22| Failures and Friends

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I was an idiot, there was no other way to explain any of this. The hickey stared back at me in the mirror as I tried my best to cover it up, the purple-ish bruise drawing a line down the slope of my neck before it led to a splatter of colours along the curve of my shoulder. It was a consequence of everything I'd let him do to me, and an impossible thing to hide as I smeared my cheap-ass foundation over the evidence of my sins.

Every dab of colour made it worse, the memory of every filthy thing I had succumbed to last night painting a picture beneath the darkness of my eyelids. I hadn't slept all night because of it, instead I had spent most of the time I should have been sleeping twisting and turning in my bed, replaying each stupid little thing I had done over and over in my head.

The most embarrassing part of it all was that even despite every adamant rejection I'd thrown at him, even after all my outright refusals and the days of denial when it came to admitting my attraction towards him—it hadn't taken much at all for me to give into all that he wanted to do to me.

I couldn't stop thinking about the way he'd held me, about the way his body had pressed into mine each time he wanted more, every move filled with a desperation for me that I hadn't come to fully believe until that moment—even when James had been the one touching me, even when it hadn't been his fingers buried beneath the fabric of my jeans.

Freddie's touch had been warm and attentive even when he was being harsh, and especially when he was trying to prove a point, but the worst of it all was how easily he had pulled me apart with only two fingers and a handful of filthy words.

He was right—I was a whore.

It was the only thing that made sense anymore whenever I was around him.

The danger I felt in his presence was starting to blur into desire, and I knew it was wrong. I knew that what I was doing was making everything so much worse, but I didn't know how to control myself anymore when it came to him, and it was all his stupid fault.

"Lola," Luke whined from the other side of the bathroom door, "How long are you going to take, I need to use the toilet." His voice was groggy as he yanked at the handle a couple of times like it would make any difference, proving his impatience as I tried to figure out the best way out of whatever hell this day was going to bring.

Yesterday had been eventful to say the very least, and I didn't know if I could go through the same bullshit again two consecutive days in a row, especially considering the current state I was in—sleep deprived, and nine seconds away from having a mental breakdown.

Regardless of whatever happened today, I knew one thing for certain.

Under no circumstance could I let Freddie see the aftermath of what he had done to me. He already had an ego the size of a fucking mountain when it came to my submission towards him, and for him to see the way he had marked me up—it was already going to be unbearable to be around him today, this would just make it ten times worse.

"Go and check if Lexi is awake, I'll be out in a minute!" I called out to my brother, listening carefully to his retreating footsteps as I pressed my fingers to my throat again.

I hissed against the tenderness, deciding the best course of action was to pull my hair out of its ponytail and to cover it like that instead. I fluffed out my hair as best as I could, but I knew that with only one second of forgetfulness, or one movement too quick—that there would be no point in trying to hide it anyway.

I guess I could always call in sick to work, but it would take at least a week for his hickeys to die down either way, and I wasn't completely convinced that he wouldn't just show up on my doorstep anyway, demanding the reason for why I couldn't show my face.

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