Chapter Four ~ Wonderful

Chapter Four ~ Wonderful

A Chapter by aubreydiamond

Holy s**t.

I spun around immediately, as if that somehow was going to make me invisible. I was panicking. Luke was standing right behind me. I was NOT prepared for this. I could feel sweat trailing down my forehead within seconds; my heart was in my throat. I couldn't move.

Thank f**k Juniper was standing right in front of me. She must've just felt my whole energy change because she came closer to me and grabbed my hand. She knew everything that'd happened between us, so right now she was playing the role of my brain.

Zeb was standing to the side, looking conflicted between loving the drama and supporting his best friend. He hadn't had enough alcohol in his system to wipe out his common sense yet, and he came over to stand with us both, careful not to get his shoes in the water.

I felt like I stood here in this panic-stricken-state for an hour, but after a mere five seconds I turned my head to look back at Luke's direction. He hadn't moved. Apparently he hadn't expected to see me either.

But he was here. Standing there with his sandy blonde messy hair, peachy skin and dark blue eyes: the boy I'd been with since I was allowed to have a boyfriend. The boy who held my hand on the first day of college, who I lost my virginity to, who I spent almost every day and every night with. We were best friends and then some if there was another level above that. But then I remember how things changed. How he turned into the boy who thought we were drifting apart, who thought we were going in different directions, who left town and moved away without a f*****g word, who showed up on the f*****g island weeks after he vanished and… I'm FUCKED OFF.

You okay, babe?’ Zeb asked quietly.

‘Fine.’ I said through my teeth.

I stormed across the shore towards the crowd, completely ignoring Luke as I went. I could see from the corner of my eye that he was following me with his, I wanted him to feel how fucked off i was, really feel how much he hurt me when he disappeared. I didn't do anything wrong. There was one time my mother tried to break us up but that was just because she considered him a low life with nothing going for him. Kinda starting to wonder the same myself.

Juniper and Zeb followed after me. I was really grateful they were here right now. I don't know how long it would take me to get back to the mainland but I wouldn't say I'm the best swimmer exactly.

Whether or not Luke followed us, I didn't care. He'd be brave if he did. We rounded the corner of the inlet and made our way to the hub of the party, which had begun to increase within the short time we’d been here.

A couple of the girls were already dancing on the bench tops, and the boys were competing with one another to see who could finish their drinks first. I didn't want to join in with anyone other than my real friends. If I had known the night was going to pan out like this I'd have most definitely found some kind of excuse not to be here. Now I really feel like getting drunk.

‘Pass me the wine,’ I said, brandishing my hand out to Juniper. She looked at Zeb with wide eyes and handed me the bottle slowly.

I took such a long and deep gulp that I just about choked and coughed it all back up through my nose.

‘Whoa, whoa! Take it easy!’ Juniper cries.

‘Alright, Arie!’ Zeb cheered.

It tasted like s**t, but immediately I felt a kind of weight lift off my shoulders and my brain. Jesus I really am a light weight. Suppose that's a good thing though.

Luke appeared from the corner, hands in pockets and head bowed like a dog who knew he was in trouble. He wasn't looking in my direction, but heading towards the other boys.

I hadn't noticed before but Carzel was here too, blended amongst the masculinity of the other guys, I'm surprised I hadn't noticed his dreads; they were out of their usual large bun and almost reached his knees. It always amazed me that someone as chilled and calm as Carzel found company with the boys from our school. They weren't all bad, don't get me wrong, he was just so level headed compared to them. But each to their own I guess.

Carzel noticed Luke approaching, and judging by his expression he didn't look happy to see him either. The two had always been close, so something must be really up for Carzel to be mad with him. Maybe Luke didn't tell Carzel he was leaving either? If that somehow could have made me feel better, it didn't.

Luke looked awkward and uncomfortable. And so he should. I turned my back away from him and faced the ocean. I think this alcohol was starting to make me feel a bit better, as long as I can block him out.

I had both Juniper and Zeb on either side of me. We were sharing one of the benches furthest away from the group but close enough not to look like we were excluding ourselves. Not that we cared about that.

Chloe was sitting not too far from us, glancing up and down from her book that she hadn't put down. She really was an unusual girl but there was something about her that I quite liked.

‘So where the f**k are we sleeping,’ Zeb asked out of the blue. He still had his copious baggage perched next to him.

‘Are you moving over to the island?’ Juniper joked, looking at his portable mountain.

‘F**k no; if I'm going to sleep I'm going to be comfortable.’

‘I think it might just be wherever you can find,’ I said. ‘I don't think a few of these guys are planning on sleeping.’ The boys were throwing sleeping bags and pillows around in an effort to measure stupidity. They reminded me of baboons. A few pillows were now floating in the water, much to their delight.

‘I'm going to find the nicest and softest patch of Mother Earth and just watch the stars,’ Juniper said dreamily.

Eugh, I’ll sleep in the boat then.’

A couple of the girls were crushing up something with an eftpos card on the bench top and snorting it through a rolled up bank note.

‘I would hate to think what's been on these tables.’ Juniper laughed.

 

The night only continued to escalate to absolute chaos as time went on. Within an hour practically every single person here was stumbling and slurring their words, far too intoxicated for their own good. Girls had lost shoes and cell phones and half of the boys had ripped all their clothes, bar underwear to wrestle.

‘And I’m the gay one,’ Zeb said watching. The boys with disgust.

Considering we were on an island without the means of first aid or the stability of a sober person - and that most definitely was not going to be me - no one really seemed to care much about what was going to happen. I wasn't what I would call drunk, but I definitely felt sillier than usual; at least coherent enough to know I'll remember this tomorrow though.

Juniper and Zeb had finished the bottle of wine a while ago and were onto the vodka that Zeb had in his bag. I passed on the spirits, not trusting the impossibly clear liquid. These two were used to me turning drinks down, it didn't stop them from offering, but they'd both be more than happy to drink on my behalf. I have good friends.

The speaker that was first brought out had run out of battery, but another even bigger portable sound system with amplified bass was replaced and took things to the next level. The music choice of the evening had gone from classic jams to bullshit mainstream rap which none of us enjoyed that much. This was our cue to disperse before anything bad went down.

We made our way back to the shore that the boats were parked up and found a nice little spot underneath a huge native tree. We sat down on the ground, Zeb putting his denim jacket down to sit on top of so his pants wouldn't get dirty. I didn't dare tell him there was already a grass stain on the back of his calf.

In the moonlight I could just see Chloe’s figure over the railing, who had removed herself completely from the activity and found a spot on the nearest boat to sleep. She had the right idea.

‘Jeeeeesus, I’m rather tiddled.’ Juniper said, half laughing as she fell onto the trunk of the tree. I didn't notice it until she said it but as soon as we’d left the commotion the alcohol in my system seemed to double again, even though I didn't have very much it was enough for me to feel its charm.

‘Yeah, me too to be honest.’ I said. I realised this was the first time I’d spoken in the last couple hours. I'd been internalising.

‘There she is!’ Zeb grinned at me. ‘You've been rather quiet this evening.’

‘Gee, I wonder why? F*****g a*****e, how can he be so thick? After everything,’ I snapped. I still felt angry. Still pissed off that Luke had the audacity to show up tonight. But now that I’d had time to process it a little, I knew my friends didn't deserve to feel the brunt of my rage. ‘S**t... sorry guys.’

‘Girl,’ said Zeb.

‘You don't need to be sorry,’ Juniper said putting her hand on my knee. ‘This is his doing. I don't think anyone was expecting to see him show up.’

‘Why the f**k did he come then?’ I exclaimed. ‘Like, seriously. If you’ve disappeared for weeks with no explanation, why would you want to come back and confused the s**t out of everyone?’

Confuse the s**t out of me.

‘Maybe he had some intense s**t happening behind closed doors?’ Zeb wondered aloud, lighting a cigarette.

‘But I know him! Well at least I thought I did. There wasn't anything going on for him that I thought was out of the ordinary, and there definitely wasn't anything bad enough for me to be concerned. Sure he may have had some fights with his mum, but is that really bad enough to want to chuck it all in and vanish off the face of the earth?’

‘What is his mum like?’ Asked Zeb.

‘I- I don't really know. I only met her a few times. She's a bit of a stoner, but she didn't seem that bad. I never really spent much time at his house or even around his family.’

‘And you were together how long?!’ Zeb said.

‘Since primary school, I know. We were always… doing things out and about- and no not like that Zeb, like going to the movies, or going for walks or just camping out under the stars somewhere. We were more interested in spending time with each other than our families. Neither of our mothers are our favourite people.’

It had been a while since I really reflected back on mine and Luke's relationship. I'd forgotten how much fun we used to have together.

‘Maybe there were just some things he couldn't share,’ Juniper suggested. ‘He might've wanted to keep you away from some bad s**t.’

‘By lying?’

‘Well, you could look at it that way,’ Juniper said. ‘Or you could see it as him trying to protect you. I didn't really get to know him as well as you did, but I could see the way he cared about you. I'm an empath, I can feel s**t.’

‘I don't know…’

I was only feeling more confused now. Luke and I had always had an honest and open relationship, and there was never any kind of inclination that he was keeping anything from me. But when he left, it was like he suddenly died. He'd completely vanished from the world and in the blink of an eye was gone from the lives of the people who cared about him the most. Like me.

And now I'm left to wonder why. He's still here; in fact he’s here, here. And yet I can't help but feel like there this huge explanation that I can't see, hear or feel, and our entire relationship was built on a foundation of lies. Maybe I should talk to him. I don't know if I could, my fist might punch him before I get a chance to open my mouth.

Just then, the crunching sound of shoes on the beach rocks grew louder. Like some twisted stroke of fate I was expecting Luke to appear around the bend, and judging from Juniper and Zeb’s faces they were too; but it was Carzel, and he looked incredibly coherent for what he must have just walked away from.

‘Hey,’ he said. ‘Can I join you guys?’

‘Of course!’ Juniper exclaimed before we could. I couldn't tell in this light, but I think she was blushing.

Carzel came closer and sat in the available space of our semi-circle, enclosing it. Looking a bit bothered, he pulled out a metal tin with a picture of Jesus on the lid from his pocket and opened it. The unmistakable scent of marijuana erupted from the tiny box. I'd never tried it myself but I had no issue with it. Most of my friends smoked pot and the worst it did to them was make them either sleepy or hungry. Usually both.

‘Do you guys mind?’ He asked us.

‘Only if you're going to pass it round,’ Zeb said, looking at the tins contents with a happy expression.

‘Of course bro,’ Carzel grinned. He pulled a Rasta-coloured metal contraption from his pocket. He put some of the weed in the red, yellow and green device, closed it, and twisted it like a pepper shaker. Soon the contents had turned to crumbs and he delicately sprinkled it into a v-shaped paper he plucked from the tin. I'd never seen it done so eloquently.

He licked it, rolled it shut, and without wasting any time lit the joint. He took a big long drag and held it in for a few moments before billowing out an enormous cloud like a dragon. Juniper was definitely blushing.

‘You don't seem too trollied,’ Zeb said taking the joint from Carzel who passed it to him.

‘I've had one drink,’ he replied. ‘But then I just didn't feel like. Ya know?’

‘You okay?’ I asked him. He shrugged, and I could tell exactly why.

‘Luke?’

He nodded.

‘I don't get it,’ he started. I could already feel like he'd been waiting for the opportunity to let this out. ‘He's practically been one of my brothers growing up for my whole life, and one morning I wake up and find a note telling me he's moved away, and then outta the fucken blue he shows up tonight trying to act like nothing’s happened.’

‘Nice that he left you a note,’ I said. I knew how close Carzel and Luke had always been, Luke and his mother didn't always see eye to eye so he spent a lot of time with Carzel’s family. But I was his girlfriend, and I didn't even get a visit, a phone call or even a f*****g text.

‘It didn't say much. Other than he had already left and that he would still pay me back.’

‘Wait, What?’ I said. This was news to me. ‘Pay you back for what?’

‘I leant him a couple grand, I don't know what it was for, but he seemed pretty desperate for it. I didn't ask questions, I don't think he wanted to answer any.’

‘When was this?’ I could feel my heartbeat increasing. I think Juniper could too.

‘Earlier in the year, maybe June? I had some money stashed from birthdays and Christmas’. I wouldn't have given it to just anyone. Shouldn't have even given it to him to be honest.’

‘You can't blame yourself for that though,’ Juniper said, taking the joint from Zeb on its second rotation. ‘You were only doing a good deed.’

I’d zoned out. I was still processing this information that Carzel had just unfolded. Why the f**k did Luke need money, a couple grand at that? He'd never made any inclination that he was in trouble, s**t, he was never the kind of person to even get into trouble. He wasn't the highest achiever nor did he come from the most “successful” family, but i always thought his morals were in the right place? Right? Aaah, f**k I'm just going in circles with this.

But I didn't know where else to go other than around in circles. When he left I didn't know if that was the end of our relationship or not. I'd accepted that it was after a month of him gone, but now I don't f*****g know where I stand.

‘Aroha?’

I jumped at my name. Carzel, Zeb and Juniper were all looking at me.

‘You alright?’ Carzel said.

‘Sort of.’ I didn't really know how I felt. 

‘Maybe you could talk to him?’ Carzel suggested.

‘Ha - What would I even say?’ I chortled. I could think of a few sharp words…

‘You shouldn't have to say anything.’ Zeb piped up, taking the final drag of the joint and stubbing it out. ‘He should be the one with something to say to you. You were - are his girlfriend after all.’

‘Am I though?’

‘Yes.’

A voice that I knew all too well spoke from behind me. Luke ambled over from the shore, focusing mainly his attention on Carzel and myself. Carzel however, didn't seem interested in conversing.

‘Shall we go and have another sesh?’ He said to Zeb and Juniper, sensing his opportunity to leave me and Luke alone to talk. Great.

‘I thought you'd never ask, Uncle Bob.’ Zeb said, hopping up from his spot. Carzel offered a hand to Juniper and helped her to her feet, before turning to Luke and giving him what I could feel was a cold stare. The three walked away a little further down the shore. Juniper was looking back towards me and mouthed “love you” to me.

For a few moments, he just stood there watching Carzel walk away. The sound of the music was still there but I could barely hear it. It felt like we’d just fallen into a pocket dimension of our own. I'm not entirely sure i wanted to be here right now.

This was the first time in over a month we’d been in each other's company. The last time we were together we’d gone to the movies, had a nice dinner and gone for a long walk. I guess you could say it was the ideal date, but if I'd known how the next month was going to pan out I wouldn't have stood for any of it.

‘Can I sit down?’ He asked.

‘I don't know, can you? You seem to be good at making decisions without talking to others about it.’ I realised how stupid and catty that sounded but god it felt good to throw it at him.

He walked over and sat down next to me. I could feel the warmth coming off of his arm only a few inches away from mine. I shuffled over a little so I wasn't so close to him. He could feel my reluctance, but I could tell he was guilty about it too. Good.

‘Aroha,’ he began. I turned to look at him properly. He was struggling to find the words he wanted, but in that moment, even though I was furious, I couldn't help but notice how much older he looked. His forehead seemed to be more crinkled than I remember, and his stubble had grown out longer than he'd usually let it. His eyes looked tired too, the kind of tired that doesn't come from lack of sleep.

‘What's going on with you?’ I said, finally finding my voice to speak what I wanted to say. ‘How could you f*****g do this? Do I really have to tell you how much our relationship meant? Because I was pretty f*****g certain that you felt exactly the same way and we were on the same page.’

‘We were- are! And I know how much we care about each other. I at least know how much I care about you, Aro.’

‘Don't call me that.’ That was his nickname for me. Nobody else called me Aro. And I could tell that telling him not to upset him. He started to cry.

I'd never seen him cry before. Ever. It was scary. His face scrunched up the way a child's does. But almost as soon as he'd started, he pulled himself out of it, wiping his eyes and taking a deep breath. This was the first time I felt like there actually was something bigger happening that I didn't know, yet I was still angry.

I'm so sorry,’ he whispered, not looking at me. ‘I didn't mean for it to all happen like this, honestly, I didn't. I didn't think I was going to have to move away so suddenly.’

‘I didn't think you were moving away at all. But you did. And it ripped everything here to shreds.’

‘I know, I know. I didn't really get much of a choice though.’

‘Luke,’ I called for him to look me in the eyes. He turned his head hesitantly. ‘We told each other everything. We were completely honest with one another about everything. So why do I feel like there's something that you're not telling me?’

He took a moment to process what I was saying. He took another few moments to gather his words together.

‘My Dad was murdered. His mutilated body was found in the car park of a super market.’ he said very quietly. ‘Then they came looking me and mum. I had to leave otherwise they would have killed me. Mum managed to pay them off with her weed stockpile, thank f**k, but they were asking where I was.’

They? Who’re they?’

‘The mob, the gangs, all of those guys.’ He said, eyes glistening with tears. ‘My Dad was an idiot and it backfired on him when he was pissed. Then we got caught in it. I had to leave without saying anything. I wanted to come back as soon as I left, I really did. I just couldn't risk them getting to you just to get to me. Your mother already hates me enough as it is.’

‘Is that what the money from Carzel was for? Running away?’

The way he looked at me was clearly surprise; I could tell he wasn't expecting me to know that.

‘The less i shared the better. Loose lips sink ships.’

‘You know I wouldn't have f*****g said anything.’

‘I know you wouldn't have, Aro. But these people can be ruthless; they have ways of finding s**t out. I thought if I laid low enough for a while it would all blow over, and I could come back.’

I don't know what was harder to swallow; the fact he was here, or the fact that there was this whole other mob-affiliated aspect to his life I was only just finding out. I didn't know how I felt about this. Something still didn't feel right. But looking at his face told me a story of someone who looked defeated by stress.

‘How did you keep this part of your life hidden from everyone?’ I said, thinking of Carzel.

‘You think I knew what my dad’s s****y life was like before he died?’ He snapped. He looked angry. ‘Once my mum was up the duff with me he gapped it, never to be seen again. I - I didn't even know who he was until he was dead, Aro. I had to discover what kind of s****y person he was from a police report. This was just as much a f*****g shock to me as it was to you.’ He looked away, and took a deep breath in, wiping his eyes.

We didn't speak for a few moments, but looked out into the ocean that was now glistening under the moon beams. In what was the most unusual translation of emotion, my anger suddenly transformed into worry. There may have still been a small ounce of me that was fucked off with him, but after hearing him speak and watching him battle with his emotions to tell me, I couldn't help but worry for his well-being.

I hadn't seen him this troubled, and it seemed to have come out of nowhere too. But things didn't still add up completely.

‘Why did you come back tonight, Luke?’ I said gently. He looked back at me with a sudden sparkle in his eye.

‘I had to come back to see you.’

My heart fell into my stomach.

‘How the f**k did you know I'd be here? You looked shocked to see me when you got off the boat.’

‘I wasn't going to come to the island if you didn't show up tonight. But you did. I just didn't know what to do when you saw me. I guess I panicked.’

You and me both. He looked embarrassed.

‘You didn't even come to see Carzel? Not your own mother? Not any of your other friends that care about you?’

‘No. I just came here to see you.’

I could feel myself blushing, my whole being shifting. Luke was the only person who could do this to me, start a mental war inside of my head; I was angry, sad, worried, and even happy, as funny as it seems. Being here with him, despite the circumstances, felt like old times. It even felt weird to consider those memories as “old times”. We were still so young.

‘I have to get out of town by the morning,’ he said. I felt like a blade was just pushed into my chest. ‘It was just eating me up knowing you were here, suffering. I had to see you.’

He wasn't breaking his gaze with me. I forgot how magical his sapphire eyes were. They were always masters of hypnosis, especially when it came to me. He was edging a little closer to me.

‘When am I going to get to see you again?’ I said. He didn't answer me.

The music from the part suddenly filled our secluded space. Luke's face cracked into his wide, cheeky signature grin. It took me a moment to realise, but our favourite song began to play.

 

Did the world get a little bit colder?

Not wiser just a little bit older

So slow that we're bound to fall over,

Did the heart grow a little bit harder

Too much, too late, too far, too gone

 

He leaned right into me, and our lips met. I couldn't remember the last time we’d kissed, but it felt like it was our first time again, when he stayed over in secret or we’d agreed to meet during lunch breaks at school. It was something so familiar and yet so foreign.

 

But wasn't it kind of wonderful?

Wasn't it kind of wonderful, baby?

Wasn't it kind of wonderful, wonderful?

 

His rough hands began to trace my legs and my hips. I couldn't help my own from feeling his chiselled jaw, or the softness of his messy hair. We shouldn't have been doing this, but if this was the last time I was going to see him for a while, he had to know that I still loved him. We couldn't have been in a more beautiful place.

 

You can trip, flick a switch negative

Break the circuit between us

But electricity lingers

In our fingers

Oh you can burn every fuse and refuse

Turn your positive minus

Electricity lingers

In our fingers

 

‘You really are the most beautiful girl I've ever met.’

He began taking my clothes off, and I his. The cold didn't bother us or our naked skin. There was warmth between our bodies that couldn't be eradicated.

 

From here there’s nothing but horizon

Near dawn, I'm searching for the sunrise

Remember when you put the stars into my eyes.

 

We were together. I'd let everything go. I didn't care. I wasn't mad. I don't know what I was. All I knew is that I was here with someone I loved with all my heart and soul. That was enough for me.

 

Wasn't it kind of wonderful?

Wasn't it kind of wonderful, baby?

Wasn't it kind of wonderful, wonderful?



© 2019 aubreydiamond


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Added on January 30, 2019
Last Updated on March 7, 2019
Tags: drama, young adult, pregnancy, coming of age, fiction, life, death, love, birth, teenage, comedy, baby, friends, family, murder, drugs, swearing, course language, aroha


Author

aubreydiamond
aubreydiamond

New Zealand



About
I come in peace! My name is Aubrey, I’ve been a creative witch for as long as I can remember. Writing, drawing and all of the creative outlets have been my source of magic since I could craf.. more..

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