The Right Side of Wrong
I awoke on Monday morning, my head throbbing and my eyes clouded with grey dots. It took me a moment to realise I’d awoken with the front door slamming closed downstairs.
“Scarlett?!” Hollie’s voice called up to me and I gasped, propelling myself out of bed, catching myself on the opposite wall as I realised drastically that I’d slept in after forgetting to set my alarm clock.
“I’ll be down in a minute!” I called out, locking my bedroom door as I frantically ran to my closet and yanked out clean clothes, getting changed in a whirlwind.
“Sorry,” I called downstairs as I hurried from my bedroom to the bathroom. “I’m all over the place this morning. If you guys want to head to school I’ll jump a cab.” I explained, layering toothpaste onto my toothbrush and brushing my teeth as I dragged a hairbrush through my tugs.
“Did you sleep late?” Hollie gasped, appalled, appearing in the bathroom doorway.
“What?” I said around my toothbrush. “No what’re you talking about?” My cheeks blushed as I rinsed out my mouth.
“Call me skeptical but that’s not you, bambino.” Zac said with an edge to his voice as he leaned on the doorframe watching me pat my face dry with the towel.
“Yeah, I know, that’s why I didn’t sleep in,” I laughed bashfully, yanking my cosmetics bag out of the cabinet and layering moisturiser onto my cheeks. “I’ve just been distracted this morning.”
“Let me guess,” He said coldly. “Christmas gifts?” Hollie peered up at him in confusion before looking back at me and arching an eyebrow, as if prodding me to either agree or disagree with his words.
“Christmas gifts,” I sniggered self-consciously. “How d’you know that?” I turned back to my cosmetics and, without waiting any longer I applied my basic foundation and a coating of mascara, all under the watchful gaze of Zac and Hollie.
“Whatever, I’ll see you guys at school.” Zac said, watching as I put eyeliner on my waterline before pushing off of the doorframe and heading downstairs.
I watched him go guiltily, nibbling on my bottom lip.
Hollie waited until the door closed before turning to me with a pout.
“What’s going on with you, Scarlett?” She demanded. I took this opportunity to layer under-eye concealer over the dark shadows beneath my eyes, trying to ignore the way she pursed her lips and folded her arms as she watched me.
“Nothing, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Bullshit,” She spat. “People only say that when they’re lying.” She added and I was reminded of Zac’s words the previous week. I had to refrain from rolling my eyes; the pair hated each other and yet they were similar in so many ways it sometimes surprised me.
“Whatever Hol, I’m not getting into this with you now.” I prayed that she wouldn’t push me so much I’d have to tell her the truth.
I returned my cosmetics bag to the cabinet and doused myself in perfume, making Hollie cough and smiling inwardly at this victory.
“You’re always rushing around, doing this and doing that, d’you know that?” She continued on relentlessly, following me downstairs as I pulled my hair back into a bobble and then yanked on my boots.
“Really?” I said in a bored tone, not listening anymore. I poured coffee into a travel mug and removed a banana from the fruit bowl followed by a bag of pretzels and ignored Hollie’s sour expression. “Hollie, all you need to know is that I’m fine, okay?” She rolled her eyes and folded her arms, looking away from me and focusing on something on the counter behind me.
“What’s happened?” She asked, jerking her chin to something behind me. “Your dad only ever buys your mom flowers when something’s wrong.” She added and I frowned in confusion, following her eye-line to see a bunch of white carnations and my stomach fell.
“Oh no,” I mumbled, yanking my cell phone from my back pocket and dialling Andy. A few beats later he answered. “Thanks for waking me up, dumb-ass.” I said.
“I totally thought you’d set your alarm, duh,” He cackled. “Did you get the flowers?”
“Shit,” I hung my head and pinched the bridge of my nose.
“What?” He and Hollie asked simultaneously.
“They’re form Zac?” I asked and Hollie cooed.
“Of course they’re from Zac, you got another boyfriend you’re not telling us about?” He rhetorically asked. “He swung by last night to drop them off, seemed confused about your hard work,” He laughed. “I didn’t need to explain how hard a Comic Con was, he figured that out all on his own. Seemed pretty embarrassed about it when he left. I don’t think they have Comic Con’s in Ital-“
“Andy shut up.” I snapped before slamming the phone down on the table, end of conversation.
“What’s happened?” Hollie panicked. “Were they not from Zac?”
So that’s why he’d been so short earlier. I shook my head and slammed my way out of the kitchen, my previous snacks and coffee forgotten about. I ignored Hollie’s confused ramblings and gathered my things; shrugging into my coat and praying that I’d come up with something good and believable to say to Zac.
When we got to school he was nowhere to be seen, and Percy refused to admit that he’d either seen him or not, which meant he’d probably been ultra pissed when he’d eventually made it to school.
I tried to tell myself that it was a good thing that Zac was here; it meant we could make this better. But then I realised that so long as I was seeing Louis behind his back without explaining the real reason as to why; there wouldn’t be any making this better.
The look on her face when she was hurrying to get ready in her bathroom had angered me. She looked awful. There were dark circles and bags under her eyes; her skin was almost grey and didn’t have the usual Scarlett Shine to it that it usually did. She looked and sounded exhausted and what for? For a boy who wouldn’t even show his face around school?
She wouldn’t run herself so ragged for me, nor Hollie, nor anyone else. So what was so special and important about him?
I couldn’t stand to hear her lies; couldn’t stomach to see such a beautiful face tear itself so thinly. She was better than that, I knew it and she knew I did.
I had to avoid her at school; tried to keep to myself and duck away from Alex’s hungry stare in the hallways and across the classrooms. Even from ten feet away I could feel her pulsing.
I practically ran from her at the end of class and burst out into the open fresh air, breathing it through my lungs until I felt it burn me.
I didn’t have to peer under the fabric of my jumper to know that there’d be markings cracking over my dry skin. I needed to get out but I couldn’t afford to risk it; not now I didn’t know what was going on with Scarlett. It was dangerous to wait, and even more dangerous to leave. Who knew how long I’d be out.
“Found you,” Scarlett’s soft voice frightened me half to death and…