posted by Broody_4_Cheery
because hannah asked so nicely, and im a sucker for politeness.
If there is one thing I know it’s when I am in trouble, there’s a certain way my name is said, with the slightest flicker of disappointment. So when my favourite professor stops me as I’m about to leave his lecture I know it’s not a good thing.
The grimace I wear as I take the seat he offers isn’t on purpose, and I hear him sigh and then he slaps a familiar sleeve on the desk, “well done”
I say nothing.
“By far the best paper in the class” he adds on, and I just kink my eyebrow. What does he want me to do, pat myself on the back?
Leaning against the desk he crosses his arms, “it would have marked the highest if I didn’t have to deduct for late admittance”
“Good to know” I reply dryly and go to stand up.
It’s not until I’m half way through the door his voice reaches me again, “you have so much potential, Sawyer, why do you insist on wasting it?”
For a moment I pause, and then I just leave. I don’t need to explain myself to some teacher, I don’t need to explain myself to anyone but for some reason his voice hovers inside my mind long after I leave class.
From my experience if you ask someone what their favourite colour is the majority will say either blue or black, of course you’ll get your occasional other colour, the person who loves green or red or pink or yellow or orange or purple - you get the picture.
My dad says black is his favourite colour, which is strange considering I rarely see him actively preferring black. My mom is a red person, and you don’t have to know her very well to know this. Keith doesn’t have a favourite colour, and Abby likes green, sometimes she just stares at trees and stuff, weird I know.
I like white. There is something calming about it, so clean and fresh, white can become anything. It’s just the beginning, and white can erase things like it never existed. Besides, I just like the way it looks, deeper meaning aside.
One of my favourite things about the colour white is the contrast next to other colours, clouds fascinate me. At the park I slip off my shoes and walk into the sand, it’s white and my feet sink into its cool depth until my dark jeans brush the ground. With a smile I lift my face up and observe the area, across on the playground a young girl is wearing a flapping white dress and I’m drawn to her as she goes down the slide before running across the sand and over to one of the other children.
The camera in my hand itches and I lift it, tucking a stray blonde strand behind my ear before placing the lens in front of my eye. My subject comes into focus, I change a few settings my fingers moving instinctively and then I wait patiently for the perfect picture to come to me.
I’m not a very patient person, except when it comes to my art. Dad’s art is the written word, Mom’s is fashion and beauty, Aunt Haley’s is music, everyone has their art and mine is the camera.
So I wait, and then the little girl plucks a flower, the delicate pink brushing her rosy cheeks, and I zoom in, her big green eyes suddenly pop out and then she tilts one side of her lips in a small sneaky smile. And I press down.
There is so much beauty in the world, sometimes you just have to wait to see it.
There it is again, that word that seems to haunt me, I have so much potential. This is where you insert the eye roll. Or maybe not, maybe everyone is right, maybe I can do and be better, but as it is I feel like I am barely scraping through.
Nothing I do is ever good enough, nothing I do can ever save my family, I’m not Abby or Keith, and I am not dad with his perfect words, or mom who always seems to know what to do. I don’t, I don’t have some instinctive map of how to act. I’m not a saint, and I am far from perfect, and being in my family seems to highlight that fact.
When I was younger I went through phases where I was convinced I was from a different family, and maybe that could explain the way I am. How can I be the offspring of the saintly Peyton Sawyer Scott, the daughter of Lucas and Brooke Scott?
The truth is I’m broken, that has to be it - I am somehow broken. A piece that just doesn’t fit and nothing I can do will ever change that.
It wasn’t always so prominent, for so long I thought I did belong, I was different but we were all different, it wasn’t until I was twelve that it really hit me just how much apart I am from the rest of the family. I’m not a ‘real’ member.
I still remember the day I first looked at Mom and saw a stranger, that blank look she gave me, the one that stated louder than words that I was not her daughter. The thing was even then it didn’t really hit me, it wasn’t until weeks later that it really sunk in why I’m different to the others – I’m not hers.
It sucks, especially seeing she’s always belonged to me for as long as I can remember.
Arms wrap around me, forcing me out of my thoughts, there is no urge to lean backwards, but I still smile as his breathe tickles my ear, “let’s get out of here”
I laugh at the arrogance in his voice, “what, not even a hello?”
Van turns me in his arms, that grin on his face which speaks of charming lies and seduction, “I’ll give you a hello” and without another word he kisses me.
Closing my eyes I drown myself in the contact, desperate to feel something, anything, but there is a flicker and then it’s gone.
I feel like my body, my mind and that ethereal force inside me known as a soul are all disconnected. I feel all, just not together, like I am watching my life but I’m not really there. I’m feeling my life, but there is a thin veil between it and me that stops me from really experiencing it.
If I could rip it down… well, part of me is scared about that what if.
Pulling away I smile, my smile never reached my eyes, it doesn’t even get half way, it’s slightly cocky, mysterious and mocking, “Well, I guess that will do”
He never holds me for long, which is a good thing I guess, Van let’s me go, grabs my hand and starts to pull me towards my car, “Gotta surprise for ya”
Feigning interest I lift my brow and follow him more willingly, no doubt that surprise is what it usually is.
At my jeep he swings me around and pushed me against the door, his lips once again on mine, and the whole time he’s smiling. He smiles a lot, half the time his emotions aren’t even connected to that grin, it just seems to be stuck on his face.
“I have to go” I cut into the kiss, pushing at Van’s chest, “Van I have to go”
Rolling his head back he steps away, all contact removed, “okay, then let’s go”
It’s all too easy, Van isn’t the push over type, his charming smile hides a darker side, the side that says my way or else. A shiver runs down my spine, and for a moment I just stand there unable to move but then he turns back to look at me his smile still on but his eyes colder.
Masking my fear I unlock the car and hop in, I look out at the world through blurred vision, but every now and then everything becomes clear, even if just for a second. Fear is one of the triggers; it’s why I always come back, because I need it. I need that rush of emotion that makes me feel. There’s something about him, always something that draws me back. It’s the way he can look at me sometimes, the way his words are focused entirely on me, that tell me he cares and if it’s not that, if it’s not some delusion that he actually cares about me it’s that other side, when he gets me so angry I yell, I hit, I kick until all that emotion is just out, until I’m panting and out of breath. Its anger, and disgust and shame, its emotion, and sometimes that means pain.
The pain is best of all; the pain is what tells you you’re still alive.
It’s a cold pleasure, welcome and feared at the same time, pushing you to your limits, just a little more and just a little more to answer the question when is it too much.
A face hovers in my mind, young and almost empty, striving for more, and as I see her give a smile I can hear her voice as a stray memory comes back to me “I hurt myself, you let others hurt you, in the end it’s all the same”
A flicker of anger sparks inside me and then it’s gone. I blink, and start the engine.
I park under a tree by the road, taking a breath as I stare at the building in front of me, Abby’s school and the one I use to go to. Then she appears stepping out from behind the tree, the same one I use to wait under to be picked up when I was younger.
Turning the radio down I meet Abby’s eyes as she opens the back door and takes her seat, “thanks” she mumbles and I shrug, pulling away from the curb I keep one eye on my sister in the rear view mirror. When she called me and asked to be picked up early I didn’t question it, I remember needing a break every now and then too, and with everything that was happening I don’t blame her.
We don’t ‘talk’ that much, truthfully I don’t have much to say to her, no words of wisdom or stories I am willing to share. Not saying we’re not close, we are, as close as we can be I guess. The silence that hovers between us is good enough because we don’t need words to hear what the other is saying, sometimes you simply see it.
“Want a drink?” Van asks passing a bottle into the back seat and I watch the silent hard no Abby sends my boyfriend as she stares at him with bored hazel eyes, eventually Van blinks and faces forward again with a shrug. It takes not even a second for the bottle to be touching his own lips and I can feel my sisters gaze digging into the back of my head.
There are seven years between us, seven long years. I remember so well what it was like before Abby, hell I can picture perfectly what life was like before Keith too. I never wanted another sibling, another person to take my parents from me but once that little baby is there, once they wrap their little fist around your hand it tugs at the heart like nothing else.
You want to hate them and sometimes you do, anyone with a brother or sister probably knows that hate you can have for a sibling.
There is a love though that is always there, the love that roars up when something threatens what is yours because your family is so irrevocably yours.
You face the world with your family by your side, the good and the bad, and those ties built and strengthened with each new day form a bond that becomes stronger than anything else even your own thoughts and desires – most of the time anyway.
I find that in a family you are equally at your most selfish and selfless.
It’s not exactly a proud moment for me to think I tend to lean on the selfish side and with Abby in the car I have a living breathing reminder of what it means to be selfless, then again maybe not.
As if she can sense my thoughts Abby’s voice cuts in interrupting my criticism, “you didn’t tell Mom, did you?”
Like I’m crazy?
Does she really think I’m looking to be killed, Mom would murder me if she found out I was corrupting precious Abby, “relax, Brooke is unaware of your little walk on the wild side” I try to sound like it means nothing, like I have no worries in the world and it works. She sighs and leans back, her arms wrapping around herself, “so-” I ask “-where to?”
We come to a stop a mere metre away from the court and before I even turn the engine off Abby is out the door, “give me a sec” I murmur to Van and follow my sister.
The wind whips my loose blonde hair across my face and I impatiently try to stop it as I make my way to Abby, she is walking determinedly towards the edge of the river bank and ignoring my calls, “Abby! Hold up, bitch”
My boots hit the court with each step I take as I cut across it, and by the time I reach the other side a memory come out of nowhere.
“Get off her” I scream running towards the court, my heart thumping as hard as my feet, “get off her you fucking little bastards!” I’m sixteen, and I’m angry.
The two bodies on top of my sister just keep going, one twit holding Abby’s head down while the other tries to punch her. Abby kicks and hits out and mostly the two others are holding her down but all I see is my sister in trouble.
I pull the black haired bitch off first, throwing the small body to the side before lifting the other kid off.
Abby jumps up, her eyes blazing a stormy grey with flecks of brown, and she rushed towards me and kicks the kid in my arms. I swing him around, instinct coming to me but I send questioning eyes to Abby, “what the fuck?”
Abby kicks the boy again, trying to get to him as I get in the middle, the girl who I threw earlier jumps on Abby’s back and I swear word escapes as I drop the boy in my arms and pull the girl off Abby a second time.
This time when she’s free I hold onto my sister, wrapping an arm around her skinny waist and gripping as hard as a can as she tries to get away. The others run away and soon she starts crying as the anger leaves her, she still kicking and hitting but her attention is on me but I continue to hold her. So small, so small and sad.
“They said Keith is going to die, they called him cancer boy, they said he was going to die” she repeats over and over again, reliving each harsh word the kids had said.
I close my eyes and keep holding on, minutes go by and her fighting stops until she’s clutching onto my jacket and burying her face in my chest.
“They don’t know shit” I say but I’m angry because I know they are right and we’re wrong so when Abby finally pulls away and wipes her eyes, a smile on her lips, a smile so like my own, I smile back.
Then Abby says in a tone I know all too well, “he’s not going to die, I’m gonna stop it, they’ll see, I’m gonna stop it”
She sounded just like Mom.
Abby reaches her destination and finally turns to look at me, my feet move faster but when I reach her she moves out of arms reach, “don’t touch me” she screams, “I am so sick of this, I want it to be over!”
I touch her shoulder, “it will be”
And the smallest of sobs breaks free from her, “I can’t do it anymore, I just can’t, and I told Keith and I told him I hate him, but I don’t, I don’t hate him, I don’t”
“Ok” I say, at a loss for words. I’ve never been good with words, that isn’t my role in the family but I was never really good at turning my back as much as I wanted to. I don’t touch her, I just nod “whatever you want, do whatever you want”
We stand here for ten minutes, Abby staring at the river while I watch her, eventually she steps back and I catch her hand slipping the object from my pocket into her grip. I wrap her fingers around it and move away, “you’ve sacrificed enough” I finish, turning away and walking back to the court.
She is standing there looking down at the charm bracelet when I turn back, I watch Abby slip it back onto her wrist where it never should have left, and then she opens her bag up and pulls out the basketball, clutching it to her abdomen Abby sits down and lifts her face up to the sun, her eyes shutting.
Once again I walk away, returning to the car and starting the engine as if I never stepped out, and I simply drive away.
One lock, two, three, four, five, six locks, one after the other until they are all done, I spin around “what do you have for me?” I say without pause and Van lifts his shirt off, I give an appreciative look down his body but what I really want is something else. He ignores me and walks over to the far wall, eyes scanning the layers of photos there, “that your parents?” he asks, even though he knows it is. I still oblige Van and nod, then I watch as he lifts a hand and touches photo after photo. He stops and touches the edge of one “who is that?”
When I walk forward and see the image that has his attention I feel something inside me tighten. Three faces look up in that one photo, Keith and Abby with one other between them. They are smiling, looking so happy.
I remember that day.
“Who is she?” he asks again.
Clenching my jaw I take the photo and rip it from the wall, I take a moment to look into those wide grey eyes in a too pale face framed by black hair. It’s like staring at a stranger, but that’s what Allie became towards the end. The photo bends in my hand, crinkling in my fist before I throw it in a ball to another corner, “nobody” I answer.
I look away and walk over to my stereo, turning it on at the same time Van dumps his bag on the bed. Kicking my mess to the side I make my way to my desk, taking a drink from Van’s bottle before stepping behind him.
Watching from over his shoulder I eye the plastic bags he one by one drops onto the sheet, smiling I pick up the next one he places down and quickly swallow two pills, downing it with another swig from the bottle.
Van takes the bottle and immediately replaces it with him mouth in a kiss that demands much, this time there is no play, no asking or patience. I laugh as he picks me up and throws me onto the bed, wincing as his hands tighten on my wrists when he spreads my arms out.
His fingers squeeze tighter, his teeth biting my lip until I taste the metallic tang of blood in my mouth.
My heart starts to beat faster, the music becomes so loud and soon I no longer care enough to think.
The banging doesn’t stop, it keeps happening buzzing at the back of my head, it takes me a while to figure out its coming from the door.
Rolling my head I stare at it, bang bang it says.
Why? Who knows. Who cares.
It doesn’t stop, why won’t it stop? Because its waiting for me.
“You gonna get that?” Van asks, his head on my chest, and I can’t speak but I move, sliding from under him and rolling off the bed. I grab the first shirt I see and pull it over my head, walking to the door with my heavy eyes. I should be jumping off the walls but I feel so heavy, no I feel light, so light I can’t lift what I can’t feel. I don’t know.
I don’t know.
One lock, two lock, lock, lock, lock, god so many locks. I open the door, blink, “what?” I say blinking again as Mom pears at me.
It’s always Keith but I don’t say that, I unlock the chain and step out, it’s Keith. That means something, it’s meant to mean something.
I’m not sure what, but Mom is looking at me and then she’s got my hand and she’s leading me away. I follow, I have to follow, I’m not sure why, I hate her, I am meant to hate her because she doesn’t love me, she can’t love me, she let me go, that’s why I hate her. She let me go.
Why am I running?
What… right its Keith?
Keith. My brother. I stop at the car and I see him and I don’t know why he’s so red and it hits me - it’s blood.
That sound, it’s from me, then I speak, the words coming to me “holy shit”
“I need you to drive” Mom says and suddenly keys are in my hand, and I look at her. She needs me but… I can’t. My hands are almost shaking.
Mom’s dark gaze turns to me, that all knowing look, I turn my eyes to the keys then Keith and then I force them back to Mom
Mom… but no sound comes out.
Those eyes narrow, looking into my soul, I shift my feet, I think I shift my feet.
“Are you high” she hisses, her voice so loud yet so far away. I can’t understand her, and then she speaks again “get in the back and hold your brother, we’ll talk about this later”
The keys are gone, and I lower my head and do what she says, I can understand that much and seeing Keith more makes sense.
Hold my brother. I can do that, yeah I can do that.
I wrap an arm around his still body, and his eyes suddenly open to look up at me, the whites are pink and there is no shine in his hazel orbs.
I’m shaking my head and everything becomes a little clearer.
The car comes to life and we’re reversing, I look up and see my mothers face in the rear view mirror, and finally I find the words “Brooke, it’s going to be okay” but I don’t think she sees me let alone hears me.
So I hold my brother.
By the time we get to the ER the world doesn’t seem so confusing, I do my job, I hold my brother even when we get out of the car I still hold him. He’s fifteen, he shouldn’t be this light but carrying him is easy or it feels that way. I follow Mom and she grabs the first medic she can “he needs platelets” she orders and suddenly there is action all around me.
Mom is helping them move Keith, and then he’s gone, and I stand there watching them all disappear behind closed doors, my arms still out in front of me. I look at my hands, now covered in blood, I look at them and for a while I don’t understand why they are empty.