All about you, part 1 (Love & Hate series #1) (4 page)

BOOK: All about you, part 1 (Love & Hate series #1)
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I look at my reflection in the mirror, wondering if I’m ever going to feel normal again. My caramel-colored hair is all over the place, my cheeks are flushed, and my muscles are aching. I run my finger over my eyes to remove the smudges from my black eyeliner. My stomach makes an uncomfortable growl as I take a few long breaths.

Then I hear a noise and someone enters. I lift my gaze, and in the mirror I see a familiar face. Our eyes meet and the ache in my heart starts vibrating through my bones, causing an eruption of panic. The air ceases in my lungs. I could have sworn that I locked the door when I came in, but now Oliver is here, standing in that small space with me.

For several long moments, no one makes a move. His eyes harden on me. Only two steps divide us, and I consider screaming. The adrenaline starts pumping through my body, but I stand there immobile, wondering what he will do or say.

A small smile creeps across his mouth as he locks the door of the bathroom.

This is not good, not good at all.

My mind shouts at me to start running, but I can’t move. He’s changed so much since the last time I saw him. His lean, ripped body looks thrilling, and I begin to wonder if he always aimed to look like his brother. Strong, handsome, and not afraid of anyone, even me. His pupils dilate and he inhales quickly, taking a step forward.

“Get out,” I say before he gets too close to me. My voice sounds weak, but Oliver doesn’t even acknowledge my order. He moves even closer. Soon I’m pinned to the basin, breathing like an asthmatic. His hands are on both sides and I’m at his mercy. His eyes are penetrating me, showing me that he is in charge like I once had been.

My heart leaps in my throat, but I don’t dare to move. I’m afraid to touch him, to make a connection with his body. Christian was a monster, and Oliver is a man who desires his payback. He wants to break me, though, not caring that we were friends once before.

“Indi, you’re going to listen to me very carefully because I won’t be repeating myself. It’s only this once, right now, that we are going to talk,” he says, almost whispering as he leans close to my face.

I want to move away, scream, shout or do anything to get away from him, but my body doesn’t want to react. I’m holding my breath, feeling the heat embrace every small part of me. I can’t give him any response. I’m not the person that I used to be. Here I’m weak, lost, and confused.

“You’re will go back to wherever the fuck you’ve come from. You’re going to pack. Then you will call your mother and tell her that you changed your mind about studying in Braxton. Then you will take the next bus to Gargle and stay there until you figure out what to do with your life.”

He stops talking and waits for my reaction or response. His closeness is killing me. I’m not able to hurt him the way I used to. My demons are back, but there isn’t any hatred left within me. I poured everything out on Oliver years ago.

I’m hanging there, taking long rigid breaths, wondering if he is serious. When his expression doesn’t change, I know that he is not joking. He wants me to leave Braxton, to stay away from his new life.

“I’m not going anywhere,” I say, almost whispering after a long moment of silence. He can say what he wants, but I won’t leave my dream behind. I worked too hard to get here. He can’t expect me to throw my hard work away just because he can’t deal with me.

His dark eyes narrow and his body tenses. There are two possibilities of what might happen: first Oliver would insult me and leave, or second, he might find a way to make me leave one way or another. It’s my own fault that he is so angry right now. I ruined him and all the feelings that we had for each other.

“I’m giving you a chance to leave on your own accord, Indi,” he says, smirking. “Otherwise, I won’t have a choice, and I’ll make you leave.”

It’s as if I’m enjoying the humiliation, not being able to push him away and stand up for myself. “I told you, I’m staying no matter what you say or do,” I say through gritted teeth.

For a split second he gives me the impression that he said enough, but then he does something unexpected. He takes a step back and drags me over to the wall, pinning me closely to his chest. I let out an uncontrolled sharp gasp when his pushes his body closer to mine, locking my last possibility of escape. His cheek is right beside my cheek, and I wonder if he is capable of hurting me, the same way I hurt him. My body turns into mush, and the desire is back swirling inside me like a windstorm. I force my breathing in and out slowly.

“Oh, Indi,” he begins, whispering to my ear, “I can’t believe that you’re throwing your chance away. If you don’t want to stay miserable for the rest of the year, you need to leave Braxton today. I’ve tolerated you through high school, took all the insults and pranks, but now I’m a not the same person. I’ve changed. It’s your choice, but remember, if you decide to stay, I’ll be breathing down your neck, watching you. Trust me, you don’t want to be my enemy because I’ll hurt you.”

Then, before I can even comprehend what he just said, he lets go of me and leaves the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. For a moment or two I stand there learning how to breathe again, my chest rising and falling. My mind spins as I roll down to the floor. This isn’t happening to me. He didn’t just give me an ultimatum. Oliver doesn’t own me like his brother did. It’s been two years since Christian died. It’s been two years since I was freed.

I bring my hands to my face, sobbing quietly. If I won’t comply, Oliver will make sure that I won’t last in Braxton. He always keeps his word, and I know that he wasn’t bluffing just now. I lift myself up and rinse my face. My green eyes are glazed and my cheeks are flushed.

I drop my head down and take a deep breath considering all the options. He is already winning. The old India would never have let him take control here. She would have fought, and she would have won.

Chapter four

It’s just life

Present

When I walk downstairs my legs are shaking, but Oliver is nowhere to be seen. He did what he needed to do, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he bailed already. I’ve known Oliver for years, and despite what went on between us in high school, he was always cool and collected. He never challenged me about my behavior toward him. I can’t find Dora anywhere. She is still probably with that guy Jacob.

The air downstairs is warm and dense. There are a lot more people in the room. Couples are spread in the corners making out in the rhythm of rock music. I walk back to the kitchen searching for Dora. I have goose pimples all over my arms and my stomach is in knots. I take my mobile and call her. She doesn’t pick up. I don’t know anyone at this party, so after half an hour of searching, I decide to go home. Dora is obviously having a great time, so there is no point disturbing her. She is a big girl and able to take care of herself.

The street is full of students. I shouldn’t be surprised; it’s the fresher week and people want to enjoy themselves. When I get to the apartment, my head starts spinning. I run to my room and start packing. Oliver has won. He wants me to leave, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do. He always knew that I would choose Braxton. We’d talked about this for as long as we’d known each other. After the way I treated him in high school, he probably decided to pay me back by choosing the same university.

I pack all my stuff, wondering what I’m going to tell my mum. My head is aching so I lie down in my new bed. With the alcohol in my system, I decide to pack the rest tomorrow morning. By two o’clock in the morning I’m still not asleep. Dora hasn’t come home yet, but when I look at my phone I see that she sent me a text saying that I shouldn’t wait for her. I manage to drift off a few hours later.

I wake up in the morning with a headache. The memories from last night flow back to me, and I cringe thinking about my conversation with Oliver. I rub my sleepy eyes and look at my half-packed luggage. Tears of regret swell in my eyes when I think of the way I treated Oliver in high school. I meant to stop hurting him so many times, but I never did. I wanted to apologize, but something or someone always stopped me.

I hear laughter in the living room, and I wonder if Dora has a company. She has only been in Braxton for five minutes, but she’s already met her potential boyfriend and two new girlfriends.

I put some clothes on and smooth my hair. When I walk into the living room I see Jacob, who has Dora on his lap. They are so engrossed with each other that they don’t even notice me. I clear my throat to let them know that I’m in the room. It looks like my best friend has already marked Jacob as hers because he can’t seem to take his eyes off her.

“Oh, India, you met Jacob?” asks my friend.

Jacob finally looks at me. “All right, India?”

“Fine, thanks.”

I have to admit that I didn’t expect him to be friendly towards me. After all, he is Oliver’s mate—and from what it looks like, Dora’s new boyfriend, if I can call him that. And if she dates him, that will only bring more trouble for me. I see my half-packed suitcase and change my mind. Oliver can threaten me, but I won’t leave just because he can’t stand me.

“Dora, what time did you get back yesterday? I didn’t hear you come in.”

“She didn’t. She slept in my place,” Jacob says. Dora has an attack of hysterical giggles, and I roll my eyes. I can’t believe that she slept with him not even thinking about the consequences.

“Yes, Jacob just dropped me home. He’s got a practice session in an hour,” she informs me, stroking her brown hair.

“Great,” I reply and head to the kitchen in need of coffee. Once the kettle boils, my mind wanders off to the bathroom at the party and Oliver’s threat. He can’t make me leave. I worked hard to get here. It’s an easy decision, similar to the other that I made two years ago after Christian’s funeral. I’m staying whether Oliver likes it or not.

I spend the rest of the day with Dora, listening to her monologue about Jacob after he leaves for rugby training. I’ve known her for too long; she gets bored of men quite easily. Jacob is handsome, but I don’t see her sticking with him for that long. I keep quiet about my heated conversation with Oliver. It’s better to keep Dora out of trouble.

The next few days pass too quickly. I’m forced to spend most of my days in my room because Jacob is always in our apartment. Neither of them is shy, and they don’t care that I sit on the opposite sofa while they make out. On top of that, Dora isn’t that great in the kitchen, so I’m the one that ends up preparing everything. Now I have to cook more because Jacob has a healthy appetite. This slowly starts to drive me crazy. My best friend doesn’t seem to care. She has a new man in her life, she is away from her mum, and she can do what she wants. If I’d known this was the way she was imagining living with me, then I would have thought twice about it.

I haven’t seen Oliver around campus since our tense rendezvous in the bathroom, but I try to have eyes in the back on my head. It doesn’t take me long to discover that he is the captain of the rugby team. The posters of the team are all over campus, and he’s the only person everyone is talking about, especially girls. I feel like he’s already hunting me down.

My first rowing session is in a few days. The team hasn’t been formed yet, but I’m looking forward to getting rid of my frustration during training.

I choose law as my main degree. But I don’t have to make a final decision about where I want to take my career until my last year. Law always fascinated me. I also think it’s partly because I really like those TV shows about troubled lawyers and criminals. Mum warned me that I might struggle to get the license, but I’m willing to try.

Classes start a week after the fresher week. My timetable looks busy, and for the first few days I run between classes trying to find the right room. Today I’m relieved when lunch hour approaches. Dora has been texting me all day demanding to talk to me, but I didn’t have time to reply as I was so busy. I text her when I leave the lecture, saying that I’m heading for lunch. Dora is studying Business and Management. Her father works as a financial adviser so I think he influenced her to take on that subject. Dora isn’t very ambitious, but she seems genuinely interested in business.

The canteen is packed, so I make a mental note to change my dinner schedule in the future. A few people stare at me more than usual as I walk in. I don’t know anyone in Braxton, so I’m surprised that people actually notice me. I load my tray with food and go back to find a seat.

“India. Hey, India.”

It’s Dora. She waves to me from the other side of the hall, so I follow. Unfortunately, she isn’t alone. Two Essex girls and Jacob are with her. My stomach tightens, but I don’t let them see that I’m uncomfortable. I should be used to that by now. Company always follows Dora.

“Hey, guys.” I greet them. The Essex girls nod toward me coldly. Dora feeds Jacob, who seems to be enjoying the attention.

“India, where have you been? I’ve been texting you all day,” she says.

“I had classes, like most people here Dora,” I reply, smiling. “What’s up?”

“We need to talk.”

“I’m starving and I’ve got another class in forty minutes, so it’ll have to wait,” I say. “Besides, knowing you, I guess it’s nothing important.” I start eating my chips and curry. I have a rowing session this afternoon so I need a lot of energy. The Essex girls are eating their salads and eyeing my plate with disgust.

Dora purses her lips together, jumps off Jacob’s lap, and sits beside me. “It’s really important, so come on. Let’s move to the other table.”

“Babe, I have my history module in fifteen minutes,” Jacob complains.

“Yeah, babe, I’m in the middle of my lunch,” I say, mocking Jacob, who doesn’t seem to realize how silly that sounds. Dora isn’t a babe for sure.

“No freaking way, Indi. You need to listen to what I’ve got to tell you. This is really important.” She drags me away from the table.

I’m not in the mood for her stupid gossip. I get cranky when I’m hungry. We sit a few meters away from our table and more people stare in our direction. Oliver is like a god on campus, and all of the sudden he took an interest in me, so it seems everyone wants to know why I’m so special.

BOOK: All about you, part 1 (Love & Hate series #1)
9.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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