Upside Down

Story about a girl, who's life is not perfect but is better than most, until everything starts to go wrong. Broken down love life, no job and a sudden criminal conviction for a crime she did not commit leads Nysa Brookes into the arms of a dark and mysterious stranger. Can she turn her life around before time runs out?

Note: this story is incomplete, and has not been edited due to focus on other stories. Any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.

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1. Upside Down

        For the fifth time this morning, I rubbed my noise dry and threw the tissue on the floor where the rest of them lay. I sniffled as I struggled to sit upright. A cold breeze rushed in from the window that was slightly open, but I had to deal with it. It was either that or the smell of dampness from the floorboards and walls of my unfinished and hardly furnished apartment. Gazing around the bedroom, I only now noticed the sharp nails sticking out from the floorboards as I couldn’t afford a decent carpet. The dark patches of mildew on the walls caught my eye too; and made me realise that I was living in a dump, yet I still called it my home. I got up from bed feeling ill and groggy and slipped my feet into an old and worn out pair of slippers. I trudged into the kitchen, leaving my bed in a state.

        The kitchen and living area were joint and probably only double the size of the compact bedroom. I say living area, but all that’s really there is a small armchair that I picked up from a charity shop -it’s ripped to shreds with what looks to be like cat scratches down the side but a chair’s a chair- and there is an old and poky box television with a dodgy aerial so it only has four working channels. I feel lucky just to have those. At least with the kitchen, most of it is built in so I didn’t have to buy much more. The kitchen has your average brown counters and cupboards with a microwave that doesn’t always do what you tell it to do, a stubby fridge-freezer and a small sink where only the cold tap works. There is only one noticeable thing in the kitchen and that is the gaping hole where the oven and hob should be. I ran my finger along one of the cupboards and looked away in disgust at the thick layer of grime that came off on my finger. I rubbed my finger in my jeans which I had slept in last night. Even though I was ill, I still felt quite hungry. I opened the fridge hoping for the best as I had not been out food shopping in ages. I may have had a blocked nose but, but the stench that came out of the fridge could not be missed. I batted the smell away with my hands and simultaneously scanned everything in the fridge; there wasn’t much to search. I spotted the various bottles of wine that were just waiting to be drunk. I always drowned my sorrows with alcohol, and always regretted it the next day. I pulled out a carton of milk and the strong smell hit me again. Straight away I poured the milk into the sink and it came out in thick lumps. Gagging, I quickly threw the empty carton into the bin bag that I’d tied onto one of the cupboards. I looked in all the cupboards and after a while I finally found some decent cereal that was not out of date yet. I did, however, have to eat it without any milk. I slumped down into the armchair and just as I was about to begin eating, my phone started ringing; a sound of which I was now sick of hearing. It sounded close by, so I fumbled around and found that it was buried deep within the side of the armchair.

“Hello?” I said finally; answering the phone just as it was about to ring off. I held the brick to my ear whilst picking up individual Cheerios and eating them.

“Nysa...” the person said very dryly with a hint of annoyance in his voice and I knew straight away that it was my boss.

“I’m so sorry Blake. I can’t make it in today either,” I said guiltily and sniffled for added affect. There was a long silence and then a sigh.

“I need you in tomorrow, Nysa. If you’re not, I’ll have no choice but to let you go,” he said and I could tell he was refraining from using anger and trying to be nice to me. I didn’t mind either way. I owe him a lot for not firing me these last couple of days.

“Thank you, thank you so much Blake,” I smiled and crunched on a cheerio.

“Don’t worry about it... Just don’t make me regret my decision,” he ended harshly before hanging up. I grinned happily, but realised that I was probably not going to feel better tomorrow, and that I’d have to go in tomorrow no matter what. I could barely afford rent for this apartment now. If I lost my job, the chances are that I wouldn’t be able to find another one. Not only that but I wouldn’t want to lose my job. I enjoy working as a therapist at Blake’s. I may have to work nine hours a day but it’s a good way to get to know new people and I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. Suddenly, I heard the sound of the door unlocking which pulled me back into reality.

“Hi honey,” my husband smiled and walked in carrying bags of shopping.

“Ohh Seth! You didn’t have to. You know it’s my job to do the shopping,” I said happily, getting up from the armchair to help with the bags. I was wondering where he was this morning.

“I know, I know. But I thought I’d let you relax for a change so I did it myself,” his said, his smile disappearing.

“You ok?” I asked, pulling a new carton of milk out of the bag and shoving it into the fridge. It’s a shame I’d already had my breakfast.

“Yes, it’s just... I hate seeing you like this,” he said sadly, his face looking very guilty. He probably just felt bad for leaving me when I’m ill to go visit his sick mother. But I didn’t mind at all. Seth told me that his mother had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and every now and then he would go and visit her for a few hours. He said that Mrs Airingdale didn’t like visitors, so I never came with him so I haven’t seen his mother in years. Seth doesn’t really talk about his mother that much; it must be too hard for him to handle knowing that she only has a few more months left to live. Come to think of it, Seth never really talks about his mother. He always goes silent and avoids eye contact.

“I’m fine,” I said softly and quickly pulled him into an embrace. His sandy blonde hair tickled my cheek and inhaled the strong scent of his aftershave. It only lasted a few minutes because Seth quickly pulled away. I was quite shocked but his sad face made me feel sorry for him.

“Blake rang again today. I’ll be going in to work tomorrow,” I said, breaking the tension that had been mysteriously built.

“I’ll probably end up visiting mother then,” he said, sounding rather depressed about it.

“I’d like to come with you some time. I think your mother should meet the woman you married, being as she didn’t come on our wedding day,” I said, trying to be careful not to show my eagerness of wanting to see his mother.

“I told you before! She doesn’t like visitors!” Seth snapped. I backed away from him; to give him some space as well as for my own safety. I finished putting away the groceries in an awkward silence. I still have no idea how managed to pay for all this. He hasn’t got a job and I certainly don’t earn that much money. I’m just glad he doesn’t sit around all day doing nothing; being a well built young man and being good at all sports, Seth managed to earn a scholarship at Christford University. It’s not the best university in the world but it gives him something to do. The university is only down the road so only on occasions he would spend the night there. Seth settled down into the armchair and switched on the TV. The ten o’clock news was on. Now that Seth was taking over the living room and there wasn’t anything else to do in our apartment, I decided I might as well spend the rest of the day being ill in bed with a nice cup of hot chocolate. 

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