28 | on her chair in creative writing

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| 28 |

A sheep, a drum, and a snake fall down a cliff. Bahhh dum hiss.

CALM AT SEA was long gone.

A nightmare. A furious, blackened sea, deadly and whispering. Whispering, whispering, clinging, her ears ringing, ringing, ringing. Not possible. It was not possible, yet she believed him, believed him and his raging eyes staring her down, along with his warm smile.

"How?" she uttered. "How? You-you were absent, I thought at first, but... But..."

Shuffling. Quiet. Ringing.

"You never smiled," he began, folding the note up. He placed it back in the black box. "Never spoke to others, never laughed. The first day of school I saw you, and I-I just knew you were the girl Malcolm madly liked; he talked about you non-stop. There was no way I could just go up and talk to you, I'm not that kind of guy, as much as I wished I w-was. I couldn't stand seeing you like that, alone and emotionless, while everyone else was sitting with friends at lunch and having partners in classes."

Charlotte was suffocating, she was sure of it. Trying to breathe, gulping and swallowing as he continued, hands around her throat, bruises and aches all over.

"The first time I was absent, I h-had to be absent because..." he gulped, sitting on her bed and staring at his shoes. "I got a call from M-Macolm saying... Violet, how she'd been badly hurt, and I drove as fast as I could... We were a mess, and there was no way we could go to school after that."

The hands were squeezing at her neck, twisting ever so slightly, causing her to gasp for breath. "Violet-"

"You and I became closer, and I couldn't have been happier. Which was a problem, since Malcolm still liked you and somehow I was trapped in the middle of it, unable to escape," he continued, rubbing the back of his neck while Charlotte felt her face go numb. "And then the day came when we kissed, and I didn't know what to think. At Dunkin' Donuts. It was so weird to feel so inexplicably happy and at the same time so worried, worried for what Malcolm might think, hence the reason it was a "mistake". It was never a mistake in my eyes."

Was it possible to feel this way about a person? So emotionally drained, but at the same time, as alive and gleeful as one could be?

"The minute I got out of work, I headed straight for his house, even though it was extremely late at night. I told him the truth. About everything. The notes, the k-kiss, all of it, and..." He glanced up, his rounded eyes gazing into hers. "I told him how I liked you as well. How I didn't mean for it to happen, how the greatest thing I wished for was Malcolm's happiness, how it was a mistake. Even though, well, it wasn't, in my eyes. And I felt so guilty for it."

He was on a roll.

"So then I asked Malcolm to do me a favor, because I already knew I would be skipping school the next day. There was no way I could see you after that, seeing your broken expression; it broke my heart.  Also, I was liable to do something stupid... Again."

He had stood up once more, both of his hands in his black hair, frustrated, running them through, running, running.

"So I asked him if he could slip a note of mine somewhere you'd find it, which probably only infected his wound to the heart even more. But I couldn't help it," he whispered, blinking up at her. "Because I was so focused on your happiness, focused on you.  And he did it.  He put the note in your sweatshirt, I believe."

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