The night was unbelievably chilly. There was no wind, but the air was frozen, almost as if the iciness from December was trapped in it. It was weird, considered it was sort of warm earlier during that day. Scarlet heaved out a sigh as she walked uncomfortably in her heels --- she could kick them off right now if she hadn’t pay half of her allowance for that.
She sat down on the pavement and reached out to rub her aching legs. They were all red from hours of walking --- she had been wandering around since school ended. She had sneaked around the building, away from Nick’s sight so he couldn’t see her.
Scarlet wandered around the town, walking from place to place. It was sort of like a visit to the memories ---- she went everywhere. The field where she and Nick spent evenings to play one on one soccer games, their favorite restaurant and their favorite spot in town --- the corner in the park where you could see the horizons whenever sun rises and falls. She was so close to tears when memories flooded back before her eyes, hearing his laughter echoed in her heart again.
She reached out to touch the silver necklace she was wearing with her finger. It was a birthday present from Nick. She traced the delicate, heart-shaped charm with her trembling finger, holding it up to the light so she could see it clearly. It had her name, “Scarlet” carved on the back of it.
It felt like yesterday, her fifteenth birthday. How did everything change so fast? Before she noticed, nothing felt the same anymore. She felt like all the promises vanished into nothing, in a blink of an eye.
She was lost in her thoughts until the sound of thunder pulled her back to reality. She pushed herself up and started walking in her wobbling feet, but they hurt so damn much. She groaned and leaned herself against the pole of the streetlight for balance. Maybe she twisted her ankles or something.
Before she knew it, the rain came pouring down on her like a waterfall. She blinked as raindrops crashed down on her relentlessly. It was obvious that her luck didn’t get any better in the past few seconds. Instead, they took a turn to the worse. She groaned and kicked the pole, hurting her feet even more. She stumbled back onto the road and landed right on her butt, feeling the sting of pain on her thigh. So much for wearing skirt, she thought bitterly and reached out to touch her legs.
Oh great, she scolded silently in heart. There was no way that she could walk home now, her feet was temporarily dysfunctional, her leg was bleeding, her makeup was dripping off her face in a rather disgusting manner.
And she wasn’t over Nick. At all.
She shut her eyes and saw Nick’s face appearing in her mind. His dark eyes were glittering and she felt her stomach flipping as she stared into them. Stop it, she warned herself, it’s not getting anywhere, stop it, Scarlet Brennan. Shaking her head, she opened her eyes.
She gasped when she found herself staring into those beautiful eyes. They shone under the streetlight, beautiful as always, except they looked genuinely worried. Scarlet pulled back, her body shivering in the coldness and fear filled up in her eyes. “Nick?” She whispered, backing away as she moved backwards towards the road.
“Scar,” Nick said, taking her hands, “What happened to you?” He reached out and pulled her back forcefully, leaning her against the pole. He gently brushed her hair away from her face and took her shoes off. His eyes widened when he saw her red feet, his mouth hung open.
“Jesus Christ!” He said, astonished. “Scar, what are you doing out here? Your mother is worried sick!” He stared at Scarlet with wide eyes, asking. Scarlet looked at him quietly. Of course her mom was worried --- her over-protective mom. She’d probably hyperventilate by now, poor mother, she thought.
“Scar…” Nick asked, his voice softened when he noticed the silence. “What’s wrong?”
All the feelings that had been building up inside her for the past few days came crashing down. Tears slid down her cheeks, flowing as if they’d never end. Her tears were blackened by the mascara, leaving two dark trails on her face as they dripped onto her pale shirt. She wiped them off angrily; her eyes were flaming when she glared at Nick.
“What’s wrong?!” She yelled desperately, “You want to know what’s wrong?!” She slapped his hands away and kicked his legs hard. She ran her fingers through her hair furiously and groaned, “Go away, Nick! I’m just fine. I don’t need your help.”
But Nick wasn’t giving up. He was shocked, a little scared at the moment, but Scarlet was his best friend. He reached out his hand and touched her shoulders, which she had slapped away furiously after casting a dead glance at him. He had no idea why she was acting like this --- she was just fine yesterday.
“Scar, please just talk to me.” He pleaded, sounding miserable. Served you right, Scarlet thought. “You were fine yesterday. What’s wrong, Scar? Please let me help you.” He tried to calm himself down, but his voice was wavering. In fear. Of losing her.
Scarlet stared into those pleading eyes, for a second she was about to give in. I couldn’t let him do this to me again, she reminded herself. “Just fine?” She cried, angry at the fact that he failed to notice the weirdness. Really, dude, really? “You’re such an idiot, Nick Anderson.” She croaked through tears and shut her eyes, “Go away. You had idea that I….” Her voice trailed off into nothing.
For a second, she thought of telling him the truth. That she loved him. She couldn’t bear to see him with anyone else, she just couldn’t take it anymore. Every single glance at them made her heart ached so much that it could break into million pieces. She wished she could die from all the pain, but she couldn’t.
“You what?” Nick said, looking worried. “Scar, come on.”
And that was all it took. She pushed him away with all her will, her skirt bunched up as she did so, revealing her bleeding thigh. She tried to cover it, but it was too late. Nick gasped, touching her thigh, “Damn! You’re bleeding, Scar, I’m taking you home.” He said firmly and looked at Scarlet, hard. He was determined to take her home now, he couldn’t watch her do this to herself.
“I know.” Scarlet mumbled, “I’ll take care of it.” She stood up again, her feet wobbling as she rested her hand on the pole. She shut her eyes as the sting of pain grew worse --- it felt like thousand of needles were pricking on her skin as the blood came dripping down her pale legs. She turned away from Nick, but he surprised her by pulling her into a hug. He wrapped his arms around her tightly. Scarlet struggled and tried to push him away, but his arms were locked around her waist. Her breath became heavier as he tightened the grip, making it harder.
“Stop it, Scar.” He combed her hair gently with his fingers and whispered into her hair. “I couldn’t bear to see you like this. Please stop hurting yourself. Please.” His voice sounded so much deeper when he said that, with determination.
Scarlet stopped struggling. Nick could feel her slumped onto his chest, breaking down into soft sobs, her shoulders shaking intensely. He bent down to lift her up and felt a stab in his heart as he looked at her swollen feet. “Nick…” Scarlet croaked, looking up at him.
“Shut up.” He whispered soothingly. He carried her in his arms and started heading home, walking carefully in the rain.
Someone stepped out from the bushes slowly, watching them from behind. The eyes narrowed like a hungry cat’s, waiting for the right moment to pounce. A smirk crept up to the face as they took a turn at the corner, disappearing into the darkness of the night.