Chapter: 4

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I wake up drenched in sweat as always and look over at the clock. The little orange clock ticks 4:45 am. I slept later than last night. Sighing, I quietly slid out of the bed, careful to not wake a peaceful Clara. I change into a purple sports bra and matching leggings. I tiptoe down the stairs and walk out the front door starting my morning run.

I haven't been able to sleep ever since I started high school. My doctor says it's from the stress of school, but I say it's the stress of trying to be perfect. I have yet to fail at anything I've tried. School has always been a breeze, same with ballet and music. Granted, if I don't think I'll excel at something I won't do it, but that's because I know my parents expect so much from me, and I can't let them down.

When I couldn't sleep I would go for runs, whether that was at ten pm, three am, or six am I would go out and run. I used to just run around my neighborhood a couple of times but now I've started running to a nearby forest. I remember seeing it one time on a drive with Clara. It was past the high school near an abandoned church, which was a hot spot for parties, drugs, and hookups.

When I'm running through the trees I feel all of the weights lift off my chest. I'm not forced to think of my parent's expectations or about all of my school work. My mind is free to think without any filters. This morning it kept wandering to Liam and the way he looked at me after I had punched Charles. His face was unsmiling but his eyes gushed with concern for me. I wanted to go to him and let him hold me, to have him tell me everything was fine and that I'm fine.

I run faster trying to get away from these unsettling thoughts. Liam's my brother's friends, I can't feel like this. He may be gorgeous but it's not worth the damage. My legs move faster and faster as I maneuver around fallen branches and rocks. A stick cracks and my head snaps to the noise which in turn makes me trip over a tree root and tumble to the ground. I split my chin on a nearby rock.

As my chin starts gushing blood the burning of my lungs and side makes my vision go white. I yell out in pain and as I do so my stomach screams with me. I start puking still sitting down and unable to see. When everything leaves my stomach I'm finally able to breathe again. My vision finally comes back but my chin still burns in pain. I finally get to my feet and start my long and painful walk home.

I walk down the dark streets and pass the huge brick houses, finally arriving at my house. I open the rusted gate and burst through the giant white door. All the rooms remain dark and quiet indicating everyone is still asleep. I sulk to the nearest bathroom to clean myself up. Looking at myself in the mirror I physically gasp at the horrible sight. My hair has chunks of my puke and some blood. My chin is covered in dry blood but still manages to be producing a slow stream of blood down my neck. My leggings have holes in the knees and are also covered in dirt.

I get a wash rag to dab at my wound wincing every time. My chin continues to bleed profusely so I abandon that mission. I instead move on to cleaning the blood off the rest of my body and the puke out of my hair. I have seen way too much blood these past two days, if this continues I'm going to have a problem.

I find a random bandon in a nearby drawer and stick it on my chin, which doesn't stop the bleeding but I've given up. I sit down on the ground feeling a little faint. My eyes get really heavy and eventually I stop fighting the urge to close them. I slowly slump to the ground slowly losing consciousness.

A bright light makes me stir from my slumber. I'm on my living room couch with a wool blanket pulled up to my chin. I look around dazed and confused, my memory coming back to me and I quickly remember this morning's events. My mother comes rushing into the room pushing me back down. "Honey you need to rest. You lost a lot of blood." She hands me a steaming mug of tea and a couple aspirin. "Clara found you asleep in the bathroom, we were so worried." "Why didn't you take me to the hospital?" My mom sits down pursing her lips together. She blinks blankley a couple of times before answering. "Your father said it wasn't bad enough to be worth the cost." She says slowly, trying to choose the right words. "Of course, dad's too cheap to even take me to get stitches." "It's not that, your father says it's just a small gash and that it will heal just fine." I roll my eyes at her pathetic cover up. I stand up and try to walk away.

My legs were surprisingly unreliable. They wobbled like a table with loose screws. My mom stands up to catch me but I've walked too far away from her. My knees start to buckle and I close my eyes in anticipation. I open my eyes surprised to not be on the floor and I'm met with very familiar piercing green eyes.

Liam carries me all the way back to my room despite my protests. He puts me safely in my bed, "I didn't need to be carried, I could've walked." He raises his eyebrows, "You'd currently be on the floor had I not caught you." "I didn't need you to carry me like some damsel in distress." I mumble. He starts to walk out the door but before he's even three feet away he turns around, "I really like your room." He says with a smile and continues down the stairs. That small statement shouldn't have made my heart flutter as much as it did..

A fews hours later my mom peeks her head in my room. "How are you feeling Aphy?" She asks her voice full of concern. "Just fine." I say not looking up from my book. "Can I get you anything?" "Nope." I continue reading. She cautiously sits on the edge of my mattress.

"Since you aren't doing anything right now, would you talk about a possible going away party." I look up from my book to see if she's joking and see she's dead serious. "No, you know how I feel about parties." "I know but you're going to London, no one is going to see you for a long time. Plus Jeremy already agreed to the party." I can tell she really wants this party and I hate disappointing her.

"Fine but do I have to do anything." She looks down at her hands nervously. "In a week." "Oh my god mom, one week!" She throws her hands up. "Well that's when all of Jeremy's friends were available." I roll my eyes. "You need to stop rolling your eyes or they're gonna get stuck." My mom says with a pout. She gets up to leave, "Also we need to go dress shopping." I fall back on my bed in exasperation. 

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