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Lewis lay on his back, staring at the ceiling, his hand lightly running along the length of Emily’s spine as she slept, her loose blonde curls cascading across his broad chest. The morning was no different to any other, Lewis had woken early, his mind going over case studies for his marketing exam, slowly fading to ones of his personal future. He glanced down and brushed a few stray strands of hair from Emily’s pale face and placed a chaste kiss on her head. Smiling to himself, Lewis’s chest filled with warmth and satisfaction, over the last few months he had learned to love Emily in every way imaginable and there was only one thing left to do in his mind. He lay silently, ideas running through his head faster than he could make sense of them, his fingers slowly lacing through Emily’s hair as he watched her peaceful state.
Their flight left for his mothers in a few hours, and the idea of spending the evening with his rude and inconsiderate brother turned his stomach. Lewis was glad to have flown the nest and cut his brother out to the best of his ability, even though it meant not spending time with his father before he died, it was still the right decision for him. James’s behaviour had always been on the thin line of the law and Lewis wasn’t prepared to take the risk of being dragged into it anymore.
Lewis was unsure how much time had passed before Emily finally awoke, the corners of his lips twitched into a smile as her dark eyes fluttered open. She returned the smile sleepily, leaning up she placed a lingering kiss on his lips before settling back down against his chest, a finger circling the faded scar on his chest. “Can I ask you something?” Lewis muttered softly, Emily knitted her brow questioningly “I don’t want you to say anything until I’ve finished.” she nodded, confusion playing behind her eyes. “Over the last few months I really have fallen in love with you. Don’t get me wrong I’ve always loved you but I really fallen. I love the way you look first thing in a morning, the way you pout when I won’t turn over to your soaps when I’m watching a game, the way you always know what I want, the way you get stressed over small things like washing powder, the way you chew your bottom lip when you’re thinking, the way you tap your nails against your teeth when you’re nervous.” Lewis sighed, “The way, the way you push me into relaxing when I deny needing it. Everything about you intrigues me and makes me fall for you even more. I know we have problems, but what couple doesn’t? I know no matter what life throws at us we can make it through. I want to feel you sleeping next to me every night and wake up with you every day for the rest of my life. I want you there when I’m old and grey and have no control over my bowels.” he smirked as Emily wrinkled her nose, “I want to be with you completely. Emily, marry me?”
Emily giggled into her hand as she knelt up and stared down into Lewis’s eyes.
“You have clearly been watching far too many chick flicks, but yes I’ll marry you, you big dork.”
There was a warm breeze as Dean and Abby strolled along the beach hand in hand, they had removed their shoes and socks and the sand was comforting as it sunk beneath their steps. Abby sighed contentedly as she gazed out at the Ocean, the pink sun slowly sinking into its calm current as it lapped against the shore. Dean watched the expression on Abby’s face, filling his heart with more warmth than he’d ever felt before, a smile playing on his lips. Abby turned and smiled at him shyly, falling into a sea of green as she stared into Dean’s eyes, Dean held the gaze and leant down, placing a chaste kiss upon her lips. Pulling away Dean smiled and shrugged off his jacket, Abby’s hand suddenly felt cold as he slipped his out to place his jacket on the soft sand below them. Dean motioned for her to sit and Abby complied sitting on the edge of his leather jacket, as Dean sat next to her. Dean sat, wiggling his toes in the sand, his hands resting on his knees, Abby slipped her arm through his, resting her head on his shoulder, watching the sun continue to fall. Dean placed a lingering kiss on the top of Abby’s forehead as she nuzzled against him.
They sat in silence, heads resting against each other until the sun had disappeared from sight. Dean lifted his head and pulled his arm from Abby’s grasp, slowly turning his body to face her, Abby frowned and looked questioningly at him. Dean slowly licked his lips and edged forwards, closing his eyes as his lips met Abby’s. Abby eased her body closer to Dean’s feeling a blanket of warmth wrap around her as he wrapped his arms around her, gently lowering her down until they lay side by side, half on Dean’s jacket, half on the sand. Abby blushed as Dean gazed into her sparkling hazel eyes, a gentle hand reaching up to brush her soft red hair out of her face. His hand lingering against her cheek, he placed another soft kiss against her lips and allowed his tongue to ask for entry. Abby parted her lips slightly, feeling Dean’s tongue run along her bottom lip, it amazed her after so long how he still always asked permission.
Dean’s head whirled with emotion, as he kissed Abby, every time he kissed her it was always like the first time, the intoxicating scent of her perfume mingled with her own amazing smell, the softness of her lips, the silkiness of her hair. “I love you.” Dean murmured quietly opening the gap between their faces slightly and losing himself in her eyes again. Abby search the emeralds in front of her and saw love and comfort within, sending comforting shivers through her.
“I love you too.” Abby responded nervously. She knew Dean loved her but he had never said the words before, the snug feeling inside her chest growing, as Dean continued to keep the eye contact, running his fingers lightly over her bare arm. Abby leant in and kissed him again, pushing him onto his back to deepen the kiss herself, feeling the safety of his arms wrap around her again.
Hours seemed to pass before Abby pulled away and rested her head against Dean’s chest listening to the steady beating of his heart. She trailed her finger along Dean’s ruffled t-shirt, deep in thought, as Dean ran his hand soothingly along her back, staring at the stars.
Dean blinked as he opened his eyes, the sun was beginning to rise behind them and Dean gasped, they’d spent all night on the beach. Glancing down he saw Abby motionless on his chest, a feeling of home washing over him, he leant up and kissed her head, gently easing her off him. He stretched as he stood up, releasing the aches and cramps that had crept over him during the night. He watch Abby sleeping peacefully on his jacket before scrawling words in the sand.
Sitting back down next to Abby he watched the Ocean crash against the rocks in the distance until he felt Abby stirring next him. Abby smiled seeing Dean’s face staring down at her and scrunched her face together removing the rest of her sleep filled daze, Dean motioned towards the sand in front of her, frowning Abby sat up and stared at the words embedded in the yellow sands. She nodded and turned to Dean, throwing her arms around him kissing him. A feeling of completion drifting over both of them.
The wheels of her car spun as Chloe sped out of the car park, heading for the coastal road. The storm raging around her, making it harder to see through her own tears. The reopened gash on her head stung with her own sweat as a reminder of what she had to do.
The waves crashed against the side of the jagged cliffs, spraying their foamy mist onto the car as she slammed on the brakes, the drop below looming inches away in the darkness. Her hand hovered over the parking brake as her foot pushed against the gas, the sound of the engine drowning out the roar of the waves. Shaking, she killed the engine. Then resting her head on the steering wheel, she sighed heavily and sniffed, as she tried to pull her racing thoughts together.
Clambering out of the car she fell to her knees and peered down at the brutal ocean below. She swallowed the lump in her throat and buried her head in her hands, arguing with herself not to do it, not to jump. Her body shook with unfettered emotion. Throwing her arms wide open, she screamed into the ebony sky, her body calming with release as the seconds passed.
The tears eventually slowed and she sniffled again, wiping her nose on her sleeve and rubbing a hand over her eyes. She pushed her damp, blonde hair back from her face as she stood then took a step back from the cliff. “If you wanna disappear Chlo, you gotta do it.” she mumbled to herself with a heavy sigh.
Leaning into the car and pulling the gearshift into neutral she pushed the car toward the sharp edge of the cliff. As it went over, she watched it tumble and crash onto the jagged rocks below before being engulfed by the black, angry waves.
The bass beat swam through Chloe’s bloodstream as the smoky, melodic voice of the man on stage drifted across the room. Her body swayed with the crowd, her green eyes hiding, lost in the world of song. The words drifting through her seemingly lifting her higher into the air.
Her eyes fluttered open as the song ended, the stage lights temporarily blinding her. Turning her back to the stage, she made her way to the bar at the back of the room.
“What I can I get for ya?” the bartender asked as she slumped against the bar.
“Jack straight up.” she slid her money towards the bartender and smiled before downing her drink in two long gulps. The dark, bitter liquid burned its way down into her stomach. As the band started up again she felt a hand on her shoulder. Jumping at the sudden connection, Chloe’s head snapped to glare at the intruder. Her face softened seeing the man before her.
“Christ you look like shit!”
“Why, thank you Jay, I shall always come to you for compliments from now on.” she giggled, and pulled him down into a hug.
“And so you should.” Jason smiled beneath his beard “What you doing here? I thought you were with Nathan tonight?”
“I was. We had an argument and I left.”
“Wanna talk about it?”
“Nah, it’s nothing new, it’ll all be roses again by tomorrow.”
“Hmmm, why don’t I believe you this time?”
“Believe it Sasquatch, everything’s fine. Always has been, always will be.” she said giving him the biggest smile she could force.
“You wanna come sit backstage and keep me company?”
“No thanks, I’m cool out here, I’ll come back when Ry’s finished.”
“All right, your choice, I‘ll just go be bored.” he sighed.
“Stay! Come on, like old times.”
“Best not, I think I’ve already been spotted.” he said nodding in the direction of a group of whispering girls.
“Fine. Go be boring. I’ll catch you later.” She hugged him again, making sure the group of girls saw and kissed him lightly on the lips. Jason laughed and ruffled her hair as he left. She felt tears prickling in her eyes and searched for the nearest exit from the bar.
The night air was warm and fresh as the rain began to die down. Leaning against the wall, Chloe lit her cigarette as the sounds of the rushing traffic and the soulful bass danced around her in the breeze.
She froze at the sound of her cell phone in her pocket, its sharp chirping blaring loudly over the other sounds but she ignored it, not wanting to speak to Nathan. It was only him who could be calling. Dropping her half smoked cigarette on the floor, she pushed her way back into the bar. Her heart was thumping in her ears, her stomached knotted suddenly and painfully as she opened the door to the back of the stage.
“Sorry, no fans allowed.” a stern looking security guard boomed over the music.
“Do I look like an overweight thirty something wannabe teeny bopper?” Chloe snarled.
“I can’t let you in I’m afraid.”
“Where’s Jay? Christ I’ve known Ryan my whole life. And who are you? Why isn’t Marcus on the door?”
“Curtis, it’s fine. Let her in, she’s with me.” Jason chuckled from a door way in the corridor. Curtis stepped aside as Chloe barged past.
“Where the hell did he come from? And where is Marcus?”
“He quit a couple of weeks ago.” he explained handing her a beer as she dropped onto the couch, wrinkling her nose at the sight of the peeling paint and faded band posters on the wall.
“And you’re only just telling me this now?”
“Wow down little lady, someone’s PMSing tonight.”
“I do not have PMS, I’m just pissed at Nate.”
“Chlo, tell me honestly, why are you still with him? All you ever do is fight.”
“Because I love the jackass. Besides if we didn’t fight there’d be no passion.” Chloe smirked as she picked at the label on her beer bottle.
“What happened to your face?”
“Had a fight with wall rack.”
“You seriously need to learn about spatial awareness you’re more accident prone than a toddler.”
“Again with the compliments. Can we talk about something else? Like how‘s things going with -”
“Yo, yo, yo bitches.” Ryan grinned as he threw the door open.
“Ry you ain’t no gangster.”
“Oh and you so are Miss Chloe, with all your bitchin‘ war wounds?”
“Shut up asshole. You‘re a white boy from Hawaii who wears cowboy boots and sings love songs for a living. You couldn’t be any further away from the hood.”
“Come here and give me some love then.” Chloe rolled her eyes as she rose from the couch. She felt her body melt against Ryan’s solid form as he wrapped his arms around her, resting his head on hers. Taking a deep breath she bit back the tears that threatened again, and clung to the back of his shirt. “What’s wrong?” Ryan’s voice was soft and warm as he spoke.
“Nathan and I had another stupid fight and he just hit a few nerves.” she muttered into his chest.
“I think he hit a more than a few.” Ryan said pushing her away from him, Chloe dipped her head, not wanting him to see her upset. “So ya argue with Nate and make out with my man in the middle of my gig, to feel better?” She let out a small laugh and blushed, looking over her shoulder at Jason. “She tell you anythin’ cheater?”
“Nope, just that they had a fight, nothing out of the blue, and baby, you know there’s no one but you.” Jason said absently, burying his head in the latest issue of Vanity Fair.
“Come on, sit, tell Uncle Ryan all about what the jerk’s done now.” Chloe curled into the corner of the couch, wiping away the lines of mascara from her cheeks. She breathed out slowly.
“We got into another dumbass fight, about how we never see each other, how I’m not Donna Reed, the usual.” she drew her knees up and buried her face in her knees. “I ended up throwing a lamp at his head and walked out. He told me never to come back, if I left.”
“Babe, he didn’t mean it. He never does. He’ll be over it by morning.” Ryan smiled and squeezed her hand.
“I know, I just don’t know if I can live like this any longer. Yeah we’ve always argued but lately it’s all the time. And there’s no joking tone in his voice anymore, he constantly sounds frustrated and angry. Why can’t I be the perfect girlfriend? It‘s all my fault.”
“None of this is your fault. Chlo look, you and Nathan have always had the same stupid fights since you were teenagers. You both have faults. Your temper and his general stupidity. Everyone knows you guys are forever. We all have bad times.”
“Even you and Jay?”
“Even me and Jay, sometimes I just wanna shoot him in the head.” Ryan said, biting his lip and pointing his fingers at Jason’s hand. “Bang!”
“You’re just saying that.” Chloe huffed, raising her head.
“Come on Jay man, back me up here. Tell her about the last fight we had.”
“You’re on your own Ry. You know she never listens to me.” Jason said raising his hands.
“That’s not true. I listened to you when it came to my prom dress.” Chloe smiled through watery eyes.
“Oh yeah how could I forget? Once in the last eight years I’ve known you.”
“That prom dress was the worst fashion mistake you ever made.” Ryan laughed “For a gay guy your fashion taste stinks, dude.”
“Oh, because yours is so much better with your floral shirt, flares, and tan boots.”
“Shut up bitch,” Ryan snarled throwing an empty plastic cup at him, “I just had girls jumpin’ over each other to get closer to me.”
“If only they knew they went home with the fashion police over there.” Chloe smirked.
“Leave my homie alone bitch, just ‘cause he dresses like a European tramp don’t mean he needs dissin‘.”
“Ok, that’s it. I’m going for a smoke.” Jason stood up and headed for the door.
“Laters.” Ryan said with a dismissive hand. “So what are you gonna do about Nathan?”
“I can’t go back, not this time. I can’t do it anymore.”
“Do you love the guy?”
“Of course I do, but it’s not the same anymore. Love just doesn’t seem to be enough. I know our relationship has always been volatile but it’s not what I want any more. All the arguing, it‘s just not what I want. He can‘t accept me for me and I can‘t accept him for who he is either, no matter how much I want to. I‘ve tried to change, tried to be what he wants but it‘s just not me. I‘m not housewife material. I want to be looked after not criticized for being independent.”
“You wanna come stay with me and Jay for a bit? Clear your head?”
“No I think I’m gonna head down to Texas, go see Steve and Aimee. I think I need a break. If Nathan gets in touch, you haven’t seen me, ok?”
“Anythin’ you say sweet cheeks.”
“Thank you for everything Ry. I love you, don’t ever forget that.” Chloe mumbled, hugging him tightly.
“Why are you makin’ this sound like I ain’t gonna see you again?”
“I’ll text you when I land in the Lone Star State.” She said brushing off Ryan’s question. Kissing him on the cheek she grabbed her bag and left without another look.
Jacob stared into the mirror of the medicine cabinet, his pale, gaunt reflection looking back. Dead blue eyes, month old stubble, unruly curls of hair.
Letting out a disgruntled groan, he threw open the cabinet door, the small opaque brown sitting before him, freedom.. Snatching it from its hiding place he popped the cap and shut the door.
“Here’s to happily ever after,” he mumbled at his reflection and lifted the bottle before throwing it to his lips. He shook the bottle, waiting for the contents to fall into his mouth. He frowned as he saw through the bottom of the bottle, and threw it against the tiled wall.
“Do you really think I’d be dumb enough to leave them lying around? You’ve been moping around my house for months, you think I hadn’t thought of everything you might try to do?” Jacob glanced at the reflection that had appeared in the mirror.
“Screw you Riley.”
“Is it really what you want? To end it all? To be a coward?” Riley asked leaning against the door frame.
“And why the hell not? It’s gotta be better than living like this.”
“Oh boohoo, Jacob’s hurting so he’s gonna be all emo about it. Why don’t you grow a pair and get over it?”
Jacob grinded his teeth, scowling at his friend.
“Don’t give me that look, you’re not as threatening as you think you are big guy,” he chuckled.
“I’m going to the pub,” Jacob spat and barged past him, his face flushed with anger and upset.
Yeah that’s it, drink yourself into a coma. it’s been three months! Seriously you need to get over it.”
Jacob ignored the comment from his friend as he shrugged on his jacket. When Riley could hold a relationship down past two weeks then maybe he would listen to his advice. He knew he meant well, but life wasn’t that easy. Some things couldn’t just be discarded and forgotten.
I need another hit like the devil needs souls. I feel it burnin’ deep inside me. Screamin’ like a spoilt child. My body shakin’, kist in this new lucid state. My mind goin’ crazy, thoughts whirrin’ round my head, inside my skull, shoutin’ at me to take some more. My legs ache from pacin’ up and down, I feel like I’ve walked a thousand miles in the last day. My eyes are heavy from a lack of sleep catchin’ up on me, unable to rest my mind long enough to let the sandman do his job. The first twenty-four hours they said would be the hardest, my arse they are. It’s been forty-two hours and twelve minutes and I feel as though my body is about to explode, I’ve never wanted it so bad. I never thought for a minute that I’d become this addicted to the smooth white powder, but stridin’ up and down on this lino floor I guess I must be. Every muscle in my body is yearnin’ for it.
It’s not such a big deal is it?
I mean it’s not much different to a workin’ mother needin’ her mornin’ cup of coffee and one every two hours after to keep her goin’ through the day, is it? Nah course it isn’t. So why am I here? Why is my body yellin’ and shakin’ and my head poundin’ for it? Why am I longin’ to have that thin white line in front of me, my finger poised over my nose? Surely a coffee addict feels the same when they don’t get a hit, so why aren’t they in here? Why aren’t they made to sit in a circle and identify themselves, ‘Hello I’m Karen Walker I am a coffeeholic’ and everybody claps.
It’s all bullshit that’s what it is.
No one will ever understand why I did it, why I started it in the first place, why I’m now addicted to it. Yes I spent my teens smokin’ dope and takin’ acid to have a good time but all teens do it don’t they? So what I sniff a little crack now and again. Ok maybe a little more than that but it’s not like I’m injectin’ heroine, I’m not actually killin’ myself any more than smokin’ a fag. That’s what irritates me.
It makes me feel so alive, my brain actually works, and it all makes sense. The voices inside that are now screamin’ to be let out are silent. What is so wrong with puttin’ the voices to rest, to stop myself failin’ and make somethin’ of my self.
Why is my body stll in pain, cold pain that runs through my veins. Why won’t the voices in my head just SHUT UP! I can’t take this anymore. Me doing cocaine is no different from a fat girl on a diet chowin’ down on a full fat double choc chip muffin, it’s a release, it’s enjoyment. The feel of it as it enters my blood stream is like nothin’ on earth, it’s like warm coffee on a cold day runnin’ through your body.
Shut up. Shut up! SHUT UP!
I slam my fist into the white washed walls, puncturin’ the plaster, I feel a sense of release and laugh. Is this what my life has come down to? Bein’ locked in a room with only a bed and a bog? What happened to comfortable livin’? I’ll tell you what rehab is nothin’ like they make it out to be on TV. Although I was told I would be moved after the incubation period. What a pile of fuckin’ crap, incubation period? What’s that suppose to even mean? Lock you in a white room with nothin’? Is that what they do to drive you insane? ‘Cause I sure feel like I’m goin’ insane. My mind is restless I feel like I’m on a never-ending rollercoaster at a hundred miles an hour.
I want out. Out of this skin. Out of this life. I want out of it all.
But it’s all her fault. She drove me to it, whinin’ at me, drivin’ me to do better, to make the best of my life. What the fuck does she know?
The smoke continued to billow as Josie cursed on the hard shoulder of the motorway.
“Damn you Sapphire!” Josie had been surprised her car had made it this far with out blowing a cylinder or a head gasket but with only two hours until her best friends wedding this was the last thing she needed. If she ran would she make it. Hitchhiking passed through her mind too. Anything, she has to be at Saint Augustine’s Church by 2pm or there would be no point in living.
“I’ll be there I promise, you know I’d never let you down Sandy.” Josie had sworn into the phone only days before, after work had sent her on an emergency trip to Dubai.
“Just like you were there for me at my Gran’s funeral and the birth of my child, your Godchild.” Sandy had scoffed down the receiver.
“I fly back in on Friday night, I’ll drive straight down and I’ll be there in time to make sure everything is in perfect order, I promise!”
“This is your last chance Josephine Straver and I mean it.”
Climbing out of her beaten up old Corsa through the passenger door Josie continued to curse and grumble. Dialing the AA she stood watching the traffic go sailing past. “Sandy’s gonna kill me! She will never forgive me if I miss her wedding, Shit, shit, shit, shit, shi-”
“You’re through to Julie at AA breakdown services can I take your policy number please?”
CRAP! “Um… hold on.”
Thunder clapped as Josie hid beneath the branch of a elm tree on the embankment. Three hours after her beloved Sapphire had died a smoky death, she still waited for her knight in shining yellow to come and rescue her. Josie had been convinced that the more she rang the further down the queue she went. Desperate times and all that. Sandy had ignored the hundred voicemails she had left and Josie knew it would be a long time before her oldest friend would even look at her again, let alone talk to her.