Week 5: Self-crossed

I have decided that I’ll do The 52 Project story wise. Since I can’t write a story per week, I’ll just write 52 stories over a period of two years or so.

So here’s story 5.

Self-crossed

Chloe
  I looked at the girl in the mirror. She wore a pouffy white dress. She had her hair done specially for this occasion. She wore Cinderella slippers (the glass kind, not the wool kind). She was glowing.
  She was me.
  I could almost imagine it. I would walk out of this room. My dad would be waiting outside wearing a sharp penguin suit. For once, he wouldn’t be making any jokes. He might even be a little teary eyed. Dad would clasp my hand tightly in his and lead me into the church. My sister, Gabrielle, would be walking in front of me wearing lilac. Lilac looks absolutely revolting on her. For once, I won’t be in the danger of being upstaged. It will be my day and no one will be able to steal my thunder.
  I would enter the church and ancient Mrs. Geller will be playing the bridal march on her equally ancient piano.  Everyone will turn and look at me, eyes ablaze with amazement. But my eyes will be fixated on one person. His eyes would be telling me that we’d made it. Our love for each other will become tangible in the air…
  The excited knock at the door snapped me out of my reverie.  Amy swooped in wearing the actual wedding dress. She was lit up like the New York skyline.
  Amy was the one with the bridal spark in her eye. Not me. My eyes could only be described as melancholic.
  I never would have imagined my eyes as melancholic. Yeah, they had been described as mischievous and they were said to have the wild look on more than one occasion.  But not melancholic, never melancholic.
  And my dress? It was just a color pretending to be white but not quite succeeding.
  Logically, I was supposed to hate Amy.
  She was the one who was going to make a decent man out of Ollie. She was the one who was going to marry him, have his kids and grow old with him.  She was going to be his wife, his other better half.
  But I didn’t.
  Her bridesmaids wore dresses that actually looked good on them.  There’s nothing more that I can say about her. She is actually that nice.
  And she made Ollie happy. I could already feel myself disappearing from his life. My existence was already less connected to his.
  That felt different. Ollie and I had been inseparable for a greater part of the 27 years of our lives.
  Ollie. Oliver. For me, he was still the laughing boy who had pushed me into Sally Malone’s pool when I first moved to Haven. We had been together through it all- childhood, puberty, first kisses, college, a bit of adulthood. Ollie had been my best friend for as long as I can remember. He had always been there for me and I had always been there for him.
  And now, he was getting married. We had talked about it. He had assured me that nothing would change. That we would always be best friends, no matter what.
  That would have even been possible if I wasn’t so hopelessly in love with him.
  Don’t we take people for granted?
  Don’t we cling to the belief that they are going to be there forever?
  The worst part?
  Amy was too darn awesome. Hating her or even disliking her had been impossible. And despite my best efforts, we had become good friends. Good enough that I was her maid-of-honor.
  Not that she hadn’t had enough candidates. She knew how important it was for Ollie that I would be a part of their wedding.  Ollie had actually wanted me as his best man.  The problem was-
a) I wasn’t a dude.
b) I looked way better in a dress than in a suit.
c) Female strippers did nothing for me.
  So I became Amy’s bridesmaid, soon promoted to chief bridesmaid. All the thanks go to her sister getting knocked up.
  As brides go, Amy was fun. She definitely wasn’t a bridezilla. Also, she actually ate the cake at her tasting. I trust people who refuse to refuse cake.
   She hadn’t freaked out. Not once. But she was totally freaking out now. Amy was afraid of screwing up. She was afraid that she was going to forget her wedding vows.  Or that an ex-girlfriend of Ollie would do a ‘speak now’ and Amy would be left with blood on her dress and handcuffs around her wrists.
  I tried my level best to carry out the bridesmaid duty. She didn’t calm down. What if Ollie didn’t show up?
  I assured her that he would. He was absolutely nuts about her. He looked at her in that special intense way that made her flush. Every time.
  I had always wondered, how would it be to be on the receiving end of one of those looks.
  Her hurried flow of words was interrupted by another knock at the door. Ollie peeped in. Amy shrieked and tried hiding under the bed. I held her and prevented the disaster called wedding dress and dirt.
“I am not looking! I am not looking!” yelled Ollie but by then Amy had gone on the offensive. She grabbed the huge pillows off the bed and hurled them at his head.  She was yelling something that sounded like a battle-cry.
  “I’ve just come to claim back my best-friend. Do you want me to have a black eye?”
  “C’mon Ollie! They’re just pillows! Your penguin suit made you a sissy?” I said, putting myself between them. I had a very risky and difficult job indeed.
  “Oh, it’s on.” He grabbed me and pulled me out of the room. I followed him to a deserted staircase with an open window.  He spent a few moments inhaling and exhaling. I gazed at him as his breath escaped his lips as white tufts of air. It was snowing already and Ollie was bracing himself.
  Finally, he spoke.
  “I can’t believe it! I’m actually doing this…”
  DOING WHAT?
  Don’t get your hopes up, Chloe. Just don’t.
  “I am actually getting married! When  we were kids, I always thought we’d end up together. And then I found Amy…”
  “You are a lucky guy. Amy is awesome. I’m leaving you in good hands.”
  “What? You’re leaving?”
  “No! Just that she can take over the job of babysitting you.”
  “It’s not like that Chlo. You’ll always be an important part of my life. You’re my best friend.”
  “Yeah. But you will have a wife in some hours. Wife trumps best friend.”
  “Nothing’s going to change. You’ll always be my girl.”
  “Aww Ollie. Aren’t you super sappy today?”
  “C’mon Chloe! I am getting married today! You’ve always been my rock. And, today, I need you more than ever. Emotions aren’t your enemy, you know.”
  “I am here, aren’t I? Ollie, you’ve always been my rock too. But now, you’ve got a new rock. Anyway, it’s time. Let’s go.”
    I could see it. Amy walked out of the room. Her dad was waiting outside wearing a sharp penguin suit. For once, he wasn’t making any jokes. He was actually a bit teary eyed. Amy’s dad clasped her hand tightly in his and lead her into the church. I was walking in front of her wearing my pretty dress. I didn’t look horrendous but no one in the room held a matchstick to Amy. She  definitely wasn’t  in the danger of being upstaged. It was to be her day and no one dared to steal her thunder.
  The ceremony went exceedingly well. The rings were remembered and procured on time. No one forgot their vows.
  And I didn’t start singing ‘Speak Now’. God bless Taylor Swift. She had a song for every damn occasion.
  It was so difficult to believe. Ollie was someone’s husband. He just felt so grown up now, a man.
  Well, when he was not trying to taste the icing off the wedding cake.
  Amy found him. Then those sneaky conspirators planned to creep into the kitchen and eat a piece of the wedding cake. I found out and averted the disaster.
  If I was the one getting married, there wouldn’t be any cake left. No matter who tried to stop me. Ollie and I would have been successful.
  But I wasn’t the bride so disaster averted.
  Amy went to change before the first dance. The dress was too pouffy for her moves. Ollie went to loosen his bow tie. They always made him feel terribly constricted.
  I walked to the door.

Ollie

  Wow. I was actually married.  I felt like the luckiest SoB in the world except mum was a perfectly lovely lady.
  But at the same time, I felt …sad. Yes, it was weird. I had fooled a gorgeous, smart, kind woman into becoming my wife and here I was, moping around.
  That was because I knew.
  Today was the day…today was when Chloe would leave. She never even hinted. But I knew.
  Chloe was the person in question. My Chloe. How could I not know?
  Yeah, she was my best friend.  But she was more than just a best friend.
  She was Chloe.
   Mischievous, wild Chloe who was the definition of trouble. It wasn’t that she broke the law or something.
  It was just that she seeked an adventure everywhere. My basement, her attic, the supermarket, nightclubs, here, there, everywhere.
  She did the craziest things but always landed on her feet.  Literally.
  Like the time when we were learning skateboarding and Jimmy Kendall dared her to try one of those dangerous, professional skateboarder slopes. Any of us mortals would have at least broken an arm upon taking up this dare.
  Not Chlo. She didn’t even get a scratch.
  Jimmy Kendall was impressed and saved her a seat on the bus for over a week. A seat which she never took. We had been a team, Chloe and Ollie.
  From the day Chloe hit puberty, I had guys asking me whether Chloe and I were, you know, together. We never were.
  Chloe was a light that attracted many moths. All of them were burned.
  I had gotten a really great deal. God, Amy was amazing. I love her so much.
  But what I felt for Chloe was different. She was Chloe. What else can I say? She was Chloe. Amy understood.
  I knew though, that this day would come. One day, Chloe was going to get bored of seeking adventures here, there and in this limited everywhere. I knew Chloe would want the world. So I decided not to want her.
  She was destined for great things. Who am I to challenge destiny?
  It was snowing again. The white tufts made this day truly magical. I leaned on the balcony railing, watching the winter wonderland.
  I saw a human shaped whiteness rush stumble towards the gate. She hesisted just before walking out but she never looked back. I didn’t ask for a goodbye. It would  have killed both of us.
  Instead I watched her leave, dragging her suitcase behind her.
 

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Week 4: Blur

Week 4: 27th July to 2nd August.
I’m really behind schedule, I know that. I’m really sorry and I’ll try my best to catch up 🙂

So, Blur –

On most days, Joe felt like a fucking walking contradiction. He had a dentist for a father but a chocolate tooth. He had a chef for a mother but was skinny as a skeleton. He loved punk music but hated electric guitars. He loved the sky but couldn’t stand the color blue. He loved pizza but couldn’t stand the base. He liked looking at the starry sky but their silly twinkling irritated the shit out of him. It went on and on.
Once, Joe got very drunk. He called his girlfriend Kia to drive him home. She drove him home but his parents were out. When she called them, it was their irate friend Maureen who replied. They had gotten drunk and called her to drive them home. Then they passed out as soon as they got into her car. But not before calling her a drunk bitch, hence her irritation. For some reason, this made Joe giggle in the backseat.
Kia realized that she would have to take her drunken boyfriend back to her place. She was a bit worried about her parents but as long as Joe slept on the couch in the living room, he would be safe. Her mom slept in the attic while her dad preferred the basement. Her mother was a legendary snorer. She was better off sleeping in the sound proofed attic.
The moment Kia drove into her driveway, Joe yelled for food. She fondly thought about cooking him a meal at 3 a.m. Maybe some pasta? She gently pulled him out of the car and dragged him to her living room and deposited on the couch. She opened the refrigerator for something that could be termed as edible and found coffee beans. Just coffee beans. Where had all those veggies gone? No bread, no milk, no eggs. How was she going to feed Joe?
Kia put her hand in the oven and found a packet of cookies. She looked into the spices drawer and found a piece of bread. She made a cookie-coffee bean sandwich for Joe. Joe said that it was the best sandwich he’d ever tasted.
Joe was feeling less and less drunk by the minute. He could focus on Kia’s pretty face now. Before she had been a blur of red. Maybe it was the coffee bean sandwich. It had been the best thing Joe had ever tasted! He was a lucky guy. Kia was such an innovative cook. He got to eat her innovations.
Kia was blushing prettily because of Joe’s compliments. Joe pulled her towards him and tucked her in a hug. They started watching the Discovery channel on the telly.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Joe got up and opened the door. He was a little upset. He had been having an amiable time with Kia. It was the Police. Not the earth police but the police from Mars accusing Joe of terrorist activity. Joe stood there with his mouth hanging open. Kia had heard it all. She grabbed her comb and attacked the policemen.
They overpowered her with the help of their toothbrushes. Then they arrested Joe and Kia and took them to their spaceship.
The spaceship was shaped like a giant pig. Joe and Kia were beamed up into the spaceship. They weren’t surprised to see that the rest of the crew comprised of assorted talking human-sized animals.
They were taken to the captain of the ship who was a cock wearing a baby’s bonnet.
” You sick dick! ” yelled Kia. “Why did you arrest us? Are you nuts? ”
“You were a threat to the peace of Mars. So you were arrested.” He replied in Spock tones.
“What did we do to disrupt your peace? And also, we are earth citizens. Not your division.”
“You ate cheese.”
“We just had a coffee bean and cookie sandwich each.” Said Joe. “There was no cheese.”
“You ate cheese.” Repeated Captain Cock.
“Yeah, we probably did eat cheese in this lifetime but almost everyone on earth eats cheese. So why us? ”
“It wasn’t that you ate cheese but they way you ate it.” Said the cook Sheep in a french accent. “You earth people should really be taught the correct way to eat cheese. Only the french do it correctly.”
“What?” Replied Joe and Kia with identical confused expressions.
Then entered the Wolf. He was a Very Important Person on the ship. He invited Joe and Kia to eat some mushrooms with him. Captain Cock had to let them go.
So they went to the Wolf’s quarters which were huge and Gothic. He had scented candles lit all over the room.
He gave them fluorescent mushrooms to eat. They tasted like lemon sherbets. Kia loved them. Joe puked all over the Wolf’s carpet. He found out that he was allergic to fluorescent mushrooms. That made Joe grumpy which made him rude. He ended up insulting the Wolf who had them kicked out of the ship.
Joe hit the gnome in Kia’s garden and fell unconscious. Kia curled up in his arms and fell asleep.
The next morning, they woke to the bright glare of the sun. Last night was a blur in their memory.

Week 3: Hullabaloo

Week 3: 20th July to 26th July.

Hullabaloo

I had never been much of a dancer. I was that sort of girl who would be standing in the corner minding her own business. This girl always wore a leather jacket that was way too big for her. Yeah, she was a loner. And yeah, she was self-obsessed enough to refer to herself in the third person.

I did have friends-Tanya and Layla. They were the ones waving the lameass ‘Will you marry me, Luke Scott?’ banner. Bigamy was an offense punishable by law. Didn’t they know?

At least, it wasn’t polygamy. Luke was single and I was obsessed. A little.

Not like Luke Scott would notice them. I mean, why would he? He’s like a freaking God among us mortals. Don’t believe me? Trust me; you would if you were in my place. I was standing (Yeah, you guessed it correct) in an amazing corner. And why was this corner so amazing? I had a clear view of Luke’s dark blue eyes. They appeared black in the dim, hardly there lights.

I had goosebumps as my ears picked up his smoky voice blocking out all others.

This guy had unknowingly kept me sane after IT had happened. I became aware about an ache in my stomach. It was a constant companion but recently I had been successful in blocking it out. I pulled my jacket tighter around myself. It had ceased to provide the comfort it used to. Then again, it fit snugger than before.

I told my brain to shut the fuck up. My first Wanderlust concert wasn’t going to go down in tears. No way, Jose.

It was easy this time. I just concentrated on Luke. He probably thought I was a stalker or something. Well, he would, if he actually glanced in my direction.

My heart was soaring in the best way possible as ‘Trains’ came to an end. The band announced a five minute break.

Due the lack of Luke Scott themed awesome on stage, I snapped out of the trance of sorts I had put myself into.

Crowds. People. I couldn’t breathe. I had never really been a big fan of crowds. My claustrophobia had gotten way worse after …after it had happened. I couldn’t even step inside a supermarket. My shrink referred to it as a ’loss of security’. This concert had been a huge risk. But I couldn’t miss it.

I forced myself to take deep breaths. Deep, slow breaths.

My eyes were swimming in tears as Wanderlust came back up. Luke Scott had been wearing a simple black button down and blue jeans. Now the sleeves were pushed up and his ‘Dear Amelia’ tattoo was on show. I had always wondered who the hell Amelia was.

Luke grabbed the mike and flashed us his famous crooked grin. Every female in the room (and some males) shrieked at that. I swear I heard some of them meowl.

“Hey guys! Missed us?”

The noise level went up considerably at that. I was going to go deaf. I stood mute like a ghost, mesmerized by the sight of him. It was a dream fulfilled. I wish, I could tell him that his music had changed my life, that it had kept me alive.

“I see you did. Now we have a special treat for you guys…”

It got even louder. These people were going to go hoarse. And also deaf. But the energy and enthusiasm was undworldly.

“…Yeah, you got it right! We have a new song coming up. It’s called ‘Hullabaloo’ and is written by a fan-Emma McLaughlin. So let’s go!”

Hullabaloo? No! No! This can’t be happening! Not that goddamn song. Not now!

Blue, the guitarist, started playing the chords and I was assaulted by the familiarity of the melody. I could almost see dad playing it. My dad had been a shitty singer but a wonderful pianist. We had written ‘Hullabaloo’ together. And now he was gone.

The song engulfed me. I could not stand being in the room any longer. I needed some air. I needed something. I needed someone. I needed dad.

Relying solely on my instincts, I pushed myself through the throng of bodies leaning towards the stage. They were pulled towards the sound coming from the stage. The Wanderlust had taken up the song and made it into something so much more. I felt a little proud of myself. I was a part of ‘Hullabaloo’.

I could finally see the exit as I pushed the last people apart. I rushed towards it. The exit was pretty desolate. No one wanted to leave. Except me. I looked at the band one last time. There weren’t going to be any Wanderlust concerts for me in the near future.

After all this time, they were playing the damn song. Luke sexy, sexy voice suited the song just like I thought it would. That gave me a sense of satisfaction. At that kiddish part of me who used to hang posters of the great Luke Scott in her bedroom and who had mailed him the song begging him to play it.

Luke was a force to be reckoned with, especially when he sang.

For a split second, my conscious deceived me into thinking that I was staring into his eyes and he was staring right back into mine. I smiled, turned and left.

It was raining outside. I didn’t mind. The freshness of the rain took away the saltiness of my tears. By the time I reached my car, I was completely drenched. I got in and turned on the heater. I couldn’t leave yet. Tanya and Layla would stumble out after the concert was over, drunk as drunk girls. I was their ride back home.

I took of my jacket and dumped it at the back. The comfort I used to get from it was lost. My walls crumbled. I hurt all over. I missed him so much. Every damn moment. The tears flowed freely. Fortunately I had tissues to blow my nose. I was experienced at tears.

I was experienced at handling myself. Soon, I had no more tears to let out. My water intake for the day had been low, I suppose. I wasn’t okay, not by a long shot. But at least, I wasn’t crying anymore.

Instead I was glaring out of the window. Anger, I could handle.

I heard a car door open and shut and I felt a presence next to me. I hadn’t locked the doors. Wow. Talk about stupid. There was probably an axe-murderer in my car now.

I turned to look at the intruder’s profile. I was looking into blue eyes lit by the parking lot lights. They were familiar and strange all at once.

“Drive! Drive! Drive!” He yelled. His voice was hoarse because of all the singing he had been doing. I could hear some kind of commotion behind us but all I could think about were my swollen, red eyes and the unattractive way in which my mouth was hanging open.

He smelt of wet leather and sweat. He was still wearing the button down over which he wore a jacket. His long black hair was plastered over his forehead. He looked at me as if I was dumb.

It was bloody unbelievable.

Week 2: I go to sleep

Week 2: 13th July to 19th July

Prompt: Lullaby with creepy undertones

I go to sleep

The flat still smelt faintly musky despite of all the dusting I had put it through. I thought it would take some time before it got the lived in feel.
  It was a decent place to live in. It was situated in a good locality; my neighbors didn’t seem to be creepy and the flat wasn’t rat-infested like my previous hellhole. And it had barely cost me anything. Overall, a great bargain!
  I couldn’t help but feel a little alien living here. I had lived in the same hellhole for seven years. Then my insomnia got worse. I would spend my nights pacing relentlessly. My flat mates tolerated for a while but they had jobs too which were being affected due to their lack of sleep which was a result of my pacing.
  So I moved out.
  I figured maybe I would be able to sleep better in a new environment. I would be all alone with no one to disturb. Living with people felt like an intrusion of my thoughts. Both my flat mates read my mind.
  I snuggled up in my old bed in my new room and tried to lose myself in the world of dreams.
  The new flat theory? It worked! I could feel myself drifting off. 
  The world of dreams brought my mum singing ‘Raindrops and Roses’ from Sound of Music. She used to sing every night before I slept. The song was a talisman against the monsters under my bed.
  Mum was patting my back so that I would sleep better. She was affectionately running her hands in my hair and crooning in that sweet voice of hers.  For once, I felt at peace.
  The moment I thought that her fingernails grew into talons which stroked threateningly against my back.
Why do good dreams like these get distorted so?
  I could feel sleep slipping away from my clutches. Soon, I was completely aware of my surroundings. But my eyes were closed.
  The lullaby hadn’t stopped. The talons dug deep into my skin and brought out blood. I yelled and sat up. There was nothing around. The pain in my back was reduced to a ghost ache. The singing had stopped. There was silence all around.
  I breathed a sigh of relief. Just a bad dream. Nothing else.
  My accelerated breathing slowly  returned to normal.
  Suddenly something grabbed my face and slammed it into the pillow. The palm pressed against my nose and lips, smothering me.
A voice like fingernails on a blackboard whispered.
“This is what happens to bad children who don’t sleep. Everything is okay now. Go to sleep.”
So I did.

Week 1: Numb

Week 1- 6th July 2014 to 12th July 2014

Numb

The champagne must have tasted good but I don’t remember tasting it. That tended to happen when I became like this. Numb.
Our last few dates had been disastrous. He had begun to follow the pattern too. They met the happy, normal me. Then I grew comfortable in their presence and begun to let my guard down. I started taking off the mask I hid under, little by little. And they began to see the part of me that wasn’t quite so optimistic, not quite “normal”. What was normally really? Then began all that bloody criticism. They were soon rendered unable to look past my flaws and I was rendered unfeeling to their awful rants.
So here I was, in a posh restaurant I didn’t really notice, eating food I didn’t really taste and drinking champagne that I didn’t really feel.
And there was he, talking about my pessimism, my walls, and my issues. This one could really hit the mark. He had the perfect ability to grab onto my insecurity of the moment and then pull, squeeze and hurt. I had really hoped him to be different. When I first met him, I had been crying. So, he knew. HE KNEW.
But he refused to believe.
I stared at him with the straightest poker face. He was speaking; I could see his lips move but the sound had been blocked. I was quite bored actually except that I was too numb to actually feel the boredom.
It was stupid to try to inform me about my so called “issues”. I was anal about analyzing myself. So, really, I knew how screwed up I was. I knew every single one of my faults. Reminding me was a waste of time. I was excellent at tuning out bullshit.
Not that he-they ever noticed. Self-important bastards. Every last one of them. They misunderstood my silence for acceptance and attention. A tiny pinprick of amusement crept in through my wall. It didn’t have the power to break out my trance. Though, it was successful in pushing an idea.
I had better things to do. I’m sure he did too.
I took a sip of the tasteless champagne. It was wasted on me. I grabbed my purse. I had actually dressed up for the occasion. I got up from my seat walked towards the entrance and walked out of the restaurant. And his life.
It had begun to rain. I didn’t have an umbrella. I wore a red dress. The wet thing clung to my body. My Louboutins were probably dying due to the puddles. My makeup was probably flowing down my face with the rivulets of rain.
I didn’t care.
Slowly, I got some emotion back. Not enough to start grieving another dead relationship. But enough to become aware about the half-destroyed, soaking Louboutins on my feet.
I took them off and carried them in my hands. I could feel pebbles and slush below my feet. But I didn’t care.
I was roaming listlessly. Was this how breaking down was like? How did it matter? I would find my way back home eventually. I would be fine once I broke out of this daze.
Now, I was starting to become aware of my surroundings. I recognized the area I was walking in. I knew my way back home.
I was in the elevator when it hit me. It was over. I had left my blanket of unfeelingness behind somewhere. I had hoped. I couldn’t stop the tears from escaping my eyes. It didn’t matter. I’m sure I resembled a zombie enough as it was. Tea would make me feel better, I hoped.
The ding of the lift made me aware that I had reached my floor. I exited and took out my keys.
He was sitting on the staircase. As soon as he saw me, he got up, strode towards me and grabbed my hands. They looked so tiny and feminine next to his. Worry and panic was etched clearly all over his. A few more tears slid down my cheeks. I actually found myself wondering about the state of my Mascara.
I noticed that he was wet all through too. The rain messed up his longish hair in a way that had become familiar. It brought back memories. It had been raining the first time we met. I cried harder.
“What the hell were you thinking? You had me worried sick! Never do that again! Never, got it?”
I nodded with the start of a smile on my face and a tear welling up in my eye,
“And I’m sorry. You are a mess. You go zombielike. But you are my mess. And you have my heart and my brain and my soul. You are my zombie and I love you. Okay?”
“Okay.” I said as he bent down and kissed my forehead.