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Pen Your Pride

The tears are still pouring down my face when I finally arrive back at the hotel. It took me a while to find my way back because my vision was blurred from all the crying and I felt like I could be sick at any moment. How could I have been so blind to everything happening around me? And how could I have ditched all my real friends for some jerk who was just using me? As I walk through the hotel entrance, the receptionist gives me a concerned look.

“Are you alright, miss?” she asks considerately.

“Yes, I’m fine thank you,” I reply quickly, brushing away my tears and not meeting her gaze. I don’t really feel like spilling my guts to the hotel receptionist right now. 

I try to force myself to stop crying as I climb the stairs. I don’t even want to think about it anymore because I feel so humiliated and betrayed but, more than anything, I feel so ashamed of myself for hurting all the people around me. And the only ones I hurt are the ones who didn’t deserve it, I realise miserably. 

When I reach the door to my room, I take a deep breath. I don’t know if Jenna’s still in there but I don’t want to be sobbing uncontrollably if she is. I need to tell her how sorry I am because she was so completely right about everything and right now I just want to slap myself for not listening to her. 

As I slowly open the door, I prepare myself to launch into a full apology but I am greeted by complete darkness and the soft sound of Jenna’s breathing as she sleeps. I let out a sigh. I guess my huge apology will have to wait until tomorrow. 

Silently, I sit on the end of my bed and run my hands through my hair, wondering what I’m going to do. I suddenly feel like I’m drowning in doubts and questions. What if Jenna doesn’t accept my apology? I was completely awful to her so she has every right to reject me. What am I going to do when I see Austin again? Just the thought of facing him again makes me feel sick. How is anyone ever going to forgive me for all the things I’ve done? I don’t know the answer to that either and that’s the question that bothers me the most. 

I curl up in bed, still wearing the shorts and crop top and without even starting my skincare routine but I barely even notice because my mind is full of these difficult questions that I just can’t answer. I don’t even realise I’m crying until I feel the tears drip onto my arm and even then I don’t wipe them away. As I drift into a fitful sleep I am haunted by memories I have been trying to suppress over the last month. My mom’s face when she found out I had been cast in a film, my dad saying I could come here to California, celebrating with my friends after West Side Story, meeting them for the first time, my date with Sam and then finally our kiss. Then just before my mind fully closes itself to the world, another question floats in front of me. Why am I still in California? And I am terrified by the answer. I don’t know anymore

**********

I wake up the next morning with bleary eyes and a sickness in the pit of my stomach. I feel even more tired than I did before I went to bed and I sit up holding my head in my hands, waiting for the nausea to pass. The events of the night before flood back into my mind and my eyes prick with more tears but I hold them back, knowing I’ve done enough crying over this. 

I finally lift my head up and look at the room, noticing how quiet it is. Where is Jenna? Her sheets are pulled back messily, the bathroom is empty and there is a telltale pile of discarded clothes beside the wardrobe that means she has already got up and left. I check the time wondering if I have overslept but find it is 6:45am. Jenna must be upset to have gotten up so early, I think to myself. 

I slowly drag myself out of bed and into the shower but I don’t feel refreshed. Everything about me feels numb, as if my emotions have been broken beyond repair and I just can’t feel anything anymore. I try to choose an outfit but it doesn’t feel the same without Jenna so I end up wearing a pair of leggings with huge jumper that falls off one shoulder. I run a brush through my hair and bypass make-up altogether. If I feel terrible, I might as well look terrible. 

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