Chapter Six – Evaded Return
They were both looking down, not knowing what to do or how to act around each other. The brunette sat awkwardly on the carpeted floor near the foot of her plush bed, opting to let the blonde girl settle more comfortably on the said furniture instead. She could have chosen to sit beside Kristen given the fact that the bed was large enough, but she figured that the extra distance between them would work better to alleviate the growing unease that was now very palpable.
Now if they could only just start with the conversation that had been years in the making, then things would be so much better.
Lei sighed for the nth time since they proceeded to ‘talk’ inside her room and she still refused to look up. Having a carpeted floor was proving to be more beneficial to her now since all she could do was trace the patterns with her eyes and figure out what intricate shapes were being formed.
She honestly had no idea how long they had been sitting there in those same positions but she knew that if they were ever going to have the talk, she was definitely not in the position to say the first word. She had all the explanations mapped out in her head and ready for use but she needed to hear the question come out of the blonde’s lips first.
Another sigh and she still could not get herself to look up and possibly get lost in those green depths.
And here it was. Lei swallowed and finally forced her head up to look at the blonde’s face. Kristen still refused to look at her, instead focusing on something – or nothing – other than her. The latter’s face was passive but her eyes were a myriad of emotions and all Lei wanted to do was embrace the girl and never let go.
However, she didn’t move even an inch from where she was and continued to listen intently.
“You promised, Lei. I believed you.”
Another sigh followed by a swallow. “I know.”
“It’s been years and we’re older now. I know I shouldn’t still hold this against you, but I really need to know why.”
“It always is till you try to explain it,” now emerald eyes gazed directly towards her and the brunette felt like she was baring her soul.
“I wanted to. I really wanted to write to you and see you again, Kristen. But there were things and situations and I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.”
There was a pause and then small smile grazed Kristen’s lips. “I never thought that my childhood best friend was the daughter of billionaires. I mean, you were always so active and hyper and just…”
“Yeah. And pretty much average…normal.”
Lei laughed slightly and she felt some of the awkwardness leave them. “Well, if I must tell you, I had no idea we were that rich either.”
The blonde’s eyebrows knit to show confusion before she spoke up, “Really? How come?”
“I told you before, we were always traveling. I wasn’t allowed to go out much and you were the only real friend I had back then. Do you think I’d wonder about money and wealth and all that when I didn’t even have the little things that I really wanted like playing with other kids my age?”
“So, when did you find out?”
“A few days before I was allowed to go to a regular school, my parents pretty much explained to me why we’re always staying at different places. I was eleven then and very happy when they told me that I wasn’t going to be home schooled any more and I could finally experience going to school like normal kids do.
Apparently, I found out that no matter how I try, I still won’t be as ‘normal’ as the others. I’m the daughter of two of the richest people on earth and I just spent eleven years running away because of a family slash business feud that actually threatened my life.”
Kristen bit her lower lip and nodded as she processed what was being revealed to her.
“I also found out that I was non-existent to the ‘elite’ society,” the brunette used her fingers to emphasize the word ‘elite’, “until my first day of school. And imagine my surprise to learn that my surname wasn’t just that – a name – but it was actually a status symbol.”
It was the blonde’s turn to speak up, “That’s a lot to take in for a fifth grader.”
“Sure was,” with this, Lei inched little nearer towards the blonde. “I wanted to write to you. I really did. You were my first friend and I wanted you to know how I was and I wanted to know how you were. I wanted to tell you everything, Kristen, but I can’t. I didn’t know it back then, but my parents forbid me from writing to you because they didn’t want you getting involved in the craziness and dangers that came with being friends with a Charles-Carlson. And after knowing about everything, my life just got crazier and crazier and…and I just…sort of…”
Hearing the hint of hurt in the blonde’s voice, Lei immediately took hold of Kristen’s right hand without a second thought and looked at the sparkling emerald orbs.
“No. Not forget, Kristen. I can never forget you.” The gentle shaking of the brunette’s head ceased and she let go of the soft hand after a squeeze. “Just… move on. I moved on, figuring you’d have done the same.”
Kristen gently stood up with a nod, “Okay. I get it,” a slight smile that seemed forced to Lei’s eyes, “Thank you for telling me.” With that, the blonde turned to leave the cozy room but before she even got to door, she felt a hand clasp her wrist and she stopped to look back.
“Let’s start again, Krissy. I’m here. You’re here. And I really am in need of a good friend in my life right now.” And the brunette pulled Kristen to a tight but gentle embrace.
The girl with emerald eyes settled her chin on the heiress shoulders and closed her eyes, enjoying the feel of being in the arms of her friend. “I missed you Leila.”
“I missed you too, you little crybaby.”
Then there was the playful slap on her back and Lei knew that everything was going to be alright.
She needed the nicotine inside her, along with all the other carcinogens because it was the only way she knew how to cope. She started the habit just to see what it felt like and she figured that she enjoyed the feel of smoky mint after just a few days. After she got kicked out of her parents’ house, she realized that the small white sticks became good companion. She was slowly killing herself without succumbing to suicide and her brother, who gladly allowed her to stay at his apartment after being kicked out himself, didn’t give a damn if her habit was slowly becoming an addiction as the days passed. Maybe it was because he was an even worse chain smoker than she was, or maybe he had problems of his own and her cigarette ‘breaks’ were the least of his concerns. As long as she bought her own pack and didn’t steal from his, then they were good.
Sven took a long drag off her third consecutive stick and watched the smoke she breathed out as it merged with the surroundings. She took solace in the serenity that came with her as she submerged into the pits of thinking. That was another thing she found out after smoking became a constant in her life. She could think clearly when she smoked and get lost in dreams and philosophies that she knew would never matter in real life.
Another drag and in her mind, she settled for having another stick after her current one before going inside the house and feeling the aura of drama that emanated around the house. After that very interesting, but uncomfortable revelation, she muttered some excuse about needing some air and she felt grateful for the presence of Julia. Only Julia understood her, or even cared to do so, and if not for her, Sven would have been a lost cause a long time ago.
Her brother and Julia were probably the only people in her life who actually cared enough to know whether she woke up the next day or not. But the latter was the only one who cared more to get past her barriers and actually get to know her. Her brother loved her in his own way, and she will always love him for giving her as close to a home as she could ever deserve to get. But their lives were both fucked up as is and she’d never allow her own personal demons to take over his life too.
Julia was different. She was a beautiful person, inside and out, and to this day, Sven couldn’t figure out why someone like Julia would want to have anything to do with her. But she needed a friend badly and the redhead was there so Sven knew better than to let heavenly gifts get away. She held on and she opened up enough to let the redhead in.
Sven knew that Julia was the only sane thing in her insane life and she’d do anything not to let her go, as long as the redhead still wanted her around. If ever the day came that Julia realized how utterly stupid of a decision it had been to be friends with her, then she’d accept it. It would probably kill her, but she’d accept it.
“Is that, what, like your tenth stick?”
Sven struggled to keep the growl from coming out as she faced the person she’d hope not to see for the rest of her life.
“What do you want, Barbie?”
The cheerleader scoffed, “Excuse me? Can’t you see that I’m not blonde?” Diane twirled a finger through her soft tresses.
The infamous Sven eyeroll, “Whatever. What are you doing here?”
“Hello! I’m a guest here too!”
Another eyeroll and Sven couldn’t help but think how stupid this conversation was.
“Not here in this house, I mean, here in my personal space. On my cigarette break.”
“You have a personal space now? What do you think of yourself, some kind of V.I.P?”
Now the growl came out. “What do you fucking want, bitch? I’m minding my own business so just leave me alone.”
“Oh my god! You’re a psycho,” the cheerleader managed to say with a look of disgust. “A chain smoking psycho loser. I don’t even know what you’re doing here, tagging along.”
And in the span of a few seconds, the bottle redhead was standing in front of the cheerleader, face mere inches away from Diane’s, with narrowed eyes that gleamed of anger. The head cheerleader’s eyes widened in shock and before she could push the other girl away, Sven gripped her shoulders tightly, preventing the brunette from putting more distance between their bodies.
“I know why I’m here, and that’s because I care about the GSA. I don’t know about you, you hypocrite. I don’t care if doing this raises your popularity and gives you more brownie points because I don’t fucking care about you. I don’t take crap from people and I certainly won’t take crap from you. Julia asked me to give you a chance but I won’t do that if you keep on being a stupid fucking bitch.”
Diane was definitely aware of how close they were to each other but the anger on Sven’s face was an indication that the bottle redhead probably wasn’t. The cheerleader wanted to give out a nasty comeback but something in her wouldn’t. She swallowed and felt her mouth going dry before closing her eyes to take a deep breath, the reason for doing so, she couldn’t understand.
“I…I don’t need to prove myself to you.”
Sven let go of the cheerleader’s shoulders, stepped back and spun around, her back now facing the brunette.
“I don’t care.”
The bottle redhead took out her lighter and another stick of cigarette from the pack placed on her pocket, lit the latter, and took a drag before looking at nothing in particular and blowing the smoke out.
“Julia asked for you,” Diane said before gradually walking away and muttered, “and you smell like cigarettes,” in a soft voice that she doubted the other girl heard.
End of Chapter Six.
Coming Soon on Of Tears And Broken Hearts:
And immediately, something at the back of her mind screamed how wrong this whole thing was. The heiress was hurting, and everything was happening all too fast, on an impulsive whim mostly on the brunette’s part. She had to stop this before things got any more complicated.
Julia scooted closer and ran her fingers through one of the red streaks on her friend’s hair, “Trust me, you won’t.”
Kristen blinked. “Are…are you asking me out on a date?”