It would have been a flat out lie for her to say she didn't miss him. That she wasn't angry. He'd just left her there hanging without a word or a goodbye. Was it truly wrong to expect at least a goodbye in person? Was it truly wrong to expect an explanation?
Icy knew she'd never get one.
She'd dialed his old number to find it disconnected.
She'd emailed him only to have it bounce back; his account disabled.
She'd—as a last resort—written him a letter. That was sent back with a note from the post office stating that the owner of the house no longer resided there.
At least she knew then that it wasn't her fault.
Unless he really was so desperate to get away from her that he sold his house. What an insult that would be; Icy never thought herself to be that clingy—or clingy at all really. It'd be embarrassing if she had really come on so strong he thought she'd stalk him after a breakup.
She scoffed, if he broke up with her in person she wouldn't have even given him a second thought. Hell, if he broke up with her over the phone she wouldn't have given it a second thought.
At least the phone breakup would have been better than him just up and leaving with no word whatsoever.
Souring her mood further, she had a sturdy suspicion that he had something to do with the particularly nasty lot of trolls she'd had a run in with on the day of his disappearance.
She folded her arms over her chest, face twisted into an angry pout. She found herself feeling very grateful that Darcy and Stormy were in class, and not there to witness her childish sulking. And how childish it was to bitch inwardly about not getting her way. How childish it was to feel so entitled.
Arms, leg, and ribs still aching from said troll attack, she heaved herself out of bed.
Each cut and bruise screaming at her in protest.
Screaming at her with the volume she wanted to yell at Darko.
She ignored their protests, dressed herself, and sat back down. Suddenly at a loss for energy, she absent-mindedly trailed her pointer over the bruises dotting her ribcage and left leg. She only stopped when her finger came across and re-opened one of the cuts on her outer thigh.
She hissed and stood up again, this time to clean and bandage the fine-lined, bleeding, stinging wound.
She pressed a cold rag over the weeping injury, wincing as she applied pressure.
And all the same the pain she continued to inflict bought her a sensation of serenity. It pulled her thoughts away from Darko, from losses.
Icy pressed the rag down harder, shooting the pain further down her leg.
She closed her eyes, letting the pain sink in.
Basking in it.
Her eyes snapped open and she tore her hand away. She'd more than cleaned the cut.
A thin trail of blood seeped from the split flesh.
She wouldn't fall back into old habits; she absently rubbed at a set of old scars that decorated her wrist.
Icy found the medicine cabinet, rummaging through it until she found the band-aids. She applied it with more care, gently, so not to evoke the pain again. So not to arouse her blood-lust again.
Leaving the band-aids and an unused napkin on the bathroom counter, she pushed the cabinet shut. The ice witch ran a hand through her hair…she'd comb it later, she decided. Right now she needed to get out. She needed fresh winter air.
She'd have to create the winter herself. She scowled.
What an awful season.
She seated herself on the roof of cloud tower. One of its highest spires. She'd found the nice secret spot way back in her freshman year and was eternally grateful for it and the privacy it provided.
She lie down on her back looking up at the foggy grey sky, knowing very well that if she looked down she'd be all too tempted to throw herself over the balcony onto the jagged rocks below. Once upon a time she'd have looked down anyways.
With her eyes trailing over the clouds Icy thought back. To her childhood. To simpler times. When she was happy. Before her mother decided that she'd be sending her off to a school for dark magic. Icy'd always been much better with light magic, but her mother had pushed her into the darkness.
Darko always uplifted her after her mother kicked her down.
In the same way she lifted him up after his father shot him down.
Funnily enough, she recalled, it wasn't Darko who found her in the garden crying. But she who found him. She remembered him batting his balled fists at his eyes, trying furiously to wipe the tears away. But they just kept coming.
Without a word she had sat herself down next to him, pulling her legs up to her chest.
Icy had said not a word. And it didn't take long before her own childhood sorrows crashed down on her.
It must have been a sight; two small children crying next to each other in the garden.
Somewhere down the line one of them had taken the other's hand.
Somewhere down the line one of them…that same person, had leaned him or herself up against the other.
Icy tried to pull the memory further forward; it was him, he was the one who decided to cry into her shoulder. She remembered putting an arm around him and telling him that it—whatever it was—would be okay, despite the fact that she was bawling her eyes out too.
Icy laughed bitterly. A crying child trying to tell another crying child that things would be okay. She remembered saying, "I don't know what's wrong with you but it's gonna be okay."
And then Darko told her what was wrong.
He told her about his father.
About the man's sketchy business.
About how he'd buy him nice things in the morning and hit him at night.
How much it reminded her of her own woes. Her mother dressing her in fine clothing when she did as she was told. Her mother slamming her against the wall when she said that she wanted to practice healing magic.
Icy allowed herself one more bitter laugh. No wonder I'm so messed up. It always did—in every case she'd read about—mess the child up when he or she was stronger with light magic and pushed into the darkness. Of course it messed a dark-inclined child to be pushed into the light, but not nearly as much as when the reverse happened.
No less it helped her bond with Darko.
As they grew up they grew closer. Sitting on that rock, Icy always forcing him to the pointy and rough side to spare her own ass (literally) from the pain. They had "a thing" in middle school, so everyone said.
The hand holding they did left little room for dispute.
The amount of time they spent together cheering each other up, left even less room.
"I thought I'd find you up here." Darcy cut into her thoughts. "Stormy's waiting in our dorm."
Icy sighed and pushed herself up right, biting her lower lip against the ache.
"Take it easy." Darcy, helped her to her feet. "Stormy said that she found a letter for you in our mailbox."
"If it's another parking ticket we can pretend like I never got it." Icy muttered.
Darcy rolled her eyes. "If it's another parking ticket you should stop parking in two spaces."
When she finally got back to her dorm she took a seat at the small table besides Stormy.
"You doing okay, Ice?" The storm witch asked, eyeing the scratches on Icy's forearm.
"Fine." Icy answered. She wondered if Stormy knew that those truly were from the troll. She promised the two that she wouldn't hurt herself anymore. And aside from the minor…incident an hour before, she'd held herself to that. "I heard you have a letter for me."
"Oh. Right, yeah." She reached into her pocket and drew out an envelope.
"Really, I'm fine." Icy repeated, sliding her fingernail under the lip of the envelope. She pursed her lips as she worked to unseal it.
"I believe you." Stormy replied, putting her hands in the air defensively.
Stormy always seemed to feel the most concern for her. The storm witch practically hovered around Icy during her episodes. It wasn't really a shock to Icy seeing as the witch had lost her biological older sister to suicide. She never failed to remind Icy that she reminded her of her sister.
It was just another thing that kept her hanging in there; jokes and teasing aside, she didn't want to hurt Stormy. Didn't want to put her through the same pain all over again. She didn't have the heart to do it. She really should have been a fairy.
At heart Stormy is a softie anyways, Icy noted. She could sense it when the girl stayed awake on nights to comfort her and make sure she was okay.
She'd been there the night Darko left too.
The night Darko had reminded her—practically bought her back to—the darkest night of her life.
The first time he'd left her.
His dad just whisked him away.
She watched the older man lift her sort-of lover up by the collar and throw him across the room.
The man then had the nerve to slap her around too.
Darko picked himself off of the ground and threw himself in front of her before his dad could do anymore damage…or before she could.
She walked home in the blistering sun that night. Bleeding and sweating.
Broken and mentally worn.
She tried phoning Stormy because she didn't want to go home.
As fate would have it, that was the night Stormy's sister had died.
The worst night of her life.
She didn't hold it against Stormy for not picking up or confiding in her. She had a lot on her mind.
A few feet away from her phone she remembered her new friend.
It wouldn't hurt to give her a call.
The world, Icy found out that night, worked in strange and cruel ways. Strangely cruel, Icy realized. Darcy too declared August 12th, 2005 as the worst night of her life. The night her home foreclosed and her family lost everything. But it didn't matter, there'd been a house fire that same night. It took her mother.
Authorities had a 'slight' suspicion that her father had lit it up under the stubborn pretense that if he couldn't have "the damn fucking house" no one could.
Her little brother, Seven, was promptly put in foster care, for his father was unfit to raise children.
The law somehow forgot to take Darcy out of that situation.
Despite her efforts she never did regain contact with Seven.
Naturally Darcy didn't pick up her phone.
She didn't have a phone to pick up.
So Icy was alone.
She shut her eyes and opened the door to her house.
Her mother was waiting at the door like a crazed attack terrier.
"I know where you've been!" She shrieked. "You had sex with the mafia boy. Do you know what that makes me look like!? Everyone at the office is talking about it!"
That's was the worst thing about her mother; the woman seemed so classy and refined on the surface. She wore such a charming face in front of the crowd. So naturally no one suspected that this rich, luxurious, company owner, liked to abuse her child after hours.
No one suspected that the woman took pleasure in watching others suffer.
No one suspected that Icy inherited this trait and really just needed help. No, she was the demon and her mother was the poor soul who had to deal with her.
"I didn't have sex with him." Was all Icy could sputter before her mother wrapped her arms around her neck.
She woke up on some unknown street with nothing but the clothes she wore.
It didn't matter, she wanted to die anyways.
Darcy rested her arm on the back of Icy's chair. "Did you hear me?"
Icy's focus turned back to the present, she realized that her eyes were slightly damp. "No, say it again."
"I asked you if you wanted something to drink and if you wanted to lie down."
"Drink, yes." Icy finally had the letter free. "I don't need to lie down, I've been doing that more than I want to."
"You sure you're okay?" Stormy asked.
"Yes, I'm fine." She nodded and unfolded the letter.
It was crossed out.
Also crossed out.
Hey it's Darko,
Now that sounded like him.
I'm probably the last person you want to hear from right now. I didn't mean to put you in a, uh, dark space again…I mean, if I did. I'm sorry I couldn't say goodbye correctly…
But you know my father. How he is. And stuff.
Of course, why hadn't she taken that into account? If Stormy wasn't there she'd probably have slapped herself for missing the obvious.
I really wanted so say goodbye. Truly…crossed out…really I did. But when I got back to the house there were about ten moving vans parked there! Promise I'm not exaggerating this time, my dad was really hauling ass. So ten moving vans is about right, he had all of his stuff packed in no time. Of course my stuff was left behind again. Because "we don't have time or space son." He never has time or space for me…
I'm sorry, I'm whining again.
No, go on, I don't mind listening. Icy muttered inwardly. She just wished she could be listening in person, perhaps on a park bench.
I know you probably don't want to hear it. You have your own issues, and I think I made them worse. I should have never came back into your life. I shouldn't have opened up old wounds, especially since they never really healed to begin with.
I shouldn't have gone after that waitress…what was her name? Bloom? That's what started all of this. I shouldn't have played hard to get with you…
Shouldn't have tried to make you jealous. Because the truth is I didn't need to. I was just too stupid to realize that you still, uh, liked me.
Ah, this just sounds so rediculous.
All of the misspellings, that was so typical of him. Icy gave a slight smile. It fade quickly as the words sunk in. They could have been happy. If only they hadn't tried toying with each other. If only they'd realized that they didn't need to.
Her smile faded deeper into a frown when she realized that that was the end of the letter.
He would leave it open like that.
She flipped the paper over.
Scrawled messily on the back was an address; a little old café in downtown Magix.
And I want to see you again.
It was written so small, she barely saw it.
Her smile returned. "I'm going to be okay Stormy."
*Adele's hello plays in the background as I type*