Chapter One

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I can't feel my legs or the rest of my limbs. I focus on the only thing I could feel: the sharp thrumming underneath my skin. Each long stride on the machine took a part of my lungs, and I stomped over them with ease. I can barely feel my fingers as I pump my arms to the beat of my erratic heartbeat.

But after three months of doing this every single day, I've grown accustom to the shortness of breath and the numbness in my body, all except for my pounding heart. I was used to feeling nothing throughout my intensive workout, until the sun went down. Then was the only time I felt anything except the throbbing pain I tried so hard to avoid.

When I look into the mirror, I don't see myself looking back. I see broader shoulders, more toned and expanding muscle. Sweat dripping from my overgrown curls, down my narrow nose, between my green eyes. They used to be bright as the galaxy, I noted, but now they're as dull as the knife that twists through my limbs torturously slow. Letting me marinate in the pain.

How did I get here? How did I let the pain of losing the girl I loved shape me into a completely different person? These questions plague my mind day and night without any breaks. I'm constantly overthinking every thing that went down in the past, wondering how I couldn't see the obvious signs.

When the voices and questions become too much, I stop running and lean against the mirror-wall, gulping down my water. I run a hand through my damp hair and push the poisonous thoughts away. They always come clustered and prepared to dig at my already gutted mind.

She left, why couldn't she take the fucking lingering feelings away too?

Deciding working out isn't doing it today, I walk out of the room. I turn down the hallway and push my fingers through my hair. I pull and clamp my long fingers around the back of my neck.

I glance at my paintings as I walk through my condo. I got the apartment after she left. I didn't feel like myself anymore. It was like a switch snapped and I became harsher, sharper... darker. So, I had to distance myself and focus on repairing what she broke.

What I didn't know was how much shit she broke and how long it'd take to sort out.

Breaching into the wide area, I look into my massive living room. I step over a few solo cups, wondering what time it is. Daisy, the maid service I receive twice a week, should be here around nine. I try to leave before she gets here. I also clean up as much as I can before she arrives, and I usually leave her a gracious tip. Lord knows the snobby people living in this building doesn't.

I walk over to the blonde snoring on my red leather L-shaped couch. I gently shake her shoulders. "You have to go. Party's out."

Last night, as usual, I threw a party here. I do it almost every night. And, despite struggling with school, people came for the liquor and music and lavishness of my place. I threw each one in hopes of waking up so high from the party that she'd finally leave my brain.

I wake up disappointed each morning.

The girl mumbles in her sleep and shifts. "Wha... huh?"

I nudge her leg hanging over the couch. "The party's over. It's..." I glance at the oversized modern wall clock to my right, between the expanding windows that displayed the city of Boston below. "8:15, and I have someplace to be."

I don't.

She finally peeks through her ratty hair, before leaning on her long arms. "Whaaaaat?" she drawls, then proceeds to cough. I take three steps back, lean down for the tissue box, and pluck out a few squares. I hand them to her and she hesitantly rubs her face. Her makeup is basically a halloween mask now.

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