Songs for this chapter are:
Iris- Goo Goo Dolls
All I want- Kodaline
If I didn't know better- The Civil Wars
"Tessa? Tessa, are you okay?" Kimberly yells from the other side of the bathroom door.
"I'm fine," I manage the words, they sound as broken as I feel.
No, not broken. I'm not broken, I'm defeated. What I feel right now is purely defeat. I've spent months and months fighting against the inevitable, pushing against a current that was much too big to hold alone, and now I've been swallowed by it with no lifeboats in sight.
The water is cold now, it's been cold for minutes.. maybe even an hour. I haven't the slightest idea of how much time I've spent here, crouched down on the floor, my knees folded against my chest, letting the cold water spray down on me. It was borderline painful a while ago, but my body went numb a few Kimberly check-ups ago.
"You have to get out of that shower. Don't think I won't break the door down," she warns me. I don't doubt for a second that she would do just that.
I reach up and turn the shower off but I make no move to leave my spot on the floor.
"I'm getting out," I call back to her.
By the time I stand up my legs are wobbly and my hair is almost dry. I dig into my bag and go through the mechanics of pulling on my jeans, one leg then the next, lift arms above head, pull shirt down over stomach. I feel like a robot and when I wipe my hand across the mirror I see that I look like one too.
How many times will he do this? I ask my reflection.
No, how many times will I let him do this? That's the real question.
"No more," I say out loud to the stranger looking back at me.
"Damn Styles! Look at you, you're a fucking mammoth!" James stands from the couch and moves toward me. It's true, compared to both him and Mark, I am a fucking mammoth.
"What are you six-foot-fucking-ten?" James asks. His eyes glossy and bloodshot. It's barely one in the afternoon.
"Six-three," I correct him and he does the same friendly greeting as Mark, a firm hand on my shoulder.
"This is fucking awesome, we need to get the word out that you're back. Everyone's still here man," James rubs his hands together like he's plotting something big and I don't even want to know what that may be.
Has Tessa found the bag outside of the door yet? What did she think about it?
Did she cry? Or is she beyond that now? I sure as hell don't want the answer to that question. I don't want to picture her face when she opened the door, I don't even want to think about the way she felt when she saw that there was only one ticket stuffed into the front pocket of that suitcase. All my clothes have been removed from it and tossed into the backseat of my rental.
I know her well enough to know that she's going to expect a goodbye from me. She is going to try to find me before she gives up but after her one last effort, she will give up. She won't have a choice because she will never be able to find me before the flight and by tomorrow she will be across the world.
"Dude!" Mark's voice is loud and his hand is waving in front of my face. "Are you fucking zoning out?" He asks.
"My bad," I shrug.