Furious rain falls down from the sky, large drops of water running over my skin, soaking me like deep, hollow darkness. I look up at the black sky, opening my eyes wide until the rain hurts me, and I blink a few times. Every drop is like a needle, piercing slowly through my skin, releasing the sourness of my unsteady emotions, as my pounding heart rages in pain like an open wound in my chest. This isn’t how I should be feeling right now, especially after what I’ve just done.
These dark, crude emotions are mounting inside me fast, breaking me slowly into a million painful pieces.
This was all supposed to go away as soon as I dropped all the pretence about how I felt around her.
Now I’m tainted, ruined and lost. The pressure in my chest eases off a little when I think about what I’ve done to her, imagining her in front of me again. She hurt me and humiliated me, but this whole payback was supposed to be sweet. Instead, I feel like heavy pieces of glass have fallen on my shoulders. In the past few weeks, during every minute and second together, my life had fi-nally started making sense. Each morning I felt happier because I was going to see her smile. Each day, I kept distancing myself from my plans: the bet and the pressure that kept blinding my fucked-up heart.
Her deep, raw pain eased everything, but only for a moment. I was furious with myself that she pushed me to become that sad fucker. She arrived in my new life, expecting me to behave like I was the same person I was back in high school, the same weak and pathetic Oliver Morgan. She showed me that she cared and that I could forgive her. Then, as the days passed, I began forming my revenge, planning it from the moment I left Gargle. I almost didn’t go through with it because I felt loved by her.
Now I stand outside the restaurant soaked right through, clenching my fists with rage and dissatisfaction. I humiliated India, pushed her to feel what she made me feel all those years ago, and I got nothing from it. I told Sam not to show up, that I’d changed my mind, but he did any-way. That video that he recorded is probably already online by now, all over Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. As we sat down for dinner, I had this whole speech prepared in my head. Throughout the weeks she’d been showing me that she had moved on, and maybe I should have done the same. I had fallen in love with her all over again. When she came to me wanting to start over, I pushed my revenge to the back of my mind, not realizing that the boys were determined to go through with the plan. This new emotion scared the hell out of me. Her touch, her look, and just her being there brought up emotions that I never thought I was capable of feeling.
Then she mentioned my dead brother, and the whole charm burst. My ego pushed me to go ahead and just crush her.
Right now, all I can think about are those three words that passed through her mouth not so long ago:
“I love you.”
I didn’t expect to her to say it, but those three words hit me like a storm, unexpected, howling right through me. The arrogant, cruel side won and I hurt her. I loved her then and I love her now, but I was so overcome by anger as soon she mentioned my golden brother that the need to be cruel to her won. Then Sam showed up and I couldn’t take anything back.
Before I even know what is happening, my whole body starts to tremble incessantly. People in the restaurant are probably staring out the window at me, the freak who upset his girlfriend. My clothes are wet and the water rushes over my body like a river. I can’t move.
A few more minutes pass and the numbness pushes me forward. I take a few steps before I start running. Guilt spreads inside me faster than I spread rumours about India. The hollow darkness drives me back to her. All of a sudden, I don’t want her to go and disappear from my life. Maybe there is still time to change things, to fix it, to tell her that I’m in love with her. When I stop to catch my breath, my own self laughs at me.
What do you think you can fix, you prat? You told her that you never wanted her, you just wanted to see if she could fall in love with you, says my dark side, the arrogant one.
She loves me and if I apolog—
My other internal voice cuts me off, saying, Don’t be a fucking moron, Oliver. Now India despises you for what you’ve done. She won’t even look at you.
Fuck, I’m so messed up. Good, precious moments together mount in front of my eyes. My sweet revenge doesn’t want me to continue living like that anymore. India was there for me when my father passed. She helped me to overcome my anger, and I threw everything back in her face. I fucked up because I was too immature to see that happiness was in front of me.
Breathing hard and wheezing, I run through Braxton, heading towards campus. She is proba-bly at home, swearing and calling me the biggest prick on this planet. My brother was a douche and it hits me that India probably thinks that I’m just like him. He was cold, emotionally shut down. He used to prey on people’s feelings, manipulating them for his own good, and a moment ago I acted just like him.
The rain continues to pour down from the sky. Thick and pounding water soaks my skin, in-creasing my regret for what I’ve done to the only girl that means anything to me. The streets of Braxton seem deserted, as if the rain is poisonous and people know that it’s safer to stay indoors. I reach the university village in record time, breathing fast. My chest burns as I run towards the stu-dents’ apartments. I nearly fall down by the entrance, swearing loudly under my heavy breaths.
India has to understand that I wasn’t thinking straight, that I didn’t think before I reacted. She would know that it was just a momentary impulse. I’m an arse. If she would let me explain that I had fallen in love with her all over again, maybe we can straighten things between us. My feet thump loudly as I hurry up the stairs, taking two steps at a time. I didn’t drink during dinner, ob-serving India, watching how nervous she was, trying to come to terms with my own feelings. The reality of what I’ve done spins me out of control as I stand in front of India’s apartment.
“Dora, open up! I need to talk to India!” I roar, banging my fists into their front door. My heart thumps so hard behind my rib cage, it feels like it could easily explode.