21: Peekaboo

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Games We Play

"Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something."

Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

21: Peekaboo

I couldn't sleep.

I'd skipped dinner and ignored all my texts from Caius and Damien, asking me where I was. There was one from Michelle, asking if we could talk, and surprisingly, even one from Eduardo, saying he hadn't spoken to me since my birthday and that he'd never gotten the chance to give me my gift and he missed me.

There was also a missed call from my mom. She'd never been the one to call and check up on me so I knew it was serious and to talk about Damien.

But no matter all the issues that surrounded me... all I could really think about was everything Armin had told me.

It didn't feel like it was over. I didn't want to stop talking about it, to just be content with the truth and carry on with my life. What Ales had done... it wasn't just some small mistake. It was a decision that had torn up Armin's life.

When she walked into the room, I was already in bed, reading through the score of a new violin piece I'd printed out to try and make me feel sleepy. She didn't say a word to me, as expected, barely even glancing in my direction before grabbing her clothes to get changed.

From the corner of my eye, I didn't take my glance off of her. She bundled her hair together, grabbing a hairbrush and combing through it softly. There used to be a time I thought Ales resembled something of a Disney princess, with her long golden locks and the way she smoothly combed through them every night.

How could she just sit there and worry about her hair? How could she walk around campus, let people fall in love with her all while hiding something so rotten and vicious underneath her exterior?

She was ugly. It took me four years to finally realize that but suddenly, just like that, the magic glow that Ales shone with was gone. Suddenly, the sight of her became repulsive and a constant reminder of the wicked girl underneath.

She didn't deserve the world; she didn't deserve to be loved like she was, by Eduardo or Armin. They deserved so much more than something as empty as her, inside her perfect body.

"Are you okay?" she broke the silence, frowning as she put her hairbrush down. "You've been looking at me ever since I've walked in."

"I'm fine," I managed to say, trying to bite back the malice and venom in my tone.

"Okay," she shrugged. "Why weren't you at dinner?" she then asked mindlessly.

"Wasn't hungry," I mumbled, staring at the pages of my score.

Just how could she do that? How could she talk to me like nothing was wrong, knowing she'd completely destroyed Armin's life? How could she walk around like she was a victim, after ruining Armin and Eduardo's friendship forever?

"Do you want me to go and get you something? You might be hungry later," she said, frowning with a sudden sense of concern.

It irritated me. Even her concern seemed so rehearsed. Every part of her was a living scheme, to live up to this perfect image of herself. Alessandra Carson didn't care about anyone but herself. The world deserved to know that.

"I'm fine," I monotonously replied.

"Okay," she nodded. "I heard about what happened with Damien and Caius and... are they gonna leave VAc?" she suddenly diverted.

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