Unicorn Tales: Brothers Keepers I
by: Ali Wright
Class was over and not a moment too soon, Angie hated history and Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon was not the remedy for her ire. She grabbed her tablet and her purse then streamlined her exit without picking up her homework assignment from Mrs. Schultz.
“Angelica, I believe you left something crucial behind.”
Mrs. Schultz held up two pieces of paper stapled together while staring down at her lesson plan.
“Oh, Mrs. Schultz, you’re a doll. Whatever would I do without your, persistence?
Angie smiled from ear to ear as if it hurt, any spectators would agree that her face was more indicative of a grimace than a smile.
“You would probably continue to under achieve in my class, brilliance is not a faucet for you to turn on and off at your whim young lady. Now here, have it done by Friday.”
“—but, shush, not a word.”
Angie slinked out of the classroom, assignment in hand. She contemplated throwing it out but even her penchant for rebellion had its limits. Begrudgingly she glanced over the directions attempting to make some correlation between Caesar and even the most meaningless aspect of her life. If there were a sound effect to this attempt it would resemble an awkward silence. As Angie stood in the hallway, trapped inside her own vacuum of silence, her peers laughed, joked and matriculated in between doorways as she contemplated her disdain for history. At first it was a just casual disinterest in events that had already happened which had little or no bearing on the here and now. The Full Monty of hate was not conceived until Angie was introduced to the ageless if we do not study history we are doomed to repeat it slogan. She gritted her teeth at the thought of such naivety, then came the pacing.
“What got up your skirt today?” Taylor glided around the corner with a smooth masculinity generally not found in young men of his age. He was the quintessential “popular guy”; smart, funny, athletic and handsome to the point of injustice. Angie grew up with Taylor; they’d been neighbors since grade school and nearly inseparable since then. She wondered if she was in love with him or if he loved her from time to time but the ideas usually stopped there as she attributed the urges to hormones or simply teenage angst.
“Hey, I um, nothing.” Her lips felt dry and chapped as she answered him, she turned away to lick them. Childhood friend or not, it was just bad manners to have the most handsome boy in school see her in such a dogged state.
“Oh come on Angie Bean, this is me.” He smiled up at her as he slumped down the wall and sat on the floor outside the classroom. She took a breath and planned to move on from the topic instead;
“So we have this new assignment from Mrs. Schultz, and did I tell you we’re studying Caesar for what feels like the 75th time in 4 years of high school? But anyway, so yeah you know how much I hate history and she’s like always on my case to excel and kick-ass but it’s just so dumb! History is so dumb and they keep telling us that if we don’t study it were like doomed to repeat it but society is so fucked right? I think that the more we study it the more we figure out how to be worse people, countries, presidents, shit I think the people that used to stand for doing good stuff are worse because everyone is trying to outdo history or something like that. Like it’s some stupid competition, don’t you think it feels like we’re destroying the ideas we had of ourselves in the past to make way for newer more frightening versions? Look it’s like this—“
“—ok, stop right there. Can you go back to the Caesar part ‘cause I was starting to not care what you were saying, then I started to care again but I feel like I missed something important in the middle. So if you could just—“
Angie’s caramel skin changed reddened to the point she resembled a lightly candied apple, she felt the temperature either in the hallway or just around her eyes shoot up to the point where there couldn’t possibly be enough mercury to gauge it.
“Are you kidding me Taylor?! You’re such a tool!” Angie stormed inside the classroom; if he were standing she may have slapped him.
“Hey Ange, calm down, you’re gonna have all of the school staring at you, jeez. I was just joking; j-k you know, remember those things?” Angie plopped down into her usual desk in front of Taylor, the right side of the room towards the rear but not quite the final row. Taylor had come up with what had proven to be a full proof method of staying out of Mr. Waymon’s line of view so he could sleep, do other homework or whatever task he had put off until English class; while borderline dastardly, Angie could not argue its effectiveness. Apparently, Mr. Waymon injured his eye as an Army sergeant in Afghanistan; he had a complete blind spot to his immediate left 15-25 feet outward. Taylor had gone so far as to come in after school to measure the distance from his usual lecture area to the appropriate seating. Taylor eased into his desk all the while hunching over to whisper in Angie’s ear.
“Hey, if you’re not going to talk to me, I’m going to have to swap Sophia Clark into your seat, this is prime real estate!” Angie took out her notebook and paperback edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein never flinching or giving much recourse to Taylor’s idle threats.
“Well, lot of good that will do you, switching us out because she’s dumber than Rihanna bringing Chris Brown to a battered woman’s group, and I don’t think she can blow you from here anyway.” Taylor slouched back and reflected for a moment, defeated.
“Touché well-played mi love. All jokes aside, I have a plan for tonight; you want in?”
“Not really, but what’s the plan?” Angie tried to feign disinterest.
“Ha, your mouth is telling lies and your eyes are asking why”. She failed.
“You can’t see me eyes!” Her voice traveled above a whisper and she caught herself.
“Doesn’t matter, I can read you like a cheap romance novel, but that’s not the point. Our brothers are throwing some kind of ridiculous party in their building tonight. It was actually your brother that told me, Jason didn’t even so much as mention it to me, dick. I say we go and get our mind off all this bullshit with college applications and break some shit!”
Angie had to suppress her smile, the idea was exhilarating but she already knew getting to the city on a school night would be next to impossible; then of course there was also the aspect of returning home at some witching hour as her grandma referred to it. She turned around, licking her lips first of course; only god knew where her Chapstick was.
“That is impossible no way are my mom and dad going to sign off on that, especially if Eric is throwing the party. We’re better off saying we want to hitchhike to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. They hate my brother, have you noticed that we haven’t gone to visit him and he hasn’t even been home in like a year and half? I think he’s been dating this girl that’s like a Jehova’s Witness, you know how my dad feels about them.” Taylor rolled his eyes in awe.
“Shut up, he’s been on some insane masters study program with his job, how do Jason and I know more about your own brother than you. You’re such a ditz sometimes.” He playfully pulled her ponytail and nudged her head forward.
“Stop it, I hate that.” Angie reined in her voice again as it began to rise.
“So? Let’s do it; I’ve actually heard other people at school talking about it. I’m telling you it’s going to one of those things you’ll regret if you miss.”
“And what if we get caught?” Taylor tried not to chuckle aloud; he glanced at his cell phone then leaned forward closer to Angie’s ear.
“If you get caught, well I dunno; I suppose you’ll get grounded for 2-4 weeks. Here’s my point though, it’s not like you’ll be doing anything cooler than going to this party for the next month anyway.” Angie hated to admit it but Taylor was making it hard for her to argue against attending what was predicted to be the party of the year, perhaps there wouldn’t be a better reason to get grounded or sent to a monastery.
“Ok… I think I know what to tell my parents. I just hope when this goes to hell they kill me quick and I don’t have to suffer some type of Chinese water torture.”
“Ugh, you’re such a drama queen.” Taylor looked down at his notebook, scribbling circles around the address to his brother’s apartment.
Each shot Angie took from the flask had a distinct flavor to it, almost like what wood nails must taste like, well after they were soaked in tequila for a week. She wasn’t much of a drinker, another talent which Eric received but she did not. Angie could remember him at family get-togethers drinking and talking politics with the older men. He was able to command their respect despite his age, she always found that impressive, but also perplexing, why did mom and dad seem to work so hard to keep him away. Before she could dive into her thoughts her body went into full panic as she looked up at the passing traffic on the Henry Hudson Parkway.
“Taylor! Of my god, slow down!” Angie nearly dropped the flask of tequila as Taylor continued to dart in and out of traffic.
“Chill out, I mean really; I’m only going, 85 see.” Taylor nodded towards the steering wheel as he slowed down from his previous triple digit speed.
Angie felt the nerves of steel that guided her escape from home begin to falter; she had been in cars with Taylor during his light speed tactics numerous times yet today she found herself the frightened passenger and as usual Taylor had something to say.
“Listen, you need to get your shit together! The mission here is chaperon less fun and debauchery, no part of that includes paranoia and general freaking out. Now lock it up or I will slap you, repeatedly. Capisce?”
A brief silenced followed as Angie stared at the Hudson River and New Jersey as they passed her at high-speed.
“If you weren’t driving I would stab you with my eye liner.”
“Hmm, well that’s an improvement. Hella-violent but I’ll take an uptick wherever I can get it. You really need to stop worrying about your parents.”
“Can’t help it. I told them I was going to be at Sarah’s house getting ready for that AP Physics exam we have this week. Told them it would be a late study session-“
“-See, that buys you plenty of time, even if they call over at some point, Sarah can just say you already left, then you can just say you stopped by my house for a little biology study session. Wink, Wink.” Angie couldn’t help but smile, Taylor had an uncanny ability to lighten the gravest of situations, somehow always finding a way to get her to smile or laugh.
“Ok, ok. Game face is going on. If they catch me it’s whatever; I mean getting all these grades has to give me some kind of leeway right?”
“I’m thinking more of a stay of execution.” Angie scratched her left eye brow with her middle finger before readjusting her hair; she looked at the bun she was wearing in the reflection of the window. She felt as though she always had a bun or some silly ponytail in every class, every after-school activity it was the same old bun. If she was going to take this whole party of the year thing seriously perhaps it was time to look the part. With a flick of her hand she let her long brown hair down past her shoulders, she looked at the relaxed version of herself in the window and smiled before she turned back to Taylor.
“You like? Time to cut loose right?”
“Oh, um. Yeah, you look great. I mean wow; maybe you should wear your hair like that more often.” Taylor felt a little flustered, which almost never happens especially around Angie. He caught himself having difficulty keeping his eyes on the road as he stole glances at her. After all the years of pretending the was never really paying attention he took a moment to realize how beautiful she was; her long brown hair flowing around her shoulders was almost a perfect match for her caramel skin. He was thankful that she wasn’t looking at him right at that moment; he could feel an urge to get lost in her eyes brewing, maybe it was the Tequila. Taylor tried to think of something suave to say, he felt as though someone snuck into his brain and made away with all his good material.
“Wow, it’s a really nice night Angie Bean, right?” He sighed inside his head in disgust and thanked the lord his embarrassment would be short lived as they pulled up to their brother’s building. Taylor looked over to catch Angie chuckling at him as she put her ChapStick on in the mirror.
“What’s so funny, you better save some of that ChapStick for later. Might find you a nice guy and you’ll be without moisture for your lips.” An awkward lame statement followed by a bad joke, what a way to start the night he thought to himself.
Angie inched over in her seat towards Taylor, her wavering nerves replaced and infused with Tequila as confidence began flowing through her body and streaming through her hair. Her hand found Taylor’s on the gearstick as she leaned over almost feeling like she was someone else; but more importantly feeling great as she got close enough to smell the mint gum on Taylor’s breath.
“Well, I was hoping I already found a nice guy—“
“—Angie, what are you—“
“—just shut up.” Taylor obliged as their lips touched for the first time, he couldn’t concentrate his heart was thumping so loud in his ears he wanted to scream at the midget inside his brain to stop banging on his eardrum. Instead he just let the time continue to freeze, he let his hand stroke her cheek through her hair and let her arms wrap themselves around his neck. Her lips were everything he had ever thought they would be, why had he not thought to taste them sooner. Her cellphone cut through the silence of their embrace, he couldn’t say how long his eyes had been closed but the light from her screen made him squint. Angie sighed; she hesitated to pick up, gave him a quick peck on the lips then slid her thumb across the screen.
“Hey Bro! Yeah, yeah we are…. Right downstairs I think… Well, if I get off the phone then I can come upstairs; no, it’s not attached to a cord… Be right up…. K. That was Eric.“
“Yeah, I heard; I guess we should go upstairs.” Taylor said as he took the keys out of the ignition.
“Yeah, guess so.” Angie made a move for the door then turned to meet Taylor’s eyes again.
“Wait, Taylor. Before we get out, well; ok so we can act like that never happened you know, kind of sweep it under the rug. I just don’t want it to be like a huge figurative gorilla in the figurative room. It’s just one kiss, one great kiss–”
“—it was a great kiss huh, I’m good like that.” Taylor winked at her as he interrupted her verbal salvo.
“Ugh, you’re the worst. So I guess we’ll just leave it in the car and go have some fun.” Angie opened the door and stretched her leg outside the car only for Taylor to drag her back in.
“You talk too much, but I love you anyway.” Taylor said as he pushed his lips against hers again before she had a chance to respond.
“Ok, now we can go inside.” Taylor hopped out of the car and headed towards the steps up to Jason and Eric’s apartment as Angie tried to compose herself. She felt her face try to contain her smile. Angie closed the door behind her and whispered as she gently touched her lips.
“He Loves Me.” She looked up to see Taylor at the door motioning for her to catch up.
“Get in there!” Eric screamed as he lofted the ping pong ball towards the fire engine red plastic cups. It was difficult for anyone to hear him over the music and chatter but the ping pong ball didn’t seem to have any hearing disabilities as it dropped directly into the targeted cup with a smooth plunk. Eric threw his hands up over his head then turned to his beer pong partner and hoisted the petite young lady into the air. Angie hated losing to her brother; he was hands down the worst winner she ever met, which was always bewildering to her since he won at most things he competed in.
“Bet’s a bet is a bet; Taylor get your ass out there and get some more beer!” Taylor’s eyes opened wide as he guzzled down the last beer.
“Dude, I don’t have ID.”
“Oh Taylor, well why did you make a bet to get beer then ya silly kid?” Eric put his arm around Taylor’s shoulder. “Don’t answer that, just take your brother’s ID and get moving. The life of the party depends on it!” Angie got up to follow Taylor out only to have her brother grab her by the arm.
“Where are you going Ang, Taylor’s a big boy. Let’s catch up; he’ll survive on his own.” Angie smiled at her brother, it wasn’t such a bad idea to chat with him for a few minutes but she felt her body pulling her towards Taylor until she felt him squeeze her hand as he gave her a wink.
“Yeah, don’t sweat it Angie; I’ll be back in a few. Bet’s a bet is a bet.” Taylor picked up his brother’s wallet and turned to leave the apartment.
“Hey, you just need his ID!” Eric reminded him over the music.
“I said I’d get the beer, never said I’d pay for it.” Taylor responded as he flashed his brilliant smile at Angie before he disappeared between the other party goers.
“Well played kid, well played.” Eric grabbed his backpack and put his arm around Angie then led her upstairs towards the balcony. ”Ok, Angie let’s go play brother and sister.” The night air was warm and heavy with moisture, Angie wasn’t sure if it was regular humidity or tequila, despite all the beer she drank in her three beer pong losses all she could taste was tequila. She collapsed into one of the lounge chairs and inhaled the dense night air.
“Good idea Eric, I needed the fresh air. Oh my God, it’s so hot in there.” Eric sat down and began rummaging through his bag carefully placing a few items on the table in front of them.
“Yeah, the amount of people, the temperature out here and that gargantuan weed hookah probably aren’t the best mix for keeping the temperature down. I like to come out here and recharge during a party. So how’s mom and dad and school too. Oh, did you and Taylor finally ya know?” Angie continued looking up at the sky so as not to show her smile when her brother mentioned Taylor.
“What Taylor and I do is none of your business thank you very much! Mom and dad are good, they still hate you though. School is lame, glad we’re done in a few months just doing the deciding on college thing, are you dating a Jehovah’s Witness?” Eric looked up at Angie as he put his wallet back in his pocket.
“Did whatever you’re looking up at prompt that question?”
“No, that was just my guess as to why Mom and Dad hate you, you know how he feels about Jehovah’s… What the fuck are you doing!?” Angie finally looked down from her star gazing and thoughts of Taylor to find her brother sniffing a long line of white powder through a twenty dollar bill.
“What?” Eric finished his line then leaned back in his chair. He inhaled the night and pushed it out as if he were smoking a cigarette. Angie wasn’t sure how to react she just stared at him for a several long seconds trying to find something to say.
“How long have you been doing this?” Was the only thing she could come up with.
“Few years now, it’s really not that bad” he said as he began preparing two more lines. “Not much worse than drinking tequila like its Sprite; don’t say that to mom and dad though.” Angie continued to watch him as he used his debit card to fine tune the lines on the mirror in front of them.
“I don’t get what you mean.”
“Well my dear, Mom and Dad have a serious, yet hypocritical might I add, issue with some of my life choices. This being one of them, which makes absolutely no sense. Dad drinks to a fault and he says I have a problem, I called him out on it and here we are.”
“Don’t you think it is actually different, I mean you don’t exactly have to score a bottle of Whiskey from Jo Jo the cocaine dealer?” Eric chuckled and stroked his goatee.
“You’re always so funny, misinformed, but funny. You know what I do has never gotten in the way of my life. I’ve never totaled the family car; I’ve never spent $1300 on a bottle of scotch just to pound it by myself the same night. I’ve also never made drinking, snorting or whatever my way of getting over my own issues, then when you get to the bottom of one of those soulless glasses and nothing has changed you slap your family around cause you’re still pissed. Did you forget some of that?” Eric waited for a response from Angie, but there was only silence. He hunched over the table then sniffed another line.
“But I’m the one with the problem?” He chuckled then began preparing another line.
“He’s not like that anymore –“ Eric raised his hand to silence her meek reply.
“—you sound like mom. Let’s just drop it. Here, it’s your turn.” Eric turned the glass towards Angie and placed the $20 dollar bill in her hand.
“Eric, I don’t know; I’ve never… I don’t think I should.” Eric smiled and stood up as he ruffled her hair, for a moment they were kids again.
“I’m your brother not Jo Jo the dealer so relax. Listen you don’t have to, but if you weren’t curious you wouldn’t have taken the dollar bill from me. Do what you want sis.” Her brother had her pegged; she couldn’t deny that he was always good at reading people and she felt like a children’s picture book. She wasn’t sure if it was the tequila thinking for her but her curiosity had been peaked, every grandiose story she’d ever heard associated with the lines of white powder in front of her rushed through her mind. Teenage stories, she thought; nothing but the uninformed and sheltered anamneses of hormonal teenagers; but they all sounded thrilling, more thrilling than anything she’d ever been up to.
“So, how do I do it?” She tightened up the dollar bill and looked up to her brother.
“Just line it up and sniff it through the bill, the rest will take care of itself.” Angie hunched over the glass with the dollar bill just inside her nostril. She paused almost frozen still for a moment, then she remembered; it was time to cut loose. She took a deep breath then sniffed the white powder off the mirror as quickly as she could. She felt her eyes well up with tears and for a moment she began to regret what she had done, but just as quickly as she had finished sniffing she felt it. Some generous soul had apparently snuck onto the roof and pumped a syringe filled with a new unexplainable alien energy into her arm, she wanted to jump off and fly to another roof; fortunately what was left of her sober mind prevailed.
“How do you feel?” Eric queried as he tried to help her fix her recently ruffled coif.
“Kinda awesome actually, can we go again.” Angie’s whole body was on fire, she felt like she wanted to jump out of her skin, she felt powerful, she felt sexy and she wanted more. Eric dropped a baggy into her hand, which she swiftly placed in her purse, then sat down and began to prepare two more lines as the siblings noticed Jason had made his way onto the balcony.
“Ah, funny powder time; thanks for the invite.” Jason leaned against the doorway with his fire engine red plastic cup in hand.
“Little sibling bonding Mon frère; please forgive me.” Eric motioned with a pseudo curtsey then transitioned into sniffing his next line; he fiddled with his nose then turned the mirror over to Angie.
“No need for apologies, I’m just funning ya. I am gonna borrow your sister in a minute, I need some help with this mix; you know these kids got the whole music scene down.” Angie sniffed her line and let the energy surge through her body again. She hopped up from her chair as if she had just won a sweepstakes.”
“Alright, let’s do it! Oh, Eric; just tell Taylor I’m helping Jason out.” She didn’t wait to hear his confirmation before she disappeared into the apartment with Jason. They made their way to Jason’s room where he had several iPods and CDs strewn across his bed. Angie turned to comment on the mess, as she completed her turn Jason was already on her; she could smell the Corona and marijuana on his breath.
“If I didn’t know any better I’d say you were making a move on me Jason.” Angie tried to mask her discomfort with jest as she backed away from him only to feel his chest of drawers impede her escape. He incidentally found his hand against hers.
“Well, I haven’t done that yet, unless you’re asking?”
“Actually no” Angie let out a nervous giggle. “I don’t think your brother would be happy with that.” Jason pushed himself closer to Angie despite her rebuff.
“My LITTLE brother, well he’s not here now is he?” Jason moved swiftly forcing his tongue into Angie’s mouth and grabbing her close. She was shocked and mortified; she quickly tried to pull loose from his clutches but couldn’t get free before the door swung open.
“Taylor… Sup kid?” Taylor stood in the doorway with Jason’s wallet in hand. His face was filled with so many emotions Angie couldn’t quite pick out which one was the most dominant.
“Taylor, wait, it’s not–.“ Taylor didn’t say a word; he stepped inside the room then grabbed the door knob and pulled the door, slamming it shut before she could finish her sentence.
Angie tried to push Jason away in an attempt to give chase, she was officially horrified now.
“Just let him go, we’ll be fine—“
“—NO!” Jason forced his lips on hers again only to feel a sharp sting across his left cheek as Angie managed to slap him as hard as she could.
“BITCH! Ok, no more Mr. Nice Guy.” Jason jammed his fist into Angie’s stomach, knocking the wind out of her instantly. She couldn’t focus, she was trying to breathe again but she already felt Jason pulling down her panties from under her dress. She tried to close her legs but she couldn’t push him out from between them. Her lungs still struggling for air wouldn’t allow her to scream; she could hear the prayers in her mind rambling incoherently in surround sound. Please someone, anyone, TAYLOR! Just please don’t. Then all of sudden her mind went blank, the prayers ceased and everything else was a gnashing sound within her head as she felt herself tearing while Jason forced himself inside her, she wasn’t sure if she was screaming, damned if she wasn’t trying. Somehow she managed to push off his thigh with her foot but that just made things worse. Jason threw her onto the bed like a sack of old potatoes, she was face down, sobbing into his sheets as she felt him tear her open again; she felt the sound leave her body as he yanked her long thick hair with every malicious thrust. Angie wasn’t sure how much time had passed, she just knew she had no fight left in her, she was just praying for the thrusting to stop; thankfully she couldn’t hear his heavy breathing anymore over her sobs and the taste of corona and marijuana on her lips had been replaced with the distinct salty ness of her tears.
“You can clean up in the bathroom.” That’s what she thought she heard him say, she hadn’t noticed he wasn’t inside her anymore. She felt like she was dreaming as she managed to pull herself up to her knees. She saw Jason leave the room; as the door swung open she dashed out and directly into the bathroom. She didn’t know where her panties where, she didn’t want them back either, she just wanted Taylor. She had wiped off what she could but she already knew she would be wiping off this night for longer than just 10 minutes in the bathroom.
“Angie, you ok in there.” Eric rapped at the door. Angie covered her mouth to prevent herself from breaking out into tears.
“I’m good, you seen Taylor?” She responded while wiping tears from her eyes and fixing her hair.
“He’s outside, think he went to get the car. Listen I gotta run, got a little late night date to attend to.”
“Ok.” She managed to quiver the statement in between sobs.
“Ok, love ya sis. Don’t be a stranger.” She tried to quiver out another ok but nothing came; Eric never followed up so she assumed he was gone. She sat on the toilet for a few moments making failed attempts to stop her hands from shaking, she even tried sitting on them as a last resort. She gave up after a minute or so deciding to focus on just making herself presentable, if Taylor took a good look at her he would instantly know something was amiss.
Angie finally found her way out of the bathroom; she pushed desperately through the crowd of party goers clawing for the exit as if she were trying to swim towards sunlight from the bottom of the ocean. She found herself panting at the bottom of the stairs before she opened the front door; she was struggling to regain her breath so badly she needed to rest along the wall just to stay upright. For all she had been through she dreaded the car ride home more than anything, would she tell Taylor; how could she? Jason was his brother, but he–; she put it out of her mind, just get home and shower she hoisted that to the front of her tortured brain.
“Hey.” That was all she could manage as she closed the car door. Taylor didn’t even look in her direction; he simply pulled off away from the curb. Her heart was confused, it had no idea if it was relieved that he didn’t examine and question her or absolutely destroyed that he barely acknowledged her presence, it did something she just wasn’t sure if it stopped or jumped for joy.
The car ride was deathly silent; Angie felt like her breathing was too loud, she spent 10 minutes trying to figure out if it was by stealthy stealing looks at Taylor to see if he appeared perturbed, there was nothing. He was stoic in stature with one arm leaning against the window while the other grasped the steering wheel. His dark brown eyes were hidden under the shadows of the night sky, Angie could tell they were focused on the road though; his stare pierced the windshield with laser like precision and steadiness. She had to say something, she had so much to say but the first words continued to evade her. She knew she needed to get that first word out because this was killing her, slowly and painfully and if this was the way things were going to be she’d much prefer to be back in the hell she just left being torn open by Satan again.
“It wasn’t what you thought, he kissed me; I didn’t want to—“
“—you didn’t want to get caught you mean?”
“No. I mean.” Angie took a breath and reigned in her tears. “I didn’t want that at all, I just turned and he was…” She looked out of the window cursing herself for not even having the composure to explain something so simple as a stolen kiss.
“Taylor, I didn’t get to say earlier in the car—“
“—and NOW you want to say it? Why not at the door, or before I went to get beer and then there was when I got back, oh yeah my brother was kissing you!”
“No, but Taylor; I really do though. I love y—“
“—we’re here.” Taylor snapped at her as he stopped abruptly one house down from Angie’s.
“Your parents didn’t call right?” He said to her without making eye contact. Angie looked down, ashamed.
“No. They probably went to sleep; I should be able to sneak in.” She opened the door and looked at the sidewalk; it stared back at her, a completely different world than the one she left earlier. The feeling struck fear into her soul; if she stepped out of the car would that mean everything really did happen, that would mean it wasn’t a dream? There was one thing she needed to make real if she had to live with all the calamity then Taylor would have to live with the truth.
“I love you. I don’t know when it started but it wasn’t tonight. It’s been for as long as I can remember and I when we kissed I knew it was the only thing I ever wanted for us. I know you’re mad at me or everything… But you have to know I love you and I can’t live without you in my life, you have to believe me when I say that and if you can believe that then you can believe me when I say things weren’t what they seemed. Just talk to me Taylor. Please.” The car was silent again, Taylor looked away, maybe he was wiping away tears but Angie couldn’t tell for sure. He continued to look away, he kept starting to say something but he too was having troubles with his first word.
“Angie… I…” He touched her hand so briefly and gently that Angie thought it may have been a mistake. “You should get inside. I’ll talk to you later.” Angie backed away from the car and closed the door. She watched him pull up to his driveway and proceed to sneak into his basement bedroom, she prepared for the longest 30 second walk of her life.
Everything was just as she’d left it earlier, but the world was different. Things that were pink before all of a sudden were not so pink and every shadow seemed darker and more likely to pull her into the depths of nowhere’s nothingness. Her journey into waning contrasts was interrupted by the faint sound of her parent’s door opening. She leapt into bed, snatched her comforter up to her chin and slammed her eyes shut.
“Angelica.” Her dad’s thundering voice came in as a whisper, a thunderstorm with the volume turned down so as not to startle.
“Hey Angel.” He called her by his pet name for her this time turning up the volume on the storm. She didn’t want to hear it again; she feigned disturbance of her slumber.
“Hmm, oh, hey daddy. What’s wrong?” She replied as she rubbed her eyes to make it seem as though she was sound asleep.
“Nothing baby, how was studying?”
“Ugh, it was…it…” She pretended to trail off into slumber.
“Ok, Angel, go back to sleep.” He quietly closed her door making sure not to wake her again. She kept her eyes closed until she heard her parents’ door close. She threw the comforter off her; the shower she so badly desired would have to wait. Her parents would surely suspect something if she randomly woke up to take a shower, at least she could change her clothes. She pulled her dress over her head and examined her body in the mirror. Like the pink that seemed less pink she looked at something that used to seem beautiful and now was drastically less beautiful, disfigured even, she turned away in disgust. Her phone was probably dead she thought, she pulled it out of her purse to her surprise it was still on and accompanied by a small bag of white powder; fully packed and pristine in appearance. Her talk with Eric came galloping back into her mind. She looked at her phone, before she could talk herself out of it she tapped Taylor’s name. It rang until his voicemail answered her call. She thought about hanging up but waited for it to end instead and simply said:
“I love you Taylor.” She put the phone down next to her history book; pausing for a moment she snatched it from its resting place and hoisted it above her head as if to fling it out the window. Instead she sat on her bed with the book on her lap and emptied the bag of white powder on top of it. “Studying was just fine.” She said to the mound of white powder. “Just fine.”
– until next time