My Life isn't a Fairytale prt 19, a short story by J.Morgan. Date added: 2012-02-20. Times viewed: 489.
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Sleep, what’s that? Whatever it was, my body wasn’t going to let me have it, my mind was too raw to even think straight by the time the light of morning came under the curtains. I kept replaying everything in my head, over and over like a bad movie, but nothing made sense. I felt a bit better when Sam promised to come. Maybe that’s why it’d been so hard for me, because I needed someone who understood. Viper was too interested in me, Ant and Bull just didn’t get what was so bad about a break up with a guy I barely dated or knew.
I tried to detach myself and think rationally, but lack of sleep and emotional carnage was preventing me from doing anything resembling that. At least I’d stopped crying. But my biggest problem was facing Viper again. I no longer felt guilty for kissing him, Sam was right, he should have backed off. I wasn’t in my right mind last night and besides, it’s not like I’m cheating on Drake. After all, he is the one that doesn’t want me. He made that clear when he told me to go away. I held fast to that thought, trying to elicit some anger, and there was some, but there was another sensation that kept pushing in over it. Emptiness.
I tried to clean myself up, I was a wreck and without sleep I needed an extra amount of makeup to cover the bruise like circles under my eyes. I needed to pretend for a while. That’s what I kept telling myself. I would try to just get through this. We needed to practice the song that we would sing for that guy’s boss. I shivered thinking of being near Mr. Ancon, but that was preferable to being near Viper at this point.
My hand touched the doorknob and I paused, suddenly remembering what happened at the hotel. How could I have forgotten? I growled. Just another thing to add to the fire. I still wasn’t sure what had happened, so there wasn’t any way to know if it would happen again or how to stop it.
Eventually when a person goes through enough, they just snap and become, in a way, strong enough to endure it, just because they have no choice. I reached that point finally. I was tired of being miserable and crying. If Viper was going to be a jerk about it than that was fine. I would deal with things as they came. I would deal with the pull to somewhere or something I couldn’t see, that feeling that Drake was just out of reach, watching me. I forced myself to believe that he didn’t care, because that was the truth.
I still wanted to see Sam, but when he came he wouldn’t find the quivering mass of jelly I was last night. Because I wasn’t going to just sit around waiting to die because the man….I love…doesn’t want me. Plenty of people live their lives without love, and I would be one of them.
When I knocked on Viper’s room door I had to force myself to breathe in and out a few times before it opened. Ant was standing there and he smiled. “Morning Chika. Come on, we want to get a few sessions in before we pack up to go.”
I walked into the room that was basically identical to mine, the rug was pale with a mass of pastel colors. The bed was pushed into the corner, and there was a window covered in drapes that would have been at home in an old folk’s home. When I saw Viper standing near the lampstand he wasn’t looking at me, even though I got the impression he knew I’d walked in. Fear crept up inside of me but I pushed it away.
“Are we ready? There isn’t much time,” Bull grumbled.
“Don’t mind him. He’s not a morning person.” Ant smirked going to his guitar that was leaning against the bed. Viper turned lifting his own and looked at me for the first time. He was smiling, which shocked me. He came to me as Ant began to argue with Bull about him putting too much stuff in his suitcase which was why his clothes got wrinkled. I wasn’t really paying attention because Viper was nearly to me.
“Look,” Viper’s voice was low, his eyes never really meeting mine. “I owe you an apology….about last night.” Finally he glanced up, and I was so stunned that I didn’t say anything. He must have taken that as a sign I was mad at him because he turned his lips inward and growled. “Look, I should have backed off. I just….okay…I promise to be good. Friends?” In an awkward motion he put out his hand. I should have laughed, it was so corny, but all I could do was nod while slowly taking his hand. I don’t know what I expected, but he didn’t hold onto my hand any longer than needed. In fact he might have pulled it away a bit fast. I was left standing there as he gave me what I could only describe as an apologetic smile, then strummed gently on the strings of his guitar.
The rest of practice was sort of a blur. I’m not sure why I could hardly focus, but it just went by. We went through the song three times, with no mistakes. Odd that. Not that we wouldn’t go over the song at least once, if time allowed, when we got to Pagosa Springs, but most of us were pretty confident by the time we packed up the van and headed out.
“Waiting for a call?” Viper asked in a tight voice. I was sitting in the passenger side holding and staring at my cell. The highway was snaking back and forth through the mountains and hills. It was hard enough to know what would be around the next corner with all the trees and rocks striking up to the sky. It almost felt like I was being driven to a dead end. My only hope was meeting with Sam, so I could breathe again.
“Sam said he’d call me.” I heard the leather on the steering wheel squeak making me look over to see Viper’s knuckles had gone white from how tightly he was gripping it. “You okay?”
Instead of answering me he said, “Look I know this is probably a bad time and subject. But this guy, Drake. What is he like?”
Just hearing his name was an icicle stabbing my flesh. I brought up one of my legs and hugged my knee still clutching my cell waiting for Sam to call. “Why do you want to know?”
Viper’s expression was cold, as if he’d purposefully turned it off as to not give away what he was feeling. His voice was low when he said, “Just want to know my competition. Is he a temperamental guy? You know, he’d kill me if I looked at you twice?”
There was a forced humor that made me smirk halfheartedly. “Okay……” I was still surprised that he was asking and that the pain I was feeling numbed me instead of breaking me. I found that cold sensation in my gut and embraced it. “Temperamental. I suppose he could be. You don’t have to worry though he doesn’t care about me about me anymore.”
Viper force a laugh that sounded very much like nervousness. “Hypothetically, if I came up to you while he still cared. Should I be worried?”
“Oh yes definitely. He’d snap you like a twig.” I joked off handedly then noticed Viper go white. “Hey, it was a joke. And besides, like I said he doesn’t care. Plus I wouldn’t let him hurt you. He wouldn’t risk me hating him.” Except he doesn’t care if I do or not. I thought fighting the despair. I wasn’t going to do this. I would have to get used to talking about Drake. It was inevitable that others would be curious. “Besides you said you’d behave, remember?”
Viper smirked. “I did say that. But that doesn’t change anything does it?” I stared at the phone again, wishing Sam would call. Was he able to get a flight that would get him there on time?
“Everything changes.” I found myself mumbling. I thought Drake and I would be together for always. Sounds corny I know. But I really never put any thought into being without him. Now I couldn’t imagine ever seeing him again, or feeling his touch. I closed my eyes involuntarily imagining each time we kissed. Especially the last time. He held me tightly, as if he knew it was over. Not long before that I realized I loved him, and then I lost him. Maybe I scared him away? Maybe I did something wrong? All stupid thoughts, but I had them none the less. I found myself battling the guilt that I had pushed him too fast, or maybe not pushed him enough. He wasn’t human, maybe Draconians have different sort of relationships. Maybe he realized I could never please him, or be with him in the way he wanted. Maybe the entire thing about Aria was an excuse to get away from me.
But then why does he want to hunt her down? Why is he trying to protect my secret if he doesn’t care? Why is he trying to protect me? …..Why do I keep thinking about him when it makes the emptiness inside get deeper? I growled under my breath forcing my thoughts to still.
The vibration surprised me so much I almost dropped my phone. Quickly I answered. “Sam?”
“Hey. You sound exhausted, have you slept at all?” He sounded angry, worried, a tired.
“Have you?” I shot back a bit tersely. I heard him laugh, it was the kind of laugh some does when they’re trying to release stress, the kind that can be followed by irrational tears or screaming. We were both on edge.
“There is a small café on the corner of 3rd and Vestal, it’s called Money Maker. Meet me there as soon as you get here, if you can get away from your new boyfriend.”
“That’s not funny,” I said just before I heard Sam grunt as if the wind had been knocked out of him. “Sam….what happened?”
When he answered his voice cracked a bit. “Oh nothing. Just tripped over my own feet, they’re a bit angry at me for not sleeping. I guess being sober doesn’t agree with me when I’m tired. Maybe I’ll take a nap until you get here.”
I managed to breathe out, feeling the pressure on my chest lesson a bit. “Sure, and when I get there I’ll wake you up.” I closed the phone after Sam said goodbye and that he would see me later. We would be there soon, then we’d only have a few hours before we were supposed to meet Mr. Creepy. I had to tell the guys that I needed to go meet Sam, but I didn’t want them tagging along. I glanced at Viper who was chewing on his bottom lip as if he was thinking about something important. He really wasn’t that bad of a guy. I couldn’t really blame him for being so forward, he was a man after all. Men’s heads weren’t always in control of their bodies. They were like animals when it came to sex, Sam had told me that more times than I can count and of course he’s right.
“Well then I must be an animal… because I like you too.”
What Drake said to me that day in the park echoed. My heart clenched inside of my chest, the numbness tried to flee, but I grabbed it with both hands and held on tight. I wouldn’t break again. The passion in his voice, his kiss, the way we’d just laid against that tree, at peace and perfection. I bit my lip, and forced my eyes to the side of the road. The trees shot up spreading their fingers to try and reach the sun, it was futile, for if they reached it they would burn up, and if they didn’t they would wither and die. I felt a bit like that. If I didn’t think about Drake I would die, if I didn’t stroke the memories I had of him I would shrivel into nothingness, and yet if I reached for him, for the memories and for the sensation that kept getting stronger that he was somehow near, I would burn up, turn to a pyre of flames and agony.
I wished I had a piece of him, something, a small bauble that I could focus all my emotions on, to connect me to him, so that I could somehow live without him. There had to be a way to survive. I often noticed while I was going from foster family to foster family, that when a person lost their parents or a loved one that they would cling to a picture, necklace or ring. But Drake never gave me anything and I had nothing that was part of him. I thought idly I should have taken his jacket. I did love that jacket.
Okay, this was healthy right? I forced myself to think about Drake, about the good times. It was hard at first, without remembering his guilty expression as he told me to go with Sam. Or the way Sam looked at Drake while explaining to me that I was nothing but a vessel full of manna. I focused on him protecting me from Aria, I focused on the time when he clung to me before Sam woke up. Or him cooking for me and the way we talked and just spent time together.
Before I knew it the numbness went away. It was slow and devious like a poison trying to kill me. The good times we had, had begun to sour and like a child who hated its parents for dying, I suddenly hated Drake, because I wasn’t with him. And I wanted to be.
Wow, I am a dumbass. I thought smirking darkly at my reflection. When did I become a masochist?
I would never see him again. I would always want to, but I would have to learn that it wasn’t going to happen. I was an addict, addicted to Drake and not able to have him.
“How can you sit there falling asleep?” Drake asked anxiously. His gaze kept darting around like some kind of criminal who was waiting for a cop to come and arrest him. Amateur. The hoodie he wore under the leather jacket was pulled up over his head, bits of his black hair was stringing out like black lighted strands hiding his eyes.
“I’m tired,” I said sighing, in and out of drifting off to sleep. My feet were up on the chair beside me, while my hands were lying easily on my chest with my head back. “Unlike you I can’t stay awake for a week.” My one eye opened regarding Drake as the light of a yellow bulb lamp hit his face fully. “And by the look of you it has been more than that. When was the last time you ate?”
“You know when.”
My feet slammed down on the laminated floor and I sat up staring at him fully. “Drake, you said your appetite had become an issue. Which I’m assuming should still be a problem since you..” I looked around lowering my voice. “….ingested manna recently.” When he looked at me I saw it, it was raw like a wolf that hadn’t fed in too long. The pupil of his eyes was slightly elongated almost as if he was losing form.
“We gorge ourselves on flesh the cattle or large game. It sustains us for a long time, unless we ingest manna. Then our metabolism increases, increasing our body’s need to eat.”
“So you just eat more cows?”
“If we don’t eat enough while high on manna, we lose control of ourselves and become more like animals. We are after all, dragons.”
“Do you realize the danger you’re putting us in? If you lose control..”
“I won’t,” Drake said in a low growl, it reverberated in his chest like a wild animal’s warning that it was about to attack. He turned his head away blinking and rubbed his face, trying to compose himself. How had I not seen this before? He was more of a mess than I had presumed. Now being in the middle of cattle country, full of nature and wilderness, his senses were probably going crazy.
“Can we talk about something else?” Drake’s voice was cold, he’d withdrawn into his usual detached demeanor, saying to me that I wasn’t going to get him to relent.
“How about we not talk, so I can get some rest before she gets here,” I stated, getting back into my relaxed pose, but this time the edge of the chair seemed to cut into the back of my calves. “Why don’t you go intimidate someone, or make sure that artist we hired isn’t selling us out.”
“Dart isn’t going to sell us out,” Drake said, “But are you sure you can keep your end of the plan?”
I yawned yet again wishing for a nice soft bed and a bottle of whiskey to make sure I didn’t wake up no matter how loud Drake yelled. “Look, I’m not sure how, but I will get Beth to get the tattoo. If you’re sure it will help her.”
Drake sighed almost too quiet for me to hear. “It’ll give me something to bargain with.”
I smirked but I wasn’t amused. “So desperate to put your mark on her. You know, I don’t like this whole idea, it’s risky. You’re playing with fire, you know that don’t you?”
“Yes.” It was a faint admission that was almost a groan. “She’ll be here soon.” There was such a certainty in his tone that I lifted my head to peer at him as he stood.
“Can you really feel her, or are you guessing?”
A flash of his green eyes didn’t give me any answers as he walked into the back towards the exit that lead into the parking lot where the employees left their cars. I sat forward and rested my head on my hand staring idly at the little cardboard that had pictures of an assortment of milk shakes with whipped cream and fruit stuck on top. My finger played with the triangular advertisement passing it over the smooth surface of the table. I didn’t like this. Not at all. I wasn’t sure what was right or wrong, and there was nothing in it for me. Ever since I got involved with Beth I have been entirely too selfless. It’s so unlike me. I thought drearily yawing again.
Drake told me his assumptions on what was happening to Beth, after I told him about Viper and the whole trance thing. I wasn’t sure if it was true, but I did know that Beth was in danger. Pagosa Springs. I had heard it from somewhere. When Drake told me I nearly rushed to Beth’s room and took her back home. I’m still not sure why I didn’t. The mountains make it ideal for flying, the cattle ranchers allow for easy meals. I was sitting in Drake and Sienna’s home town. Hence the hood covering Drake’s head.
The hope was that the band would do what they needed to do and go back home, but Drake had never heard of any record company in Pagosa Springs, though he admitted to not being home in over ten years.
I looked up to see Beth rushing past the hostess that usually seated people. The lady gave me a look when I nodded to her that it was okay. The coffee shop was relatively new, which was why Drake wanted me to meet Beth here. Betting on his father’s aversion to change, and to the rest of the family wanting to please him to gain standing in the clan.
She was wearing jeans, and a black shirt that made her skin seem so pale. As she got to me I stood up, I could really see the dark circles under her eyes that she tried to cover up with makeup. The eyeliner was smeared a bit and her white complexion was stark against the warm colors of the coffee shop. “Wow sweetie you look like crap,” I said immediately.
She frowned and crossed her arms, her expression holding a bit more strength than I had anticipated. Overnight she had somehow found more fire inside of her. “You should look in the mirror Sam. Have you slept at all?”
I waved for her to sit, because in all honesty I was tired and wanted to do the least amount of standing unless I had to. “A bit here and there. How are you feeling?”
Her expression cracked a bit, letting me see through the assembled outer appearance of mental stability. “I’m better than I was, I think. Sorry for freaking out on you last night and dragging you out here.”
What I was amazed at, was the fact that Viper hadn’t told her about me and Drake last night. Maybe he was afraid of Drake, or maybe he realized that it would cause too much strife and would mess up the band’s chances at getting signed, either way I wasn’t going to complain. “Hey.” I leaned forward making her look at me directly, allowing me to peer into her eyes. “I came out here because you needed someone who knows what you’re going through. I’ll always be here for you sweetie.”
She sniffed and looked away. “Don’t say always Sammy. You can’t make promises like that.” I sucked in breath, and the air that flowed in froze the blood in my veins. Beth blinked and looked at me in sort of a confused expression. “What did I say?”
“Sienna used to call me that,” I said unthinkingly still staring at her.
“Sorry.” Beth bit her lip frowning and I stood up pushing back my chair with a hard scraping across the vinyl flooring.
“Don’t worry about it. Want to walk?”
Beth raised her eyebrows. “But I just sat down.”
“And now you can stand back up. I’m feeling restless.” I offered my hand to her and she sighed, annoyed, but stood up.
“I don’t have a lot of time, the guys are expecting me back before we meet with Mr. Creepy.”
I chuckled. “We won’t be too long.”
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