// soundtrack //
♡ RICH KIDS BLUES / Lykke Li
♡ SADNESS IS A BLESSING / Lykke Li
♡ TEEN IDLE / Marina & The Diamonds
♡ ON TOP / The Killers
♡ ONE WAY TRIGGER / The Strokes
♡ BONES / The Killers
♡ GIVE ME LOVE / Ed Sheeran
♡ THIS / Ed Sheeran
Ooh I hope this story doesn’t get too long
Lots of stuff in here though
Feedback appreciated :)
It’s amazing how we’re still getting stories in!
P.S, I dedicate this story to @laurcams94 and @lovelygabriella
because I never had time to make birthday sets!
And ugh, Cam is really behind on dates –
@lalasparkles & @mclovinn please note
your Ash/Aidan thing begins on 1/24 – 1/25
AKA, I didn’t know what Ash was really up to until then!
Also this is a collab with my favorite gal @emgeemtee
and also the spicy @lovelygabriella (spicy?)
/ / /
January 3rd, 2013:
“Sadness is a blessing
Sadness is a pearl
Sadness is my boyfriend
Oh, sadness I'm your girl…”
"Hey! Ease up, DiVello," Connor dodged a rocketing tennis ball
and then went to chase after it, his head bobbing up and down
and the sound of his panting heard from across the court.
The concrete glittered in the sun and sweat glistened on my skin.
I went to the sidelines to take a slip from my lemonade and grinned into my glass.
"Don't be such a pu*ssy, Stan."
Connor's laugh echoed throughout the palace's gardens and courtyards and endless glamour.
He jogged to my side and took a sip from my straw and smiled.
"I forgot how good you were at tennis."
"Me too," I nudged him as he picked up my bag and rackets,
my smile pompous. "Then again, I'm good at everything."
He chuckled once, but his smile had vanished.
Dr. Blanc was the best in Europe at what he did
and he scoffed at anything American, Canadian, you name it - apart from me.
He called me "a rare breed" and looked at me with a gleam in his eyes.
"So, Princess," I could feel his gaze on me as I stared out the window.
"I've decided what we're going to do with you."
I nodded. "That's good."
When he continued, the words started to blur -
only one stood out, among numbers and dosages -
Dr. Blanc pursued his lips in thought.
He began flying through risks and major benefits
and how he believed the benefits outweighed the dangers.
Then the side effects —
“Acne? Weight gain? Hair loss?”
The words dropped out of my mouth like vomit
and I thought I would faint already. Dr. Blanc only laughed.
Later we sat in his office after tests on my thyroids and my blood
and I felt like a giant sack of potatoes. I couldn’t feel my arms.
"Now, another important step in your recovery is psychotherapy."
I sighed. "Sounds like something for psychos."
He shook his head and wagged his finger
as if I were a disobedient dog.
"Now that's the kind of thinking your psychotherapist would disapprove of."
My heart sank. "Sorry."
"It's alright. It's a long and winding road, Miss. DiVello."
My eyes touched the floor.
“Well you, of course, deserve the best…I went on a search for a psychotherapist that specializes in bipolar disorders. I found a great man who studied Bipolar Disorder II in particular and he can’t wait to meet you.”
“Why can’t my doctor ever be a woman?”
“…and he’s actually located in Manhattan,” Dr. Blanc continued,
ignoring my remark. He looked up from his folder
and up at me and I felt my heart race.
Manhattan – my home,
my city, my territory…
“I thought you’d like that,” he grinned. “And plus,” he took off his reading glasses
and stared at me intently. “Only at home do we recover best.”
Before leaving, I was given my first dosage of lithium.
Each pill is 300 mg, and I was told to continue taking my anti-depressant
although Dr. Blanc wanted to slowly ease off of it. My goal was to be taking 900 mg a day.
He wanted to see how my body responded to it
and then choose what to do after.
I felt as if my body had its own mind.
I was no longer in control.
“I’ve scheduled your appointment with Dr. Diver for the 5th.
Until then, I suggest trying something new…a new, what do they call it, hobby?”
“Attempt to clear your mind of everything and keep yourself busy.”
I attended a few meetings as princess of Monaco, since I was still that, somehow.
Michel, friend and minster of state, stood in the middle of the last meeting
to announce my leave of absence, leaving me shocked.
In his quick French and my zoning out, I only picked up the words
“sickness”, “recovery”, and then his proud statement,
“I will be in charge of affairs until her return.”
Then there was polite clapping,
and impolite stares, and I stood up,
storming out of the room with a frown.
“Cameron?” Michel was behind me.
“Qu'est-ce que c'était?”
I lashed out.
His eyes were wide.
My fists were tight and shook.
“We want you to feel comfortable,” he said slowly.
“We will do what is best for your recovery and Monaco.”
I simply looked at him, my eyes filling,
my breathing heavy, my throat raw.
I felt betrayed, I felt hurt,
but I simply smiled,
I began to stomp away and didn’t stop until I was in a room
that had become familiar to me – with a familiar scent
of cologne and leather and spilled ink.
Connor looked up from his copy of the New Yorker.
“How’d it go?”
“Do you want to go skydiving?”
January 5th, 2013:
“I got the rich kids blues
And it's got nothing to do with you
I got the rich kids blues
And I'm not sure that I'll pull it through.”
Dr. Diver greeted me with a determined handshake.
I felt his devotion humming through his skin
and I knew he was nervous about it.
“Did you get involved with psychology because of your last name
and its relation to ‘Tender is the Night?” I grinned and Dr. Diver smirked.
“That’s not the first time I heard that.”
“I hope not.” I sat down into the couch and crossed my legs.
“That is very impressive though.”
“Fitzgerald is Connor’s favorite author,” I remarked. “He’s my best friend. Because of him, I re-read Great Gatsby, most of his short stories and read all his novels… The Love of the Last Tycoon, The Beautiful and the Damned…I didn’t like This Side of Paradise…”
Dr. Diver was suppressing a big smile.
“Very impressive indeed. Have you been reading a lot?”
“I can read two books in a day now.”
“So you’re keeping yourself busy, I know that…” he wrote something down
and then nodded. “I heard about your tennis playing, the snorkeling,
the sailing…even heard about your skydiving the other day—“
“You watch E! News?”
He laughed. “It’s hard not to hear about your adventures in Monaco…speaking of which,”
he leaned in. “How’d you handle Monaco publicly announcing your leave of absence because of your BD?”
“That’s a straightforward question,” I mumbled.
“Oh,” his eyebrows rose. “I’m sorry, it’s just—
“It sucked,” I shrugged. “People talk.”
Dr. Diver leaned back into his chair.
His eyes were bright, bright blue.
They remind me of Niall’s.
I sank into the couch.
“I wanted to focus on two things today,” he said slowly.
“Family support and your sleeping schedule.”
“I am well aware of your father’s state…and your mother’s. I’m sorry.”
“Do you have any family friends or close friends you can rely on
to help you through this recovery?”
“Sure,” I twirled the locks of my hair slowly. “I have lots of friends.”
“Cameron,” he looked a bit amused and so I giggled. He shook his head.
“You have a father in hiding. I know your life isn’t the average life of a 19 year old…”
“So? I’m a big girl…”
“Please call me Cam.”
“Cam,” he cleared his throat. “Is there anyone you can go to after a bad day?
Anyone…you can talk to about things regarding your medication and your—“
“/Yes/,” I stretched out on the couch and sighed. “I have Connor.”
“I’d like you to have at least 3 people, a sort of ‘Emergency Contact List’ if you will.”
The room went still as my thoughts raced—they usually did that now,
but they were less heavy with every day that passed.
The next words I said flew out of my mouth without too much stress
and thought and I nearly gasped at the relief that came over me.
“I have the Riveras,” I mumbled. “Elena and Alex.
They’re like a fam—They are my family.”
“And you see them often?”
I realized I was lying.
Dr. Diver went on to talk about my sleeping schedule—
lithium could either bring or take sleep, it all depends on the person,
so he emphasized 8 hours a day. I barely heard him through my own thoughts.
I couldn’t recall the last time I got more than 5 hours a night.
I always get stuck on repetitive dreams—
a boy with light brown eyes and gold hair
and a lost dream, a lost life,
or a girl with scars on the inside of her arm,
in a hospital bed, pale, sad, lost and then dead.
“And I’ll see you again soon, okay Cameron?”
I didn’t even notice he was standing.
I shot up from the couch
and kissed his cheek.
“Thank you, Dick Diver!”
“Excuse me, excuse me…”
“Am I too late?”
I collapsed into the seat next to Connor and surprisingly no one in the auditorium cussed me out. Gabby’s ballet company had a recital today and I promised Connor I’d show up and “be nice”, something I found dumb for him to add in.
“This is literally the last scene,” he murmured in my ear
and for some reason I giggled. He shook his head with a small smile
as I buried my laugh into his brown leather jacket. Then I saw Gabby.
She looked like a Barbie doll I used to play with as a child.
She was flexible and pretty and I always wanted to look like her.
“Damn, Stan,” I mumbled. “You nabbed one there, didn’t you?”
I nudged him but he was too fixed on her twists, her turns,
her pirouettes, her pointe, her pilé…
I felt something pang in my chest,
and in the dark, I studied Connor.
I thought I would cry
but felt weighed down.
I thought I would definitely cry when I realized
it wasn’t jealously that stung, but a longing;
I pined to be looked at the same way.
And I used to be, just weeks ago,
and it wasn’t enough…
I was a monster…
I am a monster,
I really am…
In the dark, Connor whispered,
“I was late too,” and his eyes were wet.
When it came time for the standing ovation,
Connor fled the room in a panic like the loser he is,
having forgotten to get Gabby flowers. I just smiled big
and cheered as if I had been there watching the entire time.
Then I went in search of refreshments.
My hand hovered over the pretty glass of champagne
as Dr. Blanc words echoed in my mind—
“No smoke. No drink,”
and I bit my lip.
It was only champagne…
My name chimed and echoed through the room and in my head
as I turned and saw the petite blonde, my blonde. “Ashley?”
We collapsed into a hug that took my breath.
She had lost hers, too. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m in Manhattan for a bit,” I said softly.
“Got fired as Princess.”
“Oh, no you didn’t,” she giggled.
“Anyone would be stupid to do that.”
“How’s…how’s…” she was at a loss for words.
“How’s the treatment?”
My throat felt tight, as if threatening to close.
“It’s good. Going. Just st-started.”
I realized I was stammering.
Ashley suddenly looked worried,
or maybe she was just confused—
Who was this girl?
Just a few days ago we were asleep in a warm bed, hiding from the world,
and now we were staring at each other as if strangers.
We found ourselves pacing around, found ourselves in a corner.
“What are they putting you on?” she whispered.
“Still on it.”
It threatened again, my heart pounding against my chest.
And then it was there, in plain sight. We had nothing to say.
This sickness was driving away my friends!
I wanted to drink every glass of champagne I saw
and have Ash join me then collapse somewhere safe.
But we were completely unprotected and lost,
staring at each other like I stared at the subway for the first time.
“Enough about me,” I managed weakly. “How’s the acting?”
“I think it’s really starting up,” her eyes gleamed.
Her mouth twitched.
I felt that pang in my chest again.
Now I wasn’t sure what it was.
“Have…have you talked to Lou—“
“Oh!” Ash jumped suddenly, as if torn from me or…
as if she wanted to change the subject and smiled small.
“There’s Gabby. Let’s go congratulate her.”
She looped her arm through mine,
reaching for a glass of champagne
from a nearby plate before she did.
I looked down at our intertwined arms and,
as if shocked, I pulled away quickly.
Ash whirled around.
“What’s wrong, Cammie?”
I felt sick. “I feel fine,”
I swallowed hard.
As I knelt to the porcelain tiles in a bathroom stall,
I realized it wasn’t the lithium pill I’ve been taking for the past three days,
for it couldn’t have hit yet, but instead it was simply my own doing. I made myself sick.
I felt dumb leaving the hall and not congratulating Gabby,
but I knew I could just ship her to Monaco for a vacation
and all would be fine. It was low and arrogant of me.
But what would you expect?
The night was cold, as it still is these days,
and I clung to my black coat for dear life.
I looked about the empty streets and wondered if taxis still existed in Manhattan.
It seemed like a ghost town, for just that one second,
and I felt alone and at peace. Maybe it wasn’t me.
Maybe it was everybody else…
I turned around and Zayn blew smoke toward me,
lingering in the air like a fog and having me ache for a stick.
“Oh, wow,” I cleared my throat. “Hey, Zayn.”
“Have you been crying?”
“No.” I hadn’t shed a single tear, actually.
I surprise myself more and more every day.
“Niall ‘as been,” and with that he took a drag, smiling to himself.
“Didn’t know popstars could be so cruel,” I mumbled, putting a hand to my throat.
I was inhaling every bit of smoke he let out and wanted more.
“What are you even doing here?”
“I don’t know ‘nymore,” he studied me carefully and I studied the tip of his cigarette.
“You can’t have a drag, can you?”
I shook my head. Then he suddenly leaned in,
wrapping his arms around me in a tight hug.
I started to cry. I didn’t want to.
Fu*ck, I thought I wouldn’t.
But he just patted my back
and in his stupid accent sang,
“You poor, poor baby…”
but I was rich, rich, rich
and I wanted more.
Eventually we’d pull away and he’d attempt to say nice things,
but I’d just walk away and call up a rich polo player I met
and have him stay at The Plaza Hotel, where I’d be,
sulking in 100% Egyptian cotton sheets,
waiting for him with a scary lust.
January 19th, 2013:
“I don’t know why, but I feel conned.
I wanna be an idle teen. I wish I hadn’t been so clean.
I wanna stay inside all day. I want the world to go away.
I want blood, guts and chocolate cake. I wanna be a real fake.”
I waited two weeks to see if any side effects kicked in, but things seemed fine.
I did another thyroid test and a lithium test at the doctor’s
and with Dr. Blanc’s approval from Monaco, I was already taking three pills a day,
for a total of 900 mg of lithium a day. It was a lot, but it was successful and I felt good.
I played for an organization’s “celebrity” tennis game to raise money for cancer
and was taking polo lessons with that very handsome young man outside the city.
Dr. Diver encouraged my burst of activities,
even complimenting how I looked on the cover of Teen Vogue.
But he knew I wasn’t sleeping well.
He didn’t know I was officially suspended academically from Verona
and he didn’t know the feeling I got in my gut every time I passed the Rivera penthouse
on my way to another interview or another shopping spree to ease any bad thought that came to me.
I decided to go in finally, charging past the doorman who simply stared at me wide-eyed—
he was different than the usual man, and that upset me more. I hit the button for the top floor.
I had a spare key, which they probably forgot existed,
as they probably forgot /I/ existed…
I closed the front door. “Surprise!”
A head poked over the stairwell’s railing and my heart lightened.
“Cam?” Elle looked confused.
She came down the steps slowly, dressed in pajamas, having just woken up.
She had my Sailor Moon slippers on.
I mean – they were hers.
“Jesus, it’s 1 in the afternoon!” I laughed.
I embraced her into a hug and she was warm.
I pulled away and she was smiling
as if she had no choice. “Wow.”
“Nothing…” she took the paper bags from my hands. “What is this?”
“Lunch,” I was grinning like a mad woman. “From Café Sun. Remember that place?”
I smiled at her fresh face. It was still very pretty, although she looked exhausted.
“You’re very pale, Elle.”
“You’re very tan.”
“Am I?” I stretched out my arms.
She nodded. “And your hair’s lighter. I forgot you cut it.”
She watched me squirm under her gaze.
“Yeah. Do you like it?”
She nodded. “How was your New Year’s?”
“Great! I can’t believe you didn’t come…I missed you!”
“You didn’t answer your phone calls.”
“I forget I /have/ a phone these days—“
“I wanted to come…it’s just so far away, you know? Alex went—“
My frown was evident and felt as if it weighed down my face.
Elle stared curiously.
"What, did he—"
We paused at the sound of footsteps on the stairs and soon Alex breezed in,
yawning, his hair long and messy. He was just as pale but his face was just as bright.
“Oh…wow,” his eyes lit up at the sight of the food, and then at me.
“What a surprise, Cam.”
“Rivera,” I smiled, not looking at him anymore.
I took out the macaroni and the bread and the jam.
It was oddly quiet, so I found myself talking.
“When will Spring roll around in the city?
You guys should see Monaco…It feels like summer every day.
I go the beach in the morning—I mean, it’s right in front of the palace—
and I recently got licensed to drive a boat, so I was—“
“Grab the utensils, will you Cam?”
Elle was on her tiptoes as she got three plates out from the cupboards.
I nodded. Alex watched as I opened and closed several drawers,
finding matches, candles, napkins—
“Down two drawers, Cam.”
I shook at the sound of his voice.
“Oh, yeah,” I said softly. “Wow, it’s been long…”
Elle and Rivera looked at each other briefly.
I cleared my throat. “I was going to get lemonade too,
but it would’ve been too much to carry…at the palace,
they make the best lemonade—you have to try it, Elle,
especially when you take it out to the—“
“We have some lemonade in the fridge actually,”
Elle said softly. “Minute Maid.”
“Oh,” I bit my lip. “That’s good.”
As I went to the fridge, Rivera fumbled around with his phone,
complaining about voicemail, and Elle watched me about the kitchen.
I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if the room were getting tighter
and weighing down on me. I cleared my throat again.
“Where are the cups again?”
They only stared at me.
Alex got up and got them himself eventually
and Elle looked to me as if I were invisible.
My heart was beating quickly.
“So, how’s that…fashion thing?” I smiled, recalling something I read on Twitter.
“With Vogue? You know, they’re nicer than I thought they’d—“
“I didn’t get the job,” Elle said mono-toned.
Rivera slammed the cups down on the counter and I jumped.
“What do you mean?”
Elle was quiet, her cheeks turning pink.
“I mean, I guess they don’t want a former heroin addict working for them, okay?”
She looked at me with blazing eyes and I looked away, surprised.
“Why do you keep bringing that up?” Rivera mumbled,
giving Elle a once-over before staring down at his juice,
and then his phone’s screen, then me, then his phone.
I reached for my glass of juice and found myself finishing the entire glass
before slamming it down and crossing my arms.
“Well, that’s ridiculous! When I went there, they were too nice—
awfully nice! I swear, I’ll give them a call, I’ll let them know—“
Alex slammed his phone down on the counter,
causing Elle and I to jump, our faces a matching color of pink.
“This isn’t about /you/!”
I stumbled over words and leaned over the counter for help standing.
He flew up, looking to his now-cracked iPhone screen,
cursing, and fumbling around with his hair before muttering,
“I don’t know what the he*ll you’ve become, but it’s not doing anyone any good.”
He stomped away, towards the stairs,
and I stood shaking as Elle simply bit into her croissant slowly.
When I heard his bedroom door closed,
I felt my eyes stinging and whispered,
“What the fu*ck was that?”
Elle set down her bread, looking as uninterested as ever,
and shook her head. “Everything I wanted to say,” she murmured.
My heart was slamming against my ribs now
and I was starting to feel nauseous.
“Wh-What did I even /do/?”
“What /didn’t/ you do, Cam?”
“What is that supposed to mean?” I spat.
“I lost my appetite,” she declared, standing up and storming away.
“Fu*cking tell me about it!” I walked after her
until we were standing in the living room.
“What did I do? Tell me!”
“It’s all about ‘Princess Cam’, ‘Queen Cam’,
‘Cam the socialite’, ‘Cam the trendsetter’,” Elle mocked.
“Even you can’t stop talking about yourself for a second!”
“I…” I struggled to find words as I noticed my vision was blurring.
“I was just catching you up,” I tried, but she was right, she always was.
“Oh, I’m quite caught up with the times, Cam,” she said bitterly.
“Teen Vogue, E! News and even CNN told me about you.
But you never even called.”
“I thought you’d show up to my party!”
“Of course you did!” Elle had tears down her face now
to match mine, and she put her hands to her face.
It hit then, with the blur going past my vision and to my thoughts.
“I thought…” I looked for words but felt ever so /dull/. “I…”
I bolted to the bathroom underneath the stairwell and knelt,
letting the cool tile touch my knees as it has before.
After I wiped my mouth and started to cry again.
Elle was leaning against the doorway.
“I think you should go,” she mumbled.
January 23rd, 2013:
“Give me love like never before
'cause lately I've been craving more.
And it's been a while but I still feel the same—
Maybe I should let you go.
You know I'll fight my corner
And that tonight I'll call you,
After my blood is drowning in alcohol.
No, I just wanna hold you.”
Dr. Blanc was far away and demanded that I return to Monaco,
but I couldn’t. I was completely captivated with Manhattan
and the way it was stuck between two seasons.
In the shadows it was awfully cold
and in the sunlight I could’ve sworn
I was in the Hamptons, tanning, warm.
I took more tests and according to the best doctors in the city,
my hypermania seemed controlled but my dosage of lithium was too high.
We went back down to two pills, for a total of 600 mg of lithium a day,
and hoped for the best. I felt as if I had failed my own body
but Dr. Diver said it was just the negative thinking again.
For some reason, I told him about my fight with Elle, and with Rivera,
and he encouraged me to fix it immediately. I couldn’t figure out how.
I was leaving Dr. Diver’s office when I bumped into a shaggy haired boy,
and his cheeks were pink from rushing in the cold in only a band t-shirt.
“Cam!” he grinned. “Wow, look at ya.”
I smiled. “It’s been so long…”
“I know.” His eyes gleamed with mischief. “Where ya headed?”
I shrugged. “I don’t have any plans for today actually…” It was a first.
Not being a first, George simply grabbed me by the arm and tugged me along.
“Oh, shut it mate. How’ve you been holding up?”
He nodded once, a sure nod. “Good.
I heard about ya fight with Elle. And with Alex.”
“That was dumb.”
“Haven’t made up yet?”
I didn’t say anything.
He shook his head, smiling.
“It could be done so easily, Cam!”
“I don’t feel like…being around people…
when I’m like…this. I feel monstrous.”
“You’re with me.”
“How?” he shook his head again.
“You seem hell-bent on being hopeless and givin’ up.
Like with you and Alex—you coulda fought for him, y’know.”
I felt my cheeks flush. “No—“
“Yeah. An’ you chose than Irish lad instead.”
I shrugged. “We had our run.”
Georgie suddenly frowned, looking down at his boots
as we reached a crosswalk that told us to stop.
“You two always made up,” he mumbled.
“How’re the rest of us supposed to do it?”
“Are you referring to you and Elle?”
My voice trembled, just imagining a heartbroken Elle—
she’d fake it, fight it off, never show what she’s letting ache.
“Do you mind stopping ‘ere real quick?”
Georgie stopped in front of a bar and I nodded.
“Sure. I’ll wait here.”
“No, come inside mate…”
And like an idiot I did,
and Georgie walked straight up to Alex,
who was waiting and he looked up with big eyes.
“Guess who I found out in the cold?” George said with a big smile.
I rolled my eyes. “I gotta go—“
Georgie’s hand landed on my arm roughly, and he whispered,
“See ya two back at the penthouse in a bit,” and I realized I’d been forced into an intervention.
I watched him leave the bar, humming to himself,
and from behind me I heard,
and I laughed.
“You sound stupid saying that,” I remarked,
and Alex looked to me curiously.
“Is this really happening?”
“I’ll leave. I can’t drink anyway.”
And I started to turn, but his hand stopped me,
cold on the back of my neck. “Wait, Cameron.”
I turned back slowly, shivering. “Yeah?”
“I’ve got to apologize,” he muttered,
He might’ve already had a drink. Or two.
I nodded. “I haven’t eaten lunch yet.”
We ended up at Café Sun, eating what I had brought the Riveras two weeks ago.
Alex said he had eaten the food all to himself for dinner one night.
“I felt pretty lousy,” he chuckled.
He had cheese sauce on his lips.
I giggled as if I couldn’t control myself.
“What’s up with Elle and George?”
I asked carefully. Alex sighed.
“I never know anymore…”
he looked to me once before
looking down at his plate.
“I think they gave up.”
It was a few minutes before I could muster up any more to say,
but Alex met me half way, and he had me talking about things
he wanted to hear, and he told me things I missed and wanted to hear as well.
He would have me talking nonstop,
then laughing in a way only he made me laugh,
and I would even get embarrassed, hiccupping and blushing.
And Alex just laughed,
Eventually we realized we were no longer eating,
but just talking, and the café was looking to clear tables.
We got up quietly, walking to the door hesitantly,
and then stopped at the sight of the pouring rain.
“Well,” Alex smirked. “This is romantic.”
“/Stop/,” I smiled.
“You wanna bolt for it?”
The penthouse was a block away.
I looked down at my brand new red Chanel shoes,
and so did he, laughing as if I were a clown.
“Shut up,” I mumbled, tugging on the straps
and pulling them off my feet. “Keep up!”
And the rain soon pelted me,
cold but encouraging, fresh and new.
I ran for a feeling of renewal,
I ran to Elle, I ran to a new start.
I ran until I couldn’t feel my legs,
my lungs, and could only hear
the sound of the drops hitting
pavements and his laughter,
his laughter, his laughter.
In the building’s lobby,
I nearly slipped on the tile,
and he caught me by the waist,
grinning, smiling, “God, you’re fast,”
and laughing, his laughter, his goddamn laugh.
The doorman made us take the stairs because we were dripping wet and loud—
with every step my heart pounded louder, hearing his breath,
still hearing the rain in my ear, his soft laughs, still.
I couldn’t do this myself,
I couldn’t drive myself mad,
I couldn’t dare fall into it again.
When I thought of his body behind me,
his shadow on mine, I thought of it in a hospital,
one, two, three times, thought of him on a road, bleeding.
I thought of my hands, dripping with it, the evidence, complete proof—
I was a monster…
I am a monster,
I really am…
And when I turned to him,
his eyes were warm with passion,
his lips looked soft, his touch the same—
“Alex,” I wasn’t crying, I was shaking,
I was cold, I was sad. “I never t-told you—“
“Shhh,” he murmured, and his hands were on the side of my face.
“You don’t have to say anything, Cammie…” My body was on fire,
and I looked up to him, his bright, warm, light eyes and I pulled away.
“Your accident wasn’t an accident,” I trembled.
“It was my cousin. It was Louis. It was a set up.”
We were two floors down from the penthouse.
Once single window behind me told us it stopped raining.
It was completely silent, only Alex’s quivering breath and my heavy, heaving chest.
“Tell me you’re lying,” he said mono-toned.
He sounded just like Elle, announcing her rejection.
“Just lie to me!”
“No…no, I won’t,” I cried,
and I turned my back to him,
to the window, gasping to keep it in,
feeling like lead was suffocating me quiet.
I heard him collapse to the brick wall,
and punch it, again and again,
and I turned to stop him,
his bruised, bleeding
fists in my hands.
“Y-you are the worst thing to happen to me,
thank you for sh-showing me that, again.”
“Please…stop…” my eyes glistened wet
and his shone with remorse.
“Fu*ck,” he whispered. And then he shook his head.
“This isn’t about us—it’s about you and Elle.”
I nodded. “I know,” I said meekly.
He let me reach for his fists, though,
which I wiped with the vintage scarf tied to my purse,
worth $100 or $1000, it didn’t matter. It was covered in his blood.
And I pressed the cuts to my lips, and he closed his eyes,
pulled away slowly and shook his head. “Let’s go.”
I followed him like his forgotten shadow up the stairs.
No one said anything as I walked in, wiping my face,
and as Rivera walked in straight to the bathroom,
bandaged his fists and then came back out,
sinking into the couch silently.
Elle and George looked dull and neutral on the couch,
their faces full of unfinished business and dissatisfaction.
No one said anything.
I looked to Elle and immediately wanted to kiss her face.
Maybe it’s because I felt sore inside,
maybe it’s because I ached for love,
or maybe it’s because I needed her.
I sank into the couch by her side, hugging her close
like my favorite blanket that I had lost.
She didn’t care that it was soppy and lame—wordless, but felt—
and I pulled away to get a DVD from my purse.
I held up the new movie ‘Zero Dark Thirty’.
“I love Bin Laden,” Elle remarked, and Alex and George were the first to crack smiles,
and I the first to let out a weak laugh, which grew strong only when they joined in.
And we were a big bunch of idiots, not knowing what to say,
knowing it didn’t matter for long, hoping it’d stay that same way.
(Almost done…I promise)