to spite mom—“

“Just go outside Jack, the air pollution won’t kill you just yet.”

The phone clicked off with another gulp and a huff. Jackson huffed himself and tore a narrow strip off of his sketchbook. Using a pen he wrote a note to Emelia, the first words exchanged to her in days.

Your parents aren’t happy with you. Can it or cool it. It may have been childish but it was to the point and sort of witty.

He went back to trying to meditate to try to calm the storms of his mind. It probably wouldn't work but he could try. He put the storms down to Emelia and her chaotic ways.

 

Emelia.

She spent her days running. She went around the lakes and made sure to avoid the bar at all costs, if she went near it she would be tempted to drink again and she would most likely run into that guy again. God, she sounded like a recovering alcoholic.

Her feet pounding against the leafy ground calmed her down, distracted her mind just enough for her to be able to move forwards and not rapidly backwards.

She was near the town's sign, and it looked pathetic, what looked like flaky paint on something that looked like washed up driftwood. A laugh huffed out of her exhausted lungs as she hunched over with her hands braced on her knees.

“Hey, aren’t you new here?” A voice echoed and Emelia span around. A teenager was sat on a nearby tree stump, a beanie pulled just above her eyes and a single earbud poking out of one studded ear.

“Eh, maybe.”

Her words were clipped and awkward, halted by her tired lungs.

“You’re staying in the Andrews Cabin,” she said, standing just to be nearer to Emelia, “Or as soon people view it, ‘The Cute Boys Cabin.’”

“The Cute Boys Cabin?”

“Yeah, every summer for a couple of years a gang of cute boys, mainly Michael Andrews, came to Trinity to skinny dip and play pranks on this tiny blip of a town, are you going to do the same with the unseen Andrew?”

Jackson had never been out so they must have assumed that it was either Michael or someone else.

“Maybe, maybe not.”

“We love getting new people and the Andrews, they bring so much fun to the party.” Silence interrupted the teenager as she hugged her arms around her middle. Her face then scrunched together as a light bulb came to fruition, “Do I recognise you, maybe I’ve seen you about on social media?”

Panic rose in Emelia’s chest like a climbing plant, rising to critical levels and breaching all the walls she had built.

“I must have a recognisable face.” She uttered and spluttered out a few incoherent words, making her excuses to leave.

"You're-" the teenager said but Emelia couldn't hear it. She turned on her tail and ran like a bat out of hell if there actually were bats flying about in the depths of hell.

Panic ran like a runaway and climbed into all the crevices she had tried so hard to fill with indifferent like cement.

She ran with pounding steps back to the cabin. She was recognised. Teenagers had the power. Once one word got out of her mouth it would spread like a mass forest fire and destroy her, and every kind of change that she had hoped to make.

Her parents would be angry.

The paparazzi would storm Trinity.

It would be a field day and another social disaster would be caused by her.

In her haste to get to the bathroom, she knocked into Jackson who was meditating in the main room.

“Hey,” he said in offence but Emelia didn’t register it.

She was in the bathroom before she knew it, slamming the door desperately behind her. Her disjointed face reflected back at her through the mirror. Panicked. Afraid. Sweaty. Utterly and definitely broken in a fractured way.

Jackson was banging on the door, “What’s going on?! Emelia!”

She ignored him. Desperately trying to rearrange her face into something sensible. It wasn’t working. She wasn’t working.

Shaking fingers found the medicine cabinet, the silver scissors on the middle drawer. The handles made circular dents in her fingers as she raised them to the hair just below her chin. She studied her face for a moment and then cut, the strands of hair floating like feathers down onto the white porcelain. She kept cutting, the motion making her reflection more disjointed, but making the creeping panic crawl back down her walls.

Emelia made herself into a clown, a bob cut coming just below her chin with bangs framing her face. She didn’t recognise her broken reflection. That was a good thing.

Trembling fingers pushed the cut strands into the wastebasket and then washed the tiny strands left down the plug hole. The scissors were left on the sink as she unlocked the door and rushed past Jackson seeking the foreign safety of her room.

“Hey,” Jackson was shouting, reaching out for her, “Emelia!”

She was too quick. The click of the lock on her door and the slam against the frame registered the lingering panic in her chest.

Jackson banged on this door instead of the bathroom one. 

She vomited in the wastebasket in her room. The safety of the room making the bile climb instead of the panic. She felt better afterwards and slumped against her bed. Why was it that she took one step forward and two hundred steps back with a few words, a single action?

Why was life like this?

It was only then that she noticed the white note just a few paces from her door.

When she read the words she grimaced but the panic retreated further back, like soldiers behind enemy lines.

Uncertain fingers, but not trembling fingers nevertheless, wrote back.

I prefer to bask in the sun but not get a sunburn. Read it and weep sucker.

 

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