All about you, part 1 (Love & Hate series #1) (2 page)

BOOK: All about you, part 1 (Love & Hate series #1)
11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

My mother had knocked around midnight. For several minutes she was silent, then she gave me the news. Christian had a car accident and he died in the hospital. Then she hugged me and told me to let it all go. I sobbed, feeling sorrow along with an incredible relief filling me up slowly. Part of me wanted him to be dead, the other part still loved him.

My wish had come true a few hours after he hurt me.

Then it was the funeral, and I was standing there glad that he was out of my life. I didn’t know how I was going to deal with the pain and those cruel memories. He destroyed me, then he disappeared.

Christian was gone; he took his vicious and sadistic part of him to the grave, but he left me with emotional scars and a nightmare that I will never forget.

“India.”

It was Oliver. I didn’t even notice when he approached me, but I recognized his voice straightaway. He stood beside me for a moment, and my anger and agitation grew. I turned to face him.

“What do you want, Oliver?” I snapped. His long dark hair hung over his shoulders; his eyes peered at me from beneath long black eyelashes. He was wearing a long black Goth coat.

“I just wanted to make sure that you’re all right,” he said, placing his hand on my arm. I clenched my fists and tensed my body. Pure rage started coursing through my bloodstream. Oliver was the one that was supposed to be at that party. If he had shown up like he promised, I would never have had to go through that nightmare. It was all his fault.

“He is gone, Oliver. You don’t need to check on me. You don’t have to be around me anymore,” I shouted. My heart was pounding, but I felt so much better as soon as I said it.

“Come on, India, I know you are hurting, but he was my brother and I’ll miss him, too.” He moved closer. I pulled away and got up, stomping away from him.

“I hate you, Oliver. I fucking hate your guts,” I yelled. “Just stay away from me. I don’t want you anywhere near me.”

He stood there looking at me as if I were speaking in a different language. His eyes darkened and he looked away. I felt better pushing him away. Fighting with him and hurting him was like a therapy. I felt released.

“Indi, I don’t get it—”

“You don’t need to get anything, Oliver. I swear that I’ll make your life difficult if you don’t stay away. I mean it. Christian is dead and we are done.”

I turned and walked away, leaving him next to his dead brother. Before the party, I would have thrown myself into his arms and told him that we had to be strong now. But that was then. Now I was in pieces.

Chapter two

Back to square one

Present

“Can you believe that it was him?” Dora asks for the fourth time, pacing around the room. I try to take a long deep breath, hoping the nausea will pass, but I feel like I’m going to throw up at any second. My heart is still pounding, pumping way too much blood to my head. In a matter of seconds the past is crushing back at me, and Christian’s body is lying next to me. Everything is falling apart.

“No, I can’t,” I reply with an uneasy tone. “What the hell is he even doing here? He was supposed to be in Edinburgh.”

She looks at me, tossing her brown hair behind her. Dora is a beautiful girl with olive eyes and long thick eyelashes. She is short, only five foot four, a petite woman with a sharp tongue. She doesn’t let people to walk over her.

“That’s what we all heard, but he obviously didn’t go to Scotland,” she mutters. “He looks so hot. And did you see his muscles? I never knew that he worked out.”

The panic passes through my body. This wasn’t the Oliver that I used to know. The one from the past was this unpopular, nerdy teenager that everyone used to make fun of. He was always in the shadow of his brother. Today I just met a new Oliver—strong, gorgeous, and confident. And Oliver remembers; he never forgot how I used to bully him.

“I guess he looks better,” I mumble, trying to take my mind off the man outside our building. Only a few minutes ago we got the keys to our apartment, but Dora doesn’t seem to care. She wants to know everything about the new gorgeous Oliver and the transformation that he went through.

She flops on the sofa staring at me with her mouth wide open. “Are you blind, India? Can you not see how much he’s changed? He is so much handsomer than Christian,” she hisses. “Besides, our group in high school gave him a hard time. I always wondered—why did you hate him so much?”

“It was never about hating him. He just annoyed me,” I tell her, although we both know that it’s a lie. She is right. I hated him because he wasn’t there for me when I needed him the most.

“Bullshit, India. It all started after Christian—” She goes silent, not finishing that sentence that always makes me mad. She knows that I don’t react well when she mentions Oliver’s brother, Christian.

“After the accident,” I say quietly. The uncomfortable silence blows out around us. I’ve forbidden her from talking about him. When people remind me about him I become a different person, cruel and defensive. No one knows what happened, even Dora. She thinks that I changed because I lost him.

“Yeah, after that,” she says, scratching her head. “I don’t like that new you. The old India was more fun.”

I don’t respond, pretending to look around our new apartment. I intend to not talk about my past for the rest of the day. Oliver is in Braxton and I need to try to deal with this the best I can. Dora needs to understand that the old India has gone, and she is never coming back.

Dora starts talking about something else, and I’m glad that she ditches that uncomfortable subject. An hour later, she vanishes into her bedroom to deal with unpacking.

Dora’s mum and dad divorced when she was around ten, and since then she has been floating between both parents. I don’t think that she ever got over the fact that her parents split up. Her father couldn’t see her that often, so he made sure that he gave her money to make up for the lost time. Back in high school Dora had the best clothes and the latest technological gadgets that everyone else could only dream of. She never had to chase after guys. She was popular and never had a problem with dates. We were close, but only two years ago I found out that she was suffering from depression and anxiety. She was seeing a psychologist occasionally. Apparently it had something to do with the fact that her dad wasn’t around.

We’ve been friends for years, but I have never seen her in any distress. Maybe it’s because she ditched school quite a lot. When she was absent, she never returned any of her phone calls and her mother never let me in, saying that Dora didn’t wish to see anyone.

Today I leave her alone. Then after a few hours I gently knock on her door and enter. She is sorting her clothes, muttering something about the shoes and the size of the wardrobe. She has to have everything sorted exactly the way she wants, which means that she can’t stand a mess. Even her underwear drawer is folded alphabetically.

We kind of bonded in primary school, when my father died. After that, it was only me, Mum, and my little sister, Josephine. My father had a heart attack, and his death nearly cost Mum her job. She didn’t leave her room for days. Then she started drinking. She never used to drink, but a few weeks after the funeral she had to have at least a glass of wine every evening. It wasn’t a pretty time, but we managed to get through it. After her boss told her that she would lose her job, Mum finally stopped drowning her grief in alcohol. That day she changed, and we had her back.

When Dora finally emerges from her room, it’s early evening. I know that all her clothes have been folded in the wardrobe by then. She is sort of weird like that, sitting on her own for hours. Deep down I know that she is going through some emotional whiplash. I don’t disturb her. I let her take her time.

“What are you wearing?” she asks narrowing her eyes and pointing at my outfit. I look down at my old jeans and ugly T-shirt that’s more grey than yellow. Yes, I look like a tramp, but who cares? It’s only Dora and me.

“Comfortable clothes. Why?”

“Because we’re going out for food,” she says, staring at her reflection in the mirror. I automatically cringe and consider staying in the apartment on my own. I’m not comfortable going out, knowing that he is out there.

“I don’t want to go out. It’s our first night here,” I protest.

“That’s the point. We didn’t come here to sit around. We are here to party, so get that sexy arse of yours to the bathroom.” She smirks, pushing me towards my room.

I pull my caramel hair in a messy knot with one hand, tapping my fingers on the edge of the table with the other. Recently I have been doing this more often, this small ritual kind of calms me down—until the memories of the party come flashing back to my brain.

I’m not bad looking; people have always told me that I’m pretty. I have long wavy hair that I straighten often and brown eyes. I’ve got very fair skin with millions of freckles around my nose and cheeks, which tend to be embarrassing when people point that out. My self-esteem used to be high, but now it’s all like mushy peas. All because of Oliver’s brother, Christian.

I pull skinny jeans over my long legs and put a low-cut top on. I stopped using makeup two years ago, but tonight Dora wants me to become the old India, the one from high school. Ruthless and flirtatious, the kind of girl that she expects me to be. I went through a transformation after Oliver left to go to University. He was nearly two years older than me and as soon as he graduated high school, he took an offer of a scholarship in Scotland and vanished from Gargle. I’ve lost him, so I stopped being cruel, wild and obnoxious towards others. He wasn’t around anymore, so I couldn’t pour out my frustration on anyone else anymore.

Throughout the year, I quietened down and understood that I pushed him away, hurt him and ruined his life. It was time for me to share my secret with him, but then it was too late, because he was already gone and no one knew if he was going to come back.

Dora still likes to be the center of attention, as she never received enough from her father. Her mum was always pleasant. She kept inviting me over so I could use their pool in the summer. They live in the better part of Gargle in a large house. Her mother works as a solicitor. Dora never had to worry about money. If she wanted something, she just got it.

I live on the outskirts of Gargle in a more modest location. After my father died, Mum had to handle the responsibility of looking after us alone. She never let us think that we were poor, but she had to count every penny. I remember that my sister wanted to do gymnastics like her friends, but Mum couldn’t afford it. But mum always made sure that we were reasonably happy.

I bring back all these silly memories, wondering if I’m ever going to be happy in Braxton. Oliver changed. He isn’t weak anymore, and I’m certain that he still remembers how I treated him.

Dora smirks at me when I leave the bathroom; she approves the clothes that I chose. Tonight she is showing off her cleavage, wearing a mini skirt with her high boots. She knows how to use her assets. I made a promise to myself before I left. I don’t want to get involved with anyone. After Christian died I went out with a few guys, lost my virginity to one of them, hoping to forget. That didn’t happen, and I was back to square one.

“C’mon, let’s see if we can find ourselves a guy for this fine evening.” She giggles, taking one last glance at herself in the mirror.

“Looking like that, you probably will,” I say, as I finish styling my caramel hair. I can’t do anything about the freckles. I hate my fair completion. I can’t even go outside without a high factor screen when it’s sunny because I burn so quickly.

Dora places her hands on her hips and narrows her eyes. “I don’t understand, India. You are hot, but you’re playing like no one can replace Christian. Just go out there and have fun like in high school.”

“I’m not interested in dating, Dora. This isn’t high school. I told you I would have to work hard to keep up with all those nerds. Plus I’ve got rowing training to think about.”

“Rowing?” she says, laughing. “Are you seriously considering doing that crap?”

I hate that she is so opinionated about everything. She has no idea what makes me happy. She likes to be in control, and if she loses that control she locks herself up and pretends that everything is all right.

“It’s a sport, Dora, the sport that I like, so stop being so negative about everything.”

She looks away, chewing her upper lip. “I’m not negative. You just need to chill out. You don’t seem to want do anything these days.”

“Partying isn’t on my list of priorities anymore, Dora, so get used to it. Otherwise I’ll forget we’ve been friends for so long,” I say. “Now lets go out. I’m starving.”

Outside, Dora quickly forgets about our tense conversation and keeps cracking jokes about Oliver. The evening is warm, the breeze ruffling my hair. Hopefully it will stay like that for the rowing trials. The campus is full of students who are enjoying fresher’s week; subconsciously I know that we should join them. Today we’re starting our first year of university, at the age of nineteen and I suppose we need to have some fun, too. Dora suggests that we grab a quick takeout from the local shop.

While we’re eating, Dora chats away with the group of girls from Essex. Her father lives there and she practically thinks that she is an Essex girl now. I’m amazed at her ability to make friends so quickly. They aren’t particularly bright, but Dora already has them swirled around her small finger, throwing a bunch of complements. It takes her a while to introduce me, but that’s just her and I’m used to it by now.

“India, listen, Louise is telling me that there is a party going on, like ten minutes walk from here.”

“Dora, come on, I’m not in the mood,” I complain, knowing that I would be the one that would have to take her home. She doesn’t know her limit.

“It’s fresher week, we don’t have to wake up early tomorrow.”

I shake my head, but Dora is right. My Internet is not even hooked up yet, the TV is still in the car, and I left a lot of my DVDs at home. There is nothing to do in the apartment.

BOOK: All about you, part 1 (Love & Hate series #1)
11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Red Love by David Evanier
Succubus Tear (Triune promise) by Andreas Wiesemann
The Moneylenders of Shahpur by Helen Forrester
The Laird of Stonehaven by Connie Mason
Jasper Fforde_Thursday Next_05 by First Among Sequels
Fever 4 - DreamFever by Karen Marie Moning
Cricket in a Fist by Naomi K. Lewis
Acts of Courage by Connie Brummel Crook