Chapter 11

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I didn't go to school the next morning. I kept quiet and out of the way so my family didn't realise I hadn't left. It wasn't that I was trying to avoid everyone at school, most of the abuse was online anyway. I genuinely felt ill.

My temperature had been rising all night and I had woken in a cold sweat. So much for my rapid healing. I didn't want to say anything. It felt better to take the raff for bunking off school than to admit I was unwell. Nobody would believe me anyway. They'd say I was pretending to be pregnant again or doing it for attention. I just wanted to be left alone from all the accusations.

Once I was certain everyone was gone, I got dressed and took Aero out for a walk. I was thankful that for once he walked calmly next to me. Usually he is so eager to go that he pulls me long at a rapid rate. It was almost as if he understood my need to be comforted and for companionship.

We headed along the cliff tops towards the beach. The crashing waves rolling against the shore, drowning out my thoughts. The cool sea air soothing my high temperature. It felt good to be outside. Despite it being Winter, I sat in shorts and a vest top fighting against the scorching heat of my body.

I sat on the shingle, the pebbles pushing into my palms as I leant back. I spent the day there. I wasn't interested in food. I threw a ball from Aero and he ran and brought it back for me. He did this for a while until he too was exhausted by the game and settled down next to me panting. He pressed his dark black fur against my body.

It was nice not think about all the crap going on in my life. I had found somewhere I felt safe. I closed my eyes and relieved happy memories that now caused me pain. I remembered being here with Jace. The way he looked at me in the early days of our relationship. The way I knew he wanted to kiss me but the fear held him back. The same fear that held me back. The fear that maybe I had read it wrong, maybe he wouldn't kiss me back. We spent weeks flirting with each other, almost kissing, daring to hold hands. Those agonising moments were now something I longed to experience again but it was all ruined. One kiss and we were over.

I remembered the kiss. The kiss I had longed for so long. The kiss that had destroyed us.

We stood pressed against each other on the dancefloor. My heart beating in anticipation of what was to come. The lights danced across his face and his eyes stared deeply into mine, holding me a willing captive. Our bodies swayed gently to the music but it was a distant sound now. As our faces drew closer, all I could feel, hear, smell was Jace. Our lips met and the fire from our kiss raced through my body, making every part of me alert and desperate for more of him. My fingers ran through his blond hair, holding onto him, never wanting to let him go. Wanting to kiss him forever but he was breaking away.

The air was hot between us. I opened my eyes to meet his but his were looking off to the side. I followed his gaze to an open door. The wild wind and rain tearing through the doors, blowing the heavy curtain into the legs of those standing close by. There was my brother. Matching the storms temperament, his shirt ripped open, he raced towards the doors calling, "Mariah!"

"What happened?" I had asked Jace.

"I don't know," Jace' jaw twitched, "I think he hurt her."

I knew who he meant. Mariah and Jace claimed to be just friends but they were inseparable and even when apart their lives still seemed to revolve around each other. It was Jace's main topic and I had told him how it made me jealous. He had laughed and told me I have nothing to worry about.

"Why would he hurt her?" I swallowed a lump in my throat seeing how easily he was distracted from me and our moment.

"Come on," He pulled my hand towards the door. But a teacher was already locking it and shaking their head disapprovingly. "This way," Jace began pulling me towards the main doors.

We hurried out of the hall. In the corridor we could still hear the music but it was fainter, almost reflecting the way I was being muted out by Mariah. We reached the main doors, still holding hands. Jace tugged me out into the pouring rain but I squealed in disgust and resisted. I tugged him back under the shelter. "I'm not going out in that. I'll get soaked." I shivered. I was already wet. This wasn't any ordinary rain, it was heavy hard hailstones, icy bullets biting my skin.

Jace looked at me then over his shoulder, like someone was pulling him away. He was physically torn between her and me. I willed him to stay. I knew the choice he was making. We had just had our first kiss. "Please," I begged and squeezed his hand. "Let's go back inside."

Jace shook his head and pulled his hand away, "I can't. I have to know she is alright."

"You don't know where she is!"

"I'll find her."

"Don't do this to me."

I pulled a face like he was confused. Like he didn't see what he was doing. I saw it. I saw him choose her. I didn't want to believe it at the time but now I look back and I see it clear as day. I wondered if he knew too.

Pulling me from my thoughts, I heard voices. I quickly hurried away. I couldn't go back up the steps the way I had come so I moved along the beach to find another way up. I didn't want to be seen incase word got back to my parents or the school that I was bunking. I needed some more time for myself. Although, the fresh air had done me good and I was now starting to feel better.

As I headed up another set of steps with Aero and walked along the cliff top, I reached the car park and saw Murray's car. What was he doing here. I peeked over the edge, looking down towards the beach to see if it really was him. My heart twisted when I saw who he was with. A girl with red hair that had screwed up my life by existing was with my brother.

What was she doing with him? What did he see in her? If they had just stayed together then Jace and I would be alright but instead she clicks her fingers and whatever boy she wants comes running. I felt disgusted in my brother. As if, he was sleeping with the enemy and betraying me. I hope he breaks her heart.

My brother had a reputation of messing around with girls. Maybe he was getting her back for me. Maybe Mariah would get what she deserves. I smiled feeling wicked. Aero and I walked home, before my brother discovered I was out and about.

Once in, I made Aero a bowl of fresh cold water. He was tired from a day on the beach, fetching his ball.  

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